Nov 29, 2009


My mom can't come to the blog right now. The trauma of the last four days has been a little much for the old lady to bear, so I've sent her to bed with promises of a brighter tomorrow and a little tiny sedative (just to be on the safe side). I will call the travel agent tomorrow to book flights to Turks and Caicos (where they apparently do not celebrate this wacky holiday).

It all started innocently enough....Aunt Chrissy and Bosco arrived on Thursday morning bright and early for the annual parade-watching festivities. Apparently, my mo-ther and Aunt Chrissy actually saw the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade live and in person one year, so they have a very soft spot in their wicked little spinster hearts for this event. There was lots of coffee and bagels to be had, and when Santa Claus reached 34th Street, they headed into the kitchen to begin the BIG MEAL preparations. This gave Bosco and I an opportunity to watch the Purina Dog Show in peace. (May I just state right now and without equivocation that the Parsons/Jack Russell Terrier got TOTALLY ripped off and didn't even place in the terrier group. Stupid judges.)

From what I gather, the BIG MEAL preparations went awry this year because my mo-ther did NOT do a proper meeze in plass. She's not a bad cook, really, and I credit her for being really prepared and quite organized most of the time. This year...not so much.

The turkeys went into the roaster thingie and then Mom and Aunt Chrissy decided to high-tail it upstairs to the studio! The studio! Even I, a simple pup, knows what happens when the two of them go up there! Days are lost! Stashes are pawed! Projects are planned! Lists are written! Why, I've been know to have to fend for myself because Mo-ther was engrossed in this or that up in her "special place" and days passed before she came back out into the light of day.

(Knowing that the BIG MEAL was doomed, I decided to eat early and then hit my perch for a nap.)

I heard Mom tell Aunt Chrissy that they were going to "sit down at about three" to eat. Well, "three" came and went and by the time their heineys actually hit chairs it was after six thirty! I know this for a fact because "King of Queens" was on, and we ALWAYS watch "King of Queens" at dinner time.

From what I can tell, there was a lot of chopping and grunting and sweating and cursing flying about the kitchen, but somehow the food all turned out pretty well and Mom and Aunt Chrissy feasted until they had to loosen the strings on their sweat pants. (May I just point out that I was properly attired in a lovely silk dinner jacket and fresh cravat, and the two of them couldn't be bothered to try a little makeup for a change?!) So much much for an elegant holiday tableau.

Friday is a complete blur because mo-ther did nothing but sit in the Happy Chair looking at stitching all day. I say "looking at" because I don't think she picked up a needle once, yet we had the organizing and then re-organizing of the Christmas Stitching Basket at least a dozen times.

Yesterday we put up the Christmas tree, and I must confess that I was a real pill about the entire process. Mom decided to use a $20 tree that she bought at Target last week. A $20 tree! $20! Did I mention the fact that we have two perfectly good Christmas trees out in the garage already, and that the cost of the two of them put together is more than my entire college fund and investment plan combined?!

This tree sucks. It's skinny and bare and stupid. I hate this tree and I'm happy to report that I've peed on it no less that six times already. Mom looks like she wants to send me to the pound every time she's wiping up the piddles, but until she gets a clue and hauls the Martha Stewart Bear Claw Mountain Tree with 600 elegantly tipped branches into this house, I'm not giving up. What the hell she thinks she's pulling with this piece of crap in an urn she calls "our tree" this year is beyond me.

Today was the icing on the cake as far as The Spinster Stitcher Thanksgiving Extravaganza Weekend was concerned. My Aunt Chrissy got the bright idea to take Bosco and I over to the fancy schmancy pet boutique for baths and photographs with Santa Claus. There are so many different things wrong with this, I don't even know where to begin, but let's just say a) I hate it when strangers see me naked and then feel compelled to soap me up with shampoo that smells like cookies, and b) I know my Santa Clauses, and this one just wasn't up to snuff. He was skinny! And he had a goatee under his fake beard! And I heard the guy talking about running marathons! Santa Claus! Running marathons!

I'm sorry, I really am, but when it comes to Santa Claus, I think the rules should be followed. Santa Claus should be old. And fat. And very very jolly. This guy was none of that. He claimed to be a dog lover, but I had my suspicions. So when Mom tried to sit me on his lap I bit him. Not hard, mind you, but enough to let the guy know that I wasn't going to take any crap from him. Then, when my mom decided to step away and let my Aunt Chrissy try to put me on the guy's lap, I had an "incident" involving a nervous tummy, a whole lot of hand sanitizer, and a dry cleaning bill.

Serves him right...the jerk. Santa Claus is not a marathon runner.

Tonight we're laying low and trying to figure out where the hell four days just went.

Stitching has been very minimal, but Mom did put a few stitches into Christmas Quilt by Laura J. Perin. She's doing this one on 24ct. congress cloth:
I don't really have anything else to show you, but I will submit a pic of the crappy Christmas tree as evidence of how this holiday season is getting off to a very rocky start. I'm going to try to get some more decorating done tomorrow, and then I plan to finish all of my online shopping, so maybe the old lady will get the hint and pull her head out of her a-- and we'll pull it off after all:See? I told you it was a stupid tree. I'd call it a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree, but that would be an insult to the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree. All I know is that I better get a Zhu Zhu to make up for this damn thing, or 2010 will be the year of a very unhappy Stewey.

Well, the dryer just buzzed. I've washed all of my toys and blankets today so that they will be fresh smelling and easier to sleep with. I like to take a few toys to bed with me, but Mom has been bitching about how dirty and smelly they are, so I thought I'd freshen them up a bit. Gentle cycle, a few extra drops of Tide, and I'm all set!

I hope that you all had a very lovely weekend, and that if you celebrated Thanksgiving, it was less traumatic and more festive than the one we had. Thanks for stopping by! I sure am happy that you all remain such devoted readers, even if you have to put up with me every now and then!

With love from your pal,

Nov 25, 2009


I know that many folks (at least here in the goold 'ol US of A) will join hands around a beautifully appointed Thanksgiving table tomorrow to give thanks for all that is good and wonderful in their lives.

And, although our table won't exactly be beautifully appointed, it will be full of good food and I will make a concerted effort to turn the darn TeeVee off so that we can eat our meal like civilized girls and not the heathens that we usually are.

