Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year Everyone!

We will be having a quiet night here. We have never been big celebrators on New Year's Eve.
Although we live just 25 miles from NYC, we will not be going to Times Square!

Times Square is one of those thing you have to do once in your life, preferably when you are young and more oblivious to the cold!
Keith and I still remember the year we went there. We were 18, just dating a few months, all those decades ago! I wish we had taken pictures.
Now, I prefer to stay home by the fire and watch a good old movie!

On the stitching front, I have made some progress with Freelove Hazard.

Here she is so far:

 She is coming along well, and hopefully I will have my first finish of 2013 before long.

2012 was a good year for finishes, 14 in all.

They were:
1. And They Sinned
2. The Tulip Patch
3. Easter Parade
4. L'Automne
5. The Sarah Whitely Sampler
6. The Most Wasted Day
7. Deep Peace
8. Prairie Schooler Pumpkin ornament
9. Fecelanno (Sears) Sampler
10. Prairie Schooler Cornucopia ornament
11. Prairie Schooler Hen ornament
12. Seek Joy in All Things
13. Early Candle Pocket
14. Count Your Blessings

Here they are (not in order).

2012 Finishes
Don't forget to leave a comment if you would like an opportunity to stitch the Traveling Pattern (see last post). I will pick the winner on January 6th.

However you celebrate, I wish you all a very Happy and Healthy New Year!

I'll be back next year!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

It's Time for The Traveling Pattern to move on!

Yes! She's finished!
I worked hard on this to make it my final finish of 2012.

For those of you who don't know, The Traveling Pattern was started by Sharon ( It's Daffycat ), back in Feb of 2011.
The design is Count Your Blessings, from Shakespeare's Peddler.

Here are the rules as posted on Sharon's original post:

1. Comment on this post, saying you would like to be part of the Stitcherhood.

2. By leaving this comment, you agree (if you are chosen) to stitch the design and send it along to the next person in a timely manner. If this means dropping everything in your rotation to concentrate on this be it. If you can't bring yourself to do this ~ don't sign up.

3. You must have an active blog to participate. If you have a blog but never post to it ~ you won't be chosen to be the next stitcher.

4. This is a giveaway-type Traveling Pattern. That means you must follow it from blogger to blogger to enter each time it is ready to send along. Commenting on this post doesn't make you a guaranteed part of the Stitcherhood.

Here is mine.

Count Your Blessings - Shakespeare's Peddler
I changed the colors in mine to make it look more like my own gray cedar-shingled house.

It is stitched on palest green 40 ct linen, using Sampler Threads.

So there you have it. If you would like a chance to stitch this well-traveled pattern, leave a comment on this post, and I will pick the winner on January 6th 2013.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas Everyone!

It is Christmas eve, but not all has been peaceful here.

Over the last two days, we have lost a chicken on each day to a hawk. First we found Lulu, the little red hen, then yesterday it was Dotty, the little Silver Spangled Hamburg. We ran out but it was too late!

Today, I watched them very carefully, and everything seemed ok. No signs of hawks. I went us to the attic to get some ribbon, and I heard the screams. I ran down to find the chickens scurrying everywhere. One by one, they came out of hiding and returned to the coop. That is, all of them except Bev, a very friendly Black Australorp. We looked everywhere for her. By now it was dark. Keith got a flash light and we continued searching. We finally gave up and came inside. It is bitterly cold here tonight. We were getting ready to eat when I asked Keith if he wouldn't look one more time.

Out behind the tool shed is an old wood chipper with a tarp thrown over it. He shined the light under it, and saw her red crop. He thought the worst, but pulled her out. Next thing he knew, her eyes opened! He brought her inside to check her out. She seemed ok, but very stunned, and very cold. She had a very close call! After a few minutes he re-united her with her chicken buddies in the coop.

It sure made my Christmas!

I just wish we could have saved Lulu and Dotty, but atleast we saved Bev. I do not think she would have made it through the night there. The raccoons would have gotten her for sure. I hope she is just dazed and will be ok. Tomorrow will tell.

I know! People eat these little creatures, but when you raise them from 1 day old, handle them, hand feed them, and name them, you become very attached. I have gotten very used to them running up on my deck to beg for food. They will not like it, but we will not be letting them out for a while, not until this hawk moves on.
Tomorrow they will stay in their pen.

The light you see behind the wreath is from a light bulb.

