Thursday, March 25, 2010

Card trick or Confession?

I'm addicted to paint chips.  Bad.  Have been for years.

As far as addictions go, it's a pretty good one.  Chips are small (easily transported/stored), free, and only available in well-lit places that close at decent hours, so I'm not creeping around at all hours of the night nor do I have to hide my face when I'm getting my chip fix.  It's not every week or even every month that I go chipping, however, I'm often amazed at how fast a chip attack can sneak up on me!  Let's just take today for example.  I needed a couple of things from the local home improvement mega-store.  I planned on swinging in, swinging out on my way home from work.  Well, by total accident, I swung by the paint chips and nearly gave myself whiplash!  My only complaint about many of my paint chips are that they are just too small.  I love them all, but I would love them more if they were BIGGER!  And what to my wondering eyes should appear?  Have a look for yourself:

supersized Glidden paint chips

That's right.  SUPERSIZED paint chips in lucious colors like Lucky Shamrock, Spring Leaf, Juicy Cantaloupe, Refreshing Mimosa and Fresh Pineapple.  omg.  Needless to say, I came home with more than these 5 pretties.  There's really no need to show you the whole stack (mainly because I'm still embracing them), but let's just say I needed both jacket pockets to get them out of there! 

I warned you I wasn't quite right so I'm not even going to start telling you all the perfectly good reasons a person might need hundreds of paint chips.  I just need them.  Like the flowers need the rain.  Period.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the UPS man brought two huge boxes containing the rest of my new sunroom furniture. It took a couple of hours to put the chairs together, but it's going to be worth the trouble.  I'm already extremely pleased with the sectional in place of the chair and loveseat arrangement I had before (donated to Project Nana).  The sectional is plenty long enough to stretch out and take a big siesta on a rainy Sunday afternoon.  In other words, Perfect.

I'm still shuffling things around in there but you get the idea.  Hubby is going to build a two-tier bench for the area to the right where the vines are now.  The room won't be totally put together until he gets a 'round tuit' and starts  finishes the bench.  I have four Sekas pieces I'd like to turn into pillow covers.  You can see the one of Fall Leaves in the right corner of the sofa above.  Beehives and Pine Trees are stitched also.  It wouldn't take me any time to stitch the Birdhouse companion piece and then I would have the four seasons covered.  If only I knew how to make pillow covers, I'd be in silk britches and tall cotton.

I'm off to start a little laundry and to put a few stitches in a my NOEL sampler, since it is the 25th and all.

Hope you all have a very stitchy weekend!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Mr. Rogers Effect

I've always had a healthy appreciation of and affection for special occasion clothes and/or uniforms, like vacation clothes, church clothes, golf clothes, girls night out clothes, Art teacher smocks, scrubs, lab coats, Armed Forces uniform, etc.  Am I strange in this regard? (don't answer that).  I can't blame it on Catholic school since I went to public schools, but honestly, as a kid, I wished I was one of those lucky kids who got to wear a uniform to school.  Wonder if Richard Gere had anything to do with the uniform thing?  Hmmm...

Today, I changed out of my church clothes and immediately started looking for the lightweight fleece zip-up sweater I tend to wear when I'm not planning on doing anything but stitching.  I guess you could call it my Mr. Rogers sweater.  It's my "get comfortable, I'll keep the chill off you, prop your feet up and stay awhile" sweater. 

As you can see, this sweater has my EGA chapter embroidered on the chest and my name on the opposite cuff, but sadly, I didn't put a single stitch in it. Really, I should be ashamed.  I have machine embroidery on my stitching sweater?  The nerve of me.  seriously

One of my favorite parts of attending EGA regional and national meetings is seeing all the beautiful embroidery walking around.  Really, a more accurate statement would be, I go WILD for stitched shirts, skirts, jackets and accessories.  My naturally reserved nature evaporates the second I see an amazing piece of needlework walking down the hall.  I'll chase a perfect stranger down three flights of stairs just to ask if I can take a picture.  And don't we all love to hear these words, "Oh my, that is the lovliest x-y-z I've ever seen!  May I take a picture?" 

Here's just a few of my personal favs from years past:

crazy quilt skirt, stitcher/owner unknown

Nancy Pardue's needlepoint purse

pieced and crazy quilted vest, stitcher/owner unknown

Nadine Alexander's goldwork clutch

Mike Swan's denim shirt

And this June, I hope to catch Marion Scoular in one of her white linen blouses trimmed in blackwork.  Swoon!

