Friday, March 13, 2015

A finish!

I visited The Attic Needlework over a month ago, just as I was getting this cold from Hell. It is hard to believe, but I am on a second round of antibiotics for another ear infection/sore throat but that's neither here nor there as one good thing came from laying around the house listlessly for so long.

A finish!

I saw this finished piece while I was at The Attic:

It is from Threads Through Time and is a piece charted for DMC. Here is the cover of the pattern:
I liked that a verse had been substituted for the wording at the top. So I bought the pattern and since it seemed "small" (haha) thought I would stitch it while I was sick. It really isn't a small sampler, there is a LOT of dense stitching in this but I find that can be soothing, not having to change threads and going mindlessly row by row filling in with a color.

I pulled Olde Willow threads to stitch this piece, not really thinking deeply about the colors as I only have 100 of the threads and where the pattern said "dark green" I pulled the darkest green and "light green" was the only other green in my collection so I used what I  had which was very freeing. There was no agonizing and wondering if one shade darker would have been better as I didn't have one shade darker. I had two colors of green in my bundle of Old Willow so that was that. I really like how the piece turned out:
I will say that is the shaggiest tree I have ever stitched. My favorite is the extra large woman. I love oversized people that tower over buildings in samplers. I have never designed one so maybe I will at some point.

While at The Attic I took pictures of a couple of my designs on the wall. Here is Peaceful Paradise:

And two different versions of "A Patriot's Sampler" done with different colors on different colored linen:
Blue fabric!

And Pink! I love to see how stitchers make these pieces their own.

Last weekend we went to a lovely wedding, one of my best friend's daughters. We met when my daughter was 6 months old and Julia was almost two. I remember taking my kids to her second birthday party and she received a pink tutu and twirled and danced in it. My daughter told me she feels my friend is like family and is more like an aunt as she has been there for every birthday, Halloween and summer vacation fun. Where did the time go? I feel like Michelle Duggar in the latest commercials talking about her daughters getting married, "I just blinked!"

Luckily, living in Tucson makes March a perfect time for an outdoor wedding. This was held at the museum of art and was beautiful:
We had just arrived and the bridal party had just finished family photos. That's Julia in her dress.

And here are the newlyweds walking back down the aisle after the "I do's". Funny coincidence is she now has my maiden name and her and her husband's initials are the same as my parents.

And this is to show the reception but mostly to show the guy in the blue shirt. He just got a contract for a show on the History Channel. So we shall see where that goes. Nice guy, just got his graduate degree in geology and totally off topic, lol.

We also managed to slip in a weekend in Mexico this month. When we were there in January, I picked up a birthday present for a friend who loves the embroidered Mexican blouses:
I love that purple! I knew I had an embroidered Mexican blouse that I had bought in high school a hundred years ago so I dug through my closet until I found it:
Pretty much the same embroidery but mine is made more of white cotton sheeting and the other is a thicker, nicer fabric. The good thing about finding it is that my closet made me so disgusted that I collected up a garbage sack of old clothes for the thrift store. So win-win. Except they are still in the backseat of the car waiting for me to have enough energy to donate them.

Best place to sit around and be ill.

While I'm here, any ideas for a nice baby sampler? I am going to be a Great-Aunt in August! I really like Chessie and Me's piece but could use other ideas too.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Hello all, this is just a post to pass the time as I cough up a lung. My husband and I have been sick for two weeks. Just as we start to feel better, the virus morphs and we get one of the symptoms back, drippy throat, cough, earache, you name it, this virus is cruel. Last night I started up with the drippy throat and cough again.  So rather than lie in bed and cough, here I am.

I haven't blogged in so long, almost five years of a post here and there but from what I understand Facebook is the new place for stitchers to meet and post. I haven't gotten around to doing that in my own name. I currently have 20 or so friends on FB but under the name of my daughter's stuffed sheep. Yes, we are a strange family. I never wanted my own FB until the kids went away to college, so I took over the sheep's in order to keep up with the kids. She's now baaaaahhhhing that she wants it back. She doesn't like the direction her page has gone. So there will be important decisions made in the future. Here she is with Maggie.  Maggie is smiling but Francine is pretending to ignore me:

Speaking of, my kids, both live in Seattle now. My daughter graduates with her Master's degree next month, yea Maggie! Here she is at Christmas making her first glazed ham. Yea Maggie again! I didn't have to cook!
Good grief, could we possibly have more peanut butter in the background? I swear it's not mine, my husband has an addiction. From what I understand, it's a familial thing. Oh, and notice the big pot on the stove. I bought that set in 1976 and they are still as good as new. No, not because I rarely cook, just nice quality.

