Tuesday, March 31, 2009

New projects!

Hi, everyone ;)

Over the weekend I was trying to finish backstitching a winter-themed table liner, but then got tired of it...(crazy backstitching!) and thought to start something else to alternate with the table liner. I chose a cute design in one of the many volumes of Stitch Ideas (Japanese craft magazine) that I have on my shelves.

I thought the pattern would be very nice as a biscornu and I got all of it stitched up on Sunday and then I set about to whip stitch the edges.....and that's where things went all topsy-turvy! I started whip stitching in the wrong place and had cut the fabric too close to the backstitched edge and it frayed....I couldn't undo my stitches and start over.....SIGH!!!

LOL So I started stitching the design again! I finished it up yesterday, but ran out of DMC 601 and so I can't finish it properly until I stop by my local Hobby Lobby and pick up some more thread O___o"

Tonight, I really didn't feel like backstitching on my table liner so I started a new project ;)

Harvest Blessing by Country Cottage Needleworks!

What do you think? Isn't it nice?

I got three tomatoes stitched up ;) And I thought of a great use for the adorable bunny bag that my friend had sent me last week! It is perfect for holding my threads, needles, etc. when I take them to work with me!! (I stitch or read a little bit before I go to work in the mornings!)

Hopefully, my very nice aunt will let us stop by Hobby Lobby tomorrow after work and I can pick up some DMC 601 thread so I can finish up my biscornu!! LOL And yes, I looked up how to finish a biscornu properly.....I've stitched one before, but apparently my brain wasn't working on Sunday when I attempted to stitch one up!

Until next time! Take care everyone ;)

Monday, March 23, 2009

A Monday surprise!!

I got home from work and had two packages waiting for me from my best friend in CA! I love getting random packages in the mail; it always makes the day great :)

A basket of cute things :)

Two Ty beanies! LOL 'I love Alabama' bear and a 'Union Jack' bear! And look at that cute bunny with a carrot pack on his back ;) It has a Starbucks card in it!


And yes, I will use those mechanical pencils and pens! You are never too old for cute school/work supplies :) She also got me a bento box decorated with bunnies!

Not pictured are the Harry Potter clue boardgame and some fun lights for Halloween that she got me too! I will definitely use them this year :) The lights are small witch hats!

LOL And here I was just excepting a package from Amazon. OUP finally released Wives and Daughters so I was hoping to get it today! The gifts I got in the mail are a better surprise!

Until next time ^___^

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A nice surprise!

Look what my sister got for me at Hobby Lobby! It was on sale, half off!! Woohoo!

A very beautiful toile box!

Detail of the top of the box ;)

In other news, while my mom and I were out yesterday we stopped by the Daphne Antique Mall and I bought two needlework books. One on Victorian embroidery and another on historical needlework of Pennsylvania.

We also went by the local BAM and I bought the latest issue of Romantic Homes.

'Til next time ^____^ Have a great week everyone!

Fairhope Arts and Crafts Fair 2009

Hello again!!

I hope everyone is having a good weekend so far :) Yesterday my mother and I went to the Fairhope Arts and Crafts fair. I came away with nothing bought, but my mother got a beautiful paperweight and a lovely whisking bowl for her sister (my Aunt Snowbird).

I have a few pics, which I have supplemented with ones from last year's pics so you can see what the flowers are suppose to look like when the rain hasn't destroyed them all like last week :**(

A view of Mobile Bay ;)

Someone's 'little' garden in front of their fence! A very nice way to use up space if you can't plant a large garden!

Another row of the 'little' garden :)

One of the many flowerbeds around Fairhope's streets.

One of my favorite pics of a gorgeous bed of tulips. Aren't they gorgeous?

Azalea Trail Maids from last year. My mom and I got to the fair a bit late so we missed them this year :(

Mural in town.

Final pic of some azalea bushes :)

'Til next time!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Twilight yummies!

LOL My sister took a picture of the finished cupcakes last night at the Twilight party! Aren't the cupcakes too cute? I especially love the Werewolf kibble for Jacob/Jake!!