Doesn't all this make my little fleece jacket look pitiful!  Rest assured though, I have a plan to rectify the situation;  I wanna be like Mike (Mike Swan, that is) and beautify stitch-ify this denim shirt:

my blank canvas

If only I knew where to start....hmmm.....

Do you have a stitching uniform?  Original wearable needleart?  If so, I'd love to hear how you got started.  Any help to overcome my analysis paralysis would be greatly appreciated. 

Just for Sadie, if you are out there, how would you "pimp my shirt"?

Happy weekend friends!

Saturday, March 20, 2010


It seems like forever since I had any stitching to post, and I'm pretty sure if anyone out there is still reading this little blog o' mine, you must be convinced that I'm on a stitcher's strike of some kind.  Truth is, I've been tired!  This old girl isn't the bundle of energy she used to be and I just needed to rest awhile.  But, I'M BAAAACK!

Before the month gets totally away from us, I wanted to share my only St. Patty's Day stitching with you:

Heart in Hand, Monthly Mania, MARCH
"G" coffee sleeve

The March leprechaun fits inside a little wooden trivet.  I love his little crooked smile and "whiskey" colored beard.  Of the whole Heart in Hand monthly mania series, I only stitched March, October (seen in the upper right of the photo below)

and June, which is a gorgeous dragonfly I stitched onto a nightshirt many moons ago for my ever so spoiled sister.  October is also stitched to fit in my little wooden trivet.  It's really not like me to pick and choose just a few patterns from a monthly series and not stitch the whole series, but that's what happened in this case.  No explanation really except I thought the other months were a lot of stitching and I wasn't completely wild about the other 9 designs.  I can however see myself going back and stitching the December design some day.  It's a darling Santa.

The coffee sleeve above is something I've been meaning to make for myself and family/friends for a long, long time but just never seemed to get around to it.  So finally (!),  I did what ever self-respecting workaholic does, I found a way to make it work related in order to "get 'er done", as they say.  How, pray tell, do you make crafting work related, you ask?  Simple!  I put on a "Lunch and Learn" lecture about Presentation Skills and after the lecture, I did a 7 minute demonstration presentation on Saving the Planet One Coffee Sleeve At a Time.  It was fun, I got my coffee sleeve, so did everyone else, and now we're all saving the planet, one coffee sleeve at a time.  There are tons of great coffee sleeve (or cuff/cozie) tutorials on the web in case you are interested in joining us saving the planet.  For mine, I used one sheet of regular felt, one sheet of fleece, one store-bought iron-on monogram, a little white floss and some fabri-tac glue. I don't need fancy.  Functional is fine by me.

Well that's it for me today.  I hope you are still stitching, wherever you are and wherever you are is beginning to show signs of life!

Happy First Day of SPRING!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I triple heart Easter

I was going to make my TOP TEN REASONS I LOVE EASTER list, but I think these photos say it all:

Neighbor Kay's flower garden

Hubby brought me this beautiful bouquet about a week ago and it just keeps getting prettier.  O the colors, the fragrance, the shapes and textures.  The wonder of the anatomy of a lily, rose, daisy, carnation.  I think I could stare at it for hours.  Hubs likes to bring me flowers but is "vase challenged", so I always cut them and plunk them in a vase.  These have turned out to be exceptionally pretty.

Although some might accuse me of rushing the season, but after the winter we've just had, I feel justified celebrating the season as early and often as possible. 

So, here's wishing you all the joys of the Easter season!

P.S.  feel free to click on and use these photos for any of your non-profit endeavors.  They make pretty greeting cards!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Luck O' the Irish

According to the records, I am a tad Irish, but truth be told, it's hubs and sis who could fall into a vat of manure and come out smelling like Irish Roses.  Seriously.  It can be depressing when your two best friends are the luckiest s.o.b.s in six counties and the only thing you ever win is the jury duty lottery.

Look what I came home to find the other evening:

Rainbow over the Dave Cave

Proof that hubby lives at the end of a rainbow.

Wishing you a kiss o' Irish luck this week!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Jacob's Journey

Sometimes I am going along my merry way and get smacked upside the head with a healthy dose of  "You were wrong when you thought such and so was important.  This is important."

