Hitting the road again…

Status

I may be off the grid for a couple weeks.  On the 17th we hook up and hit the road North.  I’ll keep on stitching though.  And I hope you do, too.

Would love to hear what you’ve been up to while we’ve been dodging tornados and trucks!  Keep me posted by leaving a comment!  You can always post a private note by using the comment form in the TSS Mission section, too.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

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Tomorrow is St Patrick’s Day and I have little to say or show for myself over the past couple weeks.

I have not been stitching much, or doing anything much in the past two weeks as I’ve been sick.  When a person who has had Bariatric or stomach by-pass surgery has gut pain and vomiting, it’s taken seriously.  So I even spent a day in the ER in a strange new to me hospital in Foley, Alabama undergoing CT scan and other tests and evals to make sure there is no problem related to the Roux En Y surgery I had two years ago this month.  Thankfully (maybe) they could find nothing amiss and sent me on my not so merry way with an Rx for more morphine than I took when I was a fresh post-op!  But that’s what it took to keep the pain at bay.  After two days in bed, I started to feel like a human being again while still not knowing what was wrong.

So, now it’s St. Paddy’s Day.  We will not be eating the traditional (gassy) meal of corned beef and cabbage.  But I thought I’d share three of my favorite St. Pat’s recipes with you.

Irish Potato Pancakes

Boxty on the griddle, Boxty in the pan, If you can’t
make Boxty, You’ll never get a man.

First up, Boxty.  Boxty is a terrific way to use up leftover mashed potatoes.  We make extra just so I can make this recipe.  I make more Boxty than we will eat and wrap up the leftovers in meal sized packets and freeze them until we need a fix.  You reheat them the same as you would frozen tater tots or frozen french fries.  But they are soooo much better!

My Favorite Soda Bread Recipe

My Favorite Soda Bread Recipe

Next, Irish Soda Bread.  I found my favorite recipe in a Gourmet magazine years ago.  The article author traveled around Ireland and reported on the Soda Bread found at various B & B’s.  While several recipes were given, the basic one, plain and simple, was my favorite.  And, I get raves whenever I make it for other people.  You will, too!

Irish Potato Candy

Irish Potato Candy---neither Irish nor Potato, but very delish!

Finally, Irish Potato Candy.  This recipe is neither Irish, nor is there a potato in it.  But it’s fun!  Last year was the first time I made it.  I added macadamia nuts to the recipe, poking them into the little “potato” candies so the nuts looked like eyes in the potato.  Then I got some Easter Basket grass and buried the potatoes in the grass and mounded some on top, too.  Whimsical, effective, deadly sweet confection for spring!

Enjoy!  Tell me which recipe you try, and how you liked it!  If you make changes to make the recipes better, I must know this, too!

TAST Week 9 Meets Studio Journal

Laptop screen after a fan fell on it

Fractured Laptop Screen

A lot has happened since I last posted. We moved from Bay St. Louis, Mississippi to Robertsdale, Alabama. It’s very nice here and super weather today—84 degrees with a good breeze. Beautiful trails to walk, so the pups are loving it!  Unfortunately, when we were settling into our new site my laptop was damaged.  The image to the left is what you see on the lower right screen when turned on.  I think I’m going to create a needlepoint design out of the pattern.  Needless to say, this has had an impact on my internet presence!

I’ve started a new class. Sharon Boggon’s Studio Journal: a Designer’s Workhorse.  Yesterday began Week Four.  I have been busy reading, completing the exercises, and working with my journal everyday.  Following is an easy, but fun example of an exercise from the Studio Journal course.  Hopefully in the future you will see designs that flow from the exercises I’ve been doing and from the creativity using the journal inspires!

Cut out from Studio Journal Class Week 3

Smaller cut out

Smaller cut out block duplicated for overall pattern

Smaller cut out block duplicated for overall pattern

TAST has taken a back seat during the weeks for detached chain and chain stitch, but I’m back on track with this week’s Couching Stitch.  Taking the Journal class is pulling a lot of loose ends together for me.  My sample of TAST’s Week 9 stitch led me to pull out an old UFO, Venus de la Mer.

I once did a doodle of a Venus of Willendorf incorporating Chakra points.  I liked the doodle so much I decided to turn it into an embroidery piece.  I couldn’t decide if I wanted her to be represented with elements of Earth, Air, Fire, or Water, so I decided I would do four pieces, one for each element.  I started with Water since I had some cool water fabric to use as a background.

Doodle of Chakra Points done over 10 years ago

A doodle of Chakra Points I did over 10 years ago, then decided to stitch

Crown of Venus de la Mer

Crown of Venus de la Mer, couched eyelash thread and pearl seed beads

I’ve now put the original doodle in my journal where it will be safe and I can easily find it again.  And, I couched the eyelash thread hair in place, using some seed beads for embellishment.  When Jeff looked at it and asked what I was doing and what was I using, I asked him what he thought.  He said, “It looks like weeds.”  Mission Accomplished!!

Freeform Surface Embroidery

Venus de la Mer: Freeform Surface Embroidery

Close up of surface embroidery

Surface embroidery: Venus de la Mer

Snow White Peony

Snow White Peony: An ANG class project due 3.15.12

I’ve also been working like crazy to finish an ANG class, Snow White Peony.  It is due on March 15.  I think I can finish it.  But even if I don’t, I’m going to send it in to the instructor for feedback.  A certificate of completion would be nice, though, especially since I’m interested in pursuing Master Stitcher qualifications.  What do you think?  Is it doable?

