Friday, December 31, 2004

My Stitching Goals for 2005

I was inspired to think of my stitching goals for 2005 when the gals in the Margaret Sherry Cross Stitch Group started posting on them. One in particular caught my eye. It's by Karen F. She writes about her StRIP (Stash Reduction Implimentation Program) and about starting to do rotations. It's all in her stitching blog which is at:

So here's my list:

1. Set up a stitching nook with my new magnifying lamp.
2. Stitch one to two hours a day and listen to books on tape while I'm doing it!
3. Participate in some round robins on RoundRobinCrazy. Get them done on time. My first one is a Millennium Cats RR. Also on my list: Margaret Sherry RR, Valerie Pfeiffer RR, Dragon Dreams RR, and "I love being a girl" RR.
4. Two SALs -- Dragon Dreams' "Why Hoard Gold" and a Mike Vickery bookmark.
5. Silver Lining's Baby Roses (3 of them in pink) for my MIL for her 80th birthday in May.
6. Mike Vickery's Fish for my dad for Christmas 2005.
7. Keep up my stitching blog.
8. Organize my stitching stash.
9. Stash up on fabric and specialty threads (I've already got enough patterns, LOL!).
10. Stitch on evenweave and on higher count linens.

Valerie thinks my list is ambitious. I think Valerie's list is even more ambitious than mine! Anyway, if I don't get it all done, except for the RRs, it's not going to kill me. It might make me anxious, but what else is new?

I also have some non-stitching goals:

1. Get both sewing machines fixed.
2. Learn to quilt.
3. Do more origami.
4. Organize the house (yes, that one is ambitious).
5. Redecorate Camille's room.
6. Decorate the sitting room.
7. Replace the plants in the vestibule.
8. Get my medications straightened out.
9. Go to the gym.
10. Eat right.
11. Take care of my diabetes.
12. Add plants to the garden this summer.
13. Spend less time at the computer.
14. Spend more time with Daniel.
15. Have a family dinner in the dining room every time Mark comes home.
16. Keep up my friendships!

Now those are ambitious!

Wednesday, December 29, 2004


My daughter Camille. She just turned 13. I am already fending off the boys! She doesn't like cross stitch or origami or really anything to do with her hands -- except she does plenty with her hands at computer games, video games, and Game Boy games! She is in the 8th grade and will be starting high school in the fall. Posted by Hello

Monday, December 27, 2004

Origami Model 1: Modular Cube

Modular cube (designed by Lewis Simon). Posted by Hello

Origami Model 2: Butterfly

Derudas butterfly. Posted by Hello


The word "origami" means to fold paper. Origami became popular in Japan in the 19th century, although it is much older than that. There is also a paper folding tradition in Spain. Nowadays, origami is popular all over the world.

I made my first origami models on a plane trip from London to Zimbabwe in 1997. The airline had given the children small packs of origami paper to keep them busy on the plane. Instead, they kept me busy. When I got to Zimbabwe and ran out of paper, I made my own using wrapping paper and a sharp knife. Eventually I discovered that I could buy paper online and ordered it over the internet. I also found a fair number of books in Harare bookstores. When I returned to the US, I had an arsenal of models under my belt and was a fairly proficient folder.

Most people interested in origami fold casually, buy a book here and there, and learn simple models such as cootie catchers and paper airplanes as children. However, there are the totally obsessed who buy hundreds of origami books, design their own models, fold for hours and days on end, and participate in origami lists online.

I am marginally obsessed. I own 75 origami books and boxes full of origami paper that take up an entire shelf in my office/art room. I buy my origami paper at an art store nearly every time I go to St. Louis to visit my in-laws. Boxes of origami models are stacked neatly in one of my closets, and there is a large basket of models out for display on the staircase landing. I have taught origami at libraries and bookstores. I belong to two origami associations, OrigamiUSA (OUSA) and the British Origami Society (BOS).

Right now, I haven't been doing much folding. I'm in a journal round robin at RoundRobinCrazy and I have folded models for each of the journals. I am also folding some models for a friend in New Zealand. The next thing I'm going to take up is fabric origami.

