Friday, August 29, 2008

Unique stitches ;)

I was very happy to see a package in the mail when I got home today!! I ordered some more Stitch Idea volumes ;)

I love Japanese embroidery/cross stitch books. They have gorgeous patterns and unique ideas for finshes!! Hopefully, I will get to stitch some of the designs in these books soon ^___^

I also found the JCS Halloween magazine at my local bookstore last weekend!! Aren't the ornaments adorable?

Blue Ribbon Designs has two new Halloween designs that come out in mid-September!!! Yay :) One is a calendar called Behind the Gate, which I think is neat!! I've seen advent calendars, but never something for a countdown to Halloween ^-^

They also have a set called Creepy Crawly for stitching a coffin-shaped O_o" needle-book and other accessories!! As a finish, it's super cute for Halloween.

Hope everyone has a safe Labor Day weekend!! Happy stitching ^___^

P.S. Thank you, Yuko for your lovely comments on my JBW designs!!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Yay! Domesticity!!!

My aunt wrote on her blog that she found The Gentle Art of Domesticity at our local bookstore over the weekend!! I was going to wait until after TS Fay decided to meander away from us before attempting to go out and buy the book, but fortunately we didn't get much from the storm and I drove immediately to the store and bought my copy ;)

I read half the book when I got home. I love the stories Jane Brocket shares with us about domesiticity. I agree with her point that domesticity isn't something that women should be ashamed of. As a daughter of a somewhat feminist upbringing, domesticity wasn't looked down upon by my mother or grandmother. I remember one summer as a child, my grandmother helped me make a little purple skirt for one of my stuffed animals. LOL Sadly, I don't remember how she or I did it :( But it was a nice memory!

And my grandmother's cooking is fantastic!! Nothing envokes memories of summers past like blueberry cobbler with fruit from our bushes in the backyard! Or being warmed up by a nice bowl of chili with home-grown tomatoes during the winter! (Sigh) ^__^ Oh, and chocolate chip cookies! I loved it when my mom would make cookies for my sister and I. Of course, they were just your plain old Toll House cookies, but they were simply divine to our taste buds!

For the last couple of years, my family gets together before Christmas and bakes several different types of cookies or other yummies. We send them out in several tins for our family in Michigan to enjoy. To me, it's more satisfying to give a gift that way. Whether it's baking, sewing, cross-stitching, etc. the gift is more valued because it is homemade.

So ladies and gentlemen, domesticity isn't something to fear! It isn't staying at home all day, slaving away in the kitchen, and meeting your spouse at the door wearing 1950s splendor. It's the everyday things that make you happy! Cooking, baking, organizing/cleaning, sewing, knitting, cross-stitching, among other skills are beautiful! Don't ever be ashamed of being 'domesticated'!!! Be a domestic diva ;)

Congrats to Jane Brocket for a lovely book! (She has a recipe for flapjacks! I loved eating those while in England!) She's a Royal Holloway-er too!!! YAY!!! I'm jealous; she got a MA in Victorian Art and Literature!

So please go out and buy the book! You won't be disappointed ^___^

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The rules of being a bum are...

Well, I lied...there aren't any rules. But I have been a bum the past week. I meant to get some stitching done on my WIP Four Elements, but that idea was put aside as I read several books and watched two 'classic' movies.

My progress last week:

1. The House of Mirth - Edith Wharton
2. Kira-Kira - Cynthia Kadohata
3. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde - Robert Louis Stevenson

1. Oliver Twist - Masterpiece Theatre 1999
2. The House of Mirth - 2000

See, I had some productivity last week, but not with stitching. I had been reading The House of Mirth for awhile. Usually, it doesn't take me so long to finish a book, but since I was only reading it on my break and after work while waiting for my carpool ride I wasn't getting much accomplished. I finally got it finished last Monday....and....was depressed.

The book, if you haven't read it, revolves around Lily Bart, a poor, young lady who relies on her wealthy aunt to stay afloat in the rich society of New York in the early 1900s. The novel follows her rise and fall within the excessive world of the wealthy. As a ward, she has nothing to recommend herself, but her beauty and youth. The only two characters who love her are her cousin Gerty and her friend Mr. Selden. In the end, she accidentally overdoses on sleeping drops. Sadly, it was before she had a chance to go to Selden and tell him how she felt. Grrr....

