Thursday, October 29, 2009

Love at first sight?

Went to the pet store the other day to get something for our one remaining goldfish. And of course they always have cats and kittens for adoption from the local rescue groups. How could you not fall in love with this little face? Steve and I brought her home last night. She's 10 weeks old, and her given name was Sugar. We're still deciding on names -- might call her Shug (like the first syllable of Sugar, but with a southern accent), Lucy, and now I'm looking at her, and maybe she's a Georgia (she IS on my mind!)

She has a very sweet personality -- curious and calm, brave and snuggly. She's sleeping on my lap right now -- I am going to bring her in with me to the shop for a while, because Kitty is completely bent out of shape about this new little girl. Our big lab, Bea, thinks she's just fine. (Sigh, she thought, another cat.) Needless to say, didn't stitch a lick last night.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A little finishing...

This weekend I stitched this little pincushion design from Blackbird Designs' new book, Joyeux Noel. I had a scrap of some fabric, might have been Glenshee Scottish linen, in my stash, and I just chose Raspberry Parfait Sampler Threads, because it was laying around. The date I chose is one that Jenny Bean uses. I guess I just like the number. Barb and Alma said they sanded an area, and then darned an area back in using a piece of the linen thread from the side of their fabric. I didn't sand the fabric, but I did choose two areas to weave a little piece of linen thread back and forth. (Look below the bird on the left and above the bird on the right.) When I was done with it, I finished it into a pincushion using a piece of Civil War reproduction quilting fabric I picked up at a quilt show last year and about a cup and a half of ground walnut shells. It's pretty cool.

Well, then I decided with the new fabric and the very clean linen that it looked too neat and tidy, still. So, I got out a coffee cup and the instant coffee. I put about half a cup of water in the cup, put it in the microwave for two minutes, then added a small spoon of the instant coffee. Then I added another spoon of actual coffee grounds. Then I thought, "Do I really want to do this?" And before I could answer myself, I stuck the spoon in the mucky, hot mixture, scooped some up, and then dripped it on the piece. (You kind of have to approach this kind of decision like jumping in the pool -- just do it! It's the same inspiration that strikes when I feel I really need a hair cut right now, and why don't I give it a try?) The drips alone were not going to do it, I decided. So, I took a paper towel, dunked it in the coffee, soaked some of it up, and then started applying it on the piece. I blotted the entire front with coffee, then the back, too, because hey, what the heck? Then, I filtered out all but the grounds, and then threw the grounds on top of the piece in a few areas, mushing them down really good first, and walked away from it for a while. I came back about a half an hour later, brushed it off, then it was off for the next step.

I took out my hair dryer, because I couldn't wait to see how it would look dry. I'm sure my husband wondered, "What is she DOING?" I stood there and blew dry my pincushion, and as I did, it lightened up some, and the darker areas grew more pronounced. I love it, love it, love it! It's cuter in person, but I thought I'd show it off here.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Last night I did some ornament finishing, including Jenny's Christmas Ornament for 2009 (above). It turned out really cute. There are some on-purpose mistakes in this one. I think they make sampler designs look more authentic, because really, they were just girls and prone to make mistakes. They're not obvious. And that makes them cool! I stitched this one in silks (Belle Soie), and will be doing fiber packs through my shop, so y'all don't have to spend a fortune getting full skeins. You only need a little of each color. Stitched this one on 40 count cream linen, but you could stitch it on other counts/colors, too. This one will be released next week with Jenny Bean's Christmas Sampler (below).

Listening to iTunes right now on DJ mode and The Beatles' "Two of Us" from the "Let it Be" album is on. What a wonderful album. May need to listen to the whole thing. "You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead." Better get to work. Have a great day!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Jenny Bean's Christmas -- Framed!

It'll just take me a few days now to get Jenny's Christmas sampler printed and bagged. The frame came in yesterday -- earlier than expected (hooray!) I think it turned out really cute. Here's a list of supplies you will need to complete the sampler:
  • 40 count Navy Bean Vintage Linen (Lakeside Linens) 1/8
  • Sampler Threads: Raspberry Frost, Chives, Cucumber, Grape Leaf, Aged Pewter, Weathered Barn, Portabella, Grecian Gold, Apple Cider, Currant, Rose Garden, Oatmeal, Walnut, Garden Gate, Raven, Wood Trail, Pebble
  • Eastside Mouldings frame PRL BK 6 3/8 by 7 7/8 (this is to frame it really tight like I did)
  • Stitch count is 116 by 149
I finished stitching Jenny's Christmas ornament last night -- haven't decided what to name it. I have to do the finishing yet. It turned out very sweet and kind of Colonial-looking, which I like. I'll post a picture of that as soon as I can. You can pre-order the Christmas Sampler now, along with linen (in whatever count -- 28, 32, 36, 40). I can also send threads (some of these are lesser-used Sampler Threads, but they're all lovely!) By the way, I took the photo just outside my shop. I have some really pokey bushes out there (not sure what they are, but they look like holly, sort of.) So, even though it'll be 80 here today, it looks a little like Christmas.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Here it is -- Jenny Bean's Christmas sampler. I am waiting for the frame to come in from Eastside Mouldings (a black beaded frame). As always, this is much more wonderful in person, but at least you get the gist of it. I am taking pre-orders. As soon as the frame comes in, it'll just be another two days for me to get the graphs printed. I designed and almost finished stitching a Jenny Bean Christmas ornament yesterday; this one I'm doing in the Belle Soie silks by Crescent Colours, and it's so pretty and fun to stitch.

