Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Stitcher's Choice GITS

In November I participated in the "Stitcher's Choice" GITS (Great International Temari Swap). I received a very nice temari with beads on it, which I posted when I received it. This is the temari I sent. The kiku stitching in fall colors turned out very nice. The obi was something I tried, and I am not sure it is totally successful. The colors work well, but the spacing could use some work.


I have my GITS package from Elmira for New Year's, I hope mine arrived as well. The rules for that swap is that you cannot open the package until 2011, but it can be just one minute into the year. It will be the second thing I do next year, after giving DH a kiss.

You know I have been considering the Crazy 15 project for 2011, where for the first 15 days of the year you start a new project each day, with plans to finish them all in the year. I made a list of 15 projects, not all new ones. I had 8 WIPs and 7 new starts. I was getting excited about a couple of the new projects, but then I started thinking about the second half of the challenge, finishing. That kind of put a damper on things. When I have a dead-line, even self imposed, it really detracts from my stitching pleasure. If I have to finish all 15 projects, I will be rebelling all year long, and not getting anything done. So I have given up the idea of the Crazy 15 project. I do think I will start one big new project, the Chatelaine Holland Springtime mandala, and one small metal embroidery guild project.

Gold embroidery uses metal threads, either clipped into little pieces and applied as a sort of bead, or couched down. When I lived in Argentina I had a blazer with a badge on the pocket. I think now that badge was done with gold embroidery. I really liked it. At one point, one of the metal threads got caught on something and pulled out of shape, and I discovered it was real metal thread. That project should not take too long. I don't promise to finish the Holland mandala in the next year, but I should be able to finish the Alphabet sampler. I think I am almost 2/3rds of the way done with that one.

I hope everyone had a very nice Christmas. We had the whole family together, and had a very nice, relaxed time. I got a cute pair of scissors earrings, and some winter clothes that will help me stay warm at work. I will get pictures of the earrings to show you. DH gave me tickets to go see "Wicked" next week, and I got him plane tickets to go to Arizona in February, to celebrate my mom's 80th birthday. Not too fun to open on Christmas Eve, because we had to communicate before buying them, but they should be a lot of fun in the coming year.

I m on vacation, so posting may be erratic for the next week. I hope you are enjoying the holiday season as much as I am.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Advent: Day 17

I really like this one. It is just a couple of verses in the middle of a longer story. Elisha keeps on telling the King of Israel what an enemy king is planning to do. The other king gets so upset he sent a troop of soldiers to capture Elisha.

Here you can see the troop approaching, but Elisha is not looking at them, he is looking up to the heavens. I counted, there are twice as many angels in the clouds as there are troops coming up.


I have a friend who was told that someone invisible was protecting him; he always wished he could have seen that angel.

(The sampler is actually square, it was just on a lumpy surface when I took the picture.)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Advent: Day 16

The story today is Elijah under the broom tree. Elijah has just finished a "mountain top" experience, and is having the inevitable blues afterwards. All he wants to do is die. God had other ideas. The first step was for Elijah to eat and sleep. The angel in this picture is providing bread and drink, and with the angel's help he slept the clock around a couple of times.

When my dad was training beginning missionaries, he used this passage to warn them about the inevitable down times they would face doing their work. The prescription was the same as the treatment for Elijah: eat enough and get some rest. And then go ahead with the next step of the story.


Elijah traveled to the mountain of the Lord and discovered that God speaks in a still, small voice, and that he cares for those who serve him. While we were discussing this story C decided that she wants the still, small voice in her heart too.

On this page, I love the fire and pot of water, it's a kitchen!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Advent Calendar: Day 15

The story today is David and Abigail. David and his men protected the people who lived in the wilderness near them throughout the year, so when the harvest time came, they expected to be included in the festivities. One guy, named Nabal, didn't see it that way, and was very rude about it, calling David a run-away slave/ruffian. So David decided to act like one, and kill Nabal and his whole house-hold. Nabal's wife, Abigail, caught wind of what Nabal had done and immediately packed a generous gift on donkeys and went to take it to David. They met in the wilderness while David was on his way to the attack. (You can tell it is the wilderness by the thorny plants all along the road.)

I wondered, when I saw this page, what this had to do with Advent, but again, David was Jesus' ancestor.


Abigail's quick thinking kept David from making a fatal error in judgment. If David had carried out a massacre, he never would have been accepted as King of Israel!

The story has a happy ending. As soon as Nabal sobered up from his "harvest party" Abigail told him what she had done, and he fell over dead. (That is not the happy part! This is:) Then David sent for Abigail, and he married her. He could see the wisdom of marrying a smart woman!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Advent Calendar: Day 14

Last year my New Year's resolution was to finish more than 1 page of my advent calendar (from Mary Beale). I did it! I finished 4, and there are just enough days left before Christmas to share them with you.

