Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Just Cross Stitch

I've received a great birthday surprise--a gift subscription to Just Cross Stitch magazine.

I haven't had a cross stitch subscription since back in the early 90s, when I had cross Stitch and Country Crafts.

I looked it up online and there are lots of projects in the Jan/Feb issue that I'll enjoy stitching. As far as digital is concerned, I've bought a couple of single issues of that big digital cross stitch magazine, out of Australia, but never had the funds to get a complete subscription. I don't think I would because I don't like the very detailed "picture painting"-type chart that is in every issue, or the simple (usually humorous) chart at the end.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Bramble Biscornu

This is a biscornu that I stitched. The chart is from Jane Ile's "Cross Stitch from A Country Garden."

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Trillium's Eggless Vanilla Cupcakes

Cream together:

1/2 c. unsalted butter
1/1/2 c. raw sugar(I used Sugar in the Raw)

Then add:

2 T. yoghurt (I used organic low-fat)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a separate bowl, mix together:

2 c. white all-purpose flour (I used King Arthur)
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/8 teaspoon salt

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients.

Add 1 c. milk (I used 2%) to entire mixture and stir well by hand or electric mixer.

Spoon into muffin cups and bake at 350 degrees until top springs back. These do not rise that much. If you want the cupcake to top over the paper cup, then fill just to the top of the paper.

Cool, frost, and decorate if desired.

A Christmas Gourd

This is a handmade present from a friend. The door opens up and there is a hole in the back through which to insert a string of lights. I plan to get a battery-operated tea light for it.

A Quilted Patriotic Wallhanging

I haven't posted in ages because I've spent my free time working on this quilted wall hanging. I finished it two days ago and mailed it yesterday. It will get there in time for Christmas because it is not going far, and because we mailed it 2-Day Priority.

I created it for my sis and her husband, who are both veterans. She doesn't read this blog and so the surprise is safe. I just hope she has room somewhere on her walls to display it.

It is all cotton fabrics, except for the purchased binding, which is poly/cotton. I inked on all of the signatures of the signers of the Declaration of Independence with a permanent Pitt Artist Pen with a fine tip.

The cross-stitched insert is 14-ct. white Aida. The designs are freebies (freedom stars & Liberty Bell) from Erica Michaels (I think). I will check and correct post if necessary. The letters are from an Anne Orr cross stitch design book from Dover Publications.

Disclaimer: The quilting is very poor on this. I am not pleased with my quilting stitches at all, but I had no quilting frame, not even a lap-type frame. It will hold up OK because it is for the wall, not for repeated use on a bed. So, those of you with eagle eyes will see my many giant and uneven stitches due to the lack of a quilting frame.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Eggless Pumpkin Carrot Cake

Recipe: Egg-free Pumpkin Carrot Cake

2 c. white flour
1 c. raw or organic cane sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 and 3/8 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/16th teaspoon ground cloves

1 c. canned, unsweetened pumpkin
3 c. carrots, peeled and grated
3/4 c. sunflower oil
4 T. yoghurt

Optional: 1 c. chopped walnuts
1/2 c. raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1. Mix together the dry ingredients in a bowl.

2. Mix together the wet ingredients in a bowl.

3. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and stir thoroughly. Ad nuts & raisins if desired.

4. Bake at 350 degrees until the top springs back when touched.

If no nuts or raisins are added, it will make about 16 cupcakes or one 9" cake. This cake doesn't rise much so you can fill the cupcake papers 3/4 full with batter. I haven't made it with nuts and raisins yet (no one in the family likes cooked raisins), and so I cannot tell you how many cupcakes you will get when adding them. I think you might need 2 cake pans, though.

I use King Arthur white flour, "Sugar in the Raw" Maui raw cane sugar, and a store-label brand of lowfat organic yoghurt.

These cupcakes turn out so moist that it is like eating a cloud (the nut-free version, that is).

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Halloween Treat Bag

This is the Halloween treat bag that I stitched for Edgar in the HOE Halloween exchange. It is "By The Light of The Moon," a freebie from The Primitive Needle. It is done with a combination of DMC and Carrie's Creations threads on a hand-dyed linen(don't know the count). The handles are black grosgrain ribbon.

I found some great Halloween fabric and created the bag. I added a cross-stitched commemorative label on the inside. Adding initials (or names) and dates makes needlework more valuable for the future. Plus, we get to remember our stitching buddies every time we look at their creations.

I just love this design and want to stitch a bag for myself.

