Oct 30, 2008


I give you Exhibit A:This is my stitching light. Now before you get all superior-like and tell me that that is NOT a stitching light, but rather a re-purposed desk light...I know. But I love this light. I have stitched with this light since the day I started stitching. It looks ridiculous in my living room, and I don't care. It's my stitching light.

You might also notice my glasses in the pic (they're on top of the canvas). These are "cheaters" that I purchased at Borders with a 40% off coupon and I love them. They make me look interesting. And very very smart.

You wanna' know how smart I am?

I set my hair on fire tonight with my stitching light and my spiffy glasses. Yes. That's right. Hair. On. Fire.

When you were a little kid, did you ever take a magnifying glass outside and set ants on fire? (Of course you didn't, but you heard about it, right?) Well, if you understand that concept (which apparently, I did not), you can achieve the very same results with a desk lamp and some 2.0 magnifying glasses parked on top of your head because you just had to watch the last four minutes of "Lipstick Jungle" without the distraction of glasses on your nose.

Please allow me to summarize: Sniff sniff. What the $#* !!! Stewey, Mommie's on FIRE! Quick, Stewey, call 9-1-1 just like they taught you in Puppy School! Oh wait, what am I talking about? You flunked Puppy School because you simply refused to remove yourself from being attached to my neck and you thought the other puppies were smelly and ill-mannered. Water! I need to put water on the fire! Oh why can't I have my usual glass of water on the table?! Why did I have to decide to stop drinking water after 6pm because I'm so tired of getting up to pee every six minutes during the night! Oh no! I was going to color my hair this weekend! I wonder if the FIRE will affect the ability for the color to get rid of the grey! FIRE! I! AM! ON! FIRE!

So I ran into the kitchen and stuck my head under the faucet for a full ten minutes. Crisis over, but the smell will linger, I'm sure.
"Mommie? Can I go live with Aunt Chrissy? I don't think this is a very good situation for me. Besides, when you go into assisted living, I want to make sure that somebody is managing the estate properly. I already know you're blowing my college fund on stitching, so perhaps this would be best."

Oct 28, 2008


When I was pulling threads for this project, the LNS didn't have the called for colors in stock. For the orange, DebBee calls for DMC920. Well, me being the stitchy genius that I am, I figured that I could pull DMC922 and everything would be just fine. Tomato, tomahto.


For those of you out there shaking your heads at my stupidity, please don't blame my stitchy sensei, Chrissy. From the very beginning, she has warned me against guessing about color, especially about DMC color. Numbers really don't mean anything, and if you think DMC922 is the same as or close enough to DMC920, you'll spend the evening looking at DMC922 wondering why it's just too damn bright for the project that you are so lovingly stitching. And, unless you're my BSSFF* Chrissy and you can actually see all of the DMC colors in your head, you're much better off actually looking at the darn color chart or the skein itself for a color check.

So I frogged all of the orange out of the piece and headed up to the studio to see if I had a ball of DMC#8 perle in 920. I didn't. BUT! I did have a skein of #5 perle and I figured that it just might work. It did. As is evidenced by the lousy pic above, the rhodes stitches in the center are now a deeper and richer orange, which happens to look much better with the variegated Watercolors. (You'll have to trust me on this...it's o'dark hundred here and I just can't wait until tomorrow to share my wisdom.) The ball in the lower left is the dreaded DMC922. Duh.

So I've learned my lesson and I promise not to get color cocky again. I'll still switch and play and put things together as I damn well please, but I won't substitute until I know for sure that the color will actually work. There. I promised and everything.

I do, however, like the canvas showing through in between the orange rhodes stitches in the brown floss area. I'm supposed to fill it in with orange floss, but I'm thinking I might leave it open? (Oh, there I go again, getting all mavericky with it!) I think I'll finish the piece and then go back to see if it will need something there. As for that center, I pulled out the waffle stitch and will put the beaded "X" that's called for in the chart. See....I can be a rule follower if I need to be.

The next time I talk with my BSDFF* Laura J. Perin I'll have to ask her if she wants to smack people in the head when they change things on her designs. I mean, she's the PROFESSIONAL for cryin' out loud, so why would we feel compelled to mess with perfection? But sometimes I love playing with different colors or textures and I secretly hope that she would be pleased with my choices. Either that, or I'm probably offending the living daylights out of her, but because she is just the very nicest person on the whole planet, she would never say so. Oh, now I'm going to fret about this all night.

Now before I forget......Happy Diwali! I was on the phone for three hours today with all of my new BICF's* from HP in India. To kill time while we were waiting for my printer to actually print something, I made pleasant conversation with whomever was stuck listening to me. Turns out that today is a festival day in India called Diwali. Apparently it involves a lot of fireworks, crackers, and new clothing. The best part is that I kept wishing everybody I talked to a "Happy Vivaldi" until one of my new friends spelled it for me and laughed at my silly American accent. Oh well, you can't blame a girl for trying a little international diplomacy now, can you?