Just goes to show that book nerds can have fun too ^____^

Have a great day!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Inspirations magazine

Isn't that bear absolutely gorgeous??

My aunt and I just got back from a jaunt to our local Barnes and Noble store. We like to go every once and a while to see what craft magazines they have in stock. We are grateful that they have a nice section of imported embroidery and knitting magazines.

I got this issue of Inspirations today. I don't think I'll ever have the skills to attempt such a beautiful design as that of the bear's ribbon embroidery decoration, but I can dream :)

(sigh) I would love to get a subscription to this magazine, but as it is an import, it costs about $85 for a year O_o"

I hope everyone has a great weekend!! My family and I are taking a trip over to Fairhope tomorrow to see the arts and crafts fair! Hopefully, I can get some nice pics of the town and the azaleas (if the rain left some intact!).

P.S. LOL Yes, Ingrid, I should have saved some cupcakes for taste-testing! I will definitely remember that next time!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

'Twilight' cupcakes

Hi, everyone! As if my root canal wasn't enough today, I had to come home and make some cupcakes for my sister's friend. She works at a movie store and they are having a Twilight party tomorrow night for the release of Twilight.

I was regulated to making chocolate cupcakes, without the decorations. My sister's friend is going to decorate them tomorrow night with cute little toothpicks with various sayings from the Twilight books.

I'll have to remind her to take a pic of the decorated cupcakes :) I had the idea of chocolate cupcakes with white icing and small red apple candies on top, but I don't think those even exist....it would have been neat for the theme of Twilight!

Sweet dreams :)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I hope everyone has a happy St. Patrick's Day!!

You could wear a 'Gainsborough' hat!

I'll be wearing this clover brooch I got from Victorian Trading Co. tomorrow. No one can pinch me!! Mwahahaha!!

Azaleas for my northern blog friends!

I was going to wait until this weekend to post my pics of our azaleas, but I thought I would post them now just in case I don't get any good pics in Fairhope this Saturday. It has been raining for a while and the azaleas look droopy now :**(

My aunt's beautiful white azaleas!

'Pride of Mobile' azaleas!

Red azaleas!

Pink azaleas ^___^

When I was in Egham in 2007, I missed the azaleas seen through Alabama in the spring, but not to worry because England had some lovely alternatives in rhododendrons and hydrangeas. I'll have to share some photos sometime of the lovely gardens in Egham :)

Cross-stitch goodies!!

Before the skies decided to open up and pour rain for two days, I went by The Book Nook on Saturday morning. I wasn't planning on going that way, but I went on a driving 'field-trip' to see where my endodontist's office was located and decided on the way back to stop by the BN. It is a used bookstore on Springhill College's campus.

I found some lovely treasures in their craft section!

Two books with various alphabet designs!

A neat DMC book on samplers!

Christmas designs :)

My aunt loves this design ^___^ She said it would be lovely with the lyrics in German.

A great volume on various subjects! Published in 1974 with the craziest sampler I've ever seen......

WOW!!! Check out that motto!!

Lastly, a great little book on French designs published by Dover :)

Only $6 for all of those books! You can't beat that price! Gotta love secondhand bookstores.

Anthony Hope addiction!!

LOL I got two books I purchased from eBay in the mail!

A Servant of the Public, published in 1905 and Tristam of Blent, published in 1902.

I can't wait to start these books! I'm still reading Rosaline Woodbridge. It's taking me a while to read that book only because I don't take it out of the house! I usually take whatever book I'm reading to work and read during lunch, but who in their right mind would take a book from 1827 out and expose it to potential disasters like spilt drinks or food!?!?!

So far I am enjoying Rosaline! I wish Kessinger Publishing would pick up more of her titles to publish!! I would love to have a copy of Rosaline :)

I hope everyone is having a good week so far :)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Second finish of 2009

I decided not to post anything since I wanted to finish my Elements sampler first ;) I just finished the border today since I've been stitching all weekend because it has been raining cats and dogs the whole time!!

