Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Pictures for you.....and two cents


My Easter flowers....daffodils and jonquils......are up and are blooming beautifully just a week after my last two cents.  Sadly they won't be around by Easter, but they give us all the joy of the time and hope of good things to come.  I love spring....waking things up.....and fall.....putting them to bed.

How nice to live so close....to hear them yelling at each other!
One day after school, Abby and the boys arrived to chat with me and here are some shots of them....

Last Thursday I went to the shop and stitched a bit back in the framing area....It is so interesting the people I see and get to chat with......Ann, who first found us on Rt. 1, followed us to Olde Ridge Village, and now to Springwater Plaza.  I was working on the octagonal box that I have shared with you (and now have completed actually) and while stitching  I stuck my finger with the needle and blood!!!! on my stitching no less... Remembering my Girl Scout days, I took some of my "spit" and put it on the spot and in just a few seconds it was gone.  Our saliva is the best thing to remove the stain of blood and it is real handy!!

Schoolgirl Sampler by Blue Ribbon

Beth stitched this piece as I mentioned and completed it in 2010.  Before starting on an octagonal box by Blue Ribbon...Hand to Work and Hearts to God.....I did get this one she'd done completed .  It is at the shop.

On the last Friday at 9:00,
 actually 8:45 a.m.  I big bus from Perkiomen agency...spelling may not be correct, arrived for the annual visit to the shop.  Some 30 ladies load up somewhere and make the trek to our shop, the quilt shop at ORV, and on to other places around Lancaster.  As I've mentioned many times, we are located and live and a very historical area just west of Philadelphia and have much to enjoy and visit......from museums to gardens.....to quilt shops and counted cross stitch......knitting....take your pick.  
I am always blessed with the opportunity to go out, meet the bus, and greet the ladies....and driver.  They are always to kind.  I share with them how much it means to us that they have taken their time and money to come visit us......a counted cross stitch shop, and other shops around the area.  The small retail shopowner welcomes the times that others help us remember why we unlock the door each morning.  We had a great visit.....some returnees....and some new people......thanks a bunch for making our day!!!!!

Check out the border......remember my "compensation"
I have completed Token of Love that I had been working on and it is in the shop now.....this was a delightful piece that I used the overdyed checked fabric that I mentioned earlier.  I used the same fabric for the strawberries....put a couple of layers of fiberfill between front and back before I closed up the bottom.

Oh yes, after the bus left,  and I recalled the comments about how nice it was to see so many models and everything to pick from.......I thought here again we strive to make a difference to encourage others to use their hands and be creative.  Must admit, we are a bunch of "re-creators" most of the time, wanting to do it just like we see it hanging on the wall.  But do your own thing with color and fabric.....take a chance!!!!

I guess I will post this for now and perhaps add more later.  I heard on the radio by our local Dr . Bryan McDonough that chocolate was good to help you lose weight.....works on the BMI.  Oh yes, in small amounts.......but maybe chocolate with caramel is good too.   All the Easter candy....I have to put my hands in my pockets as I go through the stores.   

I'm not sure you can tell from the picture above at the top, but my Christmas tree which stands inside the barn doors right under the Moravian star, has a purple cloth tied to the handles......this is the season of Lent.  The tree lights are not on, just the star, and the spotlight shines at night.  On Sunday, the lights will come on as Palm Sunday brings the arrival of Jesus to Jerusalem and such excitement.  Good Friday......I always wonder why it is "Good Friday", but the lights go out, the black cloth is tied to the handles.....and sadness is indicated.  But early on Sunday morning, EASTER, I'll stretch the white cloth......lights all on.....
"He's alive"......BELIEVE.
My knowledge that God loves me in each and every moment comes from my Christian faith and my Bible as I think of all the stories of Jesus that I learned as a child and continue to learn.  Grow me up Lord , I say.  And He says,  "Rest in Me..........and girl.....JUST PEDAL
I just had the joy of singing the Requiem with my church choir on Sunday the 18th.....what a moving service. There is so much that challenges each of us every day and as I've said before how important it is to lean on one another and share.  I recall many years ago in a moment of severe depression that I yelled at God after I saw a bird just flying over my head.....not a care in the world it seemed....and I told the Big Boss, that if He knew that bird was flying over God provided for him.as the Bible stories go.....why couldn't He fix me up.  My faith was mightily stretched for many months......but in time I think He got through to me.  Google the words JUST PEDAL... this has become my mantra lately.....I have a picture story in my head of sitting on the back seat...often still trying to run the show.....
and He so kindly looks back and says,"  Just Pedal, Ruth Ellen"

Love to you......Happy Easter (Easta as they say in Boston)........and always take the time to 

Make a Difference..

