Aug 4, 2008


Before we begin, could somebody please indulge me for a moment and explain what constitutes a proper English tea? I've decided to implement 4:00 tea time here at Chez Spinster, but I don't have the first darn clue as to how one goes about it. I've always wanted to know how to prepare a pot of tea in the correct manner, but the only reference I've ever seen was in Oprah's magazine. (With all due respect to our girl "O", I don't think she's the necessary authority on the subject.) So if somebody out there will help a heathen out, I'd be much obliged.

As for the title of today's post, it has to do with the fact that I'm all "up in my head" again with my stitching. As you might have observed, I have not participated in the Rotation That Must Be Obeyed in quite some time. When I was participating in a rotation I confess to feeling all smug and satisfied that I was "accomplishing" so much. Now that I'm left to my own devices, I seem to be mucking about without any proper supervision whatsoever.

Why does my stitching have to be "accomplishing" anything? Why can't I just sit in my damn Happy Chair and stitch whatever the h-e-double-toothpicks I feel like on that particular day? Why do I feel the need to "organize, assess, and plan" something that is supposed to make me get off the ledge? Why???

I simply hate having all of these WIP's, but then I see something up in the studio that just CALLS to me and BAM! I've got another new project going. So then I decide to make goals for myself and I get a rather half-assed notion of what I'm going to stitch for the next month or so and BAM! my BFF Laura J. Perin posts the last installment of the Blackwork Challenge.

Oh, to heck with it. I made a promise to myself long ago that I wasn't going to put my head on my pillow coffin and wish that I would have stitched less or drank lousy coffee. I suppose that I should just romp around all of this stuff and play to my heart's content. I could drive myself nuts with worry and stress over what to do next and what's the perfect date to start Christmas stuff, and I could walk down the driveway to get the mail and get hit by a bus. Wouldn't that be a riot? Spend all my time planning and then POOF! no more stitching.

So here's my manifesto for the day....I, Coni J. Rich Her Very Self, do solemnly swear to stitch without getting "all up in my head". I promise to work on things that make my heart sing and I promise to pay attention to how much enjoyment the piece adds to my pitiful little life. I will not bitch about my stash, my WIP's, my BAP's or any other letter-group related to stitchy things. I will read blogs and rejoice in the accomplishments of others without wondering why I can't seem to finish one damn thing myself. I will not view this as a competitive sport, I will encourage other stitchers in their work, and I will try to remember why I started to stitch in the first place. Signed, sealed, and delivered this day in August (which I don't know because I'm too lazy to go find a calendar), 2007. Or is it 2008?

My new start for the weekend is a counted canvas piece by a designer named Kimberly. The title of the piece is called "Wandering" and I've had it forever, it seems. I did start it several times, but I always abandoned it because it called for a stem stitch. Well, thanks to my Beginner's Crewel class, I now know how to do the stem stitch, so VOILA'! we're back in business! Yup, I did change some colors. I am substituting "Olive Grove" for "Antique Brass" and I changed the Impressions to reflect an olive/dark purple kind of thing. I also changed the canvas color from pewter grey to brown. I did keep all of the other silks as per the chart, and they're HEAVEN to stitch with! I'm going to get right back to this as soon as I sign off for the day.
I'll leave you with this pic of Stewey. He seems to have figured it out....when in doubt, surround yourself with things you love and take a nap!
So in the words of Ms. Paula Dean Her Very Self (adapted for us, of course).....From my studio to yours, I send you love and best stitches!


  1. Oh if I had a finished project everytime I was all up in my head with stitching worries I'd have quite a lot of finishes and barely there stash...LOL!
    You go girl! I like the way you think.
    Can't help you on the tea...Lipton with hot water makes a nice cup for me.

  2. Now I find the best cuppa is a teabag in a mug with milk and sugar,
    But I think most UK ladies will have similar ways of brewing up a pot, But if the MIL & FIL are coming, I get out the Teapot(they prefer loose tea) but they have to suffer the bags at our house. You have to let the tea stew for a bit depending on how strong you would like it! Don't do tea cups has to be a mug lol
    Not sure if this helps? Look !now you had the mad english woman rambling about tea, !! LOL

    With lots of WIP's you can never be bored!!

  3. My mum used to always 'warm the pot' (swish some boiling water round it) and then add loose tea- one teaspoon per person plus one for the pot. Leave to stew (no offence Stewey) for a while and then pour into china tea cups - must be real china - with saucers. Me I drink coffee from a mug! lol

  4. I am new to blogging and love your blog. Throw out your stitching rotation. I have stitched for twenty years without one and have found that sooner or later all the projects I have started get done at some point or another.

