Love Struck!

Lots and lots of love-themed stitching has been going on!
Valentines Day always sneaks up on me.  
It' seems like I'm just recovering from the Christmas rush 
and Valentines needs to be done,
and now 
I have Easter in my hoop!

Happy to share with you
two new 
Not to "Valentinesy",
 but perfect for this upcoming holiday!

 Punch needle design inspired by old PA Dutch frakturs
 Reminiscent of old book plates created on parchment 
with watercolor and ink drawings
 many many years ago... 
This simple little rug will find a spot on one of my small antique stacking benches. :)

~ Mary Valentine's Handework ~

A  love-themed pattern filled with 5 quick stitch projects. 
 The "Forget Me Not" pinkeep is fashioned and sized to look like a vintage postcard. 
 A perfect little piece to place on an ironstone plate 
and surround with old buttons and thimbles...makes a perfect vignette.  

"The gift is small, but love is all"  These are the words that young Mary Valentine chose to stitch on her simple little sampler. 
 I've always loved this verse!
  A piece of worn ticking
old buttons adds extra detail and charm to the sampler.

The remaining 3 projects all center around re-purposing
 Russel Stover's or Whitman's Chocolates Valentines heart-shaped boxes.  
Mary's Sewing Box top is decorated with various cross-stitched motifs worked in rows, giving it a feel of a band sampler.   
The box is lined with old sheet music 
and old thread spools becomes it's legs. 
 Perfect for storing your needles
 favorite embroidery scissors.
Posies for Thee
a smaller box, perfect for storing thimbles! 

 And lastly, Key to the Heart
uses just the bottom of the smaller box.  
 The little box becomes a little hanging display of a stitched vine and bluebird. 
 You will try your hand at building a bird's nest...
what fun that is, 
twisting and entwining thread remnants among flax!  
The verse, "feather your nest with love" 
and a little key finishes this piece off so sweetly.
  And yes, there are tiny eggs in my nest...
the little birdie must have approved of my nest making skills!!

All designs on this chart are worked on 35 count Old Town Blend linen using various hand-dyed flosses.

That's all for now, 
the bunny in my hoop 
is calling me!

Have a good week everyone,


Coming Soon!

~Mary Valentine's Handework~

worn ticking
old buttons
x x x x

x x x x x 

paper heart doilies
old keys
heart boxes
x x x x x

sweet sentiments stitched
in post-card style
x x x x x

"the gift is small
love is all"

Mary Valentine's Handework
coming soon!
x x x x x


Found my hearts & a change of heart...

You would think after all the practice that I have had
 that I would get it right on the first try...
I have had a change of heart.
I have changed linen choice.
Not enough contrast between linen and some flosses,
 so I have restarted
 on the slightly darker
 Old Town Blend linen.
So far, so good.
I am working this using 2 strands over 2 threads, 
something I rarely do,
 but this too,
will help those lighter shades of floss
 pop off the linen.  
When I work with two strands,
I lay my stitches with a laying tool...
I don't work as fast when I stitch this way,
 it does make for perfectly laid stitches.

If you worked last years Valentine sampler, the box choices for 2014 are the same as 2013.
I am using the Russel Stovers 4.75 Red Foil Heart  & the 1 .75 Photo Heart

If you happen to find Whitman's hearts, these are the sizes that will work from this brand:
4.5 and 1.6 oz boxes.
While the weight of the boxes are lighter,
 the heart shaped box is the same size
 as the slightly heavier Russel Stovers.

It is a bitterly cold day here,
 temperatures were near 50 degrees below zero overnight.
Schools are cancelled,
 businesses are closed,
people are warned to stay inside.
The dear husband got a call over the weekend 
from the utility company that his workplace must go on alternative fuel
 until Tuesday,
 due to the big demand of electricity.  

The electricity flickered early this morning...
Fingers and toes crossed that we don't lose power.
I too will be staying home today.
I've got lots of stitching to get done, 
in a short amount of time.

I am working through some arm pain since a week before Christmas. 
 I think I injured it moving a shipment of cover stock paper.
   It feels like somebody "slug bugged" me in the shoulder.
   Of course,
 it is my stitching arm
 that has my "mouse finger" on it,
 and is the arm I tuck under my pillow and sleep on...
none of these things help a sore arm!
   Sleep has been very restless,
 and stitching,
 quite uncomfortable.  

Off to stitch,
stay warm,


Working backwards...

The sun is warming me this morning...
it's warm rays coming through the window are so deceiving on
this frigid second day of the New Year.
Bird chores were done early this morning.
You know it's not good when you check Weatherbug on your phone
and there sits an igloo by the days forecast...
I am still patiently waiting for the stores to get their Russell Stovers/Whitman's heart boxes in.
I make trips each day, and even visited a Target in a larger town,
 in hopes of finding them there.
No such luck.
I asked a clerk and she said two more weeks.
I must have had the "TWO MORE WEEKS!" look on my face,
as the clerk gave me,
look on her face. ;)

Last year at this time I already had some stitching started for the heart boxes.
I had boxes in hand and chocolates were long gone...
I've made daily checks to  russellstover.com and no Valentines there either!
Am getting nervous...
don't they know we've got candy to nibble and stitching to do?

Usually, I focus around whatever heart box I choose and begin there.  
With no boxes in hand yet, I am working backwards this year.  
Tentative plans are for the 2014 Valentines Sampler chart to be that of a young schoolgirl's work,
the year is 1822,
her name is
Mary  B. Valentine.
Small samplers, redwork, stitching needfuls and reward of merit projects.

 Each project will have a theme of love,
but not too
something that can be kept out
enjoyed all year.

The tentative color palette...
for a time-worn look...

Stay warm,