Saturday, April 21, 2012

Hello Stitchers!

A few weekends ago I went out to play and went to Colchester Mills Fabrics -- a wonderful quilting and more shop in Colchester, CT.  The selection of fabrics is just WONDERFUL! 

I'm really not a sewer -- I'm a stitcher.  But I occasionally need fabrics for finishing or for other small items I make.  Sometimes I see "pretties" and just have to get them!  Many times I have no idea at the moment what I might do with them...but they almost always become something later.

On this trip I found these fat quarters and they were just so pretty together I had to get them all!  And then I saw some gorgeous thread, a pack of buttons, and these scissors!  I was unable to resist them, have no idea what I'll do with them right now...but they are there when I want them!  LOL!

Some of you have seen my very adorable great niece Mckenzie.  That little bundle of sweetness is now 2-1/2 years old.  Here's her Easter picture.  Can she possible get any cuter?!? 

I've been very busy working on plans for this years Stitcher's Hideaway retreats -- and the ones to come in 2013.  A lot of work goes on behind the scenes to create these fun events.  Each one has been quite different from the other, and continues to be so.  I've now run 32 retreats and this October will mark the 10th Anniversary of Stitcher's Hideaway!  What wonderful stitchers I have met through the retreats -- so fun and talented!  Many have become very dear friends to me.

On July 5-6, 2012, Ellen Chester of With My Needle will be teaching her Fruit of the Vine design, which can be made as either a sampler or a huswif.  She'll be teaching at the Publick House in Sturbridge, MA.  Several attendees are arriving early to celebrate Independence Day at Old Sturbridge Village.  During the retreat,  there will be a presentation on Celebrating Patriotism by Old Sturbridge Village staff members Jean Contino, Coordinator of Households, and Rebecca Beall, Collections Manager.  The presentation will include a look at excerpts from letters and diaries describing 19th century celebrations such as Independence Day, and a variety of objects from the Old Sturbridge Village collection such as needlework pictures with patriotic motifs, embroidered memorials to George Washington, dress clothing which might have been worn for festive celebrations, and an assortment of household objects bearing patriotic imagery. This will be a wonderful addition to the retreat!  If you haven't signed up yet, visit the Sturbridge Retreat for all the details! 

My husband and father and I are looking forward to this event so very much!  We hope to take in the fireworks at Old Sturbridge Village on July 3rd, and then spend time there on July 4th.  If you haven't yet been to Old Sturbridge Village, I recommend it!  It's a recreated village, circa 1860, that one can walk about and enjoy at leisure.  It's relaxing, enjoyable, and educational. There is also a gift shop on the premises with a fantastic book section.  I always get lost in there!

Well, my friends.  It's Saturday and I have much work to get done.  Until next time, my best to you all -


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Mmmmmmm! Roasted Asparagus!

I have found a delicious way to prepare Asparagus!  We had it last night for the first time and LOVED it.  With asparagus at a good price in our area at the moment, we'll be having it a few more times this season. 

1 bunch (about a pound) of asparagus spears
1 tsp olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced

Cover the asparagus spears and garlic with the olive oil (I used my hands).
Lay the asparagus on a cooking sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick spray.
Sprinkle on the asparagus:

1 tsp chopped thyme
salt & pepper

Roast in a 400 degree oven for 8-10 minutes until crisp tender.



P.S.  Just found out there are some asparagus recipes on Food for Friday! 

Monday, April 9, 2012

My Precious....

Hello Stitchers!

Wow! I have big time neglected my blog!  But there is a reason.  I managed to injure my neck, shoulder and arm and for several months now I've had to limit using them only for necessities.  This has, unfortunately, meant no stitching for me.  How heinous is that!!!  But I've been having stitching-related fun in the meantime, and will be attempting to stitch a bit very soon. 

I ran the March 2-3, 2012 Stitcher's Hideaway Alumni Winter Escape Retreat and it was a blast!  I spent my time hanging out with everyone and admiring everything they were working on.  What a talented group of women!  There were 36 of us so there was a lot to see.  We had so much Show 'n Tell that we did it over 2 days.  You can read about it on the Fun Report.

During this non-stitching time, I've been visiting antique shops and picking up cool stitching-related items.  Here are some of my cool finds.

This is labeled Cartier Bresson Paris.  Necessaire Miniature, pour repriser et remailler.  The threads are very soft cottons.

These were fun finds, from 2 different places.  The silk measuring tape is marked OA&S, which I discovered was Olney Amsden & Son, a wholesaler in London that was in operation from 1904-1991. 

The needles and threaders I picked up to go into some cool etuis I've made over the years. 

The other item has green glass head pins, is about 1" high, and is labeled:  Crowley's, Spring Steel, Needle Shanks, "Berry" Pins, Made in England.  I hadn't yet heard of "Berry" Pins or of Crowley's.  It's pretty cool looking.

There have been other finds, as well.  I found some cool silk tassels, a jar of all white antique buttons, and some fabric.  None of these items were expensive, but I took great pleasure in finding them and wondering about them.

A few months ago my elderly neighbor Mary Ann passed away at the age of  93.  I enjoyed visiting with her.  She liked to sit out on her front porch whenever possible and keep watch over the neighborhood.  I'd go over on a hot summer day and we'd just hang out and chat.  Some days we went into her house, which was quite a sight to behold!!  Mary Ann was a collector of pretties -- costume jewelry, dolls, and loads of china.  There was no room left in cupboards or shelves for all her pretty china, so it was literally piled up in stacks on the floor of her dining room, which she never used except to stack up all her pretties.  When she died her family had no idea what to do with all her many belongings, so after taking what they wanted they had a big estate sale.  My husband Michael and I wanted something to remember her by so we each chose a funny and unusual item, which reflected Mary Ann's great sense of humor.  Mine was a painted ceramic piggy bank.  Michael's was a candle holder -- the candle part sits on top of a large leaf that is being oared by a mouse through imaginary water! 

There was a HUGE pile of costume jewelry.  Among them was an item marked just $3 that immediately caught my eye.  I didn't even open it there because I didn't want to draw attention to it.  Someone didn't know what they had.  Michael caught my eye and he knew I had found a treasure.  It is the brass sewing kit (circa 1930) picture below.  I was THRILLED to spot it and tickled to know that Mary Ann had once owned and used it!  As we walked out of the estate sale, I said to Michael as I tightly held the sewing kit, "My precious...."

But that wasn't all I found -- hehehehehe.  There was a little plastic baggy filled with a bunch of plastic naked ladies!!!  LOL!!!  This cracked me up!  What on earth did Mary Ann have them for?  Ha!!  They were probably once used for serving food or maybe drinks.  They are each about 3" long.  I purchased those, too, knowing I'd figure out something to do with them -- and sure enough!  I gave them out at the Alumni Winter Escape Retreat as thread winders!! Bwah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!!  Oh, how Mary Ann would be laughing hysterically over that!!!  Here's a picture I took of some naked ladies at the retreat.

Until next time, my friends, my best to each of you and may your stitches always lay perfectly!