But before we do that, and before the "why can't I make the holidays perfect like Mom did" stressing commences, I thought I would just take a silly little moment to say THANK YOU out loud and in public right here on this here blog.

I'm thankful that I woke up this morning.

I'm thankful that I had to climb out of a warm bed with clean sheets and that Woolrich fleece blanket that I got on sale at the Targets.

I'm thankful that I was able to read the paper and enjoy a cup of damn good coffee.

I'm thankful that I had the choice of having either a bagel or cereal for breakfast.

I'm thankful that the heat came on and I found my slippers for my cold toes.

I'm thankful that I somehow got invited to this "thing of ours" and that every day I am met with lovely and cheery comments on the stupid things I say.

I'm thankful that my little sister will put up with me.

I'm thankful that I have a nine-pound bundle of love all dressed up in the form of a Stewey.

I'm thankful that my brain is still working well enough to know that I could sit here for the next seven months typing a list of all that I am thankful for, and I would never even scratch the surface of all that is good and wonderful in my life.

So there you have it. A few silly moments for me to tell you that my heart bursts with love whenever I think of all of my stitching friends out there on the Big Blue Marble. I am so thankful that I am welcomed to the cool kids' table, and I'm thankful that every day is a chance for me to learn more about you and your families and your lives and your world. I wish there was some eloquent way to tell you truly what it all means to me, but I haven't found it yet. So...thank you.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Nov 24, 2009


Hi kids!

I seem to be very very lax in answering your burning questions and responding to your lovely comments, so I thought I'd try to catch up a bit. (By the way...does anybody know the proper etiquette of how a blogger handles/responds to his/her comments/questions? I always get so worried that y'all will think me either a) a boob for not replying to you or b) guilty of not reading comments.)

(The answer to that one is "a", just in case you were wondering.)

The painted canvas that I'm working on at the moment is a Raymond Crawford. Check out his website if you want to see more of his fabulous stuff! (Methinks I am in love!) As to the class part of it....well, I happened to read on Ruth Schmuff's blog that her shop was offering it as a "Mystery Class". Ruth's shop is Bedecked and Beadazzled, and although I am about a 16-hour drive away, I am participating as a "distance learner". This means that I receive installments that consist of a fabulous stitch guide/instruction sheet and all of the necessary fibers to do that part of the lesson. This is the first time I have done such a thing, and I have to tell you that I am now completely addicted and hope to have one of these going at all times.

As to the question of how one does needlepoint, please bear with me as I try to walk you through it (as it was explained to me by my Stitchy Sen-say, Aunt Chrissy). (Oh, and I forgot to mention this before....Aunt Chrissy is actually my little sister. I call her Aunt Chrissy because when Stewey came home she suddenly found herself in the highly exalted position as Aunt Chrissy. And then when Bosco came home to her house, I became Aunt CJ.) (It's a "spinsters with pets" thing.)

I started stitching by learning how to cross stitch on 14ct Aida cloth using DMC floss. From there, I graduated to stitching "over two" on evenweave. Then I started using over-dyed cotton threads (like Weeks and Gentle Art), and when Aunt Chrissy felt I had mastered that enough, she turned me loose on linen. I think I worked on 28ct. linen for quite a while before I tried 32ct., and by then I was hooked. My final step in mastering cross stitch was the completion of my very first Shepherd's Bush kit, which contained a gorgeous piece of hand dyed linen, silk threads, and wonderful instructions for "specialty stitches".

When I decided that I wanted to start "needlepointing", I picked up a Laura J. Perin "American Quilt Series" design. This, to me, was the perfect way to transition between cross stitch and canvas work, because the chart was very very easy to understand and Laura gives great instructions that practically walk you through the project stitch by stitch! Starting to do canvas work involved a whole new stash of canvas, stretcher bars, tacks, and threads, but in the interest of Spinster Sanity, I took the plunge and never looked back.

Painted canvases are an entirely different matter for me, since I quickly discovered that I am completely incapable of "seeing" specialty stitches in my punky little head. (Well, I guess I can "see" them....I just can't get them onto the canvas in a way that results in something I'm happy with.) So after years and years of frustration, I finally realized that STITCH GUIDES would be my method and I wouldn't feel one bit bad about calling in the professionals. Janet Perry has written a fabulous stitch guide for a fabulous "Bohemian Paisley" canvas that I have, and I can't wait to get my paws on it! After emailing back and forth an few times, Janet determined what types of threads I have in my stash, what I like working with, and what my threshold was for patience. The resulting piece will be stunning once completed, I'm sure, so I'm really glad that I was smart enough to get help on it before getting frustrated on my own.

The class situation for painted canvases also appeals to me enormously, since I have a very clear direction from the teacher, yet the result is almost exactly what I had hoped for in my head. On the Merry Christmas canvas, I "saw" funky...and by jeepers....funky is what we got! It's also wonderful to use threads/fibers that I never would have picked for myself, and to then discover that I love them (hellooooo Sparkle Rays!).

So that, my dear friends, is a somewhat garbled explanation of my stitchy journey. Throw hardanger and crewel in there, and the urgent desire to learn how to make a felt penny rug, and I think you've about got me figured out. The bottom line is that I am a stitchy harlot...I love it all and greedily covet it as though it was dipped in chocolate and peanut butter.

Hmmmm. Peanut butter. I think I need to have some peanut butter toast now.

Here's hoping that you have a Happy Tuesday!

Nov 23, 2009


I'm bobcomdistulated and frumpled this morning, because I fully intended to be at the Targets at 8am to finish up some last minute shopping. Stewey had other ideas, however, so here I sit in all my bed-head glory at 12:31pm. (What can I say...when the warm little fuzzy lump rolls over and says "Oh, mo-ther, wouldn't it be nice to just snooze some more and burrow down under the flannel sheets for just a moment?", I cave like the cheese souffle' I am.

Aunt Chrissy and I took advantage of a gorgeous Saturday to decorate the outsides of our respective houses, so Santa Claus is going to find me this year whether he knows it or not. We stopped at Lowes early and I purchased what can only be described as the most life-changing device known to the history of man (or spinster as the case may be):
THIS! is a remote control for Christmas lights! Yes, you heard me correctly! A! REMOTE! CONTROL! FOR! CHRISTMAS! LIGHTS!

