Thursday, November 20, 2014


This is what happens when I'm stitching upside down from a pattern that's right side up...
I considered having a little fun and leaving it in to see if anyone noticed but figured most folks would be too polite to point out what a dingbat I am!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

State of the Empire

When I last posted I had promised to share another new start with you. Unfortunately I woke up with a massive migraine the next morning and spent the day in bed. The next two days were spent rushing around getting ready for our annual trip to Texas. We left early early Friday morning for the Planes, Trains, Automobiles, Buses, and Boats Week Long Tour of Texas. We had a great trip and returned home late Sunday evening. There's no rest for the weary, however, as we're leaving Saturday for a week in Florida. We couldn't have picked a better time because the weather in Michigan is... how should I put it... rather unpleasant!

Anyhoosie, I wanted to get a quick post in before we left and update everyone on what's been happening in the Chicken Ottoman Empire.

The second new start I wanted to share with you is Autumn Leaves by Prairie Schooler.
I am stitching it on 32-ct. Dirty linen with Crescent Colors instead of DMC. I love the colors and I'm hoping to get a little bit more done on it before I put away my fall projects for the year.

Next is my progress on Spot the Cat from La-D-Da.
 Spot has grown a tail and acquired few more spots. This is my downstairs project and I will probably keep working on it until it's finished since it's not quite definitively fall-ish. Not to mention I really like it and would love to get it done soon!

I haven't completely abandoned Block 12!
It's mostly the black filling in I have left to do, though, and every time I think about working on it I end up grabbing another project. I will take this one down to Florida in January when we go to spend the winter there. That way I know I'll get it done!

Did I mention the weather here? Did I say it was unpleasant? I was a actually surprised when we came back from Texas to find all the vibrant rusts and golds of autumn had faded to the washed out browns and greys of winter. There was snow on the ground and it hasn't stopped falling since we got back. It's all a bit bleak but Phil ran out to the store for a loaf of bread so I could have one of my favorite comfort foods... peanut butter toast. It just makes me feel all warm and cozy inside. I returned the favor by making him an extra large pot of chicken and dumplings. Just the thing to have in front of the fire when he gets home from work!

I was glad I had the foresight to move my herbs inside before we went away.
I have thyme, rosemary, and sage growing upstairs in the loft where they can get some sunlight in case it happens to shine. I don't ever use them in my cooking but I do like having some green things around and every once in a while I will break a bit off and rub it in my hands to release the fresh aromas. I reckon it will be a nice pick-me-up this winter!

That's all I have for now. I will have my laptop with me on this trip to Florida so I will be able to keep up with everyone!

Monday, November 03, 2014

New Start #1

When we last visited I was on my way to the Chicken Ottoman Empire to play with some fall goodies. After dithering around for an hour trying to make up my mind which project to start next I decided, what the heck, I'd just start two new projects!

Spot the Cat by La-D-Da is the first of these. I'm stitching him on 40-ct. Confederate Grey linen with NPI silks and absolutely loving it so far! It's practically stitching itself!

I will share my second start tomorrow! 

I hope everyone had a safe and happy Halloween! My daughter had texted to tell me it was snowing up where she lives in Grand Rapids. My response was "Seriously?!?!" Ten minutes later I looked out the window to see it was snowing here as well. Not just little flurries but honest to goodness snow! We weren't expecting many trick-or-treaters as we typically only get a handful here at the lake, but this year? Zilch! Someone else is going to have to eat all those Butterfingers now!

That's about it for me today! Have a great Monday!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Acorn Hill

Acorn Hill
Little House Needleworks
stitched on 28-ct. Vintage Lentil linen
with Crescent Colours (Classic Colorworks)

I had to look back in my blog to see when I started this project and was a shocked to see it was waaaaay back in November 2010! One might say I pace myself! (If one is being kind!)

Really itching to dip into my Fall Stitching Basket and pull out something fresh to work on next! I've had two finishes and I'm making steady progress on Autumn, so I think it's time to reward myself with a new start!

The vacuuming is done and the laundry is sloshing around in the washer so I'm off to the Chicken Ottoman Empire to run my fingers through some silk and caress some linen! Sounds positively decadent!

