Nov 29, 2011


I'm doing my level best to procrastinate today, so moments ago I found myself at the kitchen table with a hot cup 'o joe and my stitchy notebooks.

(Now before I get too much further, I need to confess that the only reason I write in stitchy notebooks is because my little sister (and stitching sen-say) does it, and God knows I'm trying to be as cool as she is when it comes to "this thing of ours").

I started keeping track of my stitchy stuff sometime in 2008. Every time I start a new project, I write down all of the particulars of it so that I can go back someday to see if I used the linen that the chart called for, or if I changed anything about the design, and where/when I might have purchased the project. You know....yadda yadda yadda.

So today I went back and made some lists, and I am very happy to report that it's not as bad as I had originally thought:

24 projects have been "archived"
18 projects are "in progress"
46 projects have been finished!!

So there you have it, folks. I'm not a mathematician (I just play one on TeeVee), but I think the statistics are a lot better than I could have hoped for. All this time I thought that I had HUNDREDS of started projects languishing about up in the studio, but it turns out I only have 18!

Now before you point out that there are 24 projects that have also been started in that "archive" pile, may I just say that the fact that they are "archived" at all is actually progress for me. Rather than sit on the floor in front of that pile, wringing my hands and fretting over the fact that there are just so many of them, I just popped them all in a bin and promised myself that every now and then I'd take a peek to see if anything looked like it might blow my stitchy skirt up.

I'd say that this little development calls for a celebration, don't you? I'm thinking....Peppermint Latte from Starbucks, followed by a little nap with you-know-who as soon as I can wash all of the mud off his tummy.

Yup. Mr. Fussypants decided to act like a dog for once and chase a squirrel, but he miscalculated the boggy-ness of the grass and did a little slip 'n slide action when he lost his footing. I told him that he looked like a baseball player stealing third base, but he had no idea what the hell I was talking about and just peevishly wiped his little spectacles off instead. Methinks it's time to break out that Gingerbread Man body wash and call it a day.

Nov 27, 2011


As you might know from reading this here blog, Aunt Chrissy and I are not big fans of turkey. It's not that we object to it per se, but our last few Thanksgiving feasts have been somewhat marred by bad turkey experiences.

Last year we roasted two turkey breasts that were rather, um, how shall I say this? They were either very very fresh and from some kind of full-flavored free range big fat bird, or they had been at the bottom of our friendly neighborhood grocer's storage bin for ages.

But not this year, I tell ya. Nope. No way. No how.

The Rich Sisters are happy to report that they feasted on a Honey Baked Boneless Turkey Breast and that it was, quite possibly, the very best turkey they had ever tasted. And the fact that it arrived in a spanky little domed storage container -- fully sliced and ready to go, was even better.

(Aunt Chrissy is convinced that the only reason I liked it so much was because it tasted like ham, but I'm not convinced it's the only reason. I think it tasted so good because all I had to do was pull it out of the Big Gyrl Ice Box and set it on the boo-fey.)

So today finds me back in the throes of the November/December schlump-a-dink with respects to my stitching. I had a mild panic attack yesterday when I realized that I had spent the better part of eleven hours trying to find something to play with up in the studio, but as I read some old posts of mine, I see that this is an annual thing.

I also see that I swore I would just ride it out and not moan about it, so I promise to give that a try for at least the next day or so before I send out the s.o.s.

Our outside Christmas decorations are up and sparkling in the post-autumnal light and both Chez Spinster and Chez Little Spinster look swell. We did my house a week ago and Aunt Chrissy's place on Friday, but some rather nasty rain today prevents me from capturing it all on film. But both look nice. Trust me.

I'm off to the Happy Chair armed with the determination to get through some of the crap I've put on the recording contraption, so wish me luck that something fun to stitch will fall into my lap. Stewey is toasting his little buns in front of the fireplace today, so it looks like I'm on my own as far as supervision is concerned.