This is David and Goliath. I really like the sheep on the hillside, but David is supposed to be ruddy and handsome, which doesn't quite come across in this picture.


You can see though, the foolishness of David in thinking he could take Goliath, and Goliath's confidence that this was going to be "no problem." So this fits into the theme of the Advent stories, that every day focuses on God touching the world to bring about his purposes. David was Jesus' ancestor, so things had to be right with him for the plan to carry through.

I am having so much fun, and no trouble at all, coming up with 15 projects for next year. Only about 1/3 will be new projects. I want to start sharing now what they are, but I will be good!

Monday, December 20, 2010


We had a nice weekend. I wrote about the Christmas program yesterday, but Saturday was fun too. DD1 spent the day down from "the city" and she and her dad got some Christmas shopping in. I got in a little shopping, plus some time on my own for stitching, best of both worlds!

I remade this temari because I liked the first one so much (this is one of the ones I did not get a picture of before I gave it away). This one is stitched with Vatican Gold and Silver braid, and is not as sparkly as the first one, but still turned out very nice. There are 8 different 6-point designs, hopefully mindful of snowflakes.


Then I got a little tired of Christmas and snow colors, and picked a couple of more spring-like hues for this one. It is just 12 stars stitched "najiri" or interlocked style. The original was more complex, because they filled the space with the stitching. I was not precise enough in my placement of the first row of stitching for each color, so I quit while I was ahead, and it looks very lacy.


DD2 suggested that I take a picture of the tiny temari I have been stitching next to a regular sized temari, just to give an idea of how little and how cute they are.


I got some stitching in on my Alphabet sampler as well, completing these letters. Quite a bit of progress for one weekend, I think! The blue letters take much longer to stitch than the teal letters.


Last night C came up from the basement asking why the floor was wet (?!). After some investigation, it came to light that the hot water heater had sprung a leak. DH is on vacation this week, but the intent was for him to have some peace and quiet, not to be wrestling with a hot water heater. Of course, the extra bill at this time of year was not welcome either. But the Lord provides, miraculously! Ten minutes after arranging to have the heater installed, we found out we would be receiving a bonus, plus back pay! God is good.

There is a project group on-line that is planning on stitching something new every day for the first 15 days of January, with the plan of finishing all 15 items by the end of the year. The idea is very intriguing, but I cannot face 15 more WIPs (works in progress) plus the pressure of having to get everything done in this year. I am going to modify the plan, and stitch on something different every day for the first 15 days of January, but I will include current WIPs as well. That way I will be clearing out old projects as well as beginning new ones. I will work up a list, and let you know what the final plan is.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Program

Everyone is prepared for the Christmas program. C and P are all dressed up.


(I could not get a picture of a nice smile from P.)

C got all dressed up in her costume and looked very cute. Can you see her holding the donkey tail?


Here is the nativity tableau: two sheep, a donkey, Mary, Joseph, and the baby.


Then the song afterwards. They sang very well!


This is DH's favorite position, in the background, playing music.


We had a beautiful service for music. There was a French Horn prelude, a trumpet offertory, and organ, piano, keyboard, drums, bass, violin, and another trumpet with the singing, plus a solo for special music.


Then treats and presents afterwards. Very nice day.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Another Christmas Temari

This is another little guy, about 2 inches across, stitched with pearl #8. Christmas colors with just a touch of gold.


This is my "old faithful" pattern, but you do have to pay attention. Last time I tried to stitch it while I was teaching a class, and the guidelines were not straight. I still haven't taken the stitching out of that one, but I will.

The background is tissues, courtesy of C. She found a shoe-box at home last week, and started packing it full of things for her friend S, everything cushioned with tissue. When I told her I needed a box to carry my presents for work, everything got unceremoniously dumped on the floor, and the temari were carefully placed on the tissue. These things must be done properly, you know. She was very happy to have found a box for presents, and then to have found presents to put in the box.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Rose Temari

This is another one of my little temari. I really like the way it turned out. The rose, outlined with gold, is very elegant looking, even though it takes a lot of time and a lot of thread to stitch. (You end up with a double layer of thread with this pattern.)


I had been thinking of making a rose on both sides of the temari, but I ended up making a basket on the bottom half. Even that turned out very nice. (I love to weave!)


The fibers used are DMC metallic, and pearl #8 for the stitching.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Temari

I have stitched another handful of Christmas temari to give away this season. In fact, I gave away two yesterday without getting pictures! I know! How could I! My only excuse is that my battery was dead, and I lost my head.

This one is a simple Kiku, stitched with rayon threads from India. The base is made from one plastic grocery bag, and is only about 1 1/2 to 2 inches in diameter. This size temari is turning out so cute!


