Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Year in Review--Needlework

AppleJack and I have a running conversation about my needlework productivity.  I feel I never accomplish anything, he says "you accomplish more than you are willing to say."  This one is for you AppleJack, needlework year in review 2012.  For the record, I accomplished less than one half of my goal.
An All Was For An Appil
Scarlet Letter
Birds of a Feather
Alphabet Sampler
Carriage House Samplings
Houses of Hawk Run Hollow (House #3)
Tombstone Angel, Sarah Hook
Blackbird Designs
Crowning the Tree
La D Da
Letters and Leaves (freebie)
Pineberry Lane
Lydia Broome aka Lydia Emaline Shults Tudor
Crow (freebie)
Primitive Hare
Valentine (freebie)
Stacy Nash
Garden Gate (cartouche)
Threadwork Primitives
Merry Christmas
Shakespears Peddler
Make Do
Time to update my stitching goals for 2013.  This is the exciting/scary part.  Hannah Breed by the Scarlet Letter is at the top of the list.  A combination Adam and Eve/Christmas sampler by Gigi Isabella Fox 1827 and Christmas at Hollyberry Farm by Stacy Nash.  E Pluribus Unum by Heartstring Samplery and Summer House. Two pinkeeps by The Goode Huswife, tombstone angels by Carriage House, Rotten but not Forgotten by Plum Street.  Whew!  I think I need to re evaluate these goals or stop looking through my stash.  And. . . the Nashville Needlework Market is in March which brings even more tempting designs.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Year in Review--Quilting

Each year as the count down for the new year begins the mass communications/news media will begin to air feature programs recapping the year.  They will talk about local, national and international events and the passing of famous or influential people.  As Thistle Manor will be ringing out the old and ringing in the new it seemed like an appropriate time to recap 2012.

First let's talk about what I completed.

Two Christmas quilts for AppleJack's grandsons.

Pottery Shards by Jo Morton (minus the quilting)

Another Joe Morton Little Women club--Goose Tracks minus the sashing and quilting.  I also completed Jo Morton Aunt Maude and Flying Geese 

Now for the unfinished:  Christmas Stars.  When the Jo Morton classes started work on the stars stopped.

This is the charm pack/stash reduction quilt.  As the weather outside is frightful, I will be spending the next few days working on this quilt.  A good way to ring out the old, ring in the new, and stay warm inside.

Jo Morton's Broken Dishes Quilt; Kits @ Country Sampler
Today I ordered this Jo Morton Broken Dishes kit and pattern from Country Sampler.  I am going to try triangle piecing paper for accuracy.  Another fun "little quilt" for Christmas decorating. 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from Thistle Manor

  Santa had a looong night, he has returned to the North Pole and he and Mrs Claus have scheduled a vacation

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Inspiration

Each year about this time, I find my Christmas spirit, cheer, and inspiration need a boost.  There never seems to be enough time for the shopping, gift wrapping, baking, decorating, cards, visiting, parties and festivities.  To rekindle my Christmas spirit, I turn to some of my favorite Christmas books.  American Country Christmas was written by Mary Emmerling and is filled with dozens of photos.

A Country Christmas is a Time-Life book and one of my favorite books.  Each year, I find myself turning to this book for decorating ideas and inspiration.  This book fills my head with visions of primitive Christmas decorating.

Colonial Williamsburg is surely one of the most beautifully decorated places for Christmas.  All the decorations are made from natural materials.  Oh the sights and smells of Williamsburg at Christmas is a wonderful experience and drives away any bah hum bugs.