I thought my daughter mailed this Priority mail and was worried because it hadn't arrived. She just told me it was sent Parcel Post.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

I Can See

I just got progressive lenses and it is a pleasure to be able to keep the same glasses on all day. I used to have to wear magnifying lenses over my old glasses in order to cross stitch and sew. Then I had to take them off to read. The old prescription was not correct, either. I can see everything now!

Halloween Exchange from Michelle

Michelle B. sent me a wonderful box of pumpkin-themed goodies for the HOE Halloween Exchange.

First, there is a beautifully stitched "Happy Jack" on fine linen that she attached to a great canister that is decorated with jack-o-lanterns. Inside the canister is a bag of candy pumpkins. She added a cute copper-colored jack-o-lantern pin and a set of cute Halloween stickers.

The piece de resistance is the pumpkin greeting card with a small pumpkin that morphs into a huge, frightful, menacing "Jack."

Free "Maple Leaf Biscornu" Chart

I designed this biscornu because I wanted to stitch one with maple leaves only and I could not find one in any of my cross stitch books. I hope you can download the pattern OK.

I stitched mine on 28ct. linen with variegated thread.

Back to Blogging

I haven't blogged in ages due to some carpal tunnel developing in my hands/arm. It's from using the mouse, not from typing. I've stayed off of the blog and the internet.

I need to email but I have to do it quickly. I cannot spend time looking at everyone's beautiful stitching or crafty blogs or searching Etsy. Not much, anyway. Just a little, quickly, here and there.

I've been online since about 2000, and I was doing Ebay with a dial-up computer back then. I spent a lot of time scanning in photos and cropping them because I didn't have a digital camera back then.

I am trying to figure out if a laptop would be better for me. I looked into getting a pen/tablet, but it does not replace a mouse entirely.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Summer House Arrived . . .

down under.

You can see the Summer House photo book that I sent to Gabi on her blog.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

An August Giveaway

Loretta is having a giveaway of four packages of great evenweave cloth. Sign up here now!

The deadline is Aug. 21, 2009.

Eliza's Pyn Pillow--My Version

Eliza's Pyn Pillow
freebie from With My Needle
28-ct. linen

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A Sheep Ornie

freebie from the DMC website
28-ct. hand-dyed Lugana

A Purple Peacock Pinkeep

a freebie from the web page "magyar mintakendo"
28-ct. linen

Friday, August 14, 2009

Peacock Pinkeep

from "Scandinavian Charted Designs--archives of the Lindberg Press"
Dover Publications

This is one of a series of peacock-themed items that I finished. I added my initials to it.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

County Fair 4-H Display

Granddaughter won a Best of Show ribbon for her 4-H project. This is a shot of the entire display with all of the county "Best of Shows."

Civil War Memorial--Wheeling Park

Liberty is missing her sword and there is damage to other parts of the monument.

It was an unsettling experience to come upon this monument at the top of a beautiful, tree-laden hill in the park, on a glorious day. Let us not forget the courage and the sacrifices of all veterans.

Stitching News

I finished my HOE "Summer House" project and got it mailed. I forgot to take a picture of it (again!) because I was rushed.

I have to finish my biscornu from June as well as make one for July and August. I'm out of the competition for the prize but I still want to complete my dozen. I gave one away as part of a birthday bag, so I'll only have 11 in my "basket."

I'm still transferring floss from cardboard bobbins onto plastic ones. I need to buy more plastic ones to finish.

I am not going to stitch any Christmas presents this year. I'm buying West Virginia-made crafts from a local artisan center. I'm going to concentrate on stitching ornaments and seasonal samplers for house decoration. I have a big Prairie Schooler chart "Thanksgiving Comes Again" that I want to stitch, plus I want to get a dowel tree and have it filled with ornaments for Christmas. I saw a dowel tree on Etsy that I'd like.

A Kennywood Visit

A family member who lives in the Pacific Northwest was visiting us and we had a great five days. We spent one whole day at Kennywood Park, near Pittsburgh. We got there just as the rides opened and granddaughter was able to get on the Phantom before the lines got too long.

The pictures show a group of happy people on the Thunderbolt roller coaster, as well as one of the historical markers that are located in various places on the grounds.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Hectic Summer

Life has been hectic since school ended.

Daughter has had different schedules, some evening shift, some day shift, and some 12-hr. shifts, due to working two different (successive) temporary jobs.

