Crazy September

September has been a wild month.  It started off with a Sunday at church where my son picked up the stomach bug.  He was sick all night long.  The following day, I was supposed to start my methotrexate and had to cancel, since I didn’t want to catch his germs.  The last time I had the stomach bug was in the 1970s.

But that record stretch was about to be broken, as *I* caught it from him.  I couldn’t eat for days, which wasn’t such a bad thing as I lost 5.5 pounds.  The last day I was sick, Hurricane Irma hit.  We had evacuee guests, so I cleaned the whole house with Lysol (which worked, as no one else got sick.)

Irma’s eye passed right over my house around 2 in the morning.  At 2:30, I could no longer stay in bed and stepped out into the screened lanai.  I was joined by my brother-in-law, then my two sons, and lastly my sister-in-law.  We all agreed there was no going to sleep again, and since the power was off and had been since the previous evening, we boiled water on the gas grill and made a pot of coffee.  My brother in law slowly poured the coffee through a filter, and at 4:00 we had coffee!

Once it was dawn, we could see that my screened lanai had lost 5 big screens, my flower gardens were destroyed, and there was a little ceiling damage in the lanai.  All in all, that’s not bad.

The big deal ended up being the lack of electricity (until Tuesday night) and having to drive 25 miles to find gas for the generator.  The day after Irma, we lost cell phone service (why????) and that was a huge pain.  It was out for almost a week.  I couldn’t get or send texts after a while.  I could text at the beginning if I stood at the end of the driveway.  Finally it got so bad that we went for a ride so I could text my daughter.  Sigh….

Another bad thing was that the stores were out of dairy for over a week.  My husband managed to find some coffee creamer somewhere.  Due to the gap in time where he couldn’t find gas for the generator, we lost a lot of food from the refrigerator.

You can see how I didn’t manage to stitch anything.

Post-Irma — I’ve stitched a very little.  I have been doing more punch needle.  I seem to be burned out cross stitch wise now.  I have totally lost interest in the Main Street series and have debated selling the started project.  Yikes!


I finished my first one!  This is a free pattern.


And I finished my second one!  This one is from Punch Needle and Primitive Stitcher magazine.


And my third one, also from PNPS magazine.  The overdyed floss — my first attempt at dyeing my own.  I love how it turned out.

This poor blurry snowman is a free pattern too.  He is supposed to be a coaster, but he will become a Christmas ornament.  You can find the pattern here.


Next was a little stitching, also from PNPS magazine.  This Prim Kitty was supposed to have a periwinkle colored flower.  I changed all the colors.


This was so much fun to stitch, that I did a second one and changed the flower.


I can imagine changing out the flower for different seasonal things — a snowflake, a pumpkin, etc.

Next project was a freehand snowman that I drew, sewed, and stuffed.


I wanted sticks for arms, but we couldn’t find any suitable ones.

Next:  I drew this kitty freehand and made him up.



He was a lot of fun to make.  Not that fun to stuff…

Lastly, today’s cat, also drawn freehand.  The whiskers on this one are wire.


None of them are perfect, but they were fun to make.  If I didn’t have allergies, I am sure I would be a crazy cat lady.  Instead I have one Siberian cat that I am not allergic to at all.  Here she is, sleeping under a clock.  (My husband took the clock down to paint.  Silly cat!)


And that about wraps up September.  If I manage to get anything else done, I will add another post.

May God bless you and keep you safe!




August Stitching

August has been a tough month.  I haven’t felt much like stitching at all.  When I have, I have been working on Quaker Gone Tropic.  The last time I touched it, it looked like this:


Now it looks like this:


It is stitched entirely in silk.  It is a fun, cheerful project.  The fabric is actually a soft yellow.

Needing a change of pace, I decided to try embroidery.

bunnies embroidered

I dyed the fabric to create the grass and sky.  I used Rit Dye and a sponge brush.  Not bad for a first effort.

I finally received my ring splints for my fingers.  The problem is, my floss and needle get caught on them.  I really need to wear the splints, as they help so much with the pain.  Unfortunately they make stitching next to impossible.  There isn’t any point in stitching to relax if it only has the opposite effect!

Next up:  I have had a punch needle kit since 2007.  I brought it out to try it and promptly broke the needle tip.  It had a burr on the end.  So I bought another needle, and put a burr in that one, too.  My husband hammered out the burrs somehow.  This wasn’t fun at all either, but I could see it as fun if I wasn’t breaking needles constantly.  So I decided to buy a better needle and some fabric.  And there was the issue — the fabric that came with the kit was 100% cotton of some type, so of course it was breaking the needle!  Once I had the right fabric, I found a free design and started working it, using the threads from the cheap kit.


