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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Fantastic Day - Part Two

Yeah!  We are on our way to Janet's house.  Matilda gets us there (once I type in the address correctly!).  As we drive up both BFF and I say we would like to live in a house like this.  It is charming and that's just the outside.  Janet greets us at the sunroom door.  I give her the cherry strudel from Heidelberg Cafe - hoping I picked up the right bag and it's not the pecan roll with the bite out of it.   It's still raining but we don't even notice.  It is wonderful to meet Janet.  She is friendly and gracious.  She says we can take all the pictures we want.  There are lots of interesting things everywhere.  Each thing has a story.  My things don't have interesting stories but Janet's things do.
This is me and Janet in her sunroom.  See all those things on the wall behind us?  Each one is a special treasure.  You could spend hours looking at each one.  The circle on the far left is a rubbing of a manhole cover in London.  Next to it is a beautifully woven basket that is so delicate it looks like lace.

On another wall of the sunroom is a collection of blue plates.  Oh, how I love blue plates.
Janet says she collects lots of things.

This is Janet's kitchen.  Up high all around the kitchen are little houses that she has collected on her travels.  Each one has a story.
Janet is especially fond of dolls, handmade dolls.  She makes exquisite dolls.
I love this.  It is a rubbing from England back when they still let you do that to old stones.
What a cute little rabbit.  It is one of a couple of Christmas ornaments that are on display in her living room.  Here is another one:

The living room has the most remarkable creation of Janet's on display.  It is an embroidery that hangs above her fireplace.  

Each of Janet's embroideries tells a story.  She must know thousands of old fairy tales.
This the beautiful display by her front door.  Everything with a story.


Now we are going upstairs.  Oh my.  These are quilts that Janet made and appeared on the front of various magazines:


Oh to be so creative!
We get to see her workroom. Wow.


 Everywhere you look creative skill and imagination are on display.  Janet has created all of this.  I think I've died and gone to heaven.  I so want to see Grandmother's Bed.  It is a creation in the corner of the workroom.  This is Janet's photo from her blog janetbrandt.com.


 Janet takes our picture in Grandmother's Bed.  It is just the coolest place on earth.

 Here is a photo of inside Grandmother's Bed.

 Of course every good workroom has tools.  A vise?  Wow, I wonder what kinds of things require that.

Everywhere are fascinating creations:


Has Janet lived more than one lifetime to have created all these things?
I am overwhelmed at everything.  And there is more.
We get to see her happy chair.  Her collection of books.  Her threads.  Her little area for sewing.  She is such an inspiration.  Words just can not convey what a wonderful place this is.  She lets us look through a pile of her little quilts. Each one is a story.

 It is truly amazing.  
Janet has authored books.  She signs two of her books for BFF.  I happen to have won her books in a drawing on The Embroiderer's Story.
I have many more photos of her work.  She is one of most creative people ever.  I would love to spend the afternoon with her sometime and just soak up inspiration.  
Thank you Janet for the most fabulous visit.  
A

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Fantastic Day - Part One

Friday didn't start out very fantastic.  When I got up it was raining hard.  So no walking this morning.

My hotel room was nice and I could see out the window that the traffic was very heavy.  Janet let me know that it would be good to get together this morning.  I replied that I would call her.  Our original plans for the day were to go to the Heidelberg Cafe and then onto our hostess Nancy's house for a stitch in with the designer.  BFF was fine with going to see Janet (Yes!!) before going to Nancy's.  I ask BFF to drive.  It was an edge of your seat drive in rush hour traffic in the rain to the Heidelberg Cafe.  I was discombobulated because I had misplaced my new expensive readers from Stitchville and I couldn't find the piece of paper I had noted Janet's address and phone number on. ARGH.  With Matilda's (GPS) help, we found the Cafe.


 Now BFF had read about this place 20 years ago in an airline magazine and always wanted to go there.  We found it.  It was a small but decorated building.  It opens at 8:30 so we were a few minutes early.  Even the trash bins are painted.

We tried the wrong door and it was locked. But then we saw a guy walk right in the other door.  So then we went in.  Oh my.  What an interesting place.  It's been around for a long time.  There are lots of food and gifts and German stuff inside.


Wow, I see a great assortment of cookies.  BFF finds a funny t-shirt but doesn't think her DH would wear it.
There are stools at a counter and we pick out some rolls for breakfast.  The girl working there, Tiffany, is so friendly and knows everyone by name.  BFF is interested in getting some Springerle cookie molds.  They have some in the display case and some on the wall that they actually use.