Off to bed. Stewey is already warming the sheets and will start to wonder where I've gotten myself off to!

BSSF = Best Sister Stitchy Friend Forever
BSDFF = Best Stitchy Designer Friend Forever
BICF = Best Indian Computer Friend


It was waffle night at Chez Spinster. As you can see, I completed the outer border of waffle stitches. These were done in Watercolors "Burnt Toast" and I loved every single one of them. What a fun stitch! I also started on the outer/outer border before turning out the lights.

Stewey was feeling a little poorly last evening, so he put himself to bed about 8:30. He was so excited to learn that it would snow, but then fell into a fit when it didn't last more than three minutes. He is so ready to go out and make that first snowman. Methinks I could wait just a little longer, however, since the fall colors are still seeping into the living room in the afternoons and making me very happy. "Please let me sleep, Mommie. I have the sniffles and need my beauty rest."

Oct 27, 2008


WHEW! I finished the fern stitches in the outer border only to discover that a few of them were supposed to be a little wider than the others. Now, if I had been a good stitcher and read the chart carefully, I would have seen the part where Miss DebBee Her Very Self TELLS me to be careful since a few of the fern stitches in the outer border are a little wider than the others. Sigh.

So I frogged and then had a mild panic attack when I realized that I was almost out of the Kreinik! What's a Spinster Stitcher to do? Well, this Spinster Stitcher dumped out the ort holder and found every single little scrap of fiber she could and managed to make it with this much to spare: _____. Woo Hoo!

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood today and methinks this will be the very last shot of fall color. So I'm going to get out there and see if I can enjoy it for a few moments more. I'd promise pics, but y'all know that I am just about the most craptastic photographer out there, so I won't hurt you with any pitiful attempts. Ciao!

Oct 26, 2008


If sheer determination counted for anything, I would be a petite blond triathlete and would have my very own line of "stitch wear" clothing for the "active needlewoman lifestyle". I am so determined not to let this *%$&@# computer get the best of me that it took me all of the morning to figure out how to get the pic out of the camera and onto this here screen. Must. Press. On. Must. Not. Let. Silly. Technology. Kill. My. Will. To. Live.

But I regress....

Here's last night's stitchy progress on the DebBee's "Diamond Delights III". I finished the inner border and started on the fern stitches in the outer. These ferns are done in Kreinik, and I have to confess that I'm not hating it. (Note to self: check status of Kreinik stash and consider buying more.)

Chrissy and I watched the Notre Dame game and then had the First Annual Stitchin' Spinster Sisters John Travolta International Film Festival. We started with "Grease" and then progressed to "Saturday Night Fever". We only got about fifteen minutes into "Staying Alive" before Chrissy called it quits and went home. Now, despite the fact that I am a relatively "normal" and pop-culturally aware 42-year old person, I confess to never having seen "Saturday Night Fever" or "Staying Alive". I was a bit captivated by the white suit, but totally went right over the edge with the longer hair and chiseled jaw line of "Staying Alive". I did manage to hit the "record" button because Chrissy promises me that there is a loin cloth involved. (I'll watch later when I have sufficiently calmed down from my morning computer tizzy-fit.) May I just say....Mr. Travolta, you are indeed what this spinster needed on a cold autumn evening. Woo Hoo!

Oct 24, 2008


Sorry, kids. For the last three days I have been a) fighting with this silly box on my desk trying to get it to just understand me and b) making lots and lots of friends at HP in India. (Hi, Raj! Hi Benizir! Hi Mohatma!)

Anywhoose, I have no idea why you just can't push a button and do what it is you need to do at any given moment of the day. I mean, come on, my microwave knows that when I push the "Add Minute" button it means that I need the remaining three sips of joe to be searing hot enough to motivate me out of the Happy Chair for the day, so why can't this freakin' computer just understand my need to connect with all of my stitchy friends on a daily basis?

Silly machines.

So no stitchy news or pics for you today, my pwitties. I vow to return on Monday morning armed with a new attitude and a copy of "Vista for Dummies" if it's the last thing I do.

If you don't hear from me, please call Mr. H and Mr. P and tell them that they can retrieve their crap off of my front lawn and that I will expect a full apology from the damn Geek Squad member that sold me this paperweight. In writing, please. And don't forget the chocolate bon bons and flowers.

(Now THERE'S an idea! Why not send your customers bon bons whenever you invent something that makes their lives MISERABLE and NOT WORTH GETTING OUT OF THE SLEIGH BED FOR! Wouldn't bon bons make it all better? Wouldn't they?)

Oct 23, 2008


OK, so I just couldn't go to bed without sharing a story. About chocolate.

Several years ago I took the train into Chicago to the Borders bookstore on Michigan Avenue. Dr. Andrew Weil was there for a reading from his latest book on food and I wanted to see him live and in person. (I think the title of the book is "Eating for Optimal Health", but that would require me to go find it and I'm just not gunna'.)