How's your Monday going?

Friday, October 24, 2014

Fall Stitching Update

We're nearing the end of October so it's time for a Fall Stitching Update from the Chicken Ottoman Empire!

I have one finish to report...
Welcome Knocker
by Bent Creek

This came in a kit with the fabric and fibers and some wonderful instructions to make a "door knocker". I suspect the dogs would try to eat it if I actually hung it on a door knob so I'll find someplace safer once I have it all neatly put together!

I didn't take a picture (because me, my laptop, and camera are upstairs and my stitching is downstairs...) but I am soooo close to finishing Acorn Hill! I thought I was done until I noticed I never stitched the fence in front of the house. It's roughly the same color as the linen so my eyes tricked me into believing it was done. It's just a matter of sitting down and gettin' 'er done now.

Still in the Q-snaps is Autumn from Blackbird Designs...
I love working on this project but for some reason it seems to go super slow. And I'm doing what I would consider the easy part! There's a couple of pumpkins and a little house to the left of the bird that I dearly want to work my way over to so I will keep plugging along on this one!

Another thing I would love to find some time for is finishing!
I pulled out a stack of fall finishes from years past and need to get to work making them into something to display. Preferably before the end of next month!

Another busy weekend is upon us but hopefully I will return on Monday with another finish to report!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Ready for Fall!

Presenting the 2014 Fall Stitching Basket Lineup from the Chicken Ottoman Empire...

1) Autumn - Blackbird Designs
I messed up the spacing of the letters at the top so I will have a bit of frogging to do.

2) Acorn Hill - Little House Needleworks
I'm further along on this one than I thought!

3) Welcome Knocker - Bent Creek
I started this while watching Monday Night Football (Go Bears!) but discovered I'm off by one thread on the house. More frogging...

4) Autumn Leaves -
I ordered this back in 2006 from Shakespeare's Peddler as a kit, complete with thread conversion chart and fabric. I managed to keep the threads together all these years but forgot the fabric was spoken for and chopped part of it off for another project. Never fear! I'm sure I can find a substitute!

5) Pumpkin Farm - Blackbird Designs
I just need to pull the threads for this one and I'll be good to go!

6 & 7) Boris and Olga - Plum Street Samplers
I love these guys! Fabric and threads have been ordered! Woohoo!

8) Spot the Cat - La-D-Da
Fabric and threads have been ordered for this critter as well!

9) October Woolly Tyme Club - Homespun Elegance
Charlotte has requested a new blanket for Fall!

10) Village of Hawk Run Hollow - Carriage House Samplings

No picture... but I promise there has been some progress on Block 12!

This list could have easily been twice as long! I will be thrilled if I can get at least half of these finished and some sort of start on the rest!

Yay! Fall is here!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Over the Hill

It's hard to feel like I'm making any progress on Block 12 these days. It's just A LOT OF STITCHIN'! I finished the giant yellow hill Tuesday so I did a little jig in my stitching chair to celebrate!

I am hoping to get my fall stitching basket put together by tomorrow. I've already been working on Autumn from the series Blackbird Designs did a few years ago. Then there's Acorn Hill from Little House Needleworks that was put on the back burner last year after one of the dogs chewed the tags off my threads. I can't tell one brown from the other now so I may need to do some mixing and matching on that one. I also have Autumn Leaves from Prairie Schooler sitting here on the Chicken Ottoman with a pile of overdyed thread substitutions that I luuuurve! With a few smaller projects thrown in and a sewing project or two, I'll have plenty to keep me busy!

Friday, September 05, 2014

Yellow Bird... or Not!

Yellow Bird
28-ct. Lambswool linen (I think!)
Arabian Nights Waterlilies

I decided to have a little fun with this one and used some Waterlilies I had lying around since the kids were in diapers. (My youngest is 24 so that gives you an idea of how old it might be!) I didn't try to over-think it or plan where the different colors ended up and, goodness gracious, it shows! It's very... uh... random! But it was super fun to stitch and I love the end result! Hopefully I will be inspired to make it into a little something or other instead of tossing it in the ole Fuppie box!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Me So Happy!

