Wednesday, February 28, 2007

I Got RAKed

This is really important to me. This evening I received my very first on earth, ever RAK from a friend in England. I was so stunned, and so touched that I started sobbing on the spot! It came as such a surprise, and it was a chart that I have had my eye on and couldn't afford to get anytime soon because of my extravagance this month on opalescent fabbies for my Chatelaine Designs pieces. You know, this RAK system touches people more than one could imagine. I never understood that until today.
I just want to pass that thought along to all of you who so generously sign up for such things and participate in exchanges, RAKs and such. We can always purchase things for ourselves, but when a stitching friend reaches out to us from beyond our immediate little world, it amazes and touches our spirit in ways unlike anything I've experienced. I'm very grateful. My heart is still feeling childlike and weak even now, I'm so happy someone thought of me in such a sweet way.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Another Needlepoint Finished

While I'm here tonight, may I just share another needlepoint I finished stitching in December? It's to be matted and set into this tray with a glass on top. I don't expect to use the tray, in reality. But, as I more pillows! The tray came from Michaels crafts store unfinished. I just painted it dark red, distressed/antiqued it a little, and put a couple of coats of decoupage finish over it to give it a semi-gloss and sealer. This piece was needlepointed with DMC flosses. I carried it around with me all summer as my baggie/go anywhere piece rolled up and thrown in the car and even at the pool. Needlepoint is pretty hardy for that sort of thing. I am careful to have clean hands, though. I tend to really like richly colored things...and jewel tones. I have worked several oriental rug canvases in different sizes through the years.

Ackworth Quaker School Samplers Revisited

While sorting through those newly rediscoved garage boxes, lo and behold, an Ackworth Quaker School Sampler!! I couldn't believe it. Evidently, I had purchased this one for my stash some years ago and had forgotten altogether that it was an Ackworth. I did remember I had a nice Quaker sampler, I'm not that bad about my stash, people!! :) Anyway, the piece is: Ann Grimshaw 1818, Ackworth Quaker School Sampler, Reproduced by: The Scarlet Letter
"Ann Grimshaw stitched this sampler on a plain weave woolen ground, using only black silk floss, in cross and eyelet stitches." I decided to make mine in deep red silk, but I recall my friend chosing to do hers in black DMC. I'm going to start this one tonight on R&R 36 ct. Light Expresso. They actually have it reproduced on 40 ct.

Another interesting thing: "The origin of the geometric medallions used on this, and many other Quaker samplers, has not yet been discovered, but it might possibly have something to do with providing a hands-on, practical lesson in applied geometry, as these motifs are very carefully calculated amalgams of isosceles triangles, parallelograms, and other precisely fitted geometric shapes."

All I can say is that my geometry teacher would be shocked to find out that I am involved with anything having to do with geometric shapes or applied geometry of any sort!! He was the guy who felt desperately sorry for me in 11th grade, gave me a D- just to pass me out of the course, and told me never to take another math class as long as I lived because there was no point in it.
:p Mr. Lynn, if you're reading amazing is this!!!???

Monday, February 26, 2007

Chicken Soup & Rice, Anna Nicole and the Oscars

While boiling up some chicken soup from scratch last night and finishing it off tonight, in more ways than one, I decided to take some new pictures of my stitching progress. It was a busy night for me. My mind was spinning between Nancy Grace and her reports on poor Anna Nicole and the fate of baby Daniellyn, Jennifer Hudson (our girl from American Idol...I felt like she was from my hometown!), and making dinner. BTW, there was also that little aside having to do with the "frivolous law suit" against my DH and a rental property he owned 10 years ago that just reared its ugly head just in time to foil my plot to add more opalescent fabric to my stash!!!

Back to the chicken soup which was/is pretty tangy as it had several cooked down and mashed cloves of garlic (my DH's fav.), plenty of rough ground pepper, a wild and brown rice blend and lemon at the end. I only put celery, onion and carrots in for veggies this time...and some chicken boullion to enrich the taste. I started with boiling the carcase of the chicken, naturally, with onion and celery. :)) Yummy. We like sourdough bread with it.

