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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Bunny Tails

A couple of months ago I had a craving to stitch a sampler. I wanted something small because I have upteen other projects going on right now, something that I didn't have to decide floss colors for, a little something I could pick up and stitch on without thinking too much. Do you ever feel that way? 

So stash diving I went and I pulled out an oldie but a goodie, "Meg's Bunny" from Sheepish Designs.  

I had a piece of the recommended 36 ct cream linen in my stash (don't you love it when you have the fabric already in your stash!) and pulled the recommended DMC floss.

And so I commenced stitching...

And I changed a couple of colors, moved things around a little bit, and stitched...

I kept worrying about whose initals to stitch in the top border. I finally decided to avoid that decision and finagled the strawberry border to replace the initials, switched the bluebirds to robins (of course)...and kept stitching, yes, when I should have been working those upteen other projects

And I finished stitching the little sweetie this week!

Meg's Bunny
Sheepish Designs

Here's a closer look at the changes I made to the top border:

Check out the bunny's tail in the picture below; instead of cross stitches, I used french knots! It took three attempts before I found a color that showed up on the cream linen.

I love the strawberry border but I think that little tail is my favorite part of the sampler. What an enjoyable stitch!

Thanks for stopping by my little corner of the world today and thanks to those who left comments and advice about my Ann Norman sampler. I apologize for the delay in responding to your messages. My wireless router finally gave up the fight last weekend and I have been without the internet until this evening. (Yes, I have been suffering from withdrawal.) It will take a couple of days to get caught up. 

Have a wonderful week!  

Saturday, April 14, 2012

My status: Enchanted!

A few weeks ago, Ann Norman arrived on my doorstep. Of course, I was bursting with excitment to see her. My hands shook as I opened the box and I held my breathe as I pulled her out and unfolded her wrappings. My first impressions, in order, were: "She's beautiful and colorful and so full of little details and I love the border", then relief set in ("I didn't buy a fake antique, she's the real thing"), and finally joy that she was mine. I think I even hugged her!

May I introduce to you the handiwork of Miss Ann Norman!

Ann Norman - aged 13 years April 27, 1854
Stitched in cross-stitch on high count linen (40+ threads per inch) with silk threads.

When I began looking closely at her condition I could have cried. The linen is discolored and stained especially around the edges where it probably was covered by a wood frame, and distorted from being nailed to that @#$% backing board for so long. There are a few spots that I'm guessing may be stained with blood (perhaps where Ann poked herself with her needle?), one of the bottom corners appears to have been water damaged as the colors have bled, and there are a few small holes scattered around, but I am, never-the-less, simply enchanted by dear Ann!

Close up of top right corner where Ann escaped from one of those awful nails.

Seeing Ann up close, led me to think about the antique samplers that have survived over the years despite the handling, mounting, framing, and storing methods that were used. I am so thankful for the survivors! Perhaps they survived because they were stored away in a drawer, or the back of a closet, or up in an attic and forgotten for decades until someone discovered them again. And I'm thankful for the finders that didn't disregard them as just handiwork and of no value.   

Almost as soon as Ann arrived, I knew I wanted to stitch her again to see her as clean and as bright as she once was. I've been having so much fun pouring over her little, sometimes miscounted, stitches to chart her that I can hardly pull myself away. As I chart, I feel like I'm getting to know a bit about Ann. I'm sure she liked flowers, dogs and birds because she stitched lots of them into her sampler.

I imagine sampler-making wasn't one of Ann's favorite pastimes. For one thing, she wasn't particulary concerned about stitching on the vertical thread or allowing two threads for each stitch or space. Sometimes Ann left an even number of threads between stitches and sometimes an odd number. Another interesting tidbit I found is that when Ann discovered she stitched the wrong color or changed her mind about a color, she simply stitched over the original color with the new color. One of more obvious examples of this is in the lower section. Ann stitched two red birds and then went back and added a few black stitches on top of the red stitches (perhaps to make the birds look more like cardinals?). This young Ann didn't have the time or the inclination to create a perfect sampler. I think she was just itching to get it done and move on to more interesting activities. Ann was definitely not a frogger!     

