Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Secret Sisters Stitching Group - Anyone Interested?

I just read a very exciting post this morning written by The Inspired Stitcher on her delightful blog, the name of which is The Inspired Stitcher   : )   In this post she tells about her local cross stitching group & how every year they have a Secret Sisters group.  In early December each person wanting to participate fills out a questionnaire telling their stitching likes & listing their special dates (birthday, anniversary, etc).  Each person participating is assigned someone to randomly show stitching kindnesses to throughout the coming year starting in January & ending the following Christmas.  The gifts include things like floss, charts, fabrics, embellishments, something made by you, etc.  This is a secret group meaning you don't know who is sending things to you until the year's end at which time there is a  "big reveal" meeting.  At this meeting you bring a stitched ornament for your assigned person which tells her your identity at that time.  It's really cute the way The Inspired Stitcher's local group does this   : )

I have been hostessing Secret Sister, Secret Santa, & various exchange groups online since the early 1990s & have aways enjoyed doing so.  I am wondering if any of my followers would be interested in attempting such a group here on Blogger?

The rules would be simple.  You would be emailed a copy of your assigned person's questionnaire listing her special stitching likes, other interests she might have, & her special days.  You might receive a questionnaire that looks something like this ...


Mary Smith
123 Snowfall Lane
Mountain View, AK  98765

Phone:  123-456-7890

Birthday:  1/1/60
Anniversary:  2/2/80

Pets:  1 cat, 2 dogs

Crafting Passion:  Cross Stitching

Other Crafting Interests:  Rug hooking, punchneedle

Crafting Likes:  DMC floss, counted linen fabric, wool felt squares, 100% cotton fabric

Other Likes/Collections:  Pinkeeps, buttons, snowmen, gingerbread men

Favorite Colors:  Burgundy, gold, dark blue

Allergies:  Scented candles

Throughout the year you would send a little package with a gift or two to your assigned person.  There is no set time you would be sending these things but you wouldn't want too much time to go by without sending something ... no longer than 2 months.  Of course birthdays should always be remembered.  The most important thing, whatever you send, is to pay attention to what she has written on her questionnaire & to send things like you would want to receive.  Things that are clean, unused, well made, etc.  There will be no set amount that you should spend on these items.  That is entirely up to you.  Do remember, however, that old adage ... "tis better to give than to receive."  This is a group you would be a part of in order to bring joy into someone else's life every now & then ... not a group where your main interest is "what am I gonna get."

If you sign up for this group, it is a year-long commitment.  Don't sign up if you are not going to follow through.  This group is open to all my cross stitch followers.  I think I know all of you well enough to know you will all follow through with your commitments.  

The question always comes up ... how can I keep my identity secret?  This person might realize who I am because she might be familiar with where I live.  This actually rarely happens.  Some people get a bit creative when they mail their packages.  They use a friend's or relative's return address on the package, create a special email account so they can correspond with their assigned person, &/or make up a fake name.  I have had people who travel or know someone who does & they mail their packages from a variety of places.  On the rare times that people have figured out who is sending things to them, it really hasn't mattered.  You wouldn't want your person to know that you have realized who they are though ... let them have their fun   : )

Are any of my cross stitching followers interested in participating in a group such as this?  If so, just post a comment here saying you would be interested.  If I get enough interest, we can get started.  I'll see where we stand on Saturday morning, December 10th, & that will determine whether this will happen or not.       

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I'm in the Cross Stitching Slow Group

Those of you who, like me, started going to school in the late 50s/early 60s might remember reading groups.  Back then the teacher would divide her class into groups for reading.  This way all the children with a similar learning pace could be instructed together without holding others back who were a bit more advanced or getting too far ahead of the kids to whom things did not come quite so easily.  These groups aways had some sort of "code name."  Heaven knows no one wanted the embarrassment of standing up in class & going to the reading table after the teacher saying "Time for the slow readers to read!"  Each group would be named after a flower or perhaps a bird.  For example, the advanced reading group would be called the Bluebirds, the average reading group would be called the Chickadees, & the slow reading group would be called the Sparrows.  These names, of course, fooled no one.  Everyone knew that the Bluebirds were the smart kids & the Sparrows were the slow kids.

We are all Bluebirds, Chickadees, or Sparrows in various areas of our life.  Looking back at my crafting involvement over the years, I certainly have known many the Bluebird.  More often than not I have been a Sparrow.

Back in my quilting days there was a Bluebird in the local quilting group named Penny.  Penny had 6 children & she & her husband had a large dairy farm.  Penny helped take care of the cows.  Penny also did amazing quilting ... very precise machine-pieced patterns, each seam meeting exactly with the next, each point perfectly formed, intricately hand quilted in beautiful designs at 22 stitches per inch.  I swear to you, from the start (choosing which fabrics to use) to putting in that final stitch on the binding, she would whip out one of these perfectly constructed bed-size suckers every week.  Meanwhile it would take me a few months to produce any sort of pale comparison.

