Monday, April 27, 2009


You Belong in Paris

Stylish and expressive, you were meant for Paris.

The art, the fashion, the wine!

Whether you're enjoying the cafe life or a beautiful park...

You'll love living in the most chic place on earth.

And one more thing.....

....for the papercrafters out there.

You simply HAVE TO check out THIS BLOG. I have connected you to the specific post offering the MOST AMAZING blog candy I have ever seen. Once you have signed up for the blog candy- and do not get your hopes up as *I* was commenter #1689 (which was, btw, a very important year in British history including but not limited to the Bill of Rights- yes, the British one predates ours by 100 years!)- you should then go through some more of her posts.

Her cards are INCREDIBLE. They are FANTASTIC. They are STUNNING. I am tired, and although rarely at a lose for words, without a thesaurus, I cannot say more. Just check it out!

Feeling better already!

Fortunately, I decided to check out some of the blogs on my sidebar before I crashed into bed. Now I'm glad I did. I just had a very fun time with this post at StitchBitch's blog.

For all the cross-stitchers out there, you really need to check this out. You will see a pretty little piece of XS to be admired, and get a few chuckles from the story of its creation, and from the story *about* its creation. (Yeah, they really are two different things- you just have to go and read and click all available links.)

I'm WAY too tired to actually stitch tonight, but this was almost as good!


Exhausted, aggravated, fed up and in a flare.

Will post when I'm feeling better and in a better mood.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Good news, bad news

Mom seems to be doing a little better already. The meds are kicking in and she's getting some rest- very badly needed.

Also, while doing some sorting, I found a whole bunch of images I stamped last summer and never got around to coloring. Now I can play with just my watercolors and a brush without messing with the rest of the mess (make that the "organizing in progress, lol) in the craft room!

The bad news? Well, it's not "bad" but......

Up too late last night, had another major migraine episode this afternoon, slept too much today, exhausted but not sleepy tonight. Eyes are NOT working the way I want so gridding the Aury Sampler was killer. Then I literally could not figure out how to count off to where to start. I have never before in my life started a stitching piece not in the center. Even band samplers I always did by starting in the center then working first up then down. I know I know how to do it, I just couldn't do it tonight.


So, it's off to read in bed and hope I fall asleep. More news tomorrow I hope.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Short check-in

Long day yesterday! As I was about to leave school to go to a meeting I got a call from my mother- she needed to go to the hospital. From school to her house to the hospital ate up an hour and a half and then there was the 7 hours in ER. Lots of tests. It was pretty obvious that she was going to be admitted but her doctor had left instructions for testing and they did all that before moving her up to a room around midnight. She has pneumonia but there are also a few quirks in her condition, so she's going to be in there for a while.

I am, needless to say, exhausted. Combine a full day of teaching with another full day of dealing with medical bureaucracy and both physically and mentally I am drained. I'll be going back to the hospital shortly, but I really need to spend a lot of time in bed the next few days to recuperate enough to be able to do what will need to be done when she goes home.

I hope to spend some quiet time in the recliner with Aury's sampler. I am gridding the fabric so I have not actually started any "real" stitching yet. Part one of the design was given to us on Wednesday and it convinced me that at my age with my eyes, gridding really was a good idea. I hope to get the first "real" stitches in by the end of the weekend.

I also hope to finish completely my first motif on Beatrix Potter for the update on that SAL at the end of the month, now less than a week away.

Lots of schoolwork to do also, so I am going to have to figure out how to rest while working- should be interesting.

OK- time to get going- will post again later.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I won!

A couple days ago I posted about the online Needlework show and mentioned that you should check it out because there were lots of doorprizes. Well, guess who won one?

Yippee- that means *I* did! In fact I won TWO charts of my choice from The Needle's Notion which is a new design company to me. I am getting two charts which are garden-themed band samplers- the Liberty Garden shown here on the left, and Home Grown show HERE. I already know for whom I eventually want to stitch them- exciting as winning new charts is, I am NOT starting anything new (besides the ones I just started, lol!) until I complete the 3 SALs I am in.