I have no idea where Ann lived or even if she was American, but I would love to find out. The linen she used has a blue woven line along the right and left selvage edges. From edge to edge the linen is 13 inches wide. Does anyone know where this linen was from? Does anyone recognize anything about the sampler style that might place it?

I would very much appreciate any advice or leads to information about conservatively remounting and framing antiques samplers.

As always thanks for stopping by my little corner of the world. Wishing you a wonderful week and hope you find time for stitching!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter! -- And Liebster Award News

I received a blog award from Karen at The View from the Stitching Chair last week. Thank you Karen! I'm so glad you like my blog!

Here's the Liebster Award scoup:
Liebster is a German word meaning favorite, dearest or beloved and is awarded by bloggers to newer bloggers with fewer than 200 followers. By accepting this award I will:
1. Choose 5 blogs to award the Liebster to.
2. Thank my friend and link back to her.
3. Post the award on my blog and list the bloggers I pass the Liebster on to with their links.
4. Let them know by leaving them a comment.
5. Share 5 random facts about myself that people do not know about me.

The 5 blogs I'm passing the award on to are as follows (in alphabetical order):
Lorraine - Sew Be It!

These are wonderful blogs! I'm always inspired by their talent, creativity, and love of needlework. If you haven't visited their blogs yet, then you are in for a treat!

Now, let's see...5 random facts about myself that people do not know about me:

1. I collect robins for two reasons, my name is Robin and it is the Michigan state bird.

2. I'm an avid American Idol fan! Wouldn't miss it! Thank goodness for the DVR!

3. My mother and my mother-in-law's first and middle names are the same, "Shirley Ann." I'm going to stitch them on a sampler one of these days.

4. My interest in needlework was ignited by two inspirational women in the 1970's: Erica Wilson, who had a wonderful needlework television show on PBS, and Ginnie Thompson, "The First Lady of Cross Stitch" who spurred American interest in counted cross stitch. I can't tell you how thrilled I was to attend one of Ginnie Thompson's classes. That's when I switched from aida and hardanger to linen.

5. In the eighties, I entered the Rokome Gardens National Counted Cross Stitch Show and won two ribbons. First Place in the Paula Vaughan category and Third Place in the sampler category. Check out my entries:

 Bright and Shining Star (I think that is the name)
Paula Vaughan 

 Country Kitchen Sampler from A to Z
Deborah Lambein

Thanks for stopping by! Have a wonderful week!  

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Loving the weather today! Windows are open, birds are singing, feels like spring!

Zoe, Shamrock Kitty soft scrupture, and "Shamrock Heart" from The Sweetheart Tree

So far today, I've been avoiding housework and laundry, but I really need to get a few things done. Did I ever mention that I hate housework? I really do.

I'd much rather plan a new Easter project.

I'm designing a little somthing to fit on the top of this box:

I found this egg shaped box at the grocery store last week and into my cart it jumped! As it turns out, it was a win-win situation. My husband gets the candy and I get the box. Everybody's happy! 

This morning I discovered the candy had disappeared already, which got me thinking about an Easter-y type of design. This is what I came up with:

"A Tisket, A Tasket, Here's My Easter Basket"
Copyright Samplerbird Stitchery 2012

What do you think? It may need a tweak here or there, but I think it will coordinate nicely with the box. The stitched piece will cover up the labels leaving just a bit of the colored egg pattern showing on the top and, of course, around the box edges. I have the perfect shade of purple Victorian Motto chenille to edge the design, too!

I've diving into housework and laundry and hope to resurface in a couple hours to pull linen and threads and get stitching. Stay tuned for progress pics!

Thanks for stopping by my little corner of the world. Have a wonderful weekend!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Teen Idols

It has been a week for teen idol memories.

When I was eleven years old I fell "in love" with an older man. I met him on a TV screen and he was dreamy. We'd meet every Monday night. I'd laugh at his and his friend's antics, and when he sang, I'd swoon. Oh, how I loved him!
David "Davy" Jones
1945 - 2012
I was very sad to hear that Davy Jones of the Monkees passed away this week. He was such a showman and I loved him. I'm so thankful that I had the opportunity to see the Monkee's reunion concert last year. It was wonderful seeing them all again and brought back so many memories. I loved all of the Monkees, but Davy was my favorite.

