Archive for January, 2012

Stitchy Books

Two of my favorite things to do in my very limited spare time are reading and stitching.  I love books, I love them so much that I had to make the decision to convert the top of my stepback antique cupboard into a book case.  It was a hard decision to make since my great grandmothers dishes had to be hidden away in the bottom half of the cupboard. This is only a third of the books that are stashed all over the house. It is a bit strange to have a china cupboard full of books but who says I have to put dishes in there?

For many years I have just been a cross stitcher, meaning I didn’t do many other stitches than the crossed stitch x, French and Colonial knots and just a very few more.  Well that is until I joined Sampler Club.  Since last February I have gone through a crash course if you will of many stitches and techniques with the help of our wonderful teacher that has so much patience with us.  While Ms.M as I will call her does an amazing job teaching us sometimes I have a tendency to forget what I’m doing and need extra help when I want to do the stitches I have learned.  So thank goodness for stitching books!!!  I’m going to share with you a few of the books I have purchased in the past year to help me along the way.

First I will start with “The New Cross Stitchers Bible” by Jane Greenoff.  The one I have is a small spiral bound manual  of techniques, designs and project ideas.  This book has the best stitching diagrams that are so easy to follow and well explained.  It has been a valuable resource while making my sampler and I use it all the time.  Not to mention there are plenty of nice designs to stitch included in the book.

The Cross Stitcher's Bible (Crafts)


The second book I purchased is “Beginners Guide to Drawn Thread Embroidery” by Patricia Bage.  One of the other ladies in our group reccomended this book to us and it is an absolute necessity when learing drawn work, at least it was for me as I needed lots of extra instruction after our drawnwork class before I attempted it on my Sampler.  I have used this book so much it’s going to come apart!  This book is full of tips and techniques for doing drawn thread embroidery and has some really lovely patterns to create as well. 

Beginner's Guide to Drawn Thread Embroidery

Both of these books can be purchased from Amazon.com.

Well I must be off to enjoy this gorgeous spring-like day!!  I hope you are having lovely weather today too!


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Beautiful Bargello

This past Saturday was our monthly Sampler Club meeting, we were unable to meet in November and December we had a little stitching party that I didn’t get to attend.  So needless to say I was needing a Sampler Club fix! Oh how I wish it could be every Saturday, I could go over and stitch any Saturday but in Sampler Club we learn things and I love to learn new things. 

This time we learned something I had never done before that I had planned almost from the beginning to incorporate into my sampler.  We learned the Bargello stitch and I can’t wait to do this on my sampler, In the mean time I will share my practice Bargello from my doodle cloth.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“Bargello is a type of needlepoint embroidery consisting of upright flat stitches laid in a mathematical pattern to create motifs. The name originates from a series of chairs found in the Bargello palace in Florence, which have a “flame stitch” pattern.
Traditionally, Bargello was stitched in wool on canvas. Embroidery done this way is remarkably durable. It is well suited for use on pillows, upholstery and even carpets, but not for clothing. In most traditional pieces, all stitches are vertical with stitches going over two or more threads.
Traditional designs are very colourful, and use many hues of one colour, which produces intricate shading effects. The patterns are naturally geometric, but can also resemble very stylised flowers or fruits. Bargello is considered particularly challenging, as it requires very precise counting of squares for the mathematical pattern connected with the various motifs to accurately execute designs.”

All of us worked different variations of this stitch and they were all so beautiful with  all the different colors.  I can’t wait to see all of the beautiful samplers once they are completed.  This year our group will be a continuation of last year’s club since we all need more time to complete our Sampler’s.  I was very relieved that we are continuing as I was not prepared to start a new sampler in March.  Now I have plenty of time to think about what I want to do for my next sampler.  I do know it won’t be as large as this one, I wouldn’t want to have to start renting out wall space in the homes of my family and friends to display my work.

I will leave you with a few picture’s of my two little darlings, Daphne the cat and Maple the English Springer.

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I would really love to share with you what I am working on right now but since it’s a gift I should probably wait until I’ve given it.  I will take photo’s and share the finished product soon!

I can share with you a few things I stitched for Christmas this past year that I had so much fun stitching and not so much fun finishing.  I took a class at Village Sampler on a Saturday that lasted most of the day that was called “Twelve Needles”, we learned 12 different stitches that day. We would learn each stitch, do part of the row, park the needle and move on to the next.  Needless to say my eyes were crossed by the time I left, but it was so much fun!  We stitched “Silver Stitches” by Charlotte Smyth of Charlottes Web Needlework from the 2008 edition of Just Cross Stitch Christmas ornament issue. 