Now where did I put those safety scissors?

Nov 18, 2011


This beauty is called The Tree Speaks, and it's by Carriage House Samplings. I fell in love with the sentiment expressed thusly:

I am the beam that holds your house
I am the heat of your hearth on cold winter nights
I am the board of your table
the handle of your hoe
the door of your home
the wood of your cradle
the timber of your boat
My fruits quench your thirst
as you journey on
Come rest in my shade

Isn't that the coolest? According to the chart, the design was inspired by a verse called "Friend of Man, The Tree Speaks" that the designer's father-in-law admired on a plaque in his aunt's home in Pittsburgh.

Guess we all know what I'll be doing today....

Happy Weekend, everybody! Woo Hoo!

Nov 16, 2011


I finished Prairie Schooler's Thanksgiving Comes Again late last night and immediately went into the "I have to frame this right this very second" mode. So I called Aunt Chrissy to get her thoughts on the subject, and after a few salty little swear words, she told me to get the ants out of my pants and just wait for the next big framing sale at the Michael's.

But this is me we're talking about.

So I started to creep around the house in search of a frame that would be suitable. I say "creep" because I didn't want the framed pieces that were already hanging on the wall to hear me coming.

First I looked at this wall of The Gallery:
Nope. Nothing there that would work. And besides....Stewey spent about nine hours trying to get all of these pieces lined up just so, and if I so much as moved one of them I'm pretty sure he'd kill me.

(Or pee on something important.)

Then I spied this wall and silently hollered to myself "Eureka!":See that empty space between the two house pictures? Well, well, well...what do we have here? I snatched the piece off the wall and had the back popped off before you could say "compulsive obsessive" and practically chortled with mad laughter.

Here's what it looked like "before":
And here's what it's going to look like "after":
Now please keep in mind that the frame is only perched on top of the finished piece and that there's a whole lotta ironing and straightening and whatnot that will have to go on. But isn't this just super swell?

I have an appointment this afternoon, and then I plan on coming home and hitting the studio to get this one stretched, pinned, laced, and framed before dinner.

Please don't be sad for the piece that is now frameless.....I won't do anything rash or stupid like use it as a birdcage liner or anything. Believe me when I tell you that it does indeed have sentimental value to this particular Spinster Stitcher. I think it was the very first piece that I ever stitched! Yup. When Aunt Chrissy taught me to stitch circa 2003 or so, I got it in my head that I was going to stitch houses (!) and only houses (!) for as long as we both shall live.

I got over THAT pretty quickly, thank goodness. Now, I'm not sure if I could even THINK about stitching a house without some very serious consideration and a cocktail.

Happy Futzingday, everybody! I hope that whatever you're Futzing is exactly what you want it to be!

Nov 15, 2011


Last Friday afternoon, my stupid mo-ther decided to try her hand at matzo ball soup. While this wouldn't necessarily be something to write home about, it's what she did AFTER she made the soup that is so worthy of a few little words from yours truly.

She ate the entire pot of it and then called my Aunt Chrissy to tell her how positively delicious it was.

When she hung up the phone, I said "Mo-ther, don't you think that was rather rude? Did you stop for a moment to ponder whether or not my Aunt Chrissy might like to have some of that delicious soup? Wouldn't it have been a nice gesture to pack up a nice little basket full of soup and whatnot and take it over to her house so that she could have a lovely little supper after such a long full hard week of work?"

Apparently I should have kept my thoughts to myself, because before I knew what hit me, we were packing up the whole kitchen and some stitching and we headed over to Aunt Chrissy's for the entire evening.

(It's not that I don't love my Aunt Chrissy, and it's certainly not that I don't love her's just that my visits are somewhat tarnished by the fact that my pesky little cousin Bosco happens to live there also, so this means that I have to be nice to him and feign some type of interest in whatever it is that he wants to play with. I usually hop up into my Aunt Chrissy's lap and then glare at the little bugger from her Happy Chair, but this time he seemed particularly dedicated to irritating the hell out of me, so I curled up and took a nice long nap instead.)

