Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

No snow here, but I love this picture.   It really puts me in the mood.  Wishing everyone a happy and peaceful Thanksgiving.


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Blizzard in October!!!!

Blizzard Babe that is!

I am over the moon with excitement!!  Look what arrived Sunday evening!!  Isn't she beautiful??  I have wanted a grey mare all my life, ever since reading about Merry Legs in the Black Beauty book as a little girl.  "Babe" is a retired standardbred that I have adopted to add to my small herd of Anna and Blossom.  She has also been a very successful broodmare, her babies have sold for 20-30 thousand as yearlings.  Now she is in her forever home to live the good life and be doted on!  You will perhaps remember that I lost my Pipsy to EPM, a nasty neurological disease, earlier this year.  I needed to fill an empty stall!  I had been managing not to search the adoption site for quite awhile, but I gave into temptation and there she was!  She was a Michigan champion and earned over half a million on the track, which is quite a bit for a standardbred.  Their purses are not as high as thoroughbred racing.

Just a reminder, both Elena Tratman and Mary Ann Mitton reproduction samplers are available.   I am currently working on my next two, Mary Ann Stenson and Mary Inglis.  Lots of Mary's!

Till next time, I'll be in the barn :)

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Too wash or not to wash

Well, here it is two weeks after finishing Manifesto, and I am still dilly-dallying over whether to wash it or not.  I did use DMC, so fading should not be a problem, but I am still nervous, wondering whether it will shrink out of shape or not.  I'm sure it must be dirty, but does that really matter?  All of the antique samplers are surely dirty and they are still around.  I did manage to stitch my initials and the date.

The weather has turned crisp and cool...wonderful!  The only downfall is that it hasn't rained for several weeks, but maybe this hurricane off the east coast will send a few remnants our way.  I haven't done any fall decorating, either inside or out.  Mums in my mind are just expensive annuals unless you plant them in the spring, and I have just resisted wasting my money on them.  Besides, my bubblegum petunias are still going great guns, and I can't bare to pull them out yet.  You can see how dry the grass is.

I thought I'd share a picture of Ginger with you, she is a real sweetie and loves people.  Carmen Sutton and Stacy Nash stopped by on their way back from the show at Malabar Farms, and Ginger was really in her element on the couch between the two of them, purring, gently nibbling, and feeling the love :)  She would be the perfect little cat if it wasn't for the fact that she throws up all the time.  She is a rescue and had a hard start in life.

This picture shows a flag from between 1861 and 1863 which was found in the attic.  From what I have researched, back then American flags were not owned by average people, only by military units and ships and public buildings.  This makes me think that whoever lived here during that time perhaps served in the Civil War and brought back a flag.  It was in pretty bad condition, as you can see, but has been carefully restored and framed.

The other news is that I feel as if the bottom has just fallen out underneath me.  It all started in July, when my mother had a horrible case of bronchitis,  followed by a cat "love bite" that caused blood poisoning and cellulitis and a 4 day hospital stay.  This was followed by a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes, and then horrible back pain making her unable to walk.  Just one thing after another.  I don't know how on earth someone who weighs 105 pounds can be diabetic and need insulin shots daily.  Life here on Merry Wind Farm is a very delicate balancing act between two women, my 89 year old mother, and me, and I also have some health challenges.  We got along pretty well, with her doing some cleaning and cooking, and me doing the outside and farm work.  Now, things are changing.  Hopefully things will improve again and life can resume.  This big house and 15 acres is just too much for one person.  Moving is totally out of the question, she loves it her, it is her home (it was her home first) and she would never leave.

I have tried to answer come comments, but it seems like a lot of people are no reply.  I don't know whether blogger has changed or whether people have changed their status.

Here's a picture I took of her.  She'd kill me if she knew I posted it, but I'm safe because she doesn't have a computer, haha.  That is Bertie (dog), Ginger on her lap, and little Benji on the stool.


Saturday, August 29, 2015

The end is near!!

on Manifesto!!  Hooray!!  This is definitely the most humongous sampler I have ever stitched!!  I did do Dutch Beauty, which is as large, but not solidly stitched like Manifesto.  I am in awe of how Marsha Parker of Scarlet Letter ever designed this sampler.  I still have about a week of filling in to do, as you can see.  Then I'll have to wash it, after being handled for two years, I'm sure it's very dirty and full of cat hair!

This picture is an 18th century needlework that I believe was probably the inspiration for Manifesto.

For size comparison, here is Dutch Beauty.

The next time you see Manifesto, it will be framed and hanging on the wall.  Here is an old, cheap frame from the junk store that is practically the perfect size.  I just have to add a couple of rows of background to make it fit.  Maybe I'll paint it antique gold, what do you think?  Or grain-painting?
I'm so happy I found this frame, it was only a couple of dollars.  That's basil perpetual behind it.

So, summer's almost over.  This has been a cool and rainy summer.  Unlike most people, I think it was wonderful!  I hate the heat!!  I haven't had to water the gardens the entire summer, until now, since we are finally having a dry spell.  Most of the potted annuals were just drowned out and have been pulled up, but here is Supertonic Bubble Gum Pink, as recommended by Marly of  They are going strong and have been lovely all year.  I will definitely buy these next year!!

