Sunday, December 1, 2019

Down the rabbit hole again

I hope all had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family, friends and good food.  I think this was the easiest holiday dinner I even cooked.   I even had time to take a NAP while the turkey was in the oven.   I don't know what I did different than I have done the last 40+ years of holiday dinners but it seemed to be effortless.   I credit the new kitchen layout!

And then the opposite happened.  Ever have one of those days when a simple light bulb change leads to nine other things none of which were on your to-do list?   That was my yesterday.  It started with my husband wanting to change out the light bulbs in the ceiling fans which required the extension (cathedral ceiling) ladder.   That lead to my climbing up to clean the ceiling fans, and the exposed beams across the room.   Which was side tracked by getting the duster I use that was buried under too many things hung on the rack in the laundry room which led to a sort out of the grocery bags and plastic bags and not to mention all the lost bras that I hang on the rack to air dry.  While the ladder was in the house, I decided to wash the windows up in the a-frame peak.   Which lead to washing the other 8 windows and the sliding glass door in that room.  That lead to pulling out furniture from the wall, which lead to wiping baseboards.   Somehow sorting the paperwork on my desk, filing papers, composing some letters for my bother's estate and writing some estate checks came next.   No need to continue, you get the picture of how my day was spent taking care of things that were nice to get accomplished but no where near my to-do list of things I wanted to accomplish.   Just call me side-track Robin.

And remember my pledge to keep my workbench clean and free from being the dumping ground for all things?   Well I have kept my pledge.........but

don't look at the other side of the room where the things have landed.   Ugh!  I see an evening this week taming this mess.

but enough.....

I've got some stitching updates to share.   First, at my last guild meeting (Delaware Valley Historic Sampler Guild - DVHSG) one of the classes was with Janis Note of Notheworthy Needle.    We learned to drill foam pumpkins to later be cross stitched.    Here's my start.   I didn't get all the holes drilled during class......and work on it since has been sidetracked by other things.

At my November EGA meeting we made these neat wool candy canes.    We were lucky enough to have Sue Gonzales of  instruct us.   Sue provide the pre-stitched wool that was stitched with a channel where we inserted 18-gauge wire, we then scrunched, twisted, crimped and bent these into the candy cane shape.   These were so super easy.   We each completed three in about a half hour.    Sue has a ton of original, adorable designs and is a pleasure to work with.   If you are lucky enough to be in the Middletown DE area, you may be able to get her to come to your guild or you can stop at her shop.   

Stitching progress has been mediocre.    I have finished three of the smalls for the Betsy Morgan Poineer Girl Etui.    Next up, I will work on the pin cushion that makes up the spine of the book.  I am enjoying these quick finishes and working with the beautiful silks that are part of the project.

I'm off to start the holiday decorations.   Might even treat myself to take-outs so I don't have to stop and cook dinner.

As always, thanks for stopping by and keep on stitching.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

A Partial Finish, A Finish, An FFO, A Start

Just back from another week babysitting little William.   What fun we had.    Will enjoyed a milkshake when we went out to dinner just off the campus of Penn State.

 It was much colder than when I was out there in October so there was very little outside time.

 Using fruity Cherrios, we made Indian Corn, glued on with icing because I knew little hands would be grabbing those Cherrios.     We also made turkeys and caterpillars and a frosty the snowman gingerbread house but I didn't take pictures.

And one other thing that is coming together to William's house is.... William has little sister on the way.   She is due to make an appearance in February.   We are all very excited.

 We did take an afternoon to go to Bald Eagle Park.   It was cold and the snow fences are already up.

 We didn't last long in the brisk cold winds.

As for the renos at my house........old counter tops, appliance garage and breakfast bar
Part one consists of new appliances, new countertops, no breakfast bar, new lighting, crown molding,  and new backsplash.........

Part two will be me painting the cabinets next more job on my retirement to-do list.

And now to stitching, got a question.  Do you enjoy the last stitch as much as the first stitch of a new start?   I do!    I enjoy each part for a different reason.......the selection process of what I will work on......the beginning stitches when all is (so far) executed perfectly........the final stitched which adds another project to the completion pile!

This was an enjoyable and quick stitch.  I started it in October.   I used the called for threads except for one.   Since I changed the called for fabric to a soft gray, I had to change the lighter gray called for floss.   I was not particularly fond of the over one stitching of the words but I happy with how it came out.   I have plans for how I am going to finish it but........between now and January, that finish won't happen.
Stitch Every Day by Hands On Design

On my way to State College, I stopped in Strasburg, PA at Hodge Podge Cross Stitch Shop to pick up my Santa and the Santa of a friend.    I certainly am capable enough of a seamstress to finish my Santa but it was that all precious commodity of time that seems to always be lacking......
 Diane's is on the left, mine on the right.

 I added buttons instead of the called for cross stitch and added beads here and there.
I used whisper on his beard.

He was another quick stitch, starting him July 25th and finishing him September 25th.

For my new start, I pulled from my stash a class project from Betsy Morgan class, the Pioneer Girl's Book Etui.    I figured it was about time to work on this 2016 class piece!  Up to now, all I have completed is the pre-stitch and what we did in class.

 Near impossible to see but I now have all the back stitching in for the smalls to be completed and I ready to start the stitching.
 I don't know why class pieces scare me so much. Completing this project will give me further confidence in my stitching and finishing ability for sure!    I have an upcoming class with Betsy Morgan in the spring and it would nice to be done before then.  I am pretty sure I can make that deadline!

