Friday, September 19, 2014

A Three-Peat

Three weeks and three finishes!  Here is my latest finish.   Now don't go and get all excited that I am a turbo stitcher, or don't imagine I stitch 72 hours a day and I don't go to work or don't clean my house.....this is another WIP from that Crazy January Challenge a few years ago.   You know the craziness of starting a new piece every day for the first 15 days of January.....yeah, one of those.    It lead to a big basket of UFO's.
 Introducing, A Little Quakeresque by Blue Ribbon Designs, another WIP bites the dust!  



 Still wet from washing, I didn't even let it dry and press it before I just had to share this latest completion!

My mind works in mathematical ways and I calculate things nine ways to Sunday. Kind of my own version of OCD. This piece really lent itself to that mental manipulation.   (9 times 9) plus  (2 times 4) for each corner piece = 89 motifs to complete.   EZ-PZ, just do one a day and add a few days of non-stitching (what? days of non-stitching??)  and I felt confident that in 120 days/3 months I would be done.......sometime along three plus years later I am now finished.

I am doubtful I can make it Four to Score and move another off piece from the incomplete list next week.......hmmm.....need to explore that UFO basket.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Crafting Crossover

Two weeks and two finishes!  It has been a slow year for me stitching-wise but I am happy to share my latest finish and I have 'finished' it.

This is Penny America from Tree of Life Sampling.   This piece particularly holds a spot near and dear to me and I wanted the finish to be something special.   One day last fall a package arrived from 1-2-3 Stitch and I thought is was some random floss I have ordered.   Imagine my surprise when I found the pattern inside and the packing slip listed the sender and sender's info as "Anonymous".    That was one of those times when I wish I could bottle the feeling you have.   So I have my theories on who my benefactor may be narrowed down but it matters not who the giver was as much as what a wonderful thing they did for me!    So without further ado...


This truly was an enjoyable piece to stitch!  I headed up to my craft room this morning after enjoying a Sunday breakfast out with a friend.  There I putzed a bit pulling different fabrics.   First up the patriotics.    I could have sworn I had some homespun fabrics in my stash.   It is kind of what I envisioned for completed the project.   But there you have it.......there is often a major disconnect between what I visualize and how the project actually turns out.    No homespun?   Well all the more reason to head out to the Mancuso Quilt Show is Oaks, PA new weekend!



I finally pulled out my civil war fabrics since that is a quilt I will probably be forever getting back to.

I tried pairing different fabrics for different looks.


I almost went with this one because the circles in the background I thought tied to the 'pennys'.

 I got my quilting rulers out to pull threads one inch away from the outside edge of stitches.


Duh! The pull threads were lost after I ironed on lightweight interfacing!  Out comes the quilting rulers again and a pencil!

Here's what I decided on for fabric.  hmmm.... but something is missing.

I added little cross stitches between the border and fabric with WDW Straw.

All laced and ready add a couple of stoneware mugs and a plate of cookies 
and I am ready to have a cup of tea with a friend.  




For now, I think I need to go outside and enjoyed this beautiful weather we are enjoying yet again!  Maybe a nice afternoon bike ride is a good idea.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Day Tripping

Way back in June I took a Friday off and me and a couple of girl friends went to Winterthur to see the Downton Abbey exhibit.   What a great day.  First some history about Winterthur.   Located in the Brandywine Valley (Delaware) this is a former duPont estate.   Henry Francis duPont had the incredible insight to create the home, the mansion, the museum he did.   Worried that architecture, design elements and furnishings would be lost, Mr. duPont would buy up rooms -- entire rooms  --including moldings, trims, windows, floorings and furnishings in buildings that fell into disrepair or were to be destroyed.   He would then recreate these rooms with exact precision within a space within the walls of Winterthur.   He was also a meticulous horticulturist with acres and acres of gardens on the 1,000 acre estate and the records to match.

Anything duPont holds a fascination for  me.   I have lived in a 'company' town my whole life.   Growing up, we locals knew not to venture out on the main road between 4 and 4:30 Monday to Friday because of "plant traffic".  Those were the days when 25,000 plus employees worked there but that number has sadly dwindled to not even 10 percent of that number still employed.  Between my husband, brothers, father, mother, grandfather, uncles, aunt and even myself, my family has over 250 years of service with the  duPont Company.  

But back to our tour.  I was speaking to some ladies from Rhode Island that made this part of a 2-day stop in the area.  They had never been to Newport, RI to tour the mansions there which was in their backyard and I was only visiting Winterthur for the second time.  It is funny, we all travel far and wide to visit an attraction but rarely do we look in our own backyard at what we have nearby.  Do people who live in people who live in Charleston SC never drive by Rainbow Road or visit the straw market the very places that as a tourist I checked off my must see list on my last visit?  I think I need to be more vigilant and start enjoying the wonders close to home on free weekends a little more frequently.




Just makes me want to grab some stitching and sit.

Heck, I forget the details on this Sycamore.   Either the oldest or largest in the State of Delaware.


It's hard to see but there is a house these in the center.

In addition to exploring the exhibit and museum, we toured the home.
The depth of this hall is an illusion.   Each archway is smaller then
the one before it giving the hall the look of greater depth.


What a lovely guest room.





Guests were afford all the pleasantries.

Moldings always intrigues me.    I am always in awe of the amount hand work and hand-tooling this would have required.


Family weddings have been held here.   Can't you just imagine how
pretty a bride would be coming down this staircase?


Can't remember what room this was......but the wallpaper was beautiful.

The chandelier - one of many - was beautiful.

The dining room what exquisite.

Mrs. duPont, like her husband, kept meticulous records.   No guest every sat to dine at the same table settings,
meal or bedroom dressings.  If a guest committed a faux paux on a previous visit, their room
were be made up in all white linens and bedding and they would know they made a transgression.

Benjamin West’s unfinished American Commissioners of the Preliminary Peace 
Negotiations with Great Britain. This is intentionally unfinished because the British 
refused to sit for the portrait.  Guess they were still angry about that whole revolutionary war thing.

This stoneware is what caught Henry duPont's interest and curiosity and
desire to amass the collection and create the museum.

Life at Downton with Lord and Lady Gratham would have been the English counterpart to the duPont's at the same time, early 20th century.    It was interesting to see what would how Americans would have been conducting themselves compared to how the Grantham's did during the same era.  If you are a fan, you know it takes just one show for the Crawleys to draw you into their family.

The bells in the servants quarters.

Oh that O'Brien!

 A collection of finery worn by Elizabeth McGovern and Shirley MacClaine.



Lady Edith's wedding dress.   Poor Lady Edith, left at the altar.

Remember Sybil wearing this "improper attire" to dinner.  
Lord Grantham flipped his black tie and tails that night!

Maggie Smith as the Dowager Countess.
That Violet, what a hoot she is!
Cleverly displayed with the movie scenes being shown behind the display took the viewer
right back to that night in the snow when Matthew proposed to Lady Mary.



Interesting 'trained' fuchsia flanked the entrance.

Beautiful stone walls made from the local stone.

Gigantic Japanese Maple!
It is time to go out and enjoy all things local taking that one tank of gas day trip!