Then there was Sue.  Sue was in the local bobbin lace group.  Every month she would come to the meeting with a bag full of finished bobbin lace items.  Not just any bobbin lace items, mind you.  Intricate stuff!  Not Torchon lace which is often thought of as a beginner's lace because of its simplicity, limited amount of bobbins, & thicker threads.  No, Sue would make Bucks Point lace ... very intricate floral patterns with thinner threads, requiring the use of 100 or more bobbins.  Or she would make Honiton lace ... teeny-tiny motifs such as flowers or animals or houses ... anything you can think of really ... using a different type of lace pillow, bobbins different than the norm, & thread as fine as a strand of hair.  I joked that she had a sweat shop in her home where she forced a group of local women to make these things for her but no, Sue was a Bluebird.  Meanwhile, as per my quilting endeavors, it would take me a few weeks to produce any sort of pale comparison.

Then there was Dee.  Dee & I often said we were kindred spirits.  We were interested in just about every craft we were exposed to.  We quilted, we knitted, we did cross stitch.  We bought spinning wheels & traveled to Minnesota for a spinning workshop.  We bought looms & traveled to Montana for weaving instruction.  We tried our hand at rug hooking, machine embroidery ... you name it, I think we tried it.  One day we discovered we had both always wanted to learn to make lampwork beads.  No one in our town taught this craft so one time when my husband had a business trip I traveled with him to Detroit & met one-on-one with a teacher who taught me how to make these beads.  I seemed to have a knack for it ... "seemed" being the key word.  In that lesson I produced some surprisingly symmetrical black beads & my teacher praised my efforts.  I really enjoyed making them & thought I had found my niche.  I went back home & immediately invested in all the equipment necessary to make these beads, set up a little studio in our basement, & spent many an hour trying to perfect my new craft.  My level of beadmaking expanded to where I was making swirly designs, polka dots, & raised dots.  Dee was enthralled!  She had a business trip coming up & found herself a beadmaking teacher in the same town.  Within no time at all Dee was making extraordinary beads!  Beads that looked like flowers; beads that looked like houses; beads that looked like people; beads that looked like insects or animals; beads that looked like popcorn for pete's sake!  You wanted to pick those popcorn beads up & toss them into your mouth, they were that realistic!  Dozens & dozens & dozens of intricate beads were produced by that women on a weekly basis!  Dee was a Bluebird beadmaker.  I never advanced past the Sparrow stage.

Now it has become apparent to me that I am a Sparrow when it comes to cross stitching as well.  I follow the blog of a Bluebird.  I am not going to post her name or the name of her blog because I'm not sure if she would want me to ... & it's very early in the morning as I'm writing this & I don't want to wait to run this by her before I click Publish ... so for now she & her blog will remain nameless.  She turns out more completed cross stitch projects than you can shake a stick at.  Honestly ... her level of production is beyond belief!  Here is an example of just one cross stitch project she started & finished stitching in one day.

One day mind you!  And this is not a fluke project.  She has so many beautiful things ... hundreds (no exaggeration) ... each of which she has whipped out in just one day.  Meanwhile it takes me a couple days to do this ...         

I have about 5-6 hours invested in this project thus far.  A very simple design.  Ms. Bluebird would probably whip out a dozen of these, fully completed, in one day.  Me ... I'm entering my third day now.  

The rate of production in anything is, of course, not where the joy lies.  I enjoy cross stitching.  I enjoy each & every stitch I make.  I look forward to sitting down in my recliner each evening with Sophie on my lap & a cross stitch project in my hands.  Right now I'm wishing I was a little more Bluebird-like because there are many cross stitched gifts I'd like to make for Christmas & I'm just not going to get them all done ... but I am happy & content & enjoying myself in my stitching, even though I am a Sparrow, & with that I am well pleased   : )     

Monday, November 28, 2011


Below is a picture of our beloved Sophie.  We adopted her the day after Christmas from the local animal shelter when we moved to Michigan in 1999.  We were told that she was 9 months old at that time which makes her almost 13 years old now.  She & her sister had been found abandoned & starving.  The shelter had named her Cagney & her sister Lacey after the old TV show characters but we decided Sophie was a better fit   : )   Her sister was adopted first & we were lucky enough to adopt Sophie.  She is the sweetest, most loving cat but she is very wary of strangers.  If someone she doesn't know comes into the house, she immediately finds a place to hide until they are gone.  She is totally an indoor cat.  She loves to sleep curled up next to me in bed, oftentimes pawing at the covers so I will let her get under them.  If I'm in my recliner reading or stitching, she is right there on my lap scratching her face on my book or suggesting where I should place my next stitch.  This is the first year that she has ever curled herself up on the heating vents.  I'm guessing it's her need to warm her old bones.  I just wanted to share a photo of her with you   : )


A Hundred & One!!!

