Thursday, September 27, 2007

"Marie Antoinette Sampler" the beginning

I've just made a floss/silk toss on my fabric so you can see some of the colors I've started chosing. I thought it also helped bring to life the very small portion of the lace top border I'm working on for the beginning of the Sampler.

These pastel silks will represent Maria Antionia Josepha Johanna of Austria, 13 years old, the shy, youngest daughter of Maria Theresa of Hapsburg, Empress of the Holy Roman Empire of the Germanic Nations and the Emperor Francis of Lorraine, the year she became betrothed to the Dauphin of France, Louis Auguste, the future King Louis the XVI of France. This first segment of the Sampler will speak to her early childhood symbols. And will include some of the Hapsburg crest and ribbons. As well as some flowers indigenous to the German/Austrian areas.

I'm looking for an alphabet to use in this section that is Germanic.
I don't want the sampler to be "too sweet" and without substance, so don't think that since it starts out this way, it will be this pastel and prettiness throughout. Any fine tapestry needs darkness and light. Just as any story has to have the mystery and agnst to make love and life all the sweeter.
Here is a fun picture from my art collection of a theatre watercolor of Marie and Louis...
I'll keep stitching on my lace this weekend!
Hugs, Deb

Monday, September 24, 2007

Jessica and the Marie Antoinette Sampler

Well, as you can see by her comment left on my last blog, my DD is suffering from her mom not working on her "Mermaid of the Pearls." Here's all I've gotten done on it. And, it's been sitting behind other things since April. Sorry, Jessica!! It's so pretty, and I do want to pick it up again this winter after Christmas, when I've promised myself not to stitch on anything else! LOL But, I better not tell Jessica she has to wait so long! I have been working on my RRs and the Fair & Squares this Summer.
I've started my "Marie Antoinette Sampler" that I want to design as I go along. The first section is taking some time to stitch because of the length of it, but I can tell you that it's beginning with a top border of lace. For those of you who want to stitchalong with me:
I have chosen:
Lavender 32 ct. linen, cut 28" wide x 26 1/2 long (3 in. borders for finishing are included in this size)
DMC 3865 (a winter white)
Keeping Traditions: "Dentelles" chart the "n 36/a.b.c" middle section lace pattern only
That is where I'm beginning. I'm researching a pattern next that will represent some of Marie/Maria's Austrian heritage. I'll get back to you with a picture of my progress on the lace...when there's more to show you! And, some of the Austrian, too.
It seems this Sampler is all I can think of right now. I'm so excited to be creating it. I'm going to be using some existing designers' things, as well as my own adaptations. I hope it doesn't turn out to be a mess!! LOL
Meanwhile, I want to send out good vibes to all of you who "read me" and those of you, my friends, who always take time to leave a comment of encouragement. Thank you so much! Good stitching to all of you!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Neighborhood RR Finish!

I wish I had a decent camera to show you this Neighborhood RR piece of Wendy's. It's coming along so beautifully. Carissa's contribution of the blue house was just perfect!
I've finished my block...the upper left-hand side. The Rose Cottage, of course! It was such fun to stitch. I created a stream and a little gated arbor to connect my yard with Wendy's. To me, the stream represents hope and the spirit of true friendship. The several textured stitches were fun to stitch and gave me a welcomed break from the straight cross stitch. Bees always represent any "Debi" we all know! LOL And, I decided that this time, all of my RR blocks will have pink and roses in them. So, I hope you like your little rose cottage, Wendy!

I'm off to stitch on my Marie Antoinette Sampler, now! I have alot of things pulled together and will show you my start this weekend.

My computer has been down for a week, so I'm very behind in blogging and visiting your blogs, but will catch up as I can.

I want to say a very heartfelt thank you to Donna Hensley who sent me her chart of Eliza's Pets!! I had admired it on her blog. It's just darling and I hope to add it to the stitching I want to do for my little grandson who's due the end of Oct. Thank you, Donna!! :)

And, thank all of you who keep me encouraged and going with your kind words and comments.
Have a happy stitching weekend!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Harmien's RAK!!!

