Monday, November 30, 2015

A Cozy Mystery Challenge for the New Year

I found another reading challenge for 2016 this one is for Cozy Mysteries which I find thoroughly entertaining.
 The link above will take you to the site if this is a reading challenge for you.

To find out exactly what a cozy mystery is, check out This site is dedicated to cozy mysteries and does a great job of defining them as well as giving a list of cozy mysteries. This challenge is NOT restricted to what is on their list, it's just to be used as a guideline in case you need some hints on what to read.

So, here are the rules...

1. Choose the level you wish to participate:

Level 1 - Snoop - Read at least 6 books

Level 2 - Investigator - Read 7-12 books

Level 3 - Super Sleuth - Read 13-20 books

Level 4 - Sleuth Extraordinaire - Read 21 or more books

2. The challenge runs from January 1, 2016 and ends December 31, 2016.

3. You don't have to choose your books in advance. If you do, you can change your list at any time during the year. Books can overlap with other challenges.

4. Books can be in any format - paper, audio, all counts!

5. You don't have to post a review, but I'm sure others would love to know about the books you are reading and may even want to add it to their reading lists. 

I'm going to choose Level 3-Super Sleuth I don't have any books in mind just yet but I'm sure I'll have a few on hand once the New Year rolls around.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

A Color Coded Reading challenge for 2016

During the next few weeks I plan to line up a few reading challenges for 2016, the first one I chose is:

2016 Color Coded Challenge

Here are the rules:
*Read nine books in the following categories.
1. A book with "Blue" or any shade of Blue (Turquoise, Aquamarine, Navy, etc) in the title/on the cover. 
2. A book with "Red" or any shade of Red (Scarlet, Crimson, Burgandy, etc) in the title/on the cover.
3. A book with "Yellow" or any shade of Yellow (Gold, Lemon, Maize, etc.)in the title/on the cover.
4. A book with "Green" or any shade of Green (Emerald, Lime, Jade, etc) in the title/on the cover.
5. A book with "Brown" or any shade of Brown (Tan, Chocolate, Beige, etc) in the title/on the cover.
6. A book with "Black" or any shade of Black (Jet, Ebony, Charcoal, etc) in the title/on the cover.
7. A book with "White" or any shade of White (Ivory, Eggshell, Cream, etc) in the title/on the cover.
8. A book with any other color in the title/on the cover (Purple, Orange, Silver, Pink, Magneta, etc.).
9. A book with a word that implies color (Rainbow, Polka-dot, Plaid, Paisley, Stripe, etc.).
* Any book read from January 1 through December 31, 2016 will count.

*Crossovers with other challenges are fine.

I love colors so I thought this challenge would be great for me. If you are interested in joining this challenge here is a link to the host site

Stitching Slow Sunday Block Three

The last Sunday of November, this month has gone by  in a flash, the same cannot be said about my stitching. Luck for me this is a Sunday for Slow Stitching.

Here is what I have stitched so far on Block number 3 (Hocuspocusville quilt) I started stitching the door and moved onto the roof since about six this morning. That little sign took me nearly 2 hours to stitch.
  I don't know if you can see the little circles along the ladder sides and above the balcony fence but those were supposed to be dots for french knots, I have trouble seeing the dots after stitching for a while so I traced the circles that were on the pattern, what I plan to do is use black seed beads instead of french dots for two reasons, my french knots often resemble small cauliflowers and when I first bought the pattern I had planned to use beads on some of the blocks to make it more my own.  I left the cat unstitched for now because I have a few ideas running through my head.

I will be getting back to stitching this block this afternoon after I do a few errands and read the newspaper. In the meantime I'll post this to  for Slow Sunday  Stitching.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Sunday Slow stitching projects a new beginning and a completed stitchery

Today I am homesick for my northern roots, it's late November, less than a week till Thanksgiving and I long for the crisp cool air, rapidly falling leaves of assorted colors and the familiar surroundings of New Jersey, instead I'm in the land of perpetual green aka Florida. Today I can fool myself just a litte, it's a gray rainy autumn day, I'm inside where the ar conditioning is cool so it feels like autumn, and the leaves of my sycamore tree have turned the usual paperbag brown and mostly fallen to the ground so it looks like a northen autumn day until you step outside and are hit in the face with the humidity and warm temps and know it is autumn in Florida. After twenty odd years in Florida I am always surprised when the homesickness grabs hold of me.