Dr. Weil is the guy that promotes integrative healing and does a lot of PBS shows about healthy living, etc. He kinda' looks like Santa Claus. (Yup. You guessed it. I have a MAJOR thing for Santa Claus, but that's another story for another day.)

I always thought Dr. Weil would be this portly fellow and kind of a hippie/dippy type, but when he walked onto the stage I about fell outta' my chair. He was dressed in a gorgeous dark suit and positively GLOWED with health. I mean it. The guy was lean and graceful and had the most beautiful skin and hair and smile. He just looked like he was the healthiest person to walk the face of the earth. I could have listened to him talk about food and health all day long. He was very interesting and approached his topic from both a medical as well as philosophical perspective. I was smitten.

So after his reading and a rather lengthy Q&A, he takes one last question from the audience. "Dr. Weil. What is the one food that you would eat daily to achieve optimal health?"

Without missing a beat he said (and I quote, because it has become my mantra): "I eat a one ounce piece of good quality dark chocolate every single day. Nothing could be better for you."

I thought the place was going to collapse from the applause.

So anywhoose.....I get in line to get my book signed by Dr. Andrew Weil His Very Self and as I approach the table I reach into my purse and pull out a Hershey's Kiss (they didn't have dark chocolate then) and I placed it on the table in front of him and he said "Will you marry me?" with the most twinkly eyes I have ever seen. Ever.

I've never been the same since and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Oh, and PS....I had my one ounce today. And then some.

Oct 22, 2008


Last night's stitching was Shepherd's Bush "Into the Night". As you can see from the pic above, I finished four motifs before hitting the hay. This was such a nice change of pace from the canvas work...small and easy to hold and no tugging whatsoever! It was interesting, however, to transition from 18ct. canvas to 32ct. linen! This linen is called "Murky Pond" and is really lovely and splotchy. Yummy.

Speaking of yummy.....am I the only person on the planet who buys 18 bags of Halloween candy and then eats every bit of them because she doesn't have any trick or treaters? Oh well, I'm not going to fret over it. According to Catholic University in Campobasso, Italy, dark chocolate is actually very good for you and should be consumed every day for maximum health benefits. And since Dad's "people" come from Campobasso, I intend to follow this as a direct order. Woo hoo!

Oct 21, 2008


When we were kids, our mom had a sign in the house that said "A Full Cupboard Bespeaketh a Generous Heart". (She also had one that said "Love One Another" that she thought said "Love Thy Mother" until we advised her otherwise, but that's another story for another day.)

Now, I'm not sure what it is about a stocked fridge that gives me such comfort, but I am thrilled to report that after some scrubbing, tossing, shopping, and organizing, I am ready to entertain the masses. I carefully planned some menus, wrote a grocery list, clipped coupons, and stayed within budget to get:

I know it's hard to tell from the pic, but there is only really really healthy stuff in here. Really.

What prompted this was a new show on which Rocco DeSpirito goes into people's homes to teach them to cook a meal for a loved one. This show invariably starts with Rocco checking out the fridge and I immediately felt compelled to get myself in good order in the event that Rocco should happen to drop by. (Now if Rocco shows up with Ina Garten and Robert Irvine in tow, we won't have to worry about my fridge because I'll drop dead on the very spot, but that's totally beside the point. I know.) So needless to say.....I'm ready for my Food Network closeup.

And while we're on the subject of bliss, I thought I would share another of Mom's needlepoint pictures. This one hangs in my bedroom, just over my reading chair. It ranks #2 on the list of items I would grab in the event of disaster (Stewey being #1), and I look at it and love it every single say. The girl's face and hands are in petit point and the rest in in continental stitch. Again....not what you would see today, but still treasured nonetheless.

Here's my stitchy progress from last night. I think I need to put this one down for a day or so since my fingers are getting beat up from the canvas and my arms are tired from trying to hold this sucker. (Still haven't figured out how to use that damn floor stand with the Happy Chair yet. Methinks one day I will need to get a proper stitching chair and learn to sit like a grown up human being.) The center is complete....all done in Waterlilies "Burnt Toast". I loved the stitch (a sprat's head, I think?), and I even managed to finish them all and watch the Duggar family all at the same time.

Another pretty day here in Hoosierville. So pretty, in fact, that Stewey decided to go for a little Dora the Explorer adventure during his morning constitutional. I found him on a neighbor's front walkway just enjoying the breeze. Damn dog. If one more neighbor catches me out in my pajamas and slippers I swear they're going to throw me outta' here.

Oct 20, 2008


If I could carry a tune, I suppose that I would be dancing about the house singing something perky at the top of my lungs. Maybe "Oh, What a Beautiful Morning" or something like that.

This Spinster had a wonderful weekend. It all started with that damn flu shot on Thursday, which meant that I was in jammies all day Friday. Chrissy kept me company and we watched movies and stitched. Our favorite was "The Holiday", and we determined that Chrissy is definitely the English cottage type and I'd be wonderfully happy in the L.A. house. It was so good that we watched it again on Saturday night! We also watched "Infamous" ( I can't figure out if it's Truman Capote that I'm fascinated with, or the overall story of his relationship with Perry Smith. Either way, methinks a trip to Borders is in order to learn more). Movie night ended at 3:30am with "Sex and The City". Mr. Big, be still my spinster heart.