Friday, December 24, 2004


The dictionary defines ephemeral as "lasting a remarkably short time." Its Greek root means, "lasting only a day." I tend to think of ephemeral as something fragile that disappears quickly into nothingness. A vision is ephemeral. Life is ephemeral. A moth is ephemeral.

It bothers me that a blog is ephemeral. I would like to have a permanent record of my blog somewhere, so that when it disappears, the energy I put into it would not disappear. I want to save every piece of my life, every moment, however it manifests itself, in some kind of permanent record. I want my creativity to be a record of my life that lasts beyond me. I especially want my writing to last.

I love origami. I have been doing origami since 1997 -- eight years. I virtually stopped doing origami when I started stitching. I wanted to do something more permanent. It bothered me that origami is made out of paper. Paper is easily crushed. It gets dirty -- dust settles on it if you leave it out for a while. It fades in the sun. It is easily blown over. Eventually, after a long time, it crumbles. Origami is ephemeral.

I suppose it is very Zen to make something that lasts only a short time, and then to let it go. Some Buddhist monks make intricate mandalas out of sand, and destroy them when they are finished. There are no earthly attachments. The mind is trained to be always in the present. Each moment passes, is comprehended in its fullness, and then there is a new moment. It is always "now."

The ephemerality of human life doesn't bother me so much. I am bothered, though, when a life is cut short. I am bothered by the fragility of the human body, that in a moment it can be destroyed. I am saddened that rats live only two or three years, that so quickly their sweet faces are gone. We have had many rats, and are heartbroken by the death of each one. They are small objects of love. Human beings, on the other hand, can live long enough to fulfill their lives, and when they go, there can be a kind of joy in that.

Stitching Obstacles

I haven't been able to stitch much lately. Every time I sit down to stitch, I fall asleep. I take medication for bipolar disorder, and I have suspected that the meds are putting me to sleep. Until this week I was taking four different meds, but my psychiatrist has been reducing them to see if we can't solve the problem. So far the lower doses haven't had much effect. He finally decided to take me completely off one of the meds. I am so happy about this. I am hoping I finally wake up.

I think the magnifying lamp is going to change the way I stitch. I am going to move my stitching headquarters from the bed to a rocking chair near the window. I used to be able to stitch on the bed with no problem, but now every time I sit down on the bed I fall asleep. Yesterday I slept most of the day. It's ridiculous. It has taken me one month to get halfway through a simple Christmas ornament. That's how bad it is. And there isn't enough light (or privacy) in the rest of the house to find another place to stitch. So now I await the arrival of the magnifying lamp. Three more weeks or thereabouts.

Here I am up again in the middle of the night. Well, if you sleep all day... But, I don't sleep at the computer, and I don't sleep if I'm up and walking around. So I have been sitting in front of the computer more, and just not sitting down anywhere else.

It all seems so complicated to me. I hate being incapacitated by medication. I hate not being able to stitch...and not being able to do a lot of other things. Not only do I sleep, but I have no energy or enthusiasm. I have so much I want to do -- this problem must get fixed quickly.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Mini St. Francis, again

Roxi suggested I cut my losses on the mini St. Francis and just toss it. I don't think I'm going to toss it because it is from a particular era in my life that I want to remember, but I am willing to forget about reproducing it and completing it. Maybe I can make another St. Francis miniature. In my travels around the internet I saw other St. Francis charts, and I can make them miniatures if I want now that I am getting my magnifying lamp. I saw one in particular that I liked, but I can't find it now. There are others I don't like: St. Francis of Assisi by Vermillion, St. Francis and Friends by Kooler Design Studios -- he is a bear surrounded by animals -- too cutesy, and St. Francis by the Stitchworks. But I have enough to stitch...

Magnifying Lamp

This is a picture of the Ultra Slim Fluorescent Magnifying Lamp that I am getting. I has a 7" lens and 3x magnification. There is a fluorescent bulb that lights up the lens. I am also getting the stand. It is my Christmas present and it should be here in four weeks. I am so excited.  Posted by Hello

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Mini St. Frances UFO (What was I thinking?)