Design: Anagram Diffusions, Sampler Elements
Thread: DMC 498
Fabric: 32ct olive green Belfast linen
Finished: 7 months over 2008 and 2009

I want to have this one framed, but I think I will wait a while before I do so. Framing is expensive, especially if the stitched piece is large. I'll have to save up for it :)

I hope everyone is having a great Sunday! Have a good week ^___^

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Elements Update :)

Hi, everyone! I have a pic of my Elements progress. I've been working on the border and almost have it done on the right side!

Sorry about the wrinkles! I blame my Q-snaps ;)

I went to the dentist today and they took an X-ray of my cracked tooth. I have to get a root canal :**( I had to be referred to another dentist who does such procedures and was lucky when I called to make an appt and was put in for next week. My sister has had a root canal done before and she said it's no big deal and not to worry about it. I will take her word for it. After a week or so, I have to go back to the first dentist and get a crown put on. (sigh)

I hope everyone is having a great week! It has been warm on the Gulf Coast. Our azaleas are blooming!! I can't wait for the Fairhope Arts and Crafts Fair next week; it should be lovely because azalea bushes are everywhere in Fairhope.

Monday, March 9, 2009

First finish of 2009!

I finished The Bookshelf metallic thread stitches over the weekend. It took me quite a while to finish them, even though there were only a few of those stitches on the spines of the books. (sigh) I still dislike metallic thread. I went with Joei’s advice about cutting the threads short and none of the threads broke, but I still had crazy thread ends. Instead of two threads going through the needle-eye to make a loop at the back, I had four because the ends were coming apart?!

Design: Little House Needleworks, The Bookshelf
Thread: DMC colors
Fabric: 28 ct Cashel Zweigart
Finished: 4 weeks, 1 day

My aunt still insists on beeswax, but I’m not sure if it’s entirely safe for linen or the stitches.

I think I might frame this design myself. Someone on BeckyBee’s website had asked her how she framed hers and she talked about a technique called lacing. I wonder if that’s the technique I’ve seen at the back of a British cross-stitch magazine in their how-to section on framing. It seems easy enough as long as you have centered the design correctly on your board. Hmm….I wonder what type of board you should use? Archival perhaps so it doesn’t fox and destroy the fabric many years from now?

I am still working on the edges of my Elements sampler. I think it will go faster once I get in the groove of stitching it.

In other news, I cracked my tooth over the weekend and how to go to the dentist tomorrow O_o” I think I might need a root canal, but I’ll see what the dentist says at the appt. If it is indeed a root canal, he has to refer me to someone else because he doesn’t do those types of procedures. (Sigh) My wallet is going to weep when it sees the bill for the root canal, but I guess I should count myself lucky because I have insurance for once. All my other jobs, I was either a student or a temporary, neither of which had the benefit of insurance.

I hope everyone is having a lovely week!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Antique books!

As I promised, pictures of Rosaline Woodbridge! When I got home today, a book that I purchased on eBay had come in the mail so I have pictures of that as well ^___^

Rosaline Woodbridge published in 1827. This version, I think, is a half-calf bookbinding. Only the spine and the corners of the book are bound in calfskin.

Isn't it beautiful? In one of my posts last month, I mentioned that I was looking for Rosaline Woodbridge: or A Midnight Visit by Hannah Maria Jones. This book was mentioned in one of my favorite Japanese animation series, Victorian Romance Emma. After a mad search online, I found several booksellers that had this book, but it was extremely expensive at $600 or more so I decided to see if I could interlibrary loan it :) A friend of mine who is a librarian at my undergrad university was able to find this book and loan it in from the University of Chicago library!

The cover is made of marble board. It was a common technique for bookbinding, which imitates the look of mottles and veins in marble.

Marbling on the book edges. I have never seen this technique on the book edges before O_o"

The frontispiece of this printing of Rosaline. I love how the title of the book is decorated with penmanship spirals/curlicues. During the 19th century, students practiced their handwriting by making pictures out of their various letter strokes. I have to say that it is perfect around the title of this book.

Another frontispiece opposite of the title page, illustrating one of the scenes from the book.

The crest of the University of Chicago's library. I want to visit this library one day just to ogle all of their old books. It makes me miss the Founder's library on Royal Holloway's campus! Nothing can beat the smell of old books ^___^

Double Cross by Anthony Hope, published in 1903.