The other two I gave away were this size as well. One was a red base, stitched in a c8, with 8 different snowflake designs on the 6-part triangles, stitched in white pearl #4 braid. It is very sparkly and very pretty. The other was a s8, with a 4-petal red kiku and a 4 petal white kiku (I think it was on a red background as well), in interwoven style, stitched with #8 pearl. The contrast gives a very graphic look, and the kiku looks very different.

This small format is giving me a chance to stitch with some different fibers, and I am having quite a bit of fun.

I did give in last night and stopped by our electronic big box store for an extra battery and charger. DH says I paid too much, and he is right! I stored the new items (after charging up my camera, of course) in the drawer with the rest of the batteries. Next time I am looking for it, remind me, okay?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Camera Trouble

I have some temari to share, but my camera battery died this morning, and I couldn't immediately find the charger. DH and I both remember where we saw it last, but it is not there now! I hope I do not have to buy a new one. I have been meaning to buy another battery so I don't end up camera-less again.

I am glad it happened this way, though. C's Sunday School program was scheduled for last Sunday night, but was cancelled because of the weather. I would have been very upset if I had run out of batteries for that! My camera will be in working order by next Sunday, which is the rescheduled date, I promise!

Now I can't decide whether to stop at the store on the way home, or look around at home once more. I am leaning toward stopping at the store; I hate being without my camera!

Thursday, December 9, 2010


I got several presents at the Christmas party on Tuesday night. Our Christmas get-togethers are always so much fun. For the past several years we have had an Italian buffet with several kinds of salads, several kinds of pasta, and a couple of kinds of pizza, with a sundae buffet for dessert.

My friend from Moonsilk Stitches gave me this original angel, decorated with 3 special buttons, and with holly around the hem of her dress, and the wooden Angel buttons from Vogue fabrics. She knows I decorate with Angels at Christmas, and so always indulges me. Thank you!


I got an abundance of gifts from my Secret Stitcher. I knew she was someone who read my blog, and it turned out to be Karol. Thank you again Karol for the great gifts all year long!

The first thing I pulled out of the gift bag was this canvas tote bag with a TemariKai logo on it! I am thrilled with it. I will be studying the pictures as well to see if there are any new patterns to make. I have a feeling this may become my new favorite tote bag. I don't know if I should use it for my regular guild meeting bag, or if I should save it for when I have a Temari class. Decisions, decisions!


Next I pulled out this "Locker Hooking" trivet in autumn colors. The technique looks interesting, and it would be possible to get a lot of beautiful colors into projects. It does remind me, though, that I should get going on my toothbrush rug. (The problem with the rug is that it has not been laying very flat, and I am fearing I may have to take a couple of rows out. The thought scares me so much I have been avoiding looking. I should just bite the bullet and find out.)


In the bottom of the bag there were all these goodies, a bookmark with a cross, a note-pad for my purse (C always asks for paper to draw on when we are out, so it will come in handy), and a pretty Nativity ornament. Thank you again Karol!


Last night I got invited to another Christmas party with people from my exercise class. I am trying to talk myself out of wanting to make Temari ornaments for each person in the class... but I don't know if I will be successful or not. I would need 8 for next Tuesday. I'm thinking small and simple... I will let you know.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Gifts (it IS Christmas!)

I ordered some cookie dough mix from the girl's club at church, and each package came with a pot holder made from African material. The African connection is that the girl's clubs are fund-raising to build a church in Zambia. I though these pot holders were very cool!


At our guild Christmas party last night, I gave my secret stitcher this temari. It is the first one in the series from Cosmo 7. I was worried that the dark blue flowers had too much contrast with the other colors, but the addition of the large beads in the centers lightened the flowers enough so that it looks very nice. I like how it turned out. I am working on the next one in the set.


I do want to talk to you about these Debi, but I haven't had a chance to gather my thoughts.

Tomorrow I will get pictures and share what my Secret Stitcher gave to me!

Monday, December 6, 2010

It's Christmas time!

This weekend we had a Christmas party that really helped me get in the Christmas spirit. I haven't put up any decorations yet. We have decided not to have a tree this year, because of the kittens. My tree skirt, with beautiful cross stitch, usually hangs down from the small table we usually put the tree on, and I can just picture kittens scaling it with their claws. I'm afraid if I saw them doing that, I would loose my cool, so for now, no tree.

So it was a real pleasure to enjoy time together with friends, good food, and singing Christmas carols. We were going to sing at a retirement home, but they were on lock down because of the flu, so we stayed away from there. We played a silly game that was quite a bit of fun.

We divided up into a red team and a green team and built balloon towers that were supposed to be free-standing. Here is the red team getting started:


And here is the green team:


Here's the result, and you can see why the red team won, the green team needed a helping hand to stay standing.


(DH was on the red team, I was on the green team.)

As we were visiting and moving from room to room in the house I started to notice beautiful hooked art, a pillow and a wall hanging in the den, a floral rug in the bathroom, a mat in the living room and this wall hanging. Our hosts were very proud of their daughter's art-work and gave me permission to share. She lives in Canada, and her name is Lou Ann Sybenga. She started out with purchased canvases, but now designs all her own work.