I was so flabbergasted to find a fat little package in my mailbox yesterday from the Netherlands! It was from darling Harmien! And, look what it was! This handmade threadkeeper and long strands of silk ribbon in just my favorite rosey colors. I gasped so loud when I opened the package that I surprised myself and turned to see if anyone heard me! LOL It was later when I really sat down to touch it all in every detail that I discovered the tiny carved initals, too. I'm going to treasure it, use it, and remember Harmien and our friendship always. I'm so grateful, Harmien. Thank you so very much....and for the surprise of it, too!!!
So many of you voted the "Sea Rose" as your favorite necklace that I thought I'd give you a better, close up of it....or at least try to. I didn't get all of the pearls and sea glass in this pic., but it gives you some of a better idea. Deb in CT asked if Naples Bead Shop has an online shop. They do, and here's the link: The owner, Lynn, is a friend of mine...simply because I come in so often!! LOL You may have fun seeing the pictures of her shop and some of the necklaces and things they sell.

Happy stitching weekend to all! Thank you so much for visiting me and leaving me notes. I check every day to see who's been by, and it means the world to me to see that we are connecting and keeping up with eachother this way....that's why I blog!


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Mermaid Finished....and Jewelry-making

This is called "Fanfare Feathers." I made this last Spring. The "feathers" are made of mother of pearl. It has those flat/round natural pearls, pale aqua blue Szavarski (sp?)faceted bagettes, smokey topaz crystals, turqouise, etc., in it. Hard to see the colors in this pic. I had a great time just improvising to make it. It's attention grabbing, so I only wear it in the evenings to a special dinner or something like that. Not something to wear to the grocery store!

Naples has a fabulous bead shop! I just go and spend hours creating in my mind, then bring things home and recreate on my kitchen center island, or on my lap desk while I watch old movies. I always promise my DH I'll sell things in the Naples seasonal Arts Festivals...but I have a hard time parting with things. Although, I do give lots to my daughter, whom you know by now...Jessica. Or...she comes over and begs, borrows or removes them temporarily!
This one above is called, "Salute to Chanel," because it has the black huge jet beads, which she would have approved of, and the pink crystal leaves. It's heavy and chunky, which she would like, as well. I just love this piece. I always feel good when I wear it. I like to wear it with black pants and an open necked, long-sleeved, collared white shirt. I feel so Chanel!! LOL Then, here's the most casual one. It's called, "Sea Rose," because it's the carved rose captured by a string of multicolored cultivated pearls which have the most gorgeous sheen, sea glass and crystal beads. This strand is lightest weight of all. I love the look of it, but it needs a solid colored red or black dress to showcase all the pearls. So, that's some of my jewelry that I make. There's lots more....

Well, and here we have the finished little mermaid who found her own pearl necklace in the ocean. She is always accompanied by her pet the seahorse. This is my finished Fair & Square for Monique. It's on the way to her so the mermaid can find a happy landside home from FL. Hope you like it, Monique!

Finally, a follow-up note regarding my friend, Brooke, of Brooke's Books and the Stitching and Christmas Spirit girls. She is coming out with a set of Halloween gals, but they are for next year! This Spring she will be working on some new and interesting things similar to the Sampler on The Gift of Stitching Magazine cover this month. She was delighted to hear that you all love her "girls" and the "Sophie's Sampler," it means so much to her.

And, I love hearing from you, too. Thank you for your comments and notes of friendship and encouragement. I'm starting my "Marie Antoinette Sampler," and will have a picture for you next week! I'll also have more commentary on her portrait at that time.


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Marie Antoinette

Dear Marie Antoinette is a female archetypal figure to me. She's not just a Queen of France and a wildly interesting woman of history on her own count. She epitomizes the lot of women...she is symbolic Woman. I can never get enough information about her.

Let's look at the portrait above as art historians. The portrait is painted as if writing us a love letter. Marie Antoinette is only 14 years old. The very first thing we notice is her eyes. The artist has left alot of "white space" around them to make sure they draw our attention. "The eyes are the windows of the soul." Her eyes say that she is sweet and innocent, but strong-minded and ready for the task at hand. The portrait is telling us this young girl has royal blood and great potential as a royal wife. That is; after all, her only value in her Time. The laurel of pearls that softly "crowns" her hair suggests this. She is intelligent as shown by her high forehead and slightly raised brow.