I made this design four years ago. It is a miniature on 18ct Aida. I never finished St. Francis and I stitched it on such a small piece of fabric that I ran out of room on the left side. One of the birds has unravelled. There is a shadow across the face in this picture but it is really nicely done (unfortunately it didn't scan well). I have been looking for the pattern but I can't find it anywhere. The library has updated nearly all of its books since then. I think I will be stuck reproducing the design from what I have already stitched and filling in the spaces myself.  Posted by Hello

Monday, November 29, 2004

Roxi's Dragon Dreams Ornament

This is my friend Roxi Lewis's Dragon Dreams ornament. It's different from mine (below) -- she uses rayon floss for the tail and comb and doesn't use Sampler Threads on the stocking. I think it's pretty cute. Posted by Hello

Silkweaver's Fabric of the Month Club!

I joined Silkweaver's Fabric of the Month Club this month. I chose the Aida option -- big pieces (18x28) which means I get two pieces of fabric every month. This is really cool because what I get is a surprise, and plus, it builds up my stash. I seem to be going through fabric lately!

My first shipment arrived last week and I am delighted with it. It is two Solos, which are one-of-a-kind hand dyed fabrics that Silkweaver changes every week. I got one 16 count which is predominantly blue with some pink in it, and an 18 count which is a pale rose. I am thinking that maybe I can use the pale rose for some Silver Lining roses I am going to stitch ("Baby Roses"). I will toss the threads onto the fabric and see if there is enough contrast to make a go of it.

I love Silkweaver fabrics anyway. They are such high quality and the colors are wonderful. I used Silkweaver's Strawberry Milkshake when I made Easter Kitty Moon a while back (it's in this blog near the beginning). I am in a Millennium Cats round robin in RoundRobinCrazy, and I am going to use Tutti Fruitie for that. I already have the fabric and will start gridding it up as soon as I finish the last Christmas ornament! Hopefully that finish will be on Wednesday...

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Dragon Dreams Ornament: "Never Too Big"

This Dragon Dreams ornament, "Never Too Big," is from the Just Cross Stitch 2004 Ornaments issue. It has mallard Kreinik very fine braid, some blended threads, buckeye scarlet Gentle Art Sample Threads in the Christmas stocking and berries, and colonial knots for the holly berries. The pattern calls for 28 ct light taupe Lugana but I used 14 ct parchment Aida. Posted by Hello

Friday, November 19, 2004

Celtic Icon Framed

This, finally, is the St. John and Eagles Icon framed. The frame is gold and gray. There is no glass or mat -- I wanted it to look as much like an icon as possible. I am very happy with it. Posted by Hello

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Awww, Pokey...

My friend Pokey deleted her blogs. How sad. I got all over her about that. They were really good. The good news is that she is considering starting up Pokey Points again, so I am leaving up the link. Go for it, Pokey!

Christmas Ornaments

It's November, and I'm stitching Christmas ornaments. My goal for November is to make three. Snow Flakes was the first one, from Donna Kooler's 555 Timeless Cross Stitch Patterns. It is also in issue #25 of Cross Stitch Gold, which I just picked up at Barnes & Noble. The other two are in the Just Cross Stitch 2004 Christmas Ornaments issue. They are "Never Too Big" by Dragon Dreams -- a dragon (of course) with the words "never too big to believe" -- and "Snow" by Glory Bee, a snowman done with Sampler Threads. I just set aside Snow Flakes until I finish Never Too Big and Snow, because of all the fractional stitches and French knots. I am too anxious to get on with Never Too Big anyway. I love the dragon!

