Sunday, January 27, 2008

Blackbird's Loose Feathers Club 2008!

"Where My Heart Blooms begins our 2008 series of 6 Loose Feather patterns. This year’s Loose Feather patterns celebrate nature. Barb and I love gardens, birds and the natural world around us.
This is our 6th year of publishing Loose Feather patterns. To celebrate, we thought we would offer a bonus, a free pattern, at the end of this year. You deserve it! If you have stitched all of the Loose Feather patterns since the beginning that’s 29 samplers. It’s enough to make you want to give your fingers a rest....maybe in Hawaii. But no, we are not offering a trip, only a mystery.
Here’s the mystery: From each of the patterns printed this year we will choose motifs which, when combined, will make a new sampler. Which ones will be chosen? How will the sampler go together? The mystery will be solved in the final Loose Feather pattern which will be printed in November of 2008. You will need all 6 patterns to make the bonus sampler. A stitching diagram will be provided to show placement of the motifs. "

I took this information directly from Blackbird Designs website for those of you who haven't already seen it. Lots of us love the BBDs and I can't resist this whole mystery sampler idea.

Theresa of Shakespeare's Peddlar cross stitch online shop is running an automatic program for the charts.

I for one, am there! Deb

A Weeks Work!

I have been busy this week tinkering and reading and trying to catch up on sleep that has come easily for a change! I love cigar boxes to keep my stitching things in. My dear friends, Elaine and Darlene, have such courage and they go in one of our local cigar shops every so often and get empty boxes for me!! Aren't they darling friends? I love this new one Elaine got for me at her embarrassment. She told me when she pulled it out of the middle of a stack...the whole thing came down on her! Oops! But, she just graciously took the treasure and scrammed...I love her gutsy ways. That's why she's my friend. This little treasure box is full of pieces needing to be finished by trimming out with silk ribbons and beads. Here is the first of Grammie's Valentine Huggie Bears for my grandbabies. I made this one for my darling granddaughter, Amelia, who lives in NYC. She is 6 years old and a beautiful little girl who loves cuddly things and American girl dolls, princess and fairy things, all things pink and frilly. She's a girly girl and I just love to send her things to cuddle with. Amelia has cerebral palsy so she doesn't talk much, but she has a radiant smile, a beautiful character and spirit and disposition, and she is just beautiful physically. She's the heart of my heart. She goes to a very special school in NYC where she is learning to get out or her wheelchair and walk! And, she's learning to use a computer to communicate. Amelia adores her Daddy, my son - Frank - and is expecting a new baby sister in May!! :) Progress this week on my Heaven & Earth Designs RR block for Lyndsay's piece. I'm really trying to get this piece out by the end or middle of February, so I'm spending more time on it than anything else. Actually, to the detriment of my Cirque. Most of the tiny, different threads are in this upper-most section. Once I get to the face, the threads don't vary much, so it will go faster. I love working on it, and highly recommend the HAED Quick Stitches if you want to get your "feet wet."

I don't know why this pic came out a little fuzzy...but here's my progress this week on Leslie's piece in our Neighborhood RR. It's coming along! Since it's on the lighter fabric, and not the black as the original recommends (June Morning chart), I'm going to choose a different color for the background of the door and window frames this week. Have to see what strikes me...
And, finally, my scavanger hunt for papers and pretties to make my paper dress for "Queens and Harpies: Altered Paper Dresses with Panache" RR. I chose Marie Antoinette, naturally, and will make her up this week.
Go see Jessica! She chose Madame Pompadour! LOL I love it that we are so different! Our blogsite to see what we're all up to can be found at Again, if you'd like to join us, please email me:

This has been too long an entry, but I'm having a HOPE-FILLED January, as planned. I'm reading "War and Peace" and have mixed feelings about it, but so enjoy reading and commenting with my group online. Tolstoy was such a chauvanist!! That's hard for me... I think women are of the highest order of humankind, and it's a pity that Tolstoy missed that insight. Thus, it's difficult for me not to see his intelligence and "genius" as flawed.

My thoughts this week were about the brevity of life, and how precious our relationships are. I watched the old movie (you know what an old movie hound I am!), called "Trip to Bountiful." What a movie to sink into your heart. In a nutshell, it's about an elderly woman who lives with her only son and daughter-in-law. She is miserable living there, treated worse than a servant - her DIL resents her - her son feels in the middle - and she just "want(s) to go home to Bountiful," which represents life and freedom to her. She runs away to go "home." The trip and what she finds along the way are so poignant and meaningful. Very thought-provoking movie with all the symbolism you can imagine.

Have a wonderful week full of precious, memory-making times with those you love.