Every time I read or hear "a hundred & one" I hear the theme from Walt Disney's 101 Dalmations in my head   : )

Over the past couple weeks I've noticed my number of followers increasing!  I don't know where you are all coming from but I'm glad to have you   : )   Needless to say I am glad to have all my followers!  I appreciate every one of you!  My 6-month blogoversary will be here in just a few days.  I started blogging on May 1st & since that day I have met many nice people, learned quite a few interesting things, & made some really good friends in the process!  Life is good   : )

I have been doing a bit of decorating here & there ... something I wasn't sure I was going to do this year but I finally decided to go for it   : )   I got adventurous & dug into the cupboard underneath the stairs.

Now I know what you're thinking ... what an amazingly neat & organized cupboard!  Well, keep in mind that you are seeing this cupboard after I took many boxes out & put things away that I had just tossed in there throughout the past year.  This cupboard, of course, goes way back ... all the way underneath the stairs as these cupboards are apt to do.  There are boxes & boxes of Christmas things ... some which haven't seen the light of day since we moved here 2-1/2 years ago & some even before that!  Here is where the adventurous part comes in.  I decided to open some of the sealed moving boxes in there to see what I might find.  I didn't realize I had all this stuff!  I mean, I knew there was a lot of stuff but didn't exactly remember what all the stuff was!  I didn't empty the boxes ... just kind of peeked around a bit & thought how much fun it will be one day to actually unpack these things & see what's in there!

I will try to take photos later today of the little bit of decorating I have done.  I haven't put the tree up yet.  Last year I decided I wanted a skinny prim tree with prim ornaments on it & that is what I'll put up again this year.  

Speaking of trees, the little blue spruce in the front yard looks wonderful with the old-fashioned colored lights on it.  However, I did run into a bit of a snag after buying the extension cord for the extension cord.  I went outside, added the new cord & plugged it into one of the two porch outlets.  Nothing happened.  There is a light switch inside near the front door that doesn't do anything inside so I always assumed it turned these porch outlets off & on.  How convenient!  I can light & unlight the tree in the warmth of my home just by flicking a switch!  Unfortunately flicking the switch did absolutely nothing.  I figured perhaps that one outlet was "bad" so I tried the other one.  Had to reposition the whole 90 feet of extension cord to get to it.  You can guess what I'm going to say next, right?  That outlet also doesn't work.  Now ... we had an inspector check this house before we bought it & it appeared that he was beyond thorough, even making mention of the fact that a light bulb was burned out here or there, but apparently he never bothered to check the porch outlets.  Thankfully there is another outside outlet by the garage & that one does work.  Had to reposition the cord again & wondered how in the world I was going to walk out in yard in all kinds of weather to plug it in & unplug it all the time.  Then I remembered I had bought a timer when we were living in Michigan!  God bless the person or persons who invented these timers!  The tree now lights all by itself at 5 p.m., shuts off at midnight, then comes on again at 5 a.m. & shuts off at 7:30 a.m.  It's nice to see it out there   : )

In addition to the above I have been cross stitching as much as time will allow me.  I have finished stitching a few more ornaments but still need to actually make them into ornaments.  I plan to have a "finishing day" sometime this week in order to do that.  My antique treadle needs servicing & there is no one around these parts to do it so I will have to try to find someone in a nearby big town who can hopefully do that.  When we lived in North Dakota there was a sweet old man who owned a sewing store & he would come to my house & service it for me ... sometimes for free because he was so impressed that I enjoyed sewing on it rather than wanting a fancy-schmancy computerized machine.  I  miss that man!  Anyway, I had to close up the treadle & get the little portable I bought to finish off my cross stitch fabric edges a couple weeks ago out of the box & I will be using that to stitch together my ornaments.  I have the portable sitting on top of the treadle cabinet.  I hope I'm not causing the treadle to feel unloved.  I will post photos of the ornaments when I finish them   : )   I have, in fact, quite a few photos to share with you in the coming days.  If all goes as planned, I will do exactly that   : )  

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Christmas Past

You may not know it to read my blog but I am a rather reclusive soul.  There are many reasons for this but it has not always been so.  Even just a few years ago I was quite the social butterfly & very involved in various things in the towns in which we lived.  This was probably never more so than when we lived in Bismarck, North Dakota.  It was a very social, very involved, & very productive time of my life.  One particular year in Bismarck I decided that my husband & I needed new Christmas stockings & that we also needed some Christmas wallhangings to enhance our holiday decor.  I then went to work.  