 This is one of the most prized molds and a sample Springerle.
I choose a German chocolate roll.  I tell her I just want one but each roll has two circles and only looks like two.  But then I get a pecan roll since it looks so good.  A meringue thing is very light and I want to try it.
My eyes are bigger than my stomach.  (DH:  Nobody's eyes are that big!)  The German chocolate roll is to die for.  The meringue is yummy.  I can only take a bite out of the pecan roll.  No, I'm not going to leave it.  I take it with me for later.  I get a piece of cherry strudel (I think that's what it is) to take to Janet.  I get two of every kind of cookie they have.  Maybe we can gift them to our hostess for the stitch-in lunch.    We put our names on the list to be contacted when Springerle is available, usually, only around the holidays.  We have a delightful time at the Heidelberg Cafe.
Now how do we get to Janet's?  I can't find that darn piece of paper with her information on it.  Phooey.  BFF says look at her website.  Then I remember that I can look at her email and it has the info on it.
So we call her and it is okay to go to her house.  (Yes!!!)
We are on our way with Matilda's help to Janet's house.  Tomorrow: Our visit with Janet.
A

Monday, April 28, 2014

The Back Story

I made it my goal to stitch Mistress L's Band Sampler this year.  I emailed the designer and asked if she was teaching it anywhere.  She replied that she was teaching it near Indianapolis.  I didn't know who to contact until my friend Shelley happened to email me about a different class to take place near Indianapolis - with the contact person's email address.  Yeah!  I got the information.  Then I thought about whether to sign up.  I wanted so much to take the class but it meant driving (according to Google maps) 3 1/2 hours.  Now I'm not a good driver.  I learned to drive in the dark ages before interstate highways, merging and ramps.  I grew up in a small rural town where roads were hardtop or gravel or dirt.  Basically, I am afraid to drive very far or in big metropolitan areas.  But I really wanted to take the class.  I looked into flying.  Then I thought about renting a car.  My car is a senior, 17 years old.  It shakes at 70 mph.  But I really wanted to go.  I told my BFF about the class.  I decided that whatever it took, I was going to take the class.  I loved the second class offered too.  And if you are in class you often get the opportunity to buy other supplemental kits.  Luckily, BFF decided to take the class too.  She took pity on me and flew to my town and offered to drive me down.  Isn't she just the best?  So I rented a car and made hotel reservations.  Yes!  The class is a go.  So on Thursday my BFF flew in and I picked her and the rental up at the airport.  I was so tickled to get to show her my stuff as she has never been to my house.  The stuff I wanted to show her is my two curio cabinets of stitching,


 my sewing room (in its real actually messy state) and the world's most beautiful sink that happens to be in my bathroom.

 I also showed her my collection of cookie molds since we discovered that we both like to collect them.

We were finally ready to begin our trek to Indy at 2 in the afternoon.  I trained to be a Montessori Teacher in South Bend and drove there many times so I knew I could handle at least that far.  So off we went.  There is a nifty store in South Bend called Erica's.  It has quilt stuff and other stitching supplies.  We decided to check it out.  We had Matilda with us.  Matilda is my GPS that Son#2 gave us.  It hasn't been updated for a while but it has gotten me places that I could have never gotten by myself.  I was absent on the day sense of direction was handed out.  Matilda got us to Erica's.  We had fun shopping.  Erica's has a lot of stuff and a lot of models to tempt us.  I needed more thread to finish Dylan's quilt.  I couldn't believe that I had used up the entire spool of thread I got last Monday.  This is what I got.  What am I going to do with this fabric?  I have no idea - yet.

