Monday, December 19, 2011

Impatiently waiting, and waiting, and waiting....

     After begging Jill Rensel for months, she has agreed to frame And They Sinned.  Because I stitched it on 35 ct linen it only ended up being 48 inches long.  Now comes the hard part.  Earlier, she had sent me a picture of three frames she thought would be appropriate for the design.  Pictured below. 
     I really couldn't make up my mind on which one so I left it up to the ladies in my favorite Facebook group, The Superstar Serial Starters and Divine Disciplined Divas Club.  They couldn't make up my mind either!

     Do you remember the horrific Santa Anna winds out west this fall?  There were semi trucks flipped over, houses damaged, trees everywhere.  My ATS was in route via snail mail when all this was happening.  Yikes!  Talk about anxiety!  It could have easily blown away and never been seen again.  I've had several dreams about it and they never end well.

     Jill emailed me and told me it arrived safely and also included the following photos.  It is her choice of mattes (which I love) and two different frames. 
     This feels like a Goldilocks moment for me.  The top frame is too dark, the bottom frame could be a bit darker.  Maybe Jill will find something  just right.  There will be some carving and hopefully a small bit of painting on the mattes as well.  Many people advised me that 1.  This piece is too large to matte.  2. Traditionally, samplers aren't matted.  3.  The vine border serves the purpose of any embellishment it might need.  The opinions of others are appreciated but in the end this will be hanging in my home and I have envisioned Jill's artistic touch on this since I first picked it up.  There is a perfect spot in my home to hang it as well.

     Did someone say, "New Start"?  I seem to have gone into a frenzy with what to stitch next.  The girls in the above named group aren't helping any bit.  They keep chanting, "Whatcha gonna start, Dawn?  Whatcha gonna start?"  Never mind the dozen WIPs I already have.  I sunk my needle into A Mystery Sampler, Village of Hawk Run Hollow, stitched a cute sampler for my bestie stitching buddy, stitched and ruined a cute sampler for my bestie stitching buddy, (note* Blow torches and linen DO NOT MIX), have Ann Grant still on my mind, and am ignoring Red Snowman. 

     Thanks for stopping by my blog and have a wonderful, careful, cozy Christmas and a safe and prosperous New Year.  Cheers, Dawn

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Happiest girl in the whole USA!

     And They Sinned is finished!!  Yippee!  Hip Hip Hooray!!  Celebration!  This was finished on Sunday night but I have been basking in glory and not wanting to do any work or blogging.  Just some stats before the pictures.  You gotta take the bad with the good.  Hee hee.  Total time to stitch it was nine months, three days or 390 hours.  Not bad as I had read somewhere it took someone 500 hours to stitch.  I kept track of my time by tally marks in one of those little mole skin books.  You sure can tell when I got my Ott Lite as my time went from 10-15 hours a week to 15-22 hours a week.  What a difference a nice light can make.  The bottom green section took me more than two months to stitch.  It is 9 1/2 inches wide by just under 48 inches long, stitched on 35 ct linen with one strand of Gentle Arts Sampler Threads.  Okay, enough of the blah blah blah and on to the good stuff.
     I love the big cloud at the top with the sun shining down on Adam and Eve. 

     The verse is my favorite part of the sampler.  I redesigned it by adding colors to it, centering it, and adding the butterflies.  The lion and the lamb are so cute!  I also changed the girls hair color to resemble my own. 

     Thank you to Claudia for asking me if I was going to stitch all 10 rows of grass under the lion.  Heck NO!!  Moving on to bigger pastures.  Literally.

     If I were to stitch this again I would have left out the darker green color of the pasture.  The lighter green would have made it easier to see the motifs. 

      Thank you so much for everyone's support during the making of this project.  From the very beginning I had everyone cheering for me.  Patricia Franklin helped me find the perfect linen via The Internet.  Claudia talked some sense into me several times and Lori Fournier was my rock.  Poor Lori heard me wailing and whining for the last two months about my grass.  If I forgot to mention anyone I'll just say that I've been up for 20 hours and am having a Rick Perry moment!  Till next time ladies, happy stitching and happy blogging.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Penultimate Post

     This will be the last post with progress pictures of And They Sinned.  The next post will show a completed piece.  Did I just write that?  A finished piece?  Yes, I am patting myself on the back.  I have never stitched anything this large and certainly have never started a piece and finished it without starting another project, and then another, and then another!  Ha ha.  Actually I did start two other pieces but only worked on each one for a day, just to stroke some silk. 