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

It's like the South...Carolinas


I have a few daffodils .....or as Mom always called them...."Easter flowers"  .  Each Easter morning she cut buckets of those beautiful yellow flowers and carried them to church.  At the foot of the cross in front of church the children would come get a flower and put it somewhere in the mesh that had been attached to the cross.  I have a picture of her with her red shoes on helping a little boy place his flower on the cross.  Under the picture is written.....

A Living Testament
Eleanor Ott helps a boy place a flower on the cross outside St. Andrews United Methodist Church on 20th Street in Parkersburg Sunday Morning.  Members of the St.Andrews congregation  and residents of the neighborhood filled the Easter cross with daffodils, jonquils and hyacinth in celebration of the holy day. 

I have been stitching away......finishing Token of Love and just about ready to get it together and to the shop.  It is on 32ct. lambswool and I am using the overdyed red checked fabric for the back and for the strawberries.  Work in progress......it is nice!

This is a shot of the cover .....I hope it shows.  It has two strawberries....what else...hanging from the corner  to the right  .
I not sure how to finish the edges. The picture above is with the checked  fabric folded like a binding and then I'll have to miter the corners....stuff it with something before I close it up.

I'm going to use the checked fabric for the berries.

When I complete something for the shop....I walk around and look for something else to do next.  Sometimes they "ask me" to stitch this or that....sometimes I do and sometimes not.  Well looking around I found this new Blue Ribbon chart with finishing on a Shaker box.....and the words are
Hands to work.......Hearts to God
This is the words that 4-H groups symbolize.....I remember 4-H from West Virginia.  
Do they look similar. ....
I thought I really like this so gathered the "stuff" to get started.  As I began I thought, "It seems to me that Beth stitched something from Blue Ribbon that was delightful.." ....but couldn't remember it being finished. After poking around in the drawers here and there, sure enough I found her beautiful stitching  and made up my mind that I'd do this first and then work on the other.  It is almost done.....the directions are very good, but think it might be a good thing to offer a simple "watch me do this" so you can learn some tricks to finishing.  I will bring it Friday night to Stitching at the Ford for you to have a look.

Beth does a beautiful job laying out her work....basting threads.Lower left says   BED   2010

The inside of the box.....the sea

Now some more pics of as you go.    The sides of the box are now sewn together yet....just basted.

Now maybe I'll get ready for Hands to Work....Hearts to God

 Yet another find.....and something you will love!

I have enough lights .....from over the years.....to have one in each room and yet this one above has become my very favorite.  It is called Mighty Bright.  It doesn't stand quite as high as the Dazor or ...Ott-Lite....notice that label....I was an Ott for a long time....still am...
Now the other day while at the shop.....Lisa who is "just the framer" wakes me up to yet another thing I like about it.......It can be plugged in.....or it runs on 3 D batteries.  I like that feature as I tend to move stuff around alot.  It is also reasonably priced at about $100. It has LED lights....and very pliable "neck" or post.  Sometimes I put it between my legs in front of my chair.   

Some other shots

I'm going to close while I think this is working correctly.  During my years of challenges and survivals I recalls some of the most meaningful gifts of words that others have given me...one below is special

Please give me a few friends
Who will love me as I am
And keep ever lit before me 
A light of hope
So that if I do not come within 
the castle of my dreams
I will still be happy
with the life God has given me!

And I have been given those few friends and so much hope that even tho it wasn't supposed to be like this when I got big  (The title of the book I will write one day)....I can still hope, meet the challenges, and gain strength I need from God as others share the load.....the bricks I call it.
The girls at the shop are like family....we share with each other...and many of our friends who come thru that door looking for something to keep their hands busy.....because of the challenges they are encountering......leave with hope having shared a few bricks to unload the weight of it all.