Now poor BFF hasn't had any lunch and it is 5 p.m.  We decide to stop at Steak and Shake for dinner.  They have great skinny hamburgers and great skinny fries.  They have these mini size root beer floats and shakes.  Perfect!  It was a delicious treat.
So here it is after 6 p.m. and we still have a long way to go.  The sign says 118 miles to Indy.  BFF keeps saying 180 as it seems like such a long way.  I keep driving as things are going well.  Indiana's speed limit is 60 most of the way.  I can handle that.  In fact, it seems really slow in my rental car.  The roads are great in this state.  Many look brand new.  The land is very flat in Indiana.  We do fine getting to Indy but there is road construction that puts us on a detour.  Matilda is not happy with all the new roads and keeps saying "recalculating".  So how do we get to our hotel that is back on the road that we have detoured from?  We go one way, nope, that is all residential.  I see a Fire Department and assume that is where our class will be on Saturday.  We turn around and go the other way.  Then we make another wrong turn and have to go the opposite direction.  Finally at about 8:30 we make it to our hotel in spite of ourselves.  Whew! We are tired.
We get our rooms.  You would think that would be the end of our day but no, there's more.  I'm looking at my email and there is one from Janet.  Janet is in the Cabinet of Curiosities class and has read my blog and knows I am going to be in Indy - and she lives in the area.  Now this is providential.  Only last week DH changed our main email address to gmail and I can get it on my ipad.  Otherwise, I would have never known about Janet's email.  I am excited as Janet is the most creative person on the planet.  She has photos on her blog of the most interesting workroom I've ever seen.  She asks if we can get together.  Absolutely!!!  BFF has gone to bed but I will ask (beg!) her in the morning about getting together with Janet.  I try to email Janet.  When I get excited I get all bumbly.  I email and discover it is no reply.  I accidentally email myself.  I'm an idiot.  I leave a message at the ning Cabinet of Curiosities site, I try to leave a comment on her blog.  I'm hoping she'll get one of my messages and we can meet.  More tomorrow.
A

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Almost Done

The quilt is almost done.  It worked out to quilt every other strip.  I'm not a quilter by any means but I know he won't be picky.  So if you don't look closely, it looks great!  I am in the process of hand sewing down the under side of the binding.  I'm about half way round.  This is close to being done.  I'm going to take it with me to Indy and finish it so I can give it to Dylan on Monday.  I like finding a relatively quick way to make a quilt.  I would do this again - hopefully without the mistakes.

I mainly worked on the quilt yesterday but I got a few stitches in on Shepherd's Fold.  Two slightly altered sheep have appeared
.I have to finish packing, BFF will be here soon and we'll be off to Indy.  I'm a lucky duck.
A

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Off With the Mermaid

I got the frame I ordered yesterday.  That was pretty quick. American Frame always packages their frames very well.   I will use the same box to send it off the the new baby.  Boy does ironing make a big difference with how the birth announcement looks.  I think it turned out nicely.

Looking at it all done assures me that the mermaid adds sweetness to the design.  I'm glad I kept it in.  I stopped at the Post Office on my way home from exercise this morning and sent it off.

I am so lazy.  I just put in the first quilting on Dylan's quilt this morning.  I am not real sure how many of the seams (stitch in the ditch) that I will quilt.  Right now I'm thinking every other strip.  But we'll see.  I want to try my walking foot and see if that is a good way to quilt.  I'm kind of impatient and I want to go fast.  I'm not sure how fast I can sew with the walking foot.

I got some more done on  Shepherd's Fold.  It is fun to change it up.

 Well, it is only fun if I like how it turns out.  I cut off the bird's tail and I'm going to make the sheep legs shorter.  I'm just tweaking it here and there.
I have to get ready as BFF and I go to Indy tomorrow for "Cottage Conservatory" and "Mistress L's Band Sampler" with Lauren Sauer.  It will be so fun!!!
A

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

I Changed My Mind

Well, as I was working on the Drawn Thread pocket I discovered that I had made a mistake in the very first flower and everything was off.  What to do?  Leave it?  Take it out?  After thinking about it for a few minutes, I decided to take it all out.  I didn't like all the blue in the substituted thread.  So I choose another color thread for the vine.  Here is what it used to look like:


Here is what it looks like now:

A one shade lighter green would probably be better but I can live with this.

Then I wanted to start the Shepherd's Fold but I did some doodling as I don't like the lettering.  I printed out a new font on Stitchpoint.com.  I tried stitching it with the recommended colors.

For some reason it just doesn't look right to me.  It looks too commercial or something.
 So I dug out an ancient favorite font from an old (May/June 1986) Cross Stitch and Country Crafts.

 I've stitched the front wedding thing as a pillow many times.  I was thinking of stitching it again as Son#1 is getting married later this year.  The personalization alphabet with this design is just a tiny chart in the bottom corner of the page.  

You can barely read it.  So anyway, I took that alphabet and graphed out "My Heart is Full" (instead of "A Full Heart").
 I also used one of the darker greens for the top vine.  I have altered the shape of the house.  It looked a bit like an industrial building instead of a cottage so I changed it up a bit.  I've got my fingers crossed that it turns out.  I may have to do some frogging.
I got a couple more bumps done on the carnation petals.
Dylan was great.  We are celebrating his birthday next week.  We are going to make icing and put it on brownies.  Yum.
Have a fun Tuesday!
A