     There is a fruit tree that needs to be stitched in the corner and a few flower motifs.  I'm going to be optimistic and even stitch the date 11-11 before I fill in everything with grass.  The excitement is overwhelming me.  As I'm stitching grass though my mind is always wandering to other projects.  It feels like not thinking of your partner while being intimate.  It feels like cheating...but it's so fun!  Till next time, happy stitching ladies.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

You might bubble but I'm gonna eat you!

     Stitching all this grass is making me an angry woman!  Some of you may know that I am married to a Greek God.  He came to the United States when he was 20 years old so he has the sexy accent and everything.  He tells me stories of his hometown periodically and some are true, some are just wives tales.  This one is true.

     There was an old man who went to the market to buy some feta cheese.  Back in the day cheese was kept wrapped in paper.  He bought a block of the best feta he could afford and went home to have his dinner and enjoy his fabulous cheese.  Alas!  When he took a bite of it and began chewing it started to bubble in his mouth.  The person who sold him the cheese at the market accidentally gave him soap!  The old man grew angry because soap was cheap and he had spend a lot of money on this cheesy soap.  Hence, he said to himself, "You might bubble but I'm still gonna eat you!" 

     I love that story and refer to it often when I make a mistake but have to live with it and forge on, much like this grass.  One day it will be over but I read about one woman who stitched all the green in one color horizontally, which would be much quicker than this diagonal stitching is.  Then there is another woman who didn't stitch the green at all and it looks wonderful.  Also my friend Lori stitched hers with one color of green in 1/2 stitches and it looks great as well. 

     Well I'll get off my soapbox (hee hee) and actually post a pic of my progress.  Not too much more to go now!  Till next time ladies, enjoy your blogging and your stitching.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

What have you been doing for 18 days? Grass.

     It seems like I'm never going to get this project done.  Here's the latest on And They Sinned.  Thank you Evan for helping me out, oh and Nikko too.
     Judging by my stitch speed (which is snail-like) and how much is left, I think I have about one more month to go.  The boy and the tree were fun to stitch and the pond was as well.  Here's a close up of the bottom.

     My dear friend Lori changed the colors of her geese and I liked it so much I decided to do the same.  The big swan is stitched with Pebble and I dug into my stash to find a peachy/pink color for the little guy on the left.  He's stitched with Apricot Blush although he looks more white in the picture.  The plan is to move up and stitch more motifs and then stitch grass, grass, and more grass. 
     My left hand is getting tingly while stitching this.  It's really getting heavy.  I'm not going to know how to act when I actually get to stitch something normal.  Thank you, my dear followers for your encouraging words and support you've given me during this project.  Until next time, happy stitching ladies!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I haven't done this much grass since.....

     Apparently 12 days is the magic number because the right side of the grass took another 12 days.  I have three more sections the same size to do so 24 x 3 = 72.  This sampler will be done in 72 days which is December 1st.  That is my goal. 

     My aunt passed away this past week and it was sad news because she was only 56 years old.  She had a hard, undeserving life, losing her husband to brain cancer when he was in his early 40's, leaving her to raise their son alone.  She then developed crippling rheumatoid arthritis and a couple years ago she had to be placed in a nursing home because of it.  Through all of this she remained bubbly and optimistic.  She will be missed.  My dad and step-mom came for the funeral all the way from Texas so it was nice to see them, the silver lining of a dark cloud.  No stitching was done while they were here so I have some catching up to do.

     My family thinks I am crazy when I say, "I'm going to go do some grass."  My husband said, "So am I" and got the lawn mower out.  He thought I was going to help him but when I disappeared into the house he just chuckled.  Till next time happy stitching!


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Watching grass grow....