On this rainy Sunday I have started stitching the hand embroidery for the third block of the Hocuspocusville quilt. I had this all ready to begin a few weeks ago but I started on the Holly King and just kept on stitching. As you can see I'm off to a slow start but than thats what Sundays are all about, slowing down, resting and taking time to breathe and do some much loved hand stitching.

Here is a look at the Holly King, all the hand embroidery is done now I need to decide how I want to finish him.

 After looking at the piece for a while I think I should have crayon tinted his face so I decided to eventually make another.  I'm not sure if I mentiond this in a previous post, the pattern for the Holly King is from Urban Threads which offers patterns for hand and machine embroidery. Here is a link 
I plan to keep stitching on block three for today and I am linking up here once again for Slow Stitching Sunday

Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Holly King

The hand embroidery is done on the Holly King piece now its time to decide whether to make a wall hanging a quilt block or something else.  I plan to make another one this time crayon tinting the face as well, but that won't be for a while.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

November TUSAL Report aka: Show your Orts

Well I'm a day late with my November New Moon TUSAL report but here are my scant orts since the last New Moon. If you are curious about my monthly ort reports jump on over to It's Daffy Cat's blog to learn all about The Totally Useless Stitch A Long (TUSAL) it really does motivate me to keep on stitching.
I'm feeling a lot better than I was yesterday and I'm hoping with more rest to get some stitching done tomorrow.  I have plans on Saturday to attend the Sarasota Renaissance Faire so I do need to shake this bronchitis, otherwise I'll have to try to make it on the 21st.

This is a short report for me I'm too tired so I'm off to lie down, next new moon I plan to have many more threads, perhaps with lots more colors.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Under the weather

I have been under the weather for a few days and yesterday that deep cough started so it was off to the doctor for a bronchitis check. today after sleeping away most of the day I still feel rather tired but thanks to antibiotics I'm not coughing as much.  I have managed to sit up for about thirty minutes but truth be told I'd rather be lying down.

I haven't done much of anything today except flip through the pages of a few magazines and catalogs that came in the mail this week.
a few favorites
The Farmer's Wife quilt book arrived yesterday and I hope to get a chance to really look it over in
the next day or so when reading a few lines doesn't make me want to close my eyes and sleep.  I don't have the energy to do any stitiching, though I don't think I could see the lines or keep my stitches straight even if I did.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Slowly Stitching the Holly King this Sunny Sunday

After two days walking around Pirate Gatherings and Medieval faires I can sure use a Slow Stitching Sunday and that is exactly what I plan to do today.

The Holly King will be the main focus of my stitching today as he is just a few hours away from being completely stitched.
I am looking forward to finishing this piece and beginning the next project for my greenman series in addition to the other projects I have planned. I am linking up here once again for Slow Stitching Sunday

With all the patterns I have been gathering over the last year I will be doing hand embroidery for the next decade or so I just hope my fingers hold up.

Yesterday I posted a feew photos of my visit to The Lady of the Lakes Medieval Faire today I'm going to post my one and only purchase, well besides the lemonade I bought.
Thistle Cloak Pin

This handcrafted Thistle cloak pin caught my eye as soon as I saw it and trust me when I say I snatched it right up, it was the only one of its kind on display.
Thistle close up
I'm sure it's the Scot in my bloodline that is partly responsible for my fondness of thistle motifs and I love when I can get the last of an item as the vendor pointed out.

Speaking of only one, on my Friday visit to the Pirate Gathering I purchased this little mermaid
again it was the only one available though the vendor did tell me she has another she's going to make into a pendant of some type.
back view
I love how the paint is worn away giving her a  weathered look, I haven't decided what I will do with her yet but I'm sure I will come up with something.

Well the Holly King is back in the hoop, my needles are threaded, waiting for my to begin stitching, I am off to slowly stitch my Sunday morning away.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

A day at the Medieval Faire

Here are a few photos from the Lady of the Lakes Medieval Faire I attended today. 
Royal Court
Village Ladies
The Queen and ladies in waiting
The Queen and her court attending the SCA sword exhibition. Love the lady on the left she appears to be nodding off, perhaps her tea is laced with a bit of mead.
Knights battle with long swords
Squire vs Knight
Jousting Knight
This is the first time I attended this Faire held in Tavares which is about an hour from where I live, it was a nice size event, the sun was shining and the November heat wave continued on.  

