Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Mail Call--UK Version

AppleJack returned from the post office smiling and carrying a package under his arm.  The package was for me from the United Kingdom.  I love mail call!  The package was from Nicola at Stitching by a Cornish Sea.  Inside the package was a quilt book written by Robyn Pandolp titled Stitched with Love:  A Mother's Quilting Legacy. 

Nicola is helping me to face my fear of applique.  The book including CD is filled with wonderful photos and directions on applique.  Thank you Nicola--I feel enpowered and ready to tackle Jo Morton Yankee Doodle applique quilt. 

And . . . Nicola had also included fat quarters of lovely blue fabric.  More motivation to get started on my homework.

Bloggers and needleworkers are just the best!

The book is filled with beautiful photographs like this, notice the cats

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


I won!  I won a contest!  I never win, but I won!  Carmen at Cardan Antiques and Needlework had a contest for a Sajou box and I won!  Exciting, yes!

Now what to do with my prize.  Yes, putting thread in the box would be great, but mine does not fit.

I have some Sajou scissors and thought it might be nice to put my scissors in the box, but they do not fit either.

I have decided to use my Sajou box for storage of my ribbon and trims.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Next Year's To Do List

The official beginning date for Spring 2012 is March 20.  Tennessee has had a very mild winter and in many ways it already feels like spring.  The daffodils are blooming, the robins are busy making nests and the weeds are growing!  Time for me to write my to do list for Next Year.

  1. Move the bird bath.  Yes, I know it is broken, but it has character.
  2. Mulch! Mulch! Mulch!
  3. Spray the roses before they get black spot
  4. Divide the day lilies, donate to Habitat for Humanity
  5. Scrub the terra cotta pots
  6. Give the lawn a weed and feed treatment
  7. Sharpen the lawn mower blade
  8. Feed the holly, roses, perennials, and hydrangea
  9. Plant ground cover
  10. Tie up the clematis and apply lime
  11. Add bone meal to the iris beds
  12. Pick up annuals from the garden center
  13. Remember to wear sunscreen and hat to protect against ultra violet sun rays
  14. Remind AppleJack to buy stock in Preem (we are making them a profitable company)
What's on your gardening list?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sundays at the CDC

AppleJack and I are volunteers with the Davidson County Sheriff's office.  Today I am going to answer questions we are routinely asked about our volunteer work. 

Question #1 What is the CDC?

CDC stands for Correctional Development Center.  This is one of the six county jails in metro Davidson County.  The CDC houses both men and women.  Most of the men and women who are incarcerated at the CDC are there because of substance abuse (drugs or alcohol).  Sheriff Hall believes everyone has value.  One of the goals of the CDC is to teach inmates a skill or trade.    The purpose of teaching the inmates a skill or trade is to help them find employment when they are released.

Question #2  Aren't you afraid?

No, I have never felt afraid.  Most of the men and women incarcerated are more likely to harm themselves before harming us.  We have never been in a situation where I was afraid or felt there was danger. 

Question #3 What do you do?

Remember the movie Driving Miss Daisy?  Morgan Freeman played the role of Hoke, the chauffeur.  AppleJack and I are the Hoke's.  We drive them.  We pick them up from jail and drive them to a half way house.  There have been times we have picked them up at a half way house and driven them to jail to serve their sentence.  We drive them to the doctor, for court appearances, to funerals, to the grocery store, church, and to recovery meetings. 

We buy them groceries.  Basic groceries:  milk, bread and toilet paper.

We buy Christmas gifts for their children and school supplies.

When they are serving their community time, we work along side them.

The most important thing we do:  We love them, unconditionally, with forgiveness and without judgment

Question #4 Do you give them money?

No.  If they need clothes we will get them clothes.  If they need medical assistance, we will get them medical assistance.  If they need food, we will buy groceries for them.  We have bought bus tickets so they have public transportation to get to work.  Yes, we have bought them cigarettes.  We have learned the five minutes they spend smoking a cigarette is sometimes the five minutes they need to think about their situation and to prevent relapse.

