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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

There is a poem that I read in a magazine in the mid 1970's.  I never forgot it and thought I'd pass it along so you can enjoy its message as well.
A Tale of Two Trees
by Alice E. Chase
Inside the forest straight and tall the biggest evergreen of all
Spread its giant branches wide and preened itself with snobbish pride
Thinking, "What a sight I'll be when I become a Christmas tree!
Dressed in tinsel all aglow with colored lights that come and go.
I'll be the season's biggest hit, there isn't any doubt of it!"
Not far away a little tree crouched in deep humility
With scrawny branches, twisted trunk, no wonder its morale was sunk
It knew it didn't stand a chance of rating one admiring glance
It thought, "The kind of shape I've got I'll never make it to the lot!
And even if I did who'd buy and ugly little tree like I?"
The woodsmen came to cut and fell the trees they thought would surely sell
Of course the evergreen so tall went crashing downward first of all
And when the job was nearly done a woodsman spied the little one
"This tree looks like it's nearly dead.  I'll finish it" was what he said
The tree came down with just one blow and laid rejected in the snow
By the strangest stroke of luck somebody tossed it on the truck
Which took it to the lot to be displayed like any other tree
At first it tried its very best to straighten up and meet the test
When all the mothers and the dads walked by with little girls and lads
But no one looked or seemed to care or even noticed it was there
Meanwhile, the giant evergreen with head held high had left the scene
Certain it was soon to grace some very grand, exciting place
The other trees went one by one till finally when day was done
Broken hearted and bereft the little tree alone was left
Feeling more and more forlorn it wondered why it had been born
Then suddenly, as if on cue, a small boy wandered into view
His jeans were tattered, his shirt was torn, his shoes were old and badly worn
He looked around and shook his head, "I guess I'm just too late," he said
And then he saw the little tree, "there IS one left," he said, "Oh, Gee!"
He paid a quarter for his prize and took it home with starry eyes
He set it up with tender care and though its scrawny limbs were bare
Of ornaments and lights and such, it really didn't matter much
Because in that poor home it found, shining faces all around
And voices raised in childish glee, saying, "What a pretty tree!"
No longer did it feel forlorn for now it knew why it was born!
And what about the tree so tall, the one that towered over all?
It really didn't fare too well, standing in a posh hotel
Because the people passing through had more important things to do
Than take the time to stop and gaze and shower it with words of praise
And once divested of its pride it slowly shriveled up and died

We'd like to think the little tree lived on and on in memory
Because it proved without a doubt what life's really all about
For if we can fulfill a need, we reach the greatest heights indeed!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Hello fellow stitchers,
            I had planned to insert a Thanksgiving photo to the greeting, but for some reason, which I've yet to figure out, Blogger is not allowing me to upload photos.  So my heartfelt Happy Thanksgiving header is all I can do -- UPDATE:  I figured it out!  Happy Thanksgiving!

            On another note, for those who purchased the kit for the 2013 Mayflower Sampler Guild's Annual Christmas Ornament, I have a correction to make to the instructions.  There is a difference in the over one section of the chart between the "master chart" and the "ship detail" chart.  The "ship detail" chart shows the over one section stitched as I stitched it on my model.  The "master chart" has an alternate over one section  for those who are not fond of over one stitching -- it has less.  I forgot to mention it in my chart instructions and apologize for any confusion this may have caused. Stitched either way, you will still have a lovely ornament.
            If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at
Yours in friendship & stitches,

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Hello fellow stitchers,
             I can hardly believe how quickly the time has gone since we started this Stitch-a-Long for my first published design, “A Maryland Inspiration”.  I’d like to thank Ellen Chester, an incredible designer, teacher, and most importantly, a dear friend, for asking me if I’d be interested in having my design be one of the choices for the 2013 SALs.  As I stated when we first started, I’m very new to all of this, so I hope I didn’t confuse anyone too much with my inexperience.  It has definitely built my confidence, helped to prepare me for future teaching projects, and opened doors to many opportunities to design and teach exclusive projects for several upcoming venues.
            If you’ve been able to keep up with the stitching schedule, your Maryland Inspiration should be complete except for the Diamond Eyelets in sets of four at the top of the sampler in the alphabet band.  I purposely saved those for last so you can stitch them all at the same time which will aid in your tension being consistent throughout.  Below is a diagram of the stitch with the sequence numbered.  As stated, if you stitch in hand as I do, you should use a hoop for this part of the sampler. It will keep your fabric taut and make it much easier to see the holes.
If you should have any questions regarding any portion of the sampler, please do not hesitate to contact me and I will help in any way I can.
            It has been a real pleasure leading this SAL and I most appreciate the helpful suggestions and alerts to chart errors, as well as all of the complimentary emails I received through the year.  Have a wonderful holiday season and please send me pictures of your finished samplers when you have the time.  I'd love to post them on my blog to inspire other's to get theirs completed.  And, again, a big thanks to Ellen for all of her support and encouragement.
                    Yours in friendship and stitches,

