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A little blog about my big loves; family, friends, stitching and yep, chocolate!

Chocolate Loving Followers!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Treasures and Stitching, too!

Look who I found waiting for me at an estate sale today!  Say hello to my little friends!

Oh my gosh, I love going to estate sales!  I don't always find treasures but once in a while, I do hit the jackpot.  Today was one of those days!  I was so excited when I found these Beatrix Potter Bunnies I couldn't stand it.  They were just begging to come home with me.  Benjamin Bunny and Peter are both dated 1948 with F. Warne & Co, 1948, Beswick, England stamped on the bottom.  

The other four range from the 1980's - 1992 and are stamped with Royal Albert and Warne & Co. on the bottom.  I did not pay a lot for them and because today was the first day of the sale, there was no negotiating.  
Yes, I tried.  
I wasn't about to take a chance that they'd still be there tomorrow so.... they hippity hopped right in my little bag!
Just in time for Easter!
Each one is perfect and they will be happy additions to my collections.  

This chest is something I found last week, at an estate sale.  My mom has a cedar chest and keeps all kinds of treasures in it - gifts she finds throughout the year for friends or loved ones, special blankets and other treasures.  Because it seems, I am exactly like my mom, I had to have one, too.  I haven't been purposely looking for one but knew when I saw this that my "hunt" was over.  
Maybe.  If I could get it at the right price.
Facebook and IG friends, sorry for the repeat.....
The price was $95.  I didn't want to spend $95.
So, in my best flirty voice I said to the gent running the sale:
"I'll give you $75 for the chest and will let you help me carry it to the car."
He said, "I'll take $80 and carry it out for you."
What's not to love about a fun negotiator?
I think it's lovely.  Oh, it's got a few battle scars (don't we all?) but it still has the key and its a beautiful piece and I'm tickled to own it.

Like mother.  Like daughter.

One of my recent finishes is this cutie by Plum Street Samplers.
It will hang in my stitching room, once I get it framed.
You would think while stitching such a sampler you wouldn't make counting mistakes,
wouldn't you?
Well... not me, of course.
Anyway, with a few minor adjustments here and there, it is done and I love it.
This is going in the top of the "to be framed" pile.

Count Twice, Stitch Once
Confederate Gray, 35 count
Stitched with almost all the called for fibers  ;-)
In the meantime, I'll let it hang around on this cute hanger I found you guessed it, at an estate sale.
The hanger must have been used to hang unmentionables to dry.  
That's my guess.

I changed this section just a tad... I made the frog's eyes gold (the brown just wasn't showing up) and I shortened the frog's tongue a little and added a new stitch.
I closed the handle of the vase where the stitch was originally dropped.

I got what the frog was doing.
He was grabbing the mis-counted stitch but I changed it anyway.

I finished the stitching on my class pieces for this weekend, with Lori of La D Da.
The top right will be my name tag bag.  The pattern is just to the left of it but as you can see, I adapted it to look more like her Birdy Scissor Roll pattern (far left).
When I finished stitching the Drum Pinkeep (bottom) I realized that once it's sewn together two motifs, exactly the same, are going to be next to each other.
That big purple flower is repeated just after the pinky-red flower where the pin box sits.
The 4 little flowers on the far right are going to be the top of the drum.

Shouldn't there be three different motifs going around the drum?

Two motifs, exactly the same, right next to each other?

The more I looked at it, and the more I thought about it, the more I didn't like it.

So.... while it wasn't due to a counting error, a frogging I did go.

Last night I ripped that entire purple flower section out and tonight I'll finish putting something else there so it'll be ready for class tomorrow morning.
I think I'll like it better with 3 different motifs and, it won't look like everyone else's.  That's the upside since frogging all that was a definite downer! 
I also stitched my initials into this (the M is covered by a button - oops!).

That pin box is something I found in Petersburg, Virginia in a very old home at an estate sale I went to with my mom.  Isn't it pretty?
Actually, I found two of them and gave one to Julie. 

Have a wonderful weekend!  I have Lori's class Saturday and Guild on Sunday!