I'm sure you've figured it out by now, but my Aunt Chrissy is the real stitching celebrity in our whacky little family. She has been stitching for more years than we can even remember, and despite my mo-ther's best efforts to convince you that SHE is the cheese, the truth of the matter is that my mo-ther's stitching cannot hold a candle to that of my Aunt Chrissy.

(Might I also point out the fact that my Aunt Chrissy does her stitching quietly and without fanfare, and that she doesn't feel the need to telegraph her every mood, move, thought, or silly shenanigan to the whole entire world every fifteen minutes like SOMEBODY we know?)

The first thing I'd like to show you is the recently framed Halloween Rules that hangs just behind Aunt Chrissy's Happy Chair. This sucker is HUGE! I believe that it measures almost four feet in total height, and I can tell you that it makes quite a fantastic statement when you see it in real life:
The wall above the sofa is a particular favorite of mine because it incorporates stitching from Aunt Chrissy, my stupid mo-ther, and even a piece from my Grandma Sig (*). See the Van Gogh sunflower piece to the right of the floral canvas? That's a needlepoint picture that my Grandma stitched many many years ago. Aunt Chrissy recently restored it and it now hangs next to the piece that my mo-ther stitched called Strawberry Garden. All of the other pieces were stitched by my Aunt Chrissy:
This is another of my Grandma's pieces. She stitched this little girl holding her hat for Aunt Chrissy, and she stitched a little girl reading a book for my mo-ther. Aunt Chrissy recently restored this one also, and although you can't see the individual stitches very well from this picture, believe me when I tell you that they are perfection:
Now we move into Aunt Chrissy's formal living room. In this room are a lot of the furnishings that came from the Rich Sisters family home, and the big needlepoints over the piano are particular favorites. See the huge one in the middle? My Grandma Sig called that her "disaster picture" because she stitched it during the blizzard of 1977 when both my mom and my aunt had chicken pox and the mumps and their neighborhood in Lima, Ohio was snowed in for days and days and days. I suspect that this needlepoint picture is the only thing that kept my grandma from hopping on a sled and running away from home.
Aunt Chrissy's front foyer also showcases some of her lovely things, and she changes out the pillows on that chair according to the seasons.
Finally, I thought I'd show you another needlepoint picture that my Grandma Sig made. This one hangs above Bosco's water and food dishes. Can you imagine having something so lovely to look at while you're chomping your Puppy Chow? (The green border that you see on this one is actually a velvet ribbon.)
My Grandma Sig was a very interesting woman, and someday I'll tell you more about her. The (*) is because my mo-ther tells me that if Grandma knew that a nine pound Jack Russell terrier was calling her Grandma Sig, she'd probably get quite a chuckle out of that. Every time my mo-ther says something about "Stewey and Bosco's Grandma and Grandpa", she looks at their photographs and grins. (Is this what spinsters do when they are 45 and childless and their parents are both deceased?)

For the purposes of this post, though, I'm supposed to point out that all of Grandma's needlepoint was stitched on Penelope canvas using the "sewing method" and that she stitched in columns...she would start a thread at the bottom and then sew straight up the column, and then she would end the thread at the top. Then she'd do that over and over and over again until the entire piece was completed. She used Bucilla wool for her threads, and Mom and Aunt Chrissy can remember sitting on the floor with it coiled around their little hands while Grandma rolled it into a big ball. (I guess it came in big hanks.)

Some silly woman told my mom and Aunt Chrissy that there is no way these pieces could have come out as perfectly as they did using that method, but I can attest to the fact that every single solitary stitch is perfect, and from what Mom tells me, the canvases never warped or got crooked one little bit.

