Friday, July 31, 2009

Happiness is Cross Stitching Anniversary Giveaway

It's always a delightful surprise to me when someone announces a giveaway on their blog! Lynn at Happiness is Cross-Stitching is giving away some very pretty things to celebrate the first anniversary of her blog. When I read about such generous people I wonder if I will manage to make it to a year of blogging myself. :)

Here is a picture of Lynn's first place prize which includes: a Box decorated with her own cross stitch design (the free pattern will be available to download when she return from her holidays); Coffee pot and cup; Rose pins; Heart shaped ornament with Swarovski crystal trim; Scissor fob with Swarovski crystals stitched 1 over 1. What an amazing assortment of goodies!


Stumbled across the fascinating Unearthed website today, a unique mix of one-of-a-kind finds of all sorts: architectural, vintage and industrial objects for home, office and garden. It's an excellent place for a browse and a peep into the past, both near and far.

I had no clue what this item was until I read its description: apparently it's a late-1800s Convent Door Brass Peep Hole! See if any of Unearthed's currently available nicely refurbished items can surprise you!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

I have had no time for stitching this week

...and that feels kind of sad. The few times I've sat down and picked up a project it was so rainy or gloomy out that there was insufficient light to work, and I just had to put it back down. Also been spending a lot of time on the computer for my day job and by evening I don't often feel like continuing to work with my hands for long periods of time.

I guess we all go through stages where even our hobbies become chores temporarily. I always think it's better to stop for a while rather than work on a project when I don't really feel in the mood.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Real life is getting in the way again

I've not had much time for stitching this week and my hands have been acting up, so I am hoping next week will be better. Anyway, here's a pic of me and my mom from this weekend.

Unlike a lot of other stitchers' family histories, my mother's never been very interested in the crafty side of life. In fact, she loves to joke about my affinity for "arts and crap". *rolls eyes* Ho, ho, mom's such a card. As a matter of fact, she did a lot of tatting back in the 1940s, making collars and cuffs to embellish her dresses. I think she had quite enough of "use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without" in her day, and doesn't really understand the point of stitching for pleasure.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Mary Wigham progress

Not a lot of progress this weekend, but I offer an amusing aside. We are supposed to be recreating this heirloom sampler exactly as it was stitched 220 years ago, flaws and all, yet I find myself fighting an uncontrollable desire to correct the pattern, and losing! Forgive me, Mary Wigham, but I want your medallions to be as perfect as possible and I can't control my inner neat freak. :) Besides, it's fun seeing if I can get all the various arrangements to fit correctly in the end. I can imagine that adjustments were made by the original stitchers as they went along, so in a sense I feel I am doing the same thing, thus making this sampler a little bit my own as well.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

"It's the challenge that's the fun"

I didn't have time to tour the Lunder Conservation Center at the Smithsonian American Art Museum during my last Washington, DC visit, but I will definitely make it a top priority next time. There are some really cool treatment videos from their various labs on the website, here is just one from the Paintings Lab.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Mary Wigham begins

It's true I've just started stitching on the Mary Wigham sampler – you can see I've only completed about an inch square! LOL But I think it will be a fun project for me, I know I will enjoy working the individual medallions in solitary colors. I've chosen 40-count Lambswool Linen to stitch on and am using the DMC colors as charted.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Art is everywhere you go!

While enjoying the Village of the Arts Artwalk on July 3rd I commented to my companion that some of the artwork at Divine Excess looked similar to folk art pieces I had seen at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in DC (one of my favorite places in the world, btw). And, sure enough, I found several pieces by one of the featured artists at Divine Excess (Mr. Imagination) on the SAAM site!

I was also highly impressed by several of the other artists displayed at at Divine Excess, including the amusing assemblage figures of Melissa Menzer. You can see some of her delightful artwork here. :-)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Starting Mary Wigham

I am very pleased to have started stitching on the Ackworth School "Mary Wigham" sampler today. Situated near Pontefract in Yorkshire in the North of England, Ackworth School was built to be a foundling hospital, but in 1779 a school was founded there by Sir John Fothergill. Mary Wigham was a girl from the region who attended Ackworth between 1788-1791. Her piece is important for the history of the samplers as it is the first known with medallions.

Mary Wigham worked her sampler in 1790 – almost 220 years ago! Her sampler is under the care and conservation of the School, and Needleprint is releasing a section of the chart every week via download so that needleworkers everywhere will be able to complete Mary's breath-taking sampler for themselves. Six of the nine sections have been released thus far, but I am only just starting it today, so I look forward to happy stitching for many weeks to come!

Home of a Needleworker finish

Finally completed my own "Home of a Needleworker" this weekend. The birdie is a plump little chap now, as I frogged and restitched him so that he would fit and balance better, and I added a couple of bumblebees "just because". I'll have to set this aside until I can make a frame for it, but I'm pleased to have finished at last. :-)

Little House Needleworks "Home of a Needleworker"
22-ct. Off-white Aida, DMC floss as charted
Stitch count: 193W x 97H
Start 6/21/09 - finish 07/11/o09

Friday, July 10, 2009

July Stitch-A-Long (SAL)

Joined the July SAL on Facebook just for the heck of it, and in hopes that participating will motivate me to finish my sampler which is almost, but not quite done. I only have a little bit more to do and then I can start on my next project! So, barring any additional CTS problems I hope to get some serious stitching done this weekend.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Taking a little break

Still haven't finished Home of a Needleworker yet. Promised myself to finish this past weekend, but despite my best efforts (or perhaps because of them!) my carpal tunnel problems kicked in a somewhat and I had to give my hands a rest yesterday. As soon as I get back to normal I hope to finish up this little project. It has taken me rather longer than I thought it would to stitch, but I have enjoyed every minute.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Village of the Arts Friday ArtWalk

Some photos from yesterday's ArtWalk in Bradenton, FL. The first shows my friend Vicki Rollo in her beautiful Heart's Desire shop with encaustic mixed media artist Carolyn Campeau. Vicki is a fabulous jewelry designer whose work incorporates semi-precious stones, freshwater pearls, Bali silver and beads from around the world. Her shop also carries a marvlous assortment of women's fashions and accessories, ceramics, paintings, fused glass, and metalwork from local and national artists.

My friend Sandy and I visited several shops in the Village and I took snaps of some of the various eclectic shops in the Village, including Clay in the Garden's artist Jo-Ellen Gorris, who sculpts whimsical three-dimensional clay characters (those are her ceramic chess pieces and her very friendly kitties!), and Bits & Pieces quilt shop owner/artist Linda Bronkema. And the colorful animal-adorned bricks were lining the the walkways of the very funky and fun Divine Excess shop.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Slow but steady progress

I stitch a little bit on "Home of a Needleworker" each night, but what with all those tiny stitches building a house on 22-count is slow going. I am determined to finish it this weekend, though!

I do not have a multitude of WIPs going at once, because I hate having unfinished needlework laying around. I find that too overwhelming. I know other stitchers like working on several things at once, but I prefer the sense of accomplishment that I feel when finishing one project completely and moving on to the next one to starting a dozen things which I may never finish or lose interest in along the way. I may be wasteful in plenty of other areas, but never if I can help it with fabric and thread. Each project is like a puzzle to me, waiting to be solved. And I have always preferred forging ahead to a solution, and not meandering along the way.