January 26, 2023

Speed Bump

Miss Raegan visits her brother post surgery 
and eats HIS snacks.
2023 started with a bit of a bump.   First, my grandson had an emergency appendectomy.  No worries, all is fine, kids are so resilient and CHOP (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia) was beyond great.  Talk about resilience.  Admitted at 8 pm on a Saturday, scheduled for surgery at 9 am on Sunday and home by 3 pm Sunday.  It was more stressful for the adults than the child.


I attended Camp WannaStitch in OCMD for an annual EGA get together and came home not with purchases, but apparently picked up Covid.   Five years ago I would have thought nothing of it but a bad head cold.  However attendees were notified someone at the event tested positive upon returning.   Since I had what I thought was  head cold,  I tested.   And yes, I have had all my vaccines and boosters.  Thank goodness it seems that Covid is not as serious as it was when it first made the rounds three years ago.  I do have to say that when you don’t feel good that last thing you want to deal with is the difficulty of trying to remove the over-wrap on the cough syrup and then trying to open the child-proof top on it.  I'm not a violent person or one who slams drawers or doors but I could have launched that cough syrup into next week and not thought twice about it.

Even with a week of Covid isolation and no desire to stitch, I feel like I am keeping on track on several fronts so far in 2023.   But let’s not get too excited as we are not very far into the year. 

My first finish for 2023 was this bag I stitched for my sister’s birthday.   The bag is from “It’s Sew Emma” and the pattern is from Shepherds Bush stitched in perle cotton.   My kind of project…..started after lunch one day and done by dinner the next day.  


I have made the most wee amount of progress on The Eternal Flame from Jackie DuPlessis.   It is slow going and tedious due to some dry eye issues.   I am taking it painstaking slow on purpose being careful with this one.  

I am happy with progress on  a new start which was part of January WIPGO 2023.  One WIPCO task was to start the Shaker sampler,  To Emeline from Violets and Verses.   It was from my Shaker Retreat in Enfield last November.  I was breezing along until I hit the over one.   It is not too bad on this linen count though.

My other WIPGO project was also accomplished.   My task for the month was to chart the initials and make progress on  Our Lasting Friendship from Blackbird Designs. I met the challenge so I can also mark this as a success.  I am not stitching the entire sampler but rather I pulled out the center cartouche and have personalized it with the initials of some stitching buddies.  I would have like to have made more progress but other irons were in the fire.   


There are a few days left in January and maybe I can get in a few more stitches....maybe not.


My main focus for January was to complete  my Guild’s year long SAL.   The deadline for completion was to be completed in January and I made it with four days to spare.    I generally kept up until November when I put it aside because, well,  November and December are just too busy to be adding the stress of meeting a deadline to your life.   I’m happy this one is completed which will free up a lot of stitching time.  This is Garden of Stitches by Samplers Not Forgotten.   It is a pretty piece with a bunch of specialty stitchers.  


  

January 9, 2023

Reading

Reading takes me away.   I can be in Bali while snuggled on the couch in pj’s with a cuppa, or just as easily be in Paris in 1940.  Reading historical fiction makes me appreciate all I have to be grateful for.   To see how far we have progressed albeit I feel sometimes the old ways were better.

I use the Goodreads Ap to keep track of MY personal challenge as well as a place to keep a list of books I have read and want to read.....just like patterns, I've downloaded the same book more than once.    My challenge for 2022 was 26 books.    I didn't want to set the bar too high and feel defeated if I didn't meet the challenge.   Well, I doubled it.    I read, or listened to, 52 books in 2023.    I am not trying to shame others with my number.  It is MY challenge to myself.   I read at mealtime, I listen while stitching; I just have a lot of alone time to fill.  Some do not agree that audio books should count but having to take some long car drives by myself, audio books have become my friends.   Not only when driving, but doing hours of yard work in the spring and summer, I pop those air pods in and I off to the beach in Nantucket, or walking through the pre-revolutionary colonies.

I read almost exclusively off my iPad.   When I got my first Kindle about 10 years ago it took about a minute to get used to that versus a physical book and I have not looked back.   For me, I love the portability of taking the iPad versus a big old book as well as, oops! I finished and viola a quick download of the next book in an instant.  

I think this year was a fluke as for the number so I am bravely setting my 2023 challenge at 36!

