Friday, December 31, 2010

YAY! My last finish of 2010!!

I finished 'Tis the Season yesterday, right under the wire for 2010.

I am really glad to have this done. It really took much longer than I thought it would!

I bound it with red. It pulls it together a bit more than just turning it under.

I think I will enjoy it more next year!

We are finally moving about easier now. Some of the snow will actually melt this weekend. This is how we looked after the blizzard:

I'm afraid I was not very prolific with my stitching this year. Not a very good showing at all!

Sorry for the terrible picture. In order of completion they were: Love is Enough, Blueberries, The Mary Clark Sampler, Wintertide, and 'Tis the Season.

Seems like most of my stitching time was spent working on Country Garden, and who knows when that will be finished!

The one I enjoyed the most was The Mary Clark Sampler.

Well, time for the ceremonial emptying of the stitching bits!

Here is my last TUSAL picture of the year.

Yes, definitely, most of my stitching (the pink) was on Country Garden.

What do you do with your bits?

I take mine outside and scatter them in my bushes for the birds. I always hope to see them in their spring nests. One year I did see a piece of red wool that I scattered after making my rug. I thought that was cool!

I will be back to post my new TUSAL picture on Jan. 4th. I have already decided on my next project, and hopefully there will be something to see, not just an empty jar!

I have so enjoyed reading your blogs, and all of your comments over the past year! They have meant so much to me!

To all of you:

A very Happy and Healthy New Year!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Hoping for one more finish in 2010!

I am hoping to finish quilting 'Tis the Season by the end of the year. If I get really lucky, I may just finish it.

I have completed all the stitching and most of the quilting. All that is left is to quilt all 4 borders. and to bind it. I decided to put a red binding on it rather than just turning it back as the directions suggest.

In case you were wondering what the lump was:

Furry loves to crawl under things to sleep. By the time I found the camera, he had crawled under it, and was quite annoyed when I tried to re-position it!

I have tried to explain to him that there are many people who would take exception to a large Maine Coon cat sleeping on the dining room table, but like all cats, he has a mind of his own!

Merry Christmas everyone! Hope everyone has a wonderful and peaceful Christmas!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Wintertide is finished but . . .

I am not at all pleased with it!

I am not sure what went wrong, but there is a fatal error in there somewhere! I even frogged it, started over again, and I still got it wrong!

It somehow came out smaller than it should have. The threads are all very fat in a very small area. The holes do not show up at all. You have to look very closely to see that there are holes at all! It should be much crisper looking. Ughfh!

I think I may try this again next year maybe, but I will use different threads. I was not pleased with the Kreinik Serica.

Grrr! Frustrating!

It is supposed to look like this:

Not my best work to be sure! Oh well!

I am slowly getting ready for Christmas, although I am waaaaay behind! This year seemed to be much more hassled than last year!

Last week we went up to a tree farm in Ulster County to cut down our tree. I really love that part of Christmas! Also, the tree is always so fresh that I feel guilty putting it out by the road at the end of the holidays because the needles haven't even started falling yet!

I will walk by row after row of perfectly manicured trees to find my perfect oddly shaped, scraggly tree!

I love Charlie Brown trees!

Here is a picture of Keith cutting down our tree.

He always makes it look so easy!

Well, I am getting further and further behind as I sit here (still haven't finished trimming the tree)!

I am very disappointed with my ornaments this year. Next year will be better!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Slow progress

I am still working on Wintertide here. I have stitched more complicated things than this, so it should not be a problem, but for some reason, I seemed to have trouble with this one. I found the silk Serica to be a little difficult to work with and wound up doing some frogging. Of course I ran out of the white and had to re-order. Kreinik products are not always easy to find. It took several days to get it, but I finally finished the blanket stitching around the outside.

This is what I have so far:

(click to enlarge)

I still have to finish all the flowers, do the leaves and vines, create the boxes, and do the cutting.

I have neglected to post a picture of my TUSAL! I know the end of the year is near when my jar starts to push out the top! Here it is:

Seems like most of it is pink from Country Garden.

