Thursday, November 29, 2012

Obsession with Christmas Samplers

My OCD is in full throttle mode.  I have become obsessed with Christmas Samplers.  After making my decision to add a Christmas sampler to the holiday decorating festivities at Thistle Manor, I never realized there are so many wonderful Christmas sampler designs on the market.  Typical me, why limit myself to choosing just one with the wonderful selection available.  Let's start with the Scarlet Letter:

Mary Ann Hutton  Mary Ann Hutton

Emma Miles   Emma Miles with her lovely holly band.

Melinda from Merry Wind Farm will be stitching an out of print chart by the Scarlet Letter called Christmas Samplers. 

Isabella Fox  Isabella Fox 1827.  I discovered Isabella while reading Attic Needlework's newsletter.  The reds and greens in this sampler just scream Christmas, the Tree of Life reminds me of a feather tree, and Adam and Eve are just a bonus of extra goodness.

Christmas at Hollyberry Farm by Stacy Nash.  While I was obsessing about the samplers, Stacy Nash revealed this over the top sampler on her blog.  I love everything about this sampler:  the border, the snow birds on the roof, a CAT, the girl wearing her new red Christmas dress.  Isn't the way Stacy framed this sampler unique?

Merry Christmas by Blackbird Designs.  To feed my OCD, I stopped at my LNS and picked up this design.  It is very simple and small.  Famous last Betty words:  this should not take long.  The Blackbird girls stitched their Merry Christmas in overdyed fibers.  I will be stitching with NPI silks.

Now. . . that I have fed my OCD Christmas sampler obsession, I need more help from my blogging-stitching friends.  I have decided to stitch Hannah Breed as part of Nicola's Red Letter Year with the Scarlet Letter.  I will be using Au Ver A Soie embroidery floss but am totally undecided about the linen.  Help, please, I need linen suggestions both color and thread count. 

Hannag Breed  Hannah Breed (Red Letter Year Selection)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Phebe, Sally and Hannah

In April 1994, Country Home released a new magazine called Folk Crafts.  Being a sucker for magazines, I immediately purchased the magazine.  The premier issue was filled with wonderful goodness:  Bandboxes by Berta Montgomery, hand painted game boards by Mary Thompson, miniature quilts by Tina Gravatti and samplers by Marsha Van Valin aka The Scarlet Letter.  I couldn't drive home fast enough to start devouring that magazine.  Of course, Stitched in Time, the story of Marsha and The Scarlet Letter was my favorite article.  And . . . since the magazine was called Folk Crafts, each person featured in the magazine included directions for completing a project.  Marsha (The Scarlet Letter) included the chart for stitching the Phebe Smith Sampler. 

This is a photo of The Phebe Smith sampler from the magazine.  The sampler on the left is the reproduction and the sampler on the right is the original. 

This is my Scarlet Letter Phebe Smith sampler.  I think this was the first Scarlet Letter I stitched.  (Phebe is hanging in Sister C's room, behind the angels and angel tree.)

Included in the Folk Crafts magazine article was this beautiful photograph of more of The Scarlet Letter samplers.  The small sampler on the stand is Sally Morse and Hannah Breed is the larger sampler hanging on the wall.  I could not resist.

Here is my Sally Morse sampler.  Normally, Sally sits on top the dresser in Sister C's room.

And yes, I have joined Nicola in celebrating her Scarlet Letter year and it is time for me to get started on Hannah Breed and add her to the fold.  (Wish me luck on the queen stitches).

A very special thank you to my blogging-stitching  friends for helping me with my Christmas sampler dilemma.  WOW!  There are some amazing Christmas samplers.  Stacy Nash must have also heard my plea.  Have you seen her latest sampler design--Christmas at Hollyberry Farm?  

Monday, November 26, 2012

Where are the Christmas samplers?

There are so many wonderful things I love about Christmas.  One of my newest Christmas loves is seeing other bloggers decorate their homes, cook and bake their favorite family dishes,  view all the stitched ornaments and  learn about others family traditions.  As I have been reading blogs and decorating my own home, I made a discovery!  I have no Christmas samplers!  I couldn't believe it.  I have Adam and Eve samplers, fall samplers, spring samplers, Scarlet Letter samplers and the list goes on, but nada, not one Christmas sampler. 