Be well.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Well, La D Da!

Dear friends,

It snowed like crazy here today.  The sky was gray and the snowflakes were small but it came down heavy and the foggy, snowy air made everything look like we were truly in the midst of winter's embrace and not like we're on the cusp of Spring.  With the snow today, and the sub zero temperature we're supposed to have on Thursday, this will go down as the worst winter on record for the Detroit metro area.  Whoop-doop-de-do!   When Spring does arrive, and the snow starts to melt, we are going to have lakes of mucky, dirty water on our lawns, roads and trails, for quite a while.  Dog feet are going to have to be wiped constantly!

Enough about the weather...

I have finished the stitching on a piece we are doing for a La D Da class in our guild.  Lori is coming in April to teach her name tag bag and a pin keep drum.  I love most of what Lori designs and have stitched several of her pieces.  Sadly, what she came up with for our guild, I did not love.  It just wasn't what I expected. I think she designs a different bag design each time she teaches this class.  I hate to say, I wasn't thrilled with what she came up with.   It just didn't have the pretty, primitive feel most of her designs do and I didn't want to stitch it.   What to do?  I didn't want to spend time stitching something I didn't like so I borrowed a design of Lori's I do love and went to town.  I used her new, limited addition Birdy Stitching Roll pattern, moved the motifs around to fit the bag, and ta-da!    I did add several colors to kit provided for the bag and it doesn't match the Stitching Roll exactly, but I do think they'll be nice together.

Edited to add: Why do my pictures look so crappy, unless you click on them?  Anyone?  I know - they don't look all that great when you do click on them but they're REALLY bad unless you do.

The picture above is the truest to the linen color and the patterns pictured are the Birdy Stitching Roll on the left, name tag bag in the center and drum pinkeep on the right.

The sage, floral fabric will be the lining of the bag (I think).  The three pieces came pre-sewn together in the kit.

Now I have to get busy on the pin keep drum stitching so I can finish it in class, as well!

Thanks for all the congrats on Ty!  His visit home seemed all too short and he's now in North Carolina at the School of Infantry.   He'll be a great Marine!

Time to stop.  I've gotta go watch "Survivor".  It's a guilty pleasure.  I've watched it since it first came on the air and I would have loved to compete.  I think I could have kicked ass, back in the day.


The gross food challenges would have been my biggest stumbling block.  Still, I would have loved to try.   My chipper in the morning personality might have gotten me booted faster than anything else!  It seems to me that far more people are not happy risers than are.  Which one are you?  Would my singing in the morning irritate you?  What would you do if I sang out of tune?  I love the Joe Cocker version of that song; it's one of my favorites.
Sing it today, with or without a little help from your friends!

Have a great weekend, thanks for stopping by and thank you for leaving me a note!
You're the best and I'm grateful you've stuck around!

Peace and Love,

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Marines, Samplers and Friends

Dear friends!

     Okay.  I have so much to tell you!  First, and most importantly, allow me to introduce you to the newest Marine in my family!  
Private Tyler Malinovich, USMC.

He graduated from boot camp at Parris Island, South Carolina on 2-14-2014. 
Isn't that an awesome graduation date and an awesome official portrait!?

Do you know our young marines have to buy all their uniforms?  
Including their dress blues you see in the picture above.  
Not only do we pay our guys and gals squat, they have to pay for their own uniforms.  Grrrrr....

This next picture was taken on Family Day (the day before the graduation) and Ty got to show us all around the depot.  Marines only get to pass through these doors one time... the night they arrive for in-processing.  
That's when the torture transformation begins.

Tyler was so honored to have not only his dad and me at the graduation but also 
my parents and my uncle Charlie and his fiance, Nelly.  
My uncle graduated from Parris Island in August of 1959 and this was the first time he'd been back.
My dad has a brother who was also a Marine and I wish he'd been alive to see this.  
He would have loved it, I think.
You may notice that Matthew is not in the pictures.  
His flight on Wednesday evening was cancelled due to mechanical trouble and by the next morning, the big snow storm had hit and his flight was cancelled due to bad weather.  
So... he wasn't able to attend.  
We (and Matt and Ty, especially) were so disappointed.
It was a cold and windy day on family day and by the end of the day, we were all a little worse for wear but as you can see, all happy to be there.  
Not sure that Tyler had relaxed enough to smile at this point.