My Statistics for 2022

52 books read

18,393 pages

Shortest book - 13 pages (??)

Longest book - 973 pages

Average book length - 353 pages

Most shelved book - Of Mice and Men

Least shelved book - The Jade Dragon


Some of my favorites from 2022

The Girls in the Stilt House by Kelly Mustian

Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah

The Escape by David Baldacci

Night Road by Kristin Hannah

The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi

My Name is Resolute by Nancy Turner

The Blue Bistro by Elin Hilderbrand

Next Year in Havana by Channel Cleeton

Cider House Rules by John Irving  

Mississippi Blood  by Greg Iles

January 1, 2023

Happy New Year One and All

I trust everyone had a pleasant Holiday Season and welcomed in 2023 with joy and hope.  Not one to go out on New Year’s Eve, I properly ushered in the new year with a new start.  This has been part of ‘my plan’ since the September class so I didn’t get overwhelmed during the crazy busy fall/pre-holiday crush.  This is  Eternal Flame Huswif from a Jackie DuPlessis class.  The silks are so sumptuous!     

  
Aren’t I just so nice to not put pressure or over extended myself…..it’s a new concept that I am trying out as I am my own worst enemy.

Christmas was a good one at our house.  We had the usual with my son, his family and one of his two sisters spending the night and the little ones tumbled down the stairs at 5 a.m.!   Eldest daughter and husband joined us by 9 a.m. and we had all the family, fun and laughter.   This year we did a Pollyanna exchange.  We all agreed none of us need anything; we are all in a position to buy what we want when we want  and aren’t we are all trying to declutter and downsize anyway?  It was different to not have to buy and wrap a ton of presents.  We all still  bought for the babies.  And, of course, I did stockings for everyone.  I had tried to stop a few years ago but ONLY for one year as there were protests and much moaning about no stockings.  

I had fun with five, yes FIVE, different advent exchanges.  Four with friends and one that I signed up for.  It really is 6 if I count the one I failed at.   It was fun each day squeezing and feeling the bags to try to guess the contents.   Some brought laughter and some tugged at the heart but all were wonderful.  The sixth one was the iStitch Advent SAL but I floundered.  First I couldn’t see to stitch on the fabric I chose.  It’s was the fabric, not the eyes. I did a stash dive and found other banding to use.   I had started stitching it horizontally not vertically.  Stitcher's prerogative I thought but the more I saw, the more I was liking the vertical placement I was seeing others do.   I keep saying I was going to turn the banding to the other end to restart and just didn’t get to it.  I was two days behind, then five and then…..  Again to eliminate any unnecessary stress, I  put the piece aside and with the intent to relaunch my efforts December 1, 2023.  But you know what, after seeing the completed SAL, I am not ‘in love’ with the piece.      It did feel good to not have to fret about starting over, catching it up, getting it done, etc.  And it feels good to grant myself permission NOT to have to stitch the piece.  I downloaded all the files in case I change my mind.  We should stitch what we love right?   

The SAL I did complete was from Moonfeathers. It was fun and I did keep up with it.   There was a day or two that I fell behind but it was quick to catch up.   It was a bit fussy to assemble and my first attempt was just not on target.  I decided to frog and try again.    The day-to-day directions were great and the 2021 SAL videos were still on Instagram to view and follow.   It has really put me in the mood to do some embroidery work.



I had some end of December finishes and one FFO completed before Christmas.   I put the last stitches in the Civil War Huswif from Linda Vinson.   Now on the to-do list is fully finishing this.



I stitched up this tree, an EGA project from our December meeting.    I don’t know if I will finish this as a flat fold or as an ornament.  
 

Lastly, I am super happy with how Christmas Rules turned out.   Better yet, it was FFO’d and on display for this holiday season.









I have joined WIPGO 2023 on FB.  I put more finishing on my chart than stitching but when I thought about it, it is finishing I want to accomplish. Also every year I have so many things I want to get accomplished but never seem to get to them.   I am thinking this monthly assignment from WIPGO will give me permission to stray and work on say the Christmas Ornaments I always say I am going to do each year or to start a wool appliqué piece I put on my list each year; or to  fully finish some of my stitched pieces.  

These are my two.  January WIPGO projects.   First, to chart the initials and do work on the BBD Our Lasting Friendship.       















