Monday, October 20, 2014

I Made it Monday--The Masquerade Edition

This past weekend was my library's masquerade gala and silent auction. You've heard me complain enough about running the silent auction to know that I ran it again this year. I did have a lot of help, but somehow we ended up with fewer items and thus, lower returns. We did well, and I know the librarian who runs the homebound book delivery program will be happy with the money. And it's all profit since everything was donated. I guess I just want to do better year after year.

Anyway, I was left with the conundrum of how to wear a mask that would work with make-up and not obscure my vision too much. (You should watch people wearing masks try to drink out of a glass; you don't realize how important the ability to look down is to drinking!)

First, I want to apologize for not taking the picture before this project ended up at the bottom of a bag! The legs were a little wonky by the end of the night. These are a Martha Stewart design, and the project couldn't have been easier. You trace the spiderweb onto the glasses with white paint pen. (And the next time I do this, I will keep the orientation the same between lenses, although the cock-eyed look may add something special!) Then you hot glue chenille stems that you have trimmed at the ends. Eh, voila!

If your eyes are over 40, and you find you need a lot of extra light to see, you will find this mask a little dark, especially in the dim light of a gala. (Plus, those are not my prescription lenses for obvious reasons.) But putting them on and taking them off was easy (just ask the people who had masks tied to their heads) and it didn't mess with my hair or makeup. Altogether I think the project ran about $3--and you should see how much white paint and how many chenille stems I have left over.

The committee is thinking about The Great Gatsby as a theme for next year, which seems appropriate for a library. (I don't know why they haven't been doing book themes for years!) What other book themes could we do?

Friday, October 17, 2014

Flashback Friday: Mantle Decor

I've seen on the blogs that a lot of people have been decorating for the season. Of course, the mantel is a focal point for such decorating.As, it was, back in the day:
The frame is of light bamboo here, but any other similar wood can be used. Feathery asparagus or any of one of the hundred and one running vines to be had for the asking in the country, or for a modest outlay in the city, lend themselves joyously to this device. Blossoming berry-vines are lovely in their season, but any ingenious woman can conceive of a score of things which can be used to follow this floral decorated mantel for party, wedding or ball. The only thing to be guarded against is stiffness; let everything look as if it grew on the mantel out of nature's own hand.
"A Prettily Decorated Mantel," The Ladies' Home Journal; Oct 1890; Vol VII., No. 11 page 6
From HGTV "Decorate Your Mantel Year Round"
I guess we haven't given up on this one. Except that fewer houses have mantels now than when they actually used fireplaces to heat the house.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Show Your Stash: Patterns

Thank you for your kind words on my recently finished Thistle and my latest WIP "Our Souls." And for not thinking I'm a coconut for rejecting the notion that Wuthering Heights is a great romance.

I had meant for our Show Your Stash meme to be very regular, but my god, when have you ever known me to be very regular? Today I want to see your patterns!

When you shop for patterns, do you buy on impulse or do you buy only what you need? Define "need", amiright? I'd say about 80% of the time I buy on impulse. 
How do you sort your patterns—by designer? theme? Season? My designs are sorted by theme ("flowers," "houses," "verse," "sampler," etc). I consider the seasons themes. I do not alphabetize them in any way, however, (unlike everything else in my house including spices) because the visual is the important thing, rather than the titles, which I can never remember.
How do you store your patterns? Most of my patterns are in folders in a filing cabinet. Patterns from magazines are in plastic sleeves in three-ring binders. The patterns that are kitted up are in baskets.
Which designer do you own the most patterns by? I went to consult the database I created several years ago and the computer I had it on is dead but I did find a copy. The copy is corrupted. So, wild guess, Cricket Collection.
Which designer have you stitched the most patterns by? Maybe Shepherd's Bush?
What tips do you have for building up a well-rounded stash? Be overly-optimistic about your capacity for speed stitching.
When do you say enough is enough? Never.
How do you whittle your stash down when it's gotten too large? Giveaways. I've turned into my grandmother pawning stuff off on the unsuspecting!
Do you have a current favorite in your stash? Let’s see it! I have a lot of favorites! Some of which I am stitching, and some of which I just like to pull out and look at. (Silly, I know.) I think if I chose one today it would be different tomorrow. Seriously, I've been going through the patterns, and I like different ones for different reasons and the feelings have similar intensity. I can't pick a favorite!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Work in Progress--Anniversary Sampler

I don't think I've shown this to you even oncesince I started it back in May! (And I promised to show it in June.) How did that happen?

The quote is from Wuthering Heights. Catherine says it about Heathcliff before she marries Linton. A lot of people consider this story a romance, mostly because they've seen the movie and not read the book. But there are those who find abuse equal to love, and I don't think anything I say on a crafting blog is going to change their minds about that. Anyway, since the dude and I read the book similarly, we can appreciate the irony of the quote used here as a celebration of our own marriage, which lacks revenge and abuse and wuthering heights. The design is Our Souls by Midsummer Night Designs,

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

I Made It Monday...and Posted on Tuesday

I finished the Thistle Sampler this weekend! This felt like such a throwback to work on, but it is certainly appropriate to celebrate my Scottish MIL's birthday (belatedly).