There is also news in the stamping world that I am very happy about. The Stampsmith has started a BLOG! Estelle's stamps are so wonderful and such fun and I am so glad that, hopefully, with a blog they will get much more attention. Check it out for terrific photo-style stamps. BTW- there is also a design team call there!

Another good place to check out today is The Cottage Studio. Etha has done some cards using Shimmer Papers and her post today is not only gorgeous to looks at, but she has included lots of tips and hints for working with the Shimmer Paper in a variety of ways.

I got one of those queasy stomach, can't stand noise, light, or fragrances, seeing the flashing lights and losing normal vision migraines earlier today. Took a pill, waited for the short window when I could see clearly before round 2 started, left school and came home to bed. Vision is back to normal and the headache is now dull (although still VERY much there) and managable. I had planned to start Aury's sampler tonight and hope I feel well enough to do so later.

I think I'll spend a little more time horizontal- dinner will be late tonight.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

And Mercy makes three.....

Three SALs that is! For the uninitiated, SAL=Stitch-a-long, which is where a group of stitchers are all working on the same piece at the same time- although rarely at the same rate, lol!

To the left is the headless wonder: it reminds me of all those popular stamps of women without heads! Of course when finished, she will have a head!

This is as far as I got before I put this piece away many years ago. I have been thinking for a while about getting her out, but never got around to it. Then I stumbled into a SAL for this and had to join. Of course, being in 3 SALs at the same time is craziness, but what else is new?

What you are looking at here is a BAD picture of most of the dress of Marilyn Leavitt-Inblum's Angel of Mercy. There are several stories connected to either MLI or this angel. If you are unfamiliar with Marilyn's work you can see it HERE at her website. The background on the design and publication of this angel are HERE.

I started cross stitching back in the mid-80s, with a book of tiny designs. On a trip to Myrtle Beach I visited The Counting House, the fabulous and sadly no-longer-there shop in Pawley's Island. That is where I first saw models of MLI's work and I was blown away.

When I saw the Angel of Mercy I knew I had to stitch her. I intended to give it to the order of nuns who educated me in high school in honor of two very special Sisters who made a life-long imact on me. The first one was long deceased before I ever thought of this and the second sister died unexpectedly while I was still working on it. That's when I put it away.

Now it's time to put her back into rotation. I want to finish the Sekas Watercolour Dragonflies soon- all I need is to do the bodies as soon as the special thread arrives from Nordic Needle. Then I can fully concentrate- or at least as much as *I* am able to- on the Beatrix Potter Quaker Sampler SAL, Aury's Special Stitches SAL and this.

I'm putting my papercrafting aside for a little while, except if I go out to a crop or something like that. (Then I can use one of my pre-packed bags with a specific project already in them.) I have taken the so-called craft room from mere disaster to complete and utter chaos in my fervor to organize it. Right now I have a pretty good idea of where everything is, but in the process of pulling everything out so as to give everything a place, and then not having time to actually do the "placing", the room is now totally unusable and too many things are "temporarily" buried. While a stitching STASH can (and around here DOES) take up easily as much space as a papercrafting stash, the actual tools, equipment and space needed to work on one piece is quite small compared to all the things that are needed to do even a little cardmaking, scrapbooking or stamping. The stuff I need for the month at the shore will be accessible by then so it's only a short hiatus.

Time to go join DH for a little TV before bedtime. School is depressing and exhausting- can it really be that it is only Tuesday? At least there is, if the weather man is actually right this time, a WONDERFUL, glorious weekend to look forward to! In the meantime I will work when I must, stitch when I can, and wait for a beautiful spring day to come SOON!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sunday Night Check-in

This is the incredible card I received along with my goodies from winning at a March rumble at Clear Artistic Stamps. It was made by the wonderful Lisa Lorigan. I think it is a perfect example of the different and exotic things you can make using CAS's amazing stamps! I've been meaning to put it up here for many days. BTW- there's a terrific sale going on at Clear Artistic Stamps called Celebration Special. You should definitely check it out- I ordered as soon as I saw it.