Here's one of those things.

A friend of a friend anxiously awaiting the birth of her second child:

Kathy is a lady who should be experiencing the joy of welcoming a new baby, instead, she is experiencing worry and hope along with the anxiety of moving out of state until baby Jacob is born.  Jacob has a rare heart condition and will undergo several surgeries and hopefully at some point, a heart transplant.  Above is a link to their blog and a place to donate.  The family will have to stay in PA as baby Jacob will have to remain in the hospital for a while.

Please check it out, donate if you are lead to, and please keep them in your prayers.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Vote for Millie

My niece Millie would really appreciate your support in this weeks pet photo contest over at  She is in voting period 10, which starts Friday, March 12th and runs through Thursday, March 18th. 


Voting only takes a minute.  The Grand Prize winner gets $10,000 for the pet charity of their choice.  Millie's charity would be a local no-kill shelter, Little Victories.

And, she promises to remember all the little people, if she wins!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Glamour Shots

More from Project Nana:

I absolutely love the dogwood prints over the bed. Got 'em at Home Goods for $16.99/each.  How do you beat that?

Draperies "pre-trim"

draperies with trim and tie-back (pre-hardware)
Thanks again Nester!

Back at the Ranch:

final draft

Still working out the wrinkles in the lower portion:

I nearly jumped for joy at Wal-Mart recently when, just after I wrote here about needing some uniformity in my cook book storage, I ran smack dab into those dark brown magazine holders you see in photo above for a really great price!  It was a real shoppertunity. 

I'm still trying to figure out exactly what is going to be stored in the lower part and what is going to be put elsewhere. When I have a few minutes to play with it, I'm sure I'll be thrilled with the outcome.  For now, it's hosting lots of my better luncheon plates, bowls, platters, etc.  It's still a WIP. 

And!  I finally made excellent use of the "dead" corner between the cabinet and the wall:

This part I am thrilled with.  I've had nothing but crapola stuck in this corner space for years.  It looks so much better now!  As an added bonus, I found some great wine stuck away in the pantry that I had totally forgotten about!  Whoo-hoo!!!

And, now that Project Nana is in the bag, I'm back on my black and white bedroom project.  Here's the latest:

You might be counting pillows and saying to yourself, geesh, 8 pillows?  To be honest, there are 10 pillows for this bed but I couldn't get them all in one photo.  :-)

I picked up the little pillowcase doll on my last trip to Georgia.  I just fell in love with her in a local boutique.  Considering that I'm no pro when it comes to decorating, I was more than a bit unsure about mixing the ultra modern black and white bedding and the almost-primitive pillowcase doll.  Then I remembered, "Hey Silly - it's a DOLL, it's a BED, and the QUEEN MOTHER ISN'T COMING this week."  So, for now, little Georgia is resting comfortably on her ultra modern bed.

I think I'll go rest comfortably in mine.

Tomorrow night, I'm going to stitch! 

Saturday, March 6, 2010

What I'm wondering is...

Many moons ago, I had a standing weekly meeting with a practical stranger to discuss some very personal things.  He was what we would call, "A Professional".  Much needed at the time and well worth every penny, or so I thought.  

One day we had the following conversation:

Him: What do you do for fun?
Me:  I stitch.
Him:  What do you mean?
Me:  I make things with needle and thread.
Him:   Really?  That kind of surprises me.  Why don't you bring some things next time to show me.
Me:  Okay, I will!

The following week, I bring a couple of small, well-selected and favorite things for show and tell:

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

Him:  Now what would you call this?
Me:  Well, this is a hardanger doily.  And this is a scissors fob.  You attach it to your embroidery scissors for decoration.
Him:  I see.
Me:  I have about 100 hours in that doily.
Him:  Looks like you are finding a wonderful way to re-live your childhood.
Me:  silent but thinking:  WHAT?!?!?!?!  Buddy, have you been listening to me AT ALL about my so-called "childhood".  Why on Earth would I want to re-live it?!  MAN, have YOU been a WASTE of good money.  And what child do you know that can make Celtic knots in cutwork?!?!!?

I didn't visit him much after that day.  I didn't break up with him though, he actually fired me because I had become too "well adjusted".  Ha!  I had him fooled!

