Thursday, November 29, 2012

Christmas is Coming ...

Christmas is Coming, don't you know, and so I have some new news to share with you -- a brand new design by me, and some COOL offerings from Just Another Button Company...but first, a word from the kittens.

"The nice lady made this delicious and (smack) juicy turkey-bird for Thanksgiving, and she cutted it up some and we eat-ed it, and it went into our bellies, and then our eyes got really blinky, and then there was some sunshine, and we collapsed-ed in a pile and we sleeped-ed.  We are growing and happy, and our names are Pumpkin, Jack, Wolfgang, Super Cat and Salem.  Birdie was sleeping somewhere else when the nice lady tooked this picture."

This is a nice shot of Pumpkin with Super Cat and Jack in the background.  Pumpkin is a pretty girl...she had five orange brothers.  We have Jack (who was the runt).  Three of the kittens did not make it, and the other one is in another foster home.  Pumpkin is independent and has a gorgeous round face.  She's smart and VERY soft.

You may remember Super Cat -- his siblings were eaten by a 'possum, and he was the lone survivor of the group.  I took him in about six weeks ago, and he is growing nicely.  But, the vet and I have discovered he is vision-impaired.  We think he has a narrow field of vision and doesn't see detail well.  But he can play with toys and other cats, and he finds his way around the house, sometimes by feeling his way along the walls.  I am hoping to place him directly into his new home without having him go back to the shelter or PetSmart.  If you know anyone who is interested in a VERY sweet and loving cat, let me know.  He is not going to be big, but he is otherwise healthy.  He will need a patient new mom or dad to help him learn his way around a new house.

And I did want to let y'all know that our cat Boo did find a new home with a family with two children. I have been in contact with Boo's new mom, and she is doing fine.  She has a pretty new pink collar, and she got to keep her name.  The family was concerned about Boo wanting to be UNDER blankets, but I told them she LOVES that.  We do miss her, but I get photograph updates from her new family, and they love her!

Here's my new piece: Christmas is Coming.  It's stitched on 35 count Cappuccino linen by Weeks Dye Works (yes, 30 would work just as well) in Weeks Dye Works flosses Linen, Parchment, Havana, Rum Raisin, Bark, Charcoal, Stepping Stone, Bullfrog, Hazelnut, Brick and Kohl.  It uses a button pack from Just Another Button Company, and if you buy the button pack, you get the Figgy Pudding pattern by Cecile at JABCo for free!  Shops and customers may order this chart directly from me, but the distributors will have these in short order.

Cecile designed a kit to go along with the release -- it's Kissing Ball Ornament/Scissor Fob and it retails for $24.00.  You get everything but the cording in the kit.  I want to make one to hang on my tree!!!
This is the Figgy Pudding design, which you can finish as an ornament if you please.  The button pack retails for $7.60, but the chart is free with the purchase of the button pack for Figgy Pudding AND the button pack for Christmas is Coming.  AND, Cecile is gifting my customers the chart for free with ANY purchase from me.  I'll be handing them out until the end of the year with any order.

The Kissing Ball kit comes in Cranberry (as shown further up) and in Snow, shown here.  I love, love, love this kit.  And it was a ton o' fun to work with Cecile, who is such a nice and creative lady.

I'm not done for the year -- I have several new designs that I'm shooting to release next week.  So stay tuned, dear readers.  And have a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Grasshopper and a neat old sampler

Grasshopper and his brother, Greyfell, came to us a few weeks ago.  They had been hanging out in the exam room at the shelter...but that's not a healthy place for small kittens, so we took them home.  This little Siamese mix moved right in and showed such a unique personality.  Like a little old an ancient Samurai he would suddenly appear on my lap.  I never heard him or felt him; he would just be there, magically, quiet and calm.

But Grasshopper was having stomach issues.  He had problems using the litter box, and I was having to bathe him every day (which he hated).  But he didn't hold it against me.  He'd just climb back on my lap, or my shoulder, and sit.

His stomach felt lumpy to me, so I took him to the vet, convinced he was constipated.  It turned out he had a malformed digestive system, one that wouldn't allow him to pass waste easily, one that could not be fixed.  The vet and I decided to put him to sleep.  He was under the gas, but they lifted the mask off, so I could talk to him one last time.  I kissed him, told him I loved him, and that I was so sorry.  He's gone now, but he had several weeks with a very loving family and lots of playmates.  I want to say that he would have been a great cat...but in reality, he WAS a great cat.  He just didn't get to be a cat for very long.  (The picture above is the last picture I took of him on my cell phone before we went to the vet, not knowing I was going to have to have him put down.)

Sorry these pictures aren't very clear.  I doctored them up a little, but the originals were low-quality.  But would you look at this sampler!  It's on eBay as of this writing, but only for a couple of more hours.  It's one I've been watching, but I'm afraid it's going to sell for more than it's worth, based on the condition it's in.  It's from 1792 by Isabella Henderson and is English, most likely.  I put a bid in on it a few days back, then called Diane Williams from Little House Needleworks to have her look at it -- she thought it was great.  I told her that I thought the tree and Adam & Eve figures in the middle looked like something she'd design.  But she told me to be careful to not get excited and spend too much.  It's easy to do that with something this unique.

One of the things I really like most about it is that border.  How unkempt mess of nature.  It looks like it'd be super-fun to stitch, and although I do not copy pictures like this when I'm designing my own samplers, I do use them as inspiration.  This teaches me that it's okay to mix a variety of flowers and leaves on a border, and leave larger open spaces.  I like that there are different colors in the leaves, on the berries, and the weedy-looking flowers.  Again, that kind of thing is fun to stitch.

Another super-awesome element of this sampler is the over-one bushes to the left and right of Adam & Eve.  The birds are over-one as well, and her name is in an over-one cartouche below the main scene.  The bushes look wild, too -- not too evenly spaced or designed.  Just like nature!

The verse is an old one:

You whose fond wishes do to heaven aspire,
who make those blest abodes your sole desire;
if you are wise, and hope that bliss to gain
use well your time, live not an hour in vain
let not the morrow your vain thoughts employ,
But think this day the last you shall enjoy.

I found a web site that listed the sayings on old gravestones in their churchyard in the UK, and this was listed as the inscription on the stone of Mary Manchester who died in 1811 at the age of 81.  You may have seen this verse usually starts with: "Fragrant the rose, but it fades in time./The violet sweet, but quickly past its prime...."

Anyway, I can't get them all, but this one was special enough that I thought I should share it with you before it goes into someone's private collection.  I so enjoy these "old girls."