Question #5  Do they take advantage of you?

No.  It breaks our hearts when they relapse.  Not for us, but for them.  We are learning the difference between enabling and help.

I encourage everyone to do some kind of volunteer work.  There are thousands of ways to volunteer.  Choose something you love, something you are passionate about.  Volunteer for yourself--it will be the best gift you have ever given yourself.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Eden is Infested with Bugs

It has been a quiet cool day at Thistle Manor and I have continued to work on the Appil sampler.  I was so pleased to finish Eve, this has given me motivation to continue.  Today I have been stitching the bugs and insects.

Since Eve and Adam have been busted, the two of them have to deal with the insects.  I wonder if Adam had an infestation of aphids on his roses?  How did Eve deal with the Japanese beetles who eat everything in sight?

Don't you love this guys red eyes?  Creepy!

I also stitched the snakes tail.  Of course my mind was wandering while I was stitching.  I first thought the snakes tail looked like a heart.  I reminded myself this is a snakes tail and thought it looked more like an ace of spades.

Hopefully tomorrow will be another quiet day at Thistle Manor and I can continue stitching.  There is more grassy knoll to stitch and a kitty cat!

Friday, February 24, 2012

All About Eve

The last time we saw Miss Eve she was running around the Garden of Eden like a chicken with her head cut off.

Seems quite fitting she would be running around like a chicken with her head cut off because she was waiting for the needlewoman to plant herself in the stitch chair and get needle pulling thread.

Presenting Miss Eve from Eden

Miss Eve is one of the many reasons I fell in love with this sampler.  I love the expression on her face!  The look on Eve's face is the picture perfect definition of busted!

She also reminds me of a sweet neanderthal or the Bride of Frankenstein or with all that hair she could be auditioning for the Broadway musical Hair.  Below are some of the lyrics to the Broadway musical Hair.  I think these lyrics describe Miss Eve's hair perfectly.

Gimme head with hair
Long beautiful hair
Shining, gleaming
Streaming, flaxen, waxen

Give me down to there hair
Shoulder length or longer
Here baby, there mama
Everywhere daddy daddy

Hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair
Flow it, show it
Long as God can grow it
My hair

Also presenting Mr Adam, Eve's date mate.

Since the title of this post is All About Eve, I thought I would point out a few more of Eve's features.  Notice the fashionable "V" in the crown of her hair and Eve has chosen a much more interesting fig leaf than Adam.

Now onto stitching some insects!  The insects are much much smaller than Eve.  Yesterday the temps in Music City were in the seventies and I worked outside weeding Next Year.  I have a good case of "gardeners legs" today.  Sitting in the stitch chair working on the insects sounds like an excellent way to recover from my case of gardeners legs.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Mall

Just down the hill from the State Capital building is The Tennessee Bicentennial Capital Mall State Park.

I really meant, just down the hill from the State Capital Building.

The flag poles mark an entrance to the mall.

"The Tennessee. . . is as irregular, as various, as rebellious as the huge valley region that it drains."  This quote is making reference to the Tennessee River which begins in East Tennessee and drains into the mighty Mississippi in Memphis in West Tennessee.  The quote could also be used about the people who live in Tennessee.

The Stones and Cumberland are two of the rivers which flow into the Tennessee River.  During the summer months, these metal disks become fountains shooting water into the air.  Children love to play at the mall!

Flooding is the most widespread and most frequent natural hazard in Tennessee.  In 2010, Nashville was flooded!  Seventeen inches of rain in two days!  Buildings floated down the interstate, the Grand Ole Opry was flooded and closed for many months.  Billions of dollars worth of damage.  Nashville is still recovering!