Kira-Kira is a Newbery award winning kids novel about a Japanese-American family in the 1950s. The novel tells the story of Katie and her older sister Lynn. It follows their daily lives in Georgia and how they are interrupted by Lynn's illness, lymphoma. Kira-kira was the first word that Lynn taught her sister when they were little girls. In the end, Katie realizes that Lynn tried to always see the kira kira or glittery side to life through everything. It was a good book despite yet another sad ending.

The next book I read was Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I quite liked the story of Dr. Jekyll's pursuit of separating the body into two personalities. I think in the beginning he was trying to see if he could separate the good and bad aspects of the human personality for the benefit of mankind. Throughout many experiments he succeeds in separating his personality; he names his 'darker' side, Mr. Hyde. He controls the transformation between the two personalities by taking a tonic of sorts. In the end, he loses control of Mr. Hyde and the transformations happen without the aid of a tonic. Of course, in the end...both personalities die. I don't think either were suppose to live without the other despite Dr. Jekyll's theories.

As my first encounter with Robert Louis Stevenson, I enjoyed it. It was well written and played out for such a small novel.

After reading these books, I rented Oliver Twist and The House of Mirth from my local library. I love $1 can't beat that price ;)

Ah, Oliver Twist. Has anyone read this book besides myself?? Surely someone in my audience has ;) As I've admitted before, I love Charles Dickens. I fell in love with his novels when I was a freshman in high school and read Great Expectations for an English class book report. I was the only student to pick that book out of a list of other great classics.

I never understood why Oliver Twist is considered a 'kids' book. Yes, the protagonist of the novel is young Oliver, but the subject matter of the novel is far from children-friendly. Prostitution, theft, anti-Semitism, murder, and child abuse play a part in this novel!

The movie produced by Masterpiece Theatre was very well-played. The only thing I didn't like was the beginning. According to the host, part I of the movie is an expanded story of Oliver's parents and their history. In the book, his parents' history isn't known to him until the very last chapters. His step-brother, Monks, tells the story of what he knows and Mr. Brownlow supplies the rest. In order for the movie to make 'sense' the director decided that the parents' story should be played out and expanded with lots of dialogue and intrigue. They even have Mr. Leeford (Oliver's father) being murdered by his wife?!?!? Hmm....

The same sort of odd twists happen in The House of Mirth. I didn't really like this version. To me, Lily was a young lady who was accustomed to wealth, but hated the world she lived in and would have rather lived simply without all the 'fake-ness' that came along with the wealthy world. I hated the fact that at the end of the movie, Lily overdoses on the sleeping drops on purpose!!!!!!! The book ending is far better and more tragic to my sensibilities. She writes out a check to George Dorset for $10,000 to pay off her debts. That money is all she has inherited from her aunt who passed away. She plans on seeing Selden the next day to declare her feelings. She takes the sleeping drops to calm herself and get some sleep. It was accidental. Selden comes the next day to see her to declare himself as well and finds his cousin, Gerty, mourning Lily's passing. Not at all like the movie ending, which made one think that she overdosed because she could not keep her inheritance.

Well, enough on books! I will post later on hopefully (fingers crossed) some stitching or at least something related to it.

Have a great week! Happy stitching ^___^

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Some brooches, a book, and a dog!

Well, I've seem to have had caught a slight case of the 'brooch bug' this weekend. I went by a local antique show in town and came away with several lovely brooches ^-^"

In my defense, I was lured by the very nice vendor with the words, "It's Victorian." The small part of my brain that usually says, "don't buy" switched over to "yes, you must have" at those few words!!!

This brooch isn't Victorian, but I fell in love with this cute pin when I saw it. It's just fun with the round opal in the middle and the stars shooting out around it. The picture doesn't do the opal-like stone any justice at all because when it catches the light, it sparkles like a little fire. Sadly, it is missing a purple stone, but my aunt said it gives it character. I have to agree. Jewelry pieces deserve to have a history so I will not get a new stone put in...because in all honesty I didn't even notice it was missing one until my aunt said something about it.

A gorgeous cameo stick/hat pin. I thought this one was beautiful and since I didn't have a hat pin in my collection so far I decided to pick this one up. ^___^ As you can tell, I love cameos and I tend to buy them when I can find them. The vendor had some cameos done in 10k gold, but I didn't have a lot of money with me so I opted for the costume jewelry pieces instead ;) I'll have to be good and save up for some nice gold-timmed cameos in the future. While I was at the show, a vendor there was selling 10k, 14k, 18k cameos......they were so expensive O__o" I mean they were worth it because they weren't your typical profile cameos, they actually had mythological themes on them.......I don't think I'll ever be able to afford one of them ^__^*

Yet another cameo that I couldn't leave the show without buying!! A red cameo surrounded by white rhinestones. This one isn't Victorian, but it is older than the other two brooches because of the pin backing. My aunt loves this one!! She said it would look lovely on a felt hat, I quite agree :) I thought the red color of the cameo was beautiful, usually you see pink, green, blue, onyx or lava/gemstone types so I grabbed this one for being so unique in color!

