Sunday, December 4, 2011

One Month Later

A new update.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

A Flibbertigibbet, a Will-o’-the-wisp, a Clown

Now that I've actually finished quite a few needlework projects, and therefore know that I can do it, I've thrown my Protestant work ethic out the window, and am stitching where the breeze blows me.

The Serenity Prayer has deep meaning for my husband and me and I especially love it in its entirety.

I'm stitching it on a wonderfully variegated warm antique almond Belfast using ecru DMC.

If I live that long, I'll finish some of my ongoing projects. In the meantime, I'm happily stitching whatever I like at the moment, rather than doggedly pursuing a goal. I'm running out of wall space anyway.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

I'm getting tired of monochrome

Call me fickle! I set a goal to work on only this this month, but I'm craving some color! Will I cave in and switch to something else?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

White Wedding Progress

These shapes and colors are all around me in my home leading me to realize, of all the projects I've worked on so far, this expresses closely what I would probably design myself.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

White Wedding

I fell in love with William and Kate's wedding cake and felt compelled to stitch the equivalent.

It put me in a romantic mood, not hard to do as I'm a hopeless romantic most of the time anyway, and I searched for a similar wedding sampler design to stitch for my husband and me. I found "White Wedding" by Ellen Maurer-Stroh.

I tested several shades of silk on pure white Belfast linen. Here is my progress so far.

It's my fourth monochrome project. Even though I'm a bit of a color fanatic, I find stitching with one color, especially silk, to be meditative, relaxing, and very satisfying. I love the soft glow of creamy silk on pure white linen.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Pinkie is Finished!

I'm so happy to finish something, anything!

Pinkie was Sarah Goodin Barrett Moulton and the aunt of Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Pinkie's Progress

I have a burning desire to finish Pinkie this month. I'm really trying.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Fun with Marie Antoinette

Ah, this project is bliss!

All the gorgeous silks, crystals, beads, and metallics arrived organized just as you see them here and tied up in a pretty ribbon bow. I was thrilled.

Here is where I was last night:

And today I did the first of four fleur-de-lis stitched with one strand of beautiful Waterlilies hand painted silk over one thread of linen. This means each cross stitch is one quarter the size of the rest in the project. I am amazed at my results! Later, it will be intricately back stitched in gold thread but I'm going to need to catch my breath first.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I'm in the mood to frame

Who knows when or why the mood strikes but every once in a while a girl's gotta frame something.

Friday, July 29, 2011

A Home for the Hunt

Here they are on the bottom of a shelf in my sewing room.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Hunt

I did a mini project to fill a couple of little 4 x 4 frames. These are motifs from Pelin Tezer's freebie "The Hunt" done in silk Mori on Belgian linen.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Another Rose Quaker Update

I love this project. I can pick it up and put it down so easily because each time I complete a motif, I feel satisfaction. I'm going to be kind of sad when it's finished.

It's wrinkly, but that's what steam irons are for.

Friday, July 22, 2011

UFO Rescue

I started this a few years ago when I was new to cross stitch.

It's a lovely pattern but I found out I just plain don't like doing the solid style (not sure what to call it) cross stitch designs -- the kind where the entire piece of fabric is completely covered by cross stitches. It was one stitch here, stop. Squint to find my place in the pattern. Thread needle. Make a different color stitch next, stop. Repeat forever. I found it beyond tedious but I pushed myself until I was almost two-thirds of the way through. Then I realized life is short and there is a world of gorgeous patterns out there. I put it away promising I would come back to it. It was always lurking in the back of my mind nagging me and making me feel rather guilty.

It may look like I was almost done because I cut off the bottom of the linen to salvage it too, but believe me, I wasn't. Countless hours of unpleasant (for me) work was ahead.

So I got really honest and threw in the towel and liberated myself! I cut it up and salvaged what I could.

Now it looks like this.

And I'm left with a piece I think I'll turn into a bookmark. I plan to sew ribbon along the edges to finish them.

