Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Saturday Sampler

Thank you so much for your comments on my last post about the 1923 Needlecraft magazines. I absolutely love reading old magazines/books and I'm so glad you enjoyed some of the ads and text as much as I did.

Our Saturday Morning Sampler Club started this past Saturday at my favourite quilt shop. I signed up thinking this was a 6 month club but its another 12 month one! Hopefully I can manage to get to more of the sessions this time around, I ended up missing so many last year (twice I was in the hospital!) that I gave up on it and still have a box full of pretty little fabrics and a few blocks and nothing else. I need to hunt online for some 4 1/2" blocks and 10 1/2" block patterns to try to finish this one.

I picked our 1/2 m cuts of 6 fabrics for this year's club and hard as it was, I managed to get some 'blues' in there this time. I realized everything I pick out is green/gold/red and I'm really trying to get away from having always picking out those colours.

And I worked hard on our Christmas SAL this past weekend, working on a Prairie Schooler Santa on 20 ct khaki lugana. I didn't get him anywhere near finished, as so many of the blogging ladies managed to finish theirs, I was disappointed. He's been tucked away until the last weekend in February for the next SAL.

Last night while watching Prison Break and 24 (love those shows!) I did get started on my next block for Houses of Hawk Run Hollow. This is actually the first block in the piece. Of course it stitched up wonderfully with the use of my wonderful magnifier. Why on earth didn't I start using this sooner?

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Needlecraft in 1923

On Saturday, hubby and I drove to Cambridge to visit an amazing antique market. It was huge, 30,000 square feet, and we spent hours there looking through all the amazing things there. Even more amazing, to me, was seeing household articles that I remember as a little girl, and thinking hmm, these are now antiques?!? What does that make me?

I did find 2 sewing boxes filled with some cool little goodies, one with a ton of wooden spools of thread, and the other with odds and ends that used to fill ladies' sewing boxes.

I indulged in these 2 issues of a issues of Needlecraft Magazine, one dated April 1923 and the other December 1923. Of course I had to buy them! The original price was 10 cents and today's price $5.00, still cheaper than any current magazines on the rack today.
Most of the patterns inside are for household items ~ surface embroidery for tablecloths, crocheted edgings for table runners, one article describes a dining-room set (cloth and napkins) with "Graceful Decoration in Cross-Stitch Embroidery". But there's no pattern and a very simplistic picture of the finished product, and in fine print how to send away for the items described as "white butcher cloth for 6 napkins, unstamped, with Penelope canvas, and working-chart of cross stitch design, 70 cents, floss to embroider 44 cents" . I'm guessing that was pretty pricey, since the magazine itself was only 10 cents originally.

The paper in these magazines is very fragile, not much thicker than newspaper quality, and most of the pictures are in black and white. I found the ads to be fantastic reading though, if I squint hard enough, I can read the really fine print in most of them.

Some dress patterns for the discerning ladies, only 12 cents each! The description of dress design in the bottom right hand corner even offers that it can be " made in an Hour" and is "cut for 16 years" (I don't get that part, it looks like a huge dress for a 16 year old to wear).

Imagine my surprise on finding this ad for DMC. No mention of price, though, I'm curious to wonder how much ladies had to pay for it then.

It seems people were worried about brighter, whiter smiles even in 1923. No one liked "dingy film-coats" and the ad describes in significant detail how this comes about (yuck - that's what is going on inside my mouth?) This ad is for Pepsodent....hmmm, toothpaste?

And in 1923, ladies were concerned with their weight. Somethings never change! Although its remarkable even today to think that it was possible to lose 53 lbs. in 9 weeks, that's almost 6 lbs. a week! And this was apparently achieved by "Mrs. Bayliss, a well known young matron of social elect" not by starving, but simply listening to "Wallace's records but ten minutes a day". This ad offers a free 10 day trial, there's no mention of cost in this ad, just to "let the scales decide", mail in the coupon, and your first week's record will be sent to you. I would love to hear this record, its too bad I'm 84 years too late to get my free copy.