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Hello fellow stitchers,
               Fall is definitely in the air here in Delaware and I am so looking forward to the wonderful colors of the foliage. By far, it is my favorite season, especially since my birthday is on Halloween, and that makes me a "Stitch Witch"!
               Well, it looks like we are getting close to the finish line for this sampler. I hope you’ve all been able to keep up, but don’t worry or be discouraged if you haven’t. I know it is a big sampler, but the end result will be well worth the effort. Since this was my first time leading a SAL for my own design, I would appreciate any input you can give me on how I did with the monthly stitching schedule, stitch and assignment diagrams, and instructions. Let me know where I need improvement – any suggestions would be most welcome.
               This month’s assignment is to stitch the rest of the verse and to add the flowers to the vine at the bottom (dianthus and honeysuckles). You will also stitch the pineapple motif and the two birds. Last month’s assignment contained a close up section of the chart for the pineapple and the honeysuckle. Just in case you missed it, I will include it again.  The eyelets in the pineapple use Belle Soie "Cinnamon Stick" for the dark eyelets, and Belle Soie "Butterscotch" for the light eyelets.  I suggest that if you stitch in hand, a hoop will make it much easier to control your tension and see more clearly the linen threads, while doing the over one stitching as well as the eyelets used for the pineapple.

               As always, if you have a question, please feel free to email me at and I will do my best to help you. Have a spooky good time on Halloween and don’t eat too much candy.
                           Yours in friendship and stitches,

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Happy Fall!
My Favorite Season of the Year

Hello everyone,
            My newest design, the "Norfolk Diligence" sampler, will be released in mid-October, so I thought I would give you a preview before I take it to the framer.  I've always loved Norfolk samplers and was drawn to a particular antique I found on the Antique Samplers site.  That sampler is the Mary Taylor sampler, stitched in 1734.  It is a little different than the more common Norfolk style as it is a band sampler, but I loved the border so much I thought I would design something based on the antique.  I hope you like my modern inspiration of the original.
It contains several specialty stitches, but nothing too difficult.  As usual, I stitched mine with Belle Soie, but will have a conversion to NPI and DMC with the chart.  If you are interested in purchasing the chart, contact your favorite needlework shop and they can pre-order it for you.   Here is a picture of the antique that inspired my design:
Have a wonderful fall!
                                                                                                               Yours in friendship and stitches,

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Hello fellow stitchers,
            We’ve had a small taste of fall for a few days here in Delaware and I am so looking forward to when the crisp cool air and fall foliage are here for real. Autumn is my favorite season of the year!
            We are getting close to the finish line for this SAL and I hope you’ve been able to keep up. I’ve received several email regarding the color of the stamens on the honeysuckles so I am attaching a color picture of that portion of the chart. I am also attaching a color picture of the chart containing the pineapple. It is stitched with Belle Soie's Cinnamon Stick (dark eyelet) and Butterscotch (light eyelet).

This month we are moving on to the right side of the house where we will begin stitching the fence, trees, and birds, as well as the butterfly. (See diagram 1)

Diagram 1

You will also stitch the next 3 layers of grass (under the grass portion you stitched last month). Follow the same directions for the fence and cardinals as you did last month for the left hand side of the sampler.
            Although you do not have to finish the entire thing, this month I’d also like you to start stitching the verse. It is stitched over one thread using NPI 993 (black). I find it easier to stitch over one when I use a hoop. It is easier to see the linen threads, especially on 40 ct. linen.
            As always, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me at 
Yours in friendship and stitches,

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Hello fellow stitchers,
            I hope you are all having a wonderful summer, and for those plagued with the heat wave, I hope you are staying cool as well.
            If you’ve been able to keep up with the stitching schedule, then you know the end is in sight! This month’s schedule is to stitch the steps on the house, the first layer of grass, the fence, trees, cardinals and butterfly on the left hand side of the house. The stairs and the fence will go quickly by doing them in the Closed Herringbone Stitch. They are stitched using Belle Soie’s "Walk the Plank". See Diagram 1.
            Always go in one direction for the steps and fence, stitching from left to right on the stairs, and top to bottom on the fence. The Closed Herringbone gives the fence a nice texture and helps it to stand out more. I learned this stitch from Ellen Chester’s beautiful design, "Cherished Workes Sewing Set" and it has become my all time favorite. You’ll find it used in just about everything I design.
            We are going to start this stitch with the stairs – they are stitched up four threads and over two threads. See Diagram 2.

            Next we’ll move on to the first layer of grass. This is stitched in regular cross stitch and can be boring, but if you haven’t caught up to the stitching schedule, now would be a good time to alternate your stitching between the catch up stitching and the grass. It will be less monotonous that way.
            Okay, now on to the fence. You’ll notice that the fence does not meet the grass, except where the posts are. The closed herringbone for the fence is done vertically (see Diagram 3). Each square counts as 1 thread. You’ll follow the same sequence you used for the steps, except now you will be stitching it vertically instead of horizontally, and going over two threads instead of four.
            Now we’ll move on to the trees, cardinals and butterfly. You’ll notice that a section of the tree trunk is under the fence. It is easy to overlook so I thought I would mention it just in case. After the trees are stitched you will stitch the cardinals. The first two coming in from the left are stitched as charted. The third (in the square – do not stitch the square) is done the same as the first two, but you will follow up with Cinnamon Stick in a half cross over the previously stitched full cross done in Sister Scarlet. This is the female cardinal and her feathers are more of a rust brown than a bright red as in the male. After you’ve finished stitching the cardinals, move on to the butterfly. This is also done in straight cross stitch so no special instructions are needed here.
            Well, I hope this month’s assignment is not too much. Like I said earlier, if you are caught up with all the stitching assignments, the end is very close in sight! As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at and I will do my best to help you.
            Enjoy the rest of your summer and stay cool!

Yours in friendship and stitches,