I think the work in this piece is amazing. The rug is beautiful, the stones in the fire-place look real, and the paisley chair is amazing. The name of the piece is "Marriage Mirage" and I will leave the interpretation to you.

I have always thought I would take up either basketry or weaving in my second life-time, but the more hooked rugs and wall hangings I see the more I like them. Maybe in my second life-time I will have to be a hooker.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Temari Dreams

I am finding that I am much more interested and excited about stitching temari when I use my Japanese temari books for bed-time reading. I think reading about temari just before I go to sleep helps me dream about temari and solve problems in my sleep. The past week or so I have been studying this picture in Cosmo 7 (page 32). It is nice, because there are diagrams for each of these temari, which isn't always the case for Cosmo books.

I like the coordinating colors, similar, but not exact. And since I have been dreaming about these, I decided to try my hand at one.

When I study them, it is very interesting. The lines run parallel between the centers, and on this page there is an example with 2 lines, 4 lines, 6, and 8 lines, building up in complexity. I decided to be brave and start out with the 4 lines example, and because of the weather outside, I went for snowflake colors.


I haven't decided yet if I need to take out the guidelines or not. I think I will probably end up taking them out. This one isn't done yet, it still needs the flowers. While I was stitching I was trying to analyze the pattern. Working it reminded me of the weaving temari I made this year (the 3-way weave). This one is made with triangle shapes, which isn't terribly evident from the pictures. I will let you know if the rest of them are made with triangle shapes too, again, I can't tell from the pictures. The weaving gets confusing when you turn the corners, but I think I got it right. The first try I got about a third of the way done, and took everything out to start over again.

I was thinking that you used bands with even numbers between your centers, and pentagons with odd numbers of centers, but maybe it is triangles for even numbers, and pentagons for odd numbers, bands or not. The orientation is different here, on the long lines of the pentagons instead of the short lines, like the previous one, around the outside of the centers.

(Clear as mud, right?)


I was thinking that you needed this orientation for odd numbers. This is the beginner's multi-center I was talking about on the Temari Challenge group. The pentagons are oriented on the short lines of the 12 centers and are all inside of the 12 centers.


Thank you for listening while I think out loud about this pattern. It helps a lot. I will let you know if my guess about triangles vs. pentagons (even vs. odd) is right.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Answer to a comment

Argery, Espero que puedes encontrar una manera de aprender temari. Si quieres unirte a un groupo de temari en espanol, puedes encontrar uno aqui. Esperamos poder traducir mucho de lo que hay en el Internet a espanol para compartir temari con todo el mundo. Nos vemos alli?

A Week of Vacation

Thanksgiving was as nice as I had hoped. The whole family was there, including a new member. He is a very good cook! and we added a delicious sweet potato casserole to our Thanksgiving menu. Everyone enjoyed the company, no one got stuck in the kitchen for hours doing dishes, and there were no arguments or hurt feelings. Just a wonderful day!

It is amazing how much I got done last week, while I was on vacation. There are some days when I would love to not have to get up and go to work; waking up when I was done sleeping, and hibernating inside if the weather is bad. However, I think I am addicted to my pay-check, and I would get lonely for company if I were home all the time. Also, I need the exercise! It is too easy just to sit in my stitchy chair all day.

A vacation once in a while is very good, though. The first half of the week I worked on my alphabet sampler. I am very happy to be more than 1/2 way done. I even got to start the large monogram:


I am using "Colorwash Silk" for my variegated color, using only one strand. It is very fine, but I think it is covering enough. The puzzle, of course, in using a variegated color is to keep from having abrupt color changes, except where you want them. So far, so good, on this letter, but we are at the beginning yet.

Then, being on vacation and all, I had time to do some cleaning. I mentioned last time that I found some things I know I will never do. Olly asked for the Golden Retriever and the purse kit, so that will be on the way to her as soon as I get her address. Here's a picture of the punch-needle kits. They are still available.


Then, when I was cleaning out the kid's craft bin I ran across a couple of Styrofoam balls that I put in there after I started using rice hulls for temari. I put them on the table to get rid of them, and then I looked at them for several days. Someone said they used Styrofoam bases to make temari ornaments, because they are lighter and they don't burden the tree too much. So I looked at them some more, and I finally decided to make a bunch of ornaments. It is true, though, that it is harder to make a nice round mari with Styrofoam. These are very lumpy.


All four of these are the same pattern, triangles stitched on the 20 triangle faces of a c10, with gold-rush metallic thread. The thread is kind of a bunka thread, that could be stitched unraveled, but I used it whole. I love them all together. This is actually the first half of the pattern. I tried the full pattern here:


I saw it done in a bright and a pale pink, and it was a "sakura" or cherry blossom pattern. The flower showed up in the negative space. Unfortunately, the colors I had to work with don't really show up right and let you see the flower shape without doing some eye calisthenics. It still looks like Christmas, though.