A beautiful brass lady's hand holding a pearl. (Sigh) This is the one that lured me.....tempted me towards the dark side! LOL I was debating on this one after I heard the vendor telling another lady that it was Victorian. I thought no, I won't buy it....but then the vendor asked me if I liked pieces from that time period....sigh!!! I said yes and she showed me this little brooch. She showed me the back of this brooch and explained that if it had a safety pin backing, it was older and dated around the Victorian period. (sigh) And so, I came away from the show with four brooches! I won't complain too much because you can't help what you fall in love with.

LOL The vendor asked me if I was collecting. I said no. I just like to wear brooches because I'm finally working at a job where I can wear them. So I have several antique pieces, contemporary ones, and a Kirks Folly brooch....9 pieces in total so far. I'm slowly becoming a brooch addict!!! ^__^"

With my mind on antiques and such, I remembered that the book I bought from eBay came in the mail a couple of weeks ago! Sara Crewe - Little Saint Elizabeth and Other Stories by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

This book was published in 1910 by Charles Scribner's Sons NY. It isn't a first edition, actually it is a fourth edition. It has illustrations by Reginald B. Birch throughout the book. Since I have a small collection going of Frances Burnett's books, I bought this one on eBay. I got it for $ can't beat that for a book that is almost 100 years old and doesn't look it. Don't you just love the cover!! Two little cherubs playing the harp and the title of the book surrounded by ten gold elephants. I was looking on eBay and Scribner's published several other titles of Frances Burnett with the same cover ;) Wouldn't it be neat to have the whole collection?!?!

Sara Crewe was the original title of A Little Princess. This edition has several other stories:
1. Sara Crewe or What Happened at Miss Minchin's
2. Little Saint Elizabeth
3. The Story of Prince Fairyfoot
4. The Proud Little Grain of Wheat
5. Behind the White Brick

I can't wait to start reading these stories ;)

In addition to being a very well behaved bunny and dutifully taking photos of my brooches and book, I got another JBW design started and finished on Saturday!!

Design: JBW Designs, 'French Country - Dog'
Thread: DMC 111, variegated
Fabric: 28 ct Cashel antique white Zweigart
Finished: 8/16/08

My aunt suggested that I stitch this design in a variegated brown so we looked through my thread stash and picked DMC 111. I think it looks cute ^__^

LOL I have several JBW designs stitched up so I just need to save some money and have them framed!!

Have a great week! Happy stitching ;)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A juicy pear!

Just a quick post since I just got finished with the JBW design French Country - Pear and wanted to share it with everyone before rushing back to the television to watch the Olympics ;)

Design: JBW Designs, 'French Country - Pear'
Thread: DMC 92, variegated
Fabric: 28 ct Cashel antique white Zweigart
Finished: 8/11 and 8/12/08

I think the DMC 92 color is fun for this design ^__^

Sorry for the shortness of this post. LOL I'm trying to catch the women's gymnastic performances. I was watching the women's diving competitions a while ago.....WOW! The two ladies from China in the synchronized diving were AMAZING!!! They were so graceful ;)

Happy stitching!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

An almost finish ^__^"

Well, darn it. I almost had Christmas Tea finished today until I started to stitch the snowflakes. Apparently, the lovely Vanilla Pudding color blends right into the fabric. (Sigh) Sorry for the gloomy photo! It's a bit touch and go with the clouds today :(

Design: Plum Street Samplers, 'Christmas Tea'
Thread: Belle Soie threads
Fabric: 32 ct platinum linen
Finished: 7/26, 29, 31 and 8/10-11

So it looks like I'm going to have to stash this design away temporarily until I get a chance to go by Needle Delights in Pensacola. I was thinking since the Vanilla Pudding threads blend in, I should try for white or maybe even a nice light blue. Who knows? I'll have to bring my stitched piece with me and ask the lady at the shop for some color ideas ;)

Well, at least this design is almost finished :) And the snowflakes really don't take that much time to stitch up. LOL I had a few stitched up before undoing them because the color was blending too much into the background.

When I finally get this pattern finished, I will take another photo. Hopefully I'll have plenty of light so you can see the lovely Belle Soie colors properly!

