Saturday, April 5, 2014

Wimsey Framed, K1 Progress & a Recipe for Spring

Wimsey in its new frame from the Frame Guys in their 'Leafy Green' color.


Kaleidescopes K1 about 2/3 rd stitched

K1 has been a very fast easy stitch.  Just two weeks into it and with a growing pup and more to do since spring is arriving I'm not having half as much time as I had during the winter.  I'm really happy with how it is looking.
Strawberry Muffins cooling on the counter

It is far from strawberry weather here on Gracewood but we made it to a store that finally had some good fresh produce available and stocked up on all the fruit we were hungry for including some nice strawberries!  And one of our favorite ways to use them is to make strawberry muffins.

Fresh Strawberry Muffins

Yield 1 dozen (and I usually double them since they freeze great)


1/2 cup (1 stick) Butter, softened
3/4 cup Sugar
1 Egg
2 cups All Purpose Flour
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup Milk
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla
1 1/2 cup chopped Strawberries

Streusel Ingredients:

1 cup Flour
1 cup Sugar
1 stick Butter

For Streusel - Pulse flour, sugar and butter in food processor till crumbly, store in jar in freezer.

Heat oven to 400 degrees Farenheit, line 1 dozen muffin tin with paper liners.

Cream butter and sugar in mixing bowl, add egg and beat well.

Sift flour, baking power and salt and add vanilla to milk, alternate adding the dry mixture and the milk mixture to the batter, till incorporated then fold in strawberries.  Spoon into liners and top with a sprinkle of streusel. Bake 20 to 25 minutes.

Remove from pan and let cool on rack.

Hope you'll enjoy this taste of spring!


Saturday, March 22, 2014

New Design!

Kaleidescopes - K1

It is time to introduce my newest design, but first I have to give some explanation of its inspiration.  I don't know if people in this digital day and age can understand the charm of looking through a kaleidescope, but they have always held a great deal of charm for me. 
The ever changing patterns and colors of a well made kaleidescope are fascinating and I loved this excerpt on "kaleidescopes" on Wikipedia -

"..A kaleidoscope is a cylinder with mirrors containing loose, colored objects such as beads or pebbles and bits of glass. As the viewer looks into one end, light entering the other creates a colorful pattern, due to the reflection off of the mirrors. Coined in 1817 by Scottish inventor Sir David Brewster "kaleidoscope" is derived from the Ancient Greek   (kalos), "beautiful, beauty", (eidos), "that which is seen: form, shape" and (skopeĊ), "to look to, to examine", hence "observation of beautiful forms."

Beautiful forms they are indeed and I've wanted to create patterns that give the feel of a kaleidescope frozen in its lovely mirrored image.  So I am happy to introduce the first pattern of what I hope will be a series, "Kaleidescopes".
K1 Floss Palette ~ Violets & Blues
I'll be stitching the model on 20 count antique white aida evenweave fabric, using Rainbow Gallery Splendor silk floss in shades of violet and blue.  Stitch count is 145 x 145 and will measure a little over 8 inches square.

What do you think, does it look like a fun stitch?

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Wimsey Model Finished

Yeah! Wimsey's model is stitched.  Even though it was constantly interrupted by a large Chessie puppy head being poked onto my lap, it was a fun stitch and I'm happy with how it looks.  The photo shows it still on the stitching frame but I hope to find just the right frame for it soon.

Wimsey Model

This week, Lord willing, I'll be introducing the next design.  I'm waiting for some floss to arrive in the mail to make final color choices, but I'm really excited by how it came together.  Something I'd been wanting to achieve for awhile :)

Winter continues on Gracewood, this was last week looking out the front door and the snow you see is above the porch!

Looking out the front door at all the snow that has come off the roof and piles up higher than the porch
And looking out to the west porch towards the bird feeders isn't much less snow. However, the thrush and robins have arrived so spring can't be too far away.

Getting to the bird feeders and firewood becomes problematic this late in winter.
I can't help it, I'm already trying to fill my eyes with winter and snow, it will be gone soon and I won't really be content till it is back again in November.  No bugs, no heat, no dryness, no wonder I love it.

Ah well, spring has its pleasures too though I won't have as much stitching time, I'll look forward to open windows with mountain breezes and blossoms from the orchard to the forest.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Winners of Floss/Fabric Giveaway

Still Winter on Gracewood

A brief post today to announce the winners of the Floss/Fabric giveaway.