I was very involved in quilting back then (among other things) & here are just a few quilted Christmas things I made that year.  

This first photo shows the new stockings I made for me & my husband.  His is on the left (tied) & mine is on the right (hand quilted).  I came up with the designs on my own.    

The following 3 photos show a few of the wallhangings I made that year.  I actually made extras of these which I sold at Christmas open houses.  My friend Mary, who taught me how to do folk art painting & bobbin lacemaking, always held 3 Christmas open house craft shows in her home each year.  There were also years that we would participate in craft shows in our town & the neighboring one.  I really miss those times!  I apologize for the rather poor quality of these photos.  I took them a year ago with an old camera which did not take the best of pictures.  Unfortunately I don't remember the pattern designer.

Every year since ... & it's been about 15 years now ... these items come out of their storage containers & make their appearance in our home.  Oh wait ... there was one year that they did not make an appearance.  That was the year we moved from one state to another on Christmas Eve/Christmas Day.  

I hope you have enjoyed seeing these things   : )   Somewhere I have a photo taken when Mary & I were working a Christmas craft show in that neighboring town.  I'll share it with you if I run across it   : )      

Friday, November 25, 2011

Long Overdue Photos

I decided yesterday ... or maybe it was the day before ... that I would post no more photos until I took care of posting some long overdue ones.  My shame knows no bounds for not having these photos posted sooner.  My apologies to those connected with them.

First of all, here is a photo of a pillow I got from my friend Trace at Granny Trace Scraps & Squares.  Any wool fabric that meets with her hands finds itself morphed into some amazing creation!  Pumpkins are close to my heart so I am absolutely thrilled to have this   : )   I apologize for the rather "blah" photo & the fact that I did not realize there was a little piece of fuzz on one of the pumpkins when I took it.  Sigh!

Next is a photo of birthday gifts sent to me by my good friend Angela at Thru Nana's Window.   Yes, my birthday was over a month ago.  My excuse for not posting this photo sooner?  I'm a strange person.  Seriously ... someone will surprise me with a gift & I feel that if I publicly make a big deal out of it that someone who has never received a gift might feel bad.  I would hate to be the cause of anyone feeling bad.  However, I have noticed on several blogs that people post photos all the time of gifts that others send to them.  They don't seem to feel that they might cause hurt feelings by doing so.  Am I wrong to think I might be causing hurt feelings?  I don't know.  I hope I'm not doing that.  I know I enjoy seeing the gifts others receive so I'm hoping others will enjoy seeing the gifts I get.

I apologize again for the rather "blah" photo.  Angela had no idea that I have a gray wool coat & that plaid neck scarf will look perfect with it!  Of course our weather has not been cold enough for a neck scarf yet so it's still in the package.  There is a woven coverlet (I love those things), a candle in a holder which I know you can't see very well but it's there in the center of the photo, a stitchery called My Husband which has the most beautiful sentiment, & a Debbie Macomber book called One Simple Act.  I have read some of Debbie's books in the past which were craft/mystery related, but this one is different.  She writes about generosity, being kind to others, forgiveness, etc ... & how these things will enhance your life.  It is very well written & is one of those books that as you are reading it you feel that the author has known you for years & is telling you something that you know is for your own good.  I'm probably not explaining that very well but it's the best I can do with a tummy that is still full of last night's Thanksgiving dinner   : )   It's a marvelous book & I highly recommend it! 

And there you have it ... my conscience is soothed.  I can now go on to post more photos without feeling guilty about not posting these ones   : )

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving day & enjoyed a wonderful meal!  John & I spent a quiet day together watching some holiday DVDs.  Our son called in the morning & our daughter called in the afternoon.  It was nice to talk with both of them.  I also got to talk with my aunt in the morning so all things considered it was like spending a day with family   : )   Our turkey breast this year was out of this world!  It's the first year we ever special ordered our turkey breast from Whole Foods (organic, humanely raised, free range, no additives, etc) & I can't believe the difference between it & all the regular turkey breasts we've had in the past!  And so much meat!  I will have to freeze at least half of it because there's no way we are going to finish eating it before it starts to go bad.  I don't know why I was so surprised by it ... I always buy their beef & chicken & know how great it is.  

Today I'll be doing a little of this, a little of that.  John just put an Elvis Presley CD into the player.  A good start to the day   : )    

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

The Bible says to give thanks in every thing (I Thessalonians 5:18).  It is easy to do this when things are going well in your life but it can be very difficult when they are not.  Note that we are to give thanks in every thing, not for everything.  Those of us who are Christians can, even in the worst of circumstances, be thankful in any circumstance because we know God is with us.  He is in control.  We may not understand sometimes why things happen the way they do but the Bible tells us to trust in God & lean not on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5).