So, not the most peaceful of Christmas eves, but a Christmas miracle of sorts !

Hope all of you have a very Happy, and Peaceful Holiday!

Friday, December 14, 2012

2012 Tree cutting

I have been very behind in my Christmas planning this year, and I am feeling very rushed! In the immortal words of Archie Bunker, "The holidays have us by the throats again!"
I have a few people on my list who are just impossible to shop for!
I am running behind on the decorating too.

Keith and I made our traditional trip to cut down the tree. This year we went up to Germantown, NY to find it. I think we got a good one!

Here's the video of Keith cutting it down.

We haven't put it up yet. That will be this weekend.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Traveling Pattern, TUSAL and some progress on Freelove Hazard!

I am pleased to announce that I will be the next to stitch the Traveling Pattern!
McKenna announced that I had won on her blog, Chic Crafting.
I am already planning the colors!

The New Moon is here once again! Time for the Totally Useless Stitch- A- Long!

Here is my TUSAL jar. It is filled with every color in the rainbow this year!

I had planned a large Christmas project, however since I still haven't received the fabric, I have spent the time stitching Freelove Hazard. I have completed everything inside the inner border, and made a small start on the outer border. The bird was a fun stitch, but the flowers were giving me fits! I wound up doing some frogging. Serves me right for doing all that one-over-one stitching when my eyes were tired!
This is how she looks so far:

I love the bright, bold colors!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Early Candle Pocket

This is the time of the year when all these little stitching projects need to be finished up!

Early Candle Pocket from Needleart Designs - Brenda Gervais

This was a quick stitch on 28 count flax, using DMC floss. The stitching is all one over one.

I backed it with an Indigo reproduction fabric.

If I did it over again, I think I would make it a little bigger, but I do hope to use it as an actual candle pocket in my dining room. I need to find some smaller candles to fit in it.

It feels so good to finish up these stray little projects! Hopefully I can fit in a few more before the end of the year.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Some Progress on Freelove Hazard

I have been spending much of my time finishing up some small items and holiday stitching. I hadn't planned to start Freelove until after the Holidays, but I just couldn't resist anymore!

She is being stitched on 25 count unbleached linen, using silks.The majority of the sampler is stitched one over one, with the exception of the large capital letters, and the border. I was concerned about the floss coverage. One over one looks just fine, but I was afraid that the one over two looked a bit sparse. The instructions were quite clear however, that if silk was used, only one strand should be used. I guess it is a matter of getting used to the look.

Here is what I have so far:

The Rose Is Red
But It Will Fade In
Time The Vilot Sweet
But Quickly Pass The
Prime Such And So
Withering Are Our
Earthly Joys Which
Time And Sickness
Speedly Destroys

Not the cheeriest of sentiments for sure, but it was typical for the time.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Seek Joy in All Things (with Chainsaw Stuffing)!

I am slowly finishing up some of the smaller projects I started.

One of them is Seek Joy in All Things, from Stacy Nash Primitives.

I absolutely loved stitching this!

It is stitched on 28ct Flax linen, using DMC.

I backed it with a rustic plaid.

For the stuffing, I wanted a primitive type, natural stuffing. I had thought of walnut shells, but I was inspired by my own back yard!

We had a huge 200 year-old Silver Maple come down during Sandy. It was quite a job to cut it up into somewhat manageable pieces. This was what was left after the sawing:

Lots of curly-que wood shavings! 

I thought it would be a great way to memorialize the tree!

It worked out pretty well. It is a nice scrunchy, lumpy stuffing, just perfect for a prim pillow.
This is how it looks finished:

I think it fits in well with the natural Holiday decorations.

It seemed a good way to truly "seek Joy in all things". Just my little way of taking something back after the storm!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Hen Ornament for 2012

Since this seemed to have been the year of the chicken, it seemed only fitting that we needed a chicken ornament!

The backing is a simple Christmas print.

This came from an old Prairie Schooler booklet.

Holiday Homestead - Prairie Schooler - Book 14

I changed the color from white to black to look like my Black Australorps. It didn't seem terribly Christmasy to me so I added some blending filament to the colors for a bit of sparkle.

We had a quiet Thanksgiving weekend, and spent some time trying to clean up after Sandy.
Keith worked on re-building the chicken run that was completely destroyed. This was very annoying because we had only finished building it last summer.