Speaking of TUSAL, if you would like to join this little group, see Sharon's (It's Daffycat) blog

Should be fun!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I know! It's been ages!

Every time I thought about blogging, something seemed to get in the way.

I was hoping to post some more pictures of Loara Standish, but I have put that one aside for now. I really think there had to be something wrong with that girl! Anyone who would stitch like that must have had a twisted mind! I made a mistake, (or I thought I did, - then turned out, I really didn't make a mistake after I frogged everything), and took 2 full evenings frogging. The stitching pattern is very odd to make it reversible, so the frogging becomes really impossible because you cannot tell where the stitch is coming from. (Those of you who have tried reversible stitching will know what I am talking about). Anyway, I found the whole thing sooooo annoying, that I decided to put it aside for a while.

I have been making progress on my Country Garden quilt, but I do not have any pictures yet.

I had a busy summer and fall. This was our second year keeping bees, and we finally got some honey!

I made a sign. (Keith cut it out and I painted it and did the lettering).

People are getting to know that we are here, and we have been selling several bottles a week. We have put a lot into it, money and time. Keith figured out that if we sold the honey for what it cost us, we would have to charge about $67 a bottle! LOL! We are selling the bears for $6 each. Gradually as we sell them, that cost goes down. If we have a good year next year, we will break even.

No one gets rich selling honey! It does give you a good feeling though. It has been a very positive experience, and people do seem to appreciate it. We have one customer who has been here 4 times, and says we have the best honey she has ever tasted! That makes you feel good!

One thing I tried was the honor system which I am happy to say has worked very well. We have a little table that we put out when we are not there.

I spent last weekend bottling up the honey from the 4th hive, the last harvest of the season.
This is what I got. My little army of bears!The bees need what is left so they can make it through the winter. We will not be harvesting again until next spring.

Now, back to stitching . . .

For my holiday stitching, I decided on Patricia Andrle's Wintertide.

This is a handanger ornament. It is a freebie, and is available here.

I am stitching it as designed on 28 ct white linen, using silk threads, although I think this one could be done very nicely with Perle cotton as well.

I have just started it, but you can see the Kloster blocks here done with the silk serica.

Well that's it for now. I promise it will not be so long til next time!

Hope everyone has a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Does anyone know of a Irish reproduction sampler?

My ancestors all hail from Ireland, and I thought it would be fun to stitch an historical Irish sampler.
I have been looking, but so far with no luck. All I seem to find are shamrocks, leprechauns, and the like.
The Scarlet Letter has some from Scotland, but I have not seen one from Ireland.
If anyone knows of one, I would really appreciate it if you would drop me a line.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Finish and a VERY Nervous New Start!

I finished up The Mary Clark Sampler last week, but have only now gotten around to posting the picture.

I stitched it on 40 count linen using silk threads.

This was a fun sampler to stitch, and I am pleased with the way it turned out. I am looking forward to finding the right frame for it.

The May edition of my Totally useless stitch-along shows the colors from the Mary Clark Sampler, as well as a bit more pink from my Country Garden quilt.

Now, for the new start.

I have finally decided to bite the bullet. This has been in my stash for years, but has intimidated me every time I look at it!

This is one big, scary box!

Yup, the beast itself!

I have finally decided to take on The Loara Standish Sampler!

Just a bit of history:

This is a reproduction of America's oldest known sampler (circa 1640). It has been preserved in Pilgrim Hall, America's oldest museum since 1844. Loara was the daughter of Capt. Myles Standish and his wife Barbara , of Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts. The stitches are all very intricate, and the whole thing is reversible! The original was stitched on a fine linen (50 threads by 66 threads, and measures 7-1/4 X 23-1/2", using silk floss.

The kit came with 35 count hand-dyed linen and silk floss. There are instructions for stitching a non-reversible version, but I have chosen to make it reversible.

I decided that the only way I was going to get through this, was to treat it just like any other sampler, modifying it as I see fit.