Thanks for stopping by.......Happy Thanksgiving all my American friends......keep on stitching.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Tying up loose ends

I am telling you what has to be true that once you retire you don't know how you had time to evenings and weekends are booked week after week.   Switching to a four day week helped......initially.....but now the Friday off every week has been swallowed up with stuff to do.   Archimedes' Principle for sure or in layman's terms, open up a space or hole and it is quickly filled with something else.    Anyway, the countdown is down to 19 workdays.  Factor in three day weekends, holidays and vacation time, my last day is January 10, 2020 - my 20th anniversary with the company.   The on site bookmakers are laying odds I will 1) stay or 2) be back in the near future.
For now I am emptying my desk and finishing up projects and imparting my knowledge to my replacement.

So other loose ends are there's two Victorian Perforated paper Christmas pinkeeps or ornaments.    The tree could've been on a larger piece of paper but......I kept making mistakes with the cutting and the paper got smaller and smaller.   Quick and easy if you keep track of where you are in the snip snip snip edge to the paper.
 It may be quick and easy but it is messy messy with all the cuts and snips.

 Here is a better picture of the snowflake from last week. Lighting wasn't that good last time.

I attended classes at my guild yesterday.   The morning class was with Janis Note of Noteworthy Needle.   We learned to drill foam pumpkins to be later cross stitched.    I'd show you mine but it is still in the car, I am in my jammies, it is barely 25 degrees out and I am not about to tiptoe outside to get it. I will have to share next time.

For the afternoon, we had a class with Beth Seal of Summer House Stitche Workes.   We pre-stitched the crown and in class covered the box, assembled a velvet pillow for inside the box, assembled the crown and had scissor fobs made.  Both teachers were great and their classes were great.  And of course they each had a trunk show which we are not going to talk about here.  Add to that that the LNS opened early for us on Friday so we could shop before touring Winterthur.    Am I the only one that feels I HAVE to buy from little shops you go into?  I have bought more patterns and stash in the last month than I have bought all year.   I must be stocking up for retirement is all I can say.

Here is my finished class piece.
Box lid and scissors fob.

The classes were on Saturday but the teachers arrived on Thursday so.......I filled that Friday with accompanying them to Winterthur Mansion.    It was a great day.   The museum is awesome and it always reminds me of the treasures I have in my back yard.    We took our tours based on availability and a little out of order.  We did the architectural and antiques tour first followed by the introductory tour second.  For the Architectural and Antiques Tour, it was just the four of us.  
Our host, Henry Frances duPont, at age 83

This is two floors below ground.  Each wall is a different exterior of a different home - set for destruction, these home fronts were purchased by Mr. duPont and moved and reconstructed in his Winterthur Museum.
I think they told us there were 57 complete sets of china the family used.   Think that is crazy.   Mrs. duPont kept track of every attendee of every dinner party at Winterthur, what they ate, the table linens and flowers at that dinner, what room they stayed in  (there are over 150 rooms in the house turned museum)

We saw several of these looms throughout the tour.

 We also saw some examples of needlework.

Mr. duPont like everything to be symmetrical.

 The current hall above, and below how is appeared when the family lived here.

 Close up of stitching on a table cloth.

 Large collection of PA Dutch frakturs.

Two beautiful specimens of bargello.  Above left a wallet and right, a bible covering.
 The needlework on the bible is hard to see as it was coherent in plastic.

 A gift from the Shelbourne Museum.   Mr. duPont liked it so much, the owners donated it to Winterthur and then made a reproduction for their own museum.

The grounds are just as beautiful as well planned as the interior.

 The dining room above and photographed with the wedding party of one of the duPont daughters.

Six silver tankards crafted by the Paul Revere.

Original painting of George Washington; the Smithsonian has a copy.

Below, George and Martha Washington's presidential china.   Winterthurs boosts more pieces of this collection than are housed at Mount Vernon.

 Beautiful Chinese room.   Papered with hand painted mural with a no repeat scene.   The wall paper was found on rolls in a back room somewhere in France.  duPont had it installed at Winterthur.

Ever the proper host, cigarettes were offered to guests.

Our guide liked our enthusiasm and took us for sneak peaks at some of the areas we wanted to see but weren't on our tour.    We ran out of time and she was so sweet to offer to meet up with us after I introductory tour to show us more.      Did we ever feel like VIP's.

This is in the textile storage area.   These are the many sets of draperies and cornices that Mr. duPont would change out to match the seasons.

And if that is not enough, also currently on display at Winterthur  are the costumes for the Netflix series, The Crown.   So beautifully displayed with snippets of the scenes where each of the garments were worn were shown on the monitors.  Along side the description of many outfits was the photo of Queen Elizabeth in the outfit that inspired the costume.   The garden tram ride just about froze us to death but the guide was a wealth if knowledge.   Looking forward to a trip back in the spring to enjoy the gardens in warmer temps.

Back on the home front, the reno's are winding down.   Shower door, we are waiting on the glass man.  Linen cabinets, we are waiting for them to arrive.   Back splash, we are waiting for the electrician to do his magic first.   Entering Week 8 and I am getting weary of the dirt and the boxes and of things out of place.  I thought Mr. W. was jesting when he told the contractor in early September to start and be done by Thanksgiving. could never take that long I thought.    I am heading back to my son's for a week and I have my fingers crossed that it will be done when I return home.

 For my stitching progress, I am really happy with how much I have gotten done in so little time.  But since I am doing little on the household front, what's a stitcher to do?

There are 12 half triangles of the white and green across the bottom and I am just starting 11 in the series.  After that, there are the letters across the top.  Not much more to go!

That's all I've got folks.     It is hard to pare done the photos so thanks for hanging in.
Until next time, thanks for stopping by and keep on stitching.