So, if you are planning a visit to Nashville add the Bicentennial Mall to your list of places to see.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

My Favorite Time of the Year

Does everyone know what this weekend is?  It's my favorite time of the year!  No not my birthday, not Christmas, not summer vacation.  It is time for the Nashville Needlework Market!  A time when my favorite people aka needlework designers come to Nashville to introduce their newest and latest designs.  Of course, there are also the new colors of fibers and floss.  And don't forget the linens and the accessories.   Be still my beating heart!  AppleJack is rolling his eyes and has a firm grip on his wallet!

Next week the web will be filled with the latest releases.  LNS's will be having Market Night festivities!

Ahhh, I wish everyone sweet dreams of repro samplers, delicious sounding fiber names, and luscious linens.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The evolution of Eve

When I last posted about the Scarlet Letter sampler,  An All Was For An Appil, I had just begun to stitch Eve.  I'm still stitching on Eve.  The Appil sampler has large motifs and Eve being one of the most important characters in the story is a big motif on the sampler.

Eve is now standing on two legs!

But now poor Eve has an even bigger problem since last posing for her photograph.  She is headless!

As I was stitching on Eve I started thinking about calling her the Headless House Woman of Eden.  To make her life more interesting, I miscounted on her hair and had to rework some of her hair with extensions.  As I stitched and studied her more I thought maybe she had chosen a different hair style and decided to give herself a new look--you know hair on one side of her head and short, really, really short hair on the other side.  In reading Laurie's (Corgi Cottage) post from yesterday, Laurie used the terms robotics to describe an Adam and Eve she had been stitching.  I was so happy to read this--makes me think I am not the only stitcher who sees their Adam and Eve with personalities.  Seems I also remember someone calling Adam and Eve the orange glow people once.  Laughter and humor is a good thing!

Hopefully, next post Eve will have found her head and will be sporting a guilty look.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Answering the Sleeping Pet Photo Challenge

Nicola at Stitching by a Cornish Sea has asked us to share photos of our pet(children) in their sleeping positions.  Miss Callie Mae is very conventional about her sleeping.  She has a routine.

She takes her morning naps in the window seat in the All Purpose Work Room.  She loves the mornings in this room because of all the bird activity.  There are trees outside the window and she can watch the birds up close and personal.  The room is very bright and sunny and she gets her Vitamin D and sunbathing.

In the afternoons, Miss Callie Mae moves downstairs and takes her nap at the end of the sofa.  She enjoys napping in the corner of the sofa.

At night, she sleeps on the queen size bed in the room she shares with Sister C.  Miss Callie Mae enjoys having her linens laundered and warm towels out of the dryer are especially enjoyed.  Callie Mae is an early riser and likes for everyone to be up and attem in the wee hours of the morning.

The next photo is one of my favorites--I shared this with AppleJack's family before Christmas.  AppleJack and Callie napping on a Sunday afternoon.  It is photos like these which makes me feel everything is right in my world.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Jo Morton Yankee Doodle Class Two

Saturday was my second Jo Morton class.  The class began with show and tell.  Class members were asked to show their quilts and talk about any construction challenges.  In addition to learning new techniques and skills, one of the most fun parts for me is the show and tell.  All the quilts were lovely and it was fun to see the different color pallets.  There are some skilled, talented quilters in this class!  One of the many things I learned during the show and tell was quilt labels!  Attached to the backs of the quilts was a label telling  about the quilt.  The future generation of quilters will have information about the quilt and no more guessing games!  I have now added quilt labels to my shopping list.  Am open for suggestions.

After the incredible show and tell, the class was given instructions for an on going quilt--Yankee Doodle!  Not only is Yankee Doodle a miniature--it is an applique miniature!  In addition to never having made a miniature quilt prior to Aunt Maude, I do not do appliqué.  Many of the class members embrace appliqué!  There were at least three class members who had large appliqué quilts in the works.  And one lady had already completed Yankee Doodle!  Does every class have an over achiever?

If I was overwhelmed about a miniature, appliqué is a league and language all its own.  Hand, machine, reverse, freezer paper, needle turn are all types of appliqué.  There are new tools--sharps and appliqué scissors.  Then there is the blind stitch.  Yikes!