Not bad for a first effort, and it’s really a lot of fun!

Next up:  I have always wanted to try rug hooking since I first saw it back in Asheville.  I liked it so much that I bought a hook there.  (We’re talking 2004!!!)  So I ordered two beginner kits, took the price tag off my hook, and got to it.

bee day 1

The day it came, I got this much done.  Fast forward three days, and I have finished it:

rug bee

Not bad for a first effort.  I love it!  It is as fun as I thought it would be.  The sad thing is that it is probably too expensive for me to take up seriously.  I know people get wool from thrift store clothing, but how much woolen clothing would be found in Central Florida????  I did order a second beginner kit and it came missing the wool.  The wool is “out for delivery” today and I’m sure I will start it this afternoon.

I’ve been knitting lots and lots of washcloths.  I am trying to use up my yarn stash, which is mostly cotton yarn.  I can knit a washcloth during the school day easily, with lots of time to spare.   I tried crocheting a shawl with some of the fancy sparkly cotton that I have and it hurt my wrist so bad that I took it apart.

knit wash

My fabric stash was all cut up into strips, except for a few pieces I hoarded for ???  I made a crocheted rag rug and didn’t really like it.  I threw the rug into the garage and put the strips into balls and stuck them in the yard sale pile.  😉

This is what I have been up to this month.  Not much for cross stitching, but plenty of other things!

On the agenda:  nothing set in stone.  I’m just going to play it by ear.

Happy stitching!


July stitching

Saturday was finishing day — these are the pieces that are finally finished.


Main Street Gazebo


Early Americans progress

I designed these and stitched them over the weekend.  You can’t see “love” or “joy” because they are caught in the q-snaps.  I am not sure how I will finish them.  I had been thinking little pin pillows as gifts for my ever-changing weekly prayer partner at our ladies’ Bible study, but then I started to second-guess myself.  What if she doesn’t sew? Now I don’t know…


After much time spent ripping out the right side, I finally finished this one!  The *local* beeswax made a huge difference.  The other beeswax was drier — this one was soft and not leaving chunks on the floss, and it made the Valdani thread stop shredding.

I also had a start but no photo yet.  It is the Mary Burgess Sampler from the Essamplaire, which you can see here.

I have been working a little on Samplers from the Scarlett House.  My “goal” would be to finish 2 UFOs before starting another project.  I have 11 to choose from, which is so embarrassing.  I’d really like to get the number DOWN — to 5 or less.  I would feel better.  Wish me luck!

Happy stitching everyone!

Summer stitching

batter up

I didn’t end up waiting until the All-Star break to stitch this one.  Since Nathan Hale and the Main Street Gazebo still hadn’t arrived in my mailbox, I thought I would probably be stuck working on them through the break.  All the colors except the green were changed to DMC.

bee sam

Little House Needleworks again!  Bee Sampler, stitched on buttermilk jobelan, which is a really pretty light yellow and sadly doesn’t show up well.  This was stitched with the called-for floss colors.  The beeswax is from a local bee farm in my town.  It is much softer than the beeswax I bought from an online needlework shop.  Maybe theirs had been sitting around for years?  I don’t know.  But this wax is soft and smooth and doesn’t flake apart.  If you are in the United States, I bought my beeswax here.  They also have an Etsy shop.

Last night I started the gazebo.  Since you all know I am dreading the big house on Nathan Hale, I put that one off for now.  I feel like I just received these two patterns and now the coffee shop is being released.

I do wish there was a LNS within a half hour from here.  Both are about an hour and a half away.  One marks up everything above retail, and the other is a traffic nightmare!  I ordered Nathan and the gazebo online and paid almost as much in shipping as I did for each pattern.  It works out that I paid about $8.50 for each $6 pattern!  I know shipping is expensive, but I also know that it costs $2.61 to ship that package!  I am considering having one of the more local shops hold several months’ worth of these for me, then making the ride out to get them.  Unfortunately that would leave me very behind in stitching them, and when I have done this in the past, I have never finished the series.  !!!  Hence, I still have 2 Little Sheep Virtues to do, and 4 from Shepherd’s Fold 2014.  That’s embarrassing to admit.  I can’t keep paying about $5 to ship them though — I’d rather have the money for something else.

If you have a good LNS, you are blessed!  If you don’t, have you found an online shop with reasonable shipping charges?  And do they actually have the products in stock?  I hate ordering online and then waiting for weeks or months — especially when it involves threads and I am in the middle of a project.  (That’s how Quaker Gone Tropic ended up as another UFO.  I waited weeks for the order that contained the silks I wanted.)

