Thursday, January 31, 2013

To the Right

I finished the left side of the front of the Painted Lady Sewing Case.  I am irritated at the designer because there is no master chart,  the charts are black and white with no indication of what color goes where,  there isn't a good photo of the project and the directions are incomplete.  There is a black and white xerox of the front but I can't tell what color to do some of the things around the door and I am having to guess.  I hate that.  There is a page of small photos of the case but I can't find it at the moment - which drives me crazy.
I'm frustrated!

The happy chair won't be delivered until Monday.  But that means I have two more days to work on cleaning up the sewing room.  I've decided to get rid of some magazines just to have room to store charts.
I am making progress but it is painful.  I have some things to put on ebay.
So far we have 5 inches of snow (with a lot more expected) and all the schools are closed today. I decided not to venture out to exercise class.   DH is going to the store anyway, let's hope he makes it back okay.

I am looking forward to tomorrow and the next lesson of Cabinet of Curiosities.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Back to Building a House

Now I can concentrate on the Painted Lady Sewing Case.  I am being careful as I work my way up to the attic.  I know that I am one thread low so I am thinking of where to add a row.  I hope to finish the left side of the front today and start on the right side.

Our weather is crazy here.  50 degrees this morning and in the teens tonight.   The rain melted all the snow that was here so now it looks like spring but not for long.   There is supposed to be more snow tonight.

Thanks for the kind comments on the Trevelyon Holly ornament.  Teresa suggested a giveaway for stuff in my sewing room.  However, nobody would want some of the stuff I feel compelled to hold onto.  I find it nearly impossible to throw away the leftover linen from a project.  So it goes in my pile of linen, in case I ever need a long thin strip of wrinkled linen.  I have many threads.  I would never throw away a thread.  I have more charts than I could stitch in my lifetime but can I get rid of some of them?  Very difficult.  I have a ton of preschool books.  But now I have a granddaughter and cannot let these go - yet.  What I would like is a kind friend to help me sort through my things.  Maybe I will pretend that I am that kind friend.  I talk to myself quite a bit anyway.  I just need to talk myself through this.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Trial and Error

I finish-finished the Trevelyon Holly ornament.  I am proud of myself for getting this all done.  It isn't my usual  type of project.  It turned out fine.
The front side.

The back side.
 I started out following the directions and then I took it apart and did it my way.  I used the sewing machine to sew the linen front and back together but I didn't like that a bit of the linen was visible between the red outlines.  So I took it apart and laced the outlines together.  Much better.

It was not too hard to stitch the purse to the purse hardware.  First time didn't work out so well so I had to do it twice. Then there was the lining.  I used the pattern in the magazine and it was just a bit small.  I didn't like how the lining looked frayed at the corners.  So I re-cut the lining (thank goodness I had enough fabric) and tried again.  Much better.

I am very happy with how it turned out.  In actuality, I finished this twice!

There was no school yesterday so I couldn't see Dylan.  I went today instead.  On Mondays we have the room to ourselves.  On Tuesdays there are five other mentors and mentees in the room.  Dylan wanted to make smoothies but the noise would have been too distracting for the other people in the room so we will do that next week.  Next week he also wants to make some of our hand lotion as a gift for his sister's birthday.

We bought a happy chair!  This morning we went to the furniture store and paid for the chair I tried out last week.  It is a wonderful chair and I am so lucky!  It is to be delivered on Friday.   I'm still working on trying not to look like a hoarder in my sewing room.  Where am I going to put all this stuff????

Monday, January 28, 2013

Done Sort Of

I was so thrilled to finish the stitching on the Trevelyon Holly Ornament.

I really like how the second side turned out.  It sure helped to work out all my problems on the first side.  Also a little practice with the metal thread was useful.  I read through the magazine finishing instructions.  I was rather confused as there was a reference to withdrawing a thread and nun's stitches.  What nun's stitches?!?  I am ignoring that part as I have no idea what they are referring to.  I think the finishing is much like how I do Christmas stockings:  stitch the outside together and attach to the purse top, then stitch the lining together and stick it inside and stitch around the top.  That is my goal today to do the finishing on this ornament.

I am making good progress on the Painted Lady Sewing Case.  It will be interesting to finally get to working on the right side of the front.