We see that she is pretty and healthy by her red, bowed lips, pink cheeks and fine bossom. The artist, again, has suggested that she is precocious, or will be wise beyond her years by her over all expression and her slightly powdered wig. But, then, he doesn't want to say she's too we have the big, girlish blue silk bow at her neck and chest area. And, the use of the yellow silk dress which indicates royalty and youth, purity and lightheartedness. Aside from the laurel of faintly indicated pearls in her hair, she is wearing no jewelry or other ornamentation. All in all....a very sweet portrait of a young princess to be sent to a future husband for the bargaining!! Or bluntly stated, in a more contemporary way....look at the picture closely. She is shaped like a Queen Bee in her hive....ready to reproduce! She's slightly volumptuous with a beehive hair style.

One of the very first books I ever read was a biography of her. I was smitten from that first historical encounter. I was 8 years old. Marie Antoinette seemed to be a young, kind, sadly alone girl who was a princess, but never really was understood or loved by her people. I first imagined her in my mind all alone being driven across a cold and snowy country in a covered sled headed to a strange land. I could see her bundled up in white fur and blue velvet robes. She was sent away from her home, her mother and siblings. She wasn't sure who would take her in on the other side. She didn't know who would meet her. She didn't know if her future husband would like her. She had no idea what France was, who the French people were and what her home would be like. That was the long and short of it in my child's mind. I had alot to relate to in Marie Antoinette's life. I wanted to love her then...and I still do. I have, as I said, all of my life.

So, I've decided to devote some of my blog to the study of Marie Antoinette, portraits of her, and her domestic interiors. I'm going to focus on studies of her furnishings, the colors, and the fabrics and tapestries of her surroundings. We'll get to know what she personally liked. What colors she preferred and what designs expressed who she was. We'll be able to understand more about her..not only in her palaces, but in her favorite, little rustic village and cottages. Her preferences set the historical face of interior design...and we still live with her choices today.
Our houses tell more about us than we realize. I know....I've been studying and working with arts and fabrics and furnishings in one way or another since I was a baby! What we choose, how we envelope all tells a story. I want to unravel Marie Antoinette's.
This is fair warning! :) I hope I don't drive some of my stitching friends away!

How will this study connect with our stitching? I want to see and stitch with some of the "colors of Marie Antoinette." I will be choosing colors from threads that are available to us now, so I can have a visual, tangible color palette. I'm thinking of designing a spot or band sampler as I go along.
Here is a beginning example. This is a bedroom drapery and silk bedcovering ensamble that was made for MA for Fountainbleu. She never used the room. What it tells us is her color and pattern preferences.
Since noone would dare give her a complete bedroom that would displease her, we can be assured these are some of her favorite colors. In this picture we see that she does not use the darkest or deepest shade of colors...she liked medium tone colors. She doesn't have any pastels here, either. The pastels were kept for her cottages.

I see these 3 main colors: Grass green, peony pink, and yellow. From these you take the different values or shades of each color. There would have been 2 more secondary colors to balance the palette.... The gold acts as a "yellow."
The Chinese image above her bed shows her evolving artistic interest in chinoiserie. Trade with China brought many beautiful china and silks to royals. Marie Antoinette collected chinese porcelain vases, for instance. By the time she has this bedroom created for her, she is well into her role as the reigning Queen of France.
However, to begin at the beginning: in the portrait at the top, Marie Antoinette of Austria is 14 yrs old. She is one year away from leaving her mother and family to become the wife and Queen of the future King of France. All she knows is music, dance, singing, embroidery, playing with her sisters, opulence, servants, structure of her mother's hard Hapsburg rule, flowers and language studies. She is an obedient child. She is the youngest daughter, and very close to her older sister who dotes on her. Her mother is a daunting and powerful woman...a Hapsburg... Ruler of a Royal Dynasty of Royals...a Queen to be respected...a strong and mostly distant mother. Marie Antonia speaks German. French is not her mother-tongue, nor is she well-schooled in French manners or world history. She is shy and willing to obey.
Here she is a young Queen. More about this portrait later.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

