Saturday, July 21, 2012

A Cat's Life

My cat is strange. She does not like the hot summer months at all. Nor does she like the sounds of Summer including the predominance of barking dogs and laughing children, the roar of the air conditioner or the drone of the electric fan. She really doesn't like the heat either and won't sit on my lap for any length of time during the Summer months. However,  she will still spend a substantial amount of time lounging upstairs in the hottest part of the house. I don't understand this behavior. I guess I just don't think like a cat. I don't ever want to be in the hottest part of the house. Set me up with a glass of Riesling in front of the strongest fan in the house with my feet up and my head back and I'm a happy camper!

When Ruby does sleep downstairs she has taken over the chair where I display a lot of my cross stitched pillows. In fact, she has claimed the lovely pillow that I received in an exchange from Tina C .In fact,  she loves to rest her tiny head on top of the pillow, thereby depositing a fair amount of her wispy black and white fur on the lovely stitching...sigh...

Here she is in all her glory...Miss Ruby...depositing all her cat hair on my pillows. Thank goodness for lint rolls! She is an amazing cat of the smartest and most talkative cats I've ever had. She knows she is not allowed to go outside, so the other day when I came home with groceries I didn't make sure the screen door latched properly. I busied myself in the kitchen putting items away when I heard Ruby in the other room meowing pitifully. It was a completely different mewing sound then her normal meow so I went to investigate. She was nodding to the open door and meowing successively. She looked at me and then nudged the screen door slightly. She knew that this was a no-no and intent on telling me that the door was open--and that I needed to fix it!

Anyways, on the stitching front I have been busy! I have put Miss Snow down temporarily to work on the tea exchange. As I mentioned I designed my own pattern and am now stitching furiously to get it done as soon as possible. I can't show a pic of it yet but its coming along nicely!

I can show a pic of the completed section of Lizzie Kate's Very Scary Mystery sampler. I had a blast with this design and am anxiously awaiting the next release of part 2! The little motifs are so cute and it stitched up quickly! I love the color of the linen which is Weeks Dye Works 35ct Tin Roof. The colors of the floss work so nicely together with the hue of the fabric.

Apologies for the shadow on the left side. I must stop taking pics during the nighttime hours. I will see if I can retake this picture and replace it with a better one. For now this will give you an idea of what it looks like.

One more project to show you; I have updates on my pen and ink drawing. I have not spent a lot of time on it lately which vexes me. I wanted to get this picture done, along with one other this Summer because I will be starting classes again in the Fall: consequently I will not get much creative work done. I should have started the painting by now. I do have some days off of work coming up so my strategy is to get the painitng done and perhaps a drawing started for the 3rd-- and final house in the Salem series. Wish me luck!

Again, not the best of pics because of the shadows. I must retake these photos!  Anyhow, thank you for reading my blog and leaving such lovely comments!  Next post I will be sharing some photos of a doll I commissioned from a friend of mine. She turned out wonderfully!

Brightest Blessings!

Beth B.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Think you could stay the night??

Oh my Heavens it's hot outside! And yes, heat is relative. I've learned that from my husband-- who used to live in Kuwait. According to him the hot and humid weather we've been recently experiencing in New York-- anywhere from 85 to 95 degrees; is cool!  I just roll my eyes and crank the fan higher...
( My hubby says I am very good at giving him "the look" which I gave him just after he uttered that word; "cool". I just smiled and replied " I've had lots of practice")

I wanted to share some of the photos we took on our mini vacation to Hartford Connecticut and Fall River Massachusetts. Well...actually I didn't take any pictures of Hartford. I've been there so often now that every building is inscribed into my memory. But we took an unexpected excursion into Fall River Mass. Does the name Fall River ring any bells with anyone , especially my American co-patriots? ---Disclaimer: Apologies to those of a sensitive  nature. If you don't like being scared or murder mysteries feel free to skip this post.----

This name should jog your memory but if not here's a hint:

 "Lizzie Borden took an axe
And gave her mother forty whacks.
When she saw what she had done
She gave her father forty-one."

Just a few years after London England reeled from the rampage of a crazed serial killer-- by the moniker of Jack the Ripper-- a small New England town was in the throes of the chaotic trial  of a young, well-to-do axe-wielding, Church-going Victorian woman  accused of murdering her parents. If you aren't familiar with the story, or need a refresher, you can read the whole story here

Yes, we went to the notorious site of those brutal murders committed over 100 years ago. Believe it or not the house where The Borden's lived has been turned into a museum, gift store and an expensive Bed and Breakfast. Just how expensive?  Well... check it out here.

This is the house is unassuming. It's really quite small on the inside. The rooms are tiny and while they are tastefully appointed there is nothing extravagant. The current owners have tried to recreate the way the Borden's decorated, based on photos that were taken during the time period.  Actually, it looks rather out of place on the street. All around it there are large city buildings and offices. This is the only house nearby. It gives the appearance that this is the only small part of the city where time has stood still.

