Monday, April 17, 2017

A little of this, A little of that

In between doctor's appointments, home health nurse visits and home PT visits, I have gotten in a little stitching, a bit more reading and a very little catch-up housework.  My husband led a bachelor existence for a little over a month while I was in hospital and nursing home and the results were pretty much what I expected.  To give you some notion of my husband;s domestic skills: once he found out I'd be laid up for more than two days, he went out and bought a dishwasher.

But on to the stitching:  I have been playing with oddments  from my scrapbag, startimg with a small scrap of 36 count antique ivory linen.

This first Easter Egg ornament is loosely based on two designs from the Better Homes and Gardens 1001 Cross Stitch Designs.  I picked a motif from one pattern [the bunnies] and the size and shape  of the egg from another.  Then I pulled out a bunch of exotic and glitzy fibers left over from old Dragon Dreams, Silver Needle Night and similar projects.  The object was to mimic a bit of Faberge bling.  I have a hard time throwing away usable leftovers and it satisfies some deep-seated aging  hippie need to recycle such odds and ends into new projects.  I thought this was a fairly successful attempt to take what was old and make something new from it.

The next Easter Egg ornament is somewhat more conventional in its conception.  Following roughly the same shape as the first, I allowed the materials at hand to dictate design elements, e.g.: the thickness and placement of the stripes, the size of the flower.  Just an aside, rayon floss is nowhere near the usual pain in the ass to use when you are working with just one strand as I did on this 36ct linen.

The third egg was born after finding some green and lavender rayon floss.  I have always liked the combination of mossy greens and soft lavenders.   I had some vague idea of an egg wrapped up in a bow and found just such a chart in BH&G 1001 Cross Stitch Designs.  With a few adjustments, I had what I wanted.

And this fourth egg is back to Faberge style bling, done in metallic reds and golds.  Just to keep from being bored, I couched a scrap of leftover gold metallic ribbon with some 003HL Kreinik VFB as the center band of this egg.  I am pleased with the effect.  For some crazy reason, I have7 spools of the various red VFB and this was a way of using up a bit of it.  Can't imagine what possessed me to buy so much of the stuff!  It must date from the time I was stitching a lot of Christmas ornaments.

The last egg uses up some fibers in the yellow to gold color way: some Colorwash silk, some amber and bronze VFB, a bit of orange wool, a scrap of bronze metallic ribbon.  To avoid repeating myself, I have decided to go the sampler route and, so far have used cross, long armed cross, satin, box, diamond Rhodes and diamond eyelet  stitches on this egg.    I plan to stitch a band of upright crosses and a band of knotted crosses before I am done.   I liked the couched ribbon effect in the red egg so much that I repeated it here with a scrap of metallic bronze ribbon and the yellow colorwash silk.

One of my 2017 goals is to make a half a dozen Easter ornaments.  With one Mill Hill beaded Easter egg just needing the final finish of a felt backing and four of these just needing flat ornament finishes, I am well on my way to accomplishing that goal.  And once I finish the yellow egg, I do have another Mill Hill beaded egg kit in stash and will probably tackle that while the Easter season is still upon us.   It'll be nice to actually exceed a goal in at least one area after so many health related set backs thus far this year 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Back to Stitching

I find I am somewhat distracted as I return to my stitching, moving from project to project and making little progress on any. Currently, I am working on the Jacobean Elegance afghan, a Rhodes stitch needlepoint sampler, an Easter egg ornament, a napkin and napkin ring reproduction from the Royal Albert museum and a piece of my own design, Beach find pansies.  None of them hold my attention for long.  Like the bee in the napkin design, I flit from stitching stand [the needlepoint] to Q-snaps [the afghan] to hoops [all the others],  I'll post some photos when I can get outdoors with my trusty, if ancient, first generation digital camera.  For now, there is still too much snow in the backyard, being sheltered and overshadowed by 6 foot fences and a retaining wall

I have spent more of my time reading.  Just before I went into hospital, I had started re-reading the Brother Cadfael Chronicles by Ellis Peters.  I had seen the Masterpiece Mystery series starring Derek Jacobi and read as many of the books as had come to hand back in the day.  But this time around, I decided to read all 20, and in order.  To that end, I had my husband order any of the books missing from my collection.   It would be unfair to expect the same enjoyment from my DVD collection as from my newly completed book collection.   I understand that screenplays are a separate art form with their own advantages and disadvantages.  But I so prefer the stories in book form as richer in detail and imaginative texture.  All the minor characters that are deleted or subsumed within the regular denizens of Shrewsbury in the TV series are present in full individuality, and even quirkiness, in the books.  Incidents glossed over, locales eliminated and historical background lost in the screenplays appear in full glory in the books.  A much more satisfying experience!  Not to mention that the elegance and precision of Ellis Peter's prose style is rarely equaled, especially in your standard mystery or historical fiction genres.

