Monday, March 27, 2017

Potions, Brews, and Spells progress

Hi, again :) It's been a while since I posted on my Friday Frolicking on my Potions, Brews, and Spells pattern. I wanted to have a few Friday's worth of stitching before I posted about it again. So here is my progress since the last time :)

I ended up with my initials and date after last week's frolicking. There is a few more cross stitch bits below this section, but a majority of it is backstitching, specialty stitches, and cross stitching over one. After I get the regular cross stitching done in this section, I plan on moving back up and leaving the bottom section until last.

I was able to get a close up photograph of the thread color. Isn't it pretty? I love the variegated purples. It has been a while since I've worked with colored silks and I don't think I've ever worked with a variegated one before. I love how it stitches up.

I wish I could afford to do it more often, but the threads are pricey. I splurged on this project and bought the required fabric and threads because I am stitching this for myself and hope to frame it after it is done :)

Maybe some day I'll be able to get a photograph of the fabric that shows its true color. My cell phone camera does whatever it wants with this fabric depending on the time of day and lighting......ugh!

Until next time ^____^

Alabama Medieval Fantasy Festival 2017

Hi, everyone! My family and I attended the Alabama Medieval Fantasy Festival the Saturday before last. It is located in Greenville, AL, which is a little bit of a drive, but at least it isn't as far away as New Orleans.

The festival has music, falconry, jousting, and drama plays. We were able to see the falconry show and the jousting event.

The falconry show was interesting. They had several types of birds that they showed off including a buzzard, Russian owl, and a falcon. I think everyone's favorite was the owl. She was beautiful!

The 'king and queen' of the festival along with the royal court made their way through the festival. According to a friend of my sister's, the king and queen are the couple who hold the event. They purchased the land and have been building on it ever since.

Since the festival is 'fantasy' themed, any type of costume could be worn. My sister and I saw ladies in steampunk attire and a teenager dressed up as the character from Assassin's Creed. It was a bizarre mix of costumes.

I think the best costumes were the king and queen who dressed in period costume. The king wore 'King Henry VIII' style dress complete with stockings! It was impressive especially since he was a burly red haired/bearded man.

After viewing the vendors for a bit, we went back to check out the jousting event. I missed a bit of that part of the event as I was stuck waiting for food. By the time I got back to the jousting, there were a lot of people in front......being short, I wasn't able to see much of the jousting. You couldn't help hearing it though. One of knights hit the other so hard, he fell off his horse. I'm sure there was a sizeable dent in his armor.

On our way out of the festival, we stopped by a tea vendor's table. My mother and I ended up both buying some tea. I got a orange cinnamon spice blend and my mother bought a bag of dragon's blood tea, which is full of fruit and spices. The vendor was called The Copper Kettle Tea Bar and they have a shop in Foley, AL.

I might have to make a trip out there to see the shop/cafe. It looks adorable and the food looks delicious :)

I would love to see the fair better organized with all the living history tables, etc. in one area, all the vendors in another (you could make an interesting medieval market with all the vendors in one area), and the jousting/falconry area separated from the rest of the fair with more seating. And the drama plays need to be throughout the day. We weren't able to attend because they were at 3:30 and we had to drive make to Mobile. 

All in all, I'm not sure if we will attend the medieval fair next just depends. For its second year of existence, it isn't too bad. It was worth seeing my mother's face. Total skepticism. I had to remind her that when she was younger she played Dungeons and Dragons so a live medieval reenactment fair wasn't that far of a stretch. LOL

Until next time ^_____^ 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Saturday Antiquing - Milton, FL

My sister and I drove over to Milton, FL for an antique show. The first thing we saw were these adorable baby goats. Aren't they so cute? Makes you want to take one home, right? But then you remember that they grow up. Lol

The show wasn't large, but it did have a variety of vendors selling Civil War materials, Depression glass, ceramics, books, and jewelry.

We were hoping to find some Old Colony or Dogwood depression glass for our mother and aunt, but there were only a few examples and several of them were either pieces our mother and aunt already had or they were buy 'as is' which means something is wrong with the piece.

While walking around I took a few pictures of items that interested me.