I signed up for Spring Fling!  It was hard to decide whether to go or not but last year was so fun.  The room and food are great and the camaraderie among stitches is very nice.  I know many people there too.  I'm not getting any younger, I might as well just go for it.

Thistle Threads listed some more things for sale on her blog.  Uh-Oh.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Second Verse Same as the First

I am whittling away on the Painted Lady Sewing Case.  I started the second floor windows which are the same as the first floor windows but a stitch or two shorter just to make me pay attention.  I don't like the white silk as it isn't as white as the congress cloth and has a tendency to look a little dingy.  One probably won't notice when the whole thing is done but it is bugging me along the way.  Makes me wonder what other floss would look whiter, or if working on an off white congress cloth would be better.

I am so happy with what I got done on the Trevelyon Holly ornament.  I got all those measles done and all the leaves.  Now I am couching down the gold passing thread.  It is looking a bit neater than the other side.  Just a few more pieces of gold thread and then I can put on the paillettes.  Then it will be time to put it all together.  Yeah!

I got the kit for the Vintage Strawberry online class.  I will probably regret saying this but it looks easy.  All the directions are included so I could start on this anytime.  I was lucky to spy a hoop on my table.  It had one of those projects in it that uses all french knots.  It has been on the table a long time, like years.  So I just popped it out and am using it for the strawberry.  I didn't really like making a design with just knots anyway.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, January 26, 2013


I think if I concentrate on the Trevelyon Holly ornament, I can get all the regular stitching done today.  I am on a roll with the leaves.  I counted and I have about 14 measles left to do.  This front side that I am working on is so much more "me".  I like the style of it and the smoothness of it compared to the back.

I made a mistake in the Painted Lady Sewing Case but it was so far back in the stitching that I'm just going to leave it that way.  I am one stitch short on top of the first floor windows.  ARGH.  But I think it won't make much difference.  I got all (most?) of the first floor window done.

 Now I need to do the second floor windows just like the first floor ones - only they are a stitch or two shorter.  I know I must be making progress as I have almost used up one whole skein of the white silk.  I wish that the chart was color coded and I wish there was a master chart with everything on it.

If I get a new happy chair, I have to clean up my sewing room.  Otherwise the furniture delivery people will think that I am a hoarder.  I took a look at the junk in my sewing room and have no idea where I am going to put it all.  I know that I should clean out all my teacher stuff but I'm having a hard time letting go of it.  What if I need it?  I think I need a professional to help me.  DH would just throw everything out.

Friday, January 25, 2013


I am working on the first floor windows of the Painted Lady Sewing Case.  Many of the motifs require stitching over stitching.  That makes it kind of slow going.  I feel like I am building this house piece by piece.  I'm not complaining, I love how it looks.  It will be fantastic when it is all done.

I pulled myself away to work just a bit on the Trevelyon Holly ornament.  I put in some pink berries.  All these berries make me think of measles.  I also started a couple more leaves.  I'd like to put in some of the metal gold thread but I know I should wait until all the stitching is complete before putting it in.

I went looking for a new happy chair.  I think I found the perfect one.  DH will go with me next week to see it.  He says I should take some stitching with me just to see how it works as a stitching chair.  He really should wait for next Christmas to get it for me, but that's okay.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Killer Shrimp

When we were in LA we ate at a restaurant called "Killer Shrimp".  Guess what their specialty is.  Shrimp of course.  They give you a big bowl of huge shrimp in a very spicy broth and a bowl of bread slices to soak up the broth.  They sell t-shirts with "Killer Shrimp" on them.  So son#1 and I got a shirt.  I got a girl one and I got a size extra-large just to make sure is was roomy.  Well, it is California where the girls are tall and thin and tan. Unfortunately I am not.  My shirt is tighter than I like but it is fine to wear to exercise class.  Then yesterday I got a new pair of old lady shoes.  They are the comfortable ones I wear around the house.  So I look a bit comical today with a too tight Killer Shrimp shirt and old lady shoes.  But who cares?

I am working on the front of the Painted Lady Sewing Case.  I got the basement done and have started the first floor windows.  I can't seem to put this down.  I wanted to put some berries into the Trevelyon Holly ornament but I couldn't pull myself away.