It hurt to cut it up (accidental cutting must be every stitcher's nightmare) but now my project, or a least most of it, is seeing the light of day! And I have no cross stitch UFO's weighing me down.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Birthday Money!

That does it! I'm gonna get Marie Antoinette! Woo hoo! It's a stitchy birthday!

I need a break

Pinkie has tired me out. I'm not tired of her, but she did in my hands. The back of my hands, wrists, forearms, and left shoulder hurt. Badly! Yesterday it passed the "ignore" threshold so I reluctantly put her away for awhile. I've loved doing things with my hands all of my life and I just don't want to risk getting some kind of a repetitive stress injury that could stop me cold. I had this problem with hand quilting but this is the first time I've felt it with cross stitch. I'm guessing the tiny size of the fabric and all those fractionals did me in. Today my hands are still sore, but much better, so no permanent harm was done. I'll come back to her after a break. In the meantime I'll be working on Rose Quaker which I've mentioned here before. It's a much more relaxing piece to work on. You've probably noticed I can't simply quit cold turkey for a while.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Frames for Pinkie and Blue Boy

And chart

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

What Cancer Cannot Do Framed

For my beloved husband.

Saturday, July 2, 2011


This project has been healing for both of us. I'm so happy I did it and Andy says he loves it. The frame we picked is in the mail and is due to arrive next week. It's a tabletop document frame. Andy wants to be able to see it from his chair and we know just the table to put it on.

I loved doing the beading and I'm far more comfortable with back stitch. I'm feeling braver about trying "Marie Antoinette" by the minute!

Electricity Addiction

A transformer exploded in my neighborhood right in the middle of my stitching! It put 80,000 of us out of power. The linen I'm working on is so tiny I couldn't see it well enough, even by the window, to keep working. I must use my trusty OTT light. I felt like someone snatched away my candy.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Meaningful Text

When I showed this to my husband and told him every stitch was made with love, his eyes filled with tears and then mine did too.

I've just the vines and leaves to finish.

Friday, June 24, 2011


I finished all the cross stitch so now it's on to the back stitch for the text and the vines.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


I can't get this out of my mind, so maybe if I write about it I'll get some peace.

I'm really into Marie Antoinette. Specifically, I love French eighteenth century textile prints, interior design, pink, and all things girly.

I grew up with French Provincial bedroom furniture and a canopy bed covered in pink frills. I even had a pink shag wall to wall carpet. Hey, it was the sixties.

I loved Sophia Coppola's film Marie Antoinette. It was a constant rush of pure eye candy. Or should I say eye cake?

So, here's my problem. The other day I ran into this amazing, perfect cross stitch pattern by Martina Rosenberg of Ch√Ętelaine Design called "Marie Antoinette."

Just look at it! Pink! Roses! Pearls! Shoes! Swarovski crystal sparklies!

But, I think it is way over my head, I have a ton of projects in a holding pattern waiting to land, I'm not sure I'll live long enough to complete it, and it ain't cheap because it uses lovely, blissful hand dyed silks and specialty items. My husband said I could have it as an anniversary present but that doesn't up my skill level. I'm intimidated!

I'm trying to be sensible. I found this cute fan pattern.

I could do it on this yummy Baby Lotion pink Belfast linen.

There would be a good chance I'd finish this within my life expectancy.

But oh! I'm so tempted! Maybe I should just pop in my Marie Antoinette DVD and call it a day.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Monday, June 13, 2011

Progress pics are motivating

This project is soothing my soul.

Friday, June 10, 2011

What Cancer Cannot Do

I purchased this kit a while ago but I kept putting off starting it. Sometimes the word "cancer" still scares me.

My husband asked me to do it next and suddenly, knowing he wanted it done, made it easy to start. I'll do just about anything for him. I didn't feel like working on it all by myself so I decided to do my first "Stitch Along" at a cross stitch forum I visit daily here.

I was so touched by all the love and support I received there I started to cry. Sometimes the world is a much warmer and sweeter place than I expect.