So, while I wait for my Ben and Jerry's "Banana Split" ice cream to melt a little so I can spoon some/alot into a bo
wl, I'll download a pic or two of my stitching.
The top picture is the 2nd part of my Colonial Coverlet piece by Carolyn Standing Webb (see older blog), it's the Pocket. I'm about 1/3rd finished with it. Next to it on my strawberry pincushion is my very first little biscornu-to-be! The chart for which I downloaded as a freebie from a very generous site: I'm grateful to friends who shared the site with me.
Here to the right is one of my needlepoint pieces finished this summer and still waiting for me to decide what to do with it! I have so many needlepoint pillows, I'm sure I don't need another one...and this has lots of embellishments, so I'm thinking. Any ideas??? I'm back to stitching on my biggies: "And They Sinned" tonight and tomorrow.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Thread Heaven

I'm in Thread Heaven! My DH helped me unearth boxes marked "yarns, needlework threads, and charts" in the garage. They've been buried almost two years, since our move to FL. I've been desperate to find them...and living on DMC, Anchor, NPI silks and Au Ver a Soie alone!! Woe is me!! I really have had a dilemma because I'm a Chatelaine Designs Stitcher, and Martina uses lots of Waterlilies; and, I'm a sampler stitcher, and I need my GASTs, etc... I've tried to cope nicely without spending any money while I've waited and ferreted out the right boxes. My lucky day came on Saturday, and now I'm delighted and sleep-deprived. Also found a box filled with stitching magazines of all sorts dating back to the 1980's...this is a stitchers' treasure trove, so you know I've been up reading and marking pages. Anyway, I'm posting the following picture of some of my newly found stash, and then I'm off to bed. Someone, please be happy for me. This really feels so good and I've needed a good thing after the last few years I've been having!!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

My Blog Workspace

I wonder sometimes where each of us writes our blog. So, I thought I'd add these pictures of my computer center. It's stationed in my kitchen, which is both convenient and, yet, gives me no room for closing the doors if we have company. My life is bare to the world!! :o Actually, I'm working on this in my older age (57 yo); that is, I'm working on not being concerned about what anyone thinks when they see my messy house. I've tried so long to be a really good housekeeper and do all the other things expected of me; actually, that I've expected of myself, that I've realized I may have been putting way too much pressure on myself to perform!! So, now I've decided, "love me, love my mess!" Or, as a very wise therapist once said to me, "So..are they paying your mortgage?!" And, with are two horrible pictures: one with bad lighting, and one on its side. Oh, well!

Happy Dancin' for First Stitched Piece of 2007!

This fancy little declaration was worth every stitching moment! I'm so happy to have met my goal (at least in February!) of one completed Christmas piece per month. As mentioned before, I want to make either a 3 or 4 piece panel framed of these particular designs from Fancy Works. I think Three Ships A Sailing might look good for next month. On my Rose of Such Virtue pictured here, I changed all the colors from the original chart, added delicas and gold thread. The coloring is a bit stronger than the original (see it posted prior in my blog). If anyone wants a list of my changes, please ask in the comments section, and I'm happy to share.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Trip to France All Night

I spent the most luscious night 'til dawn this morning visiting France online. Lovely French bloggers treated me to wonderful views of richly photographed embroideries, fascinating flea markets, stitchery shops with ticking fabrics, a fantastic redwork sampler the size of a 6 ft. or more wall, and personal counted work pieces that were so precious in simply red or blue on white linen. They were generous in freebie charts, of which I took full advantage, hoping to stitch a blue on white piece in remembrance of my early dusk to dawn trip. Maybe I'll stitch a red on white smallie or two, as well. Which makes me think I should start a travel stitch journal!

One thing that struck me was how our French stitching friends so openly share the smallest details of their home lives. It was such a pleasure to see the newly baked breads and brie en croute' of stitchers alongside their pictures of handwork. I love the homeiness of shared small details like buttons and ribbon pieces, patched-up toile quilt squares yet unmade, strips of alphabet utility tape in cardboard boxes, rusty metal mini-tins and ancient bikes with soft celadon patina. It's encouraged me to share more here with you of everyday things that enchant me. I hope you'll take a "trip" to a foreign land some night and share with me the things you found.
(Note: Picture above is some fabrics in my stash & some of my English collectibles, and this picture to the right is my funny Monkey teapot collection...)