Bible school is this week and that is going to severely cut into my stitching time.  I usually stitch afternoons and evenings.  Maybe I won’t attend every night.   The Bible study topic for adults is one that doesn’t interest me in the least.  😦

Until next time… happy stitching!



Happy Summer!

Here is my progress so far on the Early Americans:


This one has become such a pain!  I ripped out most of the eggshell (Classic Colorworks) floss and replaced it with DMC B5200.  The eggshell didn’t show up on the lambswool at all.  Stitching houses was always one of my favorite things, but this Martha Washington house wasn’t fun at all for some reason.  I don’t have Nathan Hale yet, but it is another big house.  I *will* work on it when it finally comes in, otherwise the project will become a UFO.

Next up is the finished (and very wrinkly) baseball player.  I changed the floss to DMC 823.


Following these finishes, I worked on Faith of the Heart.  I had a lot more done and realized my counts were off.  A lot of it had to come out.  😦


I had to put in that partial grid just to figure out what was wrong.  Frustrating!

Once the picking apart was finished, I needed a break.  So I stitched up this Little Sheep Virtues, No. 6, Simplicity.


This one took less than a day to do.  Unlike the previous one, which took months.  ???

My only change was switching the sheep to Caron Impressions.  It made him fluffy and bumpy.

Yesterday’s start was Little House Needleworks’ Bee Sampler.  I didn’t get far, but it is a fun one.


The fabric is buttermilk jobelan.  It is such a pretty yellow!  The picture doesn’t reflect the actual color at all.

Stitching plans:  Finish the Bee Sampler and go back to Faith of the Heart, unless Nathan Hale and the Main Street Gazebo arrive first.  Start Little House Needleworks’ “Batter Up” during the baseball All Star break.  Beyond that… who knows?  It would be nice to finish up some UFOs, but I am committed to working on the Early Americans and Main Street.  So many of my UFOs are on 35 or 36 count (5 out of 10, plus one on 40 count) and I get bored with that easily.  Getting back to Quaker Gone Tropic would be nice as I haven’t worked with silk in a very long time.   Soon it will be time to think about Christmas ornaments too.  One day at a time, right?

One of the ladies at church has a bee farm, and I finally got to talk to her about that.  I asked if she sold beeswax for threads, and she does!  Her prices are very reasonable so I am going to order some.  Waxing threads for the higher count fabrics seems to work very well for me.  I will report back when I have tried them.

Enjoy your summer!  It is too hot to be outside here so it is a great time for stitching, unlike winter when everyone wants to be out.  That’s Florida!


At last, I finished John Hancock!  I spent more time ripping out stitches on this one.  Eventually, I changed the Eggshell to DMC B5200, which I also ripped out of the entire border.  I also did Martha Washington, changing her house to B5200 too.  She seemed to take forever to stitch, even though it was only 4 days.  I forgot to take a picture before I put it away, awaiting the next pattern in the series.

I also stitched the Bookstore from the Main Street series by Country Cottage Needleworks.


This one was fun.  I loved working with different colors.  It only took 2 days to stitch.  It is in the bureau awaiting the next pattern, which is a gazebo.  More white!!!

I started the baseball player from Handblessings.  I changed the color to blue since my youngest son likes the Tampa Bay Rays.  My hands are bothering me so no stitching today, and the pain shows in my lousy photography.


Ha ha, you can’t even tell what it will be!  It doesn’t look like much of anything yet!

The next photo is Faith of the Heart by With Thy Needle and Thread.  Slow going when I am committed to these other series and afraid of falling behind.  Fraying thread is still slowing it down, though it is much better coated with beeswax.


That’s not a whole lot of progress to report, but something is better than nothing!

I discovered that I bend my fingers backwards when I stitch.  Not really surprising, since I stand with my knees bent backwards (naturally) and I can put my shoulders behind me, turn my feet around backwards, twist up like a pretzel, etc.  Yoga?  Easy peasy.  But all this hypermobility is causing me pain.  Now that I am older, all these bendy joints are incredibly painful.  I am convinced that this is my problem.  My doctor says it is sero-negative rheumatoid arthritis and wants me to start a chemo drug.  We are at an impasse.  She agreed that I could see a geneticist but my insurance won’t cover it.  I asked to see an orthopedic specialist, and she got angry.  What has she got to lose by testing my threory?  She may be right, and I may have *both*, but in my heart I strongly doubt it.  Why does everything have to be a battle?  But I digress…

I’m too achy to stitch tonight, but obviously I am still thinking about it!  God bless your fingers and keep them healthy, and may you joyfully stitch the night away!