Granddaughter has attended school-sponsored music (day) lessons and has had summer outings with family and friends. She is currently working on 4-H projects. We are looking for the party dress and shoes she needs for the county fair junior queen pageant. The county fair here is a big event and is attended by thousands. Three years ago she entered and I made her dress. I don't know if I will make it this year. Nearly all of the sewing patterns available are the same style--flower girl style with fitted bodice and gathered skirt. Nothing is pretty, stylish, and also age-appropriate(no spaghetti straps). I already made the one unique pattern I could find for her first pageant.

I have been embroidering and sewing. I made small stuffed elephants, embroidered bookmarks, and stuffed dolls (complete with clothing). I sold a few things at a church fair. I had started sewing the dolls years ago for granddaughter, but now she doesn't play with dolls anymore. I also sold my peacock scissor fob.

Well, my sewing/craft table looks like a tornado hit it. I have a lot of sorting/cleaning up to do.

I have started my Summer House for the HOE exchange, and am about 1/2 finished. I will make the deadline.

Oh, forgot to say that I just got a copy of "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day." I don't have the required baking stone and am not going to put water in my oven to make steam. I will be letting you know how the recipes work out for me. First I need to buy the plastic container for the dough storage. I will probably be trying some recipes just doing them the regular way, and not refrigerating the dough. Right now I'm planning to bake the olive-stuffed flatbread.

I'll post pictures when I can. Keep on stitching!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Sevi's Giveaway

is having a cloth scraps giveaway. FIVE lucky people will win a bag of scrap fabric. Enter at her website.

Yuko's Pinkeep Giveaways

is having TWO giveaways for two unique and beautiful pinkeeps with lily-of-the-valley on them. Visit her blog to sign up by June 13th.

Words and Blooms Giveaway

Words and Blooms is having a giveaway for some cross stitch charts. Visit the blog to sign up.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

May Biscornu

This is my biscornu for May, stitched as part of the Basket of Biscornu challenge. It is on 28 ct. tea-colored linen, and the design is 1/4 of an herb pillow chart from the book "Country Garden Cross Stitch," by Jane Iles.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Folk Art Peacocks

This is stitched on 28 ct. white Monaco fabric. The chart is from the book "Scandinavian Charted Designs from the Lindberg Press," published by Dover.

I've completed a lot of stitching in the last month, but not much finishing. I am sewing some things for a friend and must complete them. I will be posting more pictures of my recent cross stitch.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Petites Lettres Rouges--My Version

I found this Blackbird Designs blog contest two days before the deadline, which was not enough time for me to enter. I've just finished my version of the "Petites Lettres Rouges," in shades of DMC reds on tea-colored
28 ct. linen.

I wanted a lot of birds in it, so I left out many of the numbers as well as the date. I put in two swallows from "Ann Orr's Charted Designs (Dover Pub.), a crane of my own design, a stork from "Scandinavian Charted Designs from the Lindberg Press" (Dover Pub.), and a chick from "Ann Orr's Charted Designs" (Dover Pub.).

I place my name on it. Although I've stitched many samplers, this is the first one to have my full name. I haven't decided whether I'll make this into a pillow or frame it. It will depend upon finding a suitable frame.

My printer did not print the symbols clearly, so I might have made mistakes in the coloring of the borders.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Edgar's Blogoversary


is holding a Blogoversary Giveaway. Please visit his blog, admire his expertly stitched projects, and enter the drawing.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Lo A Rose Giveaway

Edgar is having a giveaway for the Better Homes and Gardens (out of print) book that contains the chart for the "Lo, A Rose Sampler." Sign up today!

My April Biscornu

This is the biscornu that I stitched for my April entry in the Basket of Biscornu SAL. This is a freebie design from the web. It has the word "esther" in the file name. I can't remember the site from where I downloaded it.

It reminded me of tulips open and closed, so I stitched them in two shades of pink. I placed green seed beads in the center. I'm sorry that the photo is out of focus.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Scrap Linen, Please

These are small motifs (from Dover Pub. Anne Orr design books) that I stitched on scraps of linen. I plan to make them into notebook covers, tiny box covers, and more. I'll applique them onto cotton fabrics or piece cottons around them to create different projects.

Send me your scrap pieces of linen! Two inches, one inch, half an inch--anything! I'll use them! Donate them to me instead of throwing them away.

Please email me if you have tiny linen scraps that you don't want. I'll email you my mailing address.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Peacock Fob

This is a tiny fob with a peacock taken from the Quaker freebie chart "Six Mains." It is stitched with DMC on white linen.

