Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Tea with Mrs. Lincoln

My Dear Sister,

I am sorry this letter reaches you so late as I know you are eager to hear about my visit with Mrs. Lincoln and to inform you of the manners and behaviors of the troops that lay to the right and left of us in the open field. Mrs. Lincoln was finely dressed, even down to her fingertips which were gloved to protect her delicate skin from the sun, as that is the fashion of our time. 

She shared with us the health of her sons and her concerns about her dear husband's disposition to this "Dreadful War." Such is the humor of this Lady that she regaled us with such stories of her courtship by Mr. Lincoln and their courtship cake but for which she never did give us the recipe. I'm told the recipe is from France and the cake is made of almond flour. 

There were other Ladies of similar rank and position including, Miss. Nancy. She came down from Iowa and was so generous in her explanation of the buttons we use to adorn our dresses, waist-coats and the cost of items such as these, that I will be forever grateful for that learned Lady's discourse. Miss. Minor was in attendance as well and spoke at great length of the Woman Suffrage Association. Also, there was a woman at table with us who wore a marvelously wrought chatelaine around her ample waist.
The small wicker basket holds her thimble, the locket contains a lock of her husband's hair, a pair of scissors and a shell snuff box. Quite often she is overcome by the vapors and is in need of her snuff to revive her. The sound of the troops readying for battle had more than just a few of us reaching for our snuff boxes but it 
brought our minds back to our purpose - rolling bandages. I must admit I was not very good and required the assistance of none other than Mrs. Lincoln herself...

I will write again soon with details of the troops and their conditions.

Your loving Sister, Susan.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

We've Moved to Missouri!

"I'll give you this to take with you:
Nothing remains as it was. 
If you know this, you can begin again, 
with pure joy in the uprooting."
Judith Minty, Letters To My Daughters

No "uprooting" is without planning, work, difficulty or packing. Since my last post, Rob and I, along with our two big, beautiful, boy cats, packed up, sold our home in Plantation Florida and moved to the university town of Kirksville, in rural northeast Missouri. The move was neither easy nor painless - I don't imagine moving ever is.
When we arrived at our new home, the temperature was in the teens and I had a roaring migraine. It took about six weeks to unpack all the boxes at which time winter had arrived in her gleaming cloak of sparkling white.
I love my new home. It sits on the edge of the woods. My backyard is filled with birds, deer, raccoons and squirrels. The nights are dark and the sky is ablaze with stars, shimmering like white diamonds on black velvet. It is also quiet. When the snow lays heavy on the ground, it is almost silent, except for the calling of the owls. This morning I thought I heard coyotes howling.

I think of Plantation but have no regrets about leaving. The studio is organized and slowly getting up to speed. The boys, a/k/a the cats, love to bask in the sunlight pouring into the studio from the southern and western facing windows, as you can see here.
I joined the local quilt guild...Hands of Friendship Quilt Guild - what a talented and welcoming group of ladies. During these long winter days, I spend my time reading, researching and designing in my warm, sunlit studio. 

I'm loving this slower, gentler pace of living and I promise to post more often as I travel this new path, in this new state, in this new town and in my new home. 
If you would like to leave a comment and I hope you do, please click on the post title, We've Moved to Missouri and the Comment dialogue box will open.  Thank you and Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Pink Bat of Happiness - June CQJP 2014

"A picture of a bat (fu 蝠) can be a visual pun for "good fortune" or happiness (fu 福) because both characters are pronounced fu. Often the bat is shown flying upside down because the character (dao 倒) for "upside-down" and the character (dao 到) meaning "to have arrived" are both pronounced dao.  Therefore, if a person were to say "the bat is flying upside down" a listener could just as easily hear this as "happiness has arrived" which, of course, has a very auspicious connotation."  Here you can see my stylized pink bat of happiness flying upside down into this recently completed block. 
The symbol of the upside down flying bat is found on doorways during the Chinese New Year festival. I used DMC's rayon thread to embroider the bat...that brought me no happiness.  I watered, waxed and fought with that thread every inch of the way.  The thread has a lovely sheen but really, no thread should be that difficult to work with. The Pekinese stitch was used to outline the bat's wings.
 DMC's satin thread was used for the "auspicious clouds" drifting across the face of the moon.
If you would like to leave a comment and I hope you do, please click on the post title, Pink Bat of Happiness - June CQJP 2014 and the Comment dialogue box will open.  Thank you and Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Migraines Are A Pain

Migraines are a real pain.  This last one kicked my ass twelve ways to Sunday.  I'm back in the Studio and trying to play catch-up. Here are a few photos of the block I started before the migraine takeover.
 I transferred the tree to the weaver cloth and chose the threads.
 The tree is done now.