MAKE A DIFFERENCE........share the love when sometimes it is not too easy...and remember that God uses each one of us on this journey through life.....even if we don't really know Him.  
This too is written on my heart....

Jesus loves me.....this I know for the Bible tells me so.
He won't dump me, abandon me, or reject me!   He's there at my lowest and highest moments.  And when I go to bed at night...I know for sure that he is in charge and I can sleep.


Friday, March 2, 2012


Out the back deck watching the swans!!!
It is now March.....actually the 2nd, our Jimmy B's 11th birthday.  I called Abby and reminded her of what we were up to 11 years ago.  I always called my mother on my birthday to ask her what she was doing.....years ago.  This year when i turned 70, I called Dad and asked him what he'd been doing that many years ago.  "Oh, I think I was holding a little girl and trying to get her to cry!"  Born at my grandparents home, it was different.  He has told me that my head was so pointed from pulling me out.....that he wasn't sure all was going to be so good.  Never fear, Dad!  JB had a challenging birth, but good to hit baseballs a "fer piece" and whack the window of the barn.  

DAFFODILS....no yellow blooms yet

When I taught school.....in the early 60's...I had a bunch of 6 year olds, and as soon as the pussy willow began to pop...... I'd come in every year singing......

Spring is coming, spring is coming
How do you think I know?
I saw some pussywillow, 
I know it must be so. 

Sitting here at the computer I can see the birds at the feeder. If I were fast enough I'd get a picture of the cardinals, he and she, sitting on the fence rail waiting for the big red headed woodpecker to move on.  What a sight.  The swans on the lake, just the two, have kept the geese off the lake.  They are pretty to watch, the geese, and to see the babies come, but they like to eat and........in the yard.  Well, tried to get a picture....and guess what, they vamoosed.

Promise of Spring.....it's coming even tho we've hardly had winter!!!
I just finished a model called "Promise of Spring"  by Silver Creek Samplers.  Lise and I were both working on it and mine is ready to be framed.  It is stitched on 32ct. overdyed linen which you will have to find out about from Beth.....lost my plastic bag....enjoy.  Looks a little on the pink side here in the photo, but it is really a nice blue gray.

Here is where I am now having completed the border and the words
Next........Token of Love a Redwork Sampler Pillow by Pineberry Lane.  I'm stitching this on 32ct. lambswool and getting near completion.   Since I gave you that round of "compensating" in an earlier blog I will point out to you some compensating that I did on this piece.  I started in the center with the tip of the flower there, and then went up to the zigzag border and worked to the right corner, turned the work upside down (always work down and toward myself.......Danish schooling)....reached the top right corner and still upside down, worked left to right toward the center, completing each stitch along the way.  When I reached the top center point, I decided to check to make sure I wasn't "off".  With the tip of my needle, I went down along the thread of the "x" that was opposite the other side.......and whoa....I was off by one stitch.!!!!!!!  Now what should I do.
A bit of correction....Corner not to top line

Error at upper right ..6 not 5 stitches

 Interestingly, I decided to go to the bottom part of the border, working upside down and to the right  (or the lower left corner when straight up), and then still with my work upside down, working that left side to the corner.  Then I went back to the top center and completed the top border to the left corner and decided .....hey if it is for me .....a model....I think I'll leave it.  I don't like to pick out 32ct . linen .

Now seeing it like this,  I think I will take out the stitches in the upper left, make 6 instead of 5, add the second dot in the corner and then I won't have to rip all of those stitches out.  So when you see it finished and in the pillow, you can have your opinion.  I think Marianne, my Danish teacher , who pushed us to "compensate" would be pleased.