In the few years I've been designing I knew I had accumulated a lot of floss and fabric but after sorting through the 'stash' I was amazed at just how much!  Since I can't go into needlework shops to check out items I've had to order them online just to see what they were like and how they stitched.

I've also learned that as much as I like darker fabrics, for purposes of exporting images on the software and photos of finished work, they just don't translate well.  And as much as I appreciate the beauty of hand dyed silk floss the variations that can occur, even in the same batch aren't a good fit for creating models for a design.

I'll be sticking with white, off white, cream and ivory evenweave fabric along with silk flosses like Rainbow Splendor, Gloriana and Caron.  I believe these best present the designs through the medium of a computer.

The 'stash' was large enough that I've been able to make up four good size packages and after putting all the names in a bowl, Terry drew out the following names - Terri, Julie, Kim S and Faith

If the winners will email me at with their addresses I'll get the packages in the mail to you this week.  If for any reason I don't hear from someone in two weeks then I'll draw another name.

Thanks to everyone who participated!  I'll try to have a giveaway of some sort every few months.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Carolina Framed & a Fabric/Floss Giveaway

Here we are just past halfway through winter and before we know it the tasks of spring are going to be upon us.  So for me at least, this is prime stitching time.  It has been an 'old fashioned' winter for many in the US as the snow and cold many of us remember from childhood has returned in full force.  Today 49 states have snow, including Hawaii, now that is a winter to boast about, lol

While 'stitching time' is still in full swing, I'm offering a floss and fabric giveaway.  I need more room for projects I'm working on and found that I have a good deal of  mostly silk floss, and cotton fabric that might find better use in another stitcher's stash.  Just leave a comment stating your desire to be entered in the draw and I'll announce the winner next blog post.  Whatever part of the globe you live in you are welcome to enter.

'Carolina' is framed with another terrific frame from the Frame Guys.  I chose a weathered red frame and I think it works really well.

I didn't set up the white box to photograph this one framed so please forgive the bit of reflection on the right of the photo. This does show the colors most accurately.

Wimsey is progressing though it is sitting aside in its frame right now as I finish the ornament for Just Cross Stitch magazine.


In addition to this being prime stitching time for me it is also prime KDrama watching and I hope to tell you of some great ones from this season's viewing next post.

Till then, happy stitching!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

A few shades of Wimsey and a New Project for Just Cross Stitch Mag

Even with a rambunctious Jasper parking himself on my lap whenever he sees me pick up the stitching frame, I'm getting some work done on Wimsey.

And I thought I'd show how different this design might look if other colors were chosen. 

This is Alternate 1 that changes one of the colors from dark gold to dark lavender. Amazing what a different feel it gives.

And Alternate 2 changes all of the colors to shades of mauve and teal.
The fun of playing with software and colors!
And a new project for me, Just Cross Stitch magazine has asked Gracewood Stitches to contribute an ornament for their annual Christmas Ornament edition.  I've accepted their invitation and have come up with a design I'm really happy with, though I can't share it until the magazine comes out this year.
Now if I can just shift this large Chessie head on my lap to accommodate the frame it is competing with I hope to get some stitching done on this very cold and snowy weekend.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

New Pattern 'Wimsey' Model & Inspiring Dadoes

Hopefully holiday tasks have passed and in this quiet winter season you have more time for things like stitching, at least for readers on this side of the hemisphere :)

I've made some progress on the model for the new pattern, 'Wimsey" (see back a few posts for its introduction)  I'm using two shades of gold and two of green in HDF silk floss on an 18 count off white Aida fabric.
Wimsey model
This pattern is based on the type of art nouveau style plates found in a collection in a vintage Viennese publication of patterns and designs.  Different from the better known all over designs that repeat a motif, these early plates reflect a tripartite panel style.  Frequently used in early wall coverings and reproduced today in historic lincrusta dado panels, they consist of three distinct sections, the frieze at the top, the field and then the dado at the bottom.

Below are some examples of this type of style used in wallpaper, lincrusta and tiles

In addition to wall coverings such panel designs were used to decorate many items, including paper, porcelain and stained glass.

I'd also like to express my gratitude to Just Cross Stitch magazine for including Gracewood Stitches in their current Jan/Feb edition.

With a special thank you to Vickie LoPiccolo Jennett for her article,  Gracewood Stitches: Capturing Sentiment.
And if you would like to share a recent snowy morning on Gracewood here is a video I took of one of Jasper's early morning walks.  He is on a leash because outside of our fenced area there is a great possibility of running into some of our neighboring wildlife that a puppy his size couldn't deal with.  As you can see he enjoys the snow!