Saturday, August 15, 2009

The dreaded stem stitch ....

finally mastered! All these years designing and stitching and I could never master the stem stitch. A wonderful chart by Un chat dans L'aiguille (Histoire de coeurs), some very nice stitch diagrams and one cool, quiet evening on the front deck and I finally did it. I am quite proud of them:

My stem stitches (I need to get a life. I really do.)

For the past year I have been fascinated with free-style (sometimes known as "traditional") embroidery. Some of it has been quite a challenge since I'm used to all those little "squares" to keep my stitches in line. But I've fallen in love with the "look" of it and with the teeny tiny linen you use. You can't count those threads. Forget it. No magnifier in the world is going to make it possible to count those threads. Really sets you free in a needlewonky kind of way.

And these lovelies just arrived today in the mail. A birthday gift from my friend Anne-Catherine. Je les aime, Anne Catherine! Merci!

I met Anne-Catherine and her friend (and now also mine) Evelyne when I traveled to France for the first time. Since many of you have asked about the lovely "sewing dish" that is on my website on the "events" page, and some of you even wanted to purchase the pattern, I can now blog that it was made by these two talented ladies and, no, you can't buy the pattern from me but perhaps Anne-Catherine and Evelyne would be willing to share it. Their creativity and finishing skills never cease to amaze me. For those of you who missed it on the site:

You can visit their blogs to see more of the lovely stitching and finishing they do and a few photos of a delightful afternoon that I will never forget spent stitching, eating and drinking in a little apartment in the Monmartre.

Why are we not smiling? This was before we opened the wine.

BTW, Anne-Catherine, Lavender DOES grow in Colorado. I have tons of it in my garden sooooooo, I'm going to need directions for making those lavender reels. In English :-)

I stand corrected by Mathilda, who stitched Toccata Number Five. She is NOT from Arnhem, Netherlands. She is from Zevenhuizen. Perhaps she will forgive me for not knowing this city. I now remember it by thinking "Mathilda is from seventh heaven". Certainly her stitching speed and skills make me think she is from "seventh heaven". My apologies Mathilda. You are one of my favorite people right now. You and Karin (Kersten, my dear friend and hard working distributor in Europe) for introducing us. Beautiful job on Toccata Number Five.

This week, in the kitchen ... yes we are now moving into the kitchen. Sorry. I warned you:-) Since I turned my first hobby (needlework) into a profession, I've had to find something without a deadline to keep me entertained. This is "the month of the lemon" around here. Last week it was homemade lemon chocolate chip biscotti and lemon sorbet. And now, Limoncello! My daughter's comment: "God help us. She's distilling liquor!" The zest of 25 lemons are steeping in 90 proof alcohol on the back shelf of my pantry and will be for another week .... or 40 days. I'm not sure which. No one seems to agree on that part. What they do agree on is that later, after you add some sugar, water, bottle it, and put it away again for a while, you drink it very, very cold, in very, very small glasses con molto ghiaccio ... I'm thinking maybe with a little cream floating on top? It's a wonderful thing. I'll keep you posted ... or maybe you'll just be able to figure out, by the free-spirited tone of my blogs, when the Limoncello is finished:-)

I'm growing tomatoes on my front deck this summer. After noticing that every spare speck of dirt anyone could rake up is used to grow "il pomodoro" (or olives, or grapes) in Italy, I thought, why not? I was having a heck of a time getting them to turn red but someone finally told me to STOP watering them and they will turn. Now there is one rather enormous, organic, homegrown, very RED tomato on the vine that I'm looking forward to doing "something" with this weekend, though I don't know how much can be done with one tomato no matter how enormous it is.

In the meantime, I'm having much fun working on my "Pumpkin Pocket" and "Heart Song". They are supposed to ship out to Europe for the fall shows next month and it's going to be hard to say goodbye. I'm not good at goodbyes. Dear little heart song. Sweet pumpkin pocket. I guess I'll have to stitch another one ... and another ... and another, just so I can always have one around to keep me company. Heart pocket? Button pocket? Pocket full of stitches? Swan song? :-) I could keep going but ....

It's getting late and I must be really tired. How can I tell? I'm not one of those people who gets grumpy when they're tired .... just really silly and stupid. Time to sign off.

See you soon, ci vediamo a presto, à tout à l'heure, gauw tot ziens,


  1. Je suis ravie que ma petite pochette soit bien arrivée ! Ton blog est maintenant dans mes favoris. Que de belles choses à broder ... Friendship Garden is SPLENDID !!!!!! Toccata five too ...

  2. Thank you Cynthia for your compliments!
    You're right, it was a very great afternoon in Montmartre,it made me so happy!
    Have a good day