Snow Flakes Ornament

A Christmas ornament I am stitching. It is from a Donna Kooler book. When I undertook it I didn't realize how many French knots there were, and that it had so many fractional stitches, so I stitched it on Aida. It has taken me two weeks so far. The blue horizontal and vertical lines are my gridding. Posted by Hello

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Celtic Icon: Saint John and Eagles

Celtic Icon of St. John and Eagles. This pattern is inspired by illuminated manuscripts. Each of the evangelists was often symbolized by an animal or bird. John's symbol was the eagle. In this icon, John sits on a throne and holds a book in his hands, the gospel he wrote for the faithful. The gold thread around his head is a halo. It took me a couple of months to stitch this when it really should have taken me only two or three weeks, but I started it on evenweave and switched to Aida mid-course. I also didn't stitch on it consistently. I like it! Posted by Hello

Monday, September 27, 2004

"Hats off to Santa Claws" -- Margaret Sherry

This is Margaret Sherry's Country Friends Calendar for December 2003 from the Cross Stitcher (UK). I have decided to stitch this for Christmas. It is 66 x 66 and stitched on 14 ct Aida.  Posted by Hello

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Pokey's Blogs

My friend Pokey, from the Cross Stitch Forum, just started two blogs -- Pokey Points and What's A Havus? It seems that I have inspired her blogging and she has mentioned me several times in her Pokey Points blog, so I'm getting back at her here.

Pokey Points is a stitching and "whatever" blog. So far the whatever has been spiritual, political, computer-oriented and personal. Now, Pokey, that crack in the diatribe about how great Bush is...we all know who your friend who works on the Kerry campaign might be! And that thing about "borrowing" my HTML, I don't mind. You did give me proper attribution! LOL! But after all that hard work of trying to decipher the code in the template, we both managed to add our links to the sidebar, including reciprocal links to each other's blogs. We also managed to insert that Stitching Bloggers link. Boy was that a bear to figure out.

Pokey's second blog, What's a Havus?, is about Jimmy Buffett. She said something about needing a place to complain about not getting tickets.

The good thing about Pokey is that she stitches a lot, all the while answering tons of email and working a full time job. Pokey, thanks for all the great advice on the forum!

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

The Overwhelming Number of Mike Vickery Designs

I am so discouraged! I was just at the Vickery Collection website rereading the "about us" blurb, and for the first time I realized I will never be able to collect all of Mike Vickery's designs. I don't know how I overlooked this, but it says that during MV's freelance years he published hundreds of designs in magazines, leaflets and books. Now how am I going to find hundreds of designs in magazines, leaflets and books?

Imagine how much more money I can spend on eBay than I already spend. My friend Valerie and I dug up a relatively short list of Vickery patterns in magazines from the Cross Stitch Magazine Database . The list has 27 items on it. I have 11 of them already, but of course I will not rest until I find the remaining16.

Now this is what gets me. TW seems to have a finite number of designs, and everyone seems to know what they are and when a new one comes out. Even non-TW stitchers seem to know the difference between the Fruit Bellpull and the Tapestry Cat. And I was over at the Margaret Sherry group, where they have a list of her designs that you can scroll through without thinking, "Will this never end?". These are finite lists. They are for people who think they have a chance of stitching some of them.

As far as I know, there is no list of MV's designs. I asked Amy Vickery about it and she said they were thinking about doing one. We need a list.

All this is, of course, S.A.B.L.E. -- Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy. I don't even know what MV I'm going to stitch after the Scarecrow. All I know is that there are too many choices.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Progress on the Celtic Icon

I haven't made much progress on the Celtic Icon since my last post.

First off, I haven't stitched on it in a week. I've been busy with other things -- volunteering for the Democratic Party for example, and Camille starting back at school. I also started up the Mike Vickery Cross Stitch Group three days ago, and I've been more involved in that than anything. Playing around on the computer keeps me most from stitching. I love to spend time chatting with my friends. It's ironic though. I chat about stitching and it keeps me from stitching!