     This took 12 days to stitch.  There's sooo much grass!  A part of me regrets stitching the grass as I've seen others who haven't and their samplers are beautiful.  I just felt like after my conversation with Vilma, I had to stitch it as she intended it.  She told me on the phone that the grass is supposed to be a pasture.  Anyway, enough babbling, here she is.
     The right side should take a week more to stitch.  This would be 40 rows stitched and there are 160 total which means the finish line is 10 weeks away.  No, I'm not excited at all!  Ha ha.  Maybe I will kick it into high gear and get her done in six.  The grass stitching is mindless and I don't really have to pay attention too much to what I am doing.

     The list is long for what will be started after this is finished.  Ann Grant is at the top, for sure.  My dear Facebook friend Adana gifted me the Frances Eden sampler which I have been hunting for for nearly a year so that is going to be started as long as I can figure out a silk conversion.  WIPs are calling my name too.  There is Red Snowman, Quaker Diamonds, and another sampler that I don't recall the name of that isn't as fun to stitch as I thought it would be. 

     Check back in a few weeks my fabulous followers and until then, happy stitching.

Friday, September 2, 2011

This feels like a finish...but it's not!

I've been busy stitching what appears to be The Garden of Eden.  Here it is.
I changed the color of the lion to a lighter shade so his mane would stand out more.  There are supposed to be 10 rows of grass under him but I think five is enough.  (Thank you Claudia for the idea.)  Here is the whole sampler so far, pardon the wrinkles.  Gosh, I hope they iron out later!
The big green bottom is next and will take me at least two months to do.  I fell off the wagon last weekend and badly wanted to stitch something else so I kitted up Mother's Honor Due by Blackbird Designs.  I'm not stitching the verse, just the floral.  Here she is.

After stitching on it for two days I missed ATS and picked it back up again.  Sometimes we just need to see different colors and feel different fibers.  My silk petting is over and I am happy.  It sort of felt like I was cheating on Adam and Eve and I felt very sinful.  It was fun!  Till next time, happy stitching ladies!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Ann Skey's final resting place

     Does anyone remember my Ann Skey antique sampler eBay find?  Here's a before and after.
She was grossly framed and had strands of her fibers collecting at the sides of her.  Here she is properly framed and ready to hang.

This turned out so beautiful.  No, her final resting place isn't going to be on my couch though.  It's difficult to take pictures of framed pieces because no matter where or how I take the picture I get glare.  Here is a close up of the frame and some closer pictures of the sampler.
Of course no sampler is complete without Adam and Eve, and Ann must have felt the same way. 
     It took nine weeks for me to get this back from the framers.  When they opened her up they found what they thought was small specks of mold on the back of her.  So they sent her to Chicago to have a professional curator look at it.  It just ended up being specks of dust.  You'd be dusty too if you were almost 200 years old!  He wanted to clean it for $250 but I decided to pass on that.  I was told to get this baby insured because she is worth about 15 times what I paid for her.  That's a pretty good investment. 
     There is a perfect spot in my family room above the couch for her but right now I have two large pictures of my boys there.  I hope they don't mind getting "bumped." 
     And They Sinned is coming along and I am almost finished with the motifs above the green pasture.  My next post should have photos of that.  Thanks for taking the time to read my blog and also for leaving me comments.  I love reading them.  Till next time, happy stitching!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


     In an effort to get my hands on as much silk as possible, I have been bargain hunting.  Here's my haul from JJ's Collectibles 20% off sale.
     My intention is to get a whole set of Belle Soie but I goofed and bought Gloriana.  Isn't that a shame that now I have to collect both? 
     Below is my haul from The Attic who was having a sale on limited edition silk sets.  It was a buy more save more sale and I saved $80 on all of these.  My husband just hates it when I save money.  Hee hee.  These are all Silk n' Colors from The Thread Gatherer.