The catalog from years back

This is the left side of the finished design from the catalog
This is the right side of the finished design

Well I'm not getting the layout so nicely here, but will continue on.  This is a kit by Ida Winckler which I have been working on for years.  I will try to show you bits and pieces of it.....and I am getting to the end.  In cleaning stuff out, found some things that I believe Abby stitched after her trip there in 1984 with Beth and me. We had much exposure to DHG as we traveled there and also I was involved with Danish American Days for many years down at Pawleys Island, SC

Not sure what I've done....but can't seem to get the pic up at present.  I will go ahead and publish all of this and perhaps edit some things later...9:00 pm  I finally got my shot up.
Another one of Ida Winckler's designs

Abby's stitching above

The Danish Handcraft Guild and School in Copenhagen, Denmark, has so impacted my stitching and knowledge of counted cross stitch.  Thanks to Ginnie and Ken Thompson, my life will never be the same.  I treasure every week of classes there , traveling and visiting the Danes and really getting to know another culture.....not so different from us at all.  As mentioned my first Counted Cross Stitch was purchased in Dordrecht, in the Netherlands in 1971, but it was actually a Danish kit.....Eva Rosenstand...and is my treasured first piece, a bellpull hanging in the front hall.  This kit used 6 strand floss where the Danish Handcraft Guild  (DHG) kits used flower thread.....a single length of thread that equaled two of floss.  While "cleaning out" stuff recently, I found my DHG kits, few books, some things finished and some not and decided to take some shots of them and share.  Sadly, it is very difficult to get these any longer as the powers that be in Denmark have changed.....things are different.  The pictures I will share with you, are by the designer Ida Winckler.  She was a little old lady with a delightful smile, spoke no English or little , but had her own manner of design.  At the same time we met Gerda Bengsston, another wonderful designer of flowers and much more. I hope to share some of these with you.  Little was published in books or single charts, much to our dismay, so kits were the majority of purchases everytime I went to Copenhagen.  I was there many times.........and I have a wonderful collection of designs. Here are some.

I have been stitching.....and getting ready for an outpatient round of surgery this past Monday.  Several years ago....like 5 just before getting my knees replaced... I felt my child-bearing insides let loose and pull everything else down with it.  Having had a hysterectomy many years ago, I was stunned to learn that I had a "prolapse " of the pelvic area. which allowed it to turn inside out like an old sock.  I had a wonderful surgeon who explained that this was not an uncommon thing to happen, often genetic, but resulting from large babies and the hysterectomy.  That was in 2006.  My knees got replaced by October and the following year, I headed for surgery to put that "old sock" back in place......tacking it to my tail bone and creating a  bit of discomfort, but nothing like the bulge in the bottom.  Now you might ask, "Why in the world is she telling me/us/women and men  this?"  My doctor was adamant that I take the scenario to others as it is often "swept under the rug" as "Oh, I'm just falling apart and getting old!"  Not just older women have this.....others ages as well.  We have heard of tacking up the bladder....called bladder prolapse, but I'd never heard of Pelvic Prolapse.  When it occurs it grabs the works.......vaginal wall and along with it the bladder and the bowel.  AND IT CAN BE REPAIRED!!!! thank goodness.  So perhaps because I don't always act my age and lift and move stuff that I shouldn't, my bowel came unglued (untacked) and proceeded with gravity to give me some additional challenges.  Miralax, Senekot, Colace....and fiber became my routing friends.  Since Monday........If I can just remember that I can't run around like I was 25 fixing and doing this and that.....I feel great.  So don't hesitate and say "I'll just put up with the discomfort"......have it checked out and fixed.  My Doctor Babak Vakili in Wilmington is my good friend.....thanks to him you're getting this message.

Will close for now......eat some lunch and return after while......

Make a difference ......give others something to share
Our hands love to keep busy creating...right!

              Ruth Ellen

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Snow Flies and so do the Birds

This is the barn with that little sprinkling of snow.  It does look very pretty....only deer tracks across it.

It is that day for Valentines.....a a big happy one to you.  I am amazed at the beautiful hearts that have been created for stitching.  Beth has many on the website.....and in the newsletter.  As I looked at the calendar, no way can it be February.  The little bit of snow I found enjoyable since we didn't have to shovel and it is pretty coming down,  but this up and down temperature business is the pits.  When I lived in the South we had mild weather most of the time.....except the few years in the mountains....and when it did snow down there, at the beach, it was exciting and everything came to a stop....and we enjoyed it.
It's done!!!!!!

