Friday, April 18, 2014

Stitching, all sorts

My stitching lately has not followed any theme.  I've been attracted to a variety of designs.

This pattern, a quotation from Pride and Prejudice, is from The Sampler Girl on Etsy.  I plan to get this framed and hang it near my book shelves.

I recently watched the movie Austenland.  I read the first two books in the series and don't plan to read any more, because I find the whole premise so silly, but I didn't hate the books enough to avoid the movie.  Austenland is a vacation estate in England where women spend two weeks dressed in Regency costume, living the Regency life.  Actors play the Darcy/Wickham/Bingley characters to woo the women visitors.  Much as I love reading books set in the regency period, I would find such a set up uncomfortable in the extreme.  I can't imagine enjoying actors trying to woo me!  Ick.  In the movie version of Austenland, Jane, our American heroine, goes to Austenland, and during her two weeks makes some revelations about herself and realizes she's been trying to live in a fantasy world.  In the airport on the way home, she stands up on her suitcase and shouts out "Do you hear me, England?  I am OVER IT!"  That scene cracked me up.  It does seem like England gets romanticized by those of us who love PBS and BBC and Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer, and we have to remember that the England of those stories simply does not exist in real life.

This next little stitch, seasonally appropriate (yay!), is a free pattern from Snowflower Diaries.  She has many adorable patterns available for free on her blog, each one sweeter than the next.
 I used threads I had in my stash instead of the recommended ones: Weeks Dye Works in teal frost, kudzu, sweetheart rose, and chestnut, and Gentle Art Sampler Threads in raspberry parfait.

I finished this off into a little pillow with rickrack in the seam, and it turned out awful!!  The rickrack slipped, so it's uneven all the way around (almost disappearing in some places), but it would ruin the whole thing to pick it apart and refinish, so I'm going to call it "charmingly handmade" and try not to fret.  I do so envy people who have good finishing skills!  My lack of ability to finish is why I frame almost all of my cross stitch.

And finally, for my daughter's birthday, Sherlock and Watson:

 Pattern from the amazing Weelittlestitches.  I have noticed some copycat designers on Etsy, but I refuse to buy from anyone but the original.

My daughter is such a Sherlock, Dr. Who, and Harry Potter geek.  She has her own fantasy version of England in her mind, I think.  A year from now she will be going overseas with her school orchestra.  The destination is not determined yet, but it will be either Dublin, London, or Rome.  She is voting for London because she is the most familiar with it culturally.  Pop culturally, of course!  She knows nothing about Dublin, and not much more about Rome.  I do hope they go to London, because the awesomeness of Rome or Dublin would be completely lost on her at this age, whereas London would be a thrill a minute for her.

And, in the hopes that she does go to London, my current cross stitch project is this. It's going to take FOREVER to stitch!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Easter Bunny

My mom made this ceramic Easter Bunny in 1971.  It always bothered her that the egg cracked in the kiln, but I think the crack gives the egg some style!

I mentioned this bunny in this post last November, but didn't have a photo of it yet.  Now I do.

I've been annoyed for a very long time over how tiny my photos are in blogger.  I noticed that other blogger blogs don't seem to have this same issue, so I finally decided to play around with my template, and I may have had some success.  Hopefully this new layout will be visible on your screen. Let me know if the photo is cut off on the sides.  If everything seems to be working, I may retrofit some photos on old posts.

Monday, April 14, 2014


Things are finally thawing here and the snow is actually gone!  My children were on spring break last week, and after a brutal winter with too many days spent hiding from the weather, we took advantage of the improving conditions to get out and do a few things.  My son wanted to do a college visit at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, so off we went.

What a gorgeous campus!  Madison is on an isthmus between Lakes Mendota and Monona.  The Memorial Student Union sits right on the shores of Lake Mendota.  

 One disadvantage of these college visits is that now I want to go to school all over again.  What would I major in this time?  What would I do differently?  I don't think any teenager can fully grasp what an exciting time of their lives this is, and how fleeting it is.

Madison is also the capital of Wisconsin, and the state capitol building is within walking distance of campus.

After a day in Madison, we headed to Milwaukee, which we'd never visited before.  We found the Bronze Fonz!
 And enjoyed the sites along the Riverwalk:
 We stopped at an old-fashioned burger joint for lunch and I was amused by the line of cow statues in the parking lot.  Wisconsin really embraces its agricultural side!
 We found my beloved Lake Michigan.  Very odd to be on the "wrong" side of it!
 More scenes from downtown Milwaukee and the water front.

I hope to be back on the blog soon with some finished stitched pieces to show, as soon as I can get some good photographs of them.