 This is me and my wonderful hubby Kal. When this photo was snapped we had just completed out tour of the house and enjoying some fresh air. With all the fellow tourists the house was very cramped!  I can't imagine that four people--The Borden's: that included Abby, Andrew, Emma and Lizzie; lived in that house with the stifling heat that occurred the summer of the murders. No wonder someone snapped....
 And in case you thought I was neglecting my love of needlework in this is a stitchery piece that reads "What is a home without a father?" I can certainly attest the the current owners' sense of dark humor and irony!

 And yes, I am sharing pictures of the rooms where the murders occurred. This is the room where Lizzie's step-mother Abby was killed in.  While she was making the bed someone slipped behind her and gave her 18 blows with an axe.
And this is the sitting room where Andrew Borden breathed his last. Of course, the sofa is a reproduction and not the actual scene of the crime, although it does look like the one in the original crime scene photograph...hmmmmm....

Despite the macabre nature of the excursion it was quite a memorable trip. I've always had a fascination with the Lizzie Borden case, partly because my mother taught me the famous rhyme that she and her friends would recite when they played skip rope as youngsters--but also because I remember seeing my idol Elizabeth Montgomery (from the TV show Bewitched fame) playing Lizzie in a movie in the 70's. Coincidentally, Lizzie and Elizabeth were actually cousins. How weird is that?

Additionally I love the Victorian time period and enjoy reading the history of the era. For instance the tour guide mentioned that the section the Borden's lived in was predominately Irish. The Irish at that time were considered thugs, criminals and unsavory company for the refined sensibilities of a wealthy English family like the Bordens. Apparently, back then it was considered ill form for the English and the Irish to  mingle--even in the "New World". In fact, the Borden sisters never married because they could not fraternize with the Irish lads that comprised the majority of the neighborhood. In order to find appropriate suitors, Mr. Borden would have needed to move the family to the "fashionable" English side of town--which he refused to do because he was allegedly too miserly.

And to address your question--since I know your anxious to know: would I ever stay overnight at the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast?  I will reply in a quick and resounding: "No"!!!!! The house was creepy and gave off an oppressive feeling. It looked beautiful but I felt anxious in the house and couldn't wait to get out. Although I know the history of the house alone could jump start my active imagination I did not get the feeling that was the only cause of my unease. I have never witnessed a ghost nor experienced anything that could be construed as paranormal..but I remain open minded. Just because I haven't experienced something doesn't mean it doesn't exist. However, I won't truly believe until I have actually experienced something tangible. I'm perfectly happy to remain unconvinced.

Monday, July 9, 2012

A wink and a jig

My I have been a negligent blogger!  It's been too long between posts!  I have no excuse, is Summer in the Northeastern United States. Since we don't get a lot of warm sunny weather,  Yankees such as myself need to take advantage of it when we get it!  I've still been stitching on and off this season, so I do have some progress on My Lady of the Snow--but that will wait for a bit!

First...I want to show you what I received from my first "official" exchange package from the group "Stitched with love exchanges". The theme was "favorite things" so we received a form filled out with all favorite things for our stitching recipient. Tina C. got my name and she did such a wonderful job stitching and putting my package together!  I love everything...especially the pillow she stitched for me! I love houses, flowers and the colors pink, rose and garnet!

 Isn't it lovely?  I fell in love with it the moment I saw it! Below is the exchange in all of it's glory:

I received lots of goodies from England (I was thrilled) including a Cadbury chocolate bar made in Tina's hometown of Birmingham and some British style Starbursts. Ummm..sadly, they did not make it to the photo shoot. I wish I could blame my husband because he is the one who... that sample them as soon as I unwrapped them. Unfortunately the blame won't stick because I ate most of it-- but I did share some with him. So I'm not entirely selfish!

I was thrilled to receive a Queen's Jubilee commemorative thimble set as well!  I never thought I would have a souvenir from her gala! At any rate, if you are reading this Tina..thank you so very much! I appreciate and love everything!

I had such a fabulous tie putting together the last exchange that I am joining another one sponsored by Stitched with love. This time the theme is something near and dear to my heart---tea!!! I am going to have so much fun with this. Not only am I going to put my designing skills to work: by designing an original pattern, but I will also put some of my rusty and neglected crafting skills to work as well. I can't wait to see what I come up with!!

This is a picture of the pillow I stitched for my partner June-- in England. She indicated that she liked seasonal designs so I picked this free Summer design from Jardin Prive: it is, the update on Miss Snow:

Only 678, 985 more stitches to go!  No'll be done in a wink and a jig. Bwahahaha....sigh...

That's it for now but I'll be back soon with pictures from my vacation in New England and a new project. Thank you for reading and leaving your lovely comments!

Brightest Blessings!

Beth B.