Saturday, October 8, 2011

Scissors and books and excuses, oh my!

Yes, I've been scarce.  Many good excuses I won't bore you with.  But, new scissors and books found a home with me! And they are all so different.  Bunching them together like this really shows the diversity in the needlework world that can be found if you care to look.

New Gingher Alicia!

I love the blues so couldn't resist.  You can't really see it in this photo, but the design on the blue background appears to be tiny little peacock feathers.  The Alicias are resting on the completed half of a new piece I'm working of my kids' hands.  If I ever finish the second half (and I must, before my son's hand grows much more) I will do a real post showing off both.  Someday!

And pretty little dovo gold handle scallops. 

Aren't they sweet?  They are resting on one of my new book acquisitions, Scandinavian Needlecraft by Claire Young. 

I love the simple elegance of the Scandinavian folk art-inspired projects in this book!  Some of the embroidered felt swedish horses may make in onto the Christmas tree this year.  Or these charming stockings onto the mantel:

My other two new books, Makoto's Cross-Stitch Super Collection and Drawn to Stitch could not be more different.  Probably the only thing they have in common is that cotton fibers are frequently used.

Makoto's Cross-stitch Super Collection by Makoto Oozu is chock-full of quick little cross stitch motifs.  Many are very non-traditional and quirky, like insects, robots, space creatures, electronic gadgets, and other fun stuff like that.  My daughter quickly declared it one of her favorites and wants some of the brightly colored little dinosaurs and monsters stitched on everything, she says.

Drawn to Stitch: Line, Drawing and Mark-Making in Textile Art by Gwen Hedley is 180 degrees in the opposite direction.  It is full of ideas for the experimental and artistic end of the stitching landscape, using a variety of techniques including resists, transfers, and printing in addition to stiches to explore "innovative uses of line".  Now, I am not a trained artist, nor do I have the resources to explore many of these techniques, but reading this type of book does help get my creative juices flowing.  This page alone, I think may have blown my mind a little:

Those beige squiggles, were stitched using padding and wrapping techniques with fibers of different weights, to imitate worm casts in a rock.  Amazing!  Many of the pieces shown in this book were inspired by rocks or landscapes or even things like eroded walls, so this was a title I had to have.  Gorgeous.  Now if I could only find a little more time for the inspiration to carry through into execution.

Monday, September 5, 2011


Just back from B.C.  Ask my daughter what her favorite part was, and she'll say, "catching frogs!"  As many of you know, "frogging" is also a euphemism for tearing out needlework mistakes--"rip it, rip it" but I was fortunate that kind of frog did not visit on this trip. 

One of the few sunny afternoons we went to a lake, which had piles and piles of frogs the size of a quarter.  I say piles, because they piled themselves in sunny areas into masses that looked like clods of mud (or cow pies) if you didn't look to close.  But then when you stepped close, they all hopped away to the safety of tall grass. 

The kids went crazy catching them, but bored of it quickly when they realized there were tadpoles in the lake!  Our tadpoles here are tiny little things, hard to find, in swampy areas we don't often go.  These were big fat long things. 

I am glad we hadn't cleaned out the car recently and could find buckets and bottles. 

And that I never go anywhere without my trusty hand lens (magnifying glass to the layman). 

And, that I could stitch in the sun for a few minutes while the kids played naturalist. 

More frogs next time!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Child's-eye view

The adjustment to homeschooling has been not too difficult, because it has been very much like a return to the way we lived before the public school experiment started.

As all the other kids get excited for new classrooms and bus routes and what-all, and I've heard some other mothers express relief their kids will be away during the day again soon, I'm finding I'm glad I get to keep them with me this fall.

Seeing the world through their eyes is one of the best parts.

One of the other best parts is that we don't have to stick to someone else's calendar.  Leaving this morning on another road trip, destination Northern British Columbia and DH's family ranch.  The kids have never been there.  I can't wait to see how they see it.

Next time: Actual stitching content!  And/or pictures of beautiful British Columbia, haha.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Scenes from a summer

So this is where we've been for the last little while.  Here:

Long Dog Samplers' "Do Bears" in the early morning.
25 Mile Creek campground on Lake Chelan.

And here...

Port Orchard foot ferry on a Sunday afternoon.

Can't forget when we tried this...

Trying out a spokeshave at Pioneer Farm Museum in Eatonville.

And we've been here a lot:

Cool forests behind our house.  Often.

But it still might be a little premature to do a summer-wrap up post, because summer isn't quite over yet.  Still a few weeks...let's go see what else we can find.