I am changing the linen to 40 count, but perhaps the biggest change I am making is with the silk thread. The instructions call for using 2 strands of silk thread over 3 threads. I tried this and did not like the effect. Some of the stitches require the thread to pass through a single hole, many times. It comes out very thick and chunky. I decided to use 1 strand over 3 threads. I am hoping that increasing the linen to 40ct will make up for the density. This is not entirely without issues however, because some of the colors were intended to be blended together using two colors on the needle. The shades are very close however. I will have to make the decision which color to use when I come to it.

There was a huge amount of prep work for this piece. I dyed the linen in a mixture of tea and coffee, rinsed, dried and ironed it. This closed the holes even more.

It took an hour to read through the huge instruction packet, and I am still not sure I have gotten it straight! Then I had to make a stitching line down the left side of the linen, stitching over every three threads, to mark where the bands begin.

Finally I was ready to start. The first band was to be stitched in the famous Standish stitch.

This is not as easy as it looks! Your brain gets very used to stitching over 2 threads, and it is very hard to get used to stitching over 3! The 40ct makes it even tougher. Also,you have to constantly check the back to make sure it truly is reversible. It requires that one stitch be done twice in the same spot, and this is very easy to overlook. There were 67 of these stitches in Band 1.

This is how it came out:

(click to see detail)

Phew! This is going to be a tough one!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Mary Clark Update

Just a quick blog update on Mary Clark. Here she is so far:

This has been a fun stitch with all the flora and fauna in glorious colors! Love the navy blue deer!

I should finish it up in the next few days. It has taken a little longer than I thought. There have been a few nights that I was just to tired to stitch on 40 count linen.
Things have been very busy here with the house and of course the bees, but that is another posting!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Bountiful Blueberries is finished!

This was indeed a quick stitch. It measures about 2" X 2-5/8" on 32ct. It was completed in less than 3 evenings. I needed a quick little one after all of my big projects!

I outlined the blueberries, sewed on all the beads and the charm, and Voila!

Click to enlarge

Now of course, I have to find a frame for it.

Lately I have been spending my time working on my family tree. I put in a good deal of work back in the 80's, but I have found a little bit more with the help of the internet. I still need some major breaks though to trace my ancestors across the ocean.

I have a Mary Clark in my family, and I thought it would be fun to do the Mary Clark Sampler. Of course my relative is no relation to the Mary Clark who originally stitched this, but I really like the sampler anyway, so it seemed destined to be my next project.

I am stitching it on 40ct linen that I coffee-stained. I decided to use silk thread on this one.

This is what I have so far:

Hope my eyes hold out on that 40ct! It's slow going!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Finally a finish!

Tuesday evening I finished Love is Enough. This one seemed to take forever.

Although I liked the way it turned out, I didn't really enjoy working on this one. It was a very finicky, fidgety piece, with a lot of teeny tiny back stitching with constant change in direction.

Rather tough on the old eyeballs!

Now I have to find the right frame for it.

After this, I decided to work on a quick little one. I have had Bountiful Blueberries from Sweetheart Tree, in my stash for ages. This one is only 43 X 34 stitches, and works up very quickly.

The first evening I finished up most of the cross stitching. Then last night I finished up the rest of the cross stitching and did all the back stitching for the tendrils. By the way, I think the designer has probably never seen blueberries growing in nature. There are no tendrils or vine. They grow on a bush! That said, I like the design.

This is what I have so far:

Tonight I will do the outlining on the berries, and attach the beads and the little charm in the center.

I totally missed the March edition of the Totally Useless Stitch Along. Here is the March-April edition. Atleast there are a few more colors in there. Before it was totally pink from my quilt.

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Bee Drop

Early this morning (about 2 AM), Keith met the bee truck at the Palisades mall.

It was pouring rain!

Everyone was tired and just wanted to get their bees and go home.

Unfortunately Keith didn't get a chance to meet any of the bee people, so we still don't know who these people are!

Later, about 9 AM, when it stopped raining, Keith transferred the bees into the waiting hives. This is the worst part! The bees are dumped out into the box, but the remaining bees have to be removed by banging on the bottom of the box. Needless to say, this does not please the bees!