Uncle Charlie and Nelly, my mom, Ty, me, Rob and my dad.

My dad and mom on the left, Tyler and Uncle Charlie after graduation.

Rob, Ty and me.

Before Rob and I arrived at Parris Island, we spent a few days in Savannah.  
What a beautiful place that is with so much to see and do.
We had a most wonderful dinner at The Pink House and just shopped and bopped around town for a couple of days.  

The problem with blogging is that instagram and facebook often get the pictures before I get them up on the blog because it's so quick and easy.
So, all you guys that are FB friends and Instagram followers, 
my apologies for the duplicate pictures.

This was taken at the best store (IMHO) in Savannah, The Paris Market.  
They had this sweet banner hung up for pictures and we couldn't resist.
Actually, some other people that we didn't know were taking our pictures, too.
Why would anyone want pics of someone they didn't know?

This may be my favorite wall of all places I've ever been.  
It is in the DAR cemetery in Savannah and I just love it.  
These are headstones that have floated out of their resting spot at some point and put on the wall for safe keeping.

Finally, some stitching:
This pic is from my friend Lynn's FB page but it's a part of the group of 13 friends from our guild (Kindred Spirits Sampler Guild) that will be stitching a Friendship Sampler over the next year.

Edwina, Lynn, Mary, Pat and Nancy (in back), Julie, me and Paulette.

We all will stitch the same band on each others sampler but because of the rotation, threads and fabric selected by each individual stitcher, they will all look different.  Each person provides their own threads so no two samplers will look the same.  
You may or may not choose to stitch something at the top of your band.  
I chose to stitch something in advance because I know when I get it back in a year, I will not want to put one more stitch in it!  
This is what I came up with:  
The top portion was taken from "A Quaker Pincushion" from A Carriage House Samplings.  Because this is a friendship sampler, I amended her words (a name and removed the quaker medallions) to include this passage from the Bible.

The bees and skep were taken from A Goode Huswife chart called "The Bird Tree" and the flowers are from a Blue Ribbon Designs chart called "Heart of Gold".
I'm pretty pleased with how it came together and can't wait to see what the other 12 bands will look like!  Each band is supposed to be 20 stitches tall and 80 stitches wide.  We are able to increase or decrease the height slightly but the width is an absolute.  Check back in a year for the grand reveal.  

Tonight is Ty's last night with us before heading to the 
School of Infantry in North Carolina for about 8 weeks or so.
I wish him luck and love!
I'm so very proud of him.  
He has worked hard and overcome some major obstacles to get the right to earn the title of 
United States Marine.  

Have a wonderful week, everyone!  Thanks for stopping by and for all the lovely comments you leave.  They make this process of blogging worthwhile.  After all, if no one read or commented, what would be the point?  So a hearty thank you!!!

Check me out on FB and Instagram if you haven't already.

Love and Peace,

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Colonial Gatherings & Sovine Palphryeman & Snow (not necessarily in that order)

Dear friends

     I should delete my previous post about how peaceful and beautiful and calming the snow is when it's falling.  

Blah blah blahbitty blah!  

That love affair is over.  
I was only kidding myself. 

Snow is deceptive.  It says to you, I'm soft and gentle and I'll make everything beautiful and sparkly (just the way I like things).  
And sure, it does all that for a little while but after that initial, gently falling snow, 
It's keeps piling on and then it turns brown and gritty and nasty and your feet are cold and fingers are numb. 
I'm not even sure I like the stuff even a little bit, anymore.   
Oh, I know... come next year and the first snowfall, I'll love it again.  
I'll feel all cozy and sentimental about it.  It'll snow, I'll blaze a fire and drink hot chocolate (with Bailey's of course) and think about children laughing and playing and sledding and building snow angels.  
I'll love it all over again.  
But for this moment and this season,
I hate it.  I'm sick of it.  I want it to STOP!
I know, we're all sick of looking at, talking about and thinking about this stuff but 
I couldn't help myself.
Moving on...

