Monday, July 31, 2017

Patriotic Picnic - Brooke's Books

With the last of my birthday Etsy card money from Kristina, I bought the Yummy Stitches Patriotic Picnic Group #2 set by Brooke's Books.

I started last Wednesday and was able to finish the watermelon. Since I took today off from work to get some rest after the convention, I was able to work on a few more motifs, the pinwheel and part of the basket.

I need to buy the specialty DMC memory threads. While my sister and I were at Accents, Inc. on Thursday, I bought one of the memory thread colors because it works for this project and the Snow White design. I plan on ordering the rest of the memory threads online because they are cheaper.

I can't wait to work more on this pattern. The motifs are adorable. I really, really hope that Brooke decides to design more 'kawaii' motifs for each season or holiday!!! They make great ornaments or even bunting banners :)

Until next time ^____^

New Orleans - Haul and Cross Stitch stash :)

My sister and I stopped by Accents Inc. in Metairie on Thursday before driving into New Orleans. I was looking for fabric and specialty threads.

I bought my first piece of opalescence overdyed evenweave for a project along with a Ghost chart by JBW Designs, a Mill Hill kit, four bobbins of Kreinik threads and ribbon, and a skein of DMC memory thread.

I bought the fabric and threads for Brooke's Books Snow White from her Fairy Tale Princess Dress Up Collection.

I had ordered her Dress Up Collection from her Etsy shop earlier in July. She had a deal where you could sign up for the twelve monthly princess designs at 50% off, which I figured was a great deal because I already liked five of the designs she had put out so far and at the discount rate, you were basically getting six charts for free.

I ordered those and accessory packs which were also 50% off. The packs came with the beads and/or perforated paper needed to make the crowns, etc. in the design.

I hope to start the Snow White design in August. Beside the Cinderella design, Snow White was my second favorite of the collection. I love how the skirt is decorated. Reminds me of children's illustrations of the fairy tale.

Until next time >___<

Mechacon 2017

Good afternoon everyone! My sister and I were at Mechacon in New Orleans from Thursday through Sunday. They had moved venues from the Hilton Riverside hotel to the Hyatt Regency this year, which wasn't the best decision they could have made.

While the Hilton hotel was too small after so many years of growing attendance, the Hyatt was too large. I'm not sure who designed the Hyatt, but it is a convoluted mess. While I like the hotel rooms being designed around an atrium (it gives you the peace of mind of not hearing people outside your room at midnight like it would in a normal hotel with hallways), the first through third floors were a maze built around sculptural columns and walls. 

My sister and I made the mistake of eating at Vitascope in the hotel on the first night and spent $50 on two burgers and an appetizer. All the other restaurants in the hotel were expensive and the same went for any food in the hotel shops. Even the Starbucks was charging an extra two dollars on Frappuccinos. 

The next morning we took a walk over to Willa Jean's bakery and restaurant for breakfast. 

O_o" delicious!!!! I had a sausage biscuit with an egg on top and pimento cheese. I wasn't a fan of the pimento cheese, but the sausage and egg were fantastic with the biscuit, which was soft and flaky in the middle and chewy on the outside.

Our first day at the convention was an odd experience compared to the previous years we had been there. The dynamic of the audience had changed completely. People we had been used to seeing every year weren't there. I saw one guy I remembered from last year (he had bought my bunny sundae amigurumi last year), but I didn't recognize anyone else.

The Mechacon staff decided this year that they would combine the artist's alley and the dealers' room to give the feeling of a 'bazaar,' which you think would have been a great idea, but it was a death knell for the artists. People were walking right past the artist tables to head towards the dealers' room.

The hall that they had the artists and dealers in had the WORST lighting I have ever seen! The artists side of the hall had a lower ceiling, which meant that anyone who had tall displays were cutting their lighting off on their booth. The overhead A/C pipes and ducts were blocking light in certain areas.

The staff ended up moving tables over to help the artists in the dark sections get a little light, but that put other booths in semi-darkness. The better idea would have been to move the artists in the dark to unoccupied tables because there were quite a few artists that didn't show.

Another problem with the room was the A/C. It was barely working on Thursday when we came by to set up our Friday morning it was COLD!!! Extremely sister never complains about the cold and she was freezing. We had several customers complain about the cold, but what could you do. The hotel was trying to compensate for the fact that there were hundreds of people milling around the room.

After an bizarre day, we packed up our merchandise and headed to our hotel room. Which took about 15 minutes. You wouldn't have thought it would take that long, but the Hyatt decided they wanted to have fancy elevators, which you operated with a dial pad. Which sounds fantastic, but it isn't practical for a convention crowd. 

When you put in the floor you were going to, the dial pad would say which elevator you needed to go car A or D or F, etc. Multiple floors could be using the same car.

Downside to that fancy technology, you can't randomly get on an elevator and go to the floor you wanted because guess what?!?!? there are no buttons on the inside of the car expect for opening and closing the door and the emergency call button.

There were so many people trying to use the elevators that the hotel staff had to lead groups of people to the service's enough to drive you insane.

I felt sorry for the staff of the hotel and any guests in the hotel that weren't connected to the convention.

For dinner we found Company Burger, which was on the same block as Willa Jean's. It is ranked in the top 30 burger joints in the US. Definitely worth the visit!!!

Saturday morning we were back at Willa Jean's again :) I had a biscuit with blueberry jam and a bowl of cheese grits.........I could live at this restaurant!!!!

Downside of the day, I came down with allergies.....which I think might have been the down pillows in our hotel room. We made a stop by the CVS store to get Kleenex and some Nyquil, which seems to be the only medicine that seems to get my nose to stop itching and sneezing.

By Sunday we were ready to leave the convention. While our total sales weren't bad, they weren't the best we've ever had either.

I blame that on two things:

1) The choice of venue which is across from the superdome and isn't in a tourist part of town like the Hilton Riverside. While the convention sold out of Saturday passes, I still think they lost regular attendees because they weren't in a nice area or touristy part of town.