The Sunday Stitch-In at Martha's

Please let me entertain you with lots of pictures of our very fun and funny stitch-in at Martha's, who is seated here at the left below. She is so delightful, I just love her. She tells everyone that she "picked me up while surfing the net." And, actually, it's kinda true! LOL She found my blog one day, emailed me...told me I could "check her references" through a LNS we both went to so I would know she wasn't a blogging hatchet killer!! Ha!! We met to talk about our love of stitching.... and the rest is history...we were fast friends. Martha is always laughing. I love that about her.

I'm holding up the Neighborhood RR of Wendy's I'm working on. The one with the Rose Cottage. Wendy, everybody loves your Neighborhood!

On the right side of me at the top: is my good friend, Julia, who is happily the former President of ANG...our Naples, Gulf Coast Chapter. I'm the current Newsletter Editor. She says I'm the Queen of Newsletters!! LOL I'm just "wordy."

This colorful needlepoint below is Julia's from the recent ANG Seminar in Baltimore. I just love the colors. She says the crab will be beaded and will have pearl eyes. Julia is stitching the green in balger metallic. It is so stunning! She loves color, and I do, too.

Florida is very good about accommodating us in this....
Julia also has a darling gekko needlepoint bag she's stitching that is to die for. So gaudy and colorful with different threads and embellishments!
Here below is our friend, Patti, who is of German descent and whose claim to fame is that she was crowned Miss Oktoberfest in the German community festivities last year. She says it is a short-lived honor, and means you have to work the next year! LOL Her love of needlepoint takes preference over all, but she also enjoys beading. Patti doesn't blog, but she spends alot of time looking at beading sites online. Here, she's making an eyeglass case. She also loves colors in her stitching. And, Patti likes to experiment with color and change things in the designs. Are you getting the picture about me and my friends, yet??? :)
Then, I thought I would give you a peek at some of the other stitching going on in the group. The "Santa" is Ruby's, seated below, who is our ruby in the crown of the Evening EGA, Ft. Myers group; it's possible she's over 70....nobody knows for sure, she's sassy and tells us what's what and how high to jump! She's a great stitcher. She's the best friend you want with you on any adventure! She has a gravely voice, a contageous laugh and a quirky sense of humor. We love Ruby! And, I believe her piece here is a Homespun Elegance Design?? Ruby also likes to do a little beading. I think she hates needlepoint and has told me so in no uncertain terms!!
Close-up of Ruby's Santa. I was going to ask her if this was an afghan she was stitching it on...but I got side-tracked because she got me laughing. Martha was taking a picture of me taking a picture of Ruby!! :p

I cannot remember whose design this is below that Elenor was stitching. It's an oldie, but such a pretty one of Christmas. Makes one want to rifle through the oldie but goodie stash to find out what we're missing, doesn't it? She's a real perfectionist stitcher. It looks like it could almost work like a Drawn Thread Christmas Box! This is stitched with all DMCs.
Here are Julia and Elenor sitting together for a picture. They look so harmless, don't they!? ;) Actually, Elenor is known for her finishing skills. She also knows how to make great stitching bags. She keeps rather quiet so we won't all ask her to make one for us!! :) They both have those stitching frames that we used to call "fanny frames" but which are now called "lap frames," I think. Julia swears by hers. It's so adjustable. At any rate, Julia's can be sat on for stability, and Elenor's can either be sat on, or held in your lap. I am a devoted frame user ordinarily. I have a wide collection of them, as my bf Deb in CT can attest to. Stitching is made perfect by the right scroll and frame!!
Another of our stitching group was working on this familiar bear by Just Nan! I can't believe how beautiful he is irl! Just adorable! I think he would make a darling fob stitched 1 over 1 on 40 ct. with a pretty gold pr. of scissors, as a Christmas gift. Would have to be a very special friend, though, wouldn't it??!