And here is my son who is loving Seattle:
He is working freelance as an artist. Now that I am back to designing, I wish he were home as he can pixelate anything I ask him to do. He recently created for me a Downton Abbey type house that I hope to use in a future sampler.

So, these were taken at Christmas, it was lovely having them home, we hadn't seen Nick in a year and last saw Maggie when she was here with her boyfriend at the end of June.

I have been reading a lot of thrifting/junking blogs lately. Like I said, I can't seem to get back into the needlework blogs, has everyone left for Facebook? And the boards seem to be nothing of interest these days.

So who loves thrift stores? I have become addicted, we have quite a few good ones in town.  I will show you one of my sicknesses:


And this isn't all of it!!! One day I decided to sort by color and threw a big purple blanket on the floor and started sorting. Took forever! I think I have over 300 packages. I LOVE seam binding! Sorry, already said that. Or did I? Nyquil haze.... Not bias tape, not cording but seam binding. Though I love a good package of vintage rick rack too.

And ELVES! I finally acquired so many that this year I put them on the bench usually reserved for my snowmen at Christmas.

My sister thinks they are absolutely creepy. So I love to send her close-up photos via text:
That's Leonard on the left and this year I found Little Leonard, shown on the right. He looks the same size but is about 3/4 the size of Big Leonard who thinks he is the leader of the elves.

I can a wee bit see why my sister thinks they are creepy but don't tell THEM that. They already have it in for her and I don't want to be on their naughty list too. Their feet are felt and I'd never hear them sneaking into my room at night. This guy has crazy eyes so who knows what he might do. Geez, one of them got heavy handed with the lipstick didn't he (she?).

But as I said, I love them. My first elf is one of the glittery gold ones in the middle of that bench. I received it in 1962 from my friend Nancy Edson. I guess you always remember the name of the person who gave you something special because Nancy moved away after third grade and I never saw her again. I remember she made a big scrapbook of newspaper clippings when President Kennedy was assassinated and her Dad had a darkroom for photography.  But the scrapbook? I guess we were about 8 and she is cutting and pasting articles? That girl was waaaaayy ahead of me! All I remember is being upset that the TV shows were pre-empted for the funeral coverage. I also stole the one and only thing in my life from her. Remember Betsy McCall?
There was one issue of the magazine where Betsy had a baby sister. Nancy had cut it out and left it on her dresser and my sneaky, thieving self grabbed it and took it home with me. I thought it was the cutest thing EVER. But oh the guilt! The remorse! Not enough remorse to admit I took it and give it back. Hey, I was 7! The guilt I felt made me throw that darn thing in the garbage after a day of hiding it at the bottom of a drawer in my bedroom. I never did play with it and  I often wondered if she missed it.

Well, I digress. I recently sent my sister this photo:

 She finally admitted that THIS put the elves into perspective for her. I was so happy to find something she could admit was freakier than my sweet elves.

But before I go, look what I found a few visits ago at the thrift store for $1! FOUR huge rolls of vintage seam binding! Swoon....
Later ladies....

Thursday, February 05, 2015

I've been busy the past few months, designing again, stitching, framing and now finally have printed my latest charts. Jean, at The Attic Needlework in Mesa will have my charts as of tomorrow. She has them listed in her current newsletter, page 12.

She also has two of my out of print charts, Memorial Sampler and Peaceful Paradise.

Here are my newest charts:

Suzy Moo's Sampler


The Noble Free

My Name Complete

In His Hand

Blessed is the Nation

As I said, two of my out of print charts are also available via Jean:

Peaceful Paradise

Memorial Sampler

Having lost many images in a computer crash, my son designed me a new cover page:

And finally, an Etsy shop is coming soon so keep an eye out here :-) I hope to have some currently out of print charts available there, though the files need to be worked with before I can say which ones.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Chatelaine and other things

Gorgeous isn't it? My son seems to know me or I taught him well but he sent me the link to an article about chatelaines

My sister sent me THIS RECIPE for oatmeal raising cookies and I made 3 dozen today. She made 7 dozen with the same recipe because her cookies are smaller but man, they are delicious. The secret seems to be soaking the raisins for an hour beforehand with the eggs and vanilla.