Two more finishes

I finally finished “Home of the Brave.”  It is sitting on my Americana shelf in the living room.  You might be able to see it in the photo below.  The pictures that I took of it didn’t come out well at all.  I am not thrilled with my finish but mostly I never am!

And I finished Liberty Manor!

lib man 3

A finish I actually like!

The pin is an old one that I had bought in a cross stitch store about 20 years ago.  I used to wear it on patriotic holidays.  I haven’t worn pins in years.  It will be joining the others on the plant shelf.

I started “Faith of the Heart” by With Thy Needle and Thread.  It is slow going.  I special ordered the Valdani floss since I couldn’t find a conversion chart.  I am not impressed.  The first skein had several slubs and a knot, and the thread just shredded.  I tried Thread Heaven and it wasn’t much better.  Beeswax seems to be the only thing that makes it acceptable to use.  Next time I would probably not order it but use whatever color I like.  Maybe I was just unlucky with it, which is certainly possible, but at this price I can’t afford to work with something I don’t like.

I also started another “America” by Little House.  This one is for the plant shelf.  I had to do some serious frogging and haven’t caught back up to where I was before.  😦

And I frogged the entire roof on John Hancock.  My skein of CC Muddy Puddle wasn’t even close to the one on the chart’s photo — it blended in with the Hickory Sticks too much and hardly had any grey in it at all — more of a black.  So I am going to re-do it with a new skein which is mostly grey, like the photo.

That’s a lot of reverse progress!  I guess it is more of a “regress” update.  😦

Until next time, may the frog stay far away from you!  (And me, too!)

May Update #5

I have a finish!

My new start was Liberty Manor by 4 My Boys.  I have had this pattern for a long time!  It was an enjoyable project.  I started it on the 13th, worked on it the 14th, 15th, and finished it yesterday.  It was not without problems, though.


The problems are dye-lot related.  Let me stated that I love truly overdyed threads.  The blue in the house is clearly 2 different dye lots.  I had three partial skeins of this floss, wound onto a bobbin.  I didn’t notice until I was through the outside layer.  I’m not too happy about the end result.

The second dye lot issue:  I had multiple skeins of the “green” in the grass.  This is one of those original colors from the 1990s, and was always shades of green.  Well, I ordered a skein online at some point and was sent a skein that is completely brown.  Useless for me at least.  So I used one thread from the brown skein and one from the green throughout.  The sample on the right is the correct color.

dye lot extreme

What can you do in a situation like this?  If you HAVE to order online, you are unable to control what dye lot is sent to you.  These threads aren’t cheap! If you complain about it anywhere online, you will get shot down by the Great Defenders of Overdyed Threads.  To them, I say:  I have been using overdyed thread for over 20 years.  And, I have DMC that is just as bad!  Go away now.

I have ordered a lot of overdyed floss this year, and some has the OLD company name on the label or an old-style tag.  Is it going to match the model?  Will I have to change it out?

One “overdyed” floss that I recently ordered (and used) was completely solid.  I could easily have used DMC 3371 instead.  It is exactly the same!

I wish I had a store nearby to see the thread in person.  I might have to make some occasional trips (1.5 hours) just for that reason.

Off my soapbox now…

On the 15th, I was supposed to have a new start.  I put 8 stitches into Faith of the Heart by With Thy Needle and Thread.  When scheduled stitching gets to the point that it becomes an obligation, it is time to quit.  I don’t like having all these started projects.  I have enjoyed stitching on all of them and to have to put them down felt like punishment.  So I am going to keep working on UFOs for a while until I have some finishes.

Plans for today:  Maybe finally finish John Hancock!

Until next time…  🙂  Happy stitching!


May Update #4

I worked on John Hancock on May 10th and for a little bit today.  I have had painful fingers lately and stitching on this project hurts.  It is 32 count lambswool linen, which everyone knows is NOT my favorite fabric.  It requires a bit of tugging to get the needle through the very uneven weave, and when my joints hurt, it is just too much.

John Should-have-finished-by-now Hancock

Yesterday I picked at Home of the Brave too.

home brave

This one isn’t moving along as quickly as I would have liked either. I’m not crazy about either the blue or the green floss for this particular project.  At this point I am too lazy to change it out.

Yesterday’s start was Samplers by the Scarlett House.


Not much progress here.  I am using 36 count linen that I dyed myself.  I love this pattern.  Samplers are my passion — not that you would know it by what I have been stitching lately.  I need to get back to it, particularly reproduction stitching.

We made our first trip out to the closest cross stitch store to our new home.  GPS said we would arrive in an hour.  But with the horrible traffic, it was an hour and a half.  My husband drove and we had our boys with us, since we planned on having lunch there.  The traffic was enough that I don’t know if I would ever go back, and bear in mind, this was a weekday in the middle of the day.