And, what stitching get together is complete without food? Here is just a half of the spread. I was running out of discs and stitching time! See my mostly eaten quiche (spinach) and (the somewhat eaten just artichoke heart, etc.) lorraines; then others brought: 3 grape salad, fruit and cheeses kabobs, tartlets, artichoke dips (it was a serendipitous artichoke day, who knew!!??), other hot and spicy dips, baked chicken, and that yummy dessert you see on the side. We didn't starve!
Finally, below are those three of my favorite friends again, holding up a pillow I stitched a looonnngggg time ago that I just brought in as my back pillow. I keep it in my car and think nothing of it. They got tickled because they couldn't tell which side was 'up' on it. And, then Patti called it a "panties" instead of "pansies" pillow. So, I officially dubbed it my friendship "Brittany Spears" pillow!! Say goodnight, Girls!

And, I nearly forgot to show you these gorgeous tassels that Martha made. They are giant sized. They're heavy with yarn/thread and beaded tops. I can't tell you how yummy they are irl. She's teaching a class on them at our LNS in October. Something to hang on your best stitching bag or a larger pair of scissors delegated only for cutting linens and fabrics. They are like treasures! Julia also brought a beaded King Tut which I hope Martha took a picture of for her blog.

So, for more pictures of the stitching party, see Martha's blog. The link is above! :) I hope you enjoyed seeing our Steamy Sunday Stitching Party!

Hugs, Deb

Saturday, September 8, 2007


Answers to some questions and comments:

I'm going to email Brooke about that Halloween girl, Julie! I think she might like that idea now that she's finished with her sampler for The Gift of Stitching.

I haven't yet bought the German Band Sampler by Alyce Schroth. I'm planning on getting it when my funds get replenished sometime this month. DH is on my case about why I need so much stuff! I don't know about you all, but I've failed to explain it to him after all these years.....:[

Jessica loves her quilt!! She has asked me to add somemore borders and layers to it, however, so it will be another couple of weeks before it's finished. I've told several of you that's what I get for having my children grow up with quilts, and knitted and crocheted afghans...they know what to expect!! LOL

The Mermaid chart I used for Monique's Square is by: Birds of a Feather and is called "Good Things." I'm not particularly fond of the whole chart, but I collect mermaid charts and I thought she was darling. I had to cover her tatas!! LOL And, I used my own choices of Sampler Threads. You'll see further embellishments when she's finished.

The Neighborhood RR I'm stitching for Wendy is "Rose Cottage Sampler" by Chessie & Me. I just love it! Hope Wendy does, too. I'm debating using silk ribbon on the roses.... And, I'm going to add rabbits on a lawn that's done in flame stitch with three colors of GAST....and something else...a surprise.

I answered the question about the difference between tying a quilt and regular quilting, via email, and if anyone else wants an answer, please email me.

Isabelle was kind enough to send me a translation of the instructions for the French Sampler we all loved, that I posted below. If any of you want some of the details about materials, etc., please email me. It was really helpful to me! Thank you, Isabelle!! :)

I find pictures all over the internet, and I especially try to capture pictures of ladies and girls stitching. I'm sorry I don't know where I find them....I'm bad about noting that. But, I don't mind sharing, so please feel free to take any pictures you like from my blog and use them yourselves!

Sending love and hugs!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Exciting Things To See!

Aren't these perfect!! I absolutely LOVE the little figure with her lavender rose, the bunny and blue bird. It's just the perfect picture I was hoping for my quilt in the Fair and Square!! Monique is my partner. She did a fabulous stitching piece, I think, and I'm so thrilled with it. I hope she likes hers as much. The little quilt will eventually go to my granddaugher, Hadley.
This is the little mermaid I'm nearly finished with for Monique in the Fair & Square exchange. She wanted something that represented Florida, and I couldn't bear a garrish old fish or flamingo! I still have to finish the final bird and add one more detail, then off she goes!! PS: The fabric behind these two is my great room window treatment fabric which my DH has yet to hang for me!! My next door neighbor and friend, Libby, says we'll do it ourselves when she gets home from her vacation in a couple of weeks!