Birds of a Feather
With Thy Needle and Thread
stitched on 32-ct natural linen with WDW fibers

This was a mystery sampler I started stitching last year after all three parts had been released. I had messed up my counting on the border despite the instructions telling me very plainly to count twice and stitch once! (Let's face it, the robot from Lost In Space could have been standing in front of me waving his robot arms and yelling "Warning! Warning!" and I still would have messed this up!)

Long story short, it got tossed in the "I'll think about that tomorrow" pile so I wouldn't have to face the fact that I was going to have to frog a good portion of my stitching.

Fast forward to today and voila! Eet ees feeneeshed! Woohoo!

We have been having a busy summer, hence the scarcity of my posts of late. My son came to visit for a week and spoiled us rotten with his fancy cooking. We've also been to county fairs, amusement parks, arcades, breweries, wineries, kayaking, rafting, you name it! This is on top of a trip to Florida and another to New York. As Phil is fond of saying, we don't let the grass grow under our feet!

Labor Day is just around the corner and the weather has finally turned hot and humid here in Michiana. I'm looking forward to some time on the lake this weekend as we usher out the summer and then I do believe it might be time to put together a fall stitching basket.

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

A July Finish In August

Prairie Schooler
stitched on 28-ct. antique white linen with DMC

I even remembered to stitch the fish eyes!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Water Water Everywhere

I didn't realize just how much water there was until I started stitching it! I guess my first clue should have been all those sailboats and fish!

Phil and I went out to celebrate my Blogoversary last night! Hot dogs, Paw Paw Punch, and good times down at the Gazebo next to the golf course! We try to make it over there at least once while they are open during the summer so maybe this will be the start of a new tradition for us!

Time to stitch!


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Eight Years!


What a long, strange trip it's been!

Thank you to everyone who has come along for the ride!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Two Seagulls, a Flag, Some Water and Grass

That's about all I have left to stitch on Prairie Schooler's July sampler!

My needle is threaded, the Pepsi is poured, and I'm off to get this one finished!

Have a great day!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Ye Olde BAP

Here is the latest progress pic of Block 12. I had to take a break from filling in the black background and mix it up a bit with some grey headstones. I know it's a cemetery and it's not supposed to be warm and inviting, but it sure could use some cheerful yellows! Maybe a splash of red or blue?

I've also been working on Prairie Schooler's July sampler but I don't have a picture of it because it's downstairs and I'm upstairs. 'Nuff said.

Laziness your name is Paisley!

Thank you for the comments on the "frame work" in my last post! I can't tell you how thrilled I am to have finally branched out into actually finishing some of my unfinished projects!

Monday, July 21, 2014

The FOCOESI Report

I held the closing ceremonies for the First Official Chicken Ottoman Empire Stitch-In Saturday evening, declaring it a smashing success. Not only did I finish two small projects, but I also framed the last two of my Lizzie Kate Coffee Crazy pieces. 

Coffee Crazy

Love My Coffee

Here's a group shoot of all three...

I'm so pleased with how these turned out! I have overcome my fear of framing!

I worked on two other projects during the FOCOESI and will share pictures of my progress on those later this week.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Stitch-In 2014 Continues

It is Day 2 of the First Official Chicken Ottoman Empire Stitch-In and I have another finish to share!

Charlotte is modeling her July Woolly Tyme blanket, designed by Sandra Sullivan of Homespun Elegance and stitched by yours truly! Way to rock that fringe, Charlotte!

The sunflower centers were supposed to be filled in with Colonial Knots but seeing as how I find it challenging to make even one remotely well formed knot, I opted to use little black beads instead. Apparently I also find it challenging to find the center of stitched flowers because my beads are... well... less than centered.

You may notice Charlotte's "deer-in-the-headlights" stare. That's because only a few feet away from where she had her photo shoot was this scene of carnage...

Pinky... may he rest...

Housework is done (except for the above mess which will have to wait until the drool has dried before I touch it) and the laundry is underway so it's time to plop down in the stitching chair and continue with my FOCOESI!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Stitch-In 2014

Liberty Zipper
Bent Creek
stitched on 28-ct. Raw Linen
with DMC & WDW threads

I am having myself a Stitch-In while Phil is off on a solo adventure! Three days of nuthin' but stitchy related fun!