The last block completed.....Giving thanks on Sunday!!!  How appropriate

I have completed Hawk Run Hollow which many of you have been following my progress.  On Super Bowl Sunday, several picked up the "stuff" to stitch it.  It was very enjoyable....maybe because the fabric was 28ct. which made seeing it much easier.  Finished it measured about 26 1/4 inch by 19 3/4.  Each block is about
6  1/2 inches square.  On 32 ct. it would be 5 3/4 inches a bit smaller.  It is in the process of framing. We selected a reddish brown frame about 2 inches wide. Phyllis' autumn Hawk Run is in the works for framing as well.  Hers is long! Hope I can load up some pics

I had started another block sampler by Brenda Keyes before I began Hawk Run and now I am back to working on it.  It is on 32 ct. linen, two strands of DMC.....I use the magnifier bigtime.It is titled A Sampler Story.  She gives numerous alternatives that you can use....again one or two  of the 24 blocks each of which measures 3 inches.  It is different than Hawk Run, but does tell a sampler story.

Here is a shot of where I am........actually it is a shot of the entire piece.....from the cover and I have completed the 12 on the right side.  Don't know why I started there.

Here is where I am.....the pic is on the left.


Here is something I found as I was going thru things that I save.......I will write it out...it says so much

My Favorite Store

The Strawberry Sampler 
Chadds Ford, PA

How could it be?
It all was so right
I had entered a world
Of beauty so bright.

From the towels and bibs, 
To the samplers and clock, 
I could see that this shop
Had magnificent stock.

Rabbits and dolls
Were displayed on the wall.
There were so many projects, 
I wanted them all.

I started to gather 
From each loaded rack.  
Then I realized quite gladly, 
I'd have to come back.

For stitching is not
An impulsive task, 
But rather an act
Of love meant to last.

This was share by Katherine Hoffken, Essington, PA in a magazine that was printed at least 15-20 years ago.   In it there was a place to write in about your favorite store.  We were thrilled with her thoughts. In those 15-20 years so much has changed in our retail industry and having been one of the "early birds" in the mid 70's, I seen the growth....at times overwhelming growth...of shops around the country.....and sadly the change in the number of shops that are still sharing "this cross stitch stuff".  It is because of friends like you all that keeps this poem relative......even those of you on the internet, mail order.  As these shops have closed their doors, we know it as our internet base continues to grow.   We're always so pleased to have "one of them drop by while traveling....just to say hi and to check us out. 

I will post this now, hoping my chatting you enjoy.  The birds are having a blast at the feeders.  Their bellies are full.  Haven't seen any squirrels yet.....but I won't hold my breath.  

Like this?.......Hope to chart it......BELIEVE
Never forget that your presence is treasured in this busy world we live in.  Abby, the boy's mom, my younger daughter who endures the challenges of  Crohn's disease, says "HI!"  We are hoping that she will  bring us some new X Appeal Designs in the near future.  We live next door....they're in the farmhouse while Beth and I share the old restored barn.  It is a uniquely blessful  situation.......being able to help out when needed and to share the ups and downs of life.  Stress is such a factor in this day.......and I am a firm believer that one of the reasons we have blessed is that keeping your hands busy is so important.  Remember the old days when the ladies sat around the quilt....at the quilting bees.....that's what our gatherings really are.......a bunch of us buzzing around sharing with each other.  We will miss Stitchin' at the Ford this month due to the holiday weekend, but back together in March.  I will bring the teaching frame and share some tricks or answer some questions..........One of my favorite Bible verses......

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God , and the peace of God which shall surpass all understanding, will guard your heart and mind through Christ Jesus.

And this modern translation says it well 

Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray.  Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns.

Through many years of difficult times.......as my doctor says"I have survived!"  I repeated many verses over and over until they are really a part of my life moment by moment carrying me through...not always around....what I am facing.  

Make a difference in the lives of all who walk on your pathway!

Sunday, February 5, 2012


Not sure just where my blog got to and will redo it tomorrow.  Have to learn some more to make this work.  Finish Hawk Run Hollow. 

We had a wonderful group of ladies  and  a few men in for the sale.....It's amazing to see everyone and know they still enjoy coming into the store.   Those of you on the internet.....we'd love to see you , but truly enjoy notes and orders.  

Better go to sleep and think better tomorrow........RE

Saturday, February 4, 2012


Here we are, the night before Super Bowl.  What a fun time we have and have had over the years.  Remember the days when we put a yellow line on the floor to keep an orderly flow to the register?  The mid 80's and early 90's.  We still have a "line-up" at check out time---more orderly I guess. 

