Justice in our Hearts

I stitched Giulia Manfredini’s freebie Justice in our Hearts for the tenth anniversary of the 9-11 attacks. According to her, the translation of this Psalm comes from the book, Lighthouse Psalms, (Honor Books, Tulsa, OK), from the Holy Bible New Century Version.

Justice in Our Hearts 09.11

I made a few modifications. I used all Caron Waterlilies, but used pine forest for the green (my choice) and cherry for the red (to avoid a second trip to the LNS). I stitched the white stripes on the flag with honeysuckle rather than leaving them unstitched. I didn’t use the silver metallic, but stitched the stars with honeysuckle and the candle flames with Tahiti. The biggest challenge/modification was crafting my own heart. The pre-fabricated heart Ms. Manfredini used is no longer available. So I faked it. I’m very happy with the way it turned out.

Memorial Day

Since it’s Memorial Day, I guess it’s time to share a recent patriotic finish.

Glory Fob 04.10
Glory Fob by Shepherd’s Bush.

I didn’t finish it as a fob, just a pincushion. I didn’t want ric-rac for a scissor loop. *shrug* You’ll notice the floss on the back side’s flag ran. I don’t remember how it happened, but I do remember trying to use a Q-Tip and hydrogen peroxide to clean up the mess. Yeah. I don’t recommend that. It made it worse. I laughed (what else could I do at that point?) and smirked to myself, “So much for ‘These colors don’t run!’ ” I’m a wise-ass, it just came to me. I didn’t even have to try. 😀

Also, since it’s Memorial Day, I’m going to honor my kitten, Hero. We put him down this week, as he had the rare, incurable disease known as FIP, or feline infectious peritonitis. In households with one or two cats, the odds are one in 5,000 that a cat will contract the disease. As my brother reminded me, I have terrible luck with cats. Hero was technically my son’s cat, so we plan to replace him this summer. For now, I can’t remove his bed from my desk, where he insisted on sitting when I worked on the computer.  He may have been the boy’s cat, but I was his mama.  He was a very sweet fella.  He couldn’t seem to catch a break.  It ain’t right, but nobody ever said life is fair.

My sweet Hero, helping me stitch, very sick

Happy Memorial Day.  I hope you get to stitch this weekend.


My MIL passed away 07-1-08.  We had to double-back to Seattle for her funeral.  Very, very sad.  She was a wonderful woman.  She was nearly 86.  She had been diagnosed with 3rd stage lung cancer ten weeks before her death.  She was determined to be at her granddaughter’s wedding, and determined to die at home.  She accomplished both of these goals, dying just a few minutes before an ambulance arrived to take her to hospital.  We were on an airplane trying to say our final goodbyes, alas.  I’m glad for my son, having his last memory of his grandmother be a good one.  I’m sad for my husband, not getting to her in time. *sigh*

One thing I learned was that she stitched tea towels as a wedding shower gift for each of her grandchildren.  My step-daughters and son are among her remaining unmarried grandchildren.  We received these to pass on to the kids:

These were stitched for my eldest step-daughter.

These are for my other step-daughter.

And these are for my son.

I have no idea when she stitched these.  I’m not sure if you can tell from these images, but there is foxing on the towels she stitched for my step-daughters.  They must have been stitched a long time ago.  My step-daughters are fifteen and sixteen years older than my son.  I think it shows in the condition of the towels.  They must have been stitched when the kids were very young.

I gave her the second piece I ever cross-stitched.  I got it back last week.
birds for Leona 8-91

It’s going to look good in my kitchen, I think.  I may need to have it re-matted, like I did with the picture I stitched for my mother.  We’ll see. 

I wasn’t in much of a mood for stitching while we were gone, and I’m finding it difficult to get back in the swing of things.  I’ve stitched a tiny bit, mostly out of habit.  It will come back when it comes back.

In Memoriam

Marianne Dolores Sanchez


She was my best friend.  She only lived 38 years.  She would have turned 45 this year.  I planned to finish this memorial crane mobile as a birthday present, but things didn’t work out that way.  I don’t guess she’d be upset over a one-month belated birthday present.   

The mobile is done, it’s hanging beside my bed.  There are 38 cranes, one for each birthday.  Each has a quote of some sort in it.  If you’re curious about them, you can find them here.  I also made 4 wishing stars for the mobile.  Because they’re paper, and wishing stars, after all, I wrote a little something in each of those.  They reflect what was on the iPod at the time more than anything else. I intend for the Memorial Crane page to eventually tell the mobile’s story, but I’m not up for that now.  Heh.  Don’t hold your breath.  If you want to read more, the story can be found in my “grief” category.

Here she is.  A little bit late, a little bit lopsided, but no less a labor of love.


 Mrs. Wonderful suggested this be tagged “wonderfulness.”  With a name like Mrs. Wonderful, I believe she would know. 