My second WIPGO for January is a Shaker Sampler from the Shaker Retreat I attended in November.  Another piece with fabulous fibers.  

I am such a Labrador when it comes to what I am stitching on/working on …..you know, Squirrel, and I am off as soon as I see something else and of course I jump in with both feet with absolutely no regard to what I am leaving behind undone!  True story.    I want to do ALL THE THINGS so hopefully this will help me work on ALL the things and at the same time get things done.   We did something similar in EGA a few years ago and I able to get a lot stitched and finished.   My Delaware Guild is also doing a monthly number pull on one of five different projects.   Somehow I hope to be able to dovetail the two WIPGO’s.  I just hope it doesn’t increase my WIP’s/UFOs from 10 to 20!

I plan to return to my Block a Day Quilt in the next couple of weeks.  I put it aside because, again, I was lessening the ‘stress’ of too many projects/too little time.  You know, Jack of All/Master of None type behavior I have that leads to be going off in too many directions and NOTHING getting the attention it deserves, but I digress.  At any rate, I am close to the finish and I am anxious to get this quilted.   Just a dozen more blocks to cut, stitch and add to the mix.  I have the backing fabric and batting already; just need to finish the quilt top.

Coming up in January I have Camp WannaStitch in Ocean City, MD. In February I will be Ocean City for Super Bowl and will get to see the new Salty Yarns location.   At the end of February I will be in Tennessee for a week visiting a stitching friend.  A couple of pending guild retreats pending.  I am driving with a friend to Rhode Island in June while she attends a class.  A Prim Retreat at Hobby House in October and attending the Shaker Retreat again in Enfield NH in November. Since it is only January  WHO knows what else will fill my calendar.  Lots of laughter at each and probably not as much stitching as I think at any I am sure.  

Wishing you all a healthy and happy new year.  May your needles stay sharp, stitches be many, your floss stay untangled and your frogging be at a minimum.  Thanks for stopping by, stay safe and keep on stitching.


December 5, 2022

December!

 I hope everyone stateside had a Happy Thanksgiving!    Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and this year did not disappoint.   We were all together again at my house.  There was that nasty pandemic thing and also for several years,  the middle child has stayed in Massachusetts and celebrated with friends. This year she came home for the week.


There were no cell phones at our table, but we did have a little fashionista.  Aunt Heather gave Miss Raegan some costume jewelry and she had to put it all on right away and leave it all on all day.  



I do admit I got myself a little wrapped around the axle and in a tizzy at the end of November/beginning of December.  All of a sudden  it was the week before Thanksgiving.  


You know how is goes when you start thinking of all the things you have to do and don’t know when you will get them done?  And this person wants something from you and another person wants something else, and someone guilts you into something, and you have your own list and you’re supposed to somehow fit it all in.   I needed to drop back and punt.  It was time to stop everything and just kind of review and plan what was needed.  I made my list and prioritized it.   It is the only way I could 'unwind', get it all done, see progress with increasing check marks for  completed items and feel in control of what is a sometimes out of control week!  I had just  run amok for a bit.   Not too much of a control freak am I?  Or too many years as an Executive Administrative Assistant and using that Franklin Covey Planner I guess.

It started with some texts.  I am doing an advent exchange with four friends and they were all trading texts about shipping  their boxes!  What!!  I hadn’t even wrapped my gifts!  What am I saying, I hadn’t even finished the construction of my gifts!    I’d better rethink how I use that  list  that I believe keeps me on track because “wrapping” has been on my list since August so has the ‘construction’ of a couple of the gifts.    Maybe #1 on the list is to CHECK the list.    Taking a realistic assessment of what I had to do I could see it wasn’t that bad.    I spent an afternoon to sort and wrap up to December 11th for all four exchanges.  I spend the next afternoon figuring out what I still had to construct and got started.    In four days, I got things constructed, wrapped and shipped.  Things do get easier if I just stay home a for a few days to get things done. Why is that I so often BLOW the task up in my mind to something bigger that is actually turns out to be?    It’s true, every journey begins with one step and the first step I must take is jumping over the hurdle of my avoidance……I just needed to jump in and do it.