Second, for the last week I've been a bit irritated with the friend for whom I'm making the Icon, and thus less enthusiastic about stitching on it. I only have two weeks to finish it or it won't be framed in time for his birthday. I am so unenthusiastic I am thinking about kitting up my next project, Vickery's Halloween Scarecrow, and doing a rotation with the Icon. I really need to be stitching on something.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Margaret Sherry's "Purrfect Harmony"

Margaret Sherry's "Purrfect Harmony" -- Catafiddle, Cataflute and Catacello. Posted by Hello

Margaret Sherry's Designs

I recently discovered Margaret Sherry's designs. I started off with her darling "Dog Dinner," five spotted puppies eating out of a bowl. Then I found out she had done other dogs and cats, and I went to the Heritage Stitchcraft website to view them. There were also hedgehogs, ponies, and Musical Cats. Turns out she has published a whole lot of patterns. There are many in the UK Cross Stitcher, including a calendar series for 2003 and 2004. A nearly complete listing is at Margaret Sherry's Designs.

There is a Margaret Sherry Cross Stitch Group on Yahoo that has about 85 members.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Vickery Cross Stitch Group on Yahoo

I just started up a Mike Vickery Cross Stitch group on Yahoo. The goal is to bring together cross stitchers who want to discuss Vickery designs. The website address is:

Or email me and I will send out an invite! By the way, I sent an invite to Mike & Amy Vickery. I hope they join!

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Progress on the Celtic Icon

I am now stitching the border of the Icon. The border is dark gray and dark gold. In fact, the entire piece is stitched in various shades of gray and gold. I wonder how I will feel after stitching all these grays and golds on gray fabric!

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Gridded Fabric

Several people have asked me about gridding, so here is a picture of a gridded piece of fabric. This is 28 ct dove gray Monaco gridded with ordinary bright turquoise thread. The grid lines are spaced 20 threads apart because I am stitching over two threads. On 14 ct where I would stitch over one, the grid lines would be 10 threads apart. The grid lines follow the grid lines on the pattern.

I like to have as much thread on the front of the fabric as possible, but my friend Valerie runs the grid lines 20 spaces apart front and back too, so that she has squares on the face of the fabric. When the piece is done, the thread pulls out easily. Posted by Hello

Monday, August 30, 2004

Teresa Wentzler for the Girls!

Somebody said TW separates the women from the girls! Well, here's some TW for the girls -- Daylilies, Plums, Duck Family, and Thistle Sampler. I haven't stitched any of these yet, but I would like to do Duck Family and Thistle Sampler.

Easy TW #4 -- Thistle Sampler

Easy TW #4 -- Thistle Sampler. This sampler is 5 1/2" x 5" if stitched on 28 ct fabric. The model was stitched on 32 ct Belfast cream linen over two. There are only 13 colors.Posted by Hello

Easy TW #3 -- Duck Family

Easy TW #3 -- Duck Family. This is my favorite easy TW. I have even bought fabric for it and plan to do it at some point when there is a lull in my stitching schedule. The model was stitched on 14 ct pecan brown Aida. It is 3 1/8" x 5 3/8". There are 11 colors. Posted by Hello

"Easy" TW #2 -- TW's Cloisonne' Fruit Ornament

Easy TW #2 -- Plums. This ornament is 2 1/2" x 2 1/2". The model is stitched on 25 ct antique white Lugana. It actually looks easier than it is, but it's a small project that should take less time. I count nearly 60 colors. There are also gold glass beads that outline the fruit and the circular border around it, along with Algerian eyelet stitch and eyelet stitch. The fruit is stitched over one. Posted by Hello

Easy TW #1 -- Daylilies

Easy TW #1 -- Daylilies. Daylilies is awfully pretty, and the only one of the four patterns I have here that has Teresa Wentzler's name on it. However, the other three are obviously hers, while this one is slightly different. This model was stitched on 25 ct cream Lugana. It is 4 7/8" x 2 3/4". There are 15 colors. I almost want to stitch this one. Posted by Hello

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Progress on Saint & Birds Icon

I planned to start stitching on the St. John and the Eagles Icon on vacation in Florida, but all I ended up doing was gridding. I didn't get much done either, because the light in the hotel room wasn't very good, and it was too hot and bright outside. The chart calls for 14 ct pale gray Aida and I decided to do the Icon on 28 ct dove gray Monaco, so I complicated my task a bit. But now that I have a good light, the task is considerably easier. The Icon is going to look great on the Monaco. I can hardly wait to get stitching.