Luckily, I think Keith only got one sting! The part I hated was that they clung to his shirt, and he brought several of them into the house!


All in all, it went pretty well, and it seems like they are starting to calm down now. We will have to wait and see how they take to the new hives.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Today is my birthday . . .

and oh, what a large and terrible number it is!!!

Ugh! Do not know how I got here! I couldn't possibly be this old!

Ok, don't think about it! Just don't think about it! Just keep going!

That's it! Denial, denial, denial!

Not much going on around here today. It is very, very cold here today, and windy too. Looks nice out, but way to cold to be out for any length of time.

I have gone back to working on Love is Enough. It is a difficult stitch, and frustrating with back stitching at odd angles, and color changes every 2 or 3 stitches. It is quite a slow-go. I will be glad when it is finally finished.

Here is a picture of what I have so far:

The colors in the photo came out a little off. The blues and the greens are ok, but the pinks came out too coral looking. What is hard to see, is that there are actually three shades of green, three shades of blue, and three shades of pink. The pink colors are too subtle,
and unless you look really closely, it looks like one color. That is a bit of a disappointment.

Oh well that's all I have for today.

Guess I have to go back to face my grim reality!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Bit about the Bees . . .

Good news!

The two remaining hives survived the winter!

Last week, the weather was unusually warm so Keith opened the hives up to take a peek. He has been fretting about these bees all winter!

Both hives are very healthy, and very active!

Keith took a video of the bees returning with some pollen, but after trying for 2 days to get it to load onto my blog, I have given up!

As is tradition to name the hives, Keith named his after his mom Martha, and her two sisters, Connie and Ethel.

Unfortunately Ethel died off very suddenly last fall.

Martha was the hive that was attacked by the neighborhood kids last summer. Keith really babied this one, constantly feeding it, and fussing with it. I guess it paid off because she is thriving now!

Last year due to the rotten weather we had, we didn't get any honey. I am looking forward to getting that first jar this year!

To replace the lost hive, Keith ordered 2 new sets of bees. Now here is the weird part -
He has made arrangements to pick up the bees at the Palisades Mall, which is very close by our house. The guy is driving a truck up from Georgia. On his way to Connecticut, he is stopping at the mall. There have been many people who wanted to get these bees, but he has announced that he is sold out for the mall run!

Who are these people?

I don't know anyone else who has bees! Apparently there are quite a few of them around here! Very strange! They are all going to rendez-vous at the mall about midnight or so on April 9th!
Should be interesting!

Country Garden part 3 is completed!

I meant to post this last week when I finished it, but here it is:

I know. It looks just like the last panel!

This is the outer panel on the left side, so now I have the center panel and the left side of the quilt finished. Of course I still have to stitch them together and stitch the motifs where they are joined.
3 panels finished, 2 to go!

I was very anxious to finish up this last panel because I have decided to take a little break from Country Garden, It has gotten pretty monotonous, and I need a change.

It has been bothering me that I left Love is Enough unfinished, so I think I will try to finish that one up. The reason I left it, is that it is pretty difficult and takes a lot of concentration.

Thanks to everyone who commented on the kitties! Willie is recovering nicely from his operation, although we are still having problems adjusting his insulin dose.

Max has been holding his own, and has not had another attack, seizure? whatever, but he is still not gaining any weight. The vet wants to see a little weight gain when he goes back next week. He remains very weak. I don't know why, but no one seems to be able to diagnose what is wrong with him. This all started over 6 years ago, although clearly he has gotten much worse lately.

I will post again with a picture of Love is Enough shortly.

Happy Spring everyone!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Febuary was not a good month!

It is bad enough to have one sick pet, but two is just unbelievable!

First our 15 year old Willie became blocked. those of you who have male cats may be aware of this condition. Some cats are just prone to it. To complicate matters, Willie is also diabetic. Anyway, he became blocked so we took him to our local animal emergency hospital. They inserted a catheter and successfully unblocked him.

We took him home only to have him reblock about 12 hours later!

Back to the hospital! This time they kept him for several days.

Our regular vet was not available and we were receiving varying updates from several doctors.