Since middle daughter was here for a week and since we were delaying our Thanksgiving Dinner to Friday due to work schedules,  she and I had a mini-sew-a-thon.   It is great to be able to leave everything (and the mess) set up for several days straight.  This is when I was able to get those items constructed; and was able to trim, press, and interface four cross stitch pieces for finishing.  

I helped her make her layer cake of backing, batting and top and then helped her quilt this quilt.   She made and attached the binding and took it back north to hand stitch the binding down.


She also made this banner style wall hanging.   Don’t you just love that grumpy cat face?  She took some Kreinik and some Etoile floss to stitch whiskers.
 
I didn’t do any work on my Block-a- Day Quilt.   Boy oh boy, am I on a hiatus on this one or what!  It’s only been 6 weeks since I  dropped the ball but it seems like it was six months.   13 blocks left to cut, sew together, assemble and I will be done.  I am taking the pressure off myself and I am not worrying about finishing it after the first of the year.  A good two or three days will do it.

As for stitching, I have made decent progress on Garden of Stitches as well.   I hope to get another big chunk stitched by the end of the month.  It is such a pretty piece.   I need to finish that row above the WXYZ  and I have the large flower basket under the WXYZ and I will be done. There are some other little things - like satin stitches - we were to leave to last that I will have to go back to complete.


I did fully finish HOD’s Costume Party.  This was a mystery SAL in September.   I added the purple beads for what my mind sees as bubbles coming out of the witch's brew.  I also added some JABCO buttons from my stash.   Why save them, right?   I might do a stash dive and change the ribbon to a purple.

I am in the homestretch for the Civil War Huswif, from Linda Vinson.  It is from a  July Guild program.    I used my grandson’s name and 1st Pennsylvania represents him being my first  grandchild and he lives in Pennsylvania.   I only need to finish the flag that is taking forever. 


The Liz Mathews Tree was a project she created for my Delaware Guild.   We pre-stitched the piece and part of our November meeting was dedicated to the assembly.   Liz was a great teacher and I was able to work right along with her via Zoom and have my tree done by the end of the meeting.  


















I stitched this Jeannette Douglas Design last winter and fully finished it this weekend.   I need to glam it up still with some ribbon and a sprig of greens.

 I stitched and finished this cute little ornament that was one of my Advent gifts.

I also stitched and finished this perforated paper pumpkin from my Shaker retreat.   This one and the bird above were stitched and finished in a day.  I have one more holiday finish I hope to work on tomorrow.  The piece is stitched, pressed, interfaced and finishing fabrics chosen.    I have the incentive of Show and Tell at my EGA this Thursday which is motivating me.


The first weekend of December I participated in Jingle Ball.   It was an online event put on by Lindy Stitches.   The concept and the execution were  very well done.  There were 10 or 12 designers participating.  Cathy Haberman, Linda Stoltz, Janis Note, Beth Seal, Stephanie Webb to name a few. They had Meet and Greet zoom rooms with each designer, lecture rooms, online classes (which sold out in seconds), finishing tutorials and of course, a merchandise mart.  A girlfriend spent the weekend and we stayed up until midnight catching up chatting in zoom rooms with friends from all.   We drank Mimosas and stayed in our PJ's all day.

Made some new friends, chatted with designers, was able to order show exclusives, saw previews for the Nashville Market,  and just enjoyed the weekend long event.   It was a bargain for the $10 ticket price.  

Back in August, I  gifted myself the advent stitch from Moonfeathers in Denmark.   It is an embroidery project.   Each day I open another little bag and stitch with the directions and fibers inside.   The design is outlined like a Christmas tree.....time will tell what the finish will be like.



My (current) plan is to start the Jackie DuPlessis piece from my September  Class on New Year’s Day.   This piece and working towards a finish on Land That I Love by Teresa Kogut are my ONLY 2023 stitching plans......oh fear not,  I am well aware something will come along and cause me to stray.....this stitcher has no will power.   In fact, I am intrigued by the WIPGO SAL many are joining on FB.   Since I want to stitch on ALL the things at once, I need someone to be the director of my  chaos and tell me what my assignment is for the month.   And of course, a class, a retreat, a new design that everyone else is doing will easily divert me from my appointed path.    Oh if only I could be monogamous.   There is slim chance I can stick to my pledge to only have a new start AFTER  after  two finishes.........  I know all my plans are likely to be feudal.   Too many projects and too little time.  I got nothing people.