I am not going to bore you with a list of all the things I am thankful for but I will mention two very important ones which affect every aspect of my life today.  First of all, I am thankful I have God in my life.  I was not always a Christian but I always felt there was something missing in my life.  Many years ago through a series of events God brought my husband & I together with a Christian couple.  We had much in common & we became close friends.  Although they did talk about biblical things now & again, they never preached or witnessed to us.  However, I could see there was something different about their lives.  Over the course of time I realized what it was.  Since becoming a Christian my life has not always been easy, but it is so much better than it used to be because God is in my life.

Secondly, I am thankful for the growth I've experienced over the past year.  Some of you know that my life has not been idyllic.  It has, in fact, been downright brutal at times.  Again I won't bore you with details but there came a time when I didn't even recognize myself anymore.  It was like I was another person.  The person I had always been was gone.  However, I recently noticed that in some ways the old me is back but it's a "new & improved" version.  My outlook on life has improved.  The way I handle bad situations has improved.  I can look at the past & see that through everything God was with me.  He bought me through all of it.  The lessons I've learned are worth their weight in gold.  This is an example of His grace. 

I wish all of you a very happy & blessed Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sunday Morning

In yesterday's post I mentioned that I was going to attempt to string some old-fashioned Christmas lights on our little Christmas tree out front.  Some of you know that I am a perfectionist/OCD person in most aspects of my life.  It is both a curse & a blessing at times.  The weather was spring-like with a semi-warm breeze blowing from the west.  Quite nice actually if you like that sort of thing in mid-November.

Incidentally, my "dear friend" in North Dakota emailed me yesterday to let me know it was 7 degrees when she woke up in the morning.  She went on to say that the temperature then dropped throughout the day.  She likes to torture me like this sometimes.

Back to the lights.  I carefully strung them on the tree (50 lights were enough) & then stood back & assessed my handiwork.  I then repositioned the lights, stood back again, repositioned again ... well, you get the idea   : )   I finally got to the point where I was pleased with their placement.  I then attached the 75' extension cord & began to trail it up to the porch where I could plug it in.  I looked at these cords at Lowes & the dark green one ... my color of choice ... looked good.  I said to John "It's not more than 75' from the tree to the porch, is it?"  He said he didn't think so.  I'm 5'9" but I pictured myself being 6' & lying head to toe, toe to head, head to toe from the tree to the porch & figured 75' would be plenty.  So much for that logic ... the extension cord is about 5' too short.  Will need to go somewhere to purchase a short cord to add to the 75-footer.  Meanwhile last night we had what sounded like hurricane force winds ... totally unpredicted ... blowing the entire time.  It's still dark but of course I'm wondering if the 2 strings of lights are still on the tree.  Hope so   : )

John & I have started watching Christmas DVDs.  We enjoy BBC shows & John found a box set of various BBC Christmas shows for sale online.  We have quite a few Christmas DVDs & never tire of them from year to year.  I rarely find a Dicken's Christmas Carol that I don't like.  We love the old black & white Christmas movies ... The Bishop's Wife with Loretta Young, David Niven, & Cary Grant; It's a Wonderful Life with Jimmy Stewart & Donna Reed; Christmas in Connecticut with Barbara Stanwyck & Dennis Morgan; & The Shop Around the Corner with Jimmy Stewart & Margaret Sullavan ... just to name a few   : )   Last year we found a DVD at Walmart which had a beaucoup of old Christmas TV shows from the start of television.  All in all it was $5.00 well spent   : )   Some shows we remembered from when we were young; others we were quite surprised by.  Not all were wonderful but it was still fun to see them.  One of our favorite surprises was a show called Date with the Angels.  This show starred Betty White & aired in 1957-58.

After dinner & watching the Blackadder show on the aforementioned BBC Christmas DVD, I started my next cross stitch project ... the one I talked about yesterday worked over one on coffee dyed fabric.  I question if I will ever attempt another project worked over one.  Even with my Daylight magnifying lamp my eyes had trouble seeing to make those tiny stitches.  It's going to be quite a nice ornament when I get it done though.  The pattern is by With Thy Needle & Thread.  You will find some real primitive pattern treasures on that site for cross stitch, punchneedle, & working with wool.    

I hope you all enjoy this Sunday   : )

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Where's the Cross Stitch???