I like a comment attributed to John Lennon:  Time you enjoy wasting was not wasted.  Cool.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Front and Center

While I was in LA I was able to finish the outside back of the Painted Lady Sewing Case.  I really like it.

I finished all the stupid nun stitches around the outside front and started on the the front's basement.  I totally messed up the front because I assumed it was just like the back.  Not.  It has some stairs on one side.  I spent yesterday picking out my stitching.

But at least I have started the front.  Now, I expected this project to be a pain.  Yes, I love the finished look of the whole thing but I didn't think I would enjoy getting there.  Surprise!  I am enjoying this very much.  It is a bit fiddlely but the effects I am stitching, I really like.

It is a little slow going and there are a few misleading diagrams along the way.  For instance, the diagram for the diagonal padding is over four threads but on the chart it is over five threads.  Easy to mess up if you are following the diagram.  Also it would help to have a chart with colors on it.

I signed up for another class.  I know, I have to stop this right now.  I signed up for the Vintage Strawberry class on Mary Corbet's Needle 'n Thread.  I just signed up last Friday and the kits were sent yesterday.  It will help me work on my long and short stitch.

Then my friend Shelly told me about another class.  If I join the Swan Sampler Guild I can get a kit specially designed for them by Jackie DuPlessis.  I couldn't resist.

I am also waiting for Amy Mitten to post info about a class she is going to offer.  It is a Needleworker's Pocketbook based on a Norfolk sampler.
This year is going to be so fun.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

From Hot to Cold

We got back last night.  Detroit is a terrible airport.  We spent more time there than we wanted.  We got in at the farthest gate on A and had to go to the farthest opposite point at the end of B concourse.  But they sent us on a wild goose chase by posting the wrong gate number for our flight home.  ARGH.  Then there was no plane, then no crew, then de-icing.  We left for the airport in LA that morning ( where it was 80 degrees) at 8:15 a.m. and finally got home at 11:30 p.m.  (where is was 9 degrees and a -4 wind chill).  What a change!
It was wonderful to see Claire and hold her.  She is such a fun baby.  We could really see her personality.
I got to see her in the dress that I made.  And it really fit her - I was thrilled.  She is sooo close to taking her first step.
We stayed at a great place and this was the view from our balcony:

We went to the Aquarium of the Pacific (along with a million school children).  It was fun to see all the exhibits and Claire enjoyed it too.
All the food was very good.  (Note to self: start diet today!)
We celebrated Claire's first birthday.

What a great visit!
Now back to stitching.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Up to the Attic

I've got some momentum going on the Painted Lady Sewing Case.  I worked hard on it yesterday and finished the basement.  It has a lot of texture in it.

I am a bit of a snob when it comes to needlepoint.  Because the designs are usually worked on a much larger count, I don't think you can get nearly as much detail as when you work on 32 count linen.  But I have to say that there is a lot of detail even though this is 24 count congress cloth.   I thought of a way to take this project with me.  I don't want to take the huge heavy notebook of instructions.  So if I take a photo with my Ipad of the next few pages, I can work on it while I'm in LA.  I have started the area at the top - the attic.

I stitched a few berries.  I'm happy with them.  Then I attempted a leaf in long and short stitch.  I also used an intermediate color of green.  Duh, I didn't think of it until Megan suggested it.  Thanks!  I like how it turned out.  I'm going to put some of the gold thread down the middle of it.  Just a straight stitch, not a chain stitch.
See what it looks like compared to the other side.

I am thinking of signing up for the class to be offered on Needle 'n Thread.  It is Vintage Strawberries in long and short stitch.  It sounds like fun.  I need practice with that stitch.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

In the Basement

I have been shopping today.  I couldn't believe how deserted Target and the Mall were.  I was wondering if they were even open.  But it was such a nice change from the craziness of the Christmas season.  I was on a mission.  Socks for Claire.  I've seen some very cute socks online but there isn't that much choice in the stores.  I saw lots of inventory tags.  It's that time of year.  I found some socks and a onesie that was too cute to pass up.  Of course the danger when shopping for one thing is finding something else you weren't planning on.  So I ended up with stuff for me too.  I was kinda of keeping an eye out for some nice clothes to wear in LA but all the clothes are ugly or too old ladyish or made out of junky thin material.  I'm realizing that old people aren't that different from younger people.  Except for shoes.  I could never ever wear those crazy platform heels.  I go for comfort.