It will take us quite a while to deal with all these trees. Some of them may stay there for quite a while I'm afraid!

I also made a start on Freelove Hazard, even though I wasn't going to work on it until after the holidays. I just couldn't resist it! I will be back soon with some pictures.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Freelove Hazard

I am excited to be taking part in Nicola's Scarlet Letter 2013 Challenge.

For my first sampler, I have chosen Freelove Hazard .

Freelove Hazard 1792 - The Scarlet Letter

I have had this in my stash for the longest time.
I just love all the birds and colors in it! I also love that name! It always sounds to me like a 60's Hippie chick!

I spent yesterday kitting it up. Au Ver a Soie is my silk of choice, however I did not have all the colors. Where necessary, I substituted with Elsa Williams and Splendor. I think they are very close matches.

I am very anxious to get started, however I do have some holiday stitching that I need to finish, so it will be a little while before I can start.

After Freelove, I am not sure what I will stitch. I have several SL samplers in my stash, including 17 Sailors.
I also want to stitch Jane Atkinson.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Just a pop-in here!

I wanted to post about Nicola's Scarlet Letter Year challenge!
It sounds like a lot of fun!
I know I have several SL samplers in my stash, and I am hoping to get Jane Atkinson for Christmas! (HINT, HINT to those wondering what to get me)!

If you would like to join, let Nicola know. She will be getting it organized soon.

Happy Thanksgiving

to all you Americans out there! To everybody else, have a wonderful Thursday!

I finished up this little ornament for Thanksgiving.

I gave it just a simple finish, backed with a tone on tone burnt orange fabric, and lightly stuffed with poly-fil.

It came from this Prairie Schooler "oldie but goodie".

A Prairie Year II from Prairie Schooler - Book # 23 from 1989
We are having a very quiet Thanksgiving here, just my husband and myself, and of course the fur babies!

From our house to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Fecelanno Sampler ( LOL) !!!

Anyone who is a regular reader of this blog knows that I love to stitch the older stamped samplers. I have quite a collection of them now. They are perfect for when I am feeling tired, brain-dead, or do not have access to my magnifier.

A while ago, I picked up one of these samplers that was about 60% completed. It was dirty and had a few stains, but overall it was a very nice sampler. From the looks of it, it had been stitched by at least 2 previous stitchers, if not more. Some of the stitching did not go in the same direction, which did bug me a little. I re-stitched one of the motifs, but quickly realized that I would not have enough of the remaining floss that accompanied it, to re-do much more. All in all, it did not look bad, so I just finished the remaining motifs.

This was a Sears Needlework Kit # 5142 published in the Fall of 1967. It definitely looked like an historical reproduction. I wanted to see if I could find out more about it, so off to Google I went.

I found the exact same sampler being sold by antique dealer/auctioneer. He listed it as, "The Fecelanno Sampler, stitched by someone in the Fecelanno family in 1850".



or maybe , could it be . . .

Fece l'anno  (made in the year)

Ok, now maybe not everyone would know that that is Latin, but if you were putting yourself out there as an expert, wouldn't you at least take the time to do a little research?

In less than 10 minutes online, I found that this was a very common phrase found on many continental samplers. There were several samplers in the Victoria and Albert collection that included this phrase.

Anyway, I completed the sampler and gave it a good soak. Most of the stains came out, or got much lighter.

Here she is:

Vintage Sears Needlework sampler # 5142 from 1967
(click to enlarge)

And now for another old Latin saying:

Caveat emptor !  (let the buyer beware)!

Don't you just love "experts" ?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

November TUSAL

Lots of orts this month!

My little jar is getting very full!

I have broken one of my cardinal rules, not to start one project before I finish the one I'm working on. Boring, yes, but it has held me in good stead!
Right now, I think I have 4 that need finishing! This time of the year though, it is just too tempting not to take on a few little ornies. Hopefully I will finish them up very quickly.
Back with some photos soon.

Friday, November 9, 2012

A Little Pumpkin Finish

I totally missed Halloween this year! It happened when we had no power or phone, and were completely cut off from the rest of the world.

I am not a big Halloween stitcher, but I do love harvest designs!

I started this several days before the blackout, but didn't get to finish it until now.

I did a simple finish with a striped cotton fabric, and stuffed it with polyfil.

It came from an "oldie but goodie" Prairie Schooler booklet that I have had for ages.