 It has been eons since I've had a significant finish and although this pattern may seem like child's play to many, it was anything but for me.  
I made quite a few changes to Miss Palphreyman.
Some, like making her dress red were planned. others were not.
The biggest unplanned change was to add a row and a half to the bottom of the tree trunk on the right.  I started stitching the tree before I had the grass, dogs or house in and I started from the base and worked up but I started a row and a half too high!  Grrrrr.
I wasn't about to frog all that so the only thing I could make work was to add a row and a half of compensating stitches to the bottom.
Why in the world I didn't stitch the first row of grass all the way across is beyond me.  
That's my signature at the very bottom which will not be visible when it's framed.

 Sovine's dress, once with a big, brown band, is now all red.
The pattern narrative said they thought her dress had been all red originally and that maybe she had used a different dye lot of thread for the section that had faded to a warm brown. 

I used about 4 different shades of green for the grass because I ran out of my initial color.  I just filled in here and there with one of the greens I had on hand.  I think it turned out fine.

 There once was a bird where Gracie now stands (black dog), Sophie is white.
The biggest change I made was to the verse.  
The one Sovine chose to stitch was a bit too morbid for my taste.  
It originally read:

If I inquire of those around
Wear (that's how Sovine spelled it) my dear father may be found
I am answered thus he's in the ground
 a lifeless lump of clay.

Believe me, I sort of hated to do it but I just couldn't imagine walking past this sampler one day, many, many years from now and think of my dad.
So, I edited dear Sovine's poem to something a little more genteel and easier on my vivid imagination.

If I inquire of those around
Wear my dear father may be found
I am answered thus he's in heaven above
Looking down on me with love.

My favorite part of this sampler is how the roses turned out.
Using an overdyed thread gives them more dimension and they don't look so flat.  

Sadly this chart is no longer in print but you can find her on ebay once in a while.

I've posted my conversion at the bottom of this post, if interested.  

My other recent finish is  the Colonial Candle Pocket from the Colonial Gatherings Club.  I joined the club from Dyeing to Stitch because two of my favorite designers were doing the offerings.  Paulette from Plum Street Samplers and Tanya from The Scarlett House.  I have been reluctant to join these clubs in the past because I'm not a very confident sewer/finisher.  I am impatient, I get distracted easily and well, I feel like I'm all thumbs, much of the time.  I definitely did not inherit my mom's wonderful talent.  But, I decided these smaller offerings might be just what I needed to practice. This is the first offering from the club and I'm delighted to say I'm thrilled with how it turned out. 
The pattern did not call for a lining but I even managed to do that.  
What do ya'll think?  

                              Well worn, vintage buttons and tiny toile lining

 This bicentennial thimble will be among the treasures tucked inside this colonial pocket.  

My Year long stitch-a-long is coming along nicely.  I adore this pattern (Snooty Parrots by Barbara Ana) and it is very hard to put it down once you start working on it.  But, I want it to last the year through so I'm showing some restraint and stopping when I'm done with the months "assignment".

The only change I've made to this so far is to add a cross stitch to the top of the berries under the alphabet so they wouldn't look like their heads had been lopped off. 
The colors are soft and pretty but get quite a bit more vibrant as we move down the sampler.  I just love those feminine pinks, soft greens and velvety reds.   
If the design alone hadn't gotten me, the color palette would have.

And finally, here's a little estate sale treasure:
If found this sweet pincushion amongst a pile of scrap fabrics.  I still need to try and clean the red pincushion but don't want to pull out all the pins.  It looks like it was well used and loved over the years.

The little tape measure on the side is still in perfect, working order.

That's it for now, friends.   I thank you so much for all your comments.  You're all so generous with your time, talents and notes and I so appreciate it.  Even if I don't get back to you, please know that I am grateful for every note left.  In fact, just today I realized I had about 5 or so messages that I hadn't responded to and I will try and get back to you all today!  In the meantime, be well.