Every year I almost end up in the emergency room due to the stooping, straining, electrocuting, and general pain in the neck-ing that takes place each afternoon when it comes time to Clark Griswold the place. Now I just sit in the comfort of my very own Happy Chair and POOF! the lights all come on with the touch of a button. Genius, I tell ya. Genius. I even got one for all of the outside lights, so there's no more kneeling in the snow blowing on the plug hoping that it's dry enough not to give me a perm when I stick it in the thingie.

I'll take some pics for you as soon as it gets a little darker. Otherwise the neighbors will say "What the hell is she doing NOW?! as I stand in the street in my pajamas trying to snap a pic of Christmas lights in the very broad daylight.

Stitching was wonderful last night. I picked up the Raymond Crawford Merry Christmas canvas and worked a little on Lesson Two. I am behind a bit, so this one might stay "in rotation" until I am right on track with the rest of the class. (Hellooooo, fellow class people! Aren't you glad that I am taking this one long distance?!)
Speaking of "rotations", I started to get myself all twisted up in knots planning out my stitching for 2010, when I decided that the only planning I'm going to do is NOT PLAN! I'm not going to map out a strategy, devise a rotation, develop a schedule, or post a goal. Nope. Not gonna' do it. I'm just going to stitch whatever the heck I feel like stitching, and if it's Easter in the middle of winter or Halloween in the middle of summer, then so be it. My only resolution for 2010 is to not resolve to do anything at all.

Let's see how long this lasts, shall we?

Toodle-oooo's, kids! If I don't get my heiney in gear soon, the parade will have started and I'll still be sitting here with blogs to read!

Nov 20, 2009


I've got nothing to show you today. Nada. Zip. Zilch. I haven't had a needle in my hand since Monday evening, and if my journals are correct, this is the longest stretch of time I've ever gone without stitching. Yikes!

Thank you for all of your kind concern about the big ass tear I made in the canvas. The good news is that I have quite a lot of canvas in my stash and that the tear was close enough to a border that I can just cut it off and have a smaller piece for another project. Had this been a real canvas emergency (on a handpainted canvas or on one that is close to completion), you would have heard the primal scream from whence I sit. In this case, though, no biggie.

Aunt Chrissy and I are ready for Thanksgiving, thanks to some power grocery shopping last night. We got the turkey boobs (*) for roasting and all the normal fixin's. I am going to add one dish to our usual menu this year, and that's Ina Garten's Sagaponak Corn Pudding. Doesn't it sound good?

Today I'm off to the garage to start sorting and culling the Christmas decorations. I am determined to donate all of the crap that I don't use and make room for a more orderly system out there if it kills me! (Gee, I've graduated from the attic to the garage....woo hoo!)

Once all chores and tasks are completed (wipe that smirk off your face, please), I've promised myself a few hours in the Happy Chair with Raymond Crawford's Merry Christmas canvas. I finished Lesson One and have the goodies for Lesson Two, so I better get to it!

(*) About three years ago Aunt Chrissy and I realized that neither of us particularly likes dark meat. So instead of buying a whole turkey and passing the leftover dark meat back and forth between us for a month and a half, we do two turkey breasts. They roast just perfectly and we end up with a good amount of white meat to split between us for Siggie Specials. No fuss!

Nov 18, 2009


As has been previously reported, I am in the midst of some major stitchy angst. (When am I ever NOT in the midst of some major stitchy angst?)

It all started when I got the bright idea to stitch Laura J. Perin's Rusty O'Toole. This is a completely charming picture of a scarecrow and pumpkins and other fall accootramauo. I loved it the moment I first saw it and had it in my stash before you can say "Ridiculously Spoiled Spinster".

When I went up to the studio to retrieve said chart, it was nowhere to be found. Nowhere. I mean NOWHERE. I even got down in the floor to see if it had slipped out of its protective binder sheet and fallen behind the LJP bookshelf. (Note to Laura J. Perin: This might be a good time to go ahead and file that restraining order....when somebody has a bookshelf dedicated to you, it's time to call in the authorities.)

Anywhoose...I fretted and fretted and fretted and then did what any logical stitcher would do. I called Aunt Chrissy. I called Aunt Chrissy and did my very best to do a mental mind warp on her to try to convince her that I had loaned her the chart for perusal and that she had failed to return it to me. (This is where I should probably explain that Aunt Chrissy and I do not share charts. If we both love a pattern, we both purchase it. We somehow feel better about this, and I'd like to think it's because we are very sensitive to copyright issues. Truth is....we're selfish.)

But I regress.....

I obsessed over that damn chart for two days and was still bitching about it on the way to the market last night with Aunt Chrissy as my passenger, when we passed a new "Assisted Living Facility".

"Oh, look! Isn't that just the most lovely place you've ever seen?!", Aunt Chrissy exclaimed. "They have a gazebo and a little pond and they've even hung Christmas lights for a festive flair! I bet they even have a separate building you can go to when you need to have full-time nursing care."

This sent a cold chill down my spine, and as I gripped the steering wheel tighter so as not to drive off the road and just put us BOTH out of our misery, I made a mental note to keep my crazy to myself and NOT involve Aunt Chrissy in any more of my compulsive stitchy shenanigans.

As proof of this new-found attitude, I didn't fly into hysterics when I was frogging the thread out of the Indian Autumn project and cut a big huge slice right through the canvas. I just picked up the phone and said "Oh, hi. What 'cha doing? Me? Nothing special...just thinking about a new project and how completely calm and sensible I'm being about the whole thing."

Aunt Chrissy was not impressed, and despite her best attempt at non-committalness, I could almost hear her mentally decorating my new "apartment" at the "lovely facility" and planing the estate sale of all of my crap out on the front lawn in front of God and everybody.

So this is why I don't have any stitchy pics for you today. I am calmly, sensibly, and non-compulsively planning some new projects in my studio, and I will have a few hours of enjoyable and non-stressed out stitchy time this evening to report on tomorrow.

(If you don't hear from me.....please call the somebody and check the attic, will ya?)

Nov 17, 2009


My mom can't come to the blog right now. She's too busy pacing about the house muttering to herself. She keeps saying "Oprah" and "Sarah Palin" and "Sheldon" and "third-grade mathematics" over and over and over again. Methinks it's time for her afternoon meds.