I think I just about got through November without stitching any temari. Like I said, some free time does wonders. There are at least two more patterns I want to stitch in the next week. (Having time to pore over my temari books at bed-time helps a lot in picking out patterns. I think I can stitch a lot better when I dream temari.)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Alphabet Stats

I am uncomfortable showing a close-up of the alphabet sampler this time. There is just too much information available in a picture, so I will just tell you how far I am. I am one letter short of finishing my 6th alphabet (155), I have finished 4 sets of numbers (40), and 2 partial alphabets (29), for a total of 224. That is almost 55% done. That is a little deceiving, though, because I am just about ready to start the large monogram. If I count the monogram as a whole alphabet (because it will probably take about an alphabet's length to finish) I am just about 53% finished, which is still not bad.

I have been working on cleaning up my sewing room. I want to clear off my sewing table enough to keep my sewing machine up there, getting it off my dining room table. I am making progress, but there is a ways to go. As I am cleaning, I am discovering items that I am never going to use. I have been the repository of other's clean-up projects; several pieces of aida, a couple of pre-stitched needlepoint canvases (the kind my grandma M used to work), several punch-needle patterns, a silk canvas golden retriever that my eyes won't let me do, and a knit beaded purse, with the fiber, beads, purse frame, and pattern. If you are interested in any of these items, let me know, and it is yours.

I also found a whole stack of projects that are completely stitched, but not finished. I am thinking of showing pictures of those when I don't have a sampler picture. However, I'm on vacation this week, and I'm being lazy about taking pictures.

I am looking forward to tomorrow! The whole family will be here, all squeezed around our small table. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, getting together without all the hubbub of decorating and presents. I am so thankful for my family! I am also thankful for my home, my pets, my job, and my hobby.

I hope you have a wonderful day tomorrow, if you are the US, celebrating with your family, or wherever you are in the world! I am thankful for you too!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Cross Stitch is not easy to Blog

Hello, I'm sorry I only blogged one time last week. C ended up sharing her cold with me, so I spent a day and 1/2 at home. I got a lot of stitching done on my Alphabet sampler! I finished a complete alphabet, and several other motifs, bringing me to 49% finished! This is going faster than I expected. However, I don't have a picture of my progress.

This past weekend I have been reading instead of stitching, so I decided to do a reading meme from Anna instead.