A Prairie Year - Prairie Schooler  #13 from 1986

We haven't had much of an opportunity to clean up after Sandy yet. We did make one unpleasant discovery. A large fallen tree had blocked our access to the back yard. When we went got over it, we discovered that one of the larger branches had fallen on our best bee hive!
Keith tried his best to save it, and moved the frames into another box, but the outcome is doubtful because it was exposed to the elements for a while.
I am really looking forward to things getting back to normal. I am sure the people who have lost much more, probably feel the same.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Back from SANDY!

It is so nice to come back and read all of your nice normal blogs! Normalcy is wonderful! I love just ordinary days!

Our power came back on last night (Friday) about 10pm. Just when I was beginning to think that it would never happen!

Monday night with that storm was truly a horror! We lost four 50+ ft trees, and many, many branches! It was so loud, all the crashing and snapping. We knew something huge had come down because the house shook each time. The sky was lit up with blue flashes. Later, we figured out that they were all the transformers exploding. When there was a momentary lull, we went out on the deck with a flashlight. The big hit was a 200 year-old Silver Maple, which landed on our newly constructed chicken shed. When we came out in the morning, we found out that although damaged, the shed part was intact, but the chicken run was completely destroyed. Some of the chickens had gotten out and were running around. Some of them were trapped in the shed part. Amazingly, all of them survived! I did take us a while before we could count them though!
Hard to tell,but the roof of the chicken coop is in the left of the picture.
One of the trees that came down cut off access to the rest of the yard. It left a hug 15 foot hole in the ground where the roots pulled out. I don't know how, but we will have to fill the hole, though I think the tree itself will be there for some time to come!

We were so lucky that the house was spared. The divider on our deck was ripped off, but other than that, the old house remained intact. I guess someone up there was watching out for us! We spent Tuesday and Wednesday trying to clean up. We ate omelets courtesy of the chickens for dinner, and gave away some eggs to our next door neighbors, and the man who helped us pull the tree off the chicken coop.

Our road was closed because of the many trees stretched across it. Finally when the Tappan Zee bridge re-opened, Keith went back to work on Thursday. It was really awful being stuck alone in a dark house, wondering what was going on in the rest of the world! He was disappointed that the power was not on when he got home Thursday night, and Friday night.
Four days and 5 nights without power was a pain in the neck, but nothing compared to what others have had to contend with though.
I am a pretty easy-going person, but it will be some time before my nerves recover from this one. I still jump when I hear a loud noise!

I am so glad to be able to get back to stitching! I wasn't able to with the power off because I really need my magnifier light to see anything!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Exactly what we did NOT need !

Keith was going to his brother's house to pick up a small generator, when he saw this. He caught it on video.

I just love their explanation of what went wrong! (Heard at the end of the video).

This is right down the street from us. The road in front of the dam was closed. He walked down the road on the way back and found that a pipe had burst somewhere in United Water’s property and there was a gusher of water shooting up about 50 feet.

Great! Can't wait til the storm gets here! This area is usually under water anyway!

Deep Peace is finished!

I was beginning to think it would never happen! Actually I finished the stitching last week, but I didn't iron/steam it until this morning. Hopefully I took enough of the volume out of the center of the D with the steam. It seems to lie a bit flatter now. I hope when it is framed, it will not be noticed.

First I had to re-stitch the berries with the pink color.

Then I illuminated the vertical and horizontal columns with silver back-stitching.

I didn't have a picture that showed the pearl purl around the letter last time. This one shows the completed D.

The letter is over-layed with gold filament as well. I was worried about ironing/steaming the metallic area, so I used as little heat as I could. The purl at the top still looks a little wonky, but I am hoping it will stretch out when it is framed.
Next, the gold and silver paillettes were added. They were supposed to be done with French knots, but on occasion I had to take an extra stitch to keep them secure.

Here is the whole piece completed:

Deep Peace
Phew! I am very glad to have this one finished!

Just in time for the hurricane! Hope I will be able to get some Deep Peace and we don't lose any more trees! The winds have really started to howl here! I wanted to post this before we lost power.

Hope all of you stay safe from Sandy! Good luck!

Monday, October 15, 2012

TUSAL and. . . getting closer with Deep Peace

Here is my October contribution to the TUSAL:

All the sparkly bits on the top are from the metal stitching on Deep Peace.

I have made more progress on Deep Peace, but it has not been without frustration!