That’s what I’m talkin’ about!

I don’t know what you can tell from this picture, but this is what I wanted all along.  Maybe you can tell that the Circle’s circumference is wider than the metal ring’s?  I glued wire to the Circle’s underside. I’m relieved.  This may work out the way I want, after all.


I’m amazed at the strength of the paper.  These cranes have been through the wringer.  They’ve suffered such abuse.  They’ve held up very well. 

Lucky me. 🙂

OK, so that didn’t work

Turns out, paper drapes like fabric (sorry, no photo).   So I didn’t get the desired effect with the 8″ wire.   I so wanted it to be true that the Circle would extend beyond the 8″ diameter, just because its diameter is bigger than 8 inches.  This mobile will have 3 wire circles instead of one, or two.  I’m in the middle of ‘fixing’ it today.  ROTFL  I said, “Fixing it.”  It’s the best I can do with the skills I have.  It’s fixing as I know how to do it.  I have to accept it.

Of course, the husband had an idea (that had occurred to me, too).  What the Circle of Eight needs is armature wire underneath it to hold its shape.  You might be thinking, “Easy Peasy.”  I’ve never worked with wire before.  I am not so optimistic.  Or am I?  Right this second, I want to run out and buy some.  What happened to last night’s “I have to accept that this is the best I can do with the skills I have right now? ”  Aaaugh! 

Letting Go

The solution came to me in a quiet moment of reflection, after I decided to let go.  I struggled more with completing the construction of my memorial crane mobile than I did with any other part of this project.  Having to cut and re-cut the paper for the Yatsuhashi, or Circle of Eight, as I’ve come to call it, was nothing in comparison.  I understood it.  It was part of crafting.  Just like the bead selection.  It was part of the fun, part of the process of creating the gift.  A gift for me, a gift for Marianne.  I expected it.  I thought it was part of the grieving, like choosing the quotes to put on the cranes.  I was wrong.

My inability to get the mobile frame even–that was part of the grieving.  There were tears of frustration.  Tears of self-recrimination for my unwillingness, my inability, to accept my inexperience and the lopsided construction.  Tears of confusion.  Tears of grief.   I didn’t stop and bawl.  Oh, I wanted to.  I wanted to have a good cry, the kind you really sink your teeth into.  You know, like when you were 9 and your ice cream fell off the cone?  A world-coming-to-an-end cry.  But, I’m grown up, and I don’t remember how anymore.  I struggled.  I snapped.  I yelled.  I leaked.

The original frame was a 10″ metal ring–a single ring to lend support to the cranes, and then the fishing wire was supposed to come together on a split ring, from which the crane is to hang.  What are those rings used for otherwise?  Maybe making wreaths?  I don’t know.  If so, why aren’t they near the silk plants?  I found them near magnets and easel frames and doilies, an inexplicable combination of supplies, grouped together like a blended family who knows why they belong together, even if you can’t see physical resemblances.

This is exactly where my project broke down the first time I tried it.  It was hanging in our very large coat closet (do I miss that closet, or what?), waiting for me to figure out how to finish it.  Then the movers came.  It never occured to me anyone would actually pack it without consulting me.  But he was young, and eager, and he did.  That’s how it broke.  It’s been, what, four years since then, I haven’t had the heart to try again?  So now, M would be 45, and I wanted to have it ready for the milestone she never reached.  And so, yeah, the tears of recrimination were b/c I had procrastinated starting the project and her birthday came without a completed mobile to mark the occasion.  Confession: I wanted to stitch.  Just like I do now.  I miss it.  I want to stitch.  More frustrated tears.

 At any rate, 10″ was too wide for me to handle alone.  There’s nowhere in my home that’s suited for working on a hanging project.  I’ve tried a few places, each with their limitations.  This go around, when I tried only the 10″ ring, it came out slightly lopsided.  Because I had used glue as a set of extra hands, I couldn’t easily adjust the lopsidedness.  I wanted to be done–the ‘deadline’ of M’s birthday was past, the project was taking much longer than I expected, and I wanted to be able to simply look at it.  I tried to balance it using a AA battery.  I stuck it to the metal ring with magnets.  It would have been fine, actually, except the battery was too big to be hidden.  Now.  I knew that I was going to render the battery useless by attaching magnets to it.  What I didn’t know, and I wish I’d photographed, was that while my lopsided mobile waited for our return from Hershey, PA, the magnets were working their wonders on the battery.  When we returned, I discovered that the label had been forced off the battery at the seam.  I wonder if the entire label would have come off if I’d left it alone indefinitely?  I think I might be lucky there were no sparks, or a fire to really destroy the mobile.