Love & Peace,

Sovine Palphreyman Thread conversion:
Stitched on 35 count WDW Straw
Called for fibers:            Used Fibers:
NPI 986                          NPI 187
NPI 992                          WDW Baby Breath
NPI 563                          CC Blacksmith Blue
NPI 144                           WDW Red Pear
NPI149                            WDW Cayenne
NPI 565                          NPI 926
NPI 665                          No Change
NPI 646                          NPI 298
NPI 971                           No Change
NPI 402                         NPI 403
NPI 142                          Soie Cristale #2006
NPI 515                           WDW Monkey Grass
NPI 512                          NPI grey green
NPI 302                          GAST Picnic Basket
The tree leaves I stitched in CC Poblano Pepper
deer fill in = DMC 842
Deer antlers = DMC 841
Dog collars = Soie Cristale #2206
End of changes.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Snowy, Quiet and Pretty~

When the snow is falling, the whole world seems quiet, calm, peaceful and pretty.  
It's the quietness that I really love.  
It's beautiful.  It's  restful.  It's cozy.  
It's a welcome respite from the otherwise busy, confusing, hectic life that is mine.  
At least for a time.

Before all the aggravation/havoc trouble that snow creates, there is the calm.  
That's what I enjoy and I hope that you're able to enjoy it, too.
That and a cuppa hot chocolate with Bailey's.  Yummm!!!
The reality of the trouble snow causes is a whole other litany that I'll save for another day.  
For now... beauty, calm, a fire, hot cocoa and Van Morrison on the playlist.  
Ahhhh, yes....

Before we got too far past Christmas I just had to show you this fabulous punchneedle Santa that BFF Sheila made for me:

Isn't it wonderful?  I'm sure you'll recognize it as a Brenda Gervais design from With Thy Needle & Thread.  You can visit Branda's blog by clicking on her name and a link to her shop is in the sidebar.  The funny story about this is that Sheila called me one day and said "May I come over and borrow your sewing machine?"   Then she told me she was coming over to work on my Christmas present!  Luckily for her I was getting my hair cut that morning so I couldn't spy on her.  Sheila says she's not a crafter but I'd say she is!  Isn't he wonderful?  I couldn't be more tickled to add such a darling Santa to my collection.  I haven't been able to put him away just yet.  He's keeping me company in my craft room.

My other little finish I showed you previously but I decided to finish it as a little sewing box (at least temporarily).  I added a postcard from 1903 (postmarked) to the bottom of the box and then made a little scissor fob to go inside.  Elizabeth Talledo is going to make some other smalls to go with this design so I thought a box might be a cute place to keep them all (visit her blog by clicking on her name).  The fob I found at Hobby Lobby and it sort of reminded me of a hornbook.  I used the initials in the pattern to make it and am pleased with how it turned out.
You may find the pattern in the Just CrossStitch Jan/Feb 2014 issue.  There is going to be a year long series of hornbooks so better get on board!

This is my start on Snooty Parrots.  I am almost done with the January "assignment" and then I'll put it away until February.  I would love to keep on working but I also want to continue to stay with the group so I'll stop for now!  Please check us out on Facebook if you'd like to join in the fun!   Sampler World, Snooty Parrots SAL, 2014.

Isn't that needlebook sweet?  My friend Christina made it for me!  It's stitched over one and I am so enjoying using it while I stitch this fabulous sampler.
I am truly blessed with wonderful friends!

We are getting snow today.  It has been falling all day.  Nothing terribly heavy yet but we'll see what transpires the rest of the day/night.  

The snow is fun for Gracie.

Not so fun for Rob.

Thank you for all your comments on my last post!  
I appreciate them and they are the reason blogging is worthwhile.

Be well, be happy and thanks for stopping by my cold corner of the world!

Love & Peace,

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Late to the party!

Dear friends,

     If you're a blogger, you've no doubt seen this over the years: the Totally Useless Stitch-A-Long!  I thought it might be fun to finally join the party, so better late than never!  Besides joining in on the fun, it might be a good way to help keep me posting!  So, each new moon, we post our ORTS, and for one day, here are mine.  You might have to look close, but there are some in there!  I love this little barrel, mustard, bank jar!

