on paper

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I’m feeling pretty awesome about things these last few days.

On Friday, I did some work to finish up this piece

I’m pretty in love with it. It really deserves it’s own post later on this week.

Then, one of my best friends came down and she and her daughter hung out with me and the kids while our husbands went camping and to a Brew Fest in the area. One of the best things we did was hit up the local Friends of the Library book sale. We first went on Saturday morning, and the kids found some cool stuff, and I found a crate full of cross stitch patterns. Now, I’m dabbling a little in cross stitch these days, and would love to attempt something larger. Most of the pamphlets were way too country for my tastes, but I did find a few things (like alphabets) and then I saw these which made me a bit giddy:

The patterns inside (especially the Rainbow Brite ones) are quite detailed and intricate. I am really going to have to commit myself if I am ever going to try one. I was happy with what I had. (These were only 10 cents apiece)

But then we went back at noon today. The boys were back from the campground and so we were able to go without the kids. Today was fill up a paper grocery bag for $3.00! Here’s just a taste of what I got (novels not pictured)

Some highlights include Quilt Place Mat Sets; it has place mat, napkin ring and coaster patterns in Double Wedding ring, Lonestar and other patterns that are done on plastic canvas. They remind me of my grandmother’s house and should be fun to do (maybe I can get my daughter to help). I also picked up some sweet Beatrix Potter patterns that will be adorable to put together for a kid of two at some point.

There were two milk crates to go through, and clearly it was an 80s-90s collection and someone just unloaded everything. The thing that’s crying out for something a little twisted is a pamphlet called Sassy Sweats for Cross Stitchers. It’s from 1987. Not only is the styling pure 80s gold, the sentiments are well, shall we say, sexist.

I don’t even know what to say.

But it looks like I’m going to be busy these next few months.


Here’s a little peek at something slightly new that I’m working on. Really, it’s just to get my brain and hands working in a stitchy way again. You can bet, that when I am in a rut the thing I’m working on to pull myself out involves my old standby: K3,3. I am in love with the doodles and scratch work on the final page (shown in the bottom right corner). I’m glad that I just pulled four pages (these from the very back of the math book) without looking. I would have wanted to save the scratch work page for something “special” — and probably been too terrified to mess it up. As it is, I made myself stitch that one up first. But no more peeks for now.

I spent the day yesterday selling at the Arts Festival in my hometown.  It was an interesting experience.

I went into it knowing that there probably wasn’t a big market for my work, but I figured I’d make my money back and learn something from the whole festival-selling experience.  And I picked it because I’d have help from my family and I could afford to not make my money back.

We had to wait on the street for a while before we were allowed to set up. It was longer I think than was planned, because we got an apology later in the day, but I didn’t have a whole lot of heavy stuff to set up. So while I was not happy to be awake and on the street at 6:15am, there was free coffee and my dad was with me and the people in our neighboring spots were really nice.

I started out feeling really good about it — my booth set-up came together and was looking like it did in my head (mostly). Not having really tried it out before-hand I was a bit nervous, but my frames with hinges and clothespins actually worked. I was a bit proud of myself on that one.

Throughout the day, the things that garnered the most attention were the two Smith-Corona typewriters I brought with me from my husbands collection. I had planned on propping up some paper pieces in between the keys, but it was too windy. In fact, my whole display had to constantly be re-arranged and fiddled with (particularly the frame) because of the wind. People kept either pointing them out to their kids as a piece of ancient technology, or commenting on them as they passed. Then there were those who were just confused by their presence.  (One guy said “I don’t get it.” and another “Explain to me why this typewriter is here.” So weird.)

Early in the day, my family stopped by to say hello and my sister-in-law made a few purchases. Then occasionally a person would stop and look and then comment “That sure is different.” or “Interesting.” And then finally, a woman who does cross stitch came by and bought one. That was awesome and I met my goal of selling something to a stranger.

Later on in the day, a gentleman came through and stood for a moment considering all the work and then said to me, “I don’t want to offend you, but what are you doing here? This is actual art.” And I was elated. He started out wanting to by one, then two and then six. Then, instead of me firing up the Square and processing his purchase that way, he left and went down the street to the bank. Through all of this, I was alone in the booth. My family had gone back home to rest for a while and my husband, the kids and my mother-in-law had arrived, kissed me hello and went to get food. They came back just after my dream customer left for the bank. I was putting things together and marking down what he had picked out (and writing him a thank you note!) when they came back. My husband was cautiously optimistic for me. I think he was wondering if the guy was coming back.  But come back he did and he bought three more for a total of nine!

It was seriously the best feeling I had all day (and I’m still a bit smiley about it). He snapped up almost all my favorites. When he left, I had to take one of the two tables down and this is all I brought home:

At some point after lunch, the crowd turned from grown ups who might actually spend some money, to teenagers who were just gathering in clumps and being rowdy and I hate to say it, a little suspect. Plus, people were again confused and started picking up and looking at the books and not the embroidery. I got tired of saying, “The books aren’t actually for sale.” So we packed it up a half an hour early and headed out. Plus, I was tired and starving.

It’s going to probably be my first and last arts festival for a long time. So much work, and I got lucky — seriously lucky. I have a kernel of a new idea brewing, so we’ll see where it goes!

It was a rainy (the first in a really long time) day today. After my usual Sunday trip to the farmers market, I got to work on finishing up three more small 4″ hoops*. I have to say, I am immensely pleased with how they turned out. So pleased in fact, that I started planning out a few larger hoops.

I always like to have a few things going at one time; if I get frustrated with a geometric piece, I can do a more flowing doodle-y piece, for instance. The second piece that I had been working on today was a sampler of sorts on a random piece of paper I had floating around. The paper though was proving to be a bit more tricky to work with than my trusty math book. A tiny bit less pliable and more, well, papery. And then this happened:

If you can’t see it, that’s a rip right down the length of the last blanket stitch I was working. I have at times been able to hide a minor rip, tear, or other mistake, but this one was too big and my line of stitching too regular to hide it so that’s that for this trial. I’ll be able to use the other half of the page for something smaller, but regardless, I’m totally bummed. It was starting to look nice. One of the hazards of working on paper and not fabric. A hazard that has hampered me in the past (being scared of making a mistake and so not doing something), but I have been really trying to push past that feeling. So I’ll just be glad that I was only halfway through the piece and not almost finished.



*At some point, I will take proper photos with a real camera and not just my iPhone.

&Stitches blog button

So remember back when I said that January had always been good to me?

Well one of those awesome things that happened back in January was that the lovely Nicole of Follow the White Bunny asked if I’d contribute to the eZine, &Stitches,  that she and the equally lovely Carina started. Of course I said yes!

Issue 2 of &Stitches is out today, and in it you will find a tutorial and little doodle by yours truly. There’s lots of other goodness inside, so go buy it! You will not regret it.

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