Also am including a picture of some flowers I sent my mom. You never know how those florists are going to do when you give them some sort of carte blanche to put something together. I told the gal "bright and cheery" and boy, she did well. Hope y'all are having a groovy week.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Christmas sampler finished...

No picture yet -- I need to take it to the shop Tuesday and stretch it. Then I can at least take a picture for those of you following my blog. But...Jenny Bean's Christmas Sampler is done. I finished it at a stitching/scrapbooking day yesterday with my friends here in H'burg. One of them said she likes it even better than the Halloween sampler, but everyone really loved the colors. Just as an FYI: it's stitched in the regular line of Sampler Threads (including some of their new colors) on Navy Bean 40 count Vintage linen by Lakeside Linens, but you can stitch it on whatever count you like. I used a few specialty stitches (a few eyelets for one of the letters, for example), but it can all be stitched in cross stitch. No backstitching, of course.

Just kicking around today and loving the fall temperatures here in Mississippi. I'm thinking I might pull out an ornament pattern and just stitch the rest of the day away on someone else's design.

Also, I am in the market for model stitchers for my reproductions...if you have experience and time, you can contact me through my e-mail: You're going to need to be able to work on fine linen (40 count.) Have a great evening -- will post a pic soon...

Friday, October 9, 2009

As promised, here's Sarah Philpott...

This is the other in the pair of samplers I've got made by two sisters in the same year (1837). Both are lovely. The central motif at the bottom of this sampler is repeated twice at the top of Jane's sampler. Even though Jane was 10, she was a neater stitcher, where Sarah was more of a free spirit. Sarah tended to let her strings dangle on the back (a kindred spirit to me!) And she substituted bright pinks in a few areas (notice the basket on the right is outlined in bright pink -- the one on the left is in tan.) She also used four-sided stitches for her capital letters, which is fun. You can click on the pictures in my blog to make them bigger, if you want to really take a good gander.

I am making good progress on the Jenny Bean Christmas Sampler. I should be finished stitching it in the next couple of days, but still need to design and stitch an accompanying ornament for it.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Jenny Bean's Christmas and Adam & Eve

I'm making good progress on Jenny Bean's Christmas Sampler. I'm offering you a sneak peek. This one is laid out rather unusually. You can't see it yet, but there is a main section of the sampler that is square, but the overall sampler is rectangular. Lots of pretty shades of pinky red and soft/antique green. It's fun to stitch. I hope to have it finished in the next few days.

Also, I'm doing a little show-and-tell of a sampler I own to see what people think. Next reproduction? It's a great old Adam & Eve sampler, one of a pair I own by two sisters (the Philpott's) from Ramsgate done in the 1830's. They are similar in size and colors, but all of the motifs and what-not are different. Should this be my next one? I bet it's a ton of fun to stitch. And she did a fabulous job. Hope y'all had a great weekend. Steve was excited about the Vikings' win last night over the Packers (Brett Favre lives just up the road from us.) I sat and stitched. After all, it's just a game!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

No picture, but good news...

I finished designing Jenny Bean's Christmas Sampler this morning, and am going to start stitching here in a few minutes. It is SOOOOO CUTE! The verse on it is from Love's Labours Lost, and the colors are "antique Christmas." Not a Christian theme, per se, and you could definitely hang it all year. I can't wait to start stitching. There will be a matching ornament to go with it, and a custom button by JABCo, I think. I will also start reproducing another antique soon. Decisions, decisions...which one?

Anyway, I will post a sneak peek here next week, depending on how far I get. Yes, you can pre-order sight-unseen. I am using all Sampler Threads for mine, but it's just their regular line (no special pack for this one.) Wish me luck!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Happy October!

Where on earth did September go? I am going to spend the next few weeks packing, and packing, and packing (and packing) orders. I'll have to get some good tunes on -- I'm thinking some John Mayer, some Eric Hutchinson, a little Sting (he's always good in the fall.) I included a picture of my cat -- she's so cute. Lately she's taken to sleeping on top of our stereo components...nice and toasty. Does she have a cat bed? Yes. Does she prefer expensive stereo equipment. Yes.