This week, I especially appreciate the friendships of: Giulia, Heather, Nicole, Harmien, Elaine, and my precious Jessica! Thank you for your kind words and deeds this week! Hugs and love, Deb/Mutti

Friday, January 18, 2008

Joe Ruggerio?

When the picture is this bad of all three of you, you just wonder whether it should be posted....and, yet. How can I share with my blogging friends if I don't!!??

I decided it would be a good day's outing for Elaine (right front) if I took her and our best other friend, Darlene (right front), to a presentation luncheon by Joe Ruggerio at the International Design Center here in our area. Joe was there in person introducing his new line of fabrics for fade, no stain, was bound to be a fun day with a free lunch!!! No matter what!

We started out by my introducing the girls to Joe. I introduced myself to him by saying, "I'm the owner of the teeniest-tinest design shop in all of Naples! And, these are my friends and clients...etc....." To which Joe replies, "Oh, no, you aren't the tinest shop!! (Him:Laugh, laugh!) I'm sure I heard someone talking about you at dinner last night! This is a small town, and I know I've heard of you!" Yeah, right, must say that to all the girls.... Elaine and Darlene escape stage right... Smart cookies that they are, they go after the better choice; drinks. I stay to placate Joe, as I'm now the only one talking to him.

Deb escapes after a few minutes of sharing "things that are inspiring design today," towit, I mention our "Queens & Harpies: Altered Paper Dresses w/Panache" to Joe for inspiration. :9 He looks at me with great glee and interest until the former editor of Better Homes and Gardens walks up asking, "What? Which Studio?" A very timely entrance as I have just mentioned "Somerset Studio" as the place to get inspired....(ROFL) Joe. And, she completely throws cold water on my game, and Joe catches on...and so, I have to move on.... :)

Me laughing too big at the farce of it all and adding 10 lbs. to my picture, with the kindly and encouraging Joe! Remember him on HGTV and Oprah?

We had a scrumptious luncheon of cream puffs drizzled with chocolate, strawberries dipped in chocolate, brownies; oh yes, and salad, chicken roll ups and other fancy things. Then, we walked all over the design center running our hands over the latest silk fabrics (with and without embroideries), new tassels and trims, furniture, and artwork, and pretty little things found in every corner...including small, beautifully packaged little chocolates at Kravet Fabrics.

At Pierre Dieux, Darlene picked out a gorgeous country french chandelier for her dining room in brushed/antiqued pewter...roosters, wheat and pierced shades.

Alas, the time was over when my back started giving me fits, so we went home happily with hand-outs, chocolates, and fun memories!

Wish you were there. If my camera had had more discs, I would have taken more pictures. I'm going back with Jessica this week, and will do that.

BTW, good news!!! Jess has a new blog of her own. Please go see her!
Hugs, Deb aka The Reluctant Interior Designer

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

What On Earth Is Deborah Doing Now?

OMG, I just loved stitching my first hound on St. Reatham's. If there are any mystery readers among us, who can resist a little hound or two??? He's one of many on the trail of a bunny who's never going to be caught. But, throughout this piece there look to be several symbols of fanciful, myserious thingies. I was stitching this and watching the 1st segment of American disappointing. I'm not sure I can do it again this year. The try-outs are so heartbreaking!! :[
Did I ever show you this? It was a piece that my friend, Deb (Cat Tails) and I did some years ago. It was such fun with all the threads and different stitches. I'd forgotten all about it down here in FL, but found it cleaning out my husband's bedside armoire of my storage places. The finisher had fun, didn't she!!?
I have been wanting to introduce all of you to my dear friend, Elaine. She's my friend in my neighborhood who has been through the lung cancer surgery and chemo this past few months and is recovering so beautifully. Elaine, Darlene and I are called "the girls" around our poolside group because we're always going out to dinner together every single week (they go several times a week!). On Tuesdays we love to go to Outback Steakhouse because of the hot fudge sundaes!! ...and the steaks, too, but not the veggies..:] ...that's Darlene's standing choice. And, we go to other places that Elaine and I choose on other nights.
Elaine and I decided to get together to stitch on our "Strip Club" strippy quilt for the day. Why am I always pictured ironing!! LOL We bought the same strip grouping for the class, so it's been fun. Next week we'll hope to get more done on this, and less eating. She made a delicious gourmet steak salad for lunch w/ garlic bread...and we raided her bowl of chocolates for dessert. We grumbled about the quilt strips not being even, and we discussed the girls in the neighborhood (what else!?), and we discussed books and broken bobbins. And, finally decided we both needed an afternoons nap from so much work!!