This is my first official Stitch-In finish, a Bent Creek Zipper kit I started last month before our trip to New York. It came with a piece of 18-ct. linen that you were supposed to use all six strands of thread on. I never have much luck getting that many strands to lay nicely so I swapped it out for a comparable piece of linen from my stash and used the usual two strands. No muss, no fuss! My little star charms are doing all sorts of weird calisthenics since I sewed them on so I'm hoping they learn to relax soon and just dangle like they're supposed to.

Next I'm hoping to finish up my little Woolly Tyme sheep blanket for July. That way Charlotte (my stuffed sheep) will get to display it for a couple of weeks before she's totally out of style and then stares blankly at her closet for several minutes before declaring she has nothing to wear. Which she doesn't because I haven't stitched the August blanket yet. 

So right! The freezer is stocked with Lean Cuisines, there's Pepsi chillin' in the fridge, I have plenty of chick flicks queued up to watch, and a gazillion stitchy projects calling my name! Woohoo!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Upstairs, Downstairs

I have two spots where I like to stitch at home.

The first is upstairs...

This is where I am working on my VoHRH. I can set up my floor stand here and not have to worry about it being too much in the way. This is also home to the Chicken Ottoman Empire where I do all my sewing and store my stitchy stash!

My other spot is downstairs...

I work on smaller projects here where I can watch TV and be close to the kitchen when I have something cooking. It's very cozy in the evenings with a fire in the fireplace (yes, even in summer!) and my sweetheart sitting next to me!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Sweet Liberty

Look at me! My second framed piece! This one didn't go as smoothly as the first because the linen was a little heavier and didn't want to stretch when I was pinning it to the foam board, but I think it still turned out super cute! You may recognize it as an old Lizzie Kate design. I stitched this during my pre-blogging days, waaaay back in the summer of 2000. The kit came with the frame but I never did more than just sorta squash it in and hide the back. (I had done enough tuck style pillows to consider this an acceptable way to finish a project.) I feel all grown up now that I'm actually framing things properly! Woohoo!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Filling In

I have started filling in some of the black on Block 12. There has been no real rhyme or reason to where I stitch. I just pick a spot to fill in and the continue on to the next nearest spot. I've never done any of the Heaven and Earth Designs so if there is a proper way I should be doing this please let me know! In the meantime I'll just plod along with my no-real-technique technique!

More news from the garden...

After several days of steady drizzle, my broccoli has taken off! I've never been this far in my broccoli growing attempts so I am super happy that I can recognize that this is indeed BROCCOLI! 

I had been waiting patiently for just the right time to pick the two strawberries I had growing when one day they were gone! Vanished! Into thin air! Or into the fur-lined pockets of my gardening arch enemy, Squirkle! I will have to hire better security!

That's all I have to share today! We are heading into another sunny weekend here! Gotta love lake life!

Have a faaaaabulous weekend everyone!!!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Vintage Shepherd's Bush

Gentle Hearts Pillow
Shepherd's Bush 
Stitched on Valentina fabric with DMC

I don't think this is (was!) my oldest UFO but it has to be pretty close. The copyright on the pattern is 1988 and I had to have started it 'round about that time. I remember working on it at a Chuck E. Cheese type place while my first two kids flailed around in the ball pit. Chances are I was pregnant with number three at the time and hoping to have this done and sewn into a pillow for the nursery. Now some 25 years later it is finished and off to the Fuppie box to wait for that first grandbaby.

Monday, June 09, 2014


This is my first real attempt at framing and I am quite pleased with how it turned out! This is one of the Lizzie Kate Coffee Crazy designs that I finished last year. I had planned to frame them right away and, honestly, I'm thinking a year later isn't all that bad! Considering the age of most of my Fuppies, I got this one framed in record time! 

Friday, June 06, 2014

Man vs. Squirrel

Once again I have started a little container-type garden on the back deck. Last years attempt yielded a bushel of jalapeno peppers and one green bell pepper but that was it. I think the reason the pepper plants survived was because the critters were too full after eating my broccoli and basil.