I have been working on Hawk Run Hollow .....  just about to finish but will show you a shot before the final block.  I'm not sure why I'm enjoying this piece so much....maybe the 28ct. of the fabric, but I think it is exciting to do a block at a time and see the progress.  It is a big piece... and Phyllis' is finished and getting ready for framing.  Her's is wide and beautiful.  I am contemplating doing one block for the top of a box, but not started yet.  

My plan on this "gabbing spot"  is to share with you tips and techniques that I have learned over the past 40 years....many from my studies in Copenhagen, Denmark in the 70's and 80's.  My approaches to counted cross stitch are greatly influenced by the Danes approach and don't always "sit right" with more .....can't think of a word....but Guilds across our country.  I smile and share kindly why I stitch the way I do.  Above in the picture, I had Beth make a photo of how I am holding my fabric.

Note my thumb....it is placed just below where I am stitching....see the under stitch I just completed.  If you could see the underside, you would find, my index finger just behind the area pressing against my thumb.  And, my little ring finger and pinkie are at the upper edge of the stitching area, helping to keep the fabric in place as I stitch.   Some always say, "You're not using a hoop or stitching bars......!"   No, my hand is my "hoop".  I will try to insert a picture later of this later.  One thing we often try to do is hold the fabric we're stitching on with our thumb and index finger......which puts a strain on the wrist and can lead to problems later on.  Why this way.......my first class at The Danish Handcraft Guild in 1977, I forgot to take a hoop when I packed.  But in the first class we were informed that we would not be using a hoop, instead our hand would become that tool.  Not easy at first, but I couldn't even cheat when I got to the hotel because I couldn't even find a hoop to buy!  So I made my hand work. We were taught to use "the sewing method", not punch and stab, to place the stitches.....Another lesson I hope to share.

On the left you see how we commonly end up holding our fabric......this is the one that puts a strain on the wrist.  On the right my fingers are under the stitching area.....perhaps not like the picture above with all of my fingers, but nevertheless, my index finger is right behind my thumb on the back side of the fabric.

When I see a picture of my hand....hands....I'm reminded of something that happened in the early 70's while I was teaching  a group of ladies how to do decoupage....hard crafts they call it.  It was spring and being a gardener....failing to put on gloves....my hands were a mess.  While helping a lady new to the area who was having difficulty adjusting to the move, I reached out my hands to help and quickly said," Oh my, I need to ask the Good Lord for a new pair of hands....these are a mess.!"   She very quickly stated, "And when He does that, would you ask Him to give me those.  I'd love to be able to use my hands like you do!"  

Well, I was suddenly reminded that we are what we are.....with all of the challenges that we never let on about.  She had no idea that I had been hospitalized the year before......when we got moved.....battling severe depression.  After 5 weeks I joined my family and with the help of therapy and medication, I learned to cope........and to share my challenges with others.  That was 40+ years ago and with new medications my life changed dramatically as that of my family.  With the help of doctors, we discovered a genetic link to depression which impacted ......  and impacts so many of us.

After looking at my "wad" of thread tails, I pulled out several ways that we have learned to store and carry our thread or floss as we are stitching.  Now if like me you are stitching several pieces at once, you may have to adjust your techniques.  I will show you some pics.

The floss is inside of a length of plastic......comes 100 to a package....with a hole in one end to put on a ring as you can see.....the pulling end comes through another hole on the opposite end.....and another hole allow for putting the remaining lengths of floss there instead of a "wad"......Tip......right here.......when pulling out a length of floss from the skein, ALWAYS go the the end with the number and pull from that end.  You will actually see an arrow in a circle configuration....used to be a hand.....and this allows for the thread to "come out"...usually without getting hung up. 

The above is a method that many of us have used, winding each color on a small plastic card that was...is   stored in an 8 x 10 plastic box.  I like this way, altho I find if the floss is wound too tightly, well....let's say....it may not always lay....lie so nicely...but that's just me.

Well, I must get back to my stitching to take with me to the shop tomorrow.  I'm just about done with "Giving Thanks on Sunday" .....

Hope to see you soon......thanks for being you....and making a difference for those who happen on to your journey through life.....Teach them to stitch!!
Ruth Ellen