Last night I was happily chewing on my bone watching Oprah, when mo-ther came in and told me to "change the channel right this instant, young man!", so naturally I ignored her and just kept watching. Now please understand that my mom isn't really all that opinionated when it comes to Oprah. Or Sarah Palin, for that matter. She just got good and tired of hearing/seeing/listening/reading about this darn interview and I believe she felt a little bit....saturated. Needless to say I was rapt with attention and only wanted to know a) where Ms. Palin got her eyeglasses and b) whether or not they make them in my size. (It's time for me to update my specs, don't you know.)

Anywhoose...I then switched over to watch "The Big Bang Theory", which is my Aunt Chrissy's favorite show. I really get a kick out of that Sheldon character, and apparently so did my mom, because she was snort-laughing so hard I thought diet Coke was going to come out of her nose!

I think the "math" thing comes in because Mom was trying to start Aunt Laura's Indian Autumn, but she just couldn't get the spacing right. I bet she stitched those arrowheads nineteen times before she just put it all away with a big fat sigh and called it a night. If I get the opportunity, I'm going to frog it all and get it re-stitched for her before tonight's stitching commences. You might think this is really really nice of me, but the truth is that I just can't take her FUTZING anymore! I swear, this woman has AUTUMN FEVER! Ever since she finished that last piece, she just can't seem to settle down and get to it in the stitchy department.

I will tell you that Mom was THRILLED to be asked to continue to write her drivel for Needlepoint Now magazine! You know, I think that in her tiny little brain she's the Carrie Bradshaw of the stitchy magazine world. Since we all know better, let's just not comment on that and let her have a few moments of pitiful glory, shall we? Unfortunately, this means that she's now ON DEADLINE, so instead of taking care of me for the next few days, she'll run around the house with a pencil tucked behind her ear saying "Not now, Stewey..I'm on deadline". And then she'll go to the market and tap her foot in the check-out lane and when the annoyed man in front of her turns around to glare, she'll say "Oh, I'm sorry, but I'm on deadline and really need to get back to my writing." And then, once she actually writes the lousy 1,000 words, she'll feel it necessary to tell everybody that comes within an eighteen mile radius of the house..."Oh, I wish I could, but I'm on deadline and have moved into final edits." Damn Mommie.

Do you remember when I was posting my sensitive and earnest photographs of myself? Well, it would seem that I'm quite behind, so I'll leave you with my latest. I think it captures my "hopeful, yet somewhat trepidatious" side:

I hope that you have a Happy Tuesday!

With love from your pal,

Nov 16, 2009


Yet another exciting day here at Chez Spinster. Laundry is merrily sploshing about in the machine and Stewey is snoozing on his perch. Wow wee, what a life I lead!

I decided to be a good little student and get a start on my "long distance learning" class from Bedecked and Beadazzled. It's my very first time with one of these, so I didn't want to get too too far behind. I finished all of Lesson One, but had to put it down for a bit on Sunday because my fingers were too darn sore to pull thread through canvas and my eyes were a bit buggy. (I blame it on the french knots that were done in Ribbon Silk. Hard to do, but a lovely result.)

Aunt Chrissy and I puttered about the LNS on Saturday morning and I got the bright idea to translate two more Laura J. Perin designs into Vineyard Silks. Indian Summer and Indian Autumn are two designs that I've lusted over for quite some time now, so what better time to have some fun and play with the colors? (Now please note that I'm going to STOP doing this real soon because a) Vineyard Silks are an expensive addiction and b) Laura J. Perin Her Very Self is the designer and knows a LOT more about EVERYTHING when it comes to color than I do. There's a reason why her designs are so gorgeous...she knows color like nobody's business.)

The Caron Watercolours is Burnt Toast, one of my very favorites. And I'm happy to point out that I am using Rainbow Gallery's Fyre Works, which is what Laura calls for as the metallic accents. I usually run screaming the other way when it comes to metallic threads, and up until now I have always traded them out for my beloved Flair, but methinks I have finally turned a corner and am now metallic thread friendly. Woo hoo.

Darn washer! It's already asking me for a new load. Am I the only person on the planet who wishes laundry would take longer so that she could sit in front of the computer all day reading stitchy blogs?

Nov 13, 2009


Idaho Star
Laura J. Perin
18ct. mono canvas
Vineyard Silks, Silk&Ivory, Mandarin Floss, Ribbon Floss

Nov 12, 2009


My mom can't come to the blog right now. She's standing in front of the bathroom mirror with a shampoo bottle clutched in her hands while delivering her Nobel Prize for Literature speech to a captive audience.

Listen up, people, because I'm only going to say this one time. STOP ENCOURAGING HER. You stop by the blog and read her silly crap and then you leave these lovely comments that say "Oh, Spinster Stitcher, you're so funny"..."Oh, Spinster Stitcher, you should write a book"..."Oh, Spinster Stitcher, you make me laugh out loud and pee my pants".

These comments, while certainly heartfelt, I'm sure, are only doing one thing...creating a big fat sweaty cocky stupid monster of a Mommie that I'm left to deal with. I have a household to run, kids. I can't be constantly distracted by the daily need to go look for this woman who insists that I now refer to her as "Madame Authoress Who Will One Day Write Like Toni Morrison."

She came home from the bookstore the other night with "How to Write the Great American Novel for Dummies" book and an Oprah Magazine! She watches Charlie Rose and practices her posture and exactly how she'll reach for the glass of water to take a small sip in between long explanations of her "process" and "how it feels to suddenly go from Mishawaka, Indiana nobody to Manhattan-living famous person" in three days.

Stop it, I tell ya! Stop it!

Now let's get back to business. Since my silly mo-ther of very little brain is not here to answer some of your questions, you're stuck with me...

Question: What's a FUPPY box?
Answer: Mo-ther shamelessly stole this term from another stitchy blogger, but she wasn't careful enough to write the name down, so I will apologize for her. A FUPPY box is a place where you store all of the pieces that you've stitched but haven't finshed or framed into finality yet. You stitched eighteen biscornu fronts and backs but you haven't sewn them together into a little tuffet yet. Or you finished the big ass needlepoint piece, but you're waiting for framing costs to return to normalcy and not reflect the gold standard.