And my favourite ad has to be on the last page, a gorgeous ad for Jello. They sure don't make ads like that any more!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Be Happy and more alphabets

I finished Shepherd's Bush Be Happy freebie really quickly. This was my first time working with 10 ct Heatherfield fabric and it seemed really odd to be making such huge stitches. But it was really a nice break from the 40 ct fabric that I'm using for the Carriage House Samplings Alphabet. The 3 buttons are from a Dress it Up package and I think they work well in this piece.

And I added 'C' and 'D' to the alphabet. I was struggling though with D last night and finally hubby pulled out a light magnifier for me to use. I tried this a year ago, the first time I tried 40 ct fabric and hated it. I found I could stitch much easier without it. But I'm now a year older and obviously my eyes are even that much older, so once I got myself in a comfy position and found the best way to manoeuvre the magnifier, I finished up D without any more trouble.

It looks like this magnifier is going to find a steady home next to my stitching chair ~ especially with the new Neighbourhood RR on high linen counts.

Carol (Garden of Stitches) has organized 2 groups for new neighbourhood RR's and done an amazing job with arranging 18 stitchers into groups. She is creating a new blog for us and I'll put in a link as soon as its started.

And this is the first weekend of the Christmas Ornament Stitch-Along. I think I'll work on a Prairie Schooler Santa that I have been wanting to do, I have my pattern and fabric waiting for me! Click on the link if you want to join us, or see what everyone is working on.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

6 Weird Things...

So I've been tagged it seems, by Carolyn (Carolyn's Corner) and Berta (Busy Hands, Happy Heart) .....

Each player of the game starts with "6 Weird Things about You"People who get tagged need to write in their blog 6 weird things, as well as state the rule clearly.In the end you have to choose 6 more people to be tagged and their names.

Six weird things that you didn't know about me...

1. I'm a news junkie. While I'm working (and surfing the net, reading blogs, online shopping) I have the TV on with the news, either CBC World News, the BBC or CNN. Then whenever I get a hold of a 'real' person, I love to talk their ear off about current events.

And I have also recently become hooked on The View. I love the opening when the 4 hosts talk current events and give their opinions on what is going on. I've been missing it recently, so I just started TIVO'ing it so I can watch it later in the day (and fast forward through all those commercials).

2. When I'm driving alone, I play music very LOUD! And sing along, as loud as I can, but as long as the music is loud enough, I can't really hear myself....because I couldn't carry a tune if my life depended on it.

3. I love watching hockey games (okay not so weird I guess since I'm Canadian), baseball games but can't stand to watch them on TV. Way too boring and the commentators drive me nuts, especially since I tend to stitch while watching TV.

4. My idea of a good meal is hitting the local Tim Horton's for a coffee and toasted Everything bagel with herb and garlic cream cheese....and lately cucumbers and tomatoes on top! And when I really want to live dangerously, I'll order some Tim-Bits! (donut holes? ...yummm very delicious)

5. As soon as I buy anything cross stitch related (or really even craft related)....I'm dying to buy something else (my daughter offered this one up). I can just never seem to have enough!

6. I have a strange new addiction to Ginger Altoids! I really have no idea why, they taste just terrible but I love them. And I'm dying to finish the candies, so I can use the tin to make something. But I just can't throw the candies away? In fact I have a hard time throwing anything away!?!

Whew, that was hard, I'm sure I have at least 600 weird things and I'll think of them later, but for now that's all I could come up with!

And I'll tag whoever reads this and wants to play along. Just let me know so I can visit your blog and learn a little more about you too!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Two more Prairie Schooler blocks!

I finished off 'A' last night and 'B' was actually done over several months last fall. I don't think I ever got around to putting a picture of it on here. It seemed to take forever! That means only 2 left.....Y and Z. And then I can start putting my quilt together!