I need to get started with embellishing the seams.  Thank you for being patient and checking in.

If you would like to leave a comment and I hope you do, please click on the post title, Migraines Are A Pain and the Comment dialogue box will open.  Thank you and Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Garden Stroll - May CQJP2014

My dad would often stroll through the garden fussing with this or that potted plant, adjusting his orchids, attending to the rose bushes or just weeding.  I'll grant you he did not look like this hand embroidered Oriental gentleman, in fact he did not look like this at all-but he was Chinese.  I took artistic license to a whole new level with this one.

The trees, in keeping with the Oriental theme were outlined in the Pekinese Stitch and filled in with the Pekin Knot
The great many leaves are satin stitched and the gentleman is done in long/short stitches using DMC variegated cotton thread.  His belt is done in DMC Rayon thread.  The flowers, I used hand-dyed silk thread.  The interesting thing about this block, is that I felt that I should not go "crazy" with embellies, as the main figure is masculine.  Every stitch along the way was carefully considered, eight out of ten were rejected as my brain kept saying "this is a male dominated block."
If you would like to leave a comment and I hope you do, please click on the post title, Garden Stroll - May CQJP 2014 and the Comment dialogue box will open.  Thank you and Enjoy!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Butterfly World

Dorie and I spent yesterday afternoon at Butterfly World.  It was her first time visiting the park and my fourth or fifth visit...I don't remember exactly.  The day was lovely, the company fun and interesting. After a forty-five minute Butterfly Gardening Workshop, we stepped into the glorious, colorful world of the Paradise Adventure Aviary, a tropical rain forest where almost 20,000 butterflies are on live display.
Every week, almost three thousand butterflies are released into the Aviary to maintain this butterfly heaven. They glide and flutter by, alighting on leaves, flowers, this Idea Leuconoe, also known as Tree Nymphs, Paper Kites and Rice Paper butterflies. They are native to Malaysia. I think this one likes my dress.

The average life span of butterflies is 20-40 days and much of that depends on weather, food supplies and predators but those are not concerns the butterflies of Paradise Adventure Aviary have to worry about. I do not know the names of all the butterflies, like this one, for instance...
This one I believe is the Emerald Swallowtail...
Here's the Graphium Agamemnon, also know as the Green-spotted Triangle, Tailed Green Jay. It's native to India, Sri Lanka, Southeast Asia and Australia.
And then there is this flower...incredibly beautiful!
There are a lot more pictures to post of yesterday's escapade with the butterflies, so stay tuned.  If you would like to leave a comment and I hope you do, please click on the post title, Butterfly World and the Comment dialogue box will open.  Thank you and Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Dragon in April - CQJP 2014

I think I bought this paperback, Traditional Chinese Designs Iron On Transfer Patterns about 20 years ago. Paid the princely sum of $3.95 for it. For many days after my purchase, as I thumbed through the patterns, I imagined all the wonderful embroidered pictures I would stitch. However, the book soon got swallowed up in my library and was all but forgotten - until the Dragon in April, CQJP2014!

Gold beads, gold thread and lots of red and green in this block. My beloved ribbed spider web stitch, cast-on stitches and trapunto dragon.  Long/short stitches for the red carnation an iron-on transfer from the long forgotten paperback.  

Herringbone stitch, lazy daisy and I satin stitched the leaves.
If I can keep up with this pace, I'll have May and June done in April.  Won't that be great!

If you would like to leave a comment and I hope you do, please click on the post title, Dragon in April - CQJP 2014 and the Comment dialogue box will open.  Thank you and Enjoy!