Some of these appear to be duplicate but that's OK.  I see a Halloween project in my future with all these purple and oranges.
     For my birthday I received a $50 eBay gift card from my employees and have my eye on some more Belle Soie, as soon as I figure out how to use that darn card, that is.  Until next time, happy stitching :)

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Long Awaited Verse

     Those of you who have been following my blog and stitching adventures know that I was stressed over what to do with the verse on And They Sinned.  Here is the original version.  The photo isn't very good but you can see that the words are scrunched together, the flowers are too close to the words, and it just seems sloppy.  Remember, this was charted to make it look like a little girl stitched it.  Apologies to whoever I copied this from off the Internet.  It took me a while to find a picture with this stitched because when I Googled images of "And They Sinned", a lot of them were mine.  That's funny.
     And here is my version.
     I really had a good time stitching this part.  The words were stitched first and I used Peacock to stitch "Paradise."  After all, paradise is blue skies and blue ocean, at least to me.  The dots were stitched with Gold Leaf, and "AND THEY SINNED" was stitched with that wonderful coral color (Copper) from the rows of flowers above.  I really wanted "AND THEY SINNED" to stand out and originally thought to use a bright red color but it too closely resembled the brown in the rest of the letters. The "m" in "them" was placed next to the e and that meant that the top flowers wouldn't fit so I stitched butterflies in place of them.  I also moved the bottom flower motifs closer to the vine by 2 stitches on each side so that it wouldn't run into the "e" in "offered." 
     As you can see in the original picture, there is fun ahead!  Oh boy, I hope to be able to stitch at least one motif a day.  Oh ya, another milestone.  That damn vine border is done!  Happy dance number two.  Until next time, happy stitching ladies.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Bewildered and bemused

     When my quilting mentor tried to teach me how to quilt last year she emphasized how important a 1/4 seam allowance was but she didn't tell me why.  So my first quilting project was called Beacon Hill and had lots of triangles in it and a pieced border.  It was difficult but if I kept to that 1/4 inch seam allowance I believed I could not fail.  SOMEWHERE along the way (probably way in the beginning), my 1/4 inch became a scant 1/4 inch and when I was finished the quilt blocks were nearly a half an inch off.  I carried my quilt top to the quilt shop with my head hanging low and showed it to Jeannette.  She then told me that being off by just a tad bit would multiply throughout the quilt.  She quilted it for me anyway, taking apart the border and fixing it so that it looked reasonably presentable.  Well whose gonna help me now that I have made a mess of ATS?
     Yes, you read it right.  Somehow I am two stitches off in my sampler.  Here is the proof in the pudding.
On the right side of the tree there are only supposed to be five up and down rows of the fence and there are six.  Taking it out is not even a question.  The mistake could have been made weeks ago.  I have studied my stitching and the chart and I cannot find it for the life of me.  EVERYTHING else lines up.  Even the vine border on both sides so there fore I am bewildered and bemused.  It's not a devastating mistake but it's going to bug me to no end.  Also, my Facebook friend Lori told me now I won't be able to win any contests with it.  AND I am afraid of where to go from here.  If I start the next row in the middle, will it be off too and go berserk like my quilt?  Oh what to do!  Here's the progress for the week.
The verse is coming next which reads, " And God made two in His image and placed them in the Paradise of Eden.  Evil tempted Eve with the apple ... She then offered it to Adam ........ AND THEY SINNED.."
I'm about 90 % certain that I will stitch the words without the whimsicalness of the letters being all over the place.  I'm going to stitch the verse first and then place various motif around it as I see fit. Unless I screw that up too!  Until next time, happy stitching ladies! 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The little stitcher who could

     I have been stitching my fingers to the bone this past week, trying to catch up on lost stitching time due to vacation.  Here is an update of ATS.  My last post had ended with the star motifs.

     Here is a picture of the whole sampler.

     Two feet or so of fabric remains and I have some decisions to make.

     Underneath these goofy looking guys holding the grapes is a row of large motifs, then the verse which is charted unevenly.  Some of the letters are crowded and some are underneath others.  Should I straighten the verse out?  One of my Facebook friends did and it looks nice but having that school girl charm to my sampler would be cute as well.  Also, if I move the words, other things have to move as well.  It reminds me of when my husband and I built our house.  We wanted a step down living room but the builder told us it would make the basement ceiling lower.  A beam would have to be moved and then a wall downstairs, etc..etc.  Really?  All that headache just to lower a floor eight inches?  Forget it, just leave the floor alone.  So I may just leave the verse alone as well.