I bought my fabric for the quilt last fall, its from a Moda fabric line called 'Bound to the Prairie' - very appropriate name I thought and the fabrics tie in perfectly with the PS blocks. I wanted to start putting a few of the blocks together but they need a good cleaning after my hours of pawing at them. I searched all my cupboards, and I couldn't find my treasured bottle of Orvus anywhere. I have a sneaky suspicion hubby didn't realize the value of this strange looking stuff and tossed it. Luckily Ann now carries it in her shop and was able to bring me a bottle at our last stitching get-together. So now my blocks will get a nice refreshing bath to clean them up.

Speaking of....Ann is soon on her merry way to the Nashville needlework show! She has so kindly offered to pick up any items we might (ahem) need and of course top of my list is the Ackworth Friendship Book by Ellen Chester of With My Needle. There may be a few other things that I need, its going to be difficult to keep this list short enough.

We have some very cold weather coming out way....time to get those socks knitted up!

Edited to add: Here is my Prairie Schooler album!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Some pictures to share

Nick and his pals went snowboarding Saturday afternoon/evening. He's on that hill somewhere, but I can't pick him out!

And here are a couple of pics that hubby took of the sunset on his drive home. Amazing colour - it looks more like a fire than the sun!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Neighbourhood RR

I put the last few stitches into Anita's RR last night and here is my offering. Its a Homespun Elegance design called Summer House Sampler. I accommodated it slightly and it fit in perfectly with the 70x50 block.

And after that I was in a baking mood, so I made up a batch of Everything But the Kitchen Sink cookies. These cookies have, well, a little bit of everything in them: chocolate chips, raisins, walnuts, coconut, oats, and so on. 6 dozen were made and I think there are still 3 dozen today. I have a hungry family!

Today is bright and sunny but cold and Nick has plans for snowboarding today, his second time this week. Luckily the ski hills are only a 20 minute drive away but I am hoping to get there with the camera to take some pictures of him. Its such a pretty area and the only place that is completely snow-covered. Although our backyard was looking nice until the dogs hit it this morning.

Oh and one more pic:

These are one we made at the guild meeting on Wednesday night - the first one is a scissor point fob ~ the blue thingy is what will go on the pointed ends of scissors and the lobster claw clips on the scissor handles. The smaller one is a needle threader fob. I think I'll look for a few larger, prettier beads to put on and redo the top one, especially since I messed up a little with the end. Cute things though and its nice to play around with beads too.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Scruffy Stu

Ever have one of those really lazy feeling days? Well it seems Stu is having them most days, although he does perk up considerably for a walk. Its far too icy out there right now for us to even consider that. So he has his messy winter coat and a very dirty face from ? last night's dinner?

No real stitching to report from here, although I have pulled out a quilt I was working on last year and I have gotten a few more blocks put together. I finished a round robin for the embroidery guild which I'll hand off tonight.

And I have a rant about Michael's. I went in this afternoon to pick up some floss, it was on sale 3 for $1 which is a really good price any more. And armed as I was with my 40% off coupon, I decided to indulge in a cool quilting book. This was a second one in a series, the first one I had taken out from the library last year some time. The price listed on the back was $26.95, so 40% off and I was laughing. Until that is, I got to the cashier. The book scanned in for $44.95!!! I kindly pointed out that the price listed was $26.95, which no other price showing anywhere and I was informed that was the US price, the Canadian price was $44.95! However what a bonus I was getting with getting $18 off with my coupon, the cashier pointed out. Outrageous!!! Why wasn't the price we pay listed? As the book is being sold in a Canadian store, I expect to see a Canadian price tag. And even with the exchange rate added on to $26.95,the book should have been around $32.00.

So stupid me, I bought the book anyways but when I got home, I thought no way am I going hand my money over to Michael's so easily. I checked online, and found the same copy at Amazon.ca for $19.60 so it looks like they will be getting my hard earned dollars instead. I've already taken the Michael's book back and ordered from Amazon. Jeesh. It looks like I'll be buying my floss from Michael's and that's about it in the future.