I saw this beautiful turn of the 20th century vase by Royal Dux. This is first time I have seen an art nouveau style vase in the wild; usually I see them in museums.

This vendor had an amazing selection of several (5 sets) vanity sets from the 1920s. She was asking for about $200 for each piece in the set?!?! O_o"

She had a lovely perfume casket from the Victorian period. (The red velvet object in the picture.) It opens up to house two glass bottles of perfume. My sister and I thought it was amusing that the vendor stopped to tell us that she would lower the price to $200 if we were interested. Lol

Another vendor had a bunch of vintage knick knacks and kitchen gadgets. My favorites were these adorable chocolate molds for bunnies and lambs. Just one of the smallest ones was $45!!! Sigh.....

I took this picture for my mother as she is interested in spinning and weaving. A vintage yarn spinner. Not sure how old it still spins. My sister couldn't resist pushing the foot pedal. I'm just glad it didn't fall apart when she pushed it!!!

The woman I buy brooches from was there. I bought three brooches from her, two Spanish damascene brooches and a floral circular brooch.

I always assumed that the damascene brooches were 1920s or so because of the trombone backing, but after some research yesterday I found out that they are probably 1950s-60s and were made most likely in Toledo, Spain.

Damascene is the art of inlaying various metals onto oxidized steel. It is still practiced in Spain and Japan today. I have two other damascene brooches in my collection, but I hadn't realized what they were called until yesterday ;)

Maybe one day I'll come across some Japanese damascene brooches. You can't mistake them for the Spanish style as their designs are purely oriental themed.

The things you learn as you collect.

Until next time >___<

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

January and February Recap and Crochet Roundup

It seems that January went by so quickly that I forgot to do my usual monthly recap. It's just my way of keeping on track with books and projects, LOL.....sometimes you just need to organize your brain.


1. Against a Brightening Sky by Jaime Lee Moyer
2. Knife Edge by Andrew Lane

1. The White Company by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
2. Super Sushi Ramen Express by Michael Booth
3. Death's Mistress by Terry Goodkind
4. His Substitute Wife by Dorothy Clark
5. The Art of Beatrix Potter by Emily Zach et al

1. Bohemian Paisley embroidery
2. Shy Fairy embroidery

Lots and lots of amigurumi......see pictures below!

January Amigurumi Roundup

February Amigurumi Roundup

My favorites in books were Against a Brightening Sky by Jaime Lee Moyer and The Art of Beatrix Potter. I really hope Ms. Moyer continues with the series. I love the supernatural/mystery theme she has set in the turn of the century California.

The Beatrix Potter book was lovely. I hadn't realized that she had so many interests throughout her life in addition to her children's books. You learn something new everyday!

For the month of March, I plan on more crochet and hopefully stitching a bit on the Potions pattern with the aid of a magnifier if I can find a good one :)

Until next time ^____^

Potions, Brews, and Spells progress

After finishing up my Shy Fairy embroidery project, I stitched a bit on Potions, Brews, and Spells. I had no luck in finding a magnifier in my craft store browsing so I took my standing Ott light and draped it over a chair so I could get it as close as I could to my project while stitching. I looked ridiculous, but at least it helped.

I pulled out a bit of linen and tried my hardest to learn how to stitch the queen stitch.

It was a mess, I tried it at least ten times and couldn't get it to look right. It doesn't help that the JCS pattern shows the stitch covering six stitches and the diagram in the back of the magazine has it over five.

I'm so confused by that stitch. I looked up the stitch online and all the diagrams are the same as the magazine, but no matter how many times I stitch it, it just looks wonky.

So on that note, I plan on continuing with my regular stitching and leave that area of queen stitches until the end. If I can't figure it out at the end, I'll think of some other stitch to put in its place.

Until next time ^____^

Flowers and Shy Fairy Embroidery

Hi, everyone! Spring is in the air even though it is still officially 'winter'. We have had a lot of pleasant days with temperatures in 60s-80s. It seems like every flower that can bloom is out in force.

Azaleas on the side of our house

Snowdrops in my mother's 'English' garden

We pushed ourselves last week by working as much as possible in order to have the four day weekend off from work for Mardi Gras.

These last four days have been a mental break we all needed. Looking at our city holiday calendar, our next four day holiday won't be until Thanksgiving.

I didn't spend the holiday downtown at the Mardi Gras parades, but opted to stay at home with a book and a few crafting projects.

I started my Shy Fairy embroidery project last Friday as my Frolicking Friday project. I love the DMC colors that came with the kit.

Yesterday was my 'Frolicking Friday' since I wanted a full day of stitching on my day off instead of my normal Friday of maybe two hours of stitching total.

I was able to finish up my Shy Fairy embroidery. I didn't stitch the small flowers and hearts around the main design since I wouldn't be able to display it in a hoop with those motifs embroidered. The fabric that came with the kit is cut too small to allow for the stitching of those motifs if you intend on displaying it in an embroidery hoop.

This morning while at Hobby Lobby, I was debating on whether to get another one of the Tamar Nahir-Yanai kits, but I persuaded myself not to since I know I have a bunch of small stitching projects I could stitch up instead.

I hope you are having a great day! Until next time ^____^

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Saturday Antiquing - Dragon Tea set and Cross Stitch/Embroidery

This morning I went by Cotton City Antiques to look around. I was hoping to find some bundt or cake pans, but didn't see anything that wasn't in horrible condition.

However, I did see some lovely pieces while browsing. I saw this beautiful tea set depicting dragons. I found the set online and the raised designs on the dragons are called moriage. They were made in Japan from the late 19th century and continue to be part of ceramics in the present day. This set was probably made in the 1970s.

In terms of cross stitch and embroidery, I saw lots of new items I hadn't seen the last time I went to the antique mall.

Antique cross stitch sampler from 1927

Embroidered pillow with strawberries and butterfly

Embroidered basket scarf depicting a basket with flowers

Vintage cross stitch pattern

Cross stitch tea towel with peacock. The colors were beautiful.

I didn't buy anything this go around though I was sorely tempted by that dragonware tea set and several of the cross stitch/embroidery designs.

Have a great weekend!

Until next time ^____^

Potions, Brews, and Spells progress

I started on my Halloween pattern yesterday morning. The previous Sunday I had gotten the fabric out, prepped it, and stitched two numbers to get started for my Friday Frolic.

At the end of the day yesterday I had finished an entire row and the first letter in the row above it. I tried to stitch the row of queen stitches that go between the 'T' and 'Z', but I'm totally confused by the diagram in the JCS magazine.

I need to get a scrap of larger count linen and practice the stitch. Being able to see what I am stitching would help immensely.

In addition to practicing, I need a magnifier to attach to my Ott light. I have a hard time seeing the stitches on this higher count of linen.

It makes me wonder how stitchers can work on higher counts like 40 and up. I can hardly see the 35ct stitches.........O-o".

Hopefully next weekend I will be able to go by Joann's and check out their Ott light selection. I think they have magnifiers in that section that can be attached to the lights...........though I could just be making this up in my mind. LOL

Going by the store depends entirely on my work during the week. Our boss thinks we should work next Saturday if we don't accomplish enough during the week. That means I plan on bugging one of coworkers relentlessly to pick up the pace. Let's just say when we have events coming up, he is always the one we are waiting on, every single time. It gets old real fast. If I was his boss, I would have fired him a long time ago for incompetence.

Enough of the work will just make me stressed and I plan on enjoying the weekend while I can :)

Until next time ^____^

New Brooches :)

Hi, everyone! I have some new brooches to add to my collection!


This Totoro brooch was something I had commissioned from an artist on Etsy. She had a version of the polymer clay Totoro, but it was a necklace. I asked if she could make me a brooch with the same design. It came in the mail on Monday.

I love it.....I really wanted something geeky to wear occasionally at work. I have to be sure that on the days that I wear this brooch, I am working at my desk and not moving things around where I might accidentally brush up against the roses and break them O-o"

The same coworker who gave me the Bob Mackie heart brooch gave me two more brooches from his mother's collection. They are both brooches made by the French jewelry maker, Marcel Boucher. He worked for Cartier in the 1920s and then for several other companies before forming his own in 1937.

The two pieces I have were made after 1955 sometime around 1959-1960. Interesting enough, the rose brooch is part of set. When a piece of jewelry was part of a set, the company put 'N', 'E', and 'P' after the inventory number to denote a set. My coworker said he would check and see if the necklace and earrings were still in his mother's collection.

It could be that they aren't there at all because I'm not sure whether the Boucher sets were bought as complete set or if you had to purchase each one individually.

I'll have to wear these sometime this week. Both are quite beautiful. The rose brooch is so LONG! I don't have any of those types in my collection.

I really need a jewelry armoire. I wish I had enough money to commission someone to build one for me as I don't need something with slots for rings or earrings.....LOL just lots and lots of compartments for brooches :) Maybe someday!

Until next time ^____^

Monday, February 13, 2017

Paisley Embroidery Finish, a New Brooch, and Antique Travel Book

Good morning everyone! I worked on my Bohemian Paisley pattern on Friday and I was able to get everything finished except for the backstitching around the larger green motifs and the lazy daisy stitches. Since I was so close to being finished, I decided to work on it on Saturday afternoon after coming back from shopping.

Here is the design all finished. I still don't care for the lazy daisy stitches. I think they would be fine if there wasn't the pre-marked design behind them......I did try to wash the pattern after I was finished, but none of the ink came out.

So here's my ramble......why do embroidery companies make patterns with ink that doesn't wash out? Does that make any sense? Your design is never going to look like the one on the cover unless you are meticulous about covering up every white area there is on the fabric.....and I can tell you, it's hard to do on those lazy daisy stitches.

Well, I can't complain too much because this kit only costs me $3.50. A nice way to practice my embroidery stitches if nothing else.

On Friday, my coworker gave me a lovely brooch for my collection. His mother recently passed away. She had lots of costume jewelry . My coworker asked if I would like something from her collection since I wear brooches to work and I said yes. He picked out this Bob Mackie heart brooch.

I only have one other heart brooch in my collection so this is a great addition! I'm going to wear it tomorrow for Valentine's Day :)

On Saturday, I stopped by The Book Nook and found a lovely copy of Baedeker's Great Britain from 1927. Baedekers were travel guides published by a German company founded in 1827 (it still exists today under a different name.)

For a book that is ninety years old, it is in wonderful condition. The maps are bright and look to be rarely used. It is interesting to see that the North Sea used to be called the German Ocean (upper right on the map).

The book is somewhat like a modern travel guide with maps, directions, attractions, and costs. There are small descriptions of various historical places from each city in the guide book.

The geek in me would love to see a guide book for London. The earliest book on London was published in 1878 and was re-released every couple of years until 1930. With the war, English editions of the books weren't published until the 1950s. The last edition of the London book was in 1955, its 21st edition of that title.

I would love to see the books before and after the war to see how the face of London changed.

Like I said........the geek in me. LOL

In stitching news, I started a new Friday Frolic project on Sunday morning. I chose Potions, Brews, & Spells by Cherished Stitches, which was featured in last year's JCS Halloween magazine. I had ordered the fabric and threads in the fall, but never started the project because I was busy with Saisons 4 Sampler.

Since it will be my Friday Frolic project, the only things I did on Saturday and Sunday was pull the fabric out, iron it, find the center point, and stitch two number motifs to get it started.

This fabric is definitely going to require my Ott light. I am stitching it on 35 ct dolphin linen by Weeks Dye Works. The pattern originally called for 36 count, but the store I bought it from didn't have 36 so I went with the closest alternative.

The highest count I've worked on so far is 32 as that it the only count you can find in the chain craft stores in town.

Taking that and the dark fabric color into account, the Ott light is going to be used quite a lot. Usually I bring my project with me when I meet up with my friends on Friday nights, but I think I will have to start an additional Friday Frolic project since I can't drag a standing Ott light around town. I plan on stitching on the Shy Fairy on those nights.

I hope you had a wonderful weekend! Have a great Valentine's Day tomorrow. Even if you're single! Go to the store, buy some chocolate, and enjoy an evening of self-indulgence! LOL

Until next time ^____^