As for my Aunt Chrissy's stitching.....well let's just say that her techniques are all perfection. If you look at the back of something she's stitched (which I'm told you're not supposed to do), the stitches look as perfect as they do on the front. Apparently this has something to do with the fact that Aunt Chrissy is a very careful stitcher and that she has "perfect tension".

(My mo-ther's stitching, on the other hand is one big fat crock pot full of hot mess.)

So there you have it, folks. A little peek into my Aunt Chrissy's world. If she lets me, I'll tell you more about her in the future, and I'll try to sneek my camera over to snap some pics of some of the stuff she's working on now. Suffice it to say's all gorgeous!

I hope that you're having a fabulous Tuesday! I remain your loving and devoted friend.


Nov 14, 2011


I awoke Saturday morning to the grim realization that the pod of elves I'd hired to restore order around here had apparently gotten lost and was probably sipping Appletinis in a cozy bar someplace.

(Do elves even come in a pod? What do you call a group of elves. A gaggle? A herd?)

(Note to self: must look up the proper word for situations in which more than one elf is required.)

There is absolutely no plausible explanation for the mess that I can create as one single solitary spinster, so I am thoroughly convinced that a large party of frat boys comes into my house every night and has at it while I'm asleep.

(Spinsters and elves and frat boys...oh my!)

Anywhoose....I spent the better part of Saturday cleaning the garage to within an inch of its life, and yesterday got some crazypants idea that I could do the same thing inside.

Today I can't life my arms.

This, of course, is the explanation of why I didn't finish a ton of stitching over the weekend, but I'm thinking that this cold and rainy Monday will be the perfect opportunity to do so. I did manage to get all of the border finished on Friday night while Stewey and I were hanging out with Aunt Chrissy at her place.

(Which, by the way, always looks spectacular and never requires any elves at all.)

So here is the progress thus far on Prairie Schooler's Thanksgiving Comes Again:

I've received a ton of questions about my reactions and opinions regarding the outfits that the Notre Dame football team sported on Saturday evening. While most of the things that I have to say aren't fit for prime time TeeVee, I did want to say this to all of the Maryland fans who think that their outfits are hideous: Hello, dear Maryland fans who think your football outfits are hideous! Do you know what the best part of Saturday's game was? Well, it was the fact the you've finally managed to find an opponent whose outfits were more hideous than yours.

You're welcome.

Finally, can I just say this about the whole "Notre Dame is going to hell in a handbasket" thing? It's not about the helmets. Really. It's not. The helmets are just a simple (and tacky -- let's not forget tacky) representation of the decline of a place that I loved from the time that I was in utero. It's kinda like watching an aging movie star slap on too much bad cologne and a leisure suit and then go out and troll the bars for a twenty-something year old bombshell that has no intention of being seen with a smelly old dinosaur that once was somebody special.

I'll get over my heartbreak eventually, but in the meantime the ring stays off.

Now if we could just do something about that leprechaun tattoo....

Nov 10, 2011


Am I the only person having a nervous breakdown over 11-11-11?

Nov 8, 2011


My dog can't come to the blog right now. He's on the back patio conducting a seminar on proper table etiquette for a group of fascinated squirrels. I wasn't sure what was happening at first, but then I caught the following:

STEWEY: Good morning, Gentlemen. I'd like to take a moment of your time to talk about a pressing matter and how it relates to our future co-existence in this little space of ours. You see, my afternoon napping spot is right there inside those windows, and I am subjected to your boorish behavior and constant chattering and munching and whatnot, and I simply cannot abide by it any longer. Your manners are ghastly, gentlemen! Just ghastly!

(With that, he dons his reading glasses, whips out a little clipboard, and starts lecturing).

STEWEY: Napkins are to be placed thusly in one's lap (demonstrating). Then, after all of your fellow dining companions have been served, and only then, may one begin to enjoy their meal. Mouths are to remain closed while chewing, and conversation should remain light and without controversy until the final course is served and the ladies retire to the parlor for tea and the gentlemen to the study for brandy. It isn't that hard, really. You just need to act in a rather civilized fashion and not as though you are accustomed to sniffing your hindparts while dangling from a tree branch. (He wrinkles his nose in derision.)

