Sunday, October 20, 2013

NEW WEB SITE !!!! and pearl shells

It's done.... I switched my web information to or I had been using the old names for more than 10 years.
Building the site took longer than I wanted but not as long as I thought it might, but it is now working. The new hosting company was very nice and got things going in just a few minutes. The company who took over my old names wanted more than $536 to give them back to me. The old web name is on so many patterns but onward and forward.
It took me most of the day to set up the new site but now I can at least work on it and make changes as I need to. The language of the last site was so hard to use that I needed help to even add a class to it.
I won't be updating it very often but will add things from time to time.


Now on to fun things. One of my darling students, Linda Smith,  not only sent a photo of her finished piece but also sent me some pearl shells. In class we were talking about pearls and pearl buttons and discussed how American shells were used for both of them. The button blanks were cut from the shells and then polished and drilled. Japanese cultured pearls start with beads cut from the shells. I had known about them but had never seen the shells and now I have three of them to add to my collection of antique sewing tools.


Here are the shells with some of the buttons that would have been made from them.

See how the inside of the shell glows.

Here is some lace that I crocheted using the pearl buttons. It really makes an interesting edging.

 I used the edging on this pin cushion and added a fun initial from an antique French alphabet in the center.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

web site woes and teaching dates and scissors....

My web site has decided to take a holiday. Not that I wanted it to but it is gone until I can figure out what went wrong. I paid my fees for the and addresses but now I am informed that they are up for sale. NOT NICE !!!!   Why does it always do this on a week that I am out of town and/or on the weekend. Or in this case it just combined both of them. I am not quite sure why non-functioning machines (and that also includes computers and related programs) remind me of cranky two year olds but they do. Every time they decide to act up it is like working with a tired and very uncooperative little person. There is not much you can do about it but find a way to work around it. Oh well, until I get this fixed, know that I am still here and will be back on the web as soon as I can.

On to better topics. I have just returned from teaching at a seminar in Louisville Kentucky. It was the national seminar for the Embroiderers' Guild of America. Partly by accident and partly on purpose I am slowing down the traveling and teaching for a while. The students have been wonderful and I have loved meeting all of them but after about 20 years of being on the road, it is time for a bit of a break. I am not quitting, the teacher for hire sign is still out.  I still have several classes scheduled but right now I need to recharge the batteries and stop the feeling that I am running in an endless circle.

It is time to do a few of the things that I want to do with out a deadline attached.
I have been working on Faith, Hope and Charity again. This is certainly a project with out a deadline. During the house construction I have worked on it a lot. Somehow it seems soothing to stitch tiny even crosses when I was living in chaos. Here is a photo of how it is growing.

The house I nearing completion... here is a corner of the expanded family room. There are still boxes to unpack and plies of "stuff" to decide where it should go but the walls are painted and the carpet is in place.

I have been collecting sewing tools for years and one of the things that I have always wanted was a special pair of scissors. Now those of you who have seen my collection, are in chorus saying "another pair of scissors". These are Mother of Pearl handled scissors from the Palais Royal in France. They were made in the mid 1800 and are usually part of a special sewing box. I have not been willing to part with enough money to get the whole box but have several pieces of a 'set'. Well, I found a pair of scissors for sale and now they are mine. One day the plan is to have a box made and create my own set of these wonderful tools.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Corinithian Column

I have been working on this piece of English gold-work for a while and am pleased with how it is looking. It is hard to work more than an hour at a time because of the fine detail.  I will love the finished piece but am enjoying the process of stitching.

I also have a new pattern  that is ready to send out. It was fun to do and I hope that others will enjoy it too. It is called Spot On! because it is a group of spot motifs. I love the crisp look that double running gives to a design. The colors are shades of green on an antique ivory linen. It is so hard to get a really good photo. The colors are always a bit off, especially the background.

The house is being worked on every day. The progress seems slow but there is so much to do. The man who is doing the kitchen cabinets brought a sample door for us to look at and it is beautiful. First will come the floor and then the cabinets. Most of the old floor is torn out and some of the cabinets all of them will need to be gone by Monday so they can start on the floor.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Part two of many to come

I thought that I would give you an update of both the house and my stitching. The house is torn up and I have put many things in boxes. This is the time when you realize just how much "stuff' you really have - and I am not talking about the important "stuff" like my stash from embroidery. These are the fun things that you pick up one by one and bring home from traveling or just the pretty things that you like. Of course they are things that mostly you don't want to get rid of but they sure do take up the room in boxes for storage right now.

I have been working on Faith, Hope and Charity again. It is my project between the other pieces that I work on. When I finish another design, I work on it for a bit and then go back to one of my new designs.  Here is a new section. I have added about 5000 stitches in this section to fill out the page on the chart. It was background so not too exciting but necessary. There are 1024 cross stitches per inch and the quarter shows the scale of the work.

Here are more pictures of the house.
The backyard has a hole for the footings of the new addition.

The kitchen has the plumbing re-routed so now the ceiling can be put back up.

The floor is rather interesting.... we found a layer of particle board under the layer on the kitchen floor that we had put there when we put down vinyl tile years ago.   So there are 4 layers on the floor right now. Tile, particle board, particle board and plywood. All of it except for the plywood has to come up so that we can have hardwood put down.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

As so it begins...........

We have been wanting to remodel our kitchen for years plus after 30+ years the bathrooms needed some updating, plus a larger family room would be wonderful when everyone gets together.
So how did we get from a "simple"  kitchen update to tearing up the whole main floor of the house. Well... there is this little thing called Pintrest that got me thinking about some changes and then a friend of ours told us what her addition cost and we thought - "we can do that".
So we met with the contractor and got a loan to add a 16 by 12 foot addition to the family room on the main floor and in the basement. Because our lot slopes, our basement is ground level on the sides and back so it has big windows and a door to walk out into the yard.
But like the domino effect, first we (meaning long suffering husband) had to tear off the back deck, since that was in the way of the addition.
He was supposed to start construction on May 13th but the city fathers had other ideas about the drawings, engineering and permits so here it is June 8th and nothing yet except demolition.
The deck was the first thing to go.