It is Sunday night and I am back into my routine. I have enough clean laundry for two weeks, my schoolbag is packed and my cell phone is charging. My land-line phone service is back thanks to a visit from a very nice technician. It was very warm here yesterday and today and I a
m hoping that it will mean that my classroom will be a little warmer than it was last week. I have already taken my night time meds and am hoping that the stress of going back tomorrow won't keep me awake too long.

I am having a lot of fun with Aury's sampler and the forum. What Bablefish does is not always accurate, to say the least. Several of the ladies wrote that my color choices were pretty, but the ones who wrote "cute" Babelfish translated as "tuna"!!!! They told me- in English- that I did not want to know how Babelfish translated my first post. I managed to put up a second post in my fractured Spanish- I used babelfish only for individual words and wrote from my MUY POCO Spanish (that's "very little"). The sampler chart will be given to us in stages and the first part will be released on Wednesday so I am getting excited about it. Here's the fabric and threads I chose: a natural colored linen and a group of DMC Flower Threads that have been in my stash forever. (You can be sure they are old- DMC discontinued FT several years ago.) I don't even remember why I bought them but among the collection were some colors I really like for this project. It took a while to decide on these- I actually had a good time "shopping from my stash"!

Well, time to get to bed and get ready for another week. Here's hoping its a good one for everyone!

Blog candy alert

There is some terrific blog candy available HERE.

This is in celebration of 20,000 hits!!! Wow, I can only imagine getting to that level.

The candy is for stampers and papercrafters, so if that is you, go check it out!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Online Needlework Show

Click on the picture to see what I found this afternoon after reading about it on the Salty Yarns blog.

You can see the latest needlework charts and supplies from an immense number of companies, all on one site. It was TOO much fun to go through all the links- and a bunch of the vendors are offering Door Prizes for visiting their sites!

I wanted to post last night but our Internet was down. Then our phone went out. Customer service was able to get the Internet back, and get one phone working, but now I have to have a service tech in tomorrow- which means the waiting for him/her to show up. NO fun!

I have made a little progress so far this month on my Beatrix Potter Quaker Sampler whi
ch I'm doing as part of a Stitch-a-long HERE. I'll be posting a picture at the end of the month and hope I can get more done by then. I have almost finished the center motif- which is nowhere near what most of the others have done, but progress for me- I find it really hard to stitch at night because I am so tired. Old eyes and arthritic fingers definitely make for a slower stitcher than I used to be.

Being a typical stitcher/crafter/crazy person who always takes on too much, I have also signed up for a Stitch-a-long for the piece shown here.

It was designed by Aury, whose blog, Acerca del Bordado is on my sidebar. Aury has been offering a series of Quaker style motifs there for a while, which is how I stumbled onto her blog, but there is a lot more going on there as well, including a forum. This piece really called to me for reasons I cannot explain. When I finish it- which could be forever, lol!- it will be a gift for my SIL who is from Central America and therefore a native Spanish speaker.

I do know that one of the appeals of participating in this SAL is that the forum is in Spanish. I have tried, intermittently for several years, to learn enough Spanish to maintain a basic conversation. Maybe I'm a cock-eyed optimist, but I am findng that when I can get some of the words, and a little context, then I feel pretty good about it. I definitely need to use google or babel fish to actually read the posts thoroughly, but it is a thrill just to get a sense of a post. I'm hoping- why not ask for the moon?- that participating in this SAL will have the added benefit of improving my Spanish reading and writing and increase my vocabulary some.

I've also been having some fun finding stamps I like on ebay. I've gotten a couple of really nice scenery style stamps this week- so they are going into my pile of stamps for coloring fun.