Chatelaine Designs Stitchers

There's hardly anything more heartwarming to me than chating online with my stitching friends. I find Chatelaine Design Stitchers some of the most humorous, kind-hearted and talented stitchers I've come across in more than 30 years of stitching. Martina Weber's designs are not for the faint of heart! She is an artist of the first order. Her designs are intricate and challenging to stitch. It's well known amongst the Chatelaine Stitchers that Martina's designs are simply addictive because the realilty of them is so much more fabulous than the computer pictures can ever capture. This alone is enough to bond us for life! And, yet there are other things that have bonded us through the years:
Some of us have known eachother long enough to have gone through breast cancer, divorce, child-birth, death of parents, children's graduations and weddings, loves found and lost, hurricanes, tornados and snowstorms, sunny days and gloomy days, torn up gardens and full grown rose gardens name it, we've shared it. We've shared stitches, and rippits, beading blunders and beading triumphs. We've put our money where it's counted, and we've counted for the money, and we've shared the counted pictures and told others how to count. We've held eachother up when we've been down, we've laughed together, we've cried together, we've cheered on the winners and the well-doers, and the newbies. And, most of all, we've been proud to be Chatelaine Design Stitchers! I'm so happy to have had this stitching group of friends. They mean so much to me, and have meant so much over the years. Whenever I look at my stash of Chatelaine designs, I feel great inside...we share a spirtual Chatelaine friends and I. {Above left is: Knotgarden Find more Chatelaine Designs at European Cross Stitch.}

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Start Stitching for Christmas!

I may be early, but all this talk of snow on my online stitching groups has gotten me worried about Christmas 2007, and will I be ready! I remember the days of being snowed in in New England, I lived in Sturbridge, MA. It was a day to curl up with a lap quilt, drag over the stitching stand and work on a sampler or piece of needlepoint, or knitting. It's especially nice to knit in cold weather, and I miss that down here where knitting is almost strange! You have hardly anywhere to wear a knitted piece, except maybe a shawl or light sweater at night.

At any rate, I'm starting my Christmas smalls. The first is this piece by Fancy Works called: "Christmas 2002 - There is no Rose."
You can see a better pic. and more charts on House of Stitches. Started it last night, and kitted it up with my own choice of DMCs. I'll post mine when it's finished. I'm hoping to stitch all of the Fancy Works Christmas pieces to frame together this year. My other goal is to stitch the Told in a Garden freebie angels. Who can resist these elegant designs?
So, while you ponder on a snowy day, it's probably not too early to think about stitching smalls to make a lovely framed piece for next Christmas!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Here's What I Look Like

This is my professional pic. for interior design. Believe me, I don't look like this on a daily basis. I'm more the throw on my jeans and golf shirts nowdays, or whatever is comfy for stitching and watching late, old movies. Also, I'm ordinarily a dark auburn-haired girl, but decided to try blond in Southwest FL. I'm back to dark hair now.
Do any of you like books on tape? I listen to them when I stitch. The current one in my player is: Labyrinth by Kate Mosse. The review says:
" The past comes to life in this big, densely plotted novel from Kate Mosse. The hunt for the Grail is taken up by a modern woman whose search is illuminated by her sense of the past and by her ancestress whose own tragic story is part of the romance." It's rich in detail and description, as well as mystery.

Carriage House Samplings

Carriage House Samplings is consistently a must-have design shop! Kathy is an innovative and imaginative artist. I'm such a fan. The new "girls" in her collection...see my Wish List for my fav...are just classics. We have to have every single one of them, don't we? And, if I ever step off the plank and get my feet wet to do punch needle, I'm using one of Kathy's tombstone mavens. I think a collection of those would look killer in a black frame with red mat. When I had moved to St. Croix for a brief stay (Jessica was living there and teaching some years ago), I decided to have a Stitching in St. Croix event and asked Kathy to come and teach. She was enthusiastic about it and designed her Mermaid with the beaded swags for the event. Unfortunately, I got sick and had to come back to the States for surgery. But, I'll never forget her generosity and her willingness to create a special piece for Stitching in St. Croix. Check out that Mermaid while you're on her site!