Saturday dawned and my little sister showed up armed with Sonic breakfast and the will to help me clean out the garage and put the gardens to bed. She did all the heavy lifting and I made a trip to Goodwill with all of the crap that's been accumulating on the garage floor. (I swear it breeds and multiplies in there.) Needless to say, you can find me standing at the garage door gazing upon the organized loveliness. Heavy contented sigh. The Saturday mail delivered a SURPRISE for us, and we were just blown away. Formal thank yous are forthcoming, but just let me say to the sender......YOU ARE THE VERY BEST PERSON IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD AND WE LOVE YOU!

One of the best things about my little house is that it's surrounded by trees that are now in their full Autumnal glory. My living room in particular gets lovely light and Stewey is just basking in the morning sun. A happy warm puppy that smells like cookies and snuggles under the covers is highly recommended for whatever ails you. So my stitchy project is coming along very nicely and I have to say that I am somewhat amazed at how much fun I'm having. To look at the pic on the cover of the chart, you'd think that this involves a lot of hair pulling and swearing, but quite the opposite is true. Very very fun. Besides....it uses one of my all time favorite threads: Watercolors Burnt Toast. Methinks this one is going to be simply splendid once finished. I'll leave you with a pic of my little tableau. Sorry about the BIG WHITE WALLS! I just can't seem to get around to putting some color up there. Never fear...someday.

Oct 17, 2008


Sorry, kids. I'd love to show you stitchy pics or regale you with the latest Stewey news, but I got my flu shot yesterday. And, if you're me, that means that today has been spent feeling like I've been hit by a train. Repeatedly.

Don't cry for me Argentina. I've started the new DebBee's Diamond Delights III and think it's just wonderful. AND! I've filed all of my BSFF's Laura J. Perin charts into a wonderful binder that I am now going to take to bed with me (like Linus' blanket).

But first Aunt Chrissy is going to plant me in the Happy Chair with a cup of tea, You've Got Mail on the TeeVee, and a warm soft pup for company.

Stay tuned!

Oct 14, 2008


My mom can't come to the blog right now. She's too busy meeting with the carpenter that's going to widen all of the doorways in our house to accommodate her big fat head. She's been dancing around the house since last night in her big girl underpants and moo moo singing something about being queen of the universe. I haven't seen her this happy since I peed on the bathroom scale and fried its little brain.
So last night we were settled in the Happy Chair getting ready for some stitchy fun when the phone rang. I would have answered it, but ever since I got caught dialing 1-900 numbers, I'm grounded. So Mom picks up the phone and before I knew it, she knocked me off the chair and started bouncing around the room like her heiney was on fire.
The caller was Ms. Laura J. Perin Her Very Self. Nope. I'm not kidding. I snuck into the bedroom to pick up the extension, but I'm sorry that I did. My mother made such a boob of herself and babbled on like a freakin' idiot. I was embarrassed for her, but there was no way to tell her to just SHUT UP! So Mom and Ms. Laura J. talked and talked and I decided to just listen in to see if the conversation would turn to me.
Just when I was about to give up all hope, Ms. Laura J. told my mom that she thinks I should be allowed to be a ladybug for Halloween! I LOVE YOU AUNTIE LAURA! I was so thrilled that I practically peed the bed with delight that my dream, at last, would come true.
When they hung up, Mom trotted into the kitchen and grabbed a bottle of champagne from the fridge. She's not normally allowed to open champagne without adult supervision, but I couldn't get back to phone in time to call my Aunt Chrissy. I swear the cork just about put my eye out!
I was sooo tired, but I just couldn't get the old lady to settle down and go to bed. I finally gave up at about 3am and headed for the sack to get some shut eye. I think Mom made it to bed shortly after that, because the snoring started at about 4:00 and didn't let up until I woke her up to let me out to go potty. Stupid Mommy. Doesn't she know not to celebrate things on weeknights?
As if all of this weren't bad enough, today I found a note taped to my pillow asking me to blog about Mom's latest Happy Dance. (As if we didn't' have enough dancing around here last night!)
This is a painted canvas by the artist John Johansen. Mom started this all the way back in 2006 and finally finished it last night. This one gave her a lot of angst because she decided early on to do it all in tent/half-cross/continental/basketweave stitch. She got about 3/4 of it done and started to doubt the decision to keep it simple and let the fibers show detail and texture. Well I happen to think it turned out beautifully, but I'm just a simple puppy. Methinks Mom should frame this and hang it in the dining room near Grandma's pieces. Here's a little detail snap:Well, that's about it for today. Mom has gone back to bed for a nap and I think I'm going to go find a patch of sunshine myself. I hope you're all well and that you have a wonderful day! Thank you all for being so nice to my mom and making her feel so special....it sure makes my job a whole lot easier! Ciao!