If you have fond memories of the TV programs, I recommend reading the chronicles in their entirety.
I find myself wishing that Derek Jacobi. had had the opportunity to film all the Cadfael stories, as David Suchet did Christie's Poirot stories.  For all that I shall always love the books more dearly, the programs were excellent and true to the spirit of the books.  And in one detail they were certainly superior to the books: the oily piety and false humility of that quintessential weasel, Brother Jerome, is brilliantly portrayed on screen.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Adventures in Health Care

I am back after a little over a month [it all started 2-14] in hospital and nursing home and I have even less faith in the medical institutions than ever.  I trust a few carefully selected doctors but other than that ... well, I seem to have been dealing with the half of the population that was deservedly ranked in the bottom half of their class.  It started out as severe edema, stemming from kidney disease, dominoing into congestive heart failure,IBSD and pneumonia.

Some of the highlights: 

After my first ultra-filtration dialysis, I had a series of low glucose readings culminating in a hypoglycemic episode during which my glucose numbers dropped to 39 at 3a.m.  It presented with all the classic symptoms of hypoglycemia: inability to move, to speak, perceiving the environment as through a darkened glass and people as moving shadows.  I thought I was having a stroke and was unable to call for help except by loud grunting and groaning.  The night nurse, who had known me for three days and knew me to be alert and in full command of my faculties as well as knew me to have had a series of low glucose readings,  came up with the brilliant diagnosis of "nightmares' and restrained me in bed with tightly tucked in blankets.  I was left in that state for three hours until the morning vitals check.  The PCA called the same nurse but luckily she was followed shortly by a more competent colleague who mobilized the rapid response team and brought my sugar numbers up with dextrose.

A nursing home nurse who tried to give me someone else's medicine's even after I pointed out that there were far too many pills in the cup and none of which resembled my pills.  He finally decided to check and lo and behold, came back with my medications and a story about how the pharmacy sometimes substituted one manufacturer's version of a drug for another ... as if trying to cover up the obvious differences in quantity and appearance between the first and second cup of pills.

Not one but two, dietitians who seemed to think beets, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, corn, carrots peas  and various kugels, kashas and varnishkas [often in pairs] were appropriate choices for a diabetic.

A nurse who tried to administer medication that had been given to me just a half hour previous ... does no one read charts anymore?

A dialysis clinic that was not equipped with blankets to keep patients warm as the procedure induced severe chills.  It gave me a whole new appreciation of the old acronym B.Y.O.B..

I came home to a house I  was ashamed to own as my own.  My husband views every flat surface as a shelf - this includes floors - and the place was littered with stuff he simply hadn't bothered to put away: opened and unopened mail, unfolded laundry, books, dishes [clean and soiled] and whatever happened to have been used in my absence.

Nature conspired with my husband by dumping 24inches of snow on us and creating temps so low that the rear window of one of our cars shattered into spider web cracks and we now have a leaking roof ... a flat roof and heavy snow are not a good combination.

So, that was my month.  I sincerely hope yours was ever so much better.

Monday, December 5, 2016

And The Finishing Becomes A Frenzy

I took a few days off stitching for my husband's surgery and post-op care.

But the mood is still upon me and I hope to get all the flat ornaments in the finishing basket done before it dissipates.  Who knows, I may even get all the pin cushions done as well!

I have moved on to The Celtic Beasties.

2 Snakes [No Heads] - Positive.  This can do double duty as a Celtic Knot for St. Patrick's Day.

2 Snakes [No Heads] - Negative.  This can do double duty as a Celtic Knot for St. Patrick's Day.

                                                               Polybus. aka Octopus


                                                  Celtic Cross - Halloween Colorway

I've prepped the boards for 5 more ornaments, as well.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Giveaway Winner

Calamity Jr. is this month's winner.  I was pleased that her name came up as she is a frequent commenter on the blog.  I feel we have become cyber-friends.  I hope she enjoys the charts as much as I did.