I know some of you are probably wondering why I haven't been posting more photos of finished cross stitch projects.  The reason is ... I haven't finished any!!!  I have been stitching but I've run into a couple snags.  For two ornaments I an awaiting special buttons needed for the designs.  I ordered these buttons two weeks ago from two different online sources.  Both of these sources promised I would receive the buttons this week.  Here it is, the last mail delivery day of this week, & no buttons.  I've never done business before with one of these shops but they were the only ones who "had" the particular buttons I needed for the one ornament.  At least they were shown in their online catalog.  Apparently something offered in their catalog does not mean it's in their shop.  And I really knew better than to order from the second shop because their customer service ... well, it stinks.  But again they were the only ones whose catalog showed that they "had" these other particular buttons I needed so I was stuck.  Sigh!

Yet another ornament turned out to be too big for the only embroidery hoop I own.  I don't like to smoosh down completed stitches if I don't have to.  Do you think anyone in this town sells embroidery hoops?  I will have to wait until Monday when we travel 50 miles to Lexington & I can stop by JoAnn's or Hobby Lobby to get a bigger hoop or two.    

While waiting for the above buttons/hoop I decided to start another ornament.  This one, I discovered, is stitched over one on 28-count evenweave.  I didn't notice until after I started stitching it that you are supposed to coffee dye your fabric first.  Why the designer didn't just have you use a darker colored fabric is beyond me.  I took out the stitching I had done ... not very much thankfully ... & did the coffee dyeing/baking in the oven last night.  The finished fabric was a mass of wrinkles which I steam ironed just a little while ago.  I must admit that the coffee dyeing/baking gave an interesting look to the fabric.  You would think both sides would turn out the same, but no ... one side is darker & more evenly colored, the other side is somewhat lighter & very splotchy.

Kinda cool, huh!  I think the lighter/splotchier side would look really good for something but not for this ornament so I will opt to use the darker/more even side.

My birthday trip to the UP of Michigan has been canceled since doctor visits & tests seem to be never-ending & always interfere with the days we plan to be there.  We finally gave up making plans this morning & my hubby said he would just buy me something instead.  I will be going online shopping this afternoon for some cross stitch goodies & I'm also going to get some supplies so I can start learning punchneedle!  Your prayers regarding this new endeavor would be greatly appreciated   : )

I also wanted to tell you about what may be one of the best kitchen items I've ever owned!  Another gift from hubby ... what he calls a "love gift"   : )   I love-love-love hot chocolate in the wintertime & for a couple years now I've thought how nice it would be to own an actual hot chocolate maker.  We saw one at Williams-Sonoma when we went to Cincinnati but didn't buy it at that time.  Our Lexington W-S didn't have it.  I therefore looked it up on their website but found out it was not really something I wanted ... but there was an alternate suggestion offered that was, of course, more expensive but looked intriguing!  It's the Breville Milk Cafe Electric Frother.

Does this look like you're about to drink the same hot chocolate the angels drink or what!  Since I must avoid sugar pretty much like the plague, I came up with my own hot chocolate recipe using organic cocoa powder, unsweetened dark chocolate, skim milk, & stevia.  It is, as the saying goes, "to die for!"  You can just blend the hot chocolate, or you can use the frother which gives you the result shown above.  Yummy-yum-yum!  It is for this reason that I am searching for unsweetened white chocolate.  If anyone knows where I can get some, do let me know   : )  

After a trip to Walmart early this morning we stopped at Lowes to see if they were selling the old-fashioned kind of outdoor Christmas lights.  They were (hooray!) so this afternoon I will be taking them outside to decorate the little Christmas tree we had planted this past spring.  In all my adult years I have never lived anyplace where we've had a Christmas tree in the yard that I could put lights on.  This will be fun   : )

Friday, November 18, 2011

And the winner of the giveaway is ...

(That's a drum roll ... lol!)

The winner of my silly little "Hey! My camera is out of the box!" giveaway is ...

Congratulations Jessica!  Please let me have your mailing address & I will send your goodies on their way   : )

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Blog Sale - Items #9-12

Please see previous post for Items #1-8 & for purchasing information   : )

Item #9 - Vintage wooden kitchen mallet handpainted with a Renee Mullins design adaptation.  This mallet is decorated with a vintage heart-shaped cookie cutter.  Price:  $20 with free shipping   : )

Item #10 - Small wooden chair with chippy paint.  This is not an old chair.  Measures 18" tall.  Price:  $25 with free shipping (was $39 when purchased by me).