Her tip:Read the reviews as I tweaked my version with two tsp cinnamon, one tsp each baking powder, soda and salt. Added a pinch of ginger and nutmeg for fun. Oh, I also only had walnuts so used those instead of pecans. Yummy!!! I didn't use nuts and they still are yummy.

And a friend wants me to take THIS ONLINE CLASS from Amy Mitten with her but since I am finishing challenged I won't, however I thought I'd spread the word as this is a gorgeous project.

Still waiting on my framing, 2 weeks now and counting. Though I should be counting from Oct 7th, the day I first took the pieces in :/

Friday, November 14, 2014

Birthday stitching

While we wait for framing to occur, I thought you would like to see a couple of pieces a friend made me for my birthday. The first one is from a JCS issue and designed by Blackbird Designs. My friend used a metal frame (which I've since learned is no longer made) and wrapped the frame with paper. She attached a hanger, but as you can see by the back, there is also a pin so it can be worn.

The second piece is from With Thy Needle and Thread and done the same way as the first piece without the pin on the back:

I love these pieces so much and especially appreciate when someone does finishing for me as I am so finishing challenged it is embarrassing to admit. These will definitely be cherished.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

A Very Old Book with a Story

Anyone here like thrift stores? Instead of doing much stitching the past five years, I added thrift stores to my hobby list. It helps to have friends who love them also. In Tucson, we are lucky to live near some retirement communities that feed into several thrift stores and that seems to be where I find the best items.

I always look at the books, recent and old. A few months ago I found a lovely children's book called "The Child's Treasury." It wasn't in fabulous condition but I adore old children's illustrations and this book was packed with them:

Aren't they gorgeous? They'd be even better taken with something other than my camera phone!

I bought it and brought it home and it took me a few days to thoroughly go through the book and when I did, I was almost brought to tears.

First I saw a pressed flower, not unusual inside a book:

I flipped through a few more pages and found more flowers:

And then I came across a sympathy card and a pressed flower:

And yet another...

And finally the mystery was solved:
"With our deepest heartfelt sympathy and pray the Great Comforter of us all sustain you in this great sorrow-- in the loss of your beautiful daughter"

This book must have belonged to a young girl who died. I can imagine her mother adding the flowers and the cards to her daughter's favorite storybook after the funeral. I was incredibly glad that I had found it. All I could imagine was another thrifter perhaps dropping the flowers from the book, or throwing them away and using the book to pull illustrations for crafts. Yes, that was big imaginings on my part! I hope whoever might have found it would have realized it was special.But it doesn't matter because I found it!

A superstitious friend told me "I'd get rid of that book, it's probably haunted!"

What? Of course it isn't haunted. This is a book full of love, full of happy moments between a mother and her daughter. I can picture the mother reading her precious daughter stories before bed. This book was special to two people at least. They are both dead now. Perhaps whoever cleaned out the retirement home of the mother didn't realize anything about this book and it was put in a box to take with other items to the thrift store. But love lives on even after death, it is an unbreakable bond between parent and child and I consider myself blessed to now be the keeper of the book.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014


Thank you so much everyone who replied yesterday and those who emailed me. It was lovely waking up and knowing I've been gone but not yet forgotten, at least by some of you :-)

I promised I would complain today. Thinking about it, maybe we should all set aside one day to complain per week. Some weeks we might realize we have little to complain about. Other weeks we might need to add an extra day to the roster. But seriously, complaining is not one of my strong suits. I am generally the person who is pretty laid back, eats my steak that might be a little too done, smiles and says "have a good day" to the grumpy-puss cashier who seems to be having a bad day. I generally don't make someone's bad day my own. I move on.

As I mentioned, I am participating in Christmas in Williamsburg and have been working toward that goal all summer by designing at least 8 new samplers. I thought I would send at least 6 of them as patterns to be sold there. But of course, they needed framing, so a friend suggested Hobby Lobby, which I have to say has the best prices out there PLUS they lace the needlework, no staples, no sticky board. It seemed like a good thing. I tried them out with a piece I stitched for a friend's birthday and a piece I had stitched for my daughter's graduation last year and they did an excellent job. See how nice? Excuse the glass glare:

So off I trotted with two friends and six pieces very early in October and was instantly met with a roadblock. The framing manager was not pleased to see my six pieces. Two pieces on my last visit was fine but six was simply over the top. He explained they can lace no more than one piece per week which begs the question, "what if there are other needlework pieces ahead of mine?" I didn't ask that question as I didn't think of it until now. Imagine if all the needle-workers in Tucson decided to bring their pieces in at the same time! It could be years and years before a piece could get to the top to be framed. People would have to write in their wills and remind their loved ones to pick up their heirloom in 10 years.