     I have three more followers!  Yippee!  I enjoy checking out your blogs as well.  One of my favorite bloggers just finished Frances Eden 1809 by Handwork Samplers.  I have been looking for this sampler for several months but it must be out of print.  If any of my dear followers has this chart and would like to part with it, I will give it a happy home.  You can email me at  Otherwise if you know of a shop that has it, please post a comment and let me know.  The end of And They Sinned will eventually come and Frances is on my short list to stitch.  Happy stitching ladies!!

Saturday, July 16, 2011


     Hi ladies!  This is going to be a lengthy blog so if you are here for the pictures, they are first and then a bit about my trip below it. Some of you know that I went to Las Vegas and visited Stitcher's Paradise.  The name says it all and here are my finds.

     From left to right, top to bottom are Crystal Mercedes linen (with sparkles and all), Rainbow Dreams, Phoenix by Picture This Plus, Crystal Glory (sparkles too), Antique Yellow, and Carnival by Picture This Plus.  They are all 32 count and 1/4 yards.

     The linen pictured with the floss is Highland by Picture This Plus.  The threads are Sampler Threads for Permit Me Not to Stray.  I might use the blue linen for this piece.  It sort of looks like the sky.  Also pictured are a few more Belle Soie silks to add to my collection.  I am hoping to eventually have enough to only use those to stitch with.  They are so yummy.

     Here is part of the shop.  On the left is the end of the fiber wall.  Just look at all those models!

     This is part of the linen room.  Yowzers!  All the way to the right is 32 count linen in every color imaginable.  I had the owner take off the whole stack in the overdyeds and I thumbed through them, pulling out each one I wanted. 
     The shop is small so they take the older charts and place them in magazine holders by designer and then display them in alphabetical order. 
     So ladies, that's all the pictures I have.  Thank you for looking and if anyone gets a chance to go to this shop, GO FOR IT! 

     Top 10 things I learned while being in Vegas.

10  You can't carry a souvenir snow globe on a plane.  (Poor Evan)

 9  Quit while you are ahead.

 8  If you think your shoes are comfortable, you are wrong. 

 7  Cab drivers are crazy.

 6  The days of cheap buffets are over.  A plate of spaghetti will cost you $35 dollars.  Don't even think about ordering the steak.

 5  Get a map of the hotel/casino and study it.

 4  Don't wait until the 3rd day to get a player's card.  You will be out of money anyway.

 3  Don't go in July.  It's fricken HOT out there.

 2  Go to as many shows as you can afford.

 And the number one thing I learned in Vegas is...Never get a hotel room for four people with only one toilet.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

I need a quickie!

     Why is it that I am on vacation and have less time to stitch than if I weren't?  Oh ya, because my husband keeps planning things without my knowledge.  He doesn't understand that I want to stitch.  I don't want to shop for bushes, go out for lunch, or clean the restaurant.  I also don't want to be sent a third party text message saying we are having company in an hour.  He just loves to do that to me.

      Here is the disappointing update for the week on And They Sinned.  I finished the last of the alphabet on the right side, the coral flowers, some of the vine border and a few motifs.  On a positive note, I am nearly done with the second page.  It might only be a couple weeks.  Well, actually three because I'm leaving on a jet plane early next week and this is too big to take on my trip.  Therefore....that's why I need a quickie.

      Get your head out of the gutter, I'm not talking about that kind of quickie.  A very small project is in order for the three hour plane trip so Shepherd's Bush's Happy Day is coming with me to Vegas.  Certainly I can get this finished on the plane as long as the turbulence is minimal.  Once I am there a trip to Stitcher's Paradise is planned.  They don't have a website in which to order supplies but I hear the shop is heavenly. 

      I will have to miss next week's blog but will update soon on my awesome shopping trip.  How about I post pics of all my goodies?  Sounds like a plan.  Happy stitching ladies!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

A new view

Hi, my name is Dawn and I'm a stitchaholic.  I am addicted to stitching and I have to do it everyday or I get withdrawals.  I am also addicted to FaceBook, my iPhone, TruTV, and the Casey Anthony murder trial.  It is unfortunate that some of the memories I will have of stitching this piece will be poisoned (no pun intended) by the trial of this evil woman.  Here is the progress this week.
Most of the alphabets are done and fun stuff is ahead.  Here is another view.