2) The staff's silly decision to combine the dealers' room and the artist's alley. That doesn't give a chance for the artists to make any sales if people pass your table to get to the other side of the room.

We packed up early at 2pm and left the hotel.....we had to pay $70 for parking, which is absolutely ridiculous, but the hotel doesn't have its own garage so we had to use the parking garage that connects to the hotel by elevator.

We headed to our home away from home when we visit New Orleans, Sucre on Magazine Street.

I had their doberge cake, which had an almond joconde cake with caramel and chocolate and topped with a macaron (I think the flavor was chocolate and peanut butter, but I wasn't sure). My sister had her usual C3 sundae and we shared their blackberry/lemon mousse.

Overall, we had a good time despite the oddness of the convention. We had fun talking to the vendors on either side of us. Two guys from Louisiana who drew traditional comic art and a couple from Tennessee who made shadow box artworks and clocks with hand drawn and colored backgrounds.

I came away with some goodies. You know my love of bags......I use them for my crochet or cross stitch projects. I bought several bags from Melissa H Francis (the Hogwarts, Final Fantasy, and sushi bags) and three bookmarks. I bought a bag from the couple beside us which has a lovely futuristic landscape on it with a building in a tree).

I bought the last two books in the Beast of Birmingham series by T.S. Barnett. I had bought the first one last year and quite enjoyed it. I was glad she was able to make it to the convention this year so I could get the last two books :)

My sister bought me two brooches to add to my collection. A purple cabochon with a Venetian carnival mask underneath and a 'Shade' umbrella enamel pin.

I won the Manga Man book from the New Orleans Public Library. They had a fan table in the artist's alley and every hour they had a contest where you could present your library card (regardless of where you were from) and you could spin their prize wheel. I had the choice of an audio book or a the Manga Man book. I chose the book because audio books can be iffy depending on who is narrating.

My sister and I won't participate any conventions next year unless I do something local with my friend Kristina in order to sell the last of my amigurumis.

I find that I like making things for myself or friends as gifts more so than continuously making amis to sell at conventions. It is more rewarding and satisfying :)

Thanks for sharing in our bizarre adventure.

Until next time ^____^

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Blueberry Ice Cream Lady cross stitch

Design: Ice Cream Ladies by Soda Stitch
Fabric: 28ct Jobelan Lambswool linen by Wichelt Imports
Threads: recommended DMC
Start/Finish: 7/21-24/2017

Good morning! I started the blueberry ice cream lady last week and managed to put in the last bit of backstitching in on Monday morning.

The last one in the series will be the cookies ice cream lady, which I hope to work on next month.

Until next time >___<

July Amigurumi Roundup

My favorite is the white rabbit ami. I found the 'I'm Late' clock charm at Hobby Lobby. Just perfect for the worrying rabbit.

Second favorite is Sans from Undertale. The jacket was a work in progress. Lol I just crocheted until I got something that resembled a jacket.

I used sparkly yarn for the sushi ami as I had run out of white and didn't have enough black. It's a snazzy piece of sushi :)

Off to the convention tomorrow! Can't wait to have a break from real work.

Until next time >___<

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Afternoon in London and Flying Fairy Finishes ♡

Good evening once again! I have two finishes this weekend. I finished up Afternoon in London this afternoon. The only thing I didn't stitch was the grass border underneath the motifs on the top. I think the only change I would have made to the pattern would be to stitch the house in maybe a blue color of some sort because it seemed to be a lot of green in the pattern. I still like the pattern though :)

Pattern: Afternoon in London by Country Cottage Needleworks
Fabric: 32ct water lily linen by Wichelt
Threads: recommended DMC
Start/Finish: 5/14 & 21 & 31 and 7/7-8 & 16/2017

Pattern: Flying Fairy by Tamar Nahir-Yanai
Threads: recommended DMC
Stitches: backstitches, French knots, lazy daisies, and satin stitches
Start/Finish: 7/11-16/2017

For my birthday, my friend Kristina got me an Etsy gift card, which I really wanted in order to buy embroidery and/or cross stitch patterns with :)

One of the patterns I bought was Flying Fairy by Tamar Nahir-Yanai. The pattern only took two weeks to get to me from Israel. I had fun stitching on it; it's such an adorable motif.

My only complaint is how the fabric is cut. You can't completely stitch the motifs because you can't fit it in a bigger hoop. I would imagine you could stitch the motifs if you hand stitch them, but I'm not good with stitching without a hoop.

No worries though. I plan on pulling the rest of the fabric behind the hoop. As of now, it and Afternoon in London is in my box of 'unfinished' patterns. One day I plan on finishing them as framed pieces.

I hope everyone has a wonderful week! I plan on crocheting one more amigurumi this week before the convention.

Until next time ^____^

Saturday Antiquing ~ Books

On Saturday morning, I went by the library and then thought I'd stop by the Book Nook. I came away with two antique books and a copy of volume one of Arabian Nights, which amazingly I have never read before (I know, boggles your mind, right?!)

The two antique books I found are from the turn of the 20th century. The first book is The Girl I Loved by James Whitcomb Riley, an Indiana poet. The book is illustrated with lithograph illustrations by Howard Chandler Christy. The book was published in 1910. The illustrations are done in red with decorative borders in gold.

You may remember that earlier this year I had bought a Baedeker's travel guide to Great Britain. At that time, they had a volume for Belgium and Holland, but I didn't buy it. Well, that book was still on the shelves when I was browsing. I felt sorry for it and decided to bring it home with me. (My sister shook her head when I told her why I bought it, but what can I looked lonely!) The guide was published in 1905.

Hope you liked seeing my book finds :)

Until next time ^___^

Birthday Package from CA

Good evening, everyone! On Friday I received a belated birthday package from my friend Amanda. I actually like belated gifts; they make an original day a special one.