SQUIRREL #1: What the *(#&$() is THAT?

SQUIRREL #2: It looks like a freakin' dog to me, but what the #*$()#N is it wearing?

SQUIRREL #3: Did the big lady bring more bird food?

SQUIRREL #1: Wait a minute....I think the dog is sayin' something to us.

SQUIRREL #2: Table manners? What the $*#()##&) are table manners? And who the $*#() is Miss Post?

SQUIRREL #3: Move over. I'm trying to eat.

Aunt Chrissy will be here shortly so that we can go vote, and then I assume that I will come home to a miffed little Jack Russell terrier who wants to bitch about the neighbors until I promise that we'll move. It's taken me a while, but I've finally learned that when he gets in one of his "moods", I just need to let it go.

Here's the progress on the Prairie Schooler:
So that, my dear friends is all there is to report from CrazyTowne today. I did manage to try a very very small piece of the Turtle Pie last night after dinner, and I must was simply dee-lish!

And speaking of dee-lish....The Future Mr. Spinster Stitcher, Jeffrey Dean Morgan His Very Self was indeed on the TeeVee last night and I was indeed planted smack dab in front of it making kissy noises at him until it was time for a cold compress and bed. Damn, but that that boy knows how to blow my skirt up.

Woo Hooooooo!

Nov 7, 2011


She was left to her own devices. Against all better judgement and against all federal, state, and local authorities, my stupid mo-ther was allowed to spend time in the kitchen yesterday -- concocting God knows what until it was time to haul her off to bed.

It all started with packages of Jello pudding TURTLE flavor. TURTLE flavored pudding! Why, in the name of all that is holy, do we need TURTLE flavored pudding?!

She futzed and grunted and stirred and whipped, and after a few hours I heard her tell my Aunt Chrissy "OMG! You will not BEE-LEEVE what I just made!!!! I just made a TURTLE PUDDING pie with homemade toffee!!"

Apparently, the recipe called for caramel ice cream topping, and since she ate all of that on the ride home from the grocery store last week, she had to make it from scratch. (Or, in this case, from a recipe that she saw on the Ina a few weeks ago.) Butter, brown sugar, cream, and vanilla. Bring to a boil. Let is rest. Vwa-la.

Then she spread that in the bottom of a graham cracker pie crust, topped it with the TURTLE flavored pudding, and then piped whipped cream all over the top of it.

(Gag orders issued by the courts prevent me from describing what happened next, but let's just say that I'm not sure I'm ever going to get the stains out of the front of her old lady sweatshirt.)

Aside from all of those shenanigans, she did manage to hang her Prairie Moon piece in The Gallery. (OK. It's only the hallway that leads from the laundry room, but we need all the help we can get trying to sophisticate up this place, so a "Gallery" it 'tis.)

I don't know if you will be able to see the frame, but it has lovely highlights that match the color of the linen:

There was also a bit of stitching on the Prairie Schooler piece, and I would guess that it was the pie next to the word "doorway" that prompted the whole TURTLE pudding experiment:
Other than that, it was a rather un-eventful weekend. Mom and Aunt Chrissy ran errands on Saturday and came home giggling about going to the Rural King for trash cans and bird food. You would have thought that they had discovered Mars or something the way they were going on about it. From what I know, the Rural King is simply a store where you can buy everything from tractor parts to marshmallows, so I'm not sure why they were surprised at the availability of cheap bird food and trash cans in which to store it.

That's about it for a Monday. I'll let you know how long the TURTLE pudding pie lasts.

With love from your pal,

P.S. I've just been informed that TURTLE pudding does not, in fact, taste of actual turtles. So with respects to all of the above....well...nevermind.