I'll be e-mailing her later today.

Monday, November 28, 2016

A Little More Finishing

A few more Prairie Schooler Year Rounds:  Unless otherwise shown. backing fabrics are solid colors  matching the design.

January: Crescent Moon and Star.  Finished as a round flat ornament with a beaded edge.

February: Heart in Hand.  Finished as a flat ornament trimmed with chenille.

March: Shamrock.  Finished as a flat ornament with a beaded edge..

April: Rabbit and Tulip.Finished as a flat ornament trimmed with home made cord and beaded hanger.

May: Bird on a Branch.  Finished as a round flat ornament trimmed with home made cord .

June: Flower Basket.  Finished as a round flat ornament trimmed with chenille.

July: Patriotic Quilt Star.  Finished as a round flat ornament trimmed with chenille.

September  School House.  Finished as a round flat ornament trimmed with chenille.

October.  See previous post.

November.  Turkey.  Finished as a round flat ornament trimmed with chenille.

December: Santa.  Finished as a round flat ornament trimmed with chenille.

And Homespun Elegance Country Spirits.

And, I prepared the boards for three more ornaments.

Friday, November 25, 2016


Gathering all those smalls charts for the giveaway put me in the mood to finish a few of the little suckers.

This is Country Cottage Needleworks Sunflower Sampler finished as a flat ornament trimmed with chenille.

Morning Glory Designs Friendship Tree finished as a flat ornament and trimmed with home made cord.

Crossed Wing Collection Hummingbird finished as a round flat ornament trimmed with dark green and lavender beads.

Prairie Schooler Year Rounds: October finished as a round flat ornament trimmed with dark green ans dark amber beads.

I also prepped enough discs to assemble 6 more Prairie Schooler Year Rounds tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Procrastation ...

... is my besetting sin.  I have finally gotten my last two giveaways packed up and ready for mailing and my husband will take them to the post office tomorrow.  So, naturally. I had to fill the void with yet another giveaway.

I often think of winter as the season of smalls.  I am not entirely certain why.  We had our first snow early Monday morning and I was inspired to put together another giveaway: this time all smalls.  Most of these are commercial charts but some are ancient freebies while a few others are exclusive bonus charts from classes I have attended.  To enter, leave a comment explaining why you like smalls. One winner will take the lot, 18 charts in all.

Here's the list:

Beary Merry Christmas 2013
Bent Creek Swirlygig
By the Bay  Slow Down
Country Cottage  Sunflower Sampler
Crossed Wing Collection Sept 1999 free chart: Hummingbird
DMC Valentine Heart
Morning Glory Needleworks Friendship Tree
Morning Glory Needleworks Buttoned Heart Pincushion
Flower Thread Mini Sampler
Jeanette Douglas Christmas Tree
Prairie Schooler American Primitive
Prairie Schooler Prairie Year Rounds
Rosewood Manor Deep Roots
Rosewood Manor  Welcome to Spring
Samplers and Such Bitty Baskets: ABC Sampler
Sue Donnelly The Best Ship
Sue Donnelly Kindred Spirits
Sue Hillis First Steps

Monday, November 21, 2016


I have been working pretty steadily on Follow Me.  

I will be frogging the first line of text and moving it three stitches to the right.  I realize one doesn't expect symmetry in a primitive design but this is way too off center for me.  I thought I'd leave it while I stitched the wings and seen if I could live with it.  Alas. I can not.

Sunday, November 6, 2016


First, the winner is Bea.  She revealed that she has discovered the joys of Halloween stitching only recently.  As a result, I am inclined to legitimize her status as a Halloween lover with a reasonable stash.  I have even thrown in a bonus chart in addition to the 10 listed, Stacy Nash Primitive Hallows Eve.  Enjoy, Bea!

I also need to apologize for not participating in the Halloween Blog Hop as planned.  I spent the morning at the opthamologist's office where I was given a needle in the eye - not quite the Trick or Treat activity I had expected.  The rest of the day was spent in dim light with cold compresses and regular applications of artificial tears.

I started my last Halloween project of the year today: Primitive Needle's Follow Me.  At present I've just stitched the base, one side border and a bit of the inscription..

I did finish Hallows Eve which I stitched on Belfast linen in natural Flax, using Pure Palette silks.