The package that Amanda sent was HUGE and heavy. I couldn't think what was inside it to make it so heavy. Upon opening it, I found out why it was so heavy. She had sent me a lovely sewing box decorated with kokeshi dolls that was stuffed with lots and lots of goodies. 

She sent me lots of candy, which my sister and I plan on bringing with us to the convention this month to snack on while at our artist alley table. She gave me two more Gail Carriger pins and a new brooch to add to my collection, a lovely butterfly. She also sent me some lip gloss, a bunny tape measure, a nail kit, and a set of plates and a bowl.

Amanda always sends the most beautiful handmade cards! This birthday she made a gorgeous card decorated with a bunny and a starry sky. Inside the card was a three-dimensional scene with another bunny sitting in the grass with a row of houses. I love that the bunny is gazing at the sky which shows the Gemini constellation. 

I absolutely love her cards. She puts her heart into her creations!

Thank you for the amazing birthday package!!!

Until next time ^___^

Monday, July 10, 2017

Yarn stash and Afternoon in London Stitching ♡

Good morning everyone! I hope you had a good weekend. On Friday night, I went through my stash of linen to see if I had fabric for the ice cream ladies and the Eiffel Quaker design and guess what?! I actually had fabric for both. Don't you love it when you have things in your stash to use and don't have to buy them?! 

I know I do.....especially since Hobby Lobby seems to be getting rid of a lot of their cross stitch fabrics, at least a good majority of the evenweave and linen. I'm hoping they don't try to make their own brand. I've noticed their brands of other items aren't as good as the name brand.

On Saturday, I was getting things organized for the convention later this month. One thing I didn't have were treat/gift bags to put my amis in when people buy them. So I ended up going by Michael's to see what they had.

You know me, I wandered over to the yarn section to admire their Caron cakes and 'lo and behold they had a new range of colors! They have cotton cakes and baby cakes.

(You can tell I don't get to Michael's that often, can't you?! Maybe this line has been out for a while and I just didn't know's completely possible.)

So the cakes were new to me. I love the colors!

I was tempted by this color, ballerina, and ended up buying one of the cakes. My aunt asked what I was going to do with it.......I have no idea. It was an impulse buy, I blame the soft, pale colors of that yarn. I couldn't resist it.

In the end I didn't get any bags. I had texted my friend Amanda a picture of the Caron cakes and was telling her I was on the hunt for bags and she offered to go by Daiso and get a bunch of bags for me. Gotta love the fact that I have a friend in CA with a Daiso store nearby. Part of me wishes we had one here, but then again, I would be broke all the time by the awesome kawaii-ness that is their selection of goodies. LOL

I took an ever so slight break from crocheting on Friday and Saturday. I had finished making my sushi amigurumi on Thursday night, but didn't want to drag a bunch of felt, etc. to work the next day in order to finish it up. So I brought my Afternoon in London cross stitch instead.

When I started on Friday, I was missing a lamp post, two clouds, and a double decker bus.

And by Saturday night at 9pm, I was finished with the top half of the pattern. I apologize for the bad photo, but I was trying to photograph it without getting shadows in it.

I am using the DMC colors that the pattern suggests so the colors aren't strong, more of a muted soft palette, which I find to be quite lovely. I like that the double decker and the telephone booth aren't a glaring red as they are in real life.

The motifs were quite fun, though it makes me giggle when I see the guards on either side of the British Museum. There are no guards at the least not dressed like the guards at Buckingham Palace and elsewhere. Who knows, maybe there are guards like that now. I know there weren't any when I was in London in 2007.

With the top half finished, I'll be able to start on the second half in August! I haven't decided on whether to make it my Frolicking Friday project or maybe one of the other patterns like ice cream ladies or CCN cakes.....hmmm....

Anywho, I hope you guys have a lovely week! Hopefully a nice, cool week with less heat and humidity. A Southerner can dream, right?!

Until next time ^____^

Saturday, July 1, 2017

June Amigurumi Roundup

June Recap


1. Blood Vow by J.R. Ward
2. Lucile by Owen Meredith
3. The Inexplicables by Cherie Priest
4. The Japanese House: Architecture and Interiors by Noboru Murato and Alexandra Black
5. Fiddlehead by Cherie Priest
6. The End of Magic by Amber Benson
7. Truth Dexter by Sidney McCall

1. Totoro steampunk amigurumi
2. Unicorn amigurumi
3. Mini potted amigurumi
4. Kappa amigurumi
5. Kokeshi amigurumi
6. Lucky kitty amigurumi
7. 2 onigiri amigurumi
8. 3 soot sprite amigurumi
9. 6 star amigurumi

Good afternoon everyone! I can't believe it's July already. Where has the month gone? In my case, it's gone to reading and a bunch of amigurumi crocheting.

As you may remember, I had bought two of Sidney McCall/Mary Fenollosa's books in May. I didn't want to take the chance that I would destroy the hard copy book I had bought and luckily I was able to find Truth Dexter on Amazon for the Kindle.

Surprisingly, it was a good book. It centers around a Southern girl named Truth Dexter and a Northern lawyer named Craighead Van der Weyde. The novel is what we would call a typical romance nowadays. I can see why the book was popular during the time period.

Hmmm....what else?....ah, yes, amigurumi crocheting. I think my favorite is the kappa amigurumi. I love fairy tales in general, but the Asian cultures have interesting tales that you don't find anywhere else. I decided I wanted to make a mythical creature amigurumi so I went with a kappa. Mine is a cute version of the creature :)

What else? ~ you already know my plans for after July, lots and lots of stitching. So what are my plans for July? I might finish a few more amigurumi, but I also need to get some boxes together to display my amigurumis at the con later this month. Last year I had gone to post office and got a bunch of those free priority boxes, cut them down, and wrapped them in paper. That way I could make 'shelving' for my amigurumis on my table.