Catch ya on the flip side.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Home from paradise

Back now from our 10 days away.   The Moab area and Arches and Canyonlands National Parks are stunning.  I could have stayed several more weeks and still not felt like we saw everything.  Between the geology...

The 4WD roads...

The wildlife...

And the history, both ancient...

and "modern"...

I was in heaven.  Of course, while the kids liked all that stuff too, they liked the pool best. 

Even a little stitching was accomplished.  Mostly while waiting for the mountain-goat members of the family to rejoin the group.

I do not think this will be our last trip to southeast Utah.  More, please.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Pheasant in the desert

We rolled in last night.  View out our back patio at the edge of a golf course this morning.  My CHS Frederick matches Moab.  Now to dress the kids and go get the hubs hot on the 4x4!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Off we go!

First of several days of our road trip.  Here is to beginnings!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Lead into Gold (A Finish)

It's been months since I had the satisfaction of a finish, but yesterday I finally put the last stitches into my version of Ink Circles' "Alchemical Romance"!  You can click the photos for larger versions...

 It's a sampler of alchemical symbols--what scientists used in the medieval times, before the periodic table and the foundations of chemistry were worked out.  With my background in geochemistry and history, I had to stitch this.

I used HDF silk in Primitive Black, Examplar Lark's Tounge, and a mystery gold color on 36 ct Picture This Plus "Ancient".  See those old books in the background?  Maybe not so well, here's a closer look:

Those gorgeous covers were my inspiration for the color palette I used.  The books-- "Die Opale"-- were published in 1907 by a great great uncle of mine or somesuch.  Or so I'm told.  I can't read them because they are written in old German.   

Sharp-eyed viewers will notice that I changed the pattern a little bit, in addition to the charted colors.  The original pattern has another symbol for gold in the center-- but I noticed after going over the pattern that there was no symbol for "lead" included.  So, because it's always the old story that the alchemists were trying to turn lead into gold (and would not succeed, of course), I tracked down the old symbol for lead and plunked it in the center instead.  In my opinion I think it gives the overall sampler more of a focus point this way as well. 

But this was a fun stitch.  Something like this that has a lot of small "finishes" packed into it was great for the busy last few months; even though not much stitching was actually getting done I got to feel somewhat accomplished fairly regularly.  :) 

And as reward I get to start something else, hee hee!  You saw it at the end of the last post--another Ink Circles, this time "Mother Maya".  Yay!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Sagebrush air


I am officially on vacation as of the end of the day today, but because all my deadlines are met, I'm going to play a little and update this neglected blog. 
Last week was our annual bow-fishing campling expedition to Vantage, Washington, on the banks of the Columbia River.  Beautiful.  I have missed that sagebrush air. 

There was some stitching done, but I forgot to take a picture because frankly there was a better view to be had.

I was able to complete a few more motifs on my Alchemical Romance while out there, which means I have ONE more motif left!  I am sure that will be done this weekend.  THEN, this will be my reward:

Anybody recognize that little corner of the pattern peeking out?  It's not like I don't have any other neglected projects to work on, but I think this might be a fantastic start for our road trip next week.   Andiamo!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Spring, finally

We are finally starting to emerge from our cocoon.  I've started to be able to take a breath again, and look up and around again.  The beauty didn't leave while I wasn't paying attention.  That is reassuring.

The adjustment to homeschooling is coming along well,

and even though this year has been a record long dreary winter, the days are much longer now, and there are longer spells between rain storms.

The streams in the nearby foothills are swollen with snowmelt.

And I can feel that the sunny days are not too far away now.

Can you feel it too?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

BBQ tonight

First evening stitching outside this year.  Amazing how warm 60 degrees can feel after a long winter.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Another adventure begins

My precocious little golden boy, my first baby, my whip-smart rugrat...has been suspended twice from kindergarten over the past few weeks.   He is a square peg in the round hole that is public school.  So we just made the decision after weeks of thought to pull him out and start homeschool.  I've been preoccupied with all that and not in the mental place for blogging.  But with that decided, we shall see...

BTW this book is fantastic:
.The Unschooling Handbook : How to Use the Whole World As Your Child's Classroom

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Jadeite 2563

Matches my turquoise Fiestaware perfectly.  So springy!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Daffodils and Eagles

Last weekend we took a serendipitous trip up to La Conner, which happened to also be the opening weekend of the annual bulb festival.  The tulips were really just starting, but the daffs were glorious!  Had a great time wandering the public gardens.

And browsing the antique shops.

And eating rainbow sherbet

And soaking up the not-completely-cloudy skies.

Then when we got home, this guy was waiting for us:

Not a bad day. 

Not too much stitching done again lately, but plans are in the works!