Lily of the Valley

A few years ago, I did a round robin project with a group of internet-friends.  This was the piece that I selected for the round robin, a kit entitled Lily of the Valley by The Drawn Thread.  There are a few different drawn thread techniques in this one, but nothing too daunting.  I love the silk threads in it.  The round robin ended in 2010, but unfortunately the green silk fiber ran out before this was completed.  I wrote to The Drawn Thread, and they happily sent me more.  But by then I was preparing to move and all of my needlework ended up packed away for the next 3 years.  I pulled everything out this spring, and I finished this piece.  I’m so happy that I finally did. It hangs in our kitchen and cheers me every day.

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Orts and Ends

ort
ôrt/
noun

archaicdialect
plural noun: orts
  1. a scrap or remainder of food from a meal.

I first heard the word as applied to needlework.  Orts . . . . the scraps or remainders of fibers when stitching . . . what do you do with them?  Many years ago, a fellow stitcher gave me an ort container made from an old margarine tub.  But at my stitching spot I like to keep my orts in a pretty piece of pottery from Blue Ridge Pottery.  In the spring, I spread the orts in the bushes around the house so that birds can use them in their nests.

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What do you do with your orts?

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Treasure Hunting

For more than a decade, I have searched and wished for an old spool cabinet.  I have found plenty on ebay and occasionally in antique shops, but they have always been price prohibitive. Yesterday my husband and I stopped by our local antique shop (Kelly’s Real Deals) looking for a small side table, and I stumbled upon the treasure I had been seeking . . . a lovely old J&P Coats thread cabinet.  It was mostly buried under a pile of china, a walking cane, candleholders, a brass scale, and other odds and ends.  After excavating it from the pile and checking it out thoroughly, I made my negotiations with the proprietor and loaded it up in the car.

Keep in mind that Kelly’s is basically a barn, and the items you find there are by no means picture perfect refinished antiques.  That’s part of what I love about it.

Here is my find right after I brought it home:

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and after some basic cleaning:

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It has 4 drawers and the top is hinged and opens up.  I covered the black insert in the top with a piece of black fabric, and I lined the drawers and inside the top with blue felt.

I will spend a little time researching this, but I know these cabinets were made for merchants starting in about 1877.  J&P Coats merged with Clark in 1952.  So this cabinet would have to date somewhere in that range.  I’d love to narrow it down further.  The knobs on the lower left drawer are replacements, but the others are original.  The labels on the drawers are original.  The one that is rubbed off would have said “Best”.  You can buy new labels for these, but I intend to leave everything original.

I will probably use a little wax paste on the wood to condition it a little, but for the most part I plan to leave this as-is.  I can’t wait to fill it with needlework supplies!

Updated Oct 8, 2014:

I cleaned the piece a second time and used a paste wax on it.  LOVE the final outcome.

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Texture study

I don’t even remember when I did this piece of needlework . . . probably BC (before children).  I recall that the intent was a study in textures.  There are only two stitches repeated in this design, but the fibers vary from cottons to silks to wools to metallics, giving the piece a lovely variety in texture.  I keep this box on my desk at work to store post-it notes and other odds and ends.

 

texture

Manga

Back to my talented daughter Riley.  She is very much into manga (Japanese  comics) and enjoys creating drawings in the manga style.  She is FAR more talented than I am in drawing.  These two pieces decorate my office at work.

This elf was done with a combination of colored pencils and markers.

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Here Riley was experimenting with movement.  This was done with Copic markers (except the jacket, which is Spectrum Noir).  I bought the Copics for my use, but Riley frankly gets way more out of them than I do.

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