Question: What threads did you use for Ms. Laura J. Perin's Idaho Star?
Answer: Vineyard Silks in Autumn Leaves, Oak Bluff, Lark, and Sangria. Silk & Ivory in Mud Puddle and Prickly Pear. Mandarin Floss in M895. Ribbon Floss in 142-017 Honey.

Question: When you're finished with a pattern/chart, can I purchase, trade, borrow, or copy it?
Answer: I'm afraid that all of Mom's charts are spoken for, but she will be happy to point you in a direction as to where you might find it. She would tell you to always start with your LNS (if you have one), find an ANS if you don't (ANS=adopted needlework shop), or contact the designer personally to introduce yourself and to inquire where you might purchase their product.

*Warning about this last piece of advice: It will turn you into a stalker of the highest magnitude. Once you've "met" your favorite designer and/or talked to them over the phone, you'll think you're their very best friend in the whole wide world and will drop their name into every conversation you've ever had about needlework. For example, you might be in your LNS on a Saturday and some lovely stitchers are gathered at the back table enjoying some time together, when you will feel the need to barge in to say "Oh, when I talked to LAURA she said that....." or "Well, when LAURA called me, she explained...". Trust me. Nobody likes a show off.

Question: Does Aunt Chrissy really exist, or is she just a figment of your imagination, much like a sassy little talking dog seems to be?
Answer: While I resent the term "little", I do wholly embrace the term "sassy". And yes, Aunt Chrissy most certainly exists and has the responsibility of finding a decent Assisted Living facility for her nincompoop older sister sometime over the weekend.

Question: How do you stitch so much? Are you a really fast stitcher, or do you just spend every hour of your waking day doing it?
Answer: I'll answer this one frankly. My mo-ther (as much as I do love her so) is a big fat LOOOOO-ZER that never leaves the house. If she could find a way to get dietCoke delivered to the door she'd probably never venture to the Target. Every now and then I'll write her a note like "Mom, if you don't get me some cookies I'm going to run away from home", so she puts on the lipstick and hits PetSmart, but those trips are too few and far between in my opinion. Stitching is something that she does in the evenings while sitting in her Happy Chair watching the TeeVee. It relaxes her and keeps her quiet for hours and hours and hours at a time and our sedative budget has been greatly reduced. She's not a particularly fast stitcher, but what she lacks in speed she makes up for in earnestness.

Well, it looks like the Nobel speech is drawing to a conclusion, so I'll leave you with a pic of the progress on Idaho Star. It really is lovely, but don't keep telling her that or she'll fret over having to do it over and over and over again just to please you. Just tell her... "Eh, it's OK" and move on.

Happy Thursday to you all! We're keeping a happy disposition around here even though it's November 12th. (My Grandma Sig died 22 years ago today, so mo-ther and Aunt Chrissy usually want this one to just get over with already.) (And I'm pretty sure that if she could, my Grandma Sig would get up out of her drawer in Phoenix and slap me for calling her Grandma, but that's another story for another day.)

With love from your pal,

Nov 11, 2009


Geeze, Louise. My life is coming at me in threes. You know the "things always come in threes" thing, don't you?

Unfortunately, I'm only on TWO, so brace yourselves for whatever may come next.

There I was, minding my own business, when Stewey asked if we could go outside for a game of pumpkin. Ooops. Sorry, I mean PUMPKIN! When I say "ask" I mean more like "stand in front of the door and stomp your feet and bark and noodge the pumpkin(!) at your mo-ther until she let's you go outside" kind of thing.

Despite my unfortunate wardrobe choice (nine-year old sweatpants and a half-assed t-shirt/sweatshirt), I decided that a little fresh air was just what the doctor ordered and out we went.

(Did I mention that we play pumpkin(!) in the FRONT yard? We do this because the level of dog poop in the back yard officially qualifies us as a Superfund Cleanup site and I'm not a big fan of wading around knee-deep in the stuff.)

But I digress....

The initial minutes of pumpkin(!) go smoothly enough. Mommie Dearest throws said pumpkin a few yards into the not-so-far distance and then Stewey runs runs runs on his short little legs to retrieve. He noodges it a few times, sniffs every blade of grass within a six-foot perimeter, contemplates lifting his leg, and then carries the pumpkin back to Mommie Dearest for a repeat of the entire process.

Over and over and over and over again.

Usually I get bored within a few minutes and give up, but for some reason I decided to really enjoy the sunshine today and take inventory of the various bushes and trees surrounding my house. If this were the Martha Stewart Living magazine, I would tell you that I inspected my various plantings for signs of trouble and expertly pruned/cleaned/trimmed everything for the upcoming colder months, but the truth of the matter is that I walked around looking at stuff.

I made it almost to the back of the house when IT happened.

A bee flew into my ponytail. A bee. Into my ponytail. My ponytail! A BIG BEE! A BEE THE SIZE OF A HUMMINGBIRD! A BIG HUMMINGBIRD! INTO MY PONYTAIL!!!!!!!!!

(Here is where I should explain that the women in my family (i.e., my deceased mother, my sister, and I) all have a head of hair that could adequately cover a small village. We Rich women are known for our thick tresses, and as a matter of fact I usually use my eighteen-inch thick rug of hair as the excuse as to why my face is constantly sweaty.) (Oh, and yes, in case you're wondering...I still think that 80's Rock Band Hair is the best ever! and that one day I will single-handedly revive the whole "big poofy early Oprah-esque" doo that has accompanied me well since circa 1981.)

So the bee gets himself (or herself, I didn't think to ask) lodged in my big fat ponytail and I proceeded to have a massive meltdown right out there on the lawn in front of God and everybody. I think there was a lot of jiggling and swatting and prancing and hollering and twisting and general "yech-ing" all over the place because when I finally made it back into the house my clothes were all on inside-out. And backwards.

I hate nature, I really do. It seems to have this vast right-wing conspiracy against me and my delicate sensibilities, and it kicks my ass every darn time I turn around. If it's not a spider in the Happy Chair, or a big fat toad on the front porch, it's a bee in my ponytail. Damn nature.