It's getting about time for me to get back to bed. The heat was turned off at school before Easter, so I just spent a week in a classroom that never got to 60° at any time. (Started off the week at 42°!!!) Being that cold- yes, I tried layers, on Friday I wore a turtleneck topped by a heavy shirt topped by a sweater and was STILL cold!- has left me in a major Fibro-flare, so I am spending the weekend either in bed or sitting here with my legs propped up and typing being my most strenuous activity. Hopefully the beautiful weather here today- 75°!- will warm up the building enough to be comfortable next week.

Maybe after another nap (my third today) I will be able to do more work on Beatrix!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Susan Boyle - Britains Got Talent 2009 Episode 1 - Saturday 11th April

Some of you may remember about 2 years ago when a rather funny looking little guy about 35 auditioned for a British singing contest something like American Idol. His name was Paul Potts. You can see his amazing first performance here:

Well, the show has done it again. This time it is a 47 yo woman named Susan Boyle. For any and all of us who might think it is already too late to change our lives, or for something WONDERFUL to happen to us, you really want to watch this.

Such a joy and such an inspiration!

Happy Anniversary!

Anyone who has been reading here for a while might remember this picture.

It is called "Our Anniversary" by P. Buckley Moss- one of my favorite artists. My husband also actually likes her work, but does refer to her as "Amish meets Tim Burton"- which is really kind of accurate in a way, I guess.

Anyway, I bought a copy of this print in August with the remainder of the VERY large gift card DH gave me last year for our
Anniversary. (The original amount was mostly spent on the intended gift- a diamond wedding band.) I left it behind in Florida in order to have it signed and inscribed by the artist. Our copy now includes not only a signature, but also our names and our wedding date. It is patiently awaiting my trip to have it framed.

I got DH two new books by Jack Nicklaus- I hope he likes them. Jack is his all-time golf hero and one of his most admired athletes in any sport.

I got spoiled as usual by my wonderful DH. He cam
e home a little while ago with a LARGE box of Godiva chocolates and a small and exquisite black-and-white diamond necklace! Although small, this is not pave- there is a group of small set diamonds on each side of the yin and yang symbol with a slightly larger diamond at the center of each side.

Here's a picture of it:

WOW!!!! No wonder I've kept him so long!

Monday, April 13, 2009

"We lost our voice today"

Harry Kalas 1936-2009 RIP

Beloved Philadelphia Phillies broadcaster- the "voice of the Phillies".

We will miss you.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

DH is home, the sun is shining, and while all is certainly not right with the world, I am happy!

Though I would certainly never change our Masters tradition, I am going to expand on it a little this year- rather than just nachos it is going to be a Mexican buffet. I'm adding all the ingredients to allow us to make nachos, quesadillas, fajitas, tacos, whatever. Should be a lot of fun- and calories, lol!

I hope everyone has a wonderful day!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

He's almost home!

As I type this, the sun is rising on my DH's last day in Paris. I am sorry that he is leaving the City of Lights but I am SOOOO glad that he will soon be home. I must admit I have really missed him- more than I thought after last year's much longer jaunt.

The closest I will get to Paris anytime soon will be visiting the France pavilion at Disney World in June-and you can be SURE that he will be taking me to dinner at the Bistro de Paris- my favorite WDW restaurant.

He is getting home just in time to celebrate Easter- which this year will be a little different from normal.

My family has always been interested in athletics- both as participants and spectators. My father was a high school athlete, as were all my brothers. DH played high school and college football and DS rowed. We all love golf- both DH and I coached for many years. And therein lies the Easter quandry- this year Easter Sunday is also Masters Sunday!

It all really goes back to 1986- the incredible play of Jack Nicklaus to win the Masters at age 46. We always watched the Masters at our house but that year we were GLUED to the TV, screaming and yelling and cheering. DH and I had actually met Nicklaus a few years earlier- but that is a whole 'nother story for another time. Suffice to say we were ecstatic in 1986.

Since then our devotion to the Masters borders almost on obsession. We make NO plans for Masters weekend, we don't even answer the phone during the tournament, and we ALWAYS eat the same thing we ate that momentous Sunday. Which is nachos!

