Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving, 2011

There is a hymn we used to sing in church often.  It was written in 1897, and is appropriate for not only Thanksgiving Day (which those of us in the United States are celebrating today), but for every single day of the year.

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Count your blessings, name them one by one, 
Count your blessings, see what God hath done! 
Count your blessings, name them one by one, 
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Are you ever burdened with a load of care? 
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear? 
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly, 
And you will keep singing as the days go by.

When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings. 
Wealth can never buy your reward in heaven, 
nor your home on high.

So, amid the conflict whether great or small, 
Do not be disheartened, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Autumn Towels

The embroidery function on my sewing machine has long sat unused as I have grown frustrated and despondent over the fact that I will never be able to sew a design bigger than 100 mm x 100 mm, or 170 mm x 100 mm.  (Viking chose to abandon my machine when they came out with their Designer series, never improving the technology.)  Then when I bought my laptop earlier this year, I discovered that the chances of my 3D Embroidery Software working on its Windows 7 operating system were slim, so while I could still use it on my desktop computer system - which runs Windows XP - for however long that computer remains operational, I would eventually be faced with the task of finding new software, and hoping I had the money to purchase it when the time comes.  (I had the software installed on my old laptop, too, which enabled me to unzip, view, and organize designs when I didn't want to be chained to my desk.)  And I forgot to mention that it is getting more and more difficult to find designs that will work on my machine, since that size is becoming obsolete as more and more designers are designing for the 5" x 7" hoop and larger.

So that's my story.  Only it doesn't end there.  I finally decided that I should just snap out of it and work with what I have for as long as I can.

One thing I like to do in my powder room is place a fingertip towel (12" x 18") on top of the hand towel (16" x 26"), even if I end up adjusting it every time I go into the bathroom.  <grin>  Although I had many FTTs for spring, summer, and Christmas, as well as a few for winter, I had nothing for autumn.  And since I thought I might make a simple autumn wall hanging, looking through designs for both at the same time made sense.  Here's what I came up with:

I'd still like to make that wall hanging even though I'll have to put it away for NEXT autumn.  After all, the designs are already on the embroidery card and it seems like too much work to erase them!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Make Do and Mend Mondays

I am once again joining Heidi for Make Do and Mend Mondays

My pile of finished cross stitch designs keeps growing, so I am trying to do the final finishing on them.  In early 2009, I completed Little House Needleworks' design, Love and FaithfulnessI have since discovered that it is very difficult to find square picture frames, so when I do come across any, I purchase them.  Over the summer, I was at the Dollar Store, and spotted these less-than-attractive frames, and I picked up three of them. 

I was excited to find that it fits this design, but thought it needed sprucing up, so I turned to my trusty spray paint cans, finding just the right color in our collection.

I still haven't gotten the stitched piece into the frame, but you can see what it will look like in this photo:

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Happy Birthday!

Today is my hubby's birthday.  He doesn't look a day over 35, does he?  LOL  (Ok, he WAS younger when this picture was taken last New Year's Eve.  It was the most recent picture I could find.  He's making the best meatballs our family has ever eaten - his specialty!)

Those of you who have read my blog for a while know that nearly six years ago, Phil was diagnosed with a relatively rare blood cancer called Multiple Myeloma.  Unfortunately, this cancer has no cure, although with new treatments, patients are living longer than when Phil was diagnosed.  It has been a very difficult year for Phil, as he has endured one painful medical problem after another, most not related to the Myeloma. 

And so on this very special day, I wish you a very happy birthday, Phil, and if God grants it, another year of walking with the Lord and growing in His Grace.  I love you!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Birthday Flowers

My birthday was back in October, and my sweet daughter, Grace, came home with these lovely flowers, which she arranged herself.  (She's so talented!  You might remember that she made the bridesmaids' bouquets for her wedding, and did a wonderful job.)  Don't you agree that sunflowers are such cheerful flowers?  They certainly brighten these dull fall days!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Let It Snow . . .

. . . but not yet!

Seriously, I purchased this 2006 Lizzie Kate design at my LNS.  I didn't realize until some time later that the chart states at the bottom, "This design may be reproduced for newsletter or handout.  It is not to be sold or kitted."  It was actually both SOLD and KITTED.  Not sure what's up with that.

I stitched this design in just a few hours.  I don't recall whether the fabric came with the kit or not, but I tend to think it didn't.  The color isn't true; blame that on the dark, rainy, and dreary days we have this time of year. 

I plan to finish this as a pinkeep, and will use my Spinster for the first time to make the cording to go around the outside. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Indian Summer

 It's taken me a long time to photograph this finish of Indian Summer by With Thy Needle and Thread, but here it is.  I couldn't get the color to come out right, despite manipulating the photo in my editing software; the fabric is much darker than how it photographed.  You may recall that this is the fabric that I coffee dyed, which you can see here

This project is now on the craft table, waiting patiently while I try to decide how to do the final finishing.  I have an idea, so we'll see how it comes out!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Make Do and Mend Mondays

Today I'm joining Heidi in Make Do and Mend Mondays.  This project has been well over a year in the making; sad, but true.

When we built our home, we couldn't decide on kitchen cabinet door and drawer pulls, so we told the builder to leave the cabinets without them and we would choose something later, which we did.  In September, 2005, I drilled holes for and installed 23 pulls*, leaving me with a great sense of satisfaction and tendonitis in my left elbow (which still occasionally bothers me to this day).  By last summer, here's what they looked like:

Ridiculous, given what these things cost!  I had seen an HGTV show in which they had spray painted these types of handles with a product called Plasti Dip, and thought it was worth a try.  I had saved some pieces of packing styrofoam, and by placing toothpicks in it, I was able to line up the handles for painting.

I'd like to say this was the end of it, but I discovered that it's imperative that the paint make contact with itself all the way around the handle, because I missed the underside of quite a few handles, and had to peel the paint off (really!) and repaint them.  All's good now, which is great because it's turned too cold to paint outside.

Don't you think these look better?  For about $6.00, I have "new" handles, which look almost new again.

*You might think we have a large kitchen based on this number, but the reality is we have only four drawers and many little cabinets in our small kitchen.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Decorating with Vintage Items

The definition of antique varies, even among experts.  According to the U.S. Customs Service, an item must be over 100 years old to be considered antique, but the term can be used loosely and applied to items much younger than that.  I'll use the term vintage to describe a collection of items I received recently from my mother-in-law, since I know none of these are over 100 years old, but may well be 50 years old. 

This is one side of my U-shaped kitchen.

 Close-Up of the above items.

 Horlick's Malted Milk jar.  I looked on Ebay and this is worth some money!

 See the two metal cans stacked up on each other?  One is a lard container.

  This is the cabinet to the right of my sink. 

 Close-Up of the above cabinet.

You can see that I mostly got old Ball jars, some with zinc lids.  I appreciate my mother-in-law sharing what she can no longer use with the family, and I'm thrilled to have these vintage items to display in my kitchen.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


There's been some secret stitching going on in my house!  I had set a goal of stitching three ornaments this year, and unbelievably, they are all done, except for the final finishing.  But of course I can't share them with you.  Not yet.  I'll be back soon with some other pictures, though.