Item #11 - Rag doll named Abby (not handmade).  She holds a sign in one hand which reads Simplicity, & in the other hand she holds her little sheep.  Abby measures 23" tall.  Price:  $20 with free shipping   : )

Item #12 - Black rag doll holding sheep.  She is not handmade.  I do not know her name.  She measures 29" tall & weighs quite a bit.  Price:  $30 with free shipping   : )

Blog Sale - Items #1-8 - Come One, Come All : )

I mentioned a while back that I was going to be working on a blog sale.  Well, here it is   : )

If you need more information about any of the items, please feel free to email me with your questions ... lv2stitch53 @ yahoo . com (remove those spaces of course)   : )   Items will be sold on a first come, first served basis.  PayPal payment is preferred & I will send you a PayPal invoice should you be the first to request the item.  I will also accept money orders if you don't use PayPal.  Payment is expected upon receipt of the invoice.  Free shipping is offered only to people living within the continental United States (excludes Alaska & Hawaii).

Please note that I am also willing to consider offers & may also be interested in doing a trade   : )


ITEM #1 - This is a wonderful old vintage coal bucket shovel handpainted with a variation of a Renee Mullins design.  The handle is wrapped with rusty star garland & tied with natural & back raffia.  Rusty bells hang from twine & a cinnamon "rusted" fall leaf cookie cutter is tied to the handle.  The shovel measures 20" in length.  Price:  $25 with free shipping   : )

Item #2 - This is a Terrye French design (with a few personal touches) handpainted on a vintage Red Leaf tobacco dovetailed wooden box.  It is an impressive size measuring 13" x 7" x 4".  Colors are much deeper than they appear in the photos.  Price:  $45 with free shipping   : )

Item #3 - Vintage wooden kitchen mallet handpainted with an adaptation of a Terrye French design.  Attached is a large red bell & a vintage strainer.  Price - $22 with free shipping   : )

Item #4 - This vintage graniteware wash basin is handpainted with a Terrye French design.  A primitive fabric crow along with a grubby clothespin/spool garland is attached.  The crow & garland can be removed if you wish.  A piece of rusted twisted wire forms the hanger.  The basin itself measures 9" in diameter.  Price:  $27 with free shipping   : )

Item #5 - Vintage silverware caddy which can be on display all winter long.  It is cherry wood painted black & distressed before handpainting the snow scene (a Renee Mullins design) which shows on one side only.  The caddy is filled with vintage silverplate pieces (3 forks & 3 spoons), vintage taper candles, icy twigs & winter berries tied up with twine, & a pipberry star.  Price:  $29 with free shipping   : )

Item #6 - Antique sewing drawer handpainted with an adaptation of a Terrye French design.  There's a full white winter moon rising over a lightly snow dusted landscape.  Two little saltbox houses sleep among the leafless trees & a full coated sheep is in the foreground.  The box is filled with snow dusted greenery, berries & pine cones.  There is an altered book with a reprint of a vintage postcard decoupaged to its front, & a snow-trimmed lantern where a small battery operated flickering tea light casts a gentle glow.  Measures approximately 15" x 5" x 13" tall.  Price:  $50.00 with free shipping   : )

Item #7 - Heart-shaped wooden stool handpainted with an adaptation of a John Sliney design.  Stool measures 11" x 6" x 5".  Price:  $20 with free shipping   : )

Item #8 - Vintage taper candle mold in prim condition.  Measures 10-1/2"  x 7-3/4" x 4".  I thought I was going to start collecting these but decided not to   : )   Price:  $35 with free shipping   : )   ***SOLD***

Items #9-12 will be posted in a separate posting   : )

Blog Sale Alert!!!

I am going to be having a blog sale later today   : )   Mostly handpainted, one of a kind stuff but also possibly a vintage prim or two.  Please do check back & see if there is anything that you can't live without   : )

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Oh no! Punchneedle again!

Some of you will remember my posting a while back about the punchneedle sirens song that was being sung to me when I stumbled upon an internet site with drop-dead gorgeous punchneedle patterns.  I explained what a total loss I was when I attempted punchneedle in the past ... but oh those patterns!!!  I reasoned that if I couldn't punchneedle then, I probably won't be able to punchneedle now.  I also reasoned that I have about a gazillion other things to take up my time & starting something new would not be a wise thing to do.  I won the battle raging within me & turned a deaf ear to the punchneedle sirens.  I instead decided that I would search high & low to find someone who does punchneedle commission work.  I tried & failed.  I even wrote to punchneedle pattern designers asking them if the people they employed to stitch their models would be willing to make some things for me.  Again I came up empty.   

This past weekend I was looking at an Etsy site, drooling over some new cross stitch patterns, when I heard a familiar tune.  It was those punchneedle sirens again.  Along with the new cross stitch patterns, this Etsy shop owner brazenly offered additional amazing punchneedle patterns along with those I had seen before.  I can't stand it!  I've got to have these finished items which means I must try to punchneedle again.

My thoughts are that maybe I need to go to a shop someplace where punchneedle classes are held.  This would perhaps be a good thing to do after the holidays.  Does anyone happen to know of a shop where such classes are held?  Perhaps in Illinois, or Indiana, or Ohio, or ???  I don't mind driving a few hours to attend a class.  I currently reside in central Kentucky.