Favorite childhood book? I think that would have to be the Narnia series. I still re-read it on occasion. I can't wait for the new Narnia movie to come out (in about a week). It is my favorite of the series "The Dawn Treader."
What are you reading right now? I stayed up past midnight last night finishing "Paladin of Souls" by Bujold as a sequel to "Curse of Chalion." Next up in the queue is "Inside of a Dog."
What books do you have on request at the library? I am very bad at returning books to the library on time, so I would rather buy books. (See next question.)
Bad book habit? library fines!
What do you currently have checked out at the library? n/a
Do you have an e-reader? DH and I both have Nooks. It is very convenient.
Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once? If I am reading more than one at a time, it is because I have had a problem with one that I am reading.
Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog? Not really. They changed when I started full time work about 15 years ago, for several reasons.
Least favorite book you read this year (so far)? If I am not enjoying a book, I usually stop reading it so, I can't think of any.
Favorite book you have read this year? As I mentioned, I have been reading Bujold. I just discovered her this year, and I think I have read about a dozen of her books. My favorite so far has been "The Sharing Knife."
How often do you read out of your comfort zone? I read quite a bit for work, but not always books, more like articles. But I would say daily.
Can you read on the bus or train? My commute to work is 16 minutes driving, so I don't get to read on the way to work.
Favorite place to read? Someplace there is a book!? I do have an easy chair.
What is your policy on book lending? If I want it back, I put my name in it. I don't like lending my very favorites that I like to re-read, because if they don't come back I have to re-purchase them.
Do you ever dog-ear books? How else can I find my page?
Do you ever write in the margins of your books? Not very often.
Not even with text books? Oh, textbooks... of course I do.
What is your favorite language to read in? English.
If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you chose? I can read Spanish, but rarely for pleasure reading.
What makes you love a book? A happy ending! without too much suspense.
What will inspire you to recommend a book? When I know the kinds of books a person likes, I can tell if they would enjoy a specific book. Both DDs, DH, and my friend enjoy different kinds of books, but I have been able to recommend books to each of them.
Favorite genre? I enjoy romance, mystery, science fiction, historical, and fantasy. The more elements of each in a story, the more I enjoy it.
Genre you rarely read (but wish you did?) I don't read too much non-fiction, but I don't really want to...
Favorite biography? Um...
Have you ever read a self -help book? There have been a few.
Favorite cookbook? I really like the Victory Garden vegetable cookbook.
Most inspirational book you've read this year (fiction or non-fiction)? I just finished the book of Acts, and I was amazed.
Favorite reading snack? If there is chocolate in the house... otherwise a piece of fruit. I
know, messy.
Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience. The only thing I can think of is that I have not read "Eat, Pray, Love" because of the hype, so I guess my reading experience was ruined.
How often do you agree with critics about a book? I don't read critics regularly.
How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews? If I don't like a book, I don't finish it, so it is hard to give a review.
Most intimidating book you've ever read? My Calculus textbook!
Most intimidating book you're too nervous to begin? Um...
Favorite Poet? A lack in my life. I like Robert Louis Stevenson's poetry for kids... about my speed.
How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time? I haven't been using the library recently. I have at least a dozen unread books on my Nook.
How often have you returned books to the library unread? Often.
Favorite fictional characters? Paksenarion and Clare and Jamie.
Favorite fictional villain? Reformed villains... Eustace Stubbs.
Books I'm most likely to bring on vacation? Last April DH and I took several audio mysteries by J.A. Jance, and enjoyed it tremendously.
The longest I've gone without reading? 12 hours?
Name a book that you could/would not finish. I dislike suspense. If a book gets too suspenseful I put it down. The first time I did that was in 4th grade. I felt guilty, but I keep doing it.
What distracts you easily when you're reading? My Nook has a sudoku game. If the book is not gripping, I tend to wander off to sudoku.
Favorite film adaptation of a novel? I thought they did a good job with the "Fellowship of the Ring" and the other two.
Most disappointing film adaptation? I don't see a lot of movies... Narnia could have been better.
The most money I've ever spent in the bookstore at one time? DH and I together can do some damage, but we try to keep it under control. It was probably when I was in college buying textbooks.
How often do you skim a book before reading it? I like to page through a book before I buy it (or check it out of the library) but once I have it I just plunge in. That's what makes it hardest to buy e-books, or books on-line.
What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through? Too much suspense.
Do you like to keep your books organized? Yes. Science fiction is in the basement, by author, mystery in the bedroom, and romance under the bed!
Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you've read them? If I like it enough, and know I will want to reread, I keep. A couple of years ago I got rid of stacks of books, and haven't missed one; I should do it again, but I don't want to get rid of any of the books that DH wants to keep...
Are there any books you've been avoiding? I have "Count of Monte Cristo" on my iPod, and I have been avoiding that. I'm finding it quite suspenseful but I haven't given up on it yet.
Name a book that made you angry. Um...
A book you didn't expect to like but did. Robinson Crusoe! I was shocked by how good it was.
A book that you expected to like but didn't. I bought a book after reading a recommendation, and then couldn't get into it. It just went to the thrift store, and I cannot remember the name of it.
Favorite guilt-free, pleasure reading. The Blue Castle by Montgomery. I loaned it to my mom, and as soon as it was out of the house I wanted to re-read it. It is a sweet love story.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Alphabet Sampler 2

Here is a picture of some progress on the Alphabet Sampler.


I Stitched ACHJK, NOP, R, the new numbers, the Fleur de lis and maple leaf motif, and the needle, thread, and thimble motif. According to my calculations, I am now at 40% done, which means, this project would not take forever to finish. (I also rolled the scroll bars, which is always a momentous occasion.)

I have also resolved the color dilemma: It doesn't really matter! LOL I stitched 3 letters in the darker color, and DH cannot tell the difference. Plus I discovered the floss I had used originally, which did turn out to be an Anchor color, 168. I am not going to take out the 3 letters I stitched, because I couldn't tell the difference this morning. Under my daylight bulb I can, but I don't think anyone will be studying it that hard. I am going back to the original color, though.

Thank you Karen, Debi, and Mom for your advice, it did help me to get going on this project again.

Friday, November 12, 2010


I had a package waiting at home after work one night this week. That is always exciting, especially when C is around. (It came in a Toy Story box too, which made it even more interesting.) Inside was this lovely temari from Nettie, for a GITS (Great International Temari Swap). I like the colors, and I love the beads. Thank you so much Nettie! Yours should be going out this week.


I accidentally signed up for a Martha Stewart magazine through JoAnn's this fall, and I got 2 issues. C was reading over my shoulder last night, and had a couple of comments. One comment was "there isn't a lot of sewing in this magazine, grandma!" She was right, most of the activities were crafty or cooking, not stitching. She did like looks of the Noah's Ark tree, but she didn't think we should make the ornaments out of cookies, she thought felt would be easier.

Does anyone have animal outlines, for felt ornaments for a Noah Christmas tree? (And I'm not even the one who is wrapped the tightest around her little finger!)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Some Numbers and a Dilemma

I stopped off yesterday afternoon and got a skein of 311, to see if that was the right blue color for my sampler. Unfortunately, that is not right either. Now I am thinking the blue that is already stitched may have faded over the 2 years my piece sat waiting for me to get back to it.