I had gone by Hobby Lobby and Target this morning in the hopes that I would find some wrapping paper that wasn't smooth, but had a rougher texture so my amigurumis wouldn't slide off the paper like they did last year for the majority of the convention. No such luck.......I did however see that you could buy postal shipping paper which is a coarse paper. I wonder if I should get that and decorate the boxes with washi tape or something?!

Hmm....I'll have to consult my sister about it. She's the artsy creative type. I'm not good with art at all...that gene skipped me entirely. LOL

I hope everyone has a lovely 4th of July weekend. And to all my Canadian readers, I hope you have a fabulous Canada Day today :)

Until next time ^____^

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Stitching plans :)

Good afternoon. It's been a quiet weekend here especially after our week of rain from the tropical storm that swept through the Gulf Coast. I think the majority of the coast had forgotten about tropical storms and hurricanes since we have been lucky enough to not have any major storms for the last couple of years.

I know I had forgotten how boring and mentally draining the rain can be, at least with tropical storms/depressions. For some reason, there is rarely any thunder or lightning with those systems.....I don't know why. It makes the storms a bit least for those of us in the south because we are used to summer storms with thunder and lightning. To not experience it with tropical weather is bizarre.

It was raining just a tiny bit yesterday, but I still managed to get my errands done. I dropped off books at the library (in the book slot instead of waiting for them to open....which would mean checking out books instead of reading what I had at home O-o"), went by the post office to mail off a tiny envelope package to Amanda, and then headed off to Hobby Lobby.

After all these years of having a Hobby Lobby, it still cracks me up that they start putting their fall stuff up in June/July and by July/August, they have their Christmas things up as well. (I won't complain about the fall things because it's my favorite time of year and it makes me think of pleasant weather....even when it's 90+ outside and humid.

While browsing through their fall section, I noticed these adorable turkey buttons. I ended up taking a photo and sending it to my friend Kristina because their little picket signs are hilarious! I think it would be cute to make a cross stitch design with a few fall motifs with the lettering 'Presidential Turkey Pardon' and then put those buttons underneath the lettering.

Makes you wonder if Trump will do the turkey pardon this year. He doesn't seem to care for tradition in the White House so who knows if he'll do it or not?!

Since it's almost July, it got me thinking about my stitching plans for after the end of July when I'll be free of crocheting for the convention my sister and I are attending in New Orleans.

The first item on my agenda is finishing Afternoon in London by Country Cottage Needleworks. (I apologize for the horrible cell camera doesn't like overhead lighting....and I've got shadows all over the place!)

I left off with the buildings finished in the pattern. I need to work on the double deckers and other motifs in the pattern and then move on to the lettering. I love working on that's very soothing, but it makes me miss living in England.

Another pattern I would love to start and finish this year is the Cinderella Sampler by Willow Hill Samplings. I had bought this pattern on eBay earlier this year...............prior to stumbling across their Etsy shop. The owner of the company got rid of her website and as far as I know doesn't sell hard copy patterns in needlework shops anymore; and moved onto Etsy instead where she sells digital patterns and a few hard copies.

She has a few other fairy tale patterns which I will definitely second favorite is her Little Mermaid pattern. Loreta at All the Beautiful Things blog had stitched the mermaid pattern a few years ago and I fell in love with it.

This is another pattern I would love to continue to stitch. I have already finished the Neapolitan girl, the strawberry girl, and the green tea girl. I really want to finish stitching the last two girls in the series.

I love Soda Stitch designs. They are super cute, full of vibrant colors, and the backstitching involved adds a lovely dimension to each design as it's completed.

I am hoping I can find some cute frames for the designs. I would love to frame them in either an oval or circular Rococo/Baroque filigree sort of frame. I have seen a few such frames at Hobby Lobby, but they aren't big enough for the designs. I might have to search on the Internet until I can find something :)

The last pattern I'd like to continue stitching on is the Cottage Cakes by Country Cottage Needleworks. I have finished the blueberry cake and the cherry cake....I would love to finish the other cakes in the series :)

In other related stitching news, I've been watching a bunch of Flosstube videos.....mainly Floss Candy, msleftwich, CoffeeStitcher, and A Delcat Stitches. Since I'm trying to crochet amigurumis during my down time from work, I can't watch their videos all the time.....I mostly wait until after dinner before watching a few videos.

I love seeing what everyone is working on. A Delcat Stitches makes me want to buy more Soda Stitch patterns. She has some seriously cute designs that she has stitched.......but I gotta resist the temptation to go out and buy a bunch of patterns since I have some I'd like to finish first :)

In non-stitching news, work is just work.....I don't like my assistant. She's nice, but there's something about her that I don't like and I can't put my finger on why. We started our main project this week and on the second day she started mentioning interns. I tried to calm her down and tell her that we weren't even a week into our project and that if we were going to do it the way we were told to do it, it was going to take time. So we shall see what happens.

I need a I'm actually happy for the end of July when my sister and I go to New Orleans even though it will be hectic like all conventions are, but at least it isn't real work......which has caused me to have a serious burnout....which isn't good because I need to stay in my field for another 8 years to pay off student loans.................the loan gods are cruel.

On that note, I hope everyone has a great week. Remember to Stay Calm and Carry On! (I'll try to keep that in mind as well!)

Until next time ^____^

Monday, June 12, 2017

Sonia Roetter ~ illustrator for Peter Pauper Press

Hi, everyone! I had bought this book a while ago on eBay. I had bought it primarily because one of the authors of the fairy tales was Lafcadio Hearn. Added bonus it was fairy tales and Japanese fairy tales at that.

When I received the book, I fell in love with the illustrations. I even brought the book to work with me so I could share it with a coworker. The illustrations reminded me of origami and I knew my coworker would like that as well since he is always folding an origami creation in his spare time.

Initially when I tried to find out about the illustrator, Sonia Roetter, I hit a dead end. The most I could find out was that she had worked on several books for Peter Pauper Press, the company who published the book I had bought. The Metropolitan Museum of Art had an entry for her Chinese Fairy Tales book in their catalog, but all they had under her name was 'American, 20th century'.