Not a lot of stitching got done yesterday.  I got all the lettering done on the outside back of the Painted Lady Sewing Case.  Now I'm working on the basement.  I am enjoying how it's coming along.  I'm really looking forward to starting the outside front.  That's the cutest part of the whole piece.

I better iron today or I won't have anything to pack for LA.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Like Deja Vu All Over Again

I started stitching the other (front) side of the Trevelyon Holly Ornament.  I got the outline done and started the berries.  I looked up some other red silk thread as I don't want to make all the berries the same color.

    It feels like I just stitched this - which I did.  It is hard for me to stay interested when I am doing the same thing all over again but I will try to keep my nose to the grindstone.

I got some more words done on the Painted Lady Sewing Case.  I am considering taking this with me on my trip.  Doing mind numbing nun's stitches might not be so bad on the plane.

We got rain then sleet then snow yesterday.  It is a little crunchy outside.  I will see Dylan this afternoon.  I wonder if he wants to do an art project.  Usually he just wants to play a game or two.  I always love making valentines and think it would be fun to make some marbled paper and cut hearts out of it for some homemade valentines.  It's the third grader in me.

I realized why I can't get myself to work on the oilcloth bag.  I'm scared it won't turn out.  It is always hard to do something you are afraid you can't do.  This is true even for kindergartners.  I have thought of just taking a small piece and playing with it just to see how it goes.

The bathrooms are clean and I need to get Dylan's bag of snacks ready.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Moving Right Along

I finished the back side of the Trevelyon Holly Ornament.  Yeah!

I have started the front side, surely it will go faster and be much neater than my first go.  I couched the rest of the gold passing thread and then added the paillettes also called metal sequins.  The package for the paillettes is such thin plastic that is nearly disintegrates when you open it.  I'm just glad I didn't have to pick them out of the carpeting in the sewing room.  I just scattered the paillettes around the design and didn't make them symmetrical.

I was afraid that too many of them would make it too polka-dotty.  Now to critique it.  I want to change the leaves as I don't like the stitch or the stripeyness.  I love the sparkle of the gold.  I want to make the berries all the same stitch (satin probably).  I'm not sure I like the gold stitches in the center of the leaves.  Considering my ineptitude in stitching this, it turned out pretty well.  It looks like the picture in the magazine.  I like the heavy chain stitch around the outside.  I'm not sure I used the Japanese needle like it is supposed to be used.  I just bent a quarter of an inch of the metal thread through the eye and kept clipping the thread when is started to unravel on the eye end.  I tried to couch down the end on the back as I couched the front.  I can't imagine you are supposed to knot the metal thread.

I got some more words on the Painted Lady Sewing Case.  I also started the "basement" on the back of the front (is that a contradiction?).

Oops I did it again.  I signed up for an online class.  Jackie DuPlessis is teaching "Rhapsody in Blue" starting next month through Shining Needle Society.  It seems I don't have to travel anywhere this year as so much of what I want to do is online.  I am waiting to see what Celebration of Needlework classes will be offered.  If there are two or three that I want to take, I may go this year.  They are starting to update their website.  I think they usually try to have everything posted by March 1.
Pinterest is a real time sink.  I could spend hours just looking at the embroidery.  Actually, I have spent hours looking at nifty stuff.
It is overcast and rainy today.  We may get some sleet later.  Crazy weather.

Saturday, January 12, 2013


I got the #4 fine passing thread for the Trevelyon Holly ornament yesterday.  So I had to try it out and see how it is going to look.  I got out the Japanese needle for it.

It seems a strange shape and a bit crude in design but it works and so far I haven't damaged the linen which is a very fine count.  This thread is very expensive.  I've never paid 25 dollars for a spool of thread before.

 Wow.  It really does make this project look nice and finishes it off well.  I still have to add the spangles.   I have more of the gold thread to couch down.  It looks a lot like it is a supposed to look, see?

The other side should look nicer.  I'll make the berries more uniform in style and thread.  I used three different stitches and two different threads on the back.