You will notice however that I have not posted this on Monday. Yesterday was busy as all get-out. First, I am slammed with work with two big reports due in the next two months. Second, the silent auction is Saturday (and I'm still getting items! So much to do!). And yesterday was cookbook club. I made winter squash soup from Ina Garten's Barefoot in Paris. It was easy and delicious, and I made it between getting home and leaving for the meeting. (In case you're keeping track, the dude made mango sorbet.)


Sunday was no better. I finished up the stitching, ironed it, photographed it. Then had to rush out the door to pick up my mother at the airport and bring her to my sister's. My mother is making good on her promise of visiting monthly to help out. And there was the matter of my birthday celebration; there were presents and key lime pie and gassy babies. Now I am boringly old on a Tuesday. Phhht. (However, a big round number birthday is coming and it will be on Friday!)

Back to the sampler which is what you come here for. I love the texture in this with the different flosses and stitches. The ecru and lavender knot may be my favorite. Or is it the small thistles (below)? (Just don't look too closely at the pulled work.)

I felt so good to have finished something this year that wasn't a small! Of course it wasn't that big, either. But done is good, and this is quite lovely. Charland Designs, Thistle Sampler, 1997.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Flashback Friday: Children's Parties

We are getting ready around these parts for a party (and a gala. Yes I'm doing the silent auction again. Yes, I know I said I wouldn't.) So it seems appropriate to turn our attentions to what our forebears thought about such things:
We turn from these to the mental and nerve injuries inflicted on the growing organism [child]. They are certainly not to be disregarded. A perfect storm of excitement rages in the little brain from the moment the invitation has been received, and the affair is talked about in the nursery until after the evening. Sleep is disturbed by dreams, or, in some cases, prevented, by thinking of the occasion, and afterwards the excitement does not subside until days have elapsed, perhaps not before another invitation is received. Not only in the winter, but at all seasons, we think the amusements of young children ought to be simple, unexciting, and as free as possible from the characteristics of the "pleasures" of late years. As a matter of fact, "children's parties" are in no way necessary to the happiness of child life. 
Children's Parties in Winter, The Ladies Home Journal; Nov 1889; Vol VI; No 12, p 9

And you thought all those little girls stitching those samplers were having fun! Adults were really cruel back in the day.

Have a party this weekend! Enjoy it. Even if your kids get a little excited.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Debbie's Ultimate Crazy January Challenge

The spanner in the works. Available here.
I do hope you enjoyed yesterday's blog hop and that you got to meet some new stitchers, and I hope you visited and congratulated Jo.

Linda over at Stitchin' with My Furbabies (who I like to think of as the benchmark for WIPs), and many in the stitching world, lost their friend Debbie at the end of August. In this post Linda eulogizes her friend and asks us to join in stitching 31 projects next January in Debbie's memory. Since you are well aware that I will find any excuse to start a new project, I signed right up. {Of course, stitching in memory of a friend lost, I do that too.} I'm in for 31 NEW projects even though I am completely aware that that means almost none of my old projects will see the light of day in the next year. {Shrug} No sooner did Linda propose this than I started making my list. I joined the Facebook group thinking that I was the only one crazy enough to be planning new starts months in advance. Happily, I am not! Since I posted my original list there, I did decide it had too many Christmas pieces on it. I replaced four pieces. 

The other night, I went through my four 3" binders worth of freebies and patterns torn from magazines to find substitutes. (I did not look through them before making the original list.) I found a few things, but I have to tell you some of that stuff has not aged well. And yet, I didn't spend any time taking things out. You never know when you're going to want to make a fabric tissue box cover with a shell cross-stitched on it! 

Here's my list, as it stands currently.
  1. Of My Love Be Sure, Bent Creek
  2. Mary's Stocking, Shepherd's Bush
  3. Christian's Stocking, SB
  4. Charland's Stocking, SB
  5. Sadie's Stocking, SB (or possibly the new one)
  6. Wisteria Snowman, SB
  7. Abigail's Wisdom, With My Needle
  8. Light House, Bent Creek
  9. Oh Baby-Twin 1, Lizzie*Kate
  10. Oh Baby-Twin 2, L*K
  11. Winter Row, Bent Creek
  12. Wabbits Wonder, Sheepish Designs
  13. Turkey Sausage, Plum Creek
  14. Greenland Santa, Mill Hill
  15. Lapland Santa, MH
  16. Nunavut Santa, MH
  17. St Nick's Noel, Amy Bruecken
  18. Lovebird, JABC
  19. Spring Fresh Mesh, JABC
  20. Cinnamon Stars, Plum Creek
  21. Coussin Carres Fleuris, Bleu de Chine
  22. Ortilda the Witch, Twisted Threads
  23. Four Fat Friends, Drawn Thread
  24. Waldorff, Homespun Sampler
  25. Ladybug Ladybug, Rabbit Workes
  26. Wee Beasties, Dimples Designs
  27. Slow Poke, Ewe and Eye
  28. October Sampler, Linda Reeves (JCS, undated)
  29. Button Basket, Ewe and Eye (CS&N, April 99)
  30. Bee Keeper, Drawn Thread freebie, 1997
  31. Love Lives Here, Lizzie*Kate freebie, undated
But now I've seen By the Bay's Autumn In Vermont (pictured), and I think I should add it. Sure it's Vermont, but it reminds me of home. (I'll confess: I've already bought the pattern.) So now I have to decide what goes. Decisions, decisions!