Prairie Schooler Santas

I love the annual Santa designs from Prairie Schooler. This piece was stitched as a round robin with a group of friends in real life and online, probably at least 15 years ago.  This piece brings back a funny little memory . . . . When my youngest child was a baby & I was home on maternity leave, one of our cats brought a baby bird into the house and let it go still alive.  When our dog Buddy spied the bird, he launched himself across the room at full speed and slammed into the wall.  The force of him knocked this framed needlework and a glass lantern off of the wall, sending both crashing to the floor into a mass of broken glass.  Meanwhile I was simultaneously trying to deal with a crying baby, a bird on the loose, and a frantic dog.  It was a scene worthy of I Love Lucy.  Eventually I caught the bird, calmed the dog, and cleaned up the glass.  But 13 years later, I still haven’t replaced the glass in this frame.  I really should replace it to protect the needlework.  But it is a funny memory in hindsight.

Prairie Schooler Santas

 

Home is a place filled with love and laughter

In the late 1980s, my mother, Sandra Gentry, started this cross-stitch design. In time, arthritis made stitching too painful to continue. She passed along the partially completed needlework to me. Years passed as I set aside needlework in the 2000s when my children were small. In 2014, in anticipation of Mom and Dad’s 50th wedding anniversary, I completed the piece.

I love you Mom and Dad, and I want to thank you for a home of love & laughter!

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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