My La D Da Charts

Here is the current list of my La D Da charts.

Angel Cat
A Puppy's Posies
By Her Hand
Eagle's Wings
Ever So Humble
Gentle Spirit
Glory Sampler
I'll Fly Away
Kentucky Snow
Leaping Cat
Little Red House
Love is Patient
Marion the Librarian
Marriage Sampler
Noble Wife
Red Heart Sampler
String of Birds
Sweet Dreams
Three Dogs-A-Leaping
Watchful Eye
White Cat

From what I can tell, there are at least 36 more La D Da charts. So far I've just gathered them up cheap on eBay and haven't decided which one to stitch first. It might be Eagle's Wings, although I like Leaping Cat a lot. I'll have to see how I feel.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Saint and Birds Icon

This is the Celtic icon of St. John and Eagles I plan to stitch for a friend whose confirmation name is John and who loves eagles. St. John is symbolized by eagles. It is from a book called Celtic Cross Stitch by Anne Orr and Lesley Clarke. I will start this Icon in the next week, while I am on vacation in Florida. Posted by Hello

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Easter Kitty Moon

This is Stitchy Kitty's Easter Kitty Moon. I finished it on Easter, 2004. I stitched it on 14 ct Strawberry Milkshake Aida from Silkweaver. There is a lot of blending filament in the eggs, and the cat's belly and face are stitched with Rainbow Gallery Wisper. The design is missing a couple of buttons because I can't find my beading needles! Posted by Hello

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Bless the Graduate

Bless the Graduate is my first attempt at stitching on 28 ct linen. The name and date are stitched over one. I made it for my son Mark's high school graduation. He loves it. Posted by Hello

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Eagle's Wings by Lori Markovic (La D Da). The words on this chart are from a song called "On Eagles Wings" written by Michael Joncas. The first line, "And I will raise you up on eagles wings," is from Exodus 19:4. Lori Markovic stitched this on 36 ct linen, but it could be stitched on lower count fabric.  Posted by Hello

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Chalk & Cheese

Chalk and Cheese! I love these little guys! Somebody actually designed a couple of cute rats. These were designed to benefit the RSPCA. I'm glad somebody else besides us appreciates rats! Posted by Hello

Leaping Cat by La D Da

Leaping Cat by Lori Markovic of La D Da. One of my favorite La D Da charts. I would like to do this one someday. Posted by Hello

La D Da

One of my favorite designers is Lori Markovic of La D Da.   She does wonderful neo-primitive samplers.   A lot of her work can be seen at   Her designs might look "simple" on the surface, but she uses mostly R&R Reproductions linens in counts such as 32, 36 and 40, with letters sometimes stitched one over one.   She also uses Sampler and Weeks threads but lists the DMC equivalents.  But I'm not deterred -- I would just use a lower count linen, when I get around to doing one of her charts. 

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Mike Vickery's Macaws of the Amazon

Mike Vickery's new design, Macaws of the Amazon. It is available at his website. I don't have it yet, but I'm going to order it. NOTE: I did get it, and it's magnificent. I can hardly wait until I have time to stitch it! Posted by Hello

Vickery Website

Mike Vickery's website, The Vickery Collection, is at by Hello

Mike Vickery's Halloween Scarecrow

I've been at this computer since 5:30 this morning talking to my stitching friends!  
Mike Vickery's Halloween Scarecrow is in The Cross Stitcher, October, 2003.  I got the back issue at eBay and there was a picture of the scarecrow there.  I knew I just had to have it.  The seller said something about "what to do with purple Aida" and I saw that this project was on purple Aida.  So even before the magazine came I was on eBay looking for purple Aida.  I got two pieces. 
I am not disappointed.  The scarecrow is as cute as it looked online.  Vickery's colors are so wonderful.  I'm going to start on the scarecrow as soon as I get BAA done. 
Posted by Hello