I am, however, most happy to report that the background thread for Idaho Star is PRECISELY what I needed/wanted it to be! Woo Hoo! I managed to get the entire border completed and I couldn't be more thrilled with the way it looks. For the first time I think I actually executed the picture I had in my silly little brain to satisfactory conclusion. Now I just have to figure out the background for the inside portion and this one will be off to the framers! (Aunt Chrissy and I decided to not put this one into the FUPPY box for a change because the colors will look simply splendid in my living room. So there. A project stitched, thought about, lusted over, and then framed and hung all within the same year. Again, can I get a WOO HOO from the audience?!)
Stewey has decided that we are going to stay inside for the rest of the day and the mail can just stay right where it is once the mailman delivers it. He spotted a gnat in the air a few seconds ago and decided that since there's obviously a memo out there in the animal kingdom about me, that it would be better to not tempt fate.

Happy Wednesday!

Nov 10, 2009


I seem to be operating under water today. No, actually, I seem to be operating under a vat of jello. Lime green jello with lots and lots of floating fruit cocktail in it.

Stewey is wondering if I've taken to "tippling" in the evenings when he's catching his beauty sleep, because I look more and more like I've been out carousing all night. You know...bleary eyes, messy bed head, generally frumpled all around.

Oh well, nothing that a case of diet Coke and a hot shower won't fix.

I've returned from a quick visit to my LNS for the background fiber for Idaho Star. Oddly enough, the color that I selected was the exact color that I returned on Saturday because I didn't think it would work. Silly, silly spinster. Never return crap until you're positively sure that it won't work. Otherwise you end up buying it all over and over and over again.

I also picked up tacks and magnets. I pick up tacks and magnets every single time I go to the shop because I'm fairly certain that Stewey is building his very own little weapon of mass destruction with 13inch stretcher bars, tacks, and magnets. Either that, or he's finally decided on a floor plan for his Barbie Dream Home and has set about constructing the foundation. All I know is that these three things seem to vaporize into thin air as soon as I am in need of them.

A bit of excitement happened on the way home when I stopped at the Mishawaka County City Building to find out about a flu shot (the H1N1 variety, don't you know). When you enter the building there are two "lanes" for employees with a HUGE sign above that says DO NOT ENTER and a second for the public that directs you to the metal detector and security clearance.

Guess which one I walked through in my oblivious stupor?

This wouldn't have been so bad were it not for the fact that I was so intent on reading the posted information outside the Health Department that I neglected to hear/see/notice the two officers yelling at me. It was only when the one gentleman pulled his gun out that I suddenly realized that all of the commotion in the building was because of.....ME!

(Talk about peeing on the drapes!)

I was mortified and started bawling immediately, but after a brief explanation that "I'm just not right in the head lately", they took me into a little room and got a statement and signature saying that I'm a boob and despite four years of college (where I was a Great Books major, ironically enough), I apparently forget how to read every now and then.

Needless to say, I came home and decided that Aunt Chrissy can take me to the Targets tonight. I don't think I need to be where other people are at the moment. At least not until I can get my head out of my proverbial.....

Happy Tuesday everybody! I'll update you soon on the success or failure of my thread adventure!

Nov 9, 2009


Ahhhh, the best laid plans of stitchers and spinsters.

On Saturday I sat in the Happy Chair and stitched away on Idaho Star while watching Notre Dame lose to Navy and Aunt Chrissy have a nervous breakdown over some of the play calling: "You go for it on 4th and 20 when you're backed up into your own end zone???!!!! What the hell are you thinking, coach??!"

And then, when Navy got a safety (at least I think that's what it's called....I'm not a football fan, I just play one on TeeVee), Aunt Chrissy bolted out of her recliner and said "SEE!?? That's the game right there!!!! Notre Dame is going to lose by TWO FREAKIN' POINTS!!!!". There was also a lot of blathering about "converting in the red zone" but I was in a heavy Zen-like LJP Vineyard Silk kind of mode so I just nodded my head like I knew what she was talking about and kept stitching.

(Times like that make me wish I had a bookie, especially since Notre Dame DID lose to Navy by two points.)

But I regress....

By the time the game ended, I had completed almost all of the inner portions of the design, so I figured I'd move on to the background and possibly (!) complete this one on Sunday.

(This, of course, is exactly NOT what I had originally planned to do on Sunday. I decided that I would start my Christmas canvases on Sundays and see if I couldn't get one or two of them done in time for the holiday.)

When I sat down to stitch I took one look at my background colors and wondered what I had been drinking when I selected them. Totally wrong in every way.

So I futzed and futzed and futzed for the next twelve and a half hours with various threads and colors until I finally ended up on Aunt Chrissy's doorstep with a plea for help. Stewey and I stayed for a few hours and I tried about a million different combinations from Aunt Chrissy's stash, but alas, no suitable background color was to be had.

When I came home I sat and stared at this for another few hours and then I started to poke around in the nether regions of the studio for something...anything(!) that would work.

I finally decided on a set of three Impressions and tried it out as the clock struck 2am. Bleary eyed and defeated, I tucked Stewey in and said my goodnights.

In the light of day, I think it MIGHT work, but I won't be convinced until I hit my LNS tomorrow to paw through threads there. I keep thinking that there might be a Vineyard silk that will be a perfect match and all will be well, but I have a full twenty-four hours to wait until that can be confirmed. This will most certainly be a test of my temperament. Will I be able to just put this one away for a day and work on something else? Or will my ridiculously compulsive stitchy behavior cause me to pack provisions and camp out in the shopping center parking lot?

Stay tuned...

Nov 6, 2009


I'm sorry. I really am. I don't MEAN to constantly butcher the English language and make stuff up as I go along, but sometimes you need a little poetic license to get it just right.

This piece is like one big huge box of dark chocolates. That's sitting on a huge sleigh bed. With soft t-shirt sheets, a fuzzy blanket, and a warm sleeping puppy for company. Who is well behaved and never pees on the drapes. And who loves your boyfriend, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who is in the kitchen preparing breakfast and french press coffee.

Laura J. Perin's Idaho Star is precisely what the doctor has ordered. The pattern is lovely. The chart is lovely. The Vineyard Silks God this stuff is lovely!

The progress looks rather meagre, but that's on purpose. I am savoring each and every stitch and just don't want to rush through this one only to add it to the FUPPY box. For the first time in my entire stitchy life, I'm not fretting one bit over any part of this....just enjoying it.