Now, don't go thinking I am going to have one stitched for Christmas 2012, maybe 2013.  Where to begin? Blackbird Designs has some great ones:  Merry Christmas, Joyeux Noel, Tis the Season and Christmas Garden. 

Paulette (Plum Street Samplers) will be releasing a sampler "A Yuletide Welcome to Thee."  Many wonderful elements to this sampler--a big house with peacocks and flower pots.  What's not to love?

In reading the latest Attic Needlework Newsletter, the December sampler of the month is Isabella Fox 1827 from Gigi R's private collection.  The sampler has lots of red  in the border and the tree of life looks like a decorated feather tree.  And, if all this goodness is not enough throw in Adam and Eve. 

Can you help a girl out?  I am looking for ideas and open to suggestions.  Thistle Manor needs a Christmas sampler. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Trees of Christmas

With the sound of Il Divo singing Oh Holy Night, the smell of Christmas potpourri smearing in the crockpot, and AppleJack reading the Sunday paper, Christmas decorating continues at Thistle Manor.  I don't have any glass ornaments so I decorate my feather tree with minature baskets.

Having made a few baskets, I have true appreciation for the skill needed to make such a tiny basket.

The flock of sheep are keeping watch atop the mill chest.

This is the angel tree in Sister C's room.  

I am very blessed with many angels in my life.  This was a gift from one of my gardening angels/friends.

Hey Nicola, see that sampler on the right behind the angels?  It's a Scarlet Letter.  (It's a golden oldie will have to do some homework for the details)

The snowman tree sitting atop my Uncle's pie safe,  Think snow guys.

Are you guys thinking snow?

While Callie Mae put down the whip long enough to take a nap,

I put in a few stitches on  the Lydia sampler, hope she takes a long nap.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Santa Claus is coming . . .

Between laundry, grocery shopping, trips to the post office and other errands, decorating at Thistle Manor is underway.  I found this cloche at The Gathering.  A cloche has been on my shopping list for a long time.  It works perfectly for displaying this Santa mold.  I have many other ideas for spring, summer and fall displays.

Callie Mae is cracking the whip and says it is time for more decorations and chores.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Beginning of the Festive Season

AppleJack, Miss Callie Mae Calico and I live a pretty laid back life at Thistle Manor.  There are few rules and we only have them to maintain order.  One of the hard fast rules at Thistle Manor is:  no Christmas decorations until after Thanksgiving, no exceptions!

Thanksgiving is a beautiful time of the year and this year it was an exceptionally beautiful fall day with clear blue skies, falling leaves, and a brisk breeze.  It was a perfect day to rake leaves and I raked leaves for hours (and there are still many more to rake).  We shared our Thanksgiving with dear friends and the Room in the Inn guys.

Arriving home, Miss Callie Mae was waiting to remind me:  Christmas decorating begins the day after Thanksgiving.

Decorating begins with Nutcrackers and bottle brushes on the mantel.

As I was arranging the Nutcrackers, I noticed some of these guys are having a bad hair day.  I suspect they have been stored in the closet to long and have a case of bed hair.

Hopefully, a few weeks on the mantel will be good for their hair.

And if a few weeks on the mantel does not cure their case of bed hair, perhaps a cup of Sis's eggnog will help.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving Past-Present-Future

Thanksgivings Past. . .

When I was a child, Thanksgiving was a very exciting holiday.  It was a time when Grandmother Bessie's  family gathered together.  There were Aunts, Uncles, and cousins full of energy, excitement and news to share.   Grandmother Bessie's small home was brimming with family, food and children running under foot and in and out the door.  Each Aunt (or daughter-in-law) prepared her special dish.  Grandmother always asked Mother to bake pies--six pies!  Two chocolate, lemon, coconut, butterscotch and pecan.  Aunt Billie Ann was always asked to bake her coconut cake with seven minute frosting.  Yum! Yum!  There were salads and veggies and home made rolls and turkey and ham.  It was a feast! 

In the afternoon, the men would watch and talk football, current events, and politics.  The women would either share projects, begin making plans for Christmas and relax and visit with each other.

The cousins. . . played and played and played and when they were tired of playing, they played some more. 

Sweet memories.