As you know if you've read enough of my blog that I love Anthony Hope books. He wrote The Prisoner of Zenda in 1894. I read it while I was still working as a bookseller and fell in love with his stories. I found Double Cross on eBay and bought it for $5.

I was researching Anthony Hope's various titles online and I found something interesting. Apparently there was a series of his books published called The Works of Sir Anthony Hope Hawkins. I found that set online......it was going for $3,000!!! Of course it was 33 volumes, but still that is a lot of money. I don't have a money tree in my backyard, unfortunately, so I could never buy the set. My next best option is slowly to buy all his books since they are quite cheap on eBay, ranging between $3-20, which is cheaper than the reprints from publishers today ;)

I hope all my fellow booklovers enjoyed this post ^___^ Have a great weekend!

Busy day

My sister and I are out for the day. We are going by the mall to drop off old prom dresses for charity!

Hopefully, I can persuade my sister to stop by Hobby Lobby so I can pick up some more DMC 498 for the border on my Elements sampler.

In other news, my ILL of Rosaline Woodbridge came in on Thursday and I picked it up yesterday :) It is gorgeous. I will take some photos of this book and share them with everyone because I will never see it again after I'm finished with it.

Have a great weekend! It is in the 60s/70s today on the Gulf Coast! Great time to enjoy the weather :)

P.S. Thanks to Joei for your advice on my craziness with the metallic threads. I will see if it helps ^___^

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Castle of Otranto

As you might have noticed, the last time I bought a book from Amazon I came away with a few others in my cart (bane of booklovers everywhere).

With Northanger Abbey in mind, I picked up several Gothic novels that were mentioned throughout the book such as The Monk and The Mysteries of Udolpho. In the midst of checking out on Amazon, there is a lovely page that details books that you might also enjoy. LOL Evil page that it is, I found a book called The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole and added it to my cart.

This week I wanted something short to read since my ILL loan of Rosaline Woodbridge should be coming in tomorrow so I picked up Walpole’s book from my alarming stack of unread books O_o”

The Castle of Otranto was one of the first Gothic novels in the literary world and was a model for many authors during the 18th and 19th centuries. It was written in 1794 by Horace Walpole, the 4th Earl of Orford under a pseudonym and was greatly praised when it first hit the streets of London.

It begins with the marriage ceremony of Conrad, son of Manfred, to Lady Isabella. Unfortunately, the marriage never takes place because Conrad is killed by a stone helmet that has fallen upon him in the courtyard of the castle. Manfred blames a peasant named Theodore who happens to mention that the helmet resembles one worn by Alfonso the Good (first ruler of Otranto) in the town’s church. The peasant is imprisoned inside the helmet and left to starve.

Conrad’s father Manfred, rather than wallow in grief over his son, devises to marry Isabella himself in order to provide an heir to the kingdom. Making his intentions known to Isabella, he notices several supernatural occurrences in his household, which illustrate the fact that Manfred is not the rightful lord of Otranto. Isabella subsequently flees rather than succumb to his advances. Meanwhile, Manfred’s wife Hippolita and their daughter Matilda do not realize that Isabella has fled. To make Manfred’s anxiety even worse, a herald and his knights have come to claim Otranto back to the closest living relative of Alfonso, the Marquis of Vincenza, Frederic.

The book continues to detail the obstacles that each character faces. Theodore’s true destiny as Otranto’s king comes to light. Matilda and Isabella both develop feelings for him, which results in the death of Matilda’s death by her father’s own hand who believes her to be Isabella. By the end of the book, both Manfred and his wife (a good woman) take to living in the convent and devote their lives to religion because of the deaths of their children.

Theodore, despite his feelings of true love to Matilda, eventually marries Isabella and we have somewhat of a happy ending.

On the whole, I quite enjoyed reading Walpole's book, but I couldn't help by giggling in certain parts of the book whenever I thought of Catherine Morland (Jane Austen's heroine of Northanger Abbey) and her obession with Gothic novels. The novel is a brilliant satire on England's love of Gothic novels during the time period. This is well-illustrated in the newest adaptation of book by BBC films as Catherine lies in a field with her newest Gothic novel resting upon her chest as she daydreams herself into the scenes of the book as the tragic heroine.