I digress,but he strongly cautioned me to leave a couple and take the others elsewhere. I've never known a business to refuse business but I took him at his word and chose two to take elsewhere, left two with him and on his advise decided to bring two back for framing when I picked up the first two. Confused yet?

I picked up one about 2 weeks later (nice job too) but the second piece I left was having problems with frame size so there was a delay to order another frame. Still, I left the other two that were on delay the first time I was there. I even took a photo of each as they lay on the framing table as I was so pleased with the frames chosen, no thanks to me but to my friend with the good eye for frames.

Pretty nice don't you think?

Another two weeks pass and I received a call that one of my pieces is ready so back into the car for a long drive across town to pick up a piece that turned out to be framed way too close to the border. It was wrapped in plastic and I noticed the top border was a bit iffy but I didn't notice the side borders until I was at a stop light half way home. The poor sampler had no room to breathe with the frame squeezing her so close. I could almost hear her gasping for air.

Well, I knew I would be picking up the last two pieces in about a week so instead of making the long hike back, I decided to return it when I picked up the last two which was yesterday. I was pretty excited and when I walked in the same manager greeted me happily and I explained the problem. He was not pleased. A big chill dropped over his usually friendly personality. I'd gotten to know him, hey we were on a first name basis, we had chatted at length each time I was there and suddenly I'm "Ms Thorpe". Okay, maybe he forgot my first name, I can grant him that though it was spelled out in big letters on the order form. At least he had my last name correct and perhaps the seriousness he was feeling was cause enough to use last names.

I think he knew something I didn't know which was the fact that my last two pieces were framed even worse than the one I was returning. See that one at the top? The birds heads were covered! That might be okay for a Halloween piece where severed heads are expected but not for my piece. The second had two stitching rows of the flowered border covered by the framing. Sigh. In what world is it okay to cover half a piece of artwork with the frame? I exaggerate, it wasn't half but it still looked shitty.

He brought them out, slowly I might add, as if he were stepping up to the guillotine. Hey, I've worked customer service in my youth, I know people can be nasty. And as a nurse, I've worked with people who are so ill they haven't a nice bone left in their body or the strength to be polite. I have always said people need to work a customer service job at least once in their life and they will never treat a waitress, a cashier, a phone operator or anyone else with disrespect again. That's one reason I never do and I generally never take a mistake personally, and I never think someone is out to get me because my order was wrong.

I understand it is not fun to say you have made a mistake but guess what? He didn't say that! Instead I had to convince him this was a serious problem and then be told it was going to take at least 30 minutes to re-write the order. Fine. I still wasn't upset, I'd say I was frustrated but I really just wanted to ask, what is your problem buddy?

So off I went to leave him alone to re-write the order, nothing worse than someone breathing down your neck, so I had fun actually gathering up some supplies I needed and even bought a bow maker which looks like fun. Anyone ever use one? Do they work as well as the bows shown on the box?

After more than 30 mins I returned, still not done so I disappeared again. 15 mins later he was done. I asked him "Do you not see what the problem was?" I was truly concerned he thought I was making a mountain out of a molehill. Yeah, he saw the problem, "now look, these frames are bigger so they will cost you more". I think he enjoyed telling me that. I told him "I really don't think I will be paying the extra, I don't think I should." He caved, "yes, I agree." The chill remained. I am so not looking forward to returning to pick these pieces up.

So, I will be writing Hobby Lobby. I can overlook a lot but the big chill feeling that somehow I was causing him problems for no reason is something I can't let go. And I will stick with the other framer who had my two pieces done in 10 days, no muss, no fuss. This is just a warning for those who go to Hobby Lobby for framing, my experience is probably not likely to happen to others but it has been a huge waste of time and gas and because of this I will not be sending any of my new designs to Christmas in Williamsburg this year.

And on the bright side, at least I wasn't this guy:
Uh-oh, I hope I didn't jinx it, he still has 3 of my pieces, anything is possible.

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