I'm making all sorts of changes to the kit including the fabric, threads, and several colors. I may or may not do the beading. I have not used beads in cross stitch yet and I'm not sure I'd like them on this one, although I've seen them used in other projects that are breathtaking.

Here is my start:

As you can see, it is my favorite color and my favorite flower. So far, so good!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Olde World Map Progress

I've done some more work on my Olde World Map.

I love this project but it is definitely one that I will be working on periodically and switching to something else because, for me, it's big, complex, and intense. I work on it until I stop looking forward to it and then I move on to something else. After all, this hobby is all about fun and relaxation. I just need to make sure I start a few projects I have hope of finishing in the foreseeable future or my expected lifetime!

So now I have the pleasure of choosing what to work on next.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

All Done

I finished another sampler! What a nice feeling. I'll admit this pic is pretty lame but I'll take another when it's pressed and framed. I was just so excited I had to snap it the minute it was finished, wrinkles and all.

I changed it a little by using my own initials and the current year.

I have two to frame now so I think I'll be framing soon, probably this week.

What's next? I love that question!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

My First Algerian Eye

I just learned my first specialty stitch: Algerian-Eye Stitch Over Four. I'll admit it -- I was afraid! But it was cool and so fun to do. I have a pattern waiting for me filled with specialty stitches and now I feel brave enough to do it.

Here is my Algerian Eye:

Woo hoo!

This is a close up of a rose with dark grey and dark brown in it which sounds totally incongruous, but I love it:

And my overall progress occurring at lightening speed (the quilt I shot it on is showing through the linen.  I'm going to have to figure out another way to do it):

I thank God for stitching. It's really helping me navigate through this difficult time.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Too Many Lurking Sources of Inspiration

I can't help it:  everywhere I look I see something that inspires my stitching,

The thing I fell helplessly head-over-heels in love with about the Royal Wedding was the cake.  I was instantly and completely smitten.

I knew I had to stitch an equivalent.  Right now!

I've been on the lookout for a wedding sampler to do for my wedding to my husband (Hey!  It's never too late) and I suddenly knew I had to do something flowery on pure white Belfast linen.  So, I just ordered this Ellen Maurer-Stroh Austrian pattern:

I can't decide if I want to do it in cream, ecru, or beige silk so I ordered one skein of each and I'll see what I like best against the white.

So, thanks to Kate Middleton and her wedding cake inspiration.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Yes, I have ADD

I've had a great day stitching on a new sampler and listening to a good book.  Can't ask for more than that.  My new sampler is little, so there's a good chance I'll be actually finishing it in the foreseeable future.  It's the 1859 Anna Thies Sampler and it looks like this:

I got the pattern from Sampler & Antique Needlework Quarterly, Fall 2009 magazine and it was reproduced by Permin of Cophenhagen.

It has the Berlin Woolwork influence I love so much and did previously on a completed sampler.  Yes, I do complete things!

This is only a little bit more than 10" x 10" so there's hope I'll finish it.  I've been wanting to do it since 2009 and I thought it was high time I started.  If you look at my finished work, you'll see I'm absolutely capable of completing long projects.  But for some reason, ever since my husband got sick, my ability to concentrate has been shot.

I love the kitten and the roses and the butterfly and the robin red breast.

I've lost the light to take a progress pic, but I'll take one eventually, when I've got more to show.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Here's my next project

Meditating on this while stitching it will be wonderful.  It looks like it was designed just for me because it couldn't be more my style.

I guess I can only get it as a kit, so I'll be switching the Aida cloth out for my preferred linen.  

What Cancer Cannot Do

It cannot cripple love
It cannot shatter hope
It cannot corrode faith
It cannot destroy peace
It cannot kill friendships
It cannot suppress memories
It cannot silence courage
It cannot invade the soul
It cannot steal eternal life
It cannot conquer the spirit

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Living in the USA

We just got the bill for my husband's week long stay in the hospital.  Just the hospital.  Not the surgeon, not the chemo, not the anesthesiologist, not the tests.  Just the hospital stay.  Are you sitting down?  $54,000 US Dollars.  Whoa.  And the food was lousy and the bed was uncomfortable.