Thanks for stopping by, stay healthy, stay happy and keep on stitching!


   

November 15, 2022

The Ride Home

Sunday morning and another delicious meal and we were on our way towards home.   We left New Hampshire and headed to Deerfield, Massachusetts.   What an adorable village.   We toured several of the homes and had a fine meal at the Deerfield Inn.   Some homes had tour guide while others were self guided. There was a lot to see here and you would definitely need more than an afternoon.  Also part of Deerfield was the Deerfield Academy, a boarding school. 





Some of the homes, such as this one, currently serve as dormitories for the Boarding School.



Deerfield Academy Boarding School




Roses still in bloom in November 

Home of the headmaster of the Boarding School








Before leaving Deerfield we stopped at The Flynt Museum.    They had an extraordinary collection of needlework.   

Orpheus charming the animals, circa 1650. 

Charity, hope and faith, from England circa 1654 - 1660 



Above and below, close ups of Charity, hope and faith.    Look at those bullion knots!

Esther and Ahasuerus, London, circa 1650-1675


Gloves, English or French, 1675

Looking glass, England, circa 1660


Sampler stitched by Elizabeth White of Massachusetts (or possibly northern Connecticut,) 1677, age 10

Ruth Hawkins, age 10, 1692, London

Below are three pieces from the Deerfield Society of Needlework.   Only the best needlework was permitted to have the “D” stitched in the lower center motif.  



French waistcoat, 1750


And the special treat at the end of the display…….a casket.  Not just any casket but one stitched by Trisha Nguyen. Caskets were lidded boxes stitched by girls in the 17th century.  Completed caskets once stitched once assembled they held various personal objects serving as both their skill and their families wealth. 




Back in the car; home safely by 8 pm; crashed on the sofa; and then up early and off to my son’s to babysit for the week.   No rest for the weary and all my trip goodies left spread across the dining room table waiting for my return. I didn’t even bother to unpack, just took my suitcase as it was and did my  laundry there.   

Knowing that once I got the kiddos out the door in the morning, I would be free until pick up time at Day Care and the bus stop, I took my sewing machine with me as well as some projects.   Surely I was out of my mind.   I did not put in one cross stitch, I did not finish one strawberry, I did not cut one quilt block….all I managed to do crafting-wise was to do some paper crafts making these tags for an upcoming project idea.


I did manage to sew ONE quilt block on my 100Days/100 Blocks Quilt.   I was getting a cramp from trying to pat myself on the back for keeping up with this one since the start August 1st.  My missing the deadline has humbled me. I’ve got 13 blocks to cut and sew. It’s on my (long) to-do list for the week.  Looking forward to getting this sent off to be long armed.   Once the inner and outer borders are added, this will be queen sized and way too big for me to quilt on my machine.  Been there/done that and it wasn’t fun.  So far, this quilt has been sewn ENTIRELY on my new-to-me 1947 Singer Featherweight machine!  


First 80 blocks have been sashed and sewn together. 20 more to join and add; then inner and outer borders and done!  It has been a challenge some weeks to keep up but I have enjoyed the process.

It was a good week spending time with the kiddos but it was also great when 8 pm bedtime came around too!  Often, I was soaked from bath-time and just as often this Damma fell asleep when I laid down and read bedtime stories.
Miss Raegan is ready for picture day at school.

My little helpers as I was cooking dinner.  They pulled the bar stools over to the stove to watch me cook …..hot dogs of all things!

Finally Friday afternoon I was back in my own little nest I just kind of vegged out for a day and a half.   I saw that The Crown had a new season out so I thought I would chill and watch it.   I was about 5 episodes in and wondering why there was so many flashbacks……well seems I was so brain dead that I started watched from the beginning again.  Geez, it is obvious I am not the sharpest tool in the box.  

At the Shaker Retreat I managed so little stitching.  I did put in a few stitches on Garden of Stitches SAL.   I had caught up in September and then hit Row 18 and stopped.   But I am back at it again and have finished Row 18 and I am moving through the next rows easily.   I hope to start on Row 22 before this weekend. 


Stay tuned,  I already have a trip in June 2023 and October 2023 and November 2023 on the books with Stacy.   We will have to see what we can add to our list of must see’s along the way.