Oct 13, 2008


Woo Hoo! My BSFF Laura J. Perin nominated me for an "I Love Your Blog" award! I am humbled and quite tickled purple that I am being recognized for something that brings ME such delight, (especially from one of my needlework heroes), but I just can't seem to follow the rules and nominate seven other stitchy bloggers.

So I made up my own rules....rather than go through my blog roll and nominate other bloggers, I thought I would recognize some stitchers who have made such a profound difference to me:

1. Chrissy
This one is a total no-brainer, since it was my little sister Chrissy who taught me to stitch in the first darn place. There are days that I feel bad that I have invaded her passion, but I am so happy that she decided to share the stitchy world with me. Chrissy is a stitcher in the truest sense of the word...it lives and breathes in her, and she has been dedicated to this artform for more than half of her life. Thank you, dear Chrissy for giving so generously of your time and your love and for letting me play in your sandbox.

2. Mom
I mentioned before that Mom was a needlepointer. According to all of the "rules" of needlepoint, Mom's work should have been distorted, poorly stitched, and warped beyond recognition. Not one piece that she did required blocking -- they were as perfect finished as when they were new. She did pre-worked florals on penelope canvas and added tent stitch backgrounds in black or green wool. She held the canvas in her hand and worked from the bottom to the top doing a sewing method. I guess all of that defies anything that makes any sense to a "technical" stitcher, but I am so grateful to have several of her pieces hanging in my house. I look at them every day and think of them as a stunning reminder of the stunning woman who made them.

3. Miss Jean
Jean does it all, but I've only seen her canvas work. She is a gorgeous stitcher and even had a piece accidentally framed backwards because her backs are as beautiful as her fronts. Every time I see something that Miss Jean has done, I am inspired to try it myself and usually love her for getting me to step out of my comfort zone.

4. Kavanaugh
Captain Dan Kavanaugh is a police officer for the University Notre Dame. He is a mountain of a man who could probably crack walnuts with his bare hands, so you'd never guess that he's such a tender soul. Chrissy taught him to stitch and then charted his family crest for him, and it hangs proudly in his office. Watching him stitch was fascinating....big "manly" hands producing the most perfect stitches. He was so meticulous and excited about his project that I found myself looking at stitching and stitchers in a whole new way.

5. Mariah
This is the little girl that Chrissy taught to stitch some months ago. According to her mom, she's still at it, but is keeping most of it "private". Methinks she has decided to make some stitchy gifts? The idea of Mariah coming up with her own designs and executing them with such determination makes me want to stitch forever.

6. Stitchy designers
Yes, I could be a walking commercial for my dear Laura J. Perin, but I am absolutely in awe of all of the stitchy designers who toil away at their craft so that we can benefit. Sometimes a new piece will take my breath away and I can't wait to get my paws on it. Sometimes I wonder what was going on in the designer's life that inspired them to create. Mostly, I just want to thank them for all of their creativity and ask them to never stop coming up with things to keep me off the streets.

7. Stitchy shop owners
Nobody goes into the business of owning a needlework shop to get rich. I am in love with all the shop owners out there who love stitching and love stitchers. I thank you for furthering the addiction, for giving so much of yourselves and your fortunes to keep us busy.

8. The "stranger" stitcher
This is the stitcher that is on the bus or the plane or waiting patiently at the doctor's office. She isn't looking for glory. She doesn't need to have anybody ooo and aahhh over her work. She just needs to stitch...to hold canvas or linen in her hands and do something wonderful with them. She doesn't have a blog and she doesn't keep a thousand journals of her work for posterity...she just stitches. She volunteers at her guild. She teaches others to stitch. She quietly goes about the world making it a better place for being in it. This is the stitcher that keeps the shops in business, the designers designing, and the rest of us grateful to be part of the fun.

Oct 12, 2008


Here's the promised photo of the completed Autumn Sampler canvas from Painted Pony. Woo Hoo! Can you see the little beads on the borders? I must confess to some pretty salty language flying outta' my mouth when I was attaching them....let's just say that invisible thread is not my friend at o'dark hundred with a sleeping puppy tot on my lap.

My perfectly perfect little sister called me this morning and told me to put my underpants and lipstick on and be ready to go out at 11:00. Then she picked me up and took me to Sonic for breakfast and over to Lowes for a beautiful potted mum for my front pathway. Such a great surprise and a wonderful way to start a Sunday.

Unfortunately, my afternoon was spent paying bills and doing paperwork chores. Don't these people know I have more important things to do? I mean, come on, kids...if I send you money then I won't have any left over for stitchy supplies, now will I? Why not give that $700 billion to us so that we can go buy linen and canvases and charts and threads with it? We may not have energy independence or a decent credit rating, but the country sure will look nice and we can give gifts to dignitaries and such.

OK, back to reality. Chrissy and Bosco are coming for Sunday dinner and I've got a salad to make. Nothing fancy....just lasagna and garlic bread with a little salad tonight. (But we DO have a very good looking French cheesecake for dessert!)