(I have to confess that as I'm sitting here typing this, I am trying to channel my inner Nigella Lawson. I think that she alone would have the proper voice/accent/words to describe this one. Besides, she's the only person I know of who can make a bowl of oatmeal sound like the "plucky heroine with the heaving bosom stares defiantly at her jaunty pirate captor and finally succumbs to his smoldering green eyes" scene out of a romance novel.)

Thus, the word plushcious.

Stewey is stomping around the house muttering "Fifty-five degrees and partly sunny, my ass" today, since it would seem that his afternoon plans of catching a few rays on the back patio have gone awry. It's rather gloomy and chilly at the moment, but I'm not complaining one just gives good incentive to hit the Happy Chair with some tea and comfort (in the form of stitchy-ness, of course).

Happy Weekend to you all! I hope that you have some stitchy-ness of your own to enjoy and that it's just....plushcious.

Oh, and a P.S. to Ms. Vonna...I'm not sure if he's Catholic, but Nicholas Sparks was a classmate of mine at Notre Dame. (I was a big fat loooo-ser and never said a word to him, but HUB-BA!)

Nov 5, 2009


Your computer might blow up trying to open all of the pictures in this post. If that happens, feel free to curse at me and my stupid need to tell everybody everything I know. Oh, and please feel free to delete me from your Palm Pilot. (That line is from an episode of Sex and The City, but the exact context escapes me at the moment.)

Well, it's official. The annual Spinster Stitcher Christmas Stitching Nervous Breakdown has commenced.

Is it just me, or could it possibly be true that everybody and their uncle seems to be rushing the season this year. (Please note: By "everybody", I don't mean know, the ones who have started to decorate, bake, shop, etc. I mean THEM...the retailers who have started broadcasting their Christmas commercials in the hopes that we will forget about the economy and go buy lots of stuff from them before December 1st so that they can tell CNBC that the projections for this year are STUPENDOUS! and that they still have lots of good deals available for that last minute "twenty-five days before Christmas" rush.)

I had a plan. Really. I did.

Like a good little stitcher, I worked on WIP's for SEVENTEEN WHOLE YEARS without a break until November 1st. Then, I told myself, it would be OK to start new things. And, since I seem to love the colors of Autumn so much, I figured I'd do some autumnal stitching during the month of November, and maybe start Christmas the weekend after Thanksgiving. (An idea that I shamelessly stole from Aunt Chrissy.)

But like all of my plans, this one went awry as soon as my head hit the pillow last night and I started to think about the big ass Christmas Stitching basket that was lurking just above my head up in the studio.

When I went through the Christmas Stitching basket several weeks ago (in preparation only, I promise), I discovered that I only had three or four projects in progress for Christmas. Whaaa? Could it be? What the...?

Yes, for some strange reason I had either completed a lot of Christmas stitching last year, or I didn't do that much to begin with. But....I digress.

"Finishing these projects will be a breeze!" I thought, as I pondered which new basket to use. "I'll just finish these first and will then jump right in to a canvas or counted canvas piece and that way I will have finished several lovely pieces in time for the holiday."

So I checked out my progress from last year:

I started Prairie Schooler's Twelve Days:

Laura J. Perin's Christmas Quilt:
And Prairie Moon's Holiday Train:
I have to say, I was pretty pleased with myself that there were only these FEW pieces to be considered, and I immediately set about the task of patting myself on the back. (Not an easy thing to do when you're one corned beef sandwich away from being a circus freak, I might add.)

Sadly, this was right about the same time that I remembered that I am taking the Raymond Crawford Merry Christmas canvas class from Ruth at Bedecked and Beadazzled, and TWO lessons have already been taught! CRAP! I'm already behind schedule with a project that wasn't even in the damn basket to begin with!
Then I spied another canvas from Maggie that I've been trying to do for the last four years. I just can't seem to come up with the right threads or stitches for this one, but I'm determined to use this as a "learning piece" for myself and see if I can't just figure out how to embellish painted canvases after all.

Now these two things wouldn't have been so bad, but then I made the tragic mistake of flipping through the charts and kits that I have lovingly stored in a carefully labeled basket that matches all of the other carefully labeled baskets that comprise my stitchy stash.

(Cue the forehead slap and a big fat STOOOOPID coming out of my mouth.)

There's the Mirabilia Santa that takes my breath away, but has a chart that looks like it could construct the International Space Station.
There's the Birds of a Feather stockings that look sooooo funky and cool, but will probably NEVER realize their full potential since I wasn't smart enough to buy a piece of linen big enough to do them all and now it's no longer being made.
There's the Prairie Moon Collector's Edition Santas that I am determined to stitch in UNIFORM colors and linens (even though the kits come with different color palettes...see last year's "Matchy Matchy" post for angst over THAT situation.)

And then there's the Prairie Moon Christmas Eve that makes me want to go sit in a chair some place and not get up until this is kitted, stitched, framed, and hung over the fireplace.

And then, just to make it all worse, was the discovery of some Pat Thode Santas:

And this ADORABLE little Squatty Stitching Santa from Ruth Schmuff:

I would have gone further, but the resulting anxiety was just too much for one spinster to bear. I sat on the floor for a few minutes and decided not to be sad over all of this mess, but rather to REJOICE AND BE GLAD! that I have such a lovely pile of things from which to choose. I decided not to panic over the number of hours it would take to stitch these things, but rather to CELEBRATE the fact that this stuff will surely keep me off the streets for at LEAST another ten to fifteen years. Why view this as a negative? Why not think of it as...

Oh, who the hell am I kidding? Y'all know me well enough by now to know that I'll chew on this for the next two months and then I'll find something else to fret over. It's my process. Leave it alone. (Yet another line from a movie, I think.)

(Why can't I come up with my own stuff?!)

So that, my dear stitchy friends is the state of the Spinster Stitcher Stitchy Union at this very moment in time. Aunt Chrissy promises to pick me up after work for a trip to the Target pharmacy, so never fear...medications are near!!!

(Tee hee hee hee hee....sometimes I just crack my own self right up!)

Have a wonderful Thursday! I'm off to the mailbox to retreive my new Notre Dame Alumni Directory. I hereby promise not to look up my old classmates to see that they've published their eighteenth novel (thanks a lot, Nicholas Sparks) or solved the Middle East peace situation, or cured some mysterious disease in a forgotten country. I'll just wish them well and think of them fondly.