     I'm also working on the Snooty Parrots Sampler as part of the Sampler World SAL group!  I got some stitches in early this morning and a few today but don't have a good pic so that'll wait till next time.  Here's the sampler for you to gaze upon - if you haven't seen it already!  If you know me at all, you know it has everything I love - color, alphabets, verse, Adam & Eve and of course, those oh, so snooty parrots!  We have over 260 SAL members stitching this pretty piece so please check us out on Facebook, if you'd like to join in the fun!

Snooty Parrots SAL

     We enjoyed the Winter Classic (hockey) here today (from the comfort of my sofa) and even though the Red Wings lost - it was a great game!

     I hope your first day of 2014 was a good one and that the year ahead brings your hearts desire and lots of stitching!  Thank you for leaving me such nice comments ~ I appreciate the warm welcome back more than you know!

Love and Peace,

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Some Stitching...

Hello friends!

It's a bright, sunny, almost warm day in SE Michigan today and I got to get outside to take a picture of my latest finish.  This is a hornbook (well, it will be once I get a hornbook and mount it) designed by Elizabeth Talledo (Dames of the Needle) and is in the current issue of Just CrossStitch magazine.  The second I saw this sweet little design, with its perfect colors and beautiful font, I knew I had to stitch it.  Elizabeth has said that there will also be more smalls to go along with this.  I hope I have enough velvet ricrac!  I stitched this exactly as called for but added another leg to the Nun stitch border so it's more of a box stitch finish.  My ricrac is also a deeper reddish/pink than the one Elizabeth used but that's just because I happened to have it on hand.  
Can't wait for the extra pieces!
The hornbooks are going to be a year long series in JCS so make sure to get your copy, now!

A few months ago, my guild had what we call a designer day.  This year it was 
Plum Street Samplers.  In addition to bringing anything we had stitched by Paulette we were challenged to stitch and finish her "To Thine Own Self be True" freebie and finish it however we envisioned.  I thought you might like to see some of the creative finishes that were shown.  There are more but I seem to have lost that picture (typical).  Mine is the one in the center - the little book.

And just to reassure you that I still had a fun Christmas despite missing Tyler here are a couple of pics/stories I thought I'd share with you.

The ugly sweater party was on Saturday night.  
Saturday afternoon we still didn't have anything to wear. 
While out shopping, I wandered into an Urban Outfitters store and saw these atrocious cactus looking things on sale for $15 each in the men's department.  
I quickly snagged up two of the fifty or so that were left 
beelined it for the check-out line.  
Treasures in hand, I hurried home with my finds to show Rob.  
Of course he was busy watching football or something when I got home so I just took them upstairs to wait till time to get ready.
When I took them out of the bag, I realized that uh-oh, those aren't cacti, no sir,
they're pot leaves!
You'll notice that even the star on top isn't straight!
We wore them anyway.
I don't know if folks at the party were more amused that we wore them 
or that I bought them without realizing what they were.
As one friend at the party said, I guess this will be forever known as our
Childless, Cannabis Christmas.

We also had our Christmas work party in December.  Or if you work for the government like I do, you can't say it's a Christmas party - it has to be a holiday party - blah, blah, blah.  It's always a lot of fun but this year, my dear friend Lisa and I had an extra good time.  Not sure why - could have been the shots at the bar or maybe it was just the holiday spirit that got us.  Anyway, we decided the best way to take a selfie was to lay flat on your back so that your facial wrinkles sort of fall away.  We had to test our theory and I'm not sure it really worked but we were hysterical, nonetheless.
Love this girl!

We also had to thank our bartender Dave for the great job he did mixing our drinks!

Here's hoping your holiday was full of laughter, too!

Thank you for the warm welcome back and for all your lovely comments!  
You're the best!

Love and Peace,

P.S., Tyler survived the gas chamber with no problem.... now to get past swim week!
Fingers crossed and prayers appreciated!