My sister, Jennifer, is 14 years younger than I. She also fell in love with an older man on TV when she was about eleven. His name is Rick Springfield, and truth be told, she still loves him.

Rick Springfield
3/2/12 at the Fillmore in Detroit

Last night our teen idols converged. Jennifer and I went to see Rick Springfield at the Fillmore in Detroit (just a block from where we last saw the Monkees) and he played a Monkees song and said a few words about Davy. So many people loved Davy and the Monkees! Bless you, Rick for celebrating Davy's memory.

Davy, you will always be in my heart. I am grateful that you were a part of my life. May you rest in peace.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Victorian Motto Mojo!

I must tell you, I {{{heart}}} Victorian Motto floss and trims! I have been very fortuntate to win two of Nancy's recent giveaways. The first was a lenght of cluny lace and last week, I won 10 skeins of floss. I am estatic! Nancy is so sweet and so very generous!  If you haven't checked out her ebay store, I highly recommend it. So many treasures and so inspiring! I absolutely LOVE everything I've ordered and won from Nancy. Click here to visit the Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe. 

Look at these beautiful threads! Aren't the colors lucious? My hands are itching to stitch with them! I'm thinking a small of some sort. Any suggestions?

As for the cluny lace, I have a little design already stitched that it will be perfect for...

Lizzie Kate's "Summer Basket" stitched on a piece of "strawberry stained" linen. I actually stitched it a number of years ago and it has been lanquishing in a box waiting for the right finishing idea. Eureka! Victorian Motto to the rescue!

Well, it's Saturday night, and you know what that means...bath time! That is, if you're Zoe, the chair hogging stealing cat. Somehow that cat knows when I'm on my way to that chair and races me to it. And of course, she beats me to it! So I end up perched on the edge while she stretches out comfortably behind me! What's up with that?

That's it for tonight's post. I'm so glad you stopped by for a visit. Hope to see you again soon!  Take care!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Is it cold enough for you?

This has been the popular conversation starter around these parts over the last few days. And yes, as a matter of fact it is cold enough for me! And my little Zoe agrees! We're both waiting for spring!

In the meantime, I stitch.

My New Year's Day start was Lizzie Kate's "Winter Alphabet." I finished it on the 16th so it is my official first finish of 2012! I enjoyed stitching this one so much: the colorful threads, the pretty little borders, and the sweet little motifs scattered among the letters. I made a game of strategizing what to stitch next to avoid changing colors until I had to at the risk of miscounting. It's stitched on 32 ct Natural Light linen with DMC and overdyed threads. (The colors are so much prettier and bighter than in this rather drab picture.)

 "Winter Alphabet" ~ Lizzie Kate

After finishing "Winter Alphabet", I pulled out "Meg's Bunny", a small sampler from Sheepish Designs. I'm using a piece of 36 ct cream linen that I vetoed from another project, hence the dark line of stitches along the top scroll. I'll frog those old stitches as I need more room.

"Meg's Bunny" ~ Sheepish Designs

Here's a peak at my work project, the project I take to work and stitch on during my lunch and breaks. It is my variation of With Thy Needle and Thread's "Needles and Pins Heart Pinkeep".

"Needles and Pins Heart Pinkeep" ~ With Thy Needle and Thread

I love this design and envisioned it with more of a Valentine theme so I switched the colors and instead of a bluebird and blue flowers, I'm stitching a cardinal and pink flowers. Easy peasy! I don't plan to stitch the scalloped border, I'll either edge it with lace or chenille trim.

My oldest cat, Sophie, pictured below, is annoyed and impatiently waitng for my undivided attention ("Why are you clackity clacking on that contraption when you could be adoring me?"), so I had better wrap this up and give Her Majesty a kitty massage before she starts her caterwalling.  

Thanks for stopping by!
Stay warm! 
And enjoy your day!