Collecting Boxes and Treasures

Does collecting boxes go along with our love of stitching? Or is it just in our nature as human beings to secret special things away so we can revisit them and enjoy again the bittersweet memories that come with a glance or a touch? Boxes are to care for things.
First, I'm thinking of all the mysterious and delicate boxes cherished by women over the centuries ...some plain, some beautiful. For instance: Ivory and wooden carved treasure boxes, boxes made of bone, wire and cloth, feathers and sticks, and hand-made papers. Can you imagine the boxes of queens and ladies? Boxes rich with silks and beading, stumpwork, blackwork and other embroideries, silver and gold, enamels and painstaking paintings of madonnas and knights.
Then, we may know of boxes that hold tiny, precious things like robin's eggs, locks of lover's hair, little gold hearts and tarnished trinkets, a silver needle with scarlet thread, an antique picture of a child, a smooth rock or sparkling gemstone, a shell with sand and salt still tucked deep inside smelling of the ocean, a blackbird's irridescent feather, an acorn or a bit of faded ribbon, rose petals from a long-ago corsage, a rhinestone from a special gift only we remember.

Lots of stitching tool boxes fill my house. I keep my scissors, thimbles, silver laying tools, scraps of silky threads I can't bear to throw away, and scraps of hand-dyed ribbons, too. I keep pins from stitchaways and seminars, tiny buttons and silver needle holders, and a tiny handmade paper notebook with a pink/mulberry/navy marblized cover. There are stitching "toys" and little small things to decorate my area when I stitch. Fobs and follies, laces and tattings are in my boxes. I have a box just for beautiful fountain pens. Boxes and boxes of beads! I've decoupaged big boxes for charts and patterns and fabrics. I have boxes just for each type of thread....
There are boxes where things are kept like a shiny penny to remind me of a funny stitching friend in MA who said she always found pennies to reminded her of her husband who had passed away... and where I keep a dollar bill torn in half to affirm the link to my own first husband, who always kept the other half in his wallet before he died. And, a funny tin box is in my collection with a small picture in a tiny frame that's too private to share. Hidden in a box of things, there's a small picture of my own face as a baby, so I won't forget who I am inside and where I came from. Boxes are artful things created by the hands and hearts of others. I appreciate the art, and I appreciate the artists' offerings. If you don't have lots of boxes, I hope after this, you will. If you do have already know just what I mean.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Fun Stuff to Wear

CafePress: I found this fun website to order t-shirts, which are my favorite nightshirts! The designs are to die funny and so expressive. I love them. You have to click on "Hobbies" once you get on the site, then on "Sewing" to get started finding the crosstitch and knitting word thingies, but they are great. I love that I can get pink and blue shirts, as well as the proverbial whites and blacks, too. And, I love the coffee mugs. The other thing that's really nice is the ability to design your own shirts. I'm thinking of designing my own Blogshirts! :)

Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is always Jessica Day in our family. I saw my daughter, Jessica, in a dream before she was born. In the dream, her daddy was holding her and she had very dark curly hair, a white frilly dress w/red ribbons on, and ruffly baby pants with the words "Daddy's Little Valentine" embroidered in red across the bottom. In those days, we had none of the tests available to delight couples ahead of time with the sex of their child. We just had to wait and see when everybody else found out. But, since I have at least a shot-glass full of the ancient blood of Cherokee wisewomen flavoring my veins, it occasionally rises up (when I least expect it) and charms even me with a visionary dream. Thus, when Jessica was born with very dark, very curly hair and became instantly and particularly attached to her daddy...she was forever "Daddy's Little Valentine." Jessica is 34 yrs. old now. She, I, and her brothers sadly lost her daddy to cancer when she was 9 yrs. old, but he is never forgotten. We particularly remember him today...every year. And, we particular take this day to acknowlege what a wonderful blessing and gift Jessica is to us and to everyone whose life she touches. If anyone ever had a heart--it's Jessica.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