I have many other Christmas books and magazines which give me inspiration and ideas.  Sometimes, I just need a time out to recharge my holiday spirit.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Annual Christmas Letter to Santa

Dear AppleJack Santa,

My apologies for being remiss in writing my annual Christmas letter to you.  Just as you, Mrs. Claus and the Elves have been busily working and preparing for deliveries on Christmas Eve, Thistle Manor has also been a beehive of activity.  I have limited my list to twelve items (for the twelve days of Christmas)

  1. The Feller Needlework Collection Volumes I and II
  2. Sajou Scissors
  3. Gift certificate to Nashville Needlework Market March 2013
  4. Jo Morton patterns and fabric
  5. Boxwood and Berries at Country Sampler in Spring Green, Wisconsin
  6. and since Scarlet Letter is also in Wisconsin and visit to Marsha
  7. A bird bath for Next Year
  8. David Austin Roses
  9. A new digital camera (including classes)
  10. Membership to Ladies Prim Society (Dyeing to Stitch)
  11. Amazon gift cards to refill my Kindle
  12. Running shoes adapted to keeping up with everything
I have been very good--that Elf on the Shelf--well, he needs to be called back to the North Pole and given a permanent assignment.  His observations and nightly reportings are beginning to add some anxiety to my life. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Winter Solstice

Mt LeConte
Great Smoky Mountain National Park
October 29, 2005

Winter solstice 2012 begins on Friday.  Grandmother Bessie taught me to have an appreciation for each season.  This is one of my favorite winter photos.  The day was a scene right out of winter wonderland.  It was breathtakingly beautiful. 

Max Patch North Carolina
Part of the Appalachian Trail
March 4, 2007

AppleJack was really cold!  The wind was howling!  Max Patch is a bald mountain in Madison County, North Carolina.  The mountain bald was cleared in the 1800's for sheep and cattle grazing.  Great Grandmother Sarah Miranda lived a few miles from Max Patch.

Indian Creek
Great Smoky Mountain National Park
March 2, 2005

AppleJack and me at Indian Creek.  The wheel laying in the creek came off a logging train.  The logging train fell off the side of the mountain into Indian Creek.  (One of the many stories shared by Grandmother Bessie about living in the mountains).  

In spite of the cold, driving in the snow and higher heating bills, I hope everyone will look for the beauty in winter.  Throw another log on the fire, warm your hands with a hot mug of hot chocolate and stitch, stitch, stitch.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The White House Christmas Tree

We all have our favorite Christmas traditions.  One of my favorite Christmas traditions is watching the hgtv special of the decorating and decorations at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue or the White House.  Each year, the First Lady chooses a theme and a small army of volunteers and floral designers transform the White House (or the Peoples House) into something magical.  The Blue Room Tree is always my favorite.  The decorations on this tree are made by the people--craftsmen and women, artisans, and the embroidress.

David, our very loved nephew lived in Washington for several years.  One Christmas, David gifted the women in his family with a White House Christmas ornament.   And the collection grew.

and continues to grow

Decorating at Thistle Manor is more primitive than formal, The White House Christmas tree is the exception.

This ornament was made for one of the trees at Cheekwood.

The stockings were a class I took at a LNS to help me learn different techniques.

There is an AppleJack stocking.

Some patriotism

A Blackbird sampler stocking

This one is for you Sister C--two birds

Sometimes I think having an army of volunteers and floral designers transform Thistle Manor into a magical place would be nice,  not so sure about AppleJack changing professions.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

primitivebettys Crow

Crow (Freebie 2010)
35 count Havana by Weeks Dye Works
584 Burnt Umber Needlepoint Silk

This is one of the projects which led AppleJack to ask me if I was confused about the seasons.  I found this box at the GoodWill and thought the freebie would make a nice box topper.  My friend, Cindy loves Halloween and this will be a gift for her.  The pumpkin scissors came in the mail yesterday. 

Finally, got the Flying Geese sewn together.  Did not realize how badly my sewing machine needed a service call until AppleJack brought it home from the repair shop.  Sews like a dream!  The quilt is off to the long arm quilter, will share pictures when it is returned.

Been a busy day at Thistle Manor with sewing, stitching, and baking.  I have started Hannah Breed, from the Scarlet Letter.  When I have more stitching completed, I will share a photo.  

Friday, December 14, 2012

La D Da Letters and Leaves

La D Da
Letters and Leaves (Freebie)

It is always so exciting when the telephone rings and it Betty, the finisher calling to say she has finishing ready for pick-up.

Isn't it pretty the way she attached the tape?  I am very fortunate to have such a wonderful finisher.  I tell her all the time "you make my work look good."