I finished illuminating the D.

I did not stagger the rows as described in the directions, except where the rows were uneven. I started to, but just didn't like the way it was turning out.

I was pleased that it was finished, and I was ready to go onto the pearl purl part, until . . .  to my horror, I discovered that I had one skein of silk that was unused! I checked and discovered that the berries were supposed to be stitched in pink! This was sort of buried in the text and I missed it. I stitched them in the same shade as the vines. Admittedly this gave it a rather November look, but I thought it looked ok. Then I realized that the scene inside the D was a Spring scene. Yes, it would be better to have pink berries! Those !*#&@ berries got me again! Well you guessed it, spent the next two evenings replacing the brown with pink. If anyone out there stitches this design, I would strongly suggest going through the entire set of pages and highlighting all the steps. Some of them are easy to miss.

Ok, now it was finally time to go onto the pearl purl. I found the secret to this was to go very slowly. You feel like you need 3 hands to do this, but it finally got done.
Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of this yet, but I will very shortly.

I do have another problem though, and I'm not quite sure what to do about it. The linen inside the D has stretched. It now puffs upward. Grrr! Not sure how to shrink it back to size. Not sure if it will show when it is framed. I am really not sure what I could have done to avoid this!

Have to think about it for a while I guess.

Monday, October 8, 2012

OMG What a dummy I am!

After all that crowing about finishing the border, I just looked at the picture and discovered that I still have to stitch the berries on the top right-hand side of the border!

Oh well,. that will be quick!

Deep Peace progress and some non-stitchy stuff

I  finally finished the border of Deep Peace!

The berries are made up of Smyrna stitches. I am not totally happy with the way all of the leaves came out. They are done with a satin stitch. On some of the leaves, the center line did not work out exactly perfectly, but I am not going to change them! I prefer to look at them as a "variation occurring in nature" ! LOL!

Here is how it looks so far:

Now, on to the illumination!

The entire D is to be overlayed in cross stitch, using two strands of gold cord. Thankfully, the stitching is one over two threads. The underlying stitching is all one over one!

I finished the border very late last night, so I only made a small start on the gold work. Only the very first row at the top of the D is done completely. The second row is done in one direction.

Click to get a better view of the gold stitching
The cord has to be very short. I am using an 18" length, folded in two. The cord has to be looped to the needle so the two strands don't move around. The stitching has to be done vertically with a quick jabbing and stabbing motion. This takes a bit of getting used to. The length has to be very short because it frays easily.The idea is to lay the strands down side by side, so more of it is illuminated. Well, you know how that goes! It is very hard to keep it from twisting and laying down on top of each other! I am doing the best I can, but all bets are off here! LOL!

The real problems will begin when I start working with the purl. That is very slow, fastidious work. It has to be couched all along the outline of the letter. Well, I am getting ahead of myself. I have a long way to go just covering the initial first!

I was hoping to be working on some Christmas designs by now. I had no idea this one would take so long. Hopefully I will be able to sneak in a little ornie before the season is upon us!

Now for some other stuff.
Most of the chickens are now laying on a regular basis. Gertie, one of our "Easter Eggers", presented us with this little prize:
A Blue-green egg !

We still have about 5 chickens that haven't laid an egg yet. Not sure what's up with that. Hopefully they will catch up.

I spent quite a bit of time working on some signs.

I have a great respect for anyone who makes signs! No one knows how much work is involved! It really took a long time. I'm sure that someone who really knew what she was doing could have done it much faster.
Unfortunately, I'm not so sure the sign shows up well enough. It looks rather small out by the driveway.

I also had to design a simple label for the egg cartons (hmmm, not so simple)!.

So far we have sold 5 dozen eggs, and of course we have given some away to friends and family.

We were hoping to have another honey harvest this week, but Keith says there isn't that much honey in the hives. The bees need what is there to make it through the winter.
We have been selling the summer honey on a regular basis, but only have about 18 bears left now.

 It's so pretty! Don't you think? I hate to see the end of it.

WOW! I lead such an exciting life! LOL!

By the way, I have added my blog reading list to the side bar. I don't know what happened when I did this, but not all the blogs made the transfer. I am adding them as I find them. If I am a reader of your blog, please don't be offended. It is just techno-fizzle with blogger!

This has been a very long post. Congrats if you have made it all the way through it!
I will be back soon to let you know how the gold work is coming along.