I was disappointed that the store didn’t carry any fabric higher than 32 count.  The charts seemed to be partially arranged by theme, and partially by designer.  I was never really sure what I was looking at.  They were mostly out of overdyed threads so I couldn’t get all the ones I need.  But I did like the store owners very much.  I am sure they are willing to do special orders.  I was just hoping to get some higher count fabrics and I am loathe to order any sight unseen, since I know I am not a fan of Wichelt and I actually didn’t like the 32 count from Picture This Plus either.  Gasp!  Yes, I said it.  Too tight a weave post-dyeing, means lots of tugging to get the needle through and lots of pain.  Strangely I don’t have this problem when I dye fabric myself.

I did pick up three charts.  Two by Plum Street Samplers, A Merry Hart and American Sampler.  One by With Thy Needle and Thread — Faith of the Heart.  I couldn’t get all the overdyed flosses for these never mind the Valdani thread (which I have never used.)  I can’t find a conversion chart for it either.  I’m not sure what I will do about that.

Stitching plans now are up in the air due to finger pain.  I should probably work on something on 28 count because of that.  Tomorrow is a “new start” day and having so many UFOs is starting to really bother me.  We’ll see if I stick to it until the end of the month!

Happy stitching!

May Update #3

May 8th was a work-on-whatever-I-feel-like day.  Since “In God We Trust” only had the red to fill in, I decided to do that.  And I finished it!

igwt finished

This was very quick and fun to stitch.  Thank you to Paula for the comment — I never considered that anyone would want to know WHY I stitched a certain project.  This is for you!

I have been homeschooling my children for 20+ years now.  There is a 20-year difference between the youngest and the oldest child!  With my youngest, I discovered Mennonite curriculum and decided to give it a try.  This is what led me to discover the Mennonite church.  (I had never heard of them before.)  It became painfully obvious that the math was way too slow for him so partway through 3rd grade we switched to A Beka, which is what I used with the older children.  I also found that I strongly disliked the science, so in fourth grade — back to A Beka for science and health.  This year we were sticking to that plan, when *I* became extremely frustrated with the Social Studies.  It was ruining my day having to teach it.  I didn’t like it, thought a lot of the questions were irrelevant, and found the text to be somewhat racist.  Every day I was angry about the text and kept wanting to switch back to — yes, A Beka.  Finally my husband said, “Just buy the A Beka!”  So we started US History in February.  Yikes!  I have to get through the book and of course we haven’t yet.  This has rekindled my passion for history — my very favorite subject through all my life!  I loved history so much in school, especially European history.  I actually wanted to be a history teacher and was talked out of it by *my* history teacher!  (She felt that there are too many history teachers and not enough jobs — you get the job, you stay in it until you retire.  So I would be waiting around for someone to retire.)  And that is why I have been stitching so many Americana pieces.

The fabric I used is linen that I hand-dyed myself.  I use actual dye almost all the time, though I did just coffee and tea stain some fabric that you will see on future projects.  I like the dye so much better, so I probably won’t be doing any coffee or tea staining in the near future.  To my surprise, I actually enjoy dyeing my own fabric.  This saves lots of money as I am pretty good at matching almost any color or getting one I like better anyway.

Once I finished this project, I brought out Country Cottage Needleworks’ Main Street Flower Shop.  And yes, I finished that too!

flower shop finished

I am stitching this series because I was attracted to the colors.  It doesn’t actually “go” in my house.  I keep questioning my sanity over choosing to invest the time and money in the project — but it *is* fun, so I guess that makes it worth it.

I went back to Home of the Brave that evening but made very little progress on it.

On the 9th, I was supposed to start something new, so I chose John Hancock from the Little House Needleworks series, Early Americans.  I got most of the bottom done and the entire border.  I was stitching the flower pot last evening when I noticed a wonky stitch.  I can get picky about things like that, so I decided to rip out two rows and fix the offending stitch.  Because of the arthritis in my hands, I drop the needle a lot, and when I went to retrieve it, I stuck it into my thumb.  FAR into my thumb.  It took a a strong pull to get it out.  It was bleeding and extremely sore.  Poor John was put away for the night and I didn’t do any further stitching.  Hopefully I will work on him some today.

I haven’t chosen anything for tomorrow’s start.  I know myself too well.  If I planned out the month like some people do, it would become a chore and I wouldn’t enjoy it, but would feel obligated.  And who wants to feel obligated to a fun hobby?

Anyway, that is the latest update!  Have a blessed day!