I had the ground meat in the fridge and the side fixings in the cabinet, and it was easy to cook during commercials and eat in front of the TV. Everybody ran for the kitchen on commercial breaks and filled a plate with meat and sauce, added their favorite accessories from the cheese, onions, salsa, etc and then ran back to the living room. And, everyone has done the same thing now every year since.

So, instead of baked ham and pineapple casserole, it'll be nachos for Easter dinner at our house, with the competition of the tournament and the magnificent beauty of Augusta to entertain us. I hope you have a happy and blessed Easter.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

More on Teneriffe lace

For anyone interested in the Teneriffe lace I posted about, here is a medallion in progress. In fact, it is virtually done- I have one little length left to finish off.These forms for making Teneriffe make it really easy. What you can hardly see (but it is easily visible if you click on the picture) is that there is a ring of thread around the outside of the medallion that is stitched onto the form (look closely for blue thread around the outside holding the outer edges) through the little holes. Where you place the base thread depends on the size of the finished medallion you want.

The second step is laying down the web- which is very much like doing spirelli string art for those who have tried that. You work the thread back and forth across the center, attaching the web to the base at each hole.

Then comes the fun part- making the pattern. There are tons of different motifs and designs, but it is all basically needle weaving.The curved needle makes it easy to work under and around the threads. The pattern is created according to where you choose to place the knots and how you link the cross threads.

Once you have completed the medallion, you cut loose the base thread from under the form and VOILA!

When I get a chance, I'll finish this medallion and show it here.

If you want to give Teneriffe lace a try, you can get the forms at Snowgoose, an online store for lacemaking supplies. The easiest book to get, and to learn from, is "Teneriffe Lace" by Jules & Kaethe Kliot which you can get either at Lacis - another online lace supply store- for about $18.00 or through ebay where it will cost you many times as much- I guess people don't know it is still in print!

Teneriffe is not a commonly known lace type but is very beautiful and lots of fun. I'll post more about the history and such another day.

Edit added: if you are interested in finding a forum about tatting, check my more recent post HERE.

Edit added: I have started a series of posts showing the making of a Teneriffe Lace medallion step-by-step. The first post in the series is HERE.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Feeling blah

I took a class in Teneriffe lace many years ago at a stitching festival- SOCS or HOCS or CATS- cannot remember which. My memory is shot these days. I also only remember the teacher's first name- Dee- and that she was from a large stitch shop in southwestern Virginia, the name of which I also cannot recall now. I really liked the technique and the results but haven't done much with it in the intervening years except make sure I have all the available frames. I was wandering around ebay the other night and just putting in odd requests and thought of teneriffe lace and came up with this book for sale. It arrived today and I am going to spend some time later with a cup of tea (decaf at this time of day) and the book.

Work has been truly dreadful lately and I am very demoralized. I have been working at cheering myself up by planning my summer. I will be spending 4 weeks at the little house (living on the porch!) at the shore and I am thinking about which crafting stuff I want to take with me. I am definitely taking the Beatrix Potter and I am definitely taking all my Rubber Stamp Tapestry sets. These are two areas I want to spend time on- making progress on the sampler and really learning to use these wonderful stamps.

I am debating- and will, doubtless, continue to do so until its time to pack, lol!- on what else to take. I am thinking about working a lot on my coloring and just taking plenty of pre-stamped images so that I can only carry the coloring supplies. I'm sure I'll change my mind repeatedly before we actually get to the shore.

For those of you who are readers, the Maisie Dobbs books that are currently listed in "What I'm reading" on my sidebar are really interesting. Good stories, well written. They are a glimpse into the fascinating (at least to me) period between the World Wars and the massive changes occurring in England during that time. Maisie is a psychologist/detective with an unusual background that adds much to the stories. I definitely recommend the books (there is a whole series) and you can go to the writer's website by clicking on the book picture on the sidebar.

Remember the old Dunkin Donuts commercial? I always think of it when I say (or type) this: Time to make the dinner.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

April in Paris/Glenn Miller and his Orchestra

Everywhere we went yesterday it seemed like every booth had "Paris" stamps. With DH there- and me NOT- it got to be hilarious how many times we were reminded.