Peacock Pinkeep

This is a motif from the freebie "Six Mains." I found some painted ribbon at the store in the exact colors. This is stitched in DMC shaded floss on white Monaco fabric.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

DMC Scented Floss

Can you believe this?

Imagine lavender-scented lavender floss tags, lemon-scented lemons on an apron . . .

I belong to the DMC Club online and received an email about their new scented floss. I really need this! Especially the floral scented ones. My gifts would be even more appreciated when stitched with this, as I do a lot of flower motifs.

DMC says the scent will last through 20 washings, but most of my stitchery does not get washed after being received. I hope this means that the scent will last a long time.

Winter Quaker Needlebook

This is the Winter Quaker needlebook that I stitched for Melissa (HOE exchange). I was getting worried because it took a long time to get to its destination. I chose the colors of winter skies and clouds. It is DMC on white linen.

This is a freebie design from Carinne. I love this design and want to stitch it for myself.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Winter Quaker from Karen D.

This is the pretty quaker snowman floss tag that I received from Karen D. in the HOE Winter Quaker exchange.

Unfortunately, the light was not good for the photo. It's stitched with white floss on a sparkly blue evenweave (possibly hand-dyed Lugana).

Monday, March 2, 2009

Mail Art from Cari

This is the mail art envelope that I received from Cari in the HOE exchange. Isn't it pretty?

My March Biscornu

This is my biscornu for March for the Basket of Biscornu SAL. It is a tiny biscornu (DMC variegated floss on linen) that I fashioned into a fob.

The pattern is #180 from Plate 19, "Celtic Charted Designs," by Co Spinhoven (Dover Publications).

Tod Jeffers Passes Away

Well, I've been sad all day since hearing that Wheeling, WV radio station WKKX lost ANOTHER talk show host.

According to news reports, (Charles) Tod Jeffers passed away at his home sometime Saturday eve/Sunday early am.

On his show he was funny, had witty remarks for every situation, and told great stories.

He will be missed.

Friday, February 27, 2009

My February '09 Biscornu

This is my second biscornu for the Basket of Biscornu SAL. The chart is adapted from Plate 22 of "101 Folk Art Designs for Counted Cross Stitch," by Carter Houck (Dover Publications). It is stitched with Victorian Sampler overdyed thread on 28-ct. white linen, and has a glass bead at the center. The bottom is exactly the same.

My First Mail Art

Thanks, everyone, for your kind comments about this project.

This is the mail art envelope that I stitched for Edgar. it is mostly DMC thread (some shaded colors) on linen (finer than 28, but not sure of exact count). The pink/red is overdyed Victorian Sampler thread.

The pattern is adapted from the "Hannah Story Historical Sampler" found in the Mar/April 1988 issue of Women's Circle COUNTRY NEEDLECRAFT magazine.

I created my own color scheme. I used nearly all of the spot motifs but only one of the several alphabets.

How I Designed the Layout:

I used a standard #6 postal envelope to determine approximate size. I opened up the flaps and measured with a ruler. At first, I was going to add the side flaps, then realized that I didn't need them.

I cut a piece of linen big enough to create the envelope PLUS some extra for seam allowance. I added almost an inch, just to make sure. I'm usually very frugal with my seams as I hate to waste the precious linen.

Next, I used sewing thread to whip stitch all around the linen so that the ends don't fray. I do this with every cross stitch project.

After that, I folded the linen in half lengthwise. I basted the middle from top to bottom with quilting thread. This thread is thick and smooth, which allows it to be removed easily at the end, even if you cross stitched over it.

To determine the placement of the front, the flap, and the back motifs, I counted thread by thread with ball head pins. I counted ten threads at a time and then placed a pin. I wrote down the total number of threads from side to side and top to bottom.

I looked at the chart, count the number of stitches for the alphabet, the borders, etc, both horizontally and vertically. Once I figured out what will fit where, I marked it with pins.

I stitched the borders first, then the fold-over flap. Then I stitched the underneath alphabet.

I filled in with all of the motifs that would fit, starting at the center.

I stitched the front of the envelope last. I placed my name & address, then Edgar's, then filled in with the motifs. After I was finished with all of the cross stitch, I removed the basting (quilting) thread.

It takes a lot of counting and marking if you are creating your own, but using quilting thread to mark divisions makes it easier. This was a complicated design because I used fine count linen. A different design on 28-ct. would not take as long to stitch.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Stitching Update

I've been working on my Winter Quaker project for the HOE exchange.