Apologies for keeping this so short but the trial is coming back on.  Casey would be torn to shreds by the prosecutor if she took the stand so if she is smart she will just sit her butt in that chair and roll the dice with the jury.  Closing arguments are going to be riveting.  Till next Thursday, happy stitching ladies.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Now I DON'T know my ABC's!

This is the progress made in the last week on And They Sinned.  I stitched the right side of the grass under Adam and Eve, everything to the right of the fruit basket, the right half of the coral flower border, and more ABC's.  The alphabet is moving along quickly, even though each of the upper case letters have to be stitched individually so the thread will not show on the back between the letters.  The letters N and M are in reverse order, the J is missing, and the V and U are in reverse order as well.  Theo, my 16-year-old, was watching me stitch yesterday and said, "Mom, do you know that you got the alphabet wrong on that?"  Thank goodness he's not 6 and getting confused.

Most sampler stitchers know that alphabets change with the period of the piece and the style.  For example, the letters Q, X, Y, and Z are missing from some Dutch alphabets.  The Greek alphabet has no Y.  They use the G and pronounce it guttural.  There is no K in the Spanish dictionary.  I really don't think this sampler has a period to it.  I mean it seems pretty modern to me but one of my Facebook friends told me this sampler was meant to look like it was stitched by a young girl.  That is why the spacing is off on some of the letters and the flowers in the hill are not perfectly symmetrical. 

This will be the last week I will be able to take a picture of the whole sampler, unless I have someone hold it up.  It's growing quickly.  In about four inches I will be half way finished.  Total stitching time is 142 hours in 14 weeks.   Only one hundred and fifty more hours to go!!  Till next Thursday, happy, happy, stitching ladies. 

Thursday, June 16, 2011


I haven't been this excited to do my ABC's since kindergarten.  This coral colored flower band is so cute too.  There was minimal frogging this week but I did miss stitching for a couple days due to my son's 16th birthday party.  These past 16 years have gone by so fast.  Cherish your children everyday.  Talk to them.  Be involved because one day you will wake up and they will be grown.  Till next Thursday, happy stitching.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Let her rip!!

     There was no blog last week because there was no stitching.  Yes, it made me sad but seeing my mom and the rest of the family was necessary.  My grandmother never ages and my mom is shrinking.  She was at least two inches shorter than the last time I saw her.  When I got home, a trip to the pharmacy for calcium was on my short list as well as joining a health club with the boys.  Visiting with my mom was like seeing an age progression in live mode.  It woke me up.

     I did take my stitching with me and the hotel room had nice light but there were just too many people to see and too many places to go.  If anyone is ever in the Effingham, Illinois area, you must check out Firefly Grill.  It was ranked #2 in the country by Bon Appetit magazine for being eco friendly.  They grow their own produce, raise their own catfish, and buy only organic, localaly raised food.  The steaks are cooked over an oak fire (the oak trees grown locally as well), the tables were built by the Amish in Arcola, IL, and the martinis are shaken by the best bartender I have found.  Beware, take your credit card.  Just as organic foods are more expensive in the store, they are more expensive in the restaurant.  It was worth it though and when my server brought my leftovers to the table in a biodegradable box, I was able to write it off as a tax deduction under the column--field study.  These boxes would be very cool at my own restaurant. 

     Here is the latest on And They Sinned.  There was some frogging involved in the vine on the left and the basket in the middle.  I really thought that vine repeated all the way down and as I looked at it I was getting mad.  Why would Vilma make so many mistakes on her chart?  Just look at all the leaves she missed.  Silly me, I was the one screwing up.  Then I was one stitch off on the right side of the basket but didn't realize it until I started stitching the fruit and it didn't work out.  As always, I thought about leaving it but decided it would drive me crazy.  Some mistakes just have to be fixed.  By the way, the peacock is very proud to be under that awesome angel.  Her dress came out beautiful.  Till next week, happy stitching!!