You know me, history nerd, lover of research, I had to find something out on her. One of the greatest resources you can use in my opinion is Ancestry. I know that sounds odd when you aren't working on genealogy, but trust me, it is a lifesaver when you are in the academic world, even when you are in the offshoots of that world like I am.

So off I went to see what I could find and here's what I found:

Sonia was born in Winnica, Russia (now Ukraine) on October 12, 1904. She and her family moved to the United States; they arrived in Baltimore, Maryland on December 20, 1913. 

At some point she had married a photographer named Frederick Roetter and lived in Chicago. She became an American citizen on December 29, 1941. She died at the age of 87 on September 15, 1992.

She was an illustrator who worked for Peter Pauper Press, a company founded in 1928 and which still exists today. She even entered exhibitions, such as the Chicago Artists Exhibition in 1957 and 1958. I would love to know what her actual style of art was. Did she use the same style she used for her illustrations? The same medium, silkscreen? Or was she a painter?

From what I could find, she had illustrated the following books for Peter Pauper Press:
1) Hickory, Dickory, Dock: And Other Poems of Childhood, 1950.
2) Mother Goose Book, 1946.
3) Japanese Fairy Tales, 1948.
4) Chinese Fairy Tales, 1946.

I hope some day to at least find a decent copy of the Chinese Fairy Tales book. From the images I have seen online of it, she illustrated the book in a similar style to that of the Japanese Fairy Tales book.

The Japanese Fairy Tales book contains 78 pages featuring twelve stories that are illustrated with silkscreen images using a repeated color scheme of pink, blue, and white. On each page of text, the midsection is illustrated with a long motif, such as a monkey, fish, willow branches, or a woman in a kimono.

On my searches, I noticed that Peter Pauper Press also published other fairy tale books using different illustrators....I think there was a Russian and even a Turkish fairy tale book.

I wonder if I could contact the company and see if they had records on the various fairy tale books that they published in the 1940s? bookworm brain never shuts down!! LOL

I hope you enjoyed learning about a forgotten artist. Who says you can't learn new things?

Until next time ^____^

Friday, June 9, 2017

National Best Friend Day Package ♡

Good afternoon! Two posts in one day? Why yes, yes indeed. It's been a crazy work week. We had meetings everyday with the longest being yesterday, which clocked in at 4 hours. With so many meetings, which took up my regular work day, I was feeling cranky, antsy, and drained.....even to the point that I was crying in one of the bathrooms! I was joking with my friend Amanda that the introvert in me wanted to go hide in one of the stairwells to avoid any meetings.

Needless to say, today couldn't come any faster for me. On Monday, I decided that I wanted today off. I didn't know that I would be facing a week's worth of meetings beforehand. It just happened that way.

So this morning, I slept in as long as my brain would allow, which wasn't too late.....around 7:30am or so. I got up, ate some oatmeal.....pumpkin spice by Quaker.....wasn't impressed with the supposed pumpkin spice 'flavor', put some laundry in, walked outside to see if we had gas for the lawn mower, came back inside for some sunscreen lotion, and mowed the lawn for about 2 hours. 

The weather was beautiful today. Warm with a cool breeze. An added motivation for mowing the lawn was that every time I passed the blueberry bushes, I could snag some berries ;) After mowing the lawn, I went back for seconds, but don't worry, I remembered to leave some for the birds. I would have picked some to freeze, but we didn't use last year's berries so it wasn't worth the extra time.

After laundry and lunch, I wrote my first post on Lucile, went out to check the mail, and found a package from my friend Amanda. She had texted me earlier that I had a small package coming :)

She sent me an assortment of goodies: a beautiful Korean bookmark featuring a woman wearing traditional costume, a Starbucks card (YES!!! Feeding my addiction to their midnight mint mocha frappuccino), a roll of adorable bunny washi tape, some colored UV resin (can't wait to try them!), and two pairs of bunny socks (can't have too many cute socks....even if you are the only person who sees them!).

She sent me a long letter in reply to one I had sent earlier in addition to an absolutely beautiful handmade card. She knows I've been going through a rough 'patch' so this card is a reminder that nothing is as tough as it may seem and that there are people who care even though you may have forgotten it along that rough patch of life.

In December I had bought a journal, one of those question/answer types. One of the questions was what would you do if you won the lottery. I know I would definitely help out my friends for sure.

I always thought it would be lovely to have a bakery and next door Amanda could have a specialty stationery shop where she could sell her creations :) And next door to that my friend Kristina could have a cross stitch shop! LOL That would be amazing!

Thank you darling for this lovely 'Best Friend Day' package! It brighten my day :)

Until next time ^____^

Book Review ~ Lucile by Owen Meredith

Good morning, everyone! One of my goals this month was to pull books from my shelves that I hadn't read yet and actually read them. This week I pulled out Lucile by Owen Meredith. 

It was originally published in 1860 by Robert Bulwer-Lytton writing under the pseudonym, Owen Meredith. The book was published in England several times over the years while in the U.S. the book was published over 2,000 times from the date of its publication until 1938. The University of Iowa has an interesting website devoted to the publication of Lucile called the Lucile Project. It gives information on the book and is attempting to keep a record of various publications of the book since quite a few of the publications were not dated, like my own copy of the book.

The story of Lucile is a narrative poem written in anapest meter. It begins with a letter written by Comtesse Lucile de Nevers to Lord Alfred Vargrave. She congratulates Lord Alfred on his upcoming marriage to a young girl named Matilda and asks that he return any letters he might have of hers from their romantic affair years before.

Lord Alfred travels to France to return the letters, but after encountering Lucile again, he realizes that despite his supposed anger at Lucile for their breakup, he still cares for her. For her part, Lucile never forgot Alfred; over the years, she had been the belle of France and had many potential suitors, but she rejected everyone. 