My challenge this year is with a certain furry critter we've named Squirkle. Last winter we would find him foraging for food on the deck. Bleeding heart that I am, I started putting out a dish of pecans for him. Pre-cracked, no less! He also gets a steady diet of dried corn.

Here he is back in February... 

Poor little fella!

Or so I thought until I caught him knee deep in one of my pots, digging furiously and making a huge mess on the deck.

Then there was this...

I had been watering these little guys for a couple of weeks and then it finally hit me, it wasn't anything I had planted... these were trees sprouting from seeds the darn squirrel had buried! In my pot! 

The final straw was when Phil pointed out that Squirkle had a greener thumb than I did. And technically he doesn't even have thumbs!

So yeah, buddy... it's a Garden Showdown!

 Who will be the ultimate victor???

Man? (well, woman...)

 Broccoli! Yes!

 Strawberries! Woohoo!

Or squirrel?



To be fair I have been watering Squirkle's two entries in the competition. But I've also hired some security...


Happy Friday! Have a GREAT weekend!

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Two and a Half Bats

And so begins Block 12! I've been working on it "in hand" while watching TV downstairs but I think it's time to put it in the ole Q-snaps and get it on my needlework stand. The original plan was to get all the "bits" done and then work on filling in the black but I think now I'm going to go ahead and get started on it. You can see I did some earlier and, yeah, it's a bit tedious. I'm also not too thrilled with the color of the moon. It blends in with the leaves too much so that might need to be restitched in another color. (I have yet to restitch the dog that blended in too much with the fence so we can all see where this is going!)

And if solid black stitching isn't enough to kill all desire to work on a project, try outlining blocks. Actually it's not that bad working on this while I'm watching baseball. But now that I think about it, it's no wonder I fall asleep in my chair every night!

Here's hoping you're enjoying this Wednesday. We're having a bit of rain and cloudy skies here in SW Michigan so I'm planning to get a pot of chicken and dumplings going for tonight's dinner. It just feels more Fall than Spring here today.

Monday, June 02, 2014

The Weekend Report

Now that the weather is warmer, we seem determined to squeeze as much into a weekend as we possibly can! By Sunday evening we're falling asleep in our chairs but we're bound to do it all over again this weekend!

Saturday was spent cleaning up the lakefront. We haven't put the boat or Waverunners in the water yet but we did carry the kayaks down and did some leisurely paddling around the lake. 

 I like the way they looked sitting together on the grass. My daughter and I have been trying to perfect a way to get in and out of them without getting our feet wet. I think the only sure way to do that is to leave them on dry land, haha!

I braved the grocery store on a Saturday so we could grill shish kebabs for dinner. I had to be skimpy with the peppers because at $1.99 each you almost need a co-signer to buy them! I heard there was a shortage of limes, but peppers too? Anyway, they were absolutely delicious, served with some wild rice and extra pineapple. We stayed out on the deck and enjoyed the evening until the sun went down and the mosquitoes chased us in.

Sunday morning we went to Mass, then did some shopping and had an early lunch before heading back home. Phil worked on my daughter's car brakes while we did a couple of craft projects inside. Sarah has been wanting to learn to sew (apparently all they did in Home Ec. was cook) and I had some leftover fabric from another project (which I will show you as soon!) so we set about making a couple of mug-mats-slash-trivets-slash-whatzits. They came out about as well as could be expected considering our limited sewing abilities. 

This one is mine since Sarah took hers home with her. Please ignore the terrible job I did stitching up the bottom turnie-hole-thing. You would think I've never had a needle and thread in my hands! It's still kinda cute. (Just don't turn it over! This is the "good side"!)

Next is a wreath I've been dying to make ever since I saw it online last year. I bought all the materials but never quite got around to putting it all together. I like having a sidekick while I'm crafting so I took advantage of Sarah being here and the internet being out! 

I'm still amazed that this came out as well as it did! I did the painting and gluing while Sarah folded the pinwheels. If you want to see my inspiration, Google-ing "wreath frame pinwheels" should bring up a photo and actual instructions. Phil likes it so much he doesn't want me to hang it on the front door lest the elements destroy it. I may have to carry it with me everywhere I go just so people can see it!

I have some stitching to show you but that will have to wait for another post!

Thanks for stopping by!