Here are a couple of the completed blocks above. Sweet and shabby! Don't look too closely...there may be steak stains! :o

I'm keeping up in the Neighborhood! Here's the start of my block in Leslie Saunder's for our RR. Isn't her piece darling as is? Anyway, I chose "June Morning" and the house there. This is the first time I've been brave enough to be the center block, but I thought I would just take the plunge....
Hope it's going to be okay...:f

Good evening to all you stitching Queens, you Wonderful Women of silks and sparkling threads, you Princesses of silver and golden scissors!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Paper Dresses Start-Up!

Remember some months ago when I mentioned starting a Paper Dresses exchange or RR group? Well, Heather (of Jeweled Elegance) and I are forming the group. So, if any of you are interested now, please email me. We are planning to work it like the typical RR, and in the planning phase right now. Your input will be valuable as we put it together.

So far we know this:
1) We will have a blog site
2) We need to come up with an official name.... any suggestions?
3) Our dresses will be theme-based, and our first theme is: Marie Antoinette - This may be in a series called Favorite Queens and Harpies or something...:)
4) We will do the RR rotation every 2 months throughout 2008 to start
5) Once we establish members this month, we will have to close the group

Come join us. It's going to be fun!! And, we're going to make them textured and stitched, too! I intend to put fabrics, stitches, beads and silk ribbons on mine.

Note to those of you who've asked: I can't remember which link it was that I took to get the Henry VIII wife test. Do you know, Harmien??? Help, anyone who does know or remember! I think it's fun for all of us to have our Henry-wife identities!! Please do comment here once you find out.

Love and hugs to all you dear, and faithful friends in our stitching circle around the world, Deb

New quote of my week: "The library is inhabited by spirits that come out of the pages at night." Isabel Allende

Henry VIII and His Wife aka Deborah in Disguise

I really think this is wonderful! I took the test to find out which of Henry's wives I would be most like and guess who!!?? It seems Anna. I think she was the luckiest of all. She married Henry when he was too sick to have sex, when he was suffering from his sore leg, and didn't want her around. So, rather than kill her...he gave her an annullment, settled her with a wonderful, rich, annual pension...a house of her own, plenty of time and space, stitching things and food, servants and a happy, undisturbed life. She "threw extravagant parties and dined on delicacies for the rest of her life."
(sighing here) I think I would have liked being her. :] He may have called her the "Flanders Mare," but I say she was the "Foxy Filly!"

Wonder who each of you are??
Hugs, Deb

Friday, January 11, 2008

New Blog for Books

Just wanted to let you know I have a new place for books and reading called: I hope you'll stop by once in a while to see me! I've listed books I'm reading and I'll have reviews and stuff there.
See you there! Hugs, Deb

Thursday, January 10, 2008

To Keep the Heart Unwrinkled....

"To keep the heart unwrinkled, to be hopeful, kindly cheerful, reverent, that is to triumph over old age." Amos Bronson Alcott

Well, yes, that's my motto for 2008. I'm finding the hopeful bird.... And, as you can see above, I received this very hopeful and wonder-filled gift of St. Reathams, by Long Dog, from my friend Patty Lessell....whom I call Queenie, as a Christmas present. I've kitted it, and changed around the primary color a couple of times, but decided upon "In the Burgandy" by Silk'NColor, it's #074...Thread Gatherer. I think I was in the "Berries" before, but I like the deeper reds of this one. I'm working the hounds in the darkest red in DMC, the alphabet in the variagated red, and then adding the copper and red metallics along the way. That's the story!! Queenie is stitching along with me. She's kitting up with Caron's "African Sunset." Got to be beautiful!

My latest update on "Cirque..." I really wish you could see the sparkles! RATS!! I've used a combination of silver and the light green on the lower left-hand wheel, and a combination of gold thread and the darker green vari. on the mid-section smaller wheels. It's coming together slowly... I just can't get enough of this piece. We were at Martha's Steamy Sunday Stitching group this past Sunday, and her "Cirque.." is awesome. We are saying how much fun and how addictive it is to stitch. If some of you out there are thinking you don't want to take it on...think again!!! I was looking at the Gallery at Ink Circles today. The different interpretations are amazing.
This is just a teaser, actually. My little tiny start on Lynsey's piece in my HAED RR group is right there in the center section! LOL I'm stitching "Autumn Splendor," by Jessica Galbreth, pictured below in full. I had the most fun stitching this section, 1 over 1. Just look at the gorgeous colors, and at Jan's completed face! Remember my tiny "Storykeeper" that I was stitching for Jan's piece earlier this year? I'm loving this RR, and can't wait to get mine back this Spring or Summer.
Finally, I have the most unbelieveably wonderful, hopeful little bird to share with you. It came out of the blue. Truly unexpected, and that is the best kind of blessing! It's the most kindly and caring bird.... For some reason dear Giulia Manfredini read my blog over the holidays and was touched by what I wrote about the joys and sadnesses of Christmas. So, she and I have been writing back and forth and have become friends. Today I received the most wonderful package! See for yourself! I'm so amazed and grateful. Giulia is the designer of GPAntichi, and the gorgeous "Mary Queen of Scots" casket of stitching tools that I can't wait to start stitching. I just love her designs!! But, she's also the most open and lovely woman. My heart is really joyful and humbled tonight.
My last entry is about my DD, Jessica. She showed me today the ultrasound pictures of the tiniest little person you'd ever want to see! It has a darling tiny profile, fingers and toes and arms and's perfect in every way! It has its life as a blessing from God. And, it has it's life as a gift of thanksgiving to each of you who prayed for Jessica on her journey, too! I just want to take a moment here to thank you so much and to share this small verse with you.
Psalm 39:13-16 "For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together ..Your eyes saw my unformed body."
:) Hugs and love, Deb