Her current potential suitor is Eugene de Luvois, a young Frenchman, who is continuously gay and merry, flitting from one party to the next, spending money lasciviously with no care in the world for making something of himself. With Lucile at his side, he thinks he can make something of himself and achieve meaning in his life.

Alfred confesses his feelings to Lucile, but she asks that he wait for her reply. Eugene confesses as well, but is rejected. At that same time, Alfred receives her letter that says that they can never be together and he is heartbroken, but after reading it a second time again, he realizes that Lucile still loves him, but cannot be with him because he is 'not free'. 

On his way back to England to 'free' himself from Matilda, he meets Eugene on road, who despite being rejected, gives Alfred a triumphal grin as if he had won Lucile's heart. Alfred took that grin as triumph, not jealously; he returns to England and marries Matilda.

The second part of the story sees all four characters at the same town and inn in France. Eugene's life has continued to be one of dispensation. But seeing Alfred and Lucile speaking once again, he decides to cause havoc by revealing to Matilda that Lucile was Alfred's previous lover.

Matilda had always loved Alfred and assumed she was loved as well, but with Eugene's words, she doubts everything. Fortunately, Lucile comes to the rescue and tells Matilda that Alfred loves her and no other. She reprimands Eugene strongly and refuses him once again. She tells him that she will always be his guide if he needs her in the future. She tells him to make something of himself and forget the past.

Years later, we see Alfred and Matilda, now poor (due to a dubious uncle who squandered the family's money), but happy because of their only son. Their son is in the army fighting during the Crimean War. He has been injured, but is nursed back to health by a nun named Sister Seraphine. Despite her care of his injury, he is dying from a broken heart. He has fallen in love with a girl named Constance, but cannot be with her because of her uncle's refusal.

Sister Seraphine goes to the general of the army to ask for his help with the boy. It is revealed that the general is Eugene de Luvois. No longer a layabout, but an upstanding man who has devoted his life to helping others. When he realizes that Seraphine is Lucile, he is astonished, but all of his anger comes back when she mentions who the boy is, his rival's child. At first he refuses to give his consent for his niece Constance to marry, but in the end he relents. 

The story comes full circle with Alfred and Matilda together, their son and Constance together, and Eugene and Lucile still alone, but atoning for their 'supposed' sins by giving help to the world where they can.

I have a theory as to why the book resonated with American audiences. In any other story, Lucile would have been the catalyst that broke Alfred and Matilda's relationship apart, she would have been the villain. Instead, the author gives us a character who gives up her love for Alfred and becomes a nun. She transfers her love for Alfred to a love for everyone. She is a constant source of comfort and solace for those she encounters. With Eugene, she convinces him to become something, to do good in the world, when she could have left him to his own devices and let him destroy himself and others.

Considering America's ideals of women in the late 19th century and early 20th century, Lucile's character is one that women could see themselves in. Forgiving, noble, and loving throughout trials of life.

With the book's popularity, it was made into at least four plays in the early 20th century before 1910. It was also made into a film in 1912 by the Thanhouser Company, but sadly it did not survive. Perhaps it will come to light one day if a copy still exists in the world, but is buried in a storage somewhere. We can only hope.

While reading the book, I found some interesting ephemera that a previous owner had slipped in the book. The first was a receipt for Century Subscription Agency to extend a subscription for Biff Magazine. The receipt dates to 1913 and was signed by a woman who lived in Omro, Wisconsin.

The second item was a partial silver gelatin photograph. It shows a young boy wearing a black cap sitting beside a woman in a white blouse. I wonder who they were? Family of the owner of the book and receipt?

Don't you love finding notes and other items in used books? I know I do. Gives the book an addition life beyond the words on the page.

With the date of the receipt, I would hazard a guess that my copy of the book was published circa 1913. It was published by M.A. Donohue & Co. in Chicago. My version is one of their 'handy volume' editions of the book.

I hope you enjoyed my ramblings today. If you would like to read the book, Amazon has it for free on Kindle and you can also find it through Project Gutenberg, a great website for books in the public domain.

Until next time ^___^

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Saturday Book Hunting :)

Good afternoon. As you can see, Kristina and I didn't make it to Louisiana this weekend. The weather decided to conspire against us and the entire Gulf Coast for that matter. So she went on the hunt for yard sales this morning despite the rain and I went to the library (yes, I know I said I was going to read what I have at home....and I have...but I was looking for craft books.....I have excuses for everything!! LOL).

After spending some time at the library, I drove over to Springhill College to the Book Nook to browse. I wasn't expecting to find anything, but imagine my surprise when they had a small selection of books by Sidney McCall (real name Mary Fenollosa).

I ended up buying Truth Dexter, her first novel and The Breath of the Gods, her first book set in Japan. Both books are published by Little, Brown & Company. Truth Dexter was originally published in 1901; the book I bought was published in 1907. The Breath of the Gods was published in 1905 and I was lucky enough to buy a first edition of the book :) 110 and 112 year old books in decent condition!!

I absolutely LOVE the decorative covers on these books. I consider it a shame that you don't see that type of workmanship on modern books unless the company puts the effort into presentation of their books or a company is making a 'special' or anniversary editions of a book.

For those of you that don't know Mary McNeil Fenollosa was quite the character. She ended up getting married three times (first husband passed away, second husband divorced her, but kept their child, but the third and final time was true love). Her last husband was Ernest Fenollosa, who she worked with at Boston MFA. He was married at the time, but divorced and married Mary. It was quite the much so that he was asked to leave Boston MFA!

They spent a few years in Japan and eventually came back to the United States. Fenollosa was quite influential in people's perceptions of Oriental art. He and his wife were friends with a circle of Western scholars in Japan, which included Lafcadio Hearn, Edward Morse, and others.

Mary began writing novels under the name Sidney McCall in 1901. Her first book Truth Dexter was about a southern woman whose marriage is threatened by a Boston socialite. (Interesting subject matter considering the origins of her marriage to Fenollosa). She would continue to write books until 1919. Several of her books were made into films or plays.