Hope y'all had a nice weekend!

Oct 11, 2008


Hi kids! I am HAPPY DANCING now that my little Autumn Sampler needlepoint canvas is done, but I can't photograph it at the moment. Silly me....forgot to re-charge the camera battery. Pics tomorrow, I promise.

I decided to answer/address some viewer mail/comments. Now just sit back and think of Wendy, the Snapple Lady:

Vonna asked if we have access to INCOLSA here in corn country, USA. Nope, sorry Vonna. I live in St. Joseph County, and our library system does not participate in this. Never fear, though, since I must say that we are blessed to have SEVERAL fabulous libraries at our disposal and I hope to visit them all more frequently.

Stitchy McFloss asked if I would post a pic of Stewey in his sweatshirt. Well, Stitchy, I'll sure try, but I can't make any commitments on this one. He can be rather tempermental about having his photo taken, and if the seams are off or if he feels it's not a good color on him he turns his back to the camera. He was sporting his little bath robe this morning (since there was a bit of a chill in the air), but I didn't catch him (see above re: camera battery being dead). I'll see if I can get a few ambush shots of him all dressed up and will share them asap.

DaffyCat, I use vinegar and water on my hardwood floors. The big burly guy that installed them took one look at me and said "Lady, if you put anything on these floors other than vinegar and water, don't call me to fix 'em". So I never have. Ahem. Anywhoose, the vinegar really does clean them quite nicely, and it only smells like pickles and salad dressing for an hour or so.

Yes, Magnolia, the ribollita was very good. I ended up filling eight containers and sent four home with Chrissy. I think she managed to get a few lunches out of them. As for me....I only had a few spoonfuls before stocking them in the freezer.

Cyn asked how I journal my finished projects. Well, I snap a photo and then fill out a little form that I made with all of the stitchy details like threads, fabric, stitches, start and end date, etc. And since I have tons of pretty papers and such, I tart up the photos and create a "page" for each so that it's kinda' purty like before I put it in a little album. I know....waaaaaay too much work for a hobby, right? Well, I only do it to get rid of the guilt for having all of this scrapbook stuff sitting up in the studio unused.

Karen/NYC: Yes, I've heard of Elizabeth Bradley and about a zillion years ago I bought a very small project to try. Alas....it languishes in my stash, so maybe I should break it out and get jiggy with it?

Crazee4books: Some painted canvases come with stitch guides. These guides tell you what threads/fibers to use, what stitches to use, and where to place them. In the case of my Autumn Sampler, I didn't have all of the threads that the designer/stitch guide author called for, so I just pulled DMC flosses and went to town. What was extra nice about this stitch guide was that is contained a color photograph of the finished piece that you could also use as a reference. Now, Lord knows that I am a needlework harlot and just LOVE all forms (counted cross stitch, canvas work, painted canvas, hardanger, crewel, etc.), but I particularly loved having a guide for this latest project.

Well, that's it for now. As always, thanks for tuning in! On tomorrow's show, we'll have pics of the finished Autumnal Sampler and our special guest will be Stewey Angus Rich, talking about his latest book "How My Mother Ruined My Life" or "Why I Can't Be a LadyBug For Halloween".

Oct 9, 2008


It's official. I love painted canvas. BUT! I have discovered that I am a stitcher that simply MUST have a stitch guide.

I have a really nice collection of canvases in my stash, and I love pawing through them and playing with threads, but they just intimidate the living h-e-double-toothpicks outta' me. Then I get all frustrated and put them away with a lot of heavy sighing and disgust that I'm not capable of executing the visions in my head.

So I've ordered a few stitch guides for a few canvases so that I can start to ENJOY my stash. (Hmmmm. Enjoyment of one's stash. Who knew?)

This baby is almost complete. Only the background and copper accents to go. The blocks turned out really cool, with lots of texture and various stitches. I used DMC floss for this, but I can imagine that other threads would have given it even more dimension.

Today I'm going to go through that Autumn basket (yet again). I have a great Shepherd's Bush "Into the Night" kit that methinks needs some startin'!

Oct 7, 2008


You've already met Dad. Here's Mom. Vaceila Helen Loukos Rich. Mom would have been 75 years old today. Seems impossible to imagine, since she was only 54 when she passed away.

Her "real" name was Sig. People who knew her never even realized that she had another name...she was Sig at work and at home and on her driver's license and checks. Chrissy and I never knew how she got that name until Uncle Connie told us that he was the one that gave it to her when he was little. (He's her baby brother). Apparently, he couldn't say Vaceila, so what came out was Sig. And Sig it was her whole life.

Mom was the middle girl in a family of three boys and three girls. She was born and raised in Lima, Ohio and according to her school yearbooks, was quite the girl about town. She graduated from high school and went to work for City Loan and Savings, and I think she was eventually Secretary to the President.