I couldn’t stand it being uneven and decided I’d have to restring the cranes.  I decided that since the 10″ ring was too large, if I used a smaller ring, too, say 5″, it would be easier to handle the fishing wire, and to get the frame even.  I was sort of right.


Go ahead and laugh.  What else are you going to do?  The 10″ ring is basically level now, an improvement over the first try.  I can’t explain the lopsided 5″ ring.  But yes, I cried when I saw it and it was impossible to straighten out.  Because, like, glue is my friend, remember?  Not my best friend, obviously.

I figured I was stuck with it.  I don’t get it, can’t make it work.  It doesn’t have to be perfect.  It really doesn’t.  It’s going in my bedroom, so only a very few people will ever see it.  It was always more about the making than the finished product.  I accepted the imperfection, I went to bed.

And then—this morning, in a quiet moment of philosophical acceptance, I thought that if I were ever to make a mobile like this again, it would be ever so much easier to make the ‘frame’ part first, and then attach the cranes to it.  I was so stuck on the notion that the mobile needed to be strung with continuous lines of fishing wire, it didn’t occur to me, even after discovering glue is my friend, that it could come together in two parts.  DUH!

So, yes.  I’m going to try again.  Good thing that came of this: I think the 10″ ring is too wide a diameter.  It makes the mobile look like a long column, and completely hides the fact that the Circle of Eight are connected (pointed out to me by the husband).  I’m going to try 8″ diameter, and 5″ diameter.  I suppose I could use a single ring, now I’m doing it in two parts, but I think the second ring was a good idea, so I’m keeping it.

I’ll finish this thing some day.  I hope.  I really do miss stitching.

More paper?

Yes. 🙂

The mobile is actually finished (Cathey, you knew I could).  But, I had problems with assembling it, and it took me way too long to realize that glue can be my friend.  So, it’s lopsided.  It is currently weighted down with an AA battery to balance it.  I decided to re-string it next week.  It’s too important to me to accept ‘good enough,’ or ‘at least I tried.’  It has to be just right.  It has to be the best I can do.  M deserves that.  So do I.  In the meantime, here is more paper:


You can probably figure out what it’s for…


If not, all will be revealed next week.  Tonight, we’re going on an impromptu trip to PA.  We’ll zip through Pittsburgh and pick up the step-daughter, and it’s off to Hershey.  The husband wanted to get outta town this weekend, and I realized the CATS festival is this weekend.  I made a half-hearted suggestion, and well, we’re goin’.  It’s a long drive for a basically overnight trip, but that’s how we are.  The step-daughter and the boy will visit the Hersheypark, I’ll stay at the Hershey Lodge for the festival (no classes, just shopping and drooling), and the husband will go for a bike ride.  Then, home again, home again on Sunday. 

Have a good weekend!  I know I will. 😉

Mobile construction begins

After the cranes were folded, I fiddled around with the beads I wanted to include in the mobile.  Some of the beads I used were from the first mobile I attempted to put together.  Some are new.  I could have continued to fiddle and browse at bead and craft stores forever.  At some point you have to say, “No more,” and decide.  Every time I had a new inspiration for the beads, I’d head to the store.  Well, I’m sure you know you can get lost browsing beads.  I came home more than once with a few beads that I thought would be fantastic, only to discover I was wrong.  *sigh*

The final decisions.  I used the Murano glass hearts on the bottom combinations in the first mobile.  Unfortunately, when it broke, some of the original beads were lost, including the smaller heart.  I searched for a replacement high and low.  I found a tolerable replacement, but I really wasn’t happy with it.  I don’t know why I didn’t look online.  Then, last week, after visiting the Rocking Horse for no particular reason, I went to a bead store in Farmington, and Eureka!  It was my lucky day. 🙂

Most of the beads were chosen b/c I liked them.  Some of them have particular significance, though.  For instance, the surfer in the bottom center.  M loved the beach so very much.  The stone star above it was b/c she loved stones.  Tiger Eye was among her favorites, but I didn’t think it would work here.  Turqoise stones always remind me of her.  The star and rectangular cube aren’t turqoise stones, but they serve my purposes.  I loves stars.

Bead combination for the Circle of Eight.  The shells are for M’s love of the beach and ocean, and the ladybugs are b/c when she died, she had often mentioned her daughter’s love of ladybugs.  I wish I’d used a darker blue bead on the top instead of the light blue crystal.  I decided it was time to put the thing together and stop going out looking for more. 


I staggered the 24 single cranes underneath the Circle of Eight.  I was going to fill the empty space below the low-hanging strands with beads, but decided on wishing star ‘beads’ instead.  I’ve written something in each of them, b/c it seemed wrong to leave them blank.  The comments are a reflection of what was on my iPod when I wrote inside them. 😀

The final combination for the single 24.

The center cranes strung together.

The single 24 after the Circle of Eight’s beads were strung. 

The Circle of Eight.