Not bad for a woman who grew up in Mobile, AL. Alabama Heritage magazine has a great article on Mary Fenollosa that they published recently.

Hope you liked learning a little literary history of Alabama.

Until next time >___<

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

London Stitching and Pesky Pests!

Good morning. I thought I'd share my progress on Afternoon in London. I've gotten through the two buildings and Big Ben in the design. When I pick up my stitching again in August, I'll be working on the other motifs and moving on to the letters and floral border at the bottom.

I love stitching on CCN designs. They are very relaxing and I like the soft colors that is uses :)

In crazy news, we have had an attack of fleas in our house! Having never had a problem with them before, I can say that I HATE them! We aren't sure how Lily got them...possibly from her mad dashes outside to flop down on the front porch or from us bringing them in on our shoes from the yard......who knows. So she has had a dose of flea medicine and we have cleaned the house top to bottom and have been vacuuming everyday so far. My sister read somewhere that you have to keep vacuuming everyday for at least a month because any fleas you haven't picked up will lay quite a few eggs in a day.

Ugh...............evil things! Well, at least this is a lesson learned that we have to be proactive and keep giving Lily her medicine every month because nothing is going to stop her determination to fly out an open door and flop down on the porch or pavement. She's a dingy bird for sure!

Until next time ^____^

May Recap


1. River Marked by Patricia Briggs
2. Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs
3. Night Broken by Patricia Briggs
4. Fair Game by Patricia Briggs
5. Dead Heat by Patricia Briggs
6. Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs
7. Madame Sadayakko by Lesley Downer
8. Skim by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki

1. Yuri doll
2. Victor doll

1. Potions, Brews, and Spells finish
2. Spring Girl embroidery finish
3. Moon Bunny sashiko embroidery finish

The month of May was a nice break from amigurumi creations on the whole, which gave me time to stitch on a few cross stitch and embroidery projects :)

As you can see I read the rest of the Patricia Briggs series, which is good and bad because Silence Fallen was her most recent book so I have to wait until she comes out with something in the future. My bookworm mindset should have stopped while it was ahead and kept a few books unread. LOL

But with that said it does give me the opportunity to go to my bookshelves and make a pile of books that I haven't gotten around to because I've been at the library too much (is that even possible?!?) and have neglected what I have at home.

In other news that is really boring, I still haven't started working with our assistant yet. Our boss is focused on how we categorize things when I just want to get started and fret about categorizing once we have the data compiled for data entry, which is when you start getting into categories. Because in my mind that makes more sense at this point than fretting about the future data entry..............but I'm just a minion so my opinion is moot.

In exciting news, Kristina and I concocted a plan to spend some time out of the city once a month if possible. We are both stressed at our jobs and we don't have the time or money to take proper vacations so we have decided to take day trips to relax and de-stress.

Our first trip is on Saturday (weather permitting). We will be going to Oak Alley in Louisiana. You might recognize the name from Interview with a Vampire as it was where some of the scenes were filmed. While that is an interesting side note, Kristina and I are unabashed history nerds and love visiting museums and period houses when we get the chance :)

According to their website, they have something called the Plantation Parade because there are three other plantation houses some what near to Oak Alley. I'm not sure if we'll be able to see any others besides Oak Alley. It depends on how long we stay and wander through Oak Alley, but even if we don't get the chance to see the other plantations, it gives us future day trips :)

So what's up for the rest of the month of June, which is tomorrow (egads!). stitching because I'll be working on a few more amigurumis of some sort and hopefully getting through some books on my shelves :)

Until next time ^____^

April and May Amigurumi Roundup

Hi, everyone! I had completely forgotten to post my amigurumi for the month of April so I combined it with this month's amigurumi finishes. The only finishes I made this month were the Yuri and Victor dolls while everything else was made in April.

I think my favorite is the Ewok amigurumi. The photo is a bit dark on that side so you can't see him clearly, but I think he is adorable. If I wasn't going to put him up for sale at the convention in July, I'd keep him. He's that cute :)

Almost two more months until the convention.........gotta get back to my crochet hooks :)

Until next time ^____^

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Strolling through London ~ relaxing weekend stitching ♡

Pattern: Afternoon in London
Fabric: 32ct water lily linen by Wichelt
Threads: recommended DMC
Start: 5/14/2017

Good evening, everyone! It's been a rainy couple of days, which is great for binge watching period dramas and cross stitching.

I'm currently stitching on the British Museum motif. I was joking with my friend Kristina that the amount of time I've spent stitching on that motif, I could have been at least half way through the actual museum's collection.

Makes me wish I could take a vacation to England right now. But sadly whatever vacation plans I had in my mind are gone now that I have a temporary assistant for a year.

I haven't even worked with her yet and I think I'm going to have issues. I was talking to her on Friday about a list that needed to be researched and she asked me how to research.............................

My mouth dropped open, you literally. Luckily we were in the library and she had the lights down so she couldn't see my facial expression. I'm glad she didn't see it because it took a lot for me to shut my mouth and calmly answer her question in a decent tone of voice that wasn't panic stricken.

Apparently she had been in a legal office for 18 years since leaving our field, but correct me if I'm wrong, but don't legal offices have to research too?!

Needless to say at this point I am relishing any down time I have at work or at home to read, cross stitch, or crochet because it will do wonders for my sanity.

Any happy thoughts you can send me would be most appreciated!!!

Until next time >___<

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Potions Happy Dance ♡

Good morning, everyone! It's happy dance time ;) I can't dance to save my life. If there was a character that reminded me of my dancing, it would be Carlton from Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. No rhythm whatsoever. LOL

I received the skein of thread I needed for my Potions design in the mail on Monday (no screaming from my side of the blogging world so you know the skein mostly matched the other skeins I had used previously) and was able to finish the last two rows last night.