So now I don't know what to do. Any advice?

I'm tempted to just go ahead and use the 336, and let there be a difference in the color. I am going to check one more thing first though, I am going to check to see if I may have used an Anchor color. I don't know my Anchor colors very well, but it is possible. There is only one spot where it will be glaringly obvious, the middle of the letter "P" on the alphabet running vertically along the left side. The rest of the blues will be separated by other embroidery and white space.

Now for the numbers. There are 13 alphabets on the sampler. Now I haven't counted the letters in each alphabet. Many of them are French, and old, so letters would be left out. In several alphabets, I know there are additional letters, used if the name or initials have double letters or use an "A." It is too obvious if an alphabet starts with a letter other than "a" so that one usually gets doubled up. For example, on the alphabet I am working on now, the sequence is

A B D E F G A C H J K... etc.


In this example, "A" is repeated, and there is no "I."

So when I say there are 338 letters of the alphabet, you know that is an estimate. The same holds true for the sets of numbers. There are 10 different number fonts, so you would guess there are 100 numbers, but most of the sets have at least 1 number repeated, mostly to document birthdays. Plus the Roman Numeral set has like 30 characters (like).

I have 3 alphabets completely stitched, and 3 sets of numbers, and a good start on 4 additional alphabets. I calculate I have 154 letters or numbers stitched, plus a goodly number of the motifs, which seem to be clustered towards the top of the sampler. That gives me 35% completed, better than I expected. Since I picked it up, I have stitched ACFHJK and half of one of the sets of numbers.


Monday, November 8, 2010

Stitching and Perfectionism

I received a kit to make a tassel from my secret stitcher this past Tuesday. It called for a mini Tatool, a frame to make tassels on. Well, I knew I had a tatool, but when I found it discovered it was not a mini, but a full-sized one. So, I adjusted the pattern, added a different metallic thread and more beads from my stash, and made a tassel twice as big as the directions called for.


I learned several things.
1) When you are not going to cut the loops on a tassel, it does make a difference if your loops criss-cross each other on the loom. The tassel is nice and drapey, but the loops are all tangled on the bottom.
2) I should have followed the directions and used tape on my loose ends. There are several extra loops that do not add any beauty to the tassel.
3) Making tassels is fun! I think I will be doing this again!

Still no progress on stitching the temari I am working on. I do believe I know why I am dragging my feet on this one, though. Believe it or not, it is perfectionism! Me! Who knew.

I'm not happy any more just throwing stitches on to a ball, to see what they look like. I want them to turn out gorgeous, and I just don't have the skills to do that with this pattern. Of course, if I don't get busy and practice, I will never develop the skills either, so I'm between a rock and a hard place. I am going to have to follow the advice of www.flylady.net and set my timer for 15 minutes, and just do it. I can do anything for 15 minutes! And if it doesn't turn out gorgeous, oh well, I will have to try again.

While procrastinating, I pulled out a UFO that I started in 2007. It is a personalized sampler from Nouveau Encore that I have been in love with since I got it. At one point I had even put away all the fibers, but then had pulled them out again. Evidently, when I pulled them out, I forgot I had adjusted one of the blues, so I stitched some with the wrong color. That will have to come out. There are 12 pages of pattern, and I am done with 4, so I am at least 1/3 of the way done. The main problem is that it will be boring for you while I stitch this, because I will have nothing exciting to talk about, unless I get down to counting letters. There are at least 10 different alphabets: 87 letters down, at least 173 to go!

This pattern is what I have instead of the French Alphabet Sampler. That one cost over $200, (for the pattern!) and you had to submit your order at an exact time to be accepted, and then it would take months to get the final copy. I decided that was too many hoops to jump through, even though I loved the pattern. The last orders were accepted in September of 2009, so I'm not sure it's even available any more.

One additional incentive for me: if I ever get this done, I can start on one of my Chatelaine patterns. The Holland Tulip Mandala has been calling to me for a long time. Of course, once I get done with my current temari, the temari obsession may take over again!

Who knows what may happen!?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Gift and a Question

I won a give-away on my friend Moonsilk Stitches' blog, this very nice felted acorn. I love the color! I have already worn it twice.


The pets in our house like it too. It has been carefully inspected by both cats and dog, and had to be rescued from becoming a cat toy.

The Question of the Month this month is "Is there a time you were very grateful for your needlework ability." I'm afraid I'm paraphrasing a little, but the question stuck with me because the answer is a resounding yes.