Sweet Balm of Hurt Minds

Since this is a blog that is, in part, about insomnia, I have the joy to report that last night I slept like a baby.  O sweet, sweet sleep.  I think when I have a moment, I'm going to search for poems written as odes to the raptures of sleep and post some here.  I had had a string of nights of little to no sleep and my perceptions of reality were pretty hellish as a result.

The take-away good news is that one good night of sleep can bring complete relief.  Relief, relief, relief!  That Shakespeare guy was pretty smart. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Good News!

Goodreads (see them on my sidebar) just sent me an email saying Acceptable Loss by Anne Perry will be released tomorrow! This is #17 in the William Monk series, my all time, hands down, not even a close competitor, favorite book series on the planet and I had lost track of when the next one was due. I'm thrilled. Unfortunately, the audio version, my preferred format, won't be released until August 9, 2011.  Groan.  This is going to be a test of patience. 

I Can Not Sleep

Sleep that knits up the ravell'd sleave of care,
The death of each day's life, sore labour's bath,
Balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course,
Chief nourisher in life's feast,--

I can not sleep. I can not sleep. I can not sleep!

My mind hurts and I need sleep's balm. Why won't it come? I have somewhere I need to go in the morning. I can't stop crying. Grief is a close companion these days. I wish my husband was well. I'm suffering losses right and left, just like everyone else in this life. I need the chief nourisher in life's feast. I can not sleep.

Friday, April 8, 2011


The projects I work on lately tend to be long and complex.  After joining a cross stitch forum, I learned about the art of rotation.  It's wonderful:  you simply have several projects going at once and when you become weary of the current one, you rotate to the next.  It really works!  After taking a break by working on something else, when I return to a previous project with fresh eyes, I'm exhilarated again.  It appears some stitchers are on a strict time schedule rotation, but I'm not like that.  I just stitch on something until I don't feel all that excited about picking it up again.

I've decided to take progress pics when I rotate because it is so much fun and quite motivating to watch a project grow over time.  So here is Tradewinds by Teresa Wentzler.

And here is my progress, so far, right before I switch to something else:

This is my first Wentzler and it's full of scary firsts for me.  Her designs are notoriously complex but oh so worth it.  I haven't been cross stitching for long; I just took it up after a quilting blow out, so I have a lot to learn.  So far, I've done my first fractional stitches and blended threads.  Not so bad once I got the gist of it.  I'm looking forward to learning diagonal satin stitching, the large diamond eyelet, the fan, the Algerian eyelet, one over one, and beading in this project.

My choice of this project was influenced by a poem my dear friend Laura posted.  I had ambitions of stitching it under the ship, but it's just too long.  I love this poem and think of it as I'm working on this project.

"Commit thy way unto the Lord and trust!"
Ah, it is here we fail! We give the wheel
Of our small bark to Him; but then we trust
Our hand upon His hand,
And dare to stand
Beside our Master, lest He wreck our keel.

"Commit thy way unto the Lord and trust!"
Leave all to Him; believe He knows thy course,
Thy dangers, and thy safety--all--then just
Abandon all to Him:
So shalt thou skim
Borne briskly on before the Spirit's force.

"Commit thy way unto the Lord and trust!"
There is an "also" we too oft forget,
And so are plagued and worried. Oh, we must
"Trust also," then our soul
Shall cease to roll
In restlessness and reason and regret!

Commit! and then, committed, trust His Word!
Has He not said that He will bring thee through?
Trust His strong arm; and when wild storms are heard,
Believe He holds them still
By His strong will.
Trust Him, the Wise, the Faithful, and the True.

Trust Him to manage all that thou dost now
Commit to Him--the ship--the sails--the sea--
The sailors, thy strange crew. And ask not how
He will do all for thee,
But trustful be.
Lie down and rest from anxious worry free.

-- Unknown

Thanks Laura, for the inspiration.

My husband loves this project and has claimed it as his when it's finished.  I'll stitch for him gladly and with love.