But, the reason I'm sharing this exchange with you is because it really got me wondering.  Is there some connection between being artsy-crafty in adulthood and having a short or non-existant childhood? 

What say you?  Don't be shy...

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Next time around

Do you ever think about reincarnation?  It's not in my personal belief set, but sometimes I find myself considering the possibilities....

What if the Ruler of the Universe looked down from His heaven one day and said, "Um, Marnie. You are going to try this again, but this time, let's try a little harder, shall we?  Pick a persona/lifestyle you think you'd be good at.  You've got three seconds."

A couple of lifestyles come to mind immediately.  (cue the songbirds)

I could see myself living the Martha Stewart life (in New England, not prison).  Plucking beautiful and ripe things from my garden, collecting fresh eggs from the hen house for breakfast, and antique shopping the afternoons away, after tea of course.  Summers would be spent at the Cape but I would have to winter in the South, naturally.  Who doesn't, right?

The polar opposite of my NE life is my Tuscon Arizona bohemian artist life.  Barefoot and always dressed in a tshirt and long flowing but not fussy hippy skirt, hair in a perpetual ponytail, or naturally curly, dried by the sun.  I would spend my days reading inspirational writings, collaborating with other artists in my community (or commune) and creating original textile or gemstone art.

Then there is the country club me.  The one that gets up before the chickens to have quality time at the driving range before the "hacks" show up.  I would walk the course 5 days a week, pulling my clubs behind, dressed in my best Lilly Pulitzer pink and green golf duds.  After my daily chicken salad croissant for lunch, I'd be off to the woman's club for an afternoon of gossip and stitching.  On the weekends, I'd give walking tours through the historic district.

Possibly my favorite make-believe-me is a writer for a high priced Travel magazine.  I'd know all the major (and most the minor) airport layouts by heart, own four sets of luggage, stay in the best resorts and hotels in the world, for free, while be catered to by the resort staff, and get paid to write about the experience.  In my free time, I would study world history, art and languages. 

Lastly, there is the aristocrat me.  Aahhh yes, the Princess Fantasy....  I would definitely be the horseback riding/philanthropist/topless on the Italian Riveria/birthday dancing with John Travolta kind of princess.  I'm actually already halfway prepared to be a Princess since I'm married to a Prince!  (sorry, I should have warned you that was coming)

Yes, I think I'll go with Princess Marnie, you know, just in case the Big Guy asks.  ;-)

A few lifestyles on my "Not on a Dare" list: 
  • Junior High School Teacher (I'm already crazy thanks)
  • Ski Bunny (bbrrrrrr, pass the ChapStick please)
  • Nurse (love them just don't want to be them)
  • any kind of Celebrity (with the Princess exception)
  • Alligator wrestler (for obvious reasons)
  • Flight Attendant (in spite of the Irish thing, I'm really not that lucky)

Well, I think that's about enough day dreaming for one day. 

Have a great one friends, wherever you are!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Be Still WIP and strange goings-ons

A few weeks back, I started a little quickie for "Project Nana" but to be honest, I like it so much, I might need to keep it.  Maybe just for a little while...

My Big Toe Designs (click for more designs)

Pattern cover art on left                                                    My progress on right

I changed the thread colors a wee bit.  The verse on the right is stitched in Crescent Colours Wisconsin Woods.  I like CC WW soooooo much for wording.  It's pretty near perfect for my taste.

On the home front, a strange thing has been going on since hubby and I have been so busy at MILs.  It seems Carmen has developed quite the penchant for hats.  Yes, hats.  And fancy ones at that! 

A new one seems to arrive daily in boxes marked "Deliver by May 1".  May 1?  Doesn't she know Easter is April 4th?  

Stranger yet, she has been receiving some very, let's just say, fannn-CEEEEE garments in the mail from an anonymous source, always postmarked Indiana.  Strange I tell ya.  Strange.

I have no Earthly idea what this K9 of mine could be up to but maybe I'd rather not know.  They grow up so fast.  It seems just like yesterday when I had clean carpets, free time and discretionary income.  Now I have a "college fund" for a certain d.o.g. but instead of books and tuition, it's for Chem-Dry carpet cleanings, prescription dog food, K-9 thyroid medicine, and the occasional sugar-free vanilla frozen yogurt.

Oh well.  At least someone is having fun!

Next time you hear from me I hope to have a finish to share.