Golden Thread Needlearts, East Rochester, NY

East Rochester Needlearts Store

Behind those doors are hours of needleworker Nirvana!

When I first joined the Rochester Chapter of the Embroiders’ Guild of America, I learned about this shop. It is staple for EGA and American Needlepoint Guild members of the area, as well as the solitary stitcher. I can honestly say all stitching needs are met here!

There is an abundant sampling of countless thread types suitable for needlepoint, crewel, any form of embroidery or surface arts. There are a number of walls loaded with instruction books for all these art forms as well as a special rack for the newest and/or most popular texts. Tools and buttons and frames and trunk shows and samples of completed works fill all remaining space including the glass showcase counter in the center of the store. There is a separate fabric cutting area and a corner in the very back devoted to framing needs for your treasures. And that’s just the “stuff”.

Whenever I have a question the very busy staff answer it completely and in turn. (I think this is important, some shops tend to give all their attention to the frequent and familiar shopper or let familiar people interupt. Those sorts of shops will not find their names on this blog!) When I have seen a finished piece somewhere all I have to do is describe it and the owner (Andrea Kelly) walks right to where that obscure little packet is filed. Case in point. I saw a set of blackwork “Alice Through the Looking Glass” pieces framed in another shop. That shop did not have the patterns available. (Why showcase a piece you can’t sell the pattern for?!) When I described the piece, the Andrea put a couple different patterns from the line in my hand. I walked out with what you see on the right.The needlepoint in the heading area was my first attempt at needlepoint. The Andrea helped me pick out the materials every step of the way. And did not make me feel stupid, either. You see she’s a stitcher, too. Once I walked in and she was repairing a sampler that was dated in the 1800s! She let me touch it! I get shivers just thinking about it. But that’s how good Andrea Kelly is.

Nostalgic Needle Pattern

“Off with her head!” by Nostalgic Needle

Golden Thread Needleart Choices

Tough choices must be made!

On my last visit before we hit the road, after she had helped me with my purchase, I asked Andrea my questions. What color, what fiber, what stitch? No one so far has had as much trouble as she did! I felt like I was asking her to name her favorite child. Sacrilegious! In fact, she really balked at doing this. Finally, though, Andrea revealed that that she liked vibrant earthy colors that spoke of life. She named a couple fibers that had the quality that she liked. I picked out several possibilities with these descriptions in mind. This is the selection. No, Andrea absolutely could not choose just one! And there are special directions for the working!Caron’s Watercolours in #144 Pomegranate should be stitched (on 18 count mono canvas) as the flat stitch in Criss-cross Hungarian stitch and Rainbow Gallery’s Fyre Werks #FT26 for the crossed part of the Criss-cross Hungarian. Actually Neon Rays Plus was the first choice for the metallic fiber, but the colors on hand just didn’t work as well with the overdyed floss.

It’s very clear why stitchers return again and again to this stitcher friendly shop. You should put it on your “To Visit” list, too!

Orts

In my effort to make this blog a resource as well as a kind of stitching travelogue, I have added two new pages that will be updated when I have new info to add.  I may add more of such stand alone pages.  When I make changes in this aspect of the blog I’ll send out an “Ort Alert.”

The first ort is simply a page of quotes that I would like to work into a sampler one day.  Until then, I’ll just try to fit them into conversations!  These won’t be your run of the mill sayings.  I find inspiring or thought-provoking words in the books I read.  I jot them down on paper to remember.  I need some place to put them.  Now I have a place.  I had tried to put them in a file.  I can’t remember where I put the file.  I always remember where my computer is, though.  So, when I find that file, I’ll add it to this page of orts and I’ll always know where it is.  I’ll even share it with you!

Same thing with stitch diagrams.  When I was working on the CyberPointers’ ANG 40th Anniversary project, I searched high and low in as many cyber nooks and crannies as I could find to come up with appropriate stitches.  [You see, when you live on the road carry books is not a great idea.  I tried.  I put all the books I thought I would have to have in my section of the book storage place over the couch.  I packed very neatly and used the space incredibly well.  The first time we went for a little drive towing the trailer to have our signage painted on, the shelf collapsed.  Luckily, Jeff is an engineer and fixed the shelf so it could carry more than a half a dozen tee shirts.  Nonetheless, books are heavy and we need to travel light.  Let’s face it, we could all stand to travel a little lighter!]

Anywhooo…I carry less than a quarter of the books we started out with and only a couple stitch guides, so I depend on the digital world a lot more.  I love that there are more craft type books that are jumping on the electronic bandwagon, but mostly they are publishing for Apple devices.  I don’t use Apple devices.  Which brings us back to the topic.  [I drive Jeff nuts with all my asides in conversation.]  I bookmarked every website that had a good section for stitch instructions with clear, coherent images.  Of course, I now have all that info mixed in with my bookmarks for cool shops and patterns on my wish list and who know how many other really super important reasons for bookmarking a site.  As usual, I finally got smart and created a category for patterns I want, which has become a wish list for anything I want!  My file for stitch guides is woefully small although I know I bookmarked at least 20 sites!

So, I’m sorting orts.  As find the orts appropriate for the pages, I’ll add them.  As I find a collection of orts that need to be grouped and organized as a whole, I’ll add them, too.  Maybe I can save you some grief from your ort sorting!  Let me know if it helps!