Saturday, March 8, 2014
AppleJack came home from grocery shopping and under his arm he had white tulips. He said he thought it was time to start thinking spring. This Sunday the clocks will spring forward one hour which means there will be more daylight hours in the evenings. I will gladly give up one hour of sleep to have more daylight hours in the evenings.
The temps are still quiet cool and I am not convinced winter is ready to retreat and allow spring to make her entrance, AppleJack is right--it is time to start thinking spring.
Time to start thinking about spring flowers and trips to the gardening centers.
Spring--time to let the barn yard animals out to green pastures, blue skies and warm sunshine.
Just in case the Easter bunny does not like jellybeans or robin eggs, I left him a carrot.
The Lenten Rose started blooming just prior to the Ash Wednesday service--they know spring is coming.
Deep down inside Mother Nature knows it is time for Spring to make her glorious entrance.
Sunday, March 2, 2014
The Scarlet House
Mystery stash linen--I think Birds of a Feather
As I put the finishing stitches into this piece, AppleJack looks over and says "I bet you will always remember this piece." He is correct, I will always remember stitching this piece. I began stitching this piece, the weekend my vision problems started, I completed the piece nineteen days post surgery. In my warped sense of humor way, I am naming it the one eyed bird piece.
While talking with my Mother yesterday, I asked her what had happened to Grandmother Bessie's hankies. Grandmother Bessie had an eye problem with one of her tear ducts and her eye was constantly weeping. She carried a hankie in her apron pocket or purse to catch the tears. Grandmother had everyday hankies and special hankies for church and visits with friends. No matter if she was pulling weeds, making beds, visiting with friends or cooking, Grandmother always had a hankie at her disposal. Since my surgery, my eye like Grandmother's is in a constant state of weepiness. I'm not sure if anyone still sells hankies, but I can certainly see the valve of having one in my pocket. Am hopeful Mother will be able to locate some of Grandmother's hankies--a nice reminder of a shared struggle.
As I was ironing the Coverlet Birds I asked AppleJack "what's next?" We're off to the finisher or the framer or the long arm quilter. Nope: finish one piece, time to select another. Grandmother found a way to knit and quilt with her eye challenge and I will find a way with mine.
Thursday, February 27, 2014
The Scarlet House
The words of Grandmother Bessie ring in my ears, "well child, are you going to let this get the best of you or are you going to find a way to make it work?" According to the surgeon, he is pleased with the surgical results and the way my eye is healing, he even smiled during my last exam. The swelling has subsided considerably and my eye remains closed. A kindred spirit told me "your eye is the constant wink position." A kind and gentle way of acknowledging things are not back to normal. AppleJack continues to be the best nurse ever. I am making progress, like most things in life, healing will require time.
In the meantime, work continues on the Coverlet Birds. For someone who is stitching with a one eye handicap, I am pleased with my progress. Rain is in the forecast for the weekend which will make for good stitching time. I was reading on Dying to Stitch blog, the second installment of Colonial Gatherings is due to ship the end of March. My goal is to complete the Coverlet Birds and have her to the finisher prior to receiving the second shipment. (My local quilt shop had some Farmers Fancy fabric which will work nicely with the Coverlet Birds. The fabric has the same blue, red and green colors as the design).
Plum Street Samplers
Colonial Candle Pocket
From Autumn at Notforgotten Farm
I had wide rick rack in my stash and wool the same color as the big yellow house--this will be such a fun piece for fall and Thanksgiving.
Mehitable Wright aka Miranda Price
(1885 the year Great Grandmother moved from NC to TN)
Hard to beat Civil War reproduction fabric for backing Great Grandmother projects. Thank you Betty the finisher, you are awesome!
Saturday, February 22, 2014
AppleJack and I always look for the silver lining. In the midst of my vision challenges we re-discovered one of our favorite eateries--The Picnic Cafe. (The Picnic is located in the same block as the doc's office).
Located in the Hill Center at Belle Meade, the twenty six year old Picnic Cafe is decorated in blue, white and yellow with flowery blue tablecloths, yellow walls hung with blue and white dishes and a white picket fence which wraps all the way around the restaurant.
The menu consists of Southern luncheon favorites: pimento cheese sandwiches, potato salad, cheese wafers, chess pie and the Picnic's signature punch. While our tummies and taste buds love eating at the Picnic, our waist lines do not. The food is delicious and loaded.
As our Valentine's Day this year was spent with me recovering from eye surgery, we treated ourselves to a late Valentine's Day lunch at The Picnic. One of my favorite desserts from The Picnic is the red velvet cake. Yum, yum. Here is the recipe for Red Velvet Cake from The Picnic Cafe. (By the way, if you are ever in Music City during the lunch hour this is great treat. Arrive early--the place is always packed.)
Red Velvet Cake from The Picnic Cafe
One-half cup shortening
One and one-half cups sugar
One-fourth cup red food coloring
Three tablespoons cocoa
Two and one-fourth cups flour (sifted three times)
One cup buttermilk
One teaspoon vanilla
One teaspoon vinegar
One teaspoon soda
Make paste of cocoa and food coloring: cream with shortening, sugar, and eggs. Combine sifted flour and soda. Alternately add flour and buttermilk to the creamed mixture. Cream well and add vanilla. If using an electric mixer, remover mixer blades and fold in lightly the vinegar.