Mail Art:
The post office didn't want to accept my mail art as a regular envelope but my daughter told the woman that it was "the latest fad" and that other people across the U.S. were sending such things. However, it got a printed label instead of regular stamps. I hope the recipient doesn't mind.

Friday, February 20, 2009

George Kellas Passes

Local radio talk show host George Kellas of WKKX passed away yesterday. The story is on and Send a condolence card to his family:

The Kellas Family c/oWKKX
1201 Main Street #100
Wheeling, WV

WKKX is a local radio station that is locally owned, operated, and staffed. It serves the eastern Ohio/northern panhandle of West Virginia listening area. It is supported by advertising from local businesses.

This station was formed a few years when many local employees of the Wheeling Clear Channel station lost their jobs. WKKX is an example of a place-based economy and proves that local talk radio can succeed in spite of big corporations.

Monday, February 2, 2009

It's Groundhog Day

The morning news as reported from Gobbler's Knob: Punxatawney Phil saw his shadow today and will go back into hibernation for six more weeks of winter. I don't think anyone in my region expected a different prediction.

This is the Erica Michaels freebie "Is Winter Done?," stitched on linen. I changed the color scheme and substituted a gold glass heart for the required pink button.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Winter View and Cross Stitch Musings

We had four snow days last week (or was it five?). This is a view from our window (taken during a snowstorm).

I'm stitching on my Mail Art piece for the HOE exchange. It took a long time to figure out the size of it and the placement of everything. Perhaps that is why not many stitchers signed up for it (mail art).

I missed the deadline to enter the Valentine's Day exchange, but I do need to stitch valentines for family, so making them will take its place.

My Icelandic Biscornu

This is a biscornu that I stitched as my January goal for the "Basket of Biscornu" blog. The goal is to stitch one biscornu each month of the year, so that at the end of 2009 each of us will have completed a dozen biscornus--enough to fill a display basket. I didn't have a button so I put four glass seed beads in the centers. The top and bottom are the same.

The pattern is the inner square from "Icelandic Biscornu," from The Gift of Stitching digital magazine. I chose to make mine in shades of blue, on a white Lugana background.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Thursday Thank You

Thanks for letting me know that the freebie download works. I will be creating more freebies as soon as I finish an alpaca/silk scarf that I'm knitting. I started it before Christmas, knit it, and had to unravel the whole thing and begin again.

I just got my partner for the HOE Winter Quaker Exchange and I need to choose a design.

I'm designing my Mail Art to fit into a #6 standard envelope template. This will be my first mail art. Do they get dirty going through the mail? I was thinking to have it hand stamped, and then mail it in a Priority envelope. Who has sent/received mail art (in the USA only), and in what condition did you receive yours?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A Snow Day

No school for granddaughter today and her mom is on winter break from school, so I have time to (hopefully) finish two pinkeeps.

I have read of other stitchers' wonderful collections of smalls. I decided that I needed to stitch up a bunch for myself so that I can have a basketful to display. That is why I focused on pinkeeps during December '08.

I downloaded some great freebie charts today and some of them (a quaker snail, a "Pinkeep Janvier") will be turned into pinkeeps as well.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Blog Problems

I'm having a lot of problems posting/maintaining photos to the blog. many are not showing up. I'm trying to correct this.

Freebie for Seasonal Stitchers

To all stitchers who enjoy Halloween designs:

If you send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to the owner of The Primitive Needle, she will send you a delightful, primitive Halloween chart titled "By The Light Of The Moon."

Cyber Fiber ATC Exhibition

I created an ATC for the Cyber Fiber Artist Trading Card Exhibition/Swap. This is mine--an outline of some milkweed (plant ) pods stitched on silk.

This was organized by fiber artist Susan Lenz.

My card is # 132 at Cyber Fiber. Currently, there it is horizontal. I've emailed Susan to have the picture rotated 90 degrees to the right.

My design is very simple. I'm awed by so many of the more colorful ATCs. They are inspiring.

Hedgehog Quaker Pinkeep

This is "Hedgehog Quaker," a freebie by The Workbasket. He's stitched on 28-ct. linen and finished as a pinkeep. My love bug is accompanying him.

Hedwig's Four Patch Pinkeep

This is "Hedwig's Four Patch," a freebie by The Sampler Girl. It's stitched on 28-ct. linen and finished as a pinkeep.