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Book Reading Challenges for 2008

In keeping with my New Year's promise to read "War and Peace," and to keep up my reading for the year, I found a couple of wonderful Book Reading Challenge groups and here they are if you're interested:

In which you read six books for the year with the following in their titles. And, here's my list. BTW, you can choose any book of any kind and genre of your choice...nobody's telling you what to read...and at the end of the win a prize!! Love it!

1) A book with a color in its title: My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk

2) A book with an animal in its title: The Tiger's Claws by John Speed

3) A book with a first name in its title: Mary, Mrs. A. Lincoln by Janis Cooke Newman

4) A book with a place in its title: The Road by Cormac McCarthy (Winner 2007 Pulitzer Prize)

5) A book with a weather event in its title: Krakatoa, the Day the World Exploded: August 27, 1883 by Simon Winchester

6) A book with a plant in its title: The Janissary Tree by Jason Goodwin(Winner 2007 Edgar Award)

Russian Reading Group 2008: In which we read 4 books either by or set in or about Russia or Russians.

Please leave me a comment for a link to this group...or for more info.
Here are my choices:

1) War and Peace by Tolstoy (LOL You guessed it!!!)

2) Anna Karenina by Tolstoy (a reread)

3) The Russian Concubine by Kate Furnivall

4) Russka by Edward Rutherfurd

Check out this site for some interesting lists of books:

I also stitched on my "Cirque...." last night, and am stitching more tonight! :) Will post my progress tomorrow! I'm watching "Woman in White," Turner Classic Movie of Wilke Collins classic book, while stitching. Died and gone to heaven......I even have Haggen Daz, Black Walnut ice cream in the freezer, girls..... Please don't hate me!! :[
And, can't believe it, but I ran into a random, very out-going knitting group at Borders book store this evening with my friend, Elaine!! They meet and knit every Wed. night at Borders for 2 hours, and asked me to pull up a chair and join them! So, guess who's taking baby things to knit for DD Jessica on Wed. nights!! LOL
Is my 2008 starting out in a fabulouso way or what!!!???
Hugs to you all!
PS: The mermaid pic above is from HAED Designs, and is called "The Undying Rose" please see their site to purchase the chart.
*PSS: I've heard rumors and read the truth from her lips that Kathy Barrick Dieter is just about ready to release her newest in a piece like the HOHRH!! Egads! I'm so excited...and I haven't even finished the first 2... You can find all the details on her Carriage House Designs site under News.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

I'm Off to a New, New Year's Start!

You may be wondering, "What on earth is she up to, now!?" Well, through my dear friend, Monique, (see on side: Inside Number Twenty) my recent Fair & Square partner, and designer of MyMark designs...I found a link to some of her friends who are making mixed media creative arts! Monique is participating in these several creative arts groups. So, I decided it had been a while since I'd been practicing, and I should make it one of my New 2008 promises to get back in the swing of my other art forms, too. Off I went to start a project...

If you're interested in joining Monique and me in the fun, just check out these couple of places: Patty's blog--
Magpie's Nest or Theme Thursday

Patty and I are already emailing and she's great! Note her comment on my last blog entry.... If you visit her, please tell her I sent you.
So, here is a close up of my first panel. This is a birthday gift piece for my DH, Anthony, whom most of you know is Sicilian. It's a tongue-in-cheek..."soft porn" piece or what would have been considered one in the year 1900. This image of the woman is a "Cigarette Girl." Evidently, men used to get these little cards in their cigarette packs in those days..collectible little things...hmmmm. And, we didn't think great grandaddy had any vices!??

I thought DH would get a kick out of this piece, because he is so difficult to find presents for, and he would never be expecting something like this one!! I'm off to find a frame today before he gets home. And, I'm giving it to him tonight with a bottle of Dom P. champagne! :) (And no gauzy outfit on....)

More later!! Hugs, Deb