And yes, I actually figured out the queen stitch, which now that I look at it, it reminds me of peppercorns or some other sort of dried spice. I really don't care for how it looks, but perhaps it looks better on non-linen fabrics and with more than one thread.

This design will go in my 'to frame' pile. I'm thinking maybe an ornate or old-fashion looking black frame since it is a Halloween design.

I have given up trying to get an accurate photograph of the linen color :)

Now on to stitching on CCN's London design!!!

Until next time ^___^

Monday, May 15, 2017

Spring Girl Embroidery and 1st Attempt at Sashiko Embroidery

Good morning, everyone! I hope you had a wonderful weekend. My weekend was full of stress-induced house cleaning and then relaxing with some embroidery.

Stress-induced cleaning, you ask? Well, my supervisor informed me on Friday, 10 minutes to five o'clock that we would be getting a new person in our office. Not someone we hired or approved, but that would be transferring departments to ours even though she hasn't been in our field since the 80s. So I am happy, no, not really. If anything it makes me stressed out because now in addition to everything else at work, I have to play babysitter until our new person can figure out what we need from her.

Who knows, maybe I'm stressing for no reason. I'll keep my fingers crossed that she'll work out. 

So with stress comes cleaning bathrooms, vacuuming, laundry.....not that I wouldn't do those normally, but I hadn't planned on doing all that, but my brain needed to keep busy instead of worrying.....just leave the worry for my brain when I try to go to sleep at night! LOL

After all that cleaning, I sat down to continue working on Tamar Nahir-Yanai's Spring Girl kit.

Start/Finish: 5/11-13/2017
Threads: included DMC and an additional purple color

What I found amusing about this Spring Girl kit is that the illustration on the package didn't match the stamped fabric inside. The individual flowers weren't supposed to be part of the design so I had to go through my thread stash and find a color that would work with the others. I ended up choosing a purple color.

If I'm not mistaken, Hobby Lobby only has one more embroidery design of hers that I haven't stitched yet. I'll probably pick it up in the future. I was hoping they would carry the Winter Fairy design, but I haven't seen could be that they only had it on the shelves during Christmas. I thought maybe I could just order it through her Etsy shop, but since that design is carried through DMC, she can't sell it in her shop to customers in the US. Sadness! I'll have to see if I can find it on DMC's website, etc.

Start/Finish: 5/14-15/2017

After finishing the Spring Girl, I pulled out a sashiko kit that I bought a few months ago. Having seen some lovely sashiko videos and stitching online, I really wanted to try it out. I ended up buying a kit, needles, and a needle pusher ring through Etsy.

No surprise that I chose a bunny design, right? Right! LOL I looked through a bunch of kits on Etsy and really liked this kit. You could get it in white or in what they called 'retro' colors. I went with the retro color version because why not. It is fun, funky, and the colors really pop against the indigo fabric.

So my initial thoughts on sashiko:

1. You wouldn't think the running stitches would be so relaxing, but oddly, they are relaxing. I stitched up this design while watching the first two seasons of When Calls the Heart.

2. I like the ease of stitching, but I didn't care for the dye used on the fabric. It is suppose to wash away when you wash the fabric, but that also means that if you mess up a stitch and pull it out, the stitch line is fainter than before so it hard to tell where to put your needle.

3. I hadn't realized how hard and awkward it is to stitch without a hoop. It took me a while to get used to stitching without a hoop. I'm still not entirely comfortable, but you can't stitch sashiko designs with a hoop as you are constantly moving the fabric back and forth through your needle.

4. I need lots of practice. My stitching wasn't the best. It was hard to keep a good tension in parts of the design and you can tell the stitches are loose in sections. I am hoping to tack the design to a bit of canvas so hopefully that will stretch out the stitches a bit.

5. I have no idea how to stitch without using knots on the back. The kit and the Etsy seller sent a beginner guide to sashiko, but I still haven't figured out how to do the reverse backstitch method of my fabric has knots, which isn't a problem since I plan on stretching it, but if I was framing the design or making it into a flat finish, those knots would be noticeable from the front.

6. The fabric in the Olympus kit is thin and stretchy. I wonder if all Olympus fabrics are the same?!

All in all, I quite like it. Definitely a form of stitching that doesn't require much thought. I like that it is relaxing and that you can stitch and watch a TV program without worrying about stitch counts, etc.

I'll have to see if I can find some more kits on Etsy to try. And take time to practice that reverse backstitch start.

My next stitching project is CCN's London design. I started a little bit of the Big Ben portion last night. I should be getting my thread for the Potions design in the mail today so I can finish that design this week :)

Anywho, I hope you guys have a wonderful work week. Wish me luck with a new assistant.

Until next time ^____^

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Potions ~ Almost complete, but out of thread?!?!

As you can tell from the title of this post, I ran out of thread for the Potions pattern and with only two more rows to go, the Queen stitch row and the cross stitched row at the bottom. Gosh, darn close to completion.

I was hoping I could pick up the DMC alternative color that was listed in the pattern and use that, but guess what color it called for? Gray.......yep, gray. Now I'm pretty sure that aubergine and gray aren't the same color unless I have an eye ailment that I am unaware of. How in world can a designer say that gray is the alternative color to variegated purple!??! Boggles my mind.

So I had to go online and buy another skein of thread, which is quite sad because 1) it is expensive and 2) I only needed a little bit of thread to complete my project. I guess I could use the rest of the thread on future Halloween projects......

I am hoping that the thread matches the previous dye lot, otherwise I might just scream and you'll probably hear me screaming from wherever you are in the world as I open that package and realize it doesn't match.

With Potions on hold for the moment, I plan on pulling out another project in my stash. I think maybe an embroidery project this time. I have another Tamar Nahir-Yanai kit that I purchased at Hobby Lobby. I need to iron it tonight so I can start on it tomorrow.

I hope you guys are having a great week so far!

Until next time ^___^