Time to get off my soapbox....and ready for dinner.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Be Warm

Although we had a quiet weekend, I really didn't get too much stitching done. My eyes were bothering me far too much with the dreaded dry eye syndrome. I remembered too late, after prying my eyes open on Saturday morning, that I haven't been running the humidifier in my bedroom and this hot heated air in the house has done me in. So in between the irritated scratchy feeling, I have bouts of my eyes watering as if I'm crying. Needless to see I look a little raccoon-ish right now, and gridding Christmas Elegance was out of the question.

I did get out on Saturday with Marg, to our favourite quilt shop in Uxbridge, called Quilter's Cupboard and we signed up for the Saturday Morning Sampler.

I finished up a small Shepherd's Bush piece, from the Be-Attitude series from last year. This is called Be Warm and seems very appropriate for this January weather - we are having freezing rain today. I used some buttons called Dress It Up and they match very nicely. I think I'll try to finish this into a small pillow, hopefully I can find some fabric in my stash. And, with my thanks to Heather (Quilt or Stitch), I have the SB freebie Be Happy which she so kindly sent to me.

Friday, January 12, 2007

UFO time

I guess Marj talking about digging out her poor Fairy Idyll out of the depths of UFO'edness, made me remember I had a Mirabilia of my own hidden away somewhere. Yes way up out of sight, on top of my china cabinet. Christmas Elegance actually ended up somewhere high because she is on scroll rods (my first ever piece on scroll rods) since I wanted to save myself from beading despair at the end of stitching and doing the beading along the way. Which is actually why this poor thing became a UFO, I ran out of beads! What a poor miserable excuse really. One of the cheapest things to buy and I just never got around to buying any more?

So here she is, I'm determined this time not to let her languish any more with the dust bunnies on the china cabinet. I still don't have this beads I need, but I also remembered that I need to do a little gridding in the background for all the snowflakes (more beads) that need to be placed, and I found it next to impossible to count fabric threads on this dark fabric.

Can I encourage anyone else to bring out a poor UFO to join mine?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Chatelaine Mystery X

Here it is - Part I is finished. Its hard to tell in the picture but its very, very shimmery with the gold and silver Petite Treasure Braid. There are a lot of 'holes' but this is where the Swarovski crystals and beads will be added.....when its finished. As you can also see from the pic, I work with a very tight fitting hoop and there is no way I am going to risk crushing one of these beauties with it.

Now I can't wait until February 1st and Part II!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Enabling Alert!

Why do I click on these 'Coming Soon' links on needlework shops online? Work is boring, its time for a break, and time for a little browsing, and I feel my New Year's resolution starting to slip. What is it - January 9th - that means 9 days....well I guess that's not too bad.

I have to share this picture of one of the new releases coming from With My Needle, and the description copied over from their website:

The Ackworth Friendship Book is an accordion-style book of Quaker motifs
from Ackworth School in northern England. There are 10 stitched pages. Each set
of pages forms a pocket in which you can store special treasures.

On my model, I stitched the front and back book covers, and eight of my
friends each stitched a page and "signed" her page with her initials. You can do
the same or else stitch the entire book yourself.
Doesn't that sound like the most amazing project that could be done Round-Robin style? I wonder what kind of interest I could round up for this?

Pictures, pictures...

On Sunday I hosted my stitching get-together for our group and I don't need to say how much fun we all had. Of course as you can see from the pictures, there was a little more than stitching going on, Linda was needlepointing, Nancy and Marg were knitting, Marsha was eagerly catching up with her RR to pass along, and Ann and Anita were enticing us all with their amazing over-one stitching prowess. And I did a little stitching on my PS alphabet block and had a knitting lesson from Nancy on 'turning a heel'. Marg showed off her quilt for which she took first place in the Uxbridge Fair and her Christmas sampler which she worked on for the past year. Darn, I didn't get pictures of those beauties. Plus she got a priceless lesson in using her new 5-piece set of Brittney needles. Oh, and we did a lot of eating, too!