I recently mentioned the help the crewel sampler was when my living situation was difficult in high school, but there is a more important time. When I was going through treatment for breast cancer, sometimes my stitching was the only thing that kept me going. Some days it was the only reason to get up in the morning, besides taking care of our daughters. Of course, there were days when I could not do it, when I was too tired to even watch TV, but most of the time stitching was a wonderful escape. It was also a life saver when I was in doctor or hospital or lab or radiation waiting rooms. I spent a lot of time in those places, but when I had my stitching, I didn't mind at all, I was accomplishing something positive.

During that time period, (the first half of 1992) I completed a major project every 3 weeks or so. When real life started back up, I continued with the mind-set that I would be needing new projects that frequently for quite a while, and was frustrated when I couldn't get to the new things I wanted to stitch. I am more likely to need 3 years for a project now, but I still remember the sense of accomplishment.

Monday, November 1, 2010

My Grandkids are the cutest!

P & C both had two costumes to pick from on Sunday, and this is what they chose. P is Wolf-man: check out this pose (and the smile)! He was very pleased.


C is Wonder-woman, and you can see she is also very pleased with her costume. We didn't stay to see what their take was, just to see them in their outfits.


Trick or Treat was on Saturday in our neighborhood, and it was a beautiful afternoon. DH and I sat on the porch giving out candy, and looking at the cute kids. There was one little girl that was almost as cute as C, but not quite. She gave us a long involved story about her costume and lack of shoes that lit up. We couldn't understand one word she said, but the gist of the story was as clear as a bell. "What use are shoes that don't light up?" C feels the same way.

I've been playing with kiku stitching. This one is very simple, only two colors, but I tilted the equator and followed it around. I'm still toying with the idea of adding a different color center, but I don't know. I think I would have liked it more with a little less tilt.


It is different, though. Stitching Kikus feels like cheating. They are so much fun, so easy, and so quick! They look complicated but give a lot of bang for your buck. I think I am going to keep exploring them for a little while.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Temari progress

I finally made some progress on temari last night, by admitting I was getting nowhere on my current project. I was trying to stitch spindles with floss, which I had chosen because of the color selection, and I was spinning my wheels and getting frustrated. I finally ordered (most of) the colors I wanted last night in #5 pearl, and started a new temari while I wait for them to come in. It feels like a weight off my shoulders, something I should have done at the beginning instead of trying to "make do."

There was just one more thing in the sewing box, but it was not from my grandma, so I saved it until today to talk about. Cousin S's brother-in-law is a sculptor, and at some point in his career worked at a place that produced these cuties:


The are about as big as my thumb nail, a little donkey, ram, bunny, and cow. All four of them have really silly expressions, like I said, Cute! Thank you again S.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What's in her workbasket?

I mentioned last time that my cousin S gave me a gift at our get-together. I was thrilled and touched when she gave me our grandmother's sewing box! She has had it for several years and thought I would enjoy looking at it.


When I opened it, I could tell right away this was a working basket, and it tells me a lot about my grandma, so I thought I would repeat the meme that came out some time ago, "Show us your sewing basket."


It is lined with pale green satin, and the first thing you see are two hankies:

The first one out of very fine linen with her maiden name monogram.


She did white-work before she was married. I remember her showing off a piece of white-work stitching when I was in college, and she told me then it was done before she was married. It is possible this work was too "fancy" to be useful for a farmer's wife, but I know she treasured the pieces she had; and this is another proof of that.

The second one has her first name initial done in extremely fine cross stitch with a tatted edging. I was so thrilled when I saw this one I got tears in my eyes. This one wasn't made for anyone else, it was made for her, and was kept separate, in a safe place. It must have been special to her.


There are a couple of lengths of crocheted lace and a beaded necklace. I remember her making these necklaces when I was a kid too. I didn't think they were very beautiful back then, but I have made some like it since then.


There is also a very pretty crocheted doily. I am tempted to wash and block this one just to see its full beauty. I will test a couple of threads first though, to make sure it will not disintegrate.


This is fun, it is a little tiny leather purse, very worn (there are a couple of holes in it). I wonder if she used it for pin money. She never had too much "mad" money, she was a widow raising 4 children, and supporting her parents and sister as well. When S and I were talking on Saturday, we were both wondering how she did it.


Now we get to the real meat of the matter, the tools. I was amazed by everything that was included here.


There are two tatting shuttles, and three pouches with different sizes of crochet hooks, plus two additional hooks (one a size 12, so fine you can hardly see the hook). There's a ruler, two scissors, a hairpin lace loom, and a shoe button hook (I think that is what it is). Very organized, very neat, with nothing extra. Oh, I take that back, there is one double pointed knitting needle. I wonder where the rest of the set is?

There are a couple more things that I didn't get pictures of, a spool of white and a spool of black thread, a couple of needles, a ball of tatting thread, and a worn thimble. All necessary things that were used, and taken care of.

This was the basket of a real needle woman. It is a real lesson to me too, that I do not need rooms full of stash to be fulfilled in my "work" (as she called it).

Miss you grandma!