The twins are checking out the progress

Here is the back of the house minus the deck.

Then our friend suggested, "as long as you are tearing up the family room, why don't you do the kitchen?" So, after thinking about it - not sure if we thought long enough. We decided to redo the floor, cabinets, counter top and sink. And while we were at it, we thought that it would see if we could raise the ceiling. We had one of those ceilings from the 70's that had recessed lighting in the center. If we could take out the walls above the cabinets then we would be able to get taller cabinets. More storage - I liked the thought so we cut holes in the walls, took a look and the plumber said that he could relocate the pipes that hang down below the beams in the ceiling.  So more demolition and now we have an industrial ceiling look with exposed pipes.

Next domino to fall was the fireplace. I have never liked the color of the brick and we have been discussing a gas fireplace for years. The metal box for the fireplace made it look good but more heat went up the flue than the fire could produce. Plus as long as the basement family room ceiling was going to be taken out so that it would match the new addition, it would be the perfect time to run the gas pipe to the fireplace. Smash, cut and tear-out begins again and now there is a hole where the fireplace was.

We have bought new dishwasher in place of the old one that likes to leave a pool of water in the bottom. A microwave that goes over the stove will free up more cabinet space and will be a welcome addition.

I still am getting some stitching done. Here is a bit of the newest design.
Just waiting for the frame and it is finished.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Needles and Scissors as advertized

I have been doing some traveling in the past month. Whenever the opportunity presents its-self as I am traveling, I love to visit antique stores.
We were in Illinois and Iowa visiting some historical sites and found one of my favorite kinds of antique stores. This one was 2 miles down a curving river road and a bit cluttered. The "cool" kind of antique store in the middle of town usually has higher prices and the selection is fun but not quite what I am looking for. This one was full of interesting things and the prices were reasonable.
Since I like to collect sewing tools, I am always on the lookout for unique pieces.
These were advertised as  wall paper stamps but they might work for eyelet embroidery. They are a bit rusty but I couldn't resist.

These are not strictly for sewing but are children's scissors that were created for the Poll Parrot Shoe company. Since anyone who sews already has a collection of useful and decorative scissors, these will fit in perfectly.

This needle case has both sewing needles and knitting needles. I haven't checked all of the loose needles in the box but know that there is a set of knitting needles that are about size OOOO and several bodkins. A large sacking needle is tucked under the straps in the lid. There is a bit of rust on some of the needles but not too bad considering the damp climate that they called home before they ended up in the desert.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Pin cushions

For some reason lately I have had a "thing" for pincushions. Not any particular style just ones that I think are fun or cute.
I think that hedgehogs are so cute to look at although I have never had any personal experience with one. I found the picture for this one on Pintrest and hunted up the pattern. Years before I had made a special mohair teddy bead for my eldest  daughter and remembered the wonderful fabric. I thought that they made mohair tipped in a second color that would be perfect for the hedgehog so I went hunting on the internet for that specific fabric and finally found it. It was the perfect color but not spikey enough to look like the spines of the hedgehog. So I cut off a piece of the fabric and got it wet and played with the fur so that it stood up like I wanted. The face and ears are linen with black beads for the eyes.
She is perfect - just like I had imagined....
As part of the class for the Needlework Cabinet, we have small projects so that we can practice different techniques. This glove is one of the pieces. I actually followed the directions for the cuff but made the glove out of some thin leather that I had. Turned out to be a bit harder than I thought it was going to be. The leather tears if you are not extremely careful  so the stitching is not quite as even as I wanted it to be. I am pleased with the result.
The scissors are hand made antiques from the mid 1800's. They are so delightful to look at.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Panama Trip

We have just returned from a cruise to the Panama canal. We visited a butterfly farm in Aruba and I found it so interesting. Now I  plan on planning butterfly friendly plants in my yard. They gave us a web site that will tell you the plants that work in your area. Cool idea.
 We were also able to go to Costa Rica and go on a zip line through the rain forest. It was so much fun and the trees were magnificent.
In Cartagena, Columbia we visited a monastery and the flowers and architecture were so beautiful. In the desert where I live, flowers do not grow quite the same way.
 This photo from the internet was a close to the sting rays as we got on our trip. The seas were rough the day that we were to snorkel with the sting rays so we had another day at sea. Not quite the same as visiting the turtles and sting rays in person.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Embroidered Cabinet

I have signed up for a fantastic on line embroidery class. It is The Cabinet of Curiosities by Thistle Threads. I have always wanted to stitch what is called an embroidered casket ever since I first saw one. Here are a couple of pictures of the 17th century originals.

The class will run for 18 months and at the end we will have most of the knowledge that we need to stitch our own box. The first stitched piece of the teaching lessons is a pincushion. Here is mine with a picture of the back also. I love daffodils so I decided to stitch one for the front of my pincushion.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Cauliflower pincushion

I love Inspirations Magazine. It is eye candy for any embroiderer. Several months ago they had a pin cushion contest and the one that won was later published in volume 75. It was designed byJulie Kniedl of Australia.  It is the most wonderful   dimentional cauliflower. If you just glance at it you would think that it was real and not stitched. It is created by stitching 9 leaves and 24 circles of french knots that are then stitched together to create the lifelike head of the cauliflower. Here is one of the leaves.

Here is the whole pincushion.