The new header at the top is a band from my new sampler, Mary Ann Mitton, available on the sidebar.

Tomorrow we'll be celebrating my dear Mother's 89th birthday!  She had been really sick for the past month with a nasty case of bronchitis, and is still weak, but on the mend!


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Mary Ann Mitton 1832 is here!!!!

I am so excited and pleased to announce that Mary Ann Mitton 1832 is now completed and ready for purchase!  The price is $21.00 for the 12 page chart pack with color photo and $3.00 US shipping and $5.00 international shipping.   Mary Ann is a large and detailed sampler and was a joy to chart and stitch.

Her most striking feature is the unusual border.  She chose three hymn stanzas by prolific hymn writer Isaac Watts.  I know that Mary Ann is English, as evidenced in the W R inside the crown at the top, for William IV.  I have chosen 36 count ale linen from Picture This Plus, and have charted with DMC floss.  Sizes are given for 32, 36 and 40 count linen.  Stitches used are mostly cross over two, with a tiny amount of cross over 1, satin stitch, and algerian eye.  As of now, I have been unable to determine which of several Mary Ann Mittons born at the correct time in England was our stitcher, but I am continuing to work on this.

The vast majority of the sampler is a true reproduction.  However, only a ghost image of the actual manor house was left for me to work with.

I hope you like her and wish to stitch her.  As always, please contact me with any questions you may have.


Friday, July 3, 2015

Almost finished...Mary Ann Mitton 1832

Hello!  Is it raining where you are?  Rain is all it ever does here, the garden is drowned, the mosquitoes are multiplying like crazy, and  the roses are just one great big black spot!!  I hope it takes a break for tomorrow, so many people's big plans are going to be a washout.  I did manage to get the grass mowed today before it started raining again, and some of the pastures mowed to keep down the weeds.  I hope everyone has a happy and safe 4th of July!

I have been busy on my next sampler release, Mary Ann Mitton 1832.  I must call this a part reproduction, part adaptation.  The great majority of the sampler was still in tact when I began charting it,  but the large building was only a ghost image, so that is my recreation.  I have searched Ancestry and located 4 Mary Ann Mittons born around 1820 to be the correct age of the stitcher.  My last repro, Elena Tratman, was an odd name, so there was no difficulty in finding her.  I am hoping to contact some sampler experts who may be able to make an educated guess by looking at the style of the sampler.  Perhaps one of you can help?

Mary Ann is a biggie, with a very unusual floral border, three verses (hymns), flowers, birds, butterflies, little doggies, and the afore mentioned manor house.  I have done as much research as I am able, and have not located another sampler similar to this.  Maybe a good thing, as it makes it unusual, but also a bad thing in that another sampler would help me to identify where in England Mary Ann was from.

Here are a few sneak peeks, hope you like it.   Lots of peaches, greens, soft browns, etc.

Part of the original sampler.  Unfortunately, there is even less left now.  The stitches were just laying on top of the linen, and as I handled it, most of it fell apart :(  Lesson learned for next time.


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

A Whole Lot of Gardenin' Going On

This time of year, gardening and outdoor work is what takes up most of my time, so I will hopefully not bore you with more photos.  I'll start with this one, it is the back yard garden, looking down from the deck into what used to be the pool.  The flower boxes are a real challenge, too much sun for impatiens but not enough for sun lovers.  The lack of sun is a common problem for me.

This is a Griffith Buck shrub rose in its first year.  If you are not familiar with Griffith Buck, he grew hardly shrub roses in Iowa years ago that I think are very under-appreciated.  This should be a large 4 x 5 shrub in a couple of years.

This is a climber/shrub rose, an old hybrid musk called Lavender Lassie.  One of my favorites, and can tolerate less sun (this in on the north side).

This honeysuckle vine has never before bloomed this heavily.  I wonder if it is because of the bird feeder providing constant fertilizer?

The old original well pump with an angel on top.  It still worked until I broke the handle off accidentally :(

This is perpetual basil.  I love the variegated leaves, it does not bloom, and makes wonderful pesto.

The fountain garden.  I love the sound of trickling water in the garden.

As you can see, the barn painters were a little over-zealous.  I hope it eventually wears off the stone.

Here is a photo that I saw in a dr office.  I love this idea.  I even have an old sewing machine base, maybe this will be a project for next year.

I have a plethora of bird houses all over the place, including many wren houses.  This year a mamma wren chose to next in this house right on the porch!  Can you see here looking out?  She flies in with a bug for the babies, then flies back out with a little piece of poo!  She keeps her home so clean.  She doesn't make any mess at all, much different from swallows in the barn, whose babies just turn around and poke their little bottoms out of the nest!  That is how I can tell if there are swallow babies,  a pile of poo under the nest.

If you haven't given up on me, one final picture.  Little Bella home from the groomer.  Look how happy she looks...

Compared to this little sad sack two years ago on her first night here.