Yankee Doodle will be an on going class (whew).  If I thought I needed to stay after class the first time, I can see me spending many remedial hours in the learning lab with Yankee Doodle.

Quilting Squares, the quilt shop, had the new line of Jo Morton fabric called Bridgeport.  Below are some fat quarters of the Bridgeport line.  I also purchased other fat quarters (my buyer resistance boots were not helping).

Rain and snow is Music City's afternoon forecast--the perfect forecast for quilting.  This afternoon while AppleJack and Miss Callie Mae take their nap, I will be in the All Purpose Work Room with Aunt Maude and Yankee Doodle.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Still celebrating Valentine's Day

Since we had such an eventful Valentine's Day (night), AppleJack and I decided to extend the Valentine's Day celebration.  This wool applique is a Chessie and Me design.  Yes, I used wools from my shopping adventures to Goodwill.  I made this piece before I discovered using freezer paper.  Freezer paper and wool appliqué are best friends with me--the freezer paper makes the pieces much more accurate and easier to cut.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Jo Morton Bridgeport

Saturday morning is my second Jo Morton Little Women quilt class.  I have my homework, Aunt Maude ready to be critiqued.  Hope Aunt Maude gets a passing grade!

Yesterday, The Quilting Squares, the quilt shop where I am taking the classes was featured on the local television show, Talk of the Town!  The show interviewed the shop owners, shoppers and class participants!  Of course, it was fun to see the beautiful quilts hanging throughout the shop.

If you have not heard or seen, Jo Morton's latest quilt line called Bridgeport has been released and is available in quilt shops.  Whoohoo!  I will have to wear my buyer resistant boots tomorrow else I will come home to Thistle Manor with a giant package of new fabric under my arm.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Peanut Butter Fudge

Busy!  Everyone lives a busy life!  Am always on the lookout for tasty, easy recipes.  Mother makes this fudge and it is always a hit!  It is tasty, quick and only has four ingredients.

Peanut Butter Fudge

2 cups white granulated sugar
5 ounces of evaporated milk
1 cup of peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

  • sift sugar
  • combine sugar and evaporated milk in a heavy sauce pan (I use my iron skillet)
  • over low to medium heat,  cook sugar and evaporated milk mixture until soft ball stage (soft ball means a soft ball will form when dropped into cold water)
  • when sugar and milk have reached soft ball stage, turn off the heat, add one cup of peanut butter and vanilla and mix well
  • pour fudge into greased 8 x 8 pan
  • cool and cut into one inches pieces
Tip from Mother--make fudge on a day with low humidity.  The fudge will be creamy.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Not your typical Valentine's Day

Did everyone have a nice Valentine's Day?  Any special gifts or memories?  Valentine's Day 2012 will be memorable for us!  Thistle Manor was buzzing with excitement.  AppleJack and I are not party animals, we live quiet lives.  Some people would describe us as boring.

As we were turning out the lights last night, the doorbell rang.  We could not image who would be ringing the door bell at such an hour.  It was kinda like the scene from the poem the Night Before Christmas, except it was not Santa Claus coming down the chimney.   The line from the poem goes like this:  With Momma in her kerchief and I in my cap, had just settled down for a long winter's nap.  Yep, that was us attired in our pj's ready for a long winter's nap.

Fast forward a few lines  When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I arose from my bed to see what was the matter.  Away to the window I flew like a flash, tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.  To what should my wandering eyes appear?  Not Santa Claus but the metro police!

To add some more excitement, AppleJack had neglected to turn off the burglar alarm system and it began to sound.  So. . . here we are in our pj's with a Metro Policeman and the burglar alarm wailing at maximum volume.  AppleJack goes outside to talk to the policeman and I am inside trying to turn off the alarm, reassure Callie Mae Armageddon has not come and just like Barney Fife taught me searching for our one bullet.