I enjoyed visiting the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) area thought I didn't snap any photos as I was too busy watching the blacksmith forge a few hooks and conversing with a woman at the kitchen area, they had just finished making cheese and butter.  

This is my favorite of the photos I snapped today a village woman
doing some hand embroidery, she was working the buttonhole stitch along the edge of the fabric.

Yesterday I attended the Pirate Gathering in St. Augustine but I forgot to grab the camera so no photos.  

Next weekend I'll be attending the Sarasota Renaissance Faire and I am hoping for cooler temperatures.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Slowly Stitching a Log Cabin

A few months ago while reading a few of my favorite blogs I came across the Slow Stitching Sundays post and thought to myself this is a site I could add a post after all I do quite a bit of hand stitching and often times I'm slower than I'd like to admit, so why not. Last Sunday I posted my first Slow Stitching Sunday post linking up here on

For this week I once again have my hand embroidery progress on the Holly King piece but first I want to tell you about my other project I have been stitching on since early morning. The first quilt I ever pieced started back in January 1991, this Log Cabin quilt garnered many memories while piecing it together, many bittersweet, I suppose it's the reason I have put off completing the quilt until now.  
just a glimpse of the twin size log cabin quilt hand pieced 
Originally it started on a cool crisp October morning in 1989 when my dear friend Sandy and I were shopping for fabrics for my quilt at our local So-Fro fabrics. We spent a few hours lugging bolts back and forth while I decided which colors, prints, etc I favored. After I had made my choice and was replacing bolts I didn't want, I turned around only to see most of my chosen fabrics were gone, my son being helpful soul he is had put back some of the bolts too. Yikes! It didn't take long to find my chosen fabrics again, then it was off to the cutting table.
last block I quilted the white thread is where I left off
Along with the fabrics I chose for the Log Cabin quilt I found a sweet panel to make a patchwork pillow with a strip of little patchwork hearts which I would later decide to use in the center of alternating log cabin blocks, I remembered reading traditional log cabin quilts used a red fabric in the center to represent the heart of the home so I decided to use those hearts as my block centers, but not for all the blocks. I was all set to trace templates, add seam stitching lines and grab my trusty scissors and begin cutting all my pieces for the quilt.
hand quilted block
I was midway through tracing the patterns onto the fabric when on December 29th 1989 I slipped on a small patch of ice and fractured my left humerus in 3 places, needless to say with a plaster cast from shoulder to fingertips for several months it would be a very long time before I would continue on with the log cabin quilt. After the final cast was removed (there were many), a few set backs to the recovery it took me nearly a year to trace and cut all the pieces for the quilt, which is only twin size, In January of 1991 I sewed the first pieces to the first block together.  
back side of quilt 
If I didn't mention it before I am a self taught quilt maker, I love traditional quilt patterns and while planning the log cabin I had many other patterns I wanted to make and eventually I would. I have made most of my quilts by hand, and have always hand quilted my quilts or used the tied method. Last year I ventured into a basic quilt making class mainly because most new quilt publications have instructions for cutting methods I had no clue how to do, I needed to learn how to use all those rulers, grids and the Rotary cutter. I will admit while I loved learning to use the rulers and cutting strips etc. I didn't care for all the stress of piecing the quilt together by machine. There was no actual pleasure in it for me, aside from the fact it worked up quickly, to me I felt no joy, no calm that I feel when I hand piece.  

I do admire people who make machine pieced quilts, my late friend Sandy would put out 20 to 30 quilts while I completed one. I think for me hand sewing, hand embroidery, hand quilting brings me a state of peace and calm. Every thing in my life slows down when I have needle and thread in hand, and I can breathe. 

For some inexplainable reason I am determined to finish the quilt this year, I have learned much from making this quilt, I can spot just about every imperfection, crooked line, wobbly stitches etc. but I wouldn't change a thing about it.  I always said I'd know when it was time to close the chapter on this UFO and the time has come.

Here are a few fun facts about me and my quilts:

Almost every one of my quilts have green fabric in them somewhere.
When I am shopping for fabric I am always drawn to greens first.
Green has never been of a particular interest to me not even as a favorite color.
I have made 3 Irish Chain, 4 Nine Patch, 7 Four patch, 2 Double Wedding Rings, with green as the dominate color.

And now a look at the progress of the Holly King hand embroidery piece I will be working on this evening.

There are only a few more Holly Leaves to stitch, then on to the longer green leaves and the face. I am looking forward to completing the hand embroidery for this piece I am quite pleased with how it looks so far.