The other bit of good news is I get to start another project!! Yay! I'm thinking maybe one of my JBW fruit designs.

Maybe I'll get lucky this week and my bookstore will have the newest JCS magazine in stock. It has those autumn ornaments I was talking about earlier :)

Hope everyone is having a great Sunday! Happy stitching!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Forever in a day

My goodness, I didn't mean for two weeks to go by without a post of some sort. (sigh) But these things do happen when life gets in the way. I started my new job earlier on Monday; it's going well, if not a little bit taxing to the brain because of the newness of everything. It's definitely different from working in a bookstore and I must say that I miss talking to customers.

What have I been doing during the two weeks since my last post? Still stitching away at Christmas Tea by Plum Street Samplers. I picked up threads for it from Needle Delights on the 26th. It is going well so far. I love working with the silk threads by Belle Soie. I've got one more row of words to finish, a bird, the snowflakes, and the cranberries. I think it will be beautiful when it's framed.

On the 1st, I went to a midnight book release party for Breaking Dawn, the final book in the Twilight Saga, by Stephenie Meyer. It was fun. We didn't have alot of people show up at our bookstore. I think alot more of them went to the bookstore up the street because it's bigger and not so claustrophobic. I was going to dress up for the book party, but I didn't want to be a super geek so I opted for a Twilight t-shirt and a skirt instead....geeky, but not too much ;)

If you haven't read this series, I give it a million stars!! And yes, this book series is categorized as 'young adult/teen,' but that doesn't mean adults can't enjoy it! I picked the first book up when I was in England. I was at my town's local library, looking for something to read while taking the train to London, and saw Twilight in the teen section. One of my sister's friends had read it and was raving about it on facebook so I grabbed it. I was hooked immediately. I can't remember the last time I got hooked on a teen series....LOL years and years ago!

On a side note, when I was at Hot Topic buying a Twilight shirt the cashier and I were talking about book parties. He said that he loved that fact that people get so excited for certain books and bookstores across the nation have parties for them. Nothing's greater than celebrating a great book with a hundred or more people! Book geeks ROCK!!!!

In stitching news, I finally got my patterns that I ordered from Needle Delights. (sigh) Apparently, they were mislabelled on the address (not a big deal), but it did take them two weeks to get to my house :( I was glad when I finally got them. The lovely owner of Needle Delights was in the process of reordering them for me when the first order got to me!

A pattern by CCN and autumn JBW designs!!! Woohoo!!

I bought CCN's Harvest Blessing chart. I thought the bunny was super cute in this pattern. LOL I didn't get it just for the bunny, though that was a factor ^__^ I love the message in this one. It reminds me of when I was a kid and my grandfather kept a garden in his backyard. My grandmother would can and preserve tomatoes, pears, and fig jam. There's nothing better than home-grown vegetables. Now a days, none of my family has enough time to plant a garden (sigh). We should really try to make time; a garden is always worth it!

More JBW designs!!

I also bought a whole bunch of JBW designs. I love her designs, they are super quick to stitch up. I can usually get one done in a day if not interrupted. I think I now have all the fruit patterns that she has out so far. I hope she makes more for her French Country line of patterns!!! I hope to finish Christmas Tea up this weekend so I can start on some of these lovely fruit designs.

Today, I went by my bookstore, (sigh) I miss working there!!! LOL I picked up a book that I had ordered called Victorian London by Liza Picard.

I can't wait to start this one ;)

I won't start reading it right away though, only because I'm in the midst of reading The House of Mirth, which I'm enjoying so far. I've never read any of Edith Wharton's books before. I just happened to pick up this one and a few other classics I hadn't read on my last day of working at my bookstore job.

I also went by my local library and dropped off some books and picked up a million more ^___^ I found one in the kids section by Louisa May Alcott called An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving. I've been bad already by reading a few pages of it O_o"

LOL I couldn't help it, I swear! I have to say that I love public libraries. Sometimes they surprise you by having old titles by classic authors that aren't in print any more.

The day wouldn't be complete without a quick stop (it's never quick) to Hobby Lobby. I was bad and bought some Zweigart fabric that was on sale and the whole line of DMC variegated 117 colors or at least all the ones the store had in stock!!

So pretty!

I picked them up because I love using them for the JBW designs! I used a gorgeous red for the JBW design FC Apple and can't wait to use the other colors. I think I'm going to use either DMC 94 or 125 for FC Pear and some of the lovely orange/yellows for the autumn designs!!

Enough rambling for the day! I've got some stitching to complete :) Hope everyone has a great weekend! Happy stitching ^__^