The policeman asks:  Did you call the police?  Is this your car in the driveway?  AppleJack told the policeman, he had not called the police and he was unaware of a car in our driveway.  The policeman being almost as confused as AppleJack said  "someone called the police and reported a stolen car and the car had been abandoned in our driveway."  I added more confusion to the scene when I walked outside asking "what is this car doing in our driveway?  Whose car is this?"

Ah yes, Valentine's Day 2012 standing in the driveway in the middle of the night in our pajamas with misty rain having a conversation with a metro policeman  about the stolen car in our driveway is not typically the way we spend Valentine's.

The policeman was very nice.  He was very cordial and pleasantly surprised to learn AppleJack is a graduate from the Civilian Policy Academy and we are both volunteer at the county jail.  We invited him in for hot coffee and to use the facilities while he completed his paperwork and we waited for the tow truck.

Am sure we were making quiet an impression with the neighbors with all the lights, noise and excitement.  Tow trucks are big and noisy and for those neighbors sleeping I hope they slept through the excitement at Thistle Manor.

This was the ending to our Valentine's Day, I hope yours was a different kind of excitement.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day at Thistle Manor 2012

Valentine's Day--Hope your day is filled with hearts and flowers and cards and candy (lots of candy, chocolate candy).  Winter of 2012 has been some crazy kind of winter.  Music City had an exceptionally warm January and a light dusting of snow.  This past weekend there were record lows and snow is in the forecast for tonight.  Mother Nature, she is a hard one to figure.

Since it is Valentine's Day thought I would take a walk around Thistle Manor and survey Next Year and see what is blooming.

Daffodils!  Where is your winter coat, you will need it tonight.

Spring is six weeks away!

Lenten Rose!  I think I finally might have planted the right plant in the right location.

The Lenten Rose has such a variety of colors to offer.

Their internal clock is right on schedule for blooming in conjunction with Ash Wednesday

The Lenten Rose looks so delicate, but so strong.

Does anyone recognize this specimen?  Well, this would be your everyday common variety of THISTLE!  It is February and already making its presence known.  Oh, Thistle Manor your name is so honestly earned.

And these guys, I found them marked down to forty nine cents (yes cents) at Aldi!  They were sitting next to the $49.99 rose arrangements.  Thought they would add some cheer to the dinner table.

Hope your day is filled with Valentine flowers or the hope of flowers to come.

PS.  I received an email today from my garden center--my plant order will soon be arriving.  Yipee!  Remind me of my excitement when I share my woes of my poor aching back!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Shepherd's Bush Needle Rolls

One day on a visit to my LNS I discovered something new to me--needle rolls.  I had never seen a needle roll and was interested to learn about them.  The needle rolls on display at the LNC were Shepherd's Bush--the needle rolls were small, delicate, and pastel.  They were stitched with charms, lace, and a variety of stitches.

My stitching friends who know me say these are the words which should be engraved on my tombstone "that should not take long."  I have the innate ability to under estimate the length of the time require to complete every project I undertake!  It has become quite the joke about "that should not take long."  I think my stitching friends have a standing bet with each other at the LNS on how long before I utter "Look, this is simple, that should not take long."

These are all Shepherd's Bush Needle Rolls. From left to right:  Tudor Needle Roll, Antique Heart Roll, Thisbe's Needle Roll, and Shepherd's Needle Roll.

Shepherd's Bush has released many designs and kits for needle rolls, I do not know the number but estimate more than a dozen.  At one time I had plans to complete one needle roll a year.  I made it to four! They started releasing kits and designs for needle fobs and I got side tracked!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Gift is Small

Here is another one of AppleJack's Valentine's from the past.  This is a design from Chessie and Me called The Gift is Small.  The verse says:  The Gift is Small but Love is all.  Our initials are stitched at the top.  One of my favorite parts of this pincushion is the satin stitch used for the basket.

Winter returned to Thistle Manor yesterday with very low temps and a "light" dusting of snow.  It was a good day to put on a big pot of soup, watch old movies and stitch.  Callie Mae and AppleJack were happy to take naps and read the paper.  Am making progress on Eve--she is a most fun stitch.  Will share when she is completed.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Forever and Ever, Amen

Valentine's Day is Tuesday and it is past time for me to share some of AppleJack's Valentines.