I think I’m going to use an acrylic sealant for the mobile.  I’ll be experimenting with Krylon’s Matte Finish.  If I like it, I’m using it.  After all that fretting about the Nori Paste!  Oh, well.  That’s what happens when you make up something as you go along.

Saotome and Kakitsubata

Saotome begins:

Or, Girl Planting Rice.  I call it M supports T supports M.  It represents the times she supported me, and the times I supported her.  There are two identical models.  Sometimes you can’t really tell who’s supporting who.  Or whom.  Whomever.  Whoever.  Whatever.

The paper I used.

Midway in folding. The smaller crane is two squares folded together.

The first model completed.

The second, and first, models.

Kakitsubata begins:

Or, the Iris Flower.  I call it Marianne holds Teddi (her daughter).

The paper.  Pretty butterflies!

A close-up of the mama crane holding the baby crane by the back.

Kakitsubata complete.

These six cranes will form the center of the crane.  They will be surrounded by Yatsuhashi and 24 other cranes–32 in a circle.

Yatsuhashi paper and paper for the single cranes.  Eight designs, three of each.  I don’t know why the thumbnail is fuzzy.  The 425-pixel picture is not.  Click for non-fuzziness if you please. 

Folding complete.  Now the hard part begins. 😉

Yatsuhashi, or Eight Bridges

On M’s birthday, I gave you a sneak peek of her memorial.  It’s still not finished, though I have made good progress.  I haven’t been stitching at all, just focusing all my creative energy and time on this project.  The sneak peek was the beginning and anchor of a crane mobile I’m making.  When finished, there will be 38 cranes, as that was M’s age when she died.   I got the directions for this “anchor” of eight cranes from Origami: Rokoan Style: The Art of Connecting Cranes.  Fascinating and beautiful stuff in there.  There are two volumes, both of which I own.  The first volume is my favorite.  In November, they’re due to be published in a single, paperback volume.  Groovy.


The paper selection.  Isn’t great?  I think it really captures M’s exuberance. 


The sneak peak, showing the other side of the paper after it had been scored (pre-folded) and had its notations.


Scored folds fully folded and waiting to be transformed.


I clipped each crane together to make it neater to finish the cranes.  I was terrified of having the circle rip.  Again.


A close-up of two cranes’ wings.  I ended up reinforcing all the connected wings with Nori paste.  Useless info: that link goes to the Nori paste page of Hollander’s, a paper shop in Ann Arbor, MI, where I bought the paste and the paper you see on this page.  If you like paper, it’s heavenly.  Excuse the digression.  Using the paste is so NOT an origami purist’s way of doing things.  And yet.  I’ve already had this project destroyed once.  I have a deep need for it to be stronger than it is.  Surely you understand?  This Nori paste is good stuff, Maynard.  For my needs.  :o)  Besides, I’m not a purist.  😀


Yatsuhashi, or Eight Bridges, complete.  Nine squares, eight cranes, one circle.  One of the cranes is made of two squares (upper right and lower left, to be exact), which is how the circle is formed.


The next part…

Happy Birthday, M


Today would have been my best friend, M’s, 45th birthday.  She died 6 years ago due to complications from her diabetes.  I’d hoped to have something finished to post here today, but it hasn’t worked out that way.  The days come quickly sometimes, don’t they?  Here’s a quick peek at the beginning of the project:img_0403.jpg

This isn’t the first time I’ve attempted this memorial project.  I’ve hit a few snags, and even though it appeared it was a permanent UFO, it wasn’t. 

Now, for stitchy-love Desiderata pictures!


I loved working on the Rhodes stitch row.  Have I mentioned lately how much I love Wildflowers Cafe Au Lait?  Every time I’ve stitched with it in this sampler, the stitches have showed the beauty of the floss in slightly different ways, and I fall in love with it again.  I had some Murphy’s Law and going hurrier with this row.  Murphy’s Law: the floss was a jumbly mess and needed straightening.  That took a while.  I ended up separating all the floss, so now I have lots of single plies looped on a floss card.  The Hurrier I Go: after the ply-separating party, I started stitching away without first consulting the instruction page.  Heh.  Yeah.  I was supposed to use to plies of floss for the Rhodes stitches in this row.  Now, y’all know I’d rip it out and fix it.  I love doing Rhodes stitches, and I’m not in a deadline rush to get this project finished.  I didn’t frog.  I like it the way it is.  It’s delicate, and I think it shows off the beauty of the floss better than if I’d used 2 plies.  Happy Accident! *cheering* 


Can you see why I love working with this floss?  Just look at the way the colors change.  I think having a nearly skein-long length of floss to work with, instead of cutting a working length and using it up before cutting a new working length, really showed off the floss to its fullest advantage.  Another happy accident, thanks to Mr. Murphy. 😀