Mom had the uncanny ability to be the most elegant and classy lady in the room while keeping her warmth and great sense of humor. She could talk to anybody...from Westinghouse CEO's to the kid next door. She had a way of making you feel special and important and that you were the only thing that mattered to her at the moment.

She was smart and the most generous person you'd ever meet. She was fun and creative and organized and loving and careful with other people's hearts. She could be ornery too, and would sometimes put her hands on her hips and say "I's de boss and you's the bossie" whenever Chrissy or I would try her patience. She didn't yell, but she could pack a mean wooden spoon if she had to. The only time she ever "spanked" me was when I was seventeen years old and came home after curfew. She waited until I was at the top of the staircase to show me that I was never too big to be taught respect. I quickly found myself at the bottom of the staircase feeling like a schmuck for getting my butt kicked by a 5 foot 2 inch woman wearing a robe.

Mom grew Boston ferns on the front porch of our Lima house, and every year she gave them away to folks who had stopped by to admire them. She loved to work in the yard and always did so in jeans and a long sleeved shirt no matter how hot it was outside. She didn't like the sun and I don't think I ever saw her in a bathing suit (despite the fact that she had a great figure and "knockout" legs).

When Mom met Dad she said she knew that he was "the one" on the night of their first date. She said that she was looking out the window of the car thinking about what a nice guy he was and was wondering if he would ask her out again, when Dad said "Yes". "Yes what?" from Mom was answered by a "Yes, I'm going to ask you out again" from Dad and she figured he had read her mind.

She was an amazing wife and mother and homemaker and friend. She was also an artist and an avid needlepointer. Mom did needlepoint canvases on penelope canvas using the sewing method and every single stitch was perfect. Chrissy and I have most of her pieces and we look at them and treasure them every day. Mom may have been a beautiful stitcher, but she couldn't sew a button on to save her life. Both Chrissy and I remember Mom standing at the ironing table with our school uniforms and a roll of "stitch witch" cursing up a storm.

Mom could make a sandwich like nobody else, and she was famous for her Siggie Specials on Thanksgiving.....turkey, celery sticks, salt, pepper, and mayo on Pepperidge Farm white bread. No matter how stuffed you were after dinner, you just HAD to have a Siggie Special.

We moved a lot when we were kids, yet neither Chrissy nor I can ever remember a box or packing paper in a house for more and ten minutes after we arrived. Mom had a way of moving us into a new home in such a way that you thought you had lived there your whole life. There was never chaos or a mess, and by the time the truck had pulled out of the driveway the pictures were on the walls and the fridge was stocked.

Our beautiful, amazing, fantastic, funny, smart, generous Mom died on November 12, 1987 from colon cancer. She never complained or cried or bitched about the fact that she got it...she just put on her lipstick and got through it the best way she knew how.

Happy Birthday, our sweet Siggie. We miss you more than life itself and we want the world to know how special you were to everybody who knew you.

Oct 6, 2008


Friday night I needed something simple and small to occupy my stitchy time. I pulled out this little scissor keep canvas and went to work. This is from Associated Talents and I picked this up during a trunk show at City Stitcher. With the exception of the french knots, I managed to stitch this up before hitting the sack Friday night.
I promise......no finishing attempts on this one. I'll call in the professionals.
On Saturday, I was thinking about how much I enjoyed doing a little painted canvas, so I headed up to the studio to poke around a little bit. I must have been a very good girl in a former life, because just as I was thinking "Gee, I wish I had something small and fun for Autumn", I found this:WOOHOOOOOOO! This is from Painted Pony designs and IT CAME WITH A STITCHY GUIDE! I picked this one up a zillion years ago when Chrissy and I attended a Getaway Weekend hosted by Miss Theresa of Homestead Needlearts. If I told you how exuberant the happy dance was when I found this, you'd be on the floor with the vision of it....so I'll refrain. Needless to say, I spent a few minutes thanking the stitchy gods that I was smart enough to buy this thing (oh so long ago), and I flossed it right up with DMC and a few beads for good measure.
I love love love how it's coming out, and I can hardly wait to finish up that pumpkin square. The acorn gave me little fits at first, but then I got to the waffle stitch background and I was dancing again over how much I liked doing them (waffle stitch....who knew?).
So I seem to be in a painted canvas spurt at the moment, and I'll probably finish this up and then poke around some more to see what else is hidden in the depths of my stash. I've decided that I am now on a SPURT ROTATION, which means that I will stitch whatever spurt seems to hit me at the moment. For now, it seems to be painted canvas. Stay tuned!

Oct 3, 2008


Sorry for the lousy pic, folks. I can cross "become a famous photographer" off my bucket list, I guess. "Reading" by LHN is finished and in the pile to be journaled. I like the way it came out and promise not to try any finishing on this one without proper supervision. The linen for this one was 28ct. natural pearl and I just can't say enough about it -- very very lovely to stitch with. Like butta'.