I wanted to try the gold thread as an experiment.  I needed to know if I want to use it on my casket or not.  I really like how is looks so thumbs up.
I got all the way around doing the second row of nun's stitches.  My reward was to get to start the lettering on the back. I'm being so good with this project and following the directions.

It is so warm here that all the snow has melted and it feels like spring.
Happy Saturday!

Friday, January 11, 2013

A Positive Attitude

I am going to keep a positive attitude today.  I am so happy that I got all the way around with the nun's stitches for the front and back of the Painted Lady Sewing Case.

What an exciting photo!
Mind you, there is also an inside front and an inside back to go.  But I read ahead as I was anxious to do some of the design.  If I get the second row (that is on top of the first row) of nun stitches done, I can start the wording on the back of the case.  The nun stitched edge is looking nice and neat.  I am getting faster at doing the nun's stitches.  I am not using a frame though.  I am scrunching.  Don't tell.  Luckily I found the silk floss that I ordered for this.

I got an email that the gold thread that was backordered at Needle in the Haystack is winging it's way east to me.  That means I have to get going on the Trevelyon Holly ornament.  I am trying to find my comfort zone and have decided that it doesn't include trellis stitch.  I tried using more of a rhodes stitch for some berries.  Then last night I tried just a satin stitch.  The winner so far is the satin stitch.

I don't like the pink berries so I haven't put any in.  But right now the ornament has so many berries!

When the gold thread connects them, it will look a lot better and make more sense.  This is definitely the back of the ornament!  I should just start over but I don't want to.

I used the itunes card that Santa gave me to rent a movie (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) and download a book (Kinsey and Me) to my ipad.  I am very proud of myself for doing this without help from DH.  Now I am ready for California.  I have lots to occupy me on that long flight.

Thursday, January 10, 2013


Can I just start yesterday all over again?  I messed up everything I started.  I'm paying stupid tax - again.  I cut out the lining for the oil cloth bag but I later realized that the fish are swimming up stream.  I cut it the wrong direction! Duh.  

Luckily I have more material that I can cut.  I was wondering how come I had so much leftover fabric.  Now I know, they must have known I would make a mess out of the first cut.  I am going to sandwich the lining and the Soft 'n Stable.  I found the stencil pattern for the quilting.  I wanted something that looked like waves.

Then I messed up the stitching for the Victorian Painted Lady Sewing Case.  I was so proud of myself for getting all the way around the back of the case with nun stitches.

Then I realized that the canvas was too small.  The front and back are joined and are one piece.  So I have to start over on a larger piece of congress cloth.  All those nun stitches for nothing!  Rats!  I'll just blame the directions for not making it clear.   Now I know what size the case is going to be.  It is way bigger that I imagined.
Let's hope today goes better.
Chili for dinner.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Lost and Found

I went looking for the Victorian Painted Lady Sewing Case pattern.  It wasn't in the pile I thought it was.  Turns out that I was more organized that I realized.  I had punched holes in the edge of the pattern and put it in a notebook.  Now I have no excuse for not starting it.

I tried making a little thread winder souvenir with a picture and an octagonish shape.  I wrapped thread around it trying to figure out how to cover the whole thing with thread.  I used the premium floss from Hand Dyed Fibers.  Pearl cotton works better.  I'm wondering if a stiffer board would be better.  In our December class we learned how to make paper thread winders.  But the thread obscures the picture on it.  Maybe they are only ornamental.

Wonder of wonders, I cut out some of the lining fabric and some of the Soft 'n Stable to quilt for the lining of the oil cloth bag.  I got special sewing machine needles to use for the quilting.  Now I just need to try it.  I have so much lining fabric left over, I think I must be missing something.  Maybe I'm supposed to use a piece of lining fabric on either side of the Soft 'n Stable.

I worked one more berry on the Trevelyon Holly Ornament.  I am wanting to try a different stitch.  How about something similar to a  round Rhodes stitch?  That would  be a little bit raised but much smoother than this trellis stitch.  I would like to try a different stitch (long and short) for the leaf too.  I don't really like the stitches I'm using.  I've got to think about this.

My garage door opener quit working.  We are having a new one installed this afternoon.  The opener was 20 years old so I guess it is time to replace it.