I don't foresee myself becoming a punchneedle enthusiast.  I just want those punchneedled things I've seen in those pattern photographs   : )

Giveaway at Friendship Crossing

Tanya at Friendship Crossing is having a "Your Choice Giveaway" & she is being very generous!  There will be three winners & each winner will win a chosen group if items ... Group A, Group B, or Group C!   Here's a look at Group A.  I know this is going to entice a lot of my blog friends!  Best of luck to all of us   : )

Two More Ornaments : )

I had one ornament finished yesterday & one which I just finished now & here they are.

This Christmas Peace ornament is the second one I've finished which will count toward my total of ornaments for the Christmas Ornament Challenge group I joined this month.  This group began on November 1 & I  believe it ends on December 31.  You get 2 chances to win a really nice prize (a gift certificate to a CS store!) for each ornament you complete from start to finish during this time.

The following ornament cannot be included in the challenge because I actually started stitching it before the November 1 starting date.  The friend who is getting this ornament loves cats   : )

Package Arrived from Olde Lady Morgan!

I recently participated in an ornament exchange hostessed by Marie at Primitives by Olde Lady Morgan.  My package arrived yesterday & here is what I received!  Right now our being home for Christmas is rather "iffy" so I may not be putting up a tree.  Therefore the ornaments are still in their individual packages except for one which wasn't in a package to begin with.  The ornaments aren't able to be as well viewed like this but I think you will get the idea.  They are all primly wonderful   : )

Karen at My Colonial Home

Marie at Primitives by Olde Lady Morgan

Melissa @ Libbie's Home

Evelyn at Lee Hill Primitives

Left - Allison at Sew Many Girls
Right - Carmen at Primcats

Marie also included a little thank you baggie of Hershey's Kisses!  How very thoughtful   : ) 

I also purchased 2 things from Marie & she sent them along with my ornaments so I wouldn't have to pay additional postage.  Again, how very thoughtful   : )

First of all I purchased this wonderful prim snowman!  I don't know if he will stay in this particular area but for now it seemed like a good spot   : )  

Marie posted a photo a few days ago of some dolls she was making.  I don't know why but this one called to me & said she wanted to come live with me.  I just couldn't deny her   : )

I have no idea what I'm going to accomplish today.  Truthfully I feel a little bit sick ... just an upset tummy for whatever reason ... so right now I'm thinking I'm probably not going to accomplish much of anything.  Hopefully that will change.  If not, I'll maybe get some more stitching done or maybe some reading.  Maybe even some napping. I hope that you are feeling well today & will accomplish everything you set your mind to   : )

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Cross Stitch Ornaments, Trims, & A Poem : )

Two posts from me within a couple hours.  Not unusual ... lol!

I just got to play around with my camera again.  I discovered that I can download the pictures into my computer & open them up with my old camera software.  This makes things a bit easier since I can use a program that is familiar to me   : )   I did have to take a photo of one of the ornaments at least half a dozen times because I couldn't get it to not be blurry.  Apparently it's something I'm doing & not the camera.  I had no problems with all the others.

This first ornament, as you can see, is 2-sided.  This is the Lizzie*Kate Merry Little Bird I've been asking for help with regarding the finishing.  Help never came, not even from the company, but this morning I tried stuffing it before having a go at the finishing & that did it   : )   One of the reasons I chose to make this ornament was I thought it would be a quick stitch.  Well, the joke was on me.  I actually had to use an entirely different technique of stitching on this ornament & one side had to be stitched upside down!  If that didn't exercise my old brain cells, nothing ever will   : )

This next ornament is also a Lizzie*Kate design.  The pattern is called Cozy Christmas Wishes.  Notice that I got to use my beloved chenille trim on this one   : )

And speaking of my beloved chenille trim, here are 2 photos of the order I placed last week with Nancy at Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe.  She sells more than chenille trim & it's definitely worth paying her a visit!  As you can see in the photos below, I purchased a trims grab bag as well as a dozen of the chenille trims.  I couldn't be happier with my purchase & the service I received   : )

And now, begging the pardon of Joyce Kilmer, I will leave you with my ode to chenille trims.

Chenille Trim

I think that I shall never feel
A trim more luscious than chenille.

Chenille, whose fluffy fullness thrills
my heart; the beauty it instills.

Chenille, as soft as a billowy cloud,
Which brings more joy than should be allowed.

Chenille, in gorgeous colors dyed
By hand with loving care & pride.

Chenille, which all of us can use
When we're inspired by our muse.

This poem is wrote by Shirlee Hill
And I thank God for this trim called chenille.