Then tonight I turn to old faithful Turner Classic Movies to watch a little TV. Imagine my surprise when the 8 o'clock movie tonight was...... you guessed it: April in Paris.

So, here, with reminiscent views, is April in Paris.

Another Saturday, another stamp show

This gorgeous stamp is from Outlines Rubber Stamp Company, our first stop today at the Heirloom Productions stamp show in Allentown.

Yes, we went to ANOTHER stamp show. It is about 1 1/2 hours to Allentown- too close to resist, especially when the DH is in PARIS!!!!

I bought this and a few sentiment stamps but my friend went crazy at this booth. If you check out the kinds of stamps that Outlines sells (and this stamp is beautiful, but not typical of their main style) you will see why. We each got a bit of time with Marianne from Outlines who was fabulously helpful for each of us in our specific questions. If you check out the website there are some terrific tutorials there.

I got this gorgeous stamp set with ideas of painting with twinks, using a Dove blender pen with watercolor pencils, maybe coloring with markers and even maybe using shimmer chalks. There are a LOT of options and all of them (presuming I do a good job of it, lol!) beautiful.

(There is also a whole long list of tutorials to be found at Sparkle N Sprinkle- a booth we revisited and again purchased from today, after having done major damage there last week! Susan taught us a LOT last week about the Dove blender pens and using glitter.)

There's no link I can find for the booth where I bought this, but you can see it HERE.The stamp sheet (and therefore each stamp) is really quite large- this will make wonderful single image cards.

This stamp is so beautiful and looks like it will be major fun to color. It comes from Impression Obsession and my biggest disappointment was that by the time we got to their booth, this was the only "historical" house scene one they had left- I wanted several!

I also got a little thatched cottage from Stamps by Impression, a stone bridge scene from Heartfelt Creations, and an interesting pseudo-stained glass tropical scene with palm trees from Stamp LaJolla.

Everything else today was more supplies- more Adirondack pads and re-inkers, the acrylic block handles I forgot last week, replacement foiling pens (and extra foils) to go with the glitter I still have from when I bought THIS starter kit years ago, some new exacto blades, the Essential Glue Pad kit- you get the idea.

Finally, maybe the best buy of the day was a little, tiny, unmounted stamp from Class Act for the back of my cards. It says: "If you think I'm cheap 'cause I made this card, you've never bought a rubber stamp."

And that about says it all!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

As I type this, my DH is on a plane heading to Paris!

Naturally, I am jealous- there's a reason the song is "April in Paris". I am lucky enough to once have been in Paris in April and it is breathtaking. I really wish I could be with him.

That said, I am SO thrilled for him that I am almost as happy as he is. From the time I met him almost 34 years ago, he has always talked about traveling. He loves it so much- seeing new places and new things and meeting new people. This will be his first trip to Europe and he is over the moon about it. So, let's hope he has a marvelous trip with fabulous weather.

We did have a good laugh on the way to the airport. His favorite movie has always been "It's a Wonderful Life". For the many years we were struggling to pay tuitions for our kids' schooling, and while I couldn't work and while we weren't making much money, there wasn't a lot of travel. Trips to Florida to stay with our aunt and uncle, the occasional convention trip, and his one long road trip to visit baseball parks all over the Midwest with his buddies were about it- which is NOT bad, but not what he dreamed of. So, for YEARS now I have had to listen to "I'm George Bailey". So, as we approached the aiport, I said to him "One more thing, dear. I do NOT want to EVER hear the 'George Bailey' whine again". He started laughing and then said sheepishly "No, I guess I'm not allowed to say that anymore, am I?"

And as for me? Well, here's *my* whine- I have to go to work tomorrow and next week while he is touring Versailles and Notre Dame, and climbing la Tour Eiffel, and drinking French wine in sidewalk cafes, and walking along the Seine. He'd better bring back a pretty impressive present, don't you think?