Forever and Ever is an Itty Bitty design released by Ruth Sparrow (Twisted Threads).  This is all over one stitching and I have a love/strongly dislike for one over one stitching.  I love the finished product!  When I am stitching one over one it takes me awhile to find my rhythm.  Once I find my rhythm I am okay.  Several years ago, someone shared a few secrets about stitching one over one and the secrets have helped.  I have also been told the needle makes a big difference.  Can anyone share some thoughts about the kind of needle to use when stitching over one?

The second Valentine is Affinity Pinkeep Sampler by primitivebettys which she released in 2008.  I found a small piece of scrap linen which had a pink hue and thought it would be perfect for Valentine's Day.

In 1987, the year AppleJack and I married,  Randy Travis released a song called Forever and Ever, amen.  This song seems so appropriate for Valentine's Day.  Here are the lyrics.

I'm gonna love you forever
Forever and ever, amen
As long as old men sit and talk about the weather
As long as old women sit and talk about old men
If you wonder how long I'll be faithful
I'll be happy to tell you again
I'm gonna love you
Forever and ever
Forever and ever, amen

Now back to AppleJack's 2012 Valentine

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Moon, the Stars and the Evolution of Eve

Since I have my Jo Morton homework finished, I decided to re direct my attention and time to the Scarlet Letter sampler,  An All Was For An Appil.  I was working on the clouds on the right side of the chart.

The clouds on the right side of the sampler are stitched!  This means I have now established the width of the sampler which is 17 (the framer will be more accurate).

In addition to the clouds, I stitched the moon

and the stars

and the beginning of Eve.  Do you see her?  She is standing on the grassy knoll.

 Here are my theories on Eve at this moment in stitching time.

Theory #1

AppleJack and I do volunteer work with women in recovery.  It has been our observation most of the women are in recovery because of poor decisions.  And. . . who of us have not made some poor decisions?  I digress, back to Eve and her predicament.  Here's the way I see it:  Eve realizes she has listened to that cagey, sly, sleazy, slithering, smooth talking snake and is facing serious consequences.  Eve knows that life in Eden is about to change.   Instead of easy picking at the fruit tree and lovely bouquets of flowers to share with Adam, weeds, thorns and thistles are in her immediate future.  Realizing she is going to have to earn her figs "by the sweat of her brow," she decides to go down to the local department store and audition as a mannequin in the hosiery department.

Theory #2

Eve is standing on one leg because she is waiting in line to use the Eden outhouse.  The line is long and she is suffering from TB (tiny bladder).

Theory #3

Eve is camera shy.  She heard she was going to be photographed and only had time to shave one leg and she did not want the camera to catch the unshaved one.

Eve has been the most fun motif to stitch on this sampler.  After I get both her legs stitched, I will begin stitching her hair.  Have you seen her hair?  I don't think Eve is going to need a wig any time soon, but will be spending some serious $$$ in conditioner.  Does anyone remember the song Hair from the musical?  I think this Eve might have given the songwriters inspiration!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Magazine Addiction

Hello, my name is Betty and I am a magazine 'oholic.  Yes, it's true, I have a huge addiction for magazines!  I have many favorites, I read them from cover to cover.  I savor them, I study them, I use them as references.

Here are some of my favorites in no particular order

Early American Life--I have years of this magazine

                                              Early Homes--another favorite

Primitive Place--beginning it's second year and getting better with each issue

Sampler and Antique Needle Work Qtrly

Primitive Quilts--another new magazine, beginning it's second year and improving with each issue.  Filled with wonderful projects--I want to do them all!

I have been searching for a magazine called Folk--I keep asking for it at the few remaining bookstores to no avail.  Help!  Any suggestions on where I can locate this magazine?

My name is Betty and I am a magazine 'oholic!