I am ready for a weekend! Chrissy and I did the Target pharmacy thing and then went to the grocery. I'm going to make meatloaf and mashed potatoes for dinner tomorrow and then we're making ribolitta on Sunday. Ribolitta is an Italian vegetable bean soup. I watched my BFF Ina Garten The Barefoot Contessa Her Very Self make it on the TeeVee this week, and it sounds like just the thing for a lovely Sunday supper.

I managed to get the kitchen scrubbed, the Happy Chair cleaned, and the hardwood wiped down with vinegar -- all in the space of about 10 minutes. I think I broke something (like a kidney), so I'm headed to bed with Tylenol and a heating pad. It's hell getting old.

Oct 2, 2008


So here's my progress on LHN's "Reading". I felt kinda' funny about putting the word "reading" on this, so I slapped my big ass initials on it instead. Methinks it turned out OK. I also changed the color of the birds, since the chart called for the same purple-y color as the skirt. I thought blue might be nice, and I like the results.

I've always been an avid reader. As a matter of fact, I won a reading contest in the second grade and was rewarded with lunch on the Good Ship Lollipop with the Pittsburgh Steelers. (We lived in Pittsburgh at the time, and it was during the "Steel Curtain" days, so I guess it was a big deal). Franco Harris was my special buddy and I spent the entire day with him. I'm sure there's photographic evidence of this somewhere, but I probably looked like a little water buffalo and I'd rather remember myself as being strikingly interesting.

Reading was always my salvation when the cares of the world got to be too much. I think I spent the majority of my adolescence out on the back porch swings with my nose in a book. I was never told what to read or what not to read, and I can remember when Mom bailed me out of detention for reading the John Jakes book "The Bastard". It was the scandal of eighth grade until somebody pointed out that it was actually a novel that took place during the Civil War and it just wasn't that sexy.

When all the girls were passing "Forever" around (you know...the Judy Blume book about S-E-X), my Mom actually asked me if I had read it yet and whether or not there was anything in it that I wanted to talk about. To this day, I haven't read the damn thing for fear that I might have to DISCUSS it with somebody. (Although Mom has been gone for over 20 years now and I'm pretty sure she figures I got my "talk" already.)

I read every night before I fall asleep, and if he's been a good boy, I will read aloud to Stewey. I'm pretty sure that his taste in literature is a little different than mine, but he puts up with it and listens quietly anyway.

Speaking of Mr. TippyToes, I need to get his sweatshirt out of the dryer and let him outside for a potty break. He's been prancing around the house all morning and all I can hear is the click click clickety click click of his little toes on the hardwood. Damn dog.

Oct 1, 2008


Woo Hoo! We woke up to Autumn today! Stewey and I were all snuggled in our bed, cozy as could be, when Aunt Chrissy decided to pounce in with the Baby Bosco for some early morning revelry! She is under the weather today and decided to come wake her big sissy up for tea and sympathy. Needless to say, all of my plans of scrubbing/cleaning/organizing the house and yard today will have to be postponed. Oh. Darn.

So we took a quick trip to House of Stitches last evening and I was RECOGNIZED by one of my faithful readers! HOLEY SCHMOLEY! I was sitting at the cutting table with Miss Nancy getting a small piece of linen cut for LHN's "Ladybug", and I was yakking on and on about my Stewey. This lovely lady came around one of the corners and said "Excuse me, but are you?" I was so tickled that I immediately made a boob of myself gushing all over the place that I am indeed the Spinster Stitcher and LOOK, HERE'S AUNT CHRISSY!!!! (By the way, she was THRILLED to be introduced as such.)

Anywhoose....I am so delighted when somebody comes up and says hello and I hope you don't think me a complete social incompetent when I just start babbling away like I've known you forever. I'm terminally shy, don't you know, so I find myself in full-on flop sweat "Gee, if I keep talking they won't figure out what an idiot I am" kind of mode. I love it when I get to meet a fellow stitcher! Can you imagine what would happen if we were all rounded up in one place? I would probably faint away from the sheer delight of it all.

So today has me thinking that I will do a re-do of the Fall Stitching Basket. I'm making good progress on LHN's "Reading", but as you will recall, it's not on my original list of stuff I want to be doing. I did pick up a few new things as HOS, so methinks some serious stashy pawing will have to commence. Chrissy and I will probably head up to the studio and play today. I can't think of any better medicine for her.

We went for pizza and salad at a joint in the HOS complex and the funniest thing happened. When I ordered my salad, I asked if the Creamy Italian dressing was lo-cal or fat free. Now, I normally wouldn't think this question would cause anybody any trouble, but the waitress apparently didn't understand one word of what I was asking her. So I repeated myself. Again. And again. What was funny about it, was rather than saying "Gee, madam, I have no idea what the hell you're asking me", she just kind of stood there in a trance staring at me. I'm not kidding. She didn't talk. Or blink. Or smile. Or do anything that would remotely make me think I was on the right planet for salad and pizza. Chrissy even jumped in to see if she could translate, but the stare continued for about 47 minutes. Weird. Very weird. Needless to say, the pizza was fabulous, but the salad dressing sucked.

Off to the studio! Have a fabulous day!