Pour batter in equal portions into three 8 inch round pans, greased and floured.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.
Cream Cheese Icing
Two packages (three ounces each) cream cheese, softened
One half cup butter, softened
Four and one-half to four and one-fourth cups powered sugar
Beat together cream cheese and butter in a bowl until well mixed. Gradually beat in powdered sugar to make frosting spreadable.
Delicious! Wear your pants with the elastic waist band and enjoy a meal at The Picnic Cafe.
Friday, February 21, 2014
Mother Nature and Old Man Winter finally let go a portion of their grip on winter and Music City has enjoyed warmer temps.
Winter of 2014 has been challenging for the Lenten Rose. There is much leaf burn and fewer blooms.
It is not uncommon for the daffodils to bloom and then be dusted with snow.
One of our cat gardening guardians. She is surrounded by leaves which will need to be cleared from the flower beds.
AppleJack cleaned out the bird houses, making ready for spring robins to build their nest.
At long last, the water in the bird bath is not frozen.
Buds on the flowering dogwood, AppleJack, Miss Callie Mae Calico and I are longing for spring 2014 to arrive at Thistle Manor.
Thursday, February 20, 2014
There are so many things which I enjoy about needlework. I especially enjoy those who have shared their stitching places. Seeing the creative spaces gave me courage to get out the pick and shovel and share my stitching space. I also enjoy reading about filing systems. For those of you who need a good belly laugh, now would be the time to grab your tummy and belt out a good laugh. By the time you finish reading about my filing system you will be scratching your head and saying to yourself: a). what filing system? b). no wonder this woman is never able to find anything
Most of my charts are filed alphabetically by the designer name. For example: Blackbird Designs, Carriage House, Chessie and Me.
Adam and Eve
I have not given up on my quest for an Adam and Eve wall. Adam and Eve designed samplers which have appealed to me, I have grouped together. When I am needing an Adam and Eve fix, I pull this file and study them: the colors, the linens, the overall design.
Since Grandmother Bessie taught me to appreciate each of the seasons, I love stitching seasonal pieces: spring/Easter, fall/Halloween/Thanksgiving, winter/ornaments, patriotic pieces of Fourth of July, Memorial Day, Veterans Day and Labor Day.
PhD's or UFO's
I keep my projects half done together. Sometimes when I am feeling the need for a completed project, I look through this file.
Grandmother Bessie Themed Pieces
As the Grandmother Bessie sampler wall is more of a reality than the Adam and Eve wall, when I find pieces which will fit into the Grandmother Bessie theme wall, I group them together. For example: La D Da's Margaret Cottam is part of this grouping and Mecklenburg by Little by Little.
The Traveling Basket File
I am a terrible passenger, just ask AppleJack. I am easily bored, and yes I am one of those
I am one of those
There's my system and I'm sticking to it. Yes, there are times when I
Enjoy your belly laugh and then share your filing system.
Sunday, February 16, 2014
After I finished stitching the first Colonial Gatherings Club Kit, I knew I wanted to stitch more coverlet designs. Digging in my stash I found three coverlet designs: Coverlet Birds by The Scarlet House, Overshot Heart by Barrick Samplers (Carriage House Samplers) and Harry Tyler's Lion by Heartstring Samplery. I started stitching Coverlet Birds on Sunday afternoon. Tanya (The Scarlet House) had finished her coverlet birds into a pin keep and in looking at the finished pin keep it looked like she had used some over dyed trim for the edging of the pin keep. More stash digging and I found some hand dyed bamboo chenille by Crescent Colors. Finding the right linen became the next challenge. More stash digging and I found a remnant of what I think is Birds of a Feather linen which closely matches or at least does not clash with the over dyed chenille. I did not have the Needlepoint Inc blue fiber Tanya had used, I substituted with another blue in my stash--one in the Williamsburg blue family.
On Monday my life took an unexpected detour. I was diagnosed with a detached retina and scheduled for surgery on Tuesday. You can thank me later for sparing you the details. At this point, there are more unknowns than knowns. The docs do not know if or when or how much of my vision I will regain. There will be a second surgery for more repairs and the docs will begin treatment in my left eye hoping to strengthen the tissues and prevent a detachment in my left eye. What caused the problem? Being severely nearsighted for years and years finally took its toll on the tissues of my eye. "You can only stretch a rubber band so far before it starts to develop tears and breaks."
Yes, I have shed more than a few tears both of the controlled and uncontrolled variety. I am a firm believer in things can always be worse. No matter how bad my situations have been at times there is someone who is always so much worse off than me. There are thousands of people who function with vision in one eye and thousands who function with no vision.
Someone at church recently commented to me about the depth of my faith. There are situations in our lives that are totally beyond our control, only the Great Healer can make things whole again. This is one of those situations. Kind thoughts, prayers, humor, helpful hints are always appreciated.
This piece will be stitched! It will serve as a humble reminder to appreciate the gifts I have been given.