A Salute to My DH - Something Less Than a Medal

Do any of you ever feel, as I do sometimes (it's a fleeting thought and I frequently stab it away with my laying tool), that our DH needs a tribute of his very own in the form of our handwork? Come on. I'm not talking about that "cute one that's a quick one, he'll never know the difference, and I can get on with my really serious projects" type of tribute piece, girls. You know what I mean, don't pretend you don't. Well, I decided to overcome my meaner self and do a sampler for my Anthony. I went searching about 3 years ago, and came up with this one by Hester's Needle called--however appropriately, "Alone With You." As truly devoted stitchers, we know it might really read "Alone With New" stash; but, nevertheless... I'm feeling good about stitching it and he likes it. So, we both win!
I did change the saying a bit to reflect a personal touch, and put some over-and handdyed threads in along with Sampler Threads.

"And They Sinned," or This One's For You

"And They Sinned" by Examplars From the Heart
A better complete picture is found
on the blogspot mentioned below.

This one is absolutely for you, Laurie and Patti, my new stitchin' buddies and self-prescribed "partners in crime." We've decided to do or die. We've decided to stitch this piece or else. It's going to kill us, or we're gonna kill it. Right, girls!? We've forged a new bond, a new Sisterhood of the Sinful Stitchers, if you will. Every month, the first week of the month, we've pledged an oath to eachother to stitch only on our ATS sampler until it's finished. As you can see, I'm nearly, almost 1/3rd finished, maybe....
And so, the call goes out far and near to all who read this note. Are you one of the brave, do you have what it takes to raise your platinumn needle to the sky and take a pledge of truth and honesty for the Sisterhood of Sinful Stitchers???? If you do and you can, go to and add your name to the fateful list.

You Wanna Comma My House?

There's work being done at my house, people! Serious work! There's no sluffin' off on the job and layin' back! There's no room on my sectional sofa for people to lounge or put their feet up. Take note of the attached picture of a happy home filled with stitchery draped and adorned upon one's every surface of homefurnishings. Yes, I did say I'm a retired interior designer...and I rest my case. Forget that I sometimes gaze off (that's called "zoning out" to our kids...) in amazement that my DH hasn't complained at least once about all of this mess!!! I really need to get that man a medal. Maybe we need a contest: can someone please give me some words to put on a T-shirt for him?? Write in the comments for me what you think the shirt should say, he deserve a little something.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Promised WIP Picture

I'm so happy to finally get this picture posted especially for my friend, Deb, who has been patiently waiting and believing me for it! LOL Had to give up on my DH taking the pic, poor thing, he's so upset because the realestate business is flat and horrible here in SW FL, that's all he can think about right now. So, my photo isn't as good as it should be, but at least it's here. As you can see, I was in a hurry to get it before the sun was down completely as I have no fancy equipment! I'm enjoying this little project so much, and I'm hoping my Hadley will cherish it someday because it has flavors of New England and the South in it...Grammie's travels with her needlework!

Today was a stitching day with my "Needlers" group. We meet every 2nd Monday of the month for a very casual stitch-in at 10AM. I took a needlepoint piece I travel well with which is an adaptation of a Matisse painting. Here's a picture of it with a few of the fancy threads used. I'm working with silks, silk and wool, DMC, metallics, rayons, hand-dyed ribbon, chenille, beads and crystals and sequins. She's going to be my interpretation of Matisse...and I am known amongst my stitching friends as "Tsarina of Sparkling Threads" so you know it's not gonna be subtle! But, aren't the French so fun and flamboyant anyway, like this picture!?
Btw, my stitching name used to be "Sparkling Fibers" until I went to a TNNA Convention and ANG meeting in MA a few years ago where we were taught most pointedly that all threads used on our handwork were "threads"...the things used to make them consisted of raw fibers. So there! :[

Carriage House Samplings

Just a note to let you know that to see Kathy's newest designs from the Nashville Market you have to click on "News" on her website. Can you hardly wait until everybody gets back and posts all the new designs from your favorite designers???? I've blown my stash budget for this month, and probably March, too, as I'm having to save to go see my little, first granddaughter, Hadley. Here she is! That's my son, Jason, too. He's perfect in every way...

