Friday, October 31, 2014

Blog Hop and Haunting Flashback Friday

If you're here for Jo's Halloween Blog Hop, let me apologize for forgetting about you! I'm just coming off a couple of giant projects at work. In fact, I finished one yesterday and one on Wednesday.

You can probably guess from all that busy busi-ness (and my lack of SAL post on Wednesday) that I haven't been stitching much. So this flashback Friday from 2010 is my most favorite Halloween piece, Birds of a Feather's Scared Silly. I did manage to take it out of storage at the beginning of the month and hang it.

From here, you're heading to see Hazel. Good luck!

For those of you who said, hey, it's Friday, I wonder what was going on a hundred or so years ago in women's magazines. I have been looking for some news of Hallowe'ens of long ago, but as with all things this holiday has evolved. The search engines tell me there is nothing of Halloween in the nineteenth century magazines. It was of course, known since the late 1500s. Robert Burns wrote a poem about it in 1786 and in 1864 a book of days referenced "The evening of the 31st of October" as a "night set apart for a universal walking abroad of spirits." But "21 Quick and Easy Costumes to Wear to Work" and Sexy [fill in the blank] Costumes were years in the future.

I did finally find something I found tremendously frightening in Godey's Magazine and Lady's Book, October 1846; 33, 187. Ironically it is from the Dead Letter Office; this letter was presented without comment. I do wonder how it was received back then.

I am a great admirer of beauty, therefore she must be pretty. Elegance of manner and good temper are of course indispensable. I would not for the world marry a learned lady, yet I would like her to know enough to follow any conversation I might wish to lead--that is, to know enough to appreciate and respect my acquirements. Science I absolutely prohibit, though I should blush if, like Tom Burns' smiling idiot of a wife, she were to ask in a company, "what became of all the old moons?"
You know I have been a great deal in the gay world, so much that I am sick of it. Public places are my aversion; I wish, then, to marry a young lady who must be so attached to me that she will wish never to pass an evening out. Our own fireside must be our Paradise, for I would give nothing for a wife whose happiness would be found away from her husband. I expect exclusive devotion, a brow ever serene, and a heart full of love always. Money, of course, is desirable, but I would be satisfied with a small portion from a woman very beautiful and very much in love with me.
The soul of romantic passion I require is seldom found but in fresh, unsophisticated hearts; it is a sine qua non, therefore, that she be under twenty. You may at first call this a disparity, but I assure you I shall not be fifty until my next birthday: then I am as young as ever in my feelings, and you have not seen me in my new wig, which really takes ten years from my appearance. If I can find an intelligent, amiable, beautiful, graceful young creature, who will give me her whole heart, and yield a sweet, unwavering compliance to all my moods, all my wishes, I think we will enjoy a domestic bliss to be envied by all the gay and fashionable.
I live in horror that he found such a one. Pleasant dreams and Happy Halloween!


Friday, October 24, 2014

Nikki and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

I've been waiting to hear about a work thing, which is getting pushed off until Monday. And the drop dead, out-the-door day is Wednesday. But that got worked out after some hyperventilating.

And then I got a text from the dude to call the dog's daycare about an "incident." Our angel Stella apparently had a scuffle with another dog. Started by her. The other dog had a wound, but didn't need stitches. Apparently not for the first time, though this was the first time I heard about it. "My bad," said the daycare operator. My bad? These are things you need to know about your dog! They're not sure what they are going to do about it yet. The dude and I will be reassessing this situation.

And then I found out that another one of my library ladies died. She was the lace knitter who had had a stroke. Three in one year! So I was sitting in my office trying not to cry because one wall is entirely made of glass. Everything was sucking. Though thinking about Linda, I remembered how she loved the idea of yarnbombing and on many occasions we discussed wrapping parts of the library entrance. Now, I--or some version of we (meaning my ladies)--will have to do it in her memory.

And then I got an email saying that my colleague is leaving. He had wanted to tell me but I was having such a horrible day, he couldn't. Honestly I was in such a state people thought it was a good idea to hug me! And I let them.

I'm going to disappear down a wine bottle now.

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.