AppleJack is on his way home from the sewing machine repair shop and the post office.  I hope to have more goodies to share tomorrow.  (Yes, I am also fortunate to have a good help mate).

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Season Confusion

AppleJack walked into the workshop and asked if I was having season confusion.  Music City had temps in the 70's on Sunday and we had the windows open.  On Monday the temps dropped to the low 30's and we went searching for sweaters.  (Yes, the HVAC technician came on Monday for the new unit installation.)

AppleJack said:  "I have seen you stitching a piece called Valentine, you have been sewing on a quilt called Flying Geese and you have started a piece for Halloween, I was just wondering if the extreme temperature changes has given you a case of season confusion." 

And just when I think the man is not paying attention to my projects. . .

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Workshop at Thistle Manor

The Primitive Hare
Valentine (Freebie)

Here is Lydia's companion piece.  I think Grandfather Valentine would approve of the Weeks Lancaster Red.  (When he arrived in America, he lived in Lancaster County Pennsylvania).  A very fun stitch.

My linen dilemma--the fabric on the top is R & R Reproductions 18 Century Brown, the linen on the bottom is R & R Reproductions 18 Century Coffee Bean.  One of my many telephone calls this past week was to Dyeing to Stitch (home of R & R Reproductions), I was hoping they had 18 Century Brown but no luck.

This is the 32 count Examplar by Lakeside.  Not my first choice, but . . .

Isabella Fox
The postmen and women are working hard making Christmas deliveries.  This is an awesome sampler and I am itching to begin stitching.  So many fun elements in this design:  Adam and Eve, the border, the motifs.  Am putting this sampler on my priority list for 2013.

This is a very busy time of year for workshops all over the world.  There is shopping, decorating, baking, and special deliveries.  I have been working on another UFO which is getting close to completion and if I can manage a few more hours in the workshop, will have another finish to share.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Lancaster Red, Linen, and Drama at Thistle Manor

Lancaster Red

I will have a photo to share tomorrow, I have finished stitching Valentine by The Primitive Hare.  The  Weeks Lancaster Red is just the perfect red for Valentine's, Merry Christmas and primitive lovers.


Grandmother Bessie always taught me to have a Plan B.  Plan B has been in overdrive with  the linen for Hannah Breed, my chosen sampler for Nicola's Year of red with the Scarlet Letter.  I had decided on using R & R Reproduction 18 Century Brown.  The piece of linen I had in my stash was not large enough.  I have burned the midnight oil searching the web for this linen.  I have made telephone calls coast to coast and north to south.  No luck.  Today while at the LNS, I picked up a fat quarter of 32 count Examplar by Lakeside Linen.  Unless I am able to local 18 Century Brown, Hannah will be stitched on the Examplar.  AppleJack is rolling his eyes at me and telling me I am over thinking.  

Drama at Thistle Manor

We have had some drama and excitement at Thistle Manor.  One of the many wonderful things AppleJack does is maintaining Thistle Manor.  He is very organized and methodical and with the change in seasons he goes through his maintenance check list.  As he was checking the heating system, he detected a problem with the thermostat.  The heating/cooling technician confirmed there was a problem.  After checking the outside heating unit, the technician told AppleJack we had a bigger more serious problem than the thermostat.  Carbon Monoxide gas was being leaked into the house!!!!  This kind of drama and excitement I can do without.  So. . .we are very thankful the problem was found.  Heating technicians will be installing a new unit on Monday.  

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Christmas Quilts

When life gives you scraps--make quilts!  Several years ago Sis was spring cleaning and sent several bags of scrap fabric to Thistle Manor.  

I had some toile fabric in my fabric stash which worked nicely for the backing.

The long arm quilter did a fabulous job with the feather design.

Scraps from corduroy pants--warm, soft and colorful.

The oak leaf quilting design works well with the fallish colors of the quilt.  I found a piece of flannel in my stash which is soft and warm with the corduroy.  

As soon as these gifts are wrapped, AppleJack will be loading them into his sleigh and making a special delivery.