Archives

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.

Vintage

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
9/13/62-5/24/01

m-425-pixels.jpg

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.

11-mobile-completed-425.jpg

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

m-and-t-groucho-100.jpg

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.

10-assembly-2-with-wire-support-425.jpg

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.

10-crooked-assembly-425.jpg

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.