Nov 4, 2009


My mo-ther can't come to the blog right now. She's grounded. I mean REALLY grounded. I was minding my own business last night when the old lady decided that a game of Doozie Ball would be great fun. I wasn't so sure, since the last time we played I won and she pouted for a week and a half, but I decided to be a good sport and give it a go for the sake of a little peace and quiet around here.

Not only does my mo-ther NOT know how to play Doozie Ball, she feels it necessary to destroy everything within a twenty-five foot radius of wherever she happens to be standing. Last night she decided that she would be a much more effective player if she enlisted the help of a dust mop, but all it did was make her that much more dangerous.

I tried. I really did, but no matter how hard I hollered at her to "just take it easy already!", she was oblivious to the impending doom. Her face got all red and sweaty and she was huffing and puffing to the point of me dialing the 9 and the 1 on the telephone in anticipation of "THE BIG COLLAPSE OF 2009". Fortunately, that didn't happen, but there were casualties. I give you Exhibit A:

As you can see, I am shocked and appalled at the mess and am doing my darndest not to get any dirt on my paws. My stupid mo-ther, however, was not as bright, and we had dirty footprints all over the damn house that were in the exact size and shape of her big fat white terry cloth house slippers. These, of course, will have to be laundered today, so it looks like my load of delicates will have to wait.

I swear, I finally get this house in some semblance of order and as soon as I turn around I've got yet another mess to clean up. True...I do pee on the drapes every now and then, but I only use that technique as a very last resort to get some attention around here. I swear, the only way I can get her to listen to me is if I write stuff down and then staple the note to her forehead. Damn Mommie.

Idaho Star is coming along quite nicely. After the excitement of Doozie Ball, I was much relieved to be able to sit and watch the TeeVee without too much distraction. There's something about Aunt Laura's pieces that lull my mom into quiet submission. Now that I've figured this out, methinks I better get up to the studio to kit up another ten or fifteen of these for the long winter nights ahead. I just don't think my nerves can take any more Doozie Ball.

Nov 3, 2009


Wow-weeeee, but these Vineyard silks are fabulous! Y'all were certainly correct...they are just lovely to work with..soft, supple, luxurious...and they just GLIDE through the canvas! I definitely see more of these in my stitchy future.

I didn't start stitching until later in the evening, so my progress is rather skimpy, but I can tell you that this is truly an enjoyable stitch! As with all LJP projects, I find that if I actually read the instructions that come with the chart I feel like a stitchy genius and never have a problem. (Yes, I'm a brown-nose of the first order, but when a designer is so good that she makes me look like I know what I'm doing, I feel it necessary to kiss a little designer heiney, k?)

Msses. Vonna and Jennifer asked about the Big Zipper/Live Laugh Love project. This is a series from Bent Creek that started with the chart for the border, the fabric, threads, and buttons all packaged in a big zipper bag (hence, the name). The smaller charts and threads were then released periodically.

I had this stuffed into my stash for quite a while before I saw it completed on Ms. Margie's blog: If you visit there, you will see that I shamelessly stole the idea of stitching this on linen instead of the 18ct burlap that was large enough to upholster a small condominium. In my case, I decided to use 32ct. Legacy linen from Picture This Plus. If I ever get the damn thing done, it will be really pretty. I promise.

Stewey and I are headed out for a game of PUMPKIN!. He read my blog entry yesterday and informed me that the word "PUMPKIN" must always be accompanied by an exclamation point, so I apologize for any confusion caused by my oversight. (Damn dog). We tried to play yesterday, but some neighbors were burning leaves and the resulting smoke was a little much for our lungs to handle.

Happy Tuesday to one and all! Thanks for visiting! Come again real soon, ya' hear?

Nov 2, 2009


The Riddle
The Drawn Thread
32ct. Barn Owl linen
Needlepoint and Gloriana silk

It's finished! Fee-nee-toe. Ka-poot. Zee End. Despite my very best efforts to actually put the last stitch to linen before the stroke of midnight on November 1st, I just didn't quite make it. Aunt Chrissy was here to cheer me on, and we even took advantage of the time change to grab that extra hour, but I made a ridiculous mistake on the final flower and had to frog. The judges deducted points for delay of game, but I was able to try again yesterday and I didn't move until the very last piece of silk was crossed, anchored, and snipped. Woo Hoo for me! In looking back over all of my stitching, I do believe that this is the largest piece I've ever attempted. Whew.

After the big finish, I went upstairs to play a bit and managed to re-stock my basket full of WHATEVER THE H-E-DOUBLE TOOTHPICKS I FELT LIKE! What a refreshing change of pace! I forgot how lovely guilt free stitchy indulgence can likey!

My first choice was Laura J. Perin's Idaho Star from her American Quilt Series. I think I mentioned it before...I'm stitching this one with Vineyard Silks. During the colorization process last night I realized that I needed a few extra colors, so I found some Silk and Ivory and a Mandarin Floss to add to the mix. I think it's going to be tres' cool beens when finished:

Then, just because I liked the feeling of completing a WIP I added Lilly Frog:

And Wandering:

And The Big Zipper/Live, Laugh, Love:

Then I rummaged around in my Autumn basket and found some new pieces to start! First is a piece that I didn't even realize I had, Moonlit Garden by Blackbird Designs. I had a crappy linen pulled for it, so I switched it out and decided to use Days Gone By linen from Silkweaver:

Frederika is a piece that I've admired on several blogs, so I decided to give it a try. I have a piece of 40ct. Pearled Barley linen for this one, and since I've never worked with 40ct. before, I promise to give it my best college try before giving up in disgust and switching it out to a 32ct:
And finally we have The Drawn Thread's Autumn Arbor. I wish I knew what the heck the linen is for this one, because it's got some lovely buttery tones that I think will look real swell with the silks:

Stewey had a rather quiet Halloween, but we did manage to get a rousing game of PUMPKIN played before Mommie Dearest here got a little too chilly for comfort. I'm not sure of the rules of the game just yet, but all I know is that this is the first time in four years that my dog has actually acted like a dog (a not a fussy little gentleman who doesn't think he's a dog), so I'm not complaining one bit. Damn dog.

"I wonder how long I have to continue with this ridiculous charade before the old lady will figure out that I really AM a fussy little gentleman who isn't really a dog? I want to put on my silk smoking jacket and get back to my movie. Damn Mommie."