Finally, here is the Rose Cottage I'm stitching for our Neighborhood RR. This is Wendy's piece. She stitched the original house to the left, Carissa stitched the house below, and I'm stitching the pinkish rose cottage with beehive. It will have cabbage roses and other little thingies once I'm finished with it. So, stay tuned....
I'm loving staying abreast of your blogs, too, dear friends! Thank you for taking the time to comment on mine. I hope you're finding my notes on yours. I just love seeing all you're stitching, and I'm in awe of what you're accomplishing! It's also fun to hear how your lives are going, too.

I'm just rolling along. Spent most of this week stitching and catching up with neglected laundry. My friend with lung cancer, her name is Elaine, started her chemo today. She's anxious and her other best friend and I try to keep her spirits up as we are her only support. She is doing fine so far.

I'm grateful for eyes to stitch!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Alyce Schroth Samper

I found the Alyce Schroth site: and she is still designing samplers and kitting them up with her own hand-dyed linens and silks. This "German Band Sampler" is a kitted example and sells for $41.00! I love the soft colors and I know her silks are great to work with. She has some smalls and pincushions, as well as other samplers. And, she sells her threads separately, of course.

For those who care, I now have a translation for the freebie French Sampler I listed in a former blog (below)! If you're interest in the details, please email me: I think I'm going to stitch mine on a pale blue 32 ct. fabric with NPI silks....

I'm also going to start some new things, because, what the heck!!??? Aren't we doing this for the fun of it? :)

Closing with a picture.... Hugs, Deb in FL where the sun is always shining even when it's raining!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Just Playing Today!

Just look at this beautiful poster for "The Cat Who Wouldn't Come Inside!" It's a darling musical art story for children. You just have to see it and the makings of the characters by the sweet artist and her sister. All the figures are handmade, and their clothing is too. I just loved reading about the process and seeing it done. I hope you will, too. The addy is:

Another fun stop and ooo and ahhh visit is at Heather's Pretty Petals Boutique of Antique and Vintage Linens, Laces, etc... She has some amazing things to look at. The trims and trinkets are so pretty. Find her at

Yes, I really did have a needlework shop online and in my home in MA, called CabbageRose Needlework. It's been more than 3 years closed, now. But, I do have lots of Anchor floss left! LOL
These are Alice Schroth sampler threads that I used to carry. They are so wonderful to work with and such beautiful colors. Thought you might like to see them. If you're interested in trying them, we could see if Alice is still selling them. Doesn't she display them so nicely?

Deb in CT, LOL, I knew you would recognize me with the pink fan!!! And, you are there with your grey fan in the back. Wonder whoelse will identify themselves in the next day or so????

Love and happy stitching to all. Keep sending me your comments and messages, I love to hear from you, because the more I know about you...the closer friends we become!


Sunday, September 2, 2007

More from Brooke's Books

The Spirit of Christmas Snow! Isn't she beautiful? I think this series by Brooke is going to be her best, yet. I told her that she's really getting better and better in her designs. And, the more mature look in this angel/girl is wonderful. Brooke's new designs will be ready to purchase in another week or so through retailers. Elegant Stitch will have them through Hoffman Distributing Co., Brooke tells me.

On another note: I finally broke down and purchased Examplar Dames' "Forgiveness."
And, bought the Vikki Clayton silks for it, as well. I knew Vikki when she was a start up company trying to get shops to sell her threads in the mid-1990's. I tried to carry them in my needlecraft shop and my online shop: Cabbage Rose Needlework. So, she's an old acquaintance. But, these new silk threads are much superior to her original ones! They are so much richer in color and the texture is much better. I'm really delighted by her success. It's well deserved!

And, I was really thrilled with the "grab bag" of silks that I got as a small purchase option when I bought the chart and silks! I'm sure many of you have gotten it, as well. But, I loved all the different colors in that bag!

Basically, I'm just a happy little stitcher this long weekend. Although, Jessica has seen her quilt topper and wants me to add more to it so that it will be a bigger quilt! She and her brothers are wise now. I raised them with quilts and afghans, and they know what's what!! LOL

Thank you all so much for your comments, even the small "hellos" make me so happy! I appreciate hearing from you, because I consider you my friends. Your blogs are the places I visit you, too.

Sending hugs and love, Deb in FL