Nautical Journey

These are pictures of our Southwest Florida version of GPA Antichi's "Canadian Journey," which our LNS- Idle Hours has titled "Nautical Journey." It's so much fun to stitch! Barbara has adapted it adding our Sanibel Lighthouse, nautical symbols, shells, mermaids, etc.. I've finished the first section of the journey, which I hope to get a pic. of today so I can post it tomorrow here. We SAL, receiving a new section every month. My friend, Deb in CT is stitching the original "Canadian Journey" at the same time, so it's fun to see her progress, too. Her group has gotten together for a stitchaway/ much fun! We really recommend this piece for any of you friendship stitching groups and guilds looking for a project to do, it's so quick and rewarding.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Stitching Tools

I love this little silver pincushion. It's actually not's about the size of a real nosegay and the lace is silver and delicate. I think you can still order these from Designing Women. This is my 1st attempt at getting a photo into my Blog! Yea!
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Non-Stitcher Musings

I had visits today from non-stitchers (not that that's a bad thing...), but do they really understand us? I wonder what they're thinking when they want to see what we've been up to when we aren't out with them and we've been keeping ourselves "shut in the house so much."
They look at the WIPs and finished pieces, compliment and praise, but then look curiously at me like, "why is this so important to her?".

How can we explain our love of our artform to non-stitchers? How can you explain the joy and peace it brings to have personal choices, quiet time, solitude, beautiful things to see and touch, and creative masterpieces that come from our own minds and hands?

What's more fun than running your fingers threw a huge new batch of silk threads, more joyful than the piece you just started, more gleeful than looking over your stash of beads and crystals and charms, more exciting than seeing that new package of charts in your mailbox, more absorbing than your newest stitching magazine issue, more anxiety provoking than waiting for the Christmas Ornament issue of Just Cross Stitch, more dazzling and mesmerizing than a new Chatelaine Design or Mirabilia know, or more heartwarming and satisfying than a finished piece. What's more memorable than a roadtrip or stitchaway or workshop with friends, an exchange, a SAL or our guilds and chats? How can a non-stitcher really understand?

How can a non-stitcher understand that it doesn't really matter "how long it takes to stitch that." That snuggling down into the cushions of your favorite stitching place, adjusting your stitching tools, making sure the light is just right, looking over your threads and chart and holding your piece while you pick with your tiny needle and thread as the design blooms to life in you hands -- and at your touch brings about a magical place and time that isn't found anywhere else on earth.

I wonder if they realize how much our chosen pieces really say about us? That each lovingly chosen and stitched piece tells who we are, what we love, what we find beautiful and important simply by the choice we've made. There's more to stitching than meets the eye. Maybe that's why the ancients say, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder," and "We are shaped and fashioned by what we love." As for me, I'm so pleased to be a stitcher and I wouldn't have any other way.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

After midnight in the garden

Well, here it is, my first post as "Lavender Rose Ramblings." It's good to know I have a journal online, even if there may be nobody else up at this hour thinking about counted crosstitch and WIPs, novels and patterns, and how I can find more space to play in an already stuffed to the gills house.

New stash enhancers came this week and I hope to start a "small" tomorrow:

CHS (My all time fav. designer!) "Fall's Gifts" & "The Gingham Dog & Calico Cat" and..she has new charts coming & I can't wait See!!

FancyWorks "Whitman's Tin Sewing Set" and "Christmas 2002"

EEF "Christmas Spot"

Blue Ribbon Designs "Valentine Wishes" (a little late starting on these this yr.)

Cat's Whisters "Shades of Blue Willow"

Ackworth School "Sarah Moon's Quaker Sampler & Pinwheel Project"

I have really looked holes in these Ackworth Samplers & due to the similarities, I like Sarah's best. Although, it was so hard to choose!! Maybe I'll be able to stitch them all someday.

My latest cravings have to do with finishing my WIPs and starting all things quaker and small.
I even went out to get Valentine's Day cards and saw a Whitman's Sampler box that I really, really needed to keep my new little smalls that I'll be stitching safe and snug! My DH looked at me funny when I dumped all the candy in a baggie and told him I was giving it to our friends next door. :) That does it! I'm starting a Valentine Wish first thing tomorrow.