Thanksgiving Present

Thanksgiving for AppleJack and me begin with raking leaves!  Yep, raking leaves.  We enjoy being outside in the fresh cool air and enjoy the last days of fall.  We spend the afternoon with dear friends.  (Our families live miles apart and we are logistically challenged).  Like Thanksgiving in the past, everyone contributes to the meal.  We will spend the evening with our Room in the Inn guys. 

Thanksgiving Future

Who knows?  I suspect we will continue to spend the day with dear friends and healthier food choices.  I hope we will continue to spend the evening with the homeless and hear about their day and past Thanksgiving.  Enjoy the last days of fall with a nice walk in the leaves.  And stitching lots of stitching.

Monday, November 19, 2012

AppleJack and I went to see Steven Spielberg's movie, Lincoln on Sunday afternoon.  WOW! We are not big movie watchers and are very critical of almost all movies, this movie is  beyond excellent.  

Being a history lover and having visited many Lincoln sites:  his Kentucky birthplace, home in Springfield,  his law office, and the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, this movie did not disappoint.  The movie reaches many human emotions:

  •  Lincoln's humor and story telling
  • Personal sadness
  • Corruptness of Washington
  • Determination to hold the Union together
  • Marriage to Mary Todd
The movie theater was packed--sold out!  I am one of those crazy people who will watch a "good" movie multiple times and I have already made plans with a girl friend to see the movie a second time.  Yes, it is that good!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sunday Stress Relief

This is how Miss Callie Mae Calico relieves stress!  She hops into bed, makes herself comfortable in the down comforter and takes a nap.  Is there a better way to relieve stress?

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Little Red R Sampler

My framer called to say  The Little Red R Sampler by The Goode Huswife was ready for pick up.  Once again, Kathy, the framer,  worked her magic. 

If you want to see the original Little Red R Sampler hop over to Kathy Barrick (Carriage House) Etsy shop.  And speaking of Kathy and Carriage House--she's back!  She has started to design again!  She has heard her people cry from the land, her followers, her stalkers and she is designing again.  Yes, my heart skipped a beat.  I anxiously await the release of her newest latest design. 

I love the simplicity of The Little Red R.   For AppleJack and me, the Little Red R sampler represents many things:  recovery, rest, repair, retire, etc.  As Maureen Appleton (Hearts Content) suggested, I wrote a letter about the events of 2010 and attached the letter to the back. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Spring Plans

While celebrating Sis's birthday, there were other plans in the works!  Very important, special plans!  All together now:  "Here comes the bride."

This beautiful couple will be exchanging nuptials in the spring!  Seeing their beautiful smiles and happiness brings a smile to every face and joy to every heart.

There will be many discussions, many decisions to make, countless telephone calls, texts, emails, exchanging photos.  (I am very excited about this wedding--they are getting married in Music City which means many family trips and visits)

Congratulations Pearce and Chloe

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Let the Good Times Roll

These two sisters have been very busy girls!  They have been busy shopping, decorating and cooking for a family birthday celebration.

Having a fall birthday means fun with pumpkins

and beautiful, colorful, fall flowers.

Family birthdays bring uncles and nephews together. 

Sister C and Sis with AppleJack.  It is a logistical challenge to get a photo of these three together.

Whose birthday? Why Sis, of course.  No ordinary birthday cake for this special birthday girl.  An extremely delicious praline cheesecake.  

One, two, three, make a wish and blow those candles out!

No birthday is complete without presents.

Not possible to have a bad day with this spiffy birthday robe.

Birthdays are so special--fathers and daughters chatting about their day and making future plans.

Mothers and sons also making future plans--very important plans.

A very special spring event will bring these three together again and there will be even bigger smiles.
Happy Birthday Sis! 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Lydia and her peacocks

  Finally some progress on My Lydia to share.  The design is from Pineberry Lane (Lydia Broome Sampler).  As I was stitching the peacock feather I had a couple of thoughts:  what a sight to see the peacock who has such a majestic tail feather or is this a peacock on steroids to have grown such a feather?

As I was stitching and obsessing thinking about the peacock and his tail feather, I remembered I had another design in my stash with peacocks.  Yes, the stars are in alignment.  Two peacocks, and and check out the name of the sampler Lydia C Eichelberger  who shall become Lydia Emaline.