Do I suggest Walpole's book? Absolutely and you can't bet Dover's price at $2.50!! I hope to read some more of these Gothic novels after I have finished reading Rosaline Woodbridge :)

Darn metallics!

I finished up my Elements sampler this morning before going to work. Now I have the border to work on.

I thought tonight I would finish up my Bookshelf design by stitching the metallic bits on the book spines, but I was wrong.

I must admit that I'm a bit confused. The thread breaks easily and when I pull one thread out, it splits into 'two' threads?!?! Am I supposed to use those two threads or just one?!?!?

Egads! I didn't think it would be this hard to use metallics. Does anyone have any advice on using metallics? How many threads should I be using? I read about a device called Thread Heaven that helps with metallics. Is it worth it to buy one?

In other news, my ILL loan has come in!!!! Hopefully I can pick it up tomorrow or maybe Saturday!! I can't wait to read it.

Blog Award! Woot!

"This blog invests and believes in the PROXIMITY-nearness in space, time and relationships. These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement! Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers! Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this clever-written text into the body of their award."

I was quite excited to receive a blog award from Fashion is My Muse. I have never had a one before so it was a complete surprise to me!

Thank you so much Ingrid! I appreciate the fact that you thought of me to nominate for an award.

I thought I would pass on this blog award to the following people: (more than eight, sorry!)

Ingrid at Fashion is My Muse/Blog of a Bookworm: She has an amazing fashion blog, which always keeps me in the loop on museum exhibitions (even if I cannot go to see them) and gives me an insight into historic fashion. Her book blog is great! You can never go wrong with book reviews! *I’m glad to know I’m not the only person who can’t tear up a book!*

Yuko at Be Happy: One of the first individuals to comment on my blog. She always has the most beautiful pictures of her stitched pieces and I love seeing her photos from trips around Japan!

Becky at BeckyBee's Stitching Hive: Another one of my favorite blogs. I love seeing all her finishes, exchanges, and stash!

Nicole at Nicole’s Needlework: It is always a pleasure to see what she is working on because she has so many projects going on. Her LHN finishes are always beautiful.

Joei at A Box of Chocolates: Roses and samplers! Her stitching is marvelous, just check out her Beloved design! There’s no way I could have thought of those colors!

Sachiko at Peace*time: Another amazing crafter! I love seeing her creations whether it's knitting, cross-stitch, etc.

Snowbird of MichiganSnowbird: My crazy-knitting aunt who patiently taught me how to cross-stitch when I came back from England and took me to my first LNS when I wanted to work on linen! *At least I learned one craft art from you since knitting is a disaster with me!*

Jane at Yarn Storm: A fellow Royal Hollowayer and the author of The Gentle Art of Domesticity. Her pictures are gorgeous and I love reading her blog for info on books, crafts or just life in general ;)

Vic at Jane Austen’s World: One of my all time favorite ‘history’ blogs. Everyday I learn something new about the Regency of England from her blog. Her photo synopsis of the latest Austen films always make me laugh! *i.e. Mrs. Dashwood wearing that ridiculous hairstyle in the latest version of Sense and Sensibility.*

I would love to give this award to every blog I read, but it would be a very, very long list of individuals. In all honesty, I think everyone in the stitching community deserves this award. They share their love of crafts to the world and inspire me everyday to try something new in the future. This award also goes out to all the history bloggers on the Web. Education is forever, it doesn’t stop once you leave school.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Half a dragon....

...I guess my dragon is only half of one since he lacks his flame. I'll be working on his flame tomorrow while watching American Idol. Yes, I admit it, I watch AI.

Poor little dragon with no flame :(

I found a link I thought you might be interested in: Elizabeth Parker sampler at the V&A museum in London. This young lady stitched a sampler detailing her early life. I would love to see this sampler in person one day! LOL Weekend trip to London anyone? ^___^

I'm off to read a few blogs, etc. before getting to bed. Sweet dreams everyone.