The last night he was there the doctor seemed optimistic that he was doing ok. The next morning another doctor called saying that they had to remove the catheter and they weren't sure if he would unblock or not. She felt that he needed to have surgery (PERINEAL URETHROSTOMY "pu" - basically, the penis is removed and a new urinary opening is made - your basic sex change operation - poor Willie!). Unfortunately their surgeon was on vacation and she didn't have any othe on call. She asked me what I wanted to do.

I found it unbelievable that an animal hospital would not have a surgeon on standby. That is afterall, why I brought him there because of their facilities.

Well, to complicate things further, this was also the day of the giant blizzard! I had to go get him and transport him with the catheter inserted, to an animal hospital in New Jersey!

Thank God for 4-wheel drive! We could hardly see the road in front of us on the Thruway!

They took Willie in right away and did the surgery. He was back home the next day.

He is still recovering, but he is coming along well.

Well, while this was happening, my cat Max, had some sort of attack. He lost the use of his hind legs. I saw him favoring one of his back legs. The next thing I knew he fell head over heels all the way down a flight of stairs. He could not get up on his own.

Back to the hospital!

After blood tests and x-rays, they still don't know what is wrong with him. Yes, he has the very beginnings of what is probably kidney disease, but they say his numbers are not very bad, and that had nothing to do with it.

We now have to take him back to see a specialist for more tests. He has made a little improvement. He is now able to get around a little better, but he is still weak.

We are just reeling from the astronomical costs associated with all of this, and we are not through yet!
My nerves are shot!

Anyway, I don't have a lot of stitching to show here. I am still working on the 3rd of the 5 panels of the Country Garden quilt.

My only picture is the Febuary edition of my Totally Useless Stitch-along (TUSAL). Still only 2 shades of pink in there. I am longing to see some other colors! This is one of these projects that seems to take forever!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

What a Bust!

Not even a single flurry!

After all the hype, media coverage, storm of the century, etc.

Nothing! Nada!

Of course, everyone canceled all their plans! Oh well!
Atleaast we don't have to shovel out today.

I do like snow!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Some progress on Country Garden

I finished one of the side panels on Country Garden. There is a center panel, and then each side has 2 side panels. This is the smaller of the two on the left side.
This is really hard to photograph! It doesn't look like much here, but this is a really long piece.
Oh well! Two down. Three more to go! Ugh! Then of course it has to be made into a quilt, and quilted! That is another lifetime!

I am looking for a little project to take a break from this, but so far I haven't put anything together.

There is a big storm coming that will affect most of the east coast. Weirdly enough, it seems that we are too far north to be affected by it too much though. That's a switch! We may get about an inch or so, but that's it.

Have a nice weekend everyone!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Very Cold Day in January!


It was only 8 degrees here this morning, and it hasn't really warmed up much since!

I can't believe tomorrow is the last day of January! It has been a very fast month.

I have gotten quite a bit of stitching done on Country Garden, though the project is so large that it doesn't seem like I have accomplished very much.

I managed to finish the center panel.

(click to enlarge)

It is really hard to photograph it with any detail. This is the biggest panel, but unfortunately there are 5 panels altogether in this King-sized quilt. At times it does get very monotonous working on this. I have started on one of the side panels, and I am a little over half way done.

I would like to work on another project, but I have never been much good at establishing a rotation. I may have to re-visit that, because this one is going to take a very long time!

Also, I have joined the Totally Useless SAL!

Here is January's contribution:

I would love to add some other colors to this jar!

Besides this, I have been spending my time painting my house. I am finally just about finished with my bedroom. That has taken over a month.

Before I go, I just wanted to show you one of my estate sale finds. For years I have been looking for a Slipper chair for my bedroom. I got this for $25!

It is covered with a very ugly green paisley vinyl or plastic fabric, really yucky, but the chair itself is in perfect condition. Actually I am not sure if this is a slipper chair. I am not sure if slipper chairs have to be armless or not. I do like it though. I love the heart-shaped back on it. I figure it is from the 50s. Eventually I will re-cover it, but for the time-being it will have to remain ugly!