My sock is looking more like a sock these days:

Friday, January 05, 2007

My 100th post!

Pretty cool how Blogger keeps track of these things, I almost didn't believe this is my 100th post! Blogging is so much fun and I love how encouraged I feel to take progress pics of my various works-in-progress, which I never used to do. It is my goal this year to try to get more interesting pictures for my blog. There are just so many creative people out there, its constantly amazing to me when I see the incredible pictures people take and read about the fantastic things they are working on.

So far so good with my New Year's resolutions, although the first week of January isn't up yet! And (gulp) there are so many sales at the OLNS's going on out there.

Over the Christmas break I did manage to put a few stitches in to my woefully ignored Houses of Hawk Run Hollow and as I promised myself, here is an update:

I finally got the third block done (actually the house on the upper left in the pic) and I really enjoyed stitching on this piece again. I hate to say when I first started this.....poor thing really was shuffled down to the bottom of the WIP pile. I know a lot of people are already working on Village of Hawk Run Hollow which is on my wish list, but I don't dare get it yet. And I had heard rumours about a Folke of Hawk Run Hollow being released. I just can't get these masterpieces stitched quickly enough!

Tomorrow will be a tidying up day to get ready for my stitching get-together on Sunday. Everyone is meeting here at 12:00 pm for our potluck lunch and then an afternoon of stitching with my great stitching friends! Isn't that something great to look forwards to? I promise some pictures.....

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Chatelaine Mystery X arrived!

It came...it came! So its a day late, its here and I finally got see all the pretty silkies. Just a very small package but you know what they say about good things and small packages. European Cross Stitch really outdoes themself with packing these kits together - everything in floss-away baggies, and even a pack of piecemaker needles thrown in. I had fun looking all the silkies over, sorting through and putting them away in my new project tote which I had been saving for this. And luckily too I think the fabric I had stashed away will be perfect for this.

So I was well armed with all my print-outs from the Chatelaine group, instructions, colour keys, Section I print-outs including the enlargements that I finally figured out how to do, settled into my big easy chair with my OTT lite, and suddenly I was lost. The design starts off in the very centre, which was labelled "C" and I had no idea what "C" was supposed to be? So back to the drawing board ( or computer in this case ) and I was about to ask the Yahoo group, when I saw that 2 members have already posted pics of their completed sections! Whoa, talk about turbo charged needles! But it saved me asking a silly question, as the C section was left unstitched as were all the little 'b' sections.

So I was merrily back on my way again....and 2 hours later, not a lot to look at, but it was so much fun. I really hated to pack it away for the night, but it had been a long day, my first back at work.

Did I mention how much I enjoyed stitching with these silks??? Ahhhh......

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!

Yawn......is it really 11:00 am already? Time for a nap soon?

Yes we had a very late night with friends....but I am at the computer with my eyes only half open, very eager as I was to download the first part of Chatelaine's Mystery X.

But I can't start it yet as my kit hasn't arrived. All my mailman stalking did me no good as my poor little kit never arrived in time for me to fondle and play with the silkies until the big day today. But I now have downloaded Part I, figured out somehow how to enlarge through Adobe, and have all the sections neatly tucked away.....waiting. And I'm drumming my fingers on the desk as I am itching to make a start on something. Its an annual tradition for me!

Our Blackbird SAL is ready and waiting but the start time has been staggered as so many of us were already anticipating other starts for January 1st. So I think we have all agreed to have Part I finished by January 31st. And meanwhile I'm in such a quandry as to what to pull out to work on. Although I know these tired eyes can't cope with too much today. Its such a bright day, I may just have to get outside and see if I can get a rousing long walk in with the doggies instead.

The house is quiet as we went down from 7 to only 3 yesterday. Kelly and Chris left at noon for New York to spent New Year's with his mother. I did manage to get in my New Year's pictures of all of us and here is my favourite one of my 3 babies: