Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Bargello Boxes

A few years ago I became interested in bargello needlepoint, specifically, the Florentine stitch.  There are many variations of this stitch, but the one I like the best is this one:

This stitch can be done over any number of threads, but I prefer Row 1 over 4 threads.  Awhile back, I found some pretty wood boxes with lids that can have needlework put inside.  I think these are really pretty.

The thread I really enjoy using for these is Caron's Watercolors in variegated colors.  I love the way the colors evolve as the stitching progresses.

Friday, September 06, 2013

What I've Been Doing This Week

Last week my friend, Linda Sue, asked me if I would help her with a display at a local church.  The event is a Lottie Moon Christmas Event that a local Baptist church has every year.  One of her friends goes to that church and he asked her if she and I would like to do a display with our American Girl dolls using a Colonial Williamsburg theme.  I told her that I have another commitment at the time of the event so I wouldn't be able to actually go and help her set up, but that I would be willing to make some things to include in the display.  We started thinking about Colonial Williamsburg and how the dolls should be dressed.  We got to thinking about those mob caps that children sometimes wear for plays and other events.  Those caps seemed to be in line with that era, so I told her that I would make some caps.  Then I got to looking around and found some dress patterns for 18" dolls that would fit the American Girl dolls.  So, this week I've had the most fun getting these outfits ready.

Now, I know that I can't possibly tell you about these cute dresses without giving you the source for the patterns, so I'm happy to share.  The lavender print dress on the left was made from McCall's 3627.  I had never made a doll dress like this before and, to be honest, I wasn't sure I could even do it, but I got the pattern on sale, so why not give it a try?  The pattern directions were very good and clear and I had no problem at all.  This pattern was a bit time consuming, but I like the way it came out.  The yellow print dress on the right came from an Etsy seller.  This pattern was an instant download in a PDF file, which I love, because when I get in the mood to make something, I want to make it NOW, not days from now.  Who wants to wait for a pattern to arrive in the mail when you're in the mood to get started right away?  This pattern was much quicker and easier too.  The most fiddly part was the bodice and sewing the lace, etc.  The mob caps were a piece of cake.  It's just a circle and I can make one in about 20 min.

Tomorrow, I'm going to Linda Sue's house and taking the girls so she can see the dresses.  I'll probably just leave them so she can already have them at her house to take with her for the display.  She's going to use some of her doll furniture and other accessories for the display.  I sure wish I could be there with her to actually do the display, but she will take lots of photos, so it will be almost like being there.  If I can get copies from her, I will post them here.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Small Joys

My good friend, Linda Sue, and I are enamored with American Girl dolls.  She has Samantha and Nellie and I have Samantha, Kit and Ruthie.  She made the above stove for me from a cardboard box.  I was just amazed at her creativity.  This little stove looks very real.  She said that when she was growing up they didn't have much money and they had to be resourceful.  Also, when her 3 boys were small she had to do the same thing.  Her favorite quote is, "Necessity is the mother of invention."
We have had so much fun with these dolls.  I guess you could say we are reliving our second childhood with them.  Being an only child I never had many playmates, so I would play by myself with my dolls, creating stories, etc.  It's fun now later in life to have another friend who enjoys them as much as I do.  Small joys.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Cookbooks and Catching Up

It's been so long since I've blogged.  I have no one to blame but myself.  There has been so much going on lately that I just haven't really had the energy or time to do it.  I don't like not posting to my blog.  I want to do it on a regular basis.  I guess sometimes I think I have nothing to say, but I need to post anyway.  I'm thinking about doing a 365 day Photo Challenge which is not really a challenge, but it's just a commitment to take at least one photo a day of something interesting and post to my photography blog.  I have seen what other bloggers have posted and I love the photos.  Some of them just take pictures with their cell phone, iphones since they have them with them all the time.  I want to do that too, but I'm not sure if my data plan will allow me to post a picture every day without going over my allotted time.  I'll have to check on that.

One thing I have not blogged about and is another reason I haven't blogged much lately, is that my mother passed away on May 16.  She did not have a long illness.  In fact, only 2 weeks before she died, we found out that she had a baseball size cancerous tumor on her colon.  She didn't even know it was there until she went to the ER one night in extreme stomach pain.  It was a shock to both of us and everything just happened so fast.  The surgeon told us that he thought it was cancer and that it had been there for quite some time.  He was wondering if it was something she knew about and just ignored doing anything about it.  We told him that no we had no idea.  One thing he said that could have been a preventative measure would be if she had agreed to have a colonoscopy when her doctors told her to.  I remember awhile back her doctors wanting her to have one and she refused.  So, who knows if that would have prevented this, but possibly if she had had one, they might have been able to find it when it was a lot smaller and remove it.  Anyway, the surgeon said that without surgery to remove it she would surely die.  She said that she had been praying about it and that it was in the Lord's hands, so she made the decision to have the surgery to remove it.  The first couple of days after the surgery seemed to be going well, but she started retaining a lot of fluid.  The surgeon seemed to think it was normal and that she was doing remarkably well for her age, so he sent her to rehabilitation against my wishes because I just didn't think she was ready.  She went to rehab on the Friday before Mother's Day.  I could tell that she wasn't getting better and I think she knew it too.  This once vibrant, independent woman was suddenly withdrawn and weak.  I think she knew this was the one thing she wasn't going to get over.  She was taken back to the ER the following Monday.  The ER doctor told us that her organs were beginning to shut down and that she would likely die.  I wasn't really surprised, but I was really sad.  I prayed about it and prayed that the Lord would just go ahead and take her rather than have her stay here and suffer for a long period of time.  It was a blessing when He took her the following Thursday.  I really miss her a lot, but it is a great comfort to me to know that now she is with her mother, father, brothers and sisters in Heaven.

Anyway, I am excited about some new things I have found recently.  One thing that has renewed my interest in dolls is a friend of mine who is really into American Girl dolls.  She only has two of them, Samantha and Nellie.  She said she only needs two and that's really all anyone needs.  She has made the cutest little doll room in one end of her small sunroom.  She has a bed and a kitchen set up and a little sitting room for them.  She also has various clothes, and accessories for them too.  About 2 months ago she and I went to the American Girl store near Atlanta and we had a blast that day.  I bought Kit and Ruthie and several different clothes and accessories for them.  Then later on I found a Samantha doll on Ebay and I bought her too.  But, that's it.  I'm not buying any more.  Three dolls is all I need and they look so cute together.

Samantha, Kit and Ruthie
Right now I only have one dress for Samantha, but I will either make some more or look for a couple of others ones on Ebay, maybe.
One day a couple of weeks ago I was in a local used bookstore and found a couple of cookbooks.  One of them is Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer, and the other one is Helen Exum's Cookbook, which is a cookbook published by a local author in my city.  These are both really old cookbooks, but I love them and some of the illustrations are really beautiful and unique.

Another really unique cookbook that I found while shopping in a different discount store was Just a Matter of Thyme by Roxy Kelly and Friends and illustrated by Shelley Reeves Smith.  This cookbook just caught my eye and really spoke to me.  I love journals and journaling and this cookbook was just like an illustrated journal.  It's a work of art!  Everything is handwritten in a beautiful script and the illustrations are just beautiful.

Monday, April 29, 2013

A Little Bling ...

I haven't polished my fingernails in a really long time other than just clear polish.  I actually didn't use to have very long nails because I used to bite my nails.  Thank God, I don't do that anymore.  Today I decided to polish them and I'm thrilled with the way they came out.  This is Sally Hansen 10 day no chip polish.  I'll use rubber gloves when I'm cleaning and washing dishes and hopefully they will last a little while.  After I polished them and saw how pretty they looked I decided to get some of my rings and dress my hands up a little bit with some bling.  I know ladies who wear lots of rings, but I've just never been one to do that.  I've collected a few rings over the years.  Most of them costume rings.  The Amethyst one does have real diamonds.  I bought it several years ago and put it in the layaway.  That's something I never do for myself either is put expensive jewelry in the layaway or even buy it at all, for that matter.  Buying this one was more of a once in a lifetime thing.  I just never spend money on what I consider luxury items like that.  Anyway, I was just fooling around this afternoon with my camera and rings  It was fun.
It got me to thinking about having fun and the commercial I've been seeing with Debbie Boone for Lifestyle Lift.  I'll never do anything like that, but I do like what one lady said.  She said, "I believe that if there is something you can do for yourself to make you feel good about yourself, absolutely go do it."  I think that applies to anything that you want to do to make yourself feel good.  Such as buying a new dress, or getting a new hairstyle, something as simple as polishing your nails or anything that will make you happy and feel good.  Go ahead and diva yourself up once in awhile.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Learned Something Today

I have always felt that a calling of mine was to make chemo hats for people who are losing their hair for various reasons, mostly because of having to have chemo because of cancer.  Several people that I know have been recently diagnosed with cancer and one person is just losing her hair for no apparent reason that the doctors can figure out.  So, I'm knitting chemo hats for them.  I went to my LYS to find some yarn to make the hats with.  I thought about someplace like Hobby Lobby or Michaels, but I sometimes have difficultly finding what I need and how to figure out the gauge for the size hat I need.  I learned something this morning that I have never known before when figuring gauges.

I had a pattern for a basic chemo hat and the pattern specified a certain type of yarn.  I got to the yarn store and the yarn suggested by the pattern was all DK or baby weight yarn.  Unfortunately, all of the colors looked like yarn for baby items like afghans, etc.  It just didn't look like colors for an adult hat for a woman.  So, I asked for help and they showed me some soft cotton yarn that would probably be good for the hat.  I just couldn't figure out what size needle to use for this yarn to get a close gauge to the yarn that was suggested in the pattern.  So, the lady at the yarn shop was very helpful.  She told me that to use the size needle specified for the yarn I'm using, to divide the gauge into the number of stitches cast on to get the size of the hat.  For example, the yarn I bought suggests a size 7 needle in order to get a gauge of 5 stitches per inch.  So, to figure out the size of the hat, I would divide 5 into the  number of cast on stitches to get the hat size.

Cast on stitches:  96
Gauge:  5 stitches per inch

96 divided by 5 = 19.2 inch hat (approximately)

The same thing goes when you know your hat size, but you want to know how many stitches to cast on to get a finished hat that size.  Depending on your yarn and your gauge, you would multiply your hat size by the gauge specified on your yarn.

Hat size: 20 inches
Guage: 5 stitches per inch

20 x 5 = 100 (cast on 100 stitches for a 20 inch hat)

I know alot of people who knit and/or crochet probably already know this, and I think I knew it at one time back when I was knitting alot of hats, but because I haven't knitted hats in a while I just forgot it.  I'm glad I learned it again because it's very valuable information especially when you are knitting hats.  I also need to get back to knitting chemo hats. 

At one time I knitted lots of chemo hats and also sewed them and donated them to my local hospitals for them to give to the patients who need them.  Because I was working full time I just wasn't able to keep up with it because I was so tired and busy all the time.  Now that I'm retired, I have the time to make the hats and start donating them again.  My problem is that now I'm on a strict budget and I'm going to have to find a good, econonical yarn that would be good for this.  The yarn I bought today cost more than I wanted to pay and would normally pay, but it really helps me to go to the yarn store and get individual help.  Now, I'm going to have to take what I've learned and go back to Hobby Lobby or Michaels and work with it.  With my budget right now I'm not going to be able to go to a yarn store and pay high prices for yarn.  I can't wait to get started on this first hat and I will post a  picture of it when I finish.  The yarn I'm using for this hat is made by Rowan and it's called Softknit Cotton.  The color I'm using is called Tea Rose.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Camping Dreams

Yesterday I was on Facebook and I saw a post that my cousin had put up with a picture of a vintage camper. It is so cute!
If I thought that we could have a camper as cute as this I would suggest that Eddie and I go buy one in heartbeat. It's amazing what one can do with an older camper. When you see pictures of vintage campers, it's hard to see beyond the age to visualize something that would be this inviting.
Several years ago, Eddie I owned a fairly large van. We love to go to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee and this one particular time we decided to take the van and rent a space in a campground. So, that's exactly what we did. We didn't have anything to cook with, we just rented the space to sleep there, and there was a small restaurant at the end of the road where we had planned to go and eat breakfast.
I was surpised at how comfortable the van slept. We laid down the back seat of the van and it made a nice wide bed for both of us. Eddie is 6 feet tall and it was long enough that he was able to sleep comfortably too. The only thing was that sometime in the night I had to pee and I had to walk to the building to use the restroom. That wasn't fun, walking in my pajamas half asleep to a building to use the restroom. I told Eddie I would just go outside the back of the van and use it there. Ha ha! He said, "You can't do that. There are people walking around out there." I said, "Surely not at this time of the night." I finally decided to give up and go to the building to use the restroom and, sure enough, there was a man walking around out there. He wasn't threatening at all, and I'm assuming he was going to the restroom too.
The next morning, we were awakened by the smells of coffee brewing, bacon frying and we were about to starve to death!  When we woke up we saw people around us cooking over campfires and on little cookstoves and I have to say I was extremely envious, wishing we had brought something to cook with because it really looked like fun.  We had to get up and drive the van to that restaurant to get something to eat. We decided that the next time we did this, we would bring things to cook with, but somehow we just never did it again.

Now that I'm retired, we probably could go camping, but would we? I'm wondering if I love the "idea" of camping more than actually doing camping itself? Am I really interested in camping or do I just want to look at the pictures of cute campers and wish we had one and just dream about it? For one thing, campers do require maintenance and when you go camping you have to hook it up, put the awning up and various physical things that at this point, I'm not sure Eddie could do. He had bypass surgery last August and he is still not able to do heavy lifting. Yesterday we went to Walmart and to buy cat litter. We usually buy the 25 pound bags of litter because they last awhile. We bought 3 of them and I guess we must both be wimpy or weaker than we used to be because it took both of us to lift the 25 pound bags of litter and take them into the house. So, I would love to try camping again, but I'm reluctant to make the commitment at this point until I'm sure that Eddie can handle the maintenance and setting up of it. We have thought about getting one of those popup campers, but I would have to see some cute ones decorated to get me interested. I would guess that a popup wouldn't be as much maintenance as the smaller pull along campers like in the picture above. So, for the time being, I will look at pictures of cute decorated campers and dream about having one and camping in it.  I've been doing image searches on Google for cute decorated vintage campers and here are a couple more pictures that I found.



Tuesday, March 05, 2013


Today I felt led to post some Bible verses and quotes on forgiveness:
Psalm 103:8-12 The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.

Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.

The Christian’s Attitude of Forgiveness

Matthew 6:14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you (attitude: forgive because you love the Lord)

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (attitude: can love cover it?)

2 Corinthians 2:5-8 Now if anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but in some measure—not to put it too severely—to all of you. For such a one, this punishment by the majority is enough, so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him. (attitude: stand ready to forgive)

Galatians 6:1-2 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. (attitude: approach gently and stand ready to restore the relationship)

Ephesians 4:31-32 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.(attitude: loving and forgiving just like God forgave you)

Christian Quotes About Forgiveness

“A forgiveness ought to be like a canceled note, torn in two and burned up, so that it can never be shown against the man. “ ~ Henry Ward Beecher

“Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.” ~ Corrie Ten Boom

“Man has two great spiritual needs. One is for forgiveness. The other is for goodness.” ~ Billy Graham

“Forgiving and being forgiven are two names for the same thing. The important thing is that a discord has been resolved.” ~ C.S. Lewis

“To err is human, to forgive, divine.” ~ Alexander Pope

Monday, February 25, 2013

Vintage Korean Change Purses

Today is my birthday and one of my best friends gave me a beautiful vintage change purse.

I just love this little change purse!
I didn't realize how much until I remembered how vintage and unique they are.  My mother has a small vintage beaded change purse that she keeps her spare change in.  She had used it so long that some of the beads were falling off and it was literally falling apart.  I found her another newer purse, not beaded, but she loved it just the same.

My new change purse prompted me to look for some historical information on it and try to date it.  One source I found said that these purses were from the 50's and another one said the 60's.

In my searching, I also found some pictures of others that are similar.  They are so pretty!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

In this world when there are so many family members who are cruel to one another, it's so wonderful to know that I have a wonderful husband who loves me and who knows how much I love him.

  We both know each other so very well and have such a bond that not many people can understand or even hope to understand.

Happy Valentine's Day to you and I hope you have someone in your life who loves and treasures you as much.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Things in my life have been crazy lately.
 Confusing things.
Hurtful things.
Things I will never get over.
But yes ... I really will ... in time, with God's help.

In times of stress, I have always let God get me through.  It's always been true, and it's still true now.  Another thing I have always done to help me get through difficult times is my needlework.  So a crazy quilt just seemed appropriate.

I love crazy quilts.  Several years ago when I was researching my family tree on my mom's side I found a distant cousin who had been doing the same thing.  She had a crazy quilt that our great-grandmother had made.  I have a picture of it somewhere.  I'll find it and post it here.

I tried to take a picture of the wall hanging I'm working on.  It's just 4 blocks, but I couldn't get the whole thing in and get a good picture, so I decided to post pictures of a couple of the blocks.

This is my crazy quilt wall hanging in progress.  I'm really enjoying it.  I have already pieced my blocks and I'm now in the process of embroidering the blocks.  That has been a learning experience, but I'm really pleased with the way it's turning out so far.