I loved this ornament and so enjoyed stitching it that I stitched another one in green for my mom for Christmas backed in green velvet.

In the fall I took another Saturday class at Village Sampler to stitch “O Christmas Tree” by Charlotte Smyth of Charlottes Web Needle Work published in Just Cross Stitch 2009 Christmas Oranament issue.  This ornament wasn’t as difficult to stitch as the other and I enjoyed stitching it even more but I’m not happy with my finish work.  This was the first time I ever finished one like this and probably will be my last.  I guess it’s not so bad for my first time.

This next ornament is really more of a door knob hanger that I did for my mother in law for Christmas.  Our wonderful shop owner Patty at Village Sampler gave us Sampler Club ladies a kit for Christmas Spot Sampler, Flowers & Friends, Elizabeth’s designs by Elizabeth Foster.  I really liked working this little sampler, it was so much fun to stitch!  Well the fun ends there, I had never worked with velvet before and I must have ripped this thing out 20 times before I finally got it right.  I sewed it on the machine and it kept creeping on me, it took an entire day to do the finish work but it was well worth it in the end.  I ended up sewing my mom’s (the green one above) by hand since I had such a hard time with this one.

Well that is all for now.  I’m hoping to get some stitching in today, maybe make a big pot of chili and enjoy the snow flurries.  Have a wonderful weekend!!

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It’s a cold rainy day here in the Kanawaha valley, WV.  I really don’t mind rainy days actually I look at them as a good excuse to get some stitching in, luckily I can do that today as I have nothing on the agenda!  Thank goodness because yesterday was a busy one getting the kids to all the places they needed to be, it wasn’t a total loss though I got to stitch while waiting for them. 

I always stress about how to get a good meal on the table on these busy days where I am in and out and don’t have much time in between.  The day before one of our local news stations posted a recipe on their facebook page that looked really good.  I decided to try it last night and it was a hit!  We all loved it and it was pretty easy to put together. I got all the ingredients together and prepped but peeled the potatoes and sliced them on my slicer very last so the potatoes wouldn’t turn brown.  I used my Le Creuset Au Gratin pan for this but you can use any 2 QT. pan, a 9×13 was too big.  So give it a try it would be really yummy on a cold rainy day like we are having today!

If you like you can watch a short video of the recipe being made here

Scalloped Potatoes And Ham
Lee Ann Miller Shares Her Scalloped Potatoes And Ham Recipe
January 9, 2012

This is an old fashioned recipe using uncooked potatoes. This is a nice one dish meal and terrific served with applesauce.

6-7 small potatoes or 4-large potatoes, uncooked and sliced (I used 7 or 8 medium size potatoes)1-can Cream of Celery soup
3/4 can milk (using empty soup can)
Fresh ground pepper (to taste)
1/2 tsp. salt
Pinch of Cayenne pepper
8-10 green onion, diced
2 C. diced fully cooked ham (I bought a package of the superior ham steaks @Walmart & diced it)

Shredded cheese (optional) (I used about 4 ounces of mild cheddar)Directions
Thinly slice uncooked potatoes (you may peel potatoes). Layer 1/2 potatoes in bottom of a buttered, 2-qt. casserole dish. Mix together, celery soup, milk, pepper, salt, and cayenne. Spoon 1/2 soup mixture over 1st layer of potatoes. Layer 1/2 green onion and 1 C. of ham. Layer other half of sliced potatoes, soup mixture, onions, and ham. Bake in pre-heated oven at 350 for 1 1/4 hours, covering the potatoes with foil for the first 60 minutes. If layering with cheese, add to dish and bake additional 15 minutes or until cheese is melted.
(My cook time was about 15 to 20 minutes longer, check the potatoes for doneness before applying cheese)

Cooking Time: 1 1/4 hour

Got Questions? EMail Email millerhausbandb@gmail.com
Learn more about Ohio’s Amish Country

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If you are not watching this series on PBS you don’t know what your missing!  I watched  season one on Netflix a while back and was hooked from the first episode.  It was so nice watching them on Netflix  because I didn’t have to wait a week for the next episode to air.  So do yourself a big favor and watch the first season this week, then hop on over to PBS and watch the first episode of season two and you will be all caught up to watch next Sunday.  I have been so exited for season 2 to begin, it was great!  I tried to stitch while I watched but I didn’t get much done, I didn’t want to miss anything.  I can’t wait for next week!