Nov 4, 2011


Did you ever sit in your Happy Chair muttering to yourself "Well, this is a whacky little house with whacky little windows and a whacky little roof" only to discover that you were, in fact, stitching a barn? Such was life here at Chez Spinster last night as I worked on the Prairie Schooler piece.
See that building on the right? It's a barn. You would have thought that the hayloft would have given it away, but this is me we're talking about.

I'm not sure if it's just me, or if the colors of Autumn have been much lovelier this year. I find myself stopping whatever I'm doing during the course of a day (which isn't much, trust me) to take pictures of trees.
This beauty is directly across the street from my front window, and it has been nice to watch it change these last few weeks. ('Scuse the little bald lilac in the foreground, please.)

And I know that I've already mentioned it, but Aunt Chrissy really outdid herself this year with the decorations. This, I think, is my very favorite part of them:
At night, the front porch light is so pretty on the different colors. Sometimes I stand out there in the front yard gazing upon it while you-know-who is examining every single freakin blade of grass.

That would be it for this particular Friday, my dears. We're off to the Michael's to pick up our framing pieces! Woo Hoo! Stay tuned for pics on Monday!

Nov 3, 2011


I'm not sure if I've ever stitched one of these Prairie Schooler pieces, but I can tell you that I sure am enjoying this one! As I was pondering and pondering yesterday, I realized that I don't have one single solitary piece of stitching for Thanksgiving. So up to the studio I went, and after futzing around with a lovely piece of Weeks Dye Works 30ct. Straw linen, methinks I've got something that will keep me occupied for the next few days.

Your comments about me and my silly little blog are so appreciated! Don't encourage me, though, or I might go off and do something productive. We can't have THAT now, can we?

Happy Thursday!

Nov 2, 2011


Chello, my very dearest stitchy friends,

I see from your comments that you are somewhat interested in my choice of costume for Halloween. While I'm bemused that you would be interested in such a thing, I'm rather surprised that you would think that the selection was limited to just one ensemble. Haven't you noticed the trend lately in which multiple gowns and/or getups are donned for big celebrations?

(I'm speaking, of course, about the fact that Ms. Kardashian wore no less than four different outfits during the six and half minutes that she was, in fact, married.)

The plan was that I would start the night with my favorite costume....that of a Pan Am flight attendant. I had then hoped to transition into something from the Real Housewives of Hoosierville, followed by a cute little number that I like to call "GaGa meets Midler meets a ladybug", but alas, my plans were foiled before I was able to perch the smart little pillbox on top of my head.

My stupid mo-ther went face first into the bowl of Butterfingers, and within minutes had to be rescued with a vat of diet Coke, a cool compress, and the promise that I would remain at home to attend to the doorbell. I don't know why I was surprised at this little development, especially since she seems to do this every year (and on alternate Thursdays). So rather than sporting my little costumes and parading about the neighborhood, I was left to supervise what can only be described as a case of acute candy intoxication.

I know that the old lady promised that this would (henceforth and so on) be a stitching blog, but I'm afraid that I don't have anything to show you from last night's efforts. I saw the needle poke a canvas work piece a few times, but within minutes, the snoring and drool started and it was all I could do to get her stupid teeth brushed and pajamas on and then tumble her into the big girl sleigh bed. Sheesh. I'm living with a toddler.

Stay tuned, though. My Aunt Chrissy took the bull by the horns yesterday and headed over to the Hobby Lobby to buy out their Christmas decoration aisle. From the looks of it, we might have a proper tree this year, and I couldn't be more excited about it!

Thank you for tuning in. I promise that there will be stitching to share tomorrow. Looks like the old lady just hit the Happy Chair with the remote and a few nice new stay tuned!

Until then, I remain....

Your loving pal,

Nov 1, 2011


Into The Night
Shepherd's Bush
32ct. Murky Pond
(all of the threads came in the kit)