    Oh, and the tea thing I am a diet Pepsi fiend, so I have no idea how to have a tea. I am sure it should involve eating a delicious pastry everyday at 4:00 though.

  5. May I sign my own copy of your manifesto? I think it's very refreshing!

    As for tea, I'm not proper about it: I simply choose an appealing tea bag, put it in a mub, fill the mug with water, and put it in the microwave on the "beverage" setting. A proper English tea, though, sounds very relaxing! Will you serve scones?

  6. Hi Coni,

    Carol R has it right for making a good pot of English tea. Earl Grey is a nice light afternoon tea IMHO. Then you serve it with small cucumber sandwich triangles with the crusts cut off and cake and scones......yum, yum! :-) Let me know if you want a selection of English tea, I will be happy to send some!


    Jackie x

  7. Now those are two neat magazine shelves - wish mine looked like that.
    These days a teabag in a mug seems to be the norm for heathens and as CarolR says for puritans :lol
    And as for whether the milk goes first or last when using a teapot ... why did the chicken cross the road... there is no correct answer (but then what do I know cos I drink mostly coffee). Instant at that! But do agree you must have a little nibble to go with your 4:00 pm tea! Scones with clotted cream and fresh strawberry jam perhaps :)
    Hi Stewey :)

  8. laughing smiling busting a gut
    stitch your spirit happy
    stewey runs the show
    as for tea
    if the end result is did it right
    smiles and thanks

  9. Just remember 'she who dies with the most stash' is NOT an award you want to have! I say put a stitch in everything you have!

    Now here is some more sister stitching advice: "GET OUT OF YOUR HEAD!" Everything will get done, it always does.....besides look at all that you have done so far and think back when those were all just WIP.

    I Love you!
    Crys otherwise known as 'Chrissy'

  10. Stitch what you want, when you want and kill the rotation rules - otherwise you completely negate the mental health benefits of stitching!

    I'm so goal oriented that I can only have 3-4 WIPs at any given time or I start to feel too pressured..

    The only think I know about proper tea making is to warm the pot first. Earl Grey is my personal favorite - it smells so yummy!

  11. I prefer tea from a pot, but i like Twinings Lady Grey tea, not so potent as Earl Grey, but very refined..... wonder why i am allowed to drink it then *snigger*

    Warm the pot, add the tea bag, add boiling water, wait a while, put small amount of milk into cup and add tea form the pot (dont forget 4pm is cake time too!!)

  12. Your blog is such a hoot!! Remember, stitching is suppose to fun and relaxing, otherwise it might as well be work! I meet with a stitching group once a month and it's amazing what some people can get done! I take it as inspiration and keep plugging along on my own little creation. I have a HUGE stash and honestly, I'll probably never get it all done, but that never stops me from picking up the next great chart I see. Just keep it fun and relax...... it's just a bunch of x's !!! Lorie

  13. Enjoy your tea and your stitching.

  14. No question that warming the pot before adding the tea (always add the tea to an empty warmed pot first) and almost boiling water is part of the secret of great English tea. I know that the English also add the milk in the cup (or mug) and then pour the tea in, but I prefer sugar (no milk. The English look at me funny.) But the other part is always have something to eat with the tea, even if it just a ginger biscuit (cookie). Me? I love smoked salmon on brown bread, crustless cucumber sandwiches and scones with clotted cream and jam.

  15. Hi Coni,

    Glad to hear that you are having fun as this hobby is supposed to be fun! I'm picturing you in your Happy Chair surrounded by lot's of projects which you are gleefully playing with but they are put up high enough that Stewey isn't tempted to play with them! LOL!!!

    I can't help you out with the tea questions as I am a coffee drinker but what I would suggest is that it sounds like it's time for a visit to a tea shoppe! You and Chrissy need to take a day and go out for tea. This will be considered research so that you can observe how a proper tea is served and so you can buy all of the necessary ingredients and items for your proper tea! Have fun and let us know if you do have a tea adventure!

    My daughter (late teens) and all of her friends enjoy going out for tea for their birthdays and other special events!

    Windy Meadow

  16. I could never do rotations - I'm stubbornly opposed to rules. It's a rule ~ follow no rules! So, I don't.

    Proper English Tea:

    Scroll to the bottom for the tea making hints. I used to hold Teas for my nieces but they've kinda outgrown it.

    There is also:



    I used to love going out for afternoon tea with my father to the fanciest hotels in Melbourne. He would drink tea, but since I hate tea, I would stick to my diet coke. I loved the scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam, and the cute little finger sandwiches.

    I don't follow a rotation, either. I stitch what I want, when I want. I usually only have 2 larger projects and a smaller project on the go at any given time.