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Last year I joined a Sampler Club at my local needle work shop The Village Sampler.  We meet once a month to learn new stitches and techniques and share what we are working on for our Sampler not to mention we have an enormous amount of fun!  Throughout the course of the year we use what we have learned in class and make our own sampler.  I have learned a great deal of new stitches this year such as Montenegrin stitch, Algerian Eyelet, Hardanger, pulled thread embroidery, Herringbone stitch, tent stitch and many more.  I have incorporated some of these into my band sampler already and plan to incorporate more as I go, not sure if I will put all of them on my sampler but they are all on my doodle cloth that just looks a mess.  I will post some photos below of my progress so far.  Needless to say this sampler won’t be done before sampler club starts again but hopefully it will be finished and framed in time for the state fair.  I chose a nautical, lighthouse, stormy theme for my sampler, I love the colors of the threads, blues and greens.  

My sampler is being stitched on 28 count Cashel Light Mocha (Nordon Crafts).  The top two band’s are two rows of alternating Algerian eyelet’s stitched with Gentle Art aged pewter.
 My daughter picked the alphabet rows 3-6 from Blackbird Designs “A Stitcher’s Journey p.27 stitched with Valdani Primitive blue.  This was a bear to get centered up and I had to do quite a bit of frogging until I got it the way I wanted it.
Row’s 7&8 are two more rows of Algerian eyelet’s the same as the top two rows.
Row 9 are whales from Blackbird Designs “A Stitcher’s Journey” page 16, stitched with Finnegan’s fog Thread Gatherer Silk’N Colors.  The whales have an irredescent white spray coming out of the top of their heads.
Row 10 is two rows of single cross stitch with a diamond design between them that will eventually have beads in between the diamonds.  Stitched with Valdani faded olive and DMC perle cotton 8 color 644.
Row 11 was one of the most aggravating rows to stitch, not sure what this stitch is, I used a gorgeous green varigated silk that had no tag so I don’t know what it is.  They look like sea grass.  But this silk didn’t want to co-operate with me, I either pulled too tight or not enough, I used a Q-snap and I tried in the hand stitching it and nothing seemed to work out.  It was also really hard to anchor this thread on the back.  I haven’t decided if this is going to have to be re-done or not, we will see. 
Row 12 is one of my favorite verses “He maketh the storm a calm so that the waves thereof are still PS.107:29” not sure what thread I used here.  Originally used Valdani faded olive but it didn’t show up so I ripped it out and used the thread that was used for the words on the light house.
Row 13 is Hardanger, Kloster blocks with algerian eyelets inside them with doves eyes in the middle of each motif and the ends are ships motif’s which I thought went well with my nautical stormy sampler.
Row 14 is a design by D.Morgan called “Through The Storm” that I found in a 1998 edition of For The Love Of Cross Stitch.
This sampler is a little over half-way done, the half way point is in the middle of the light house design.  I have some ideas for what I want to do but I’m not completely certain yet.  I know I am going to do some drawn thread embroidery next.  I will post a picture of my doodle cloth so you can see where I have been practicing the drawn thread embroidery, not sure I am comfortable enough yet though to actually do it on my sampler, EEEEK!

A you can see my doodle cloth is kind of a hodge podge of stitches but it is just a doodle cloth.  Wonder what people will think of that mess when someone finds it in a trunk 100 years from now?  Well that’s all I can really say about my sampler for now as if I didn’t write you a book about it.  LOL! 

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Welcome!!  I have decided to take the plunge and start a blog to document my stitching projects and various other things that I have going on from time to time.  Hopefully I will be able to keep up with blogging about my progress on various projects, and maybe even improve my picture taking skills along the way.

My love for the needle arts began when I was a little girl aged 10 or 11.  My great aunt came in for Christmas and brought me a kit with plastic canvas and I have been hooked ever since!  For the most part I like to cross stitch but this past year I joined a Sampler Club at my local needle work shop The Village Sampler and I have learned so many new stitches and techniques including Hardanger.  I will share my sampler that I am making for sampler club and my progress with you in a few days, I need to get some good photos of it.  I have finished the first half of it and I am looking forward to finishing it and sharing my progress along the way!  Have a wonderful weekend! 

Here is just a portion of my sampler.

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