Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Stash and Stashability

I don't have any amazing progress or finishes to show you, so I thought I would share some views of my stash with you. I love making piles of charts and rearranging the "stitching order." These are some that have been at the top of the pile for a while.

You all know how dutifully I have been working on Anonymous Women by Sheepish Designs.

Yesterday, I put her aside when the mail carrier delivered some fabric for Bridget Power Sampler by Of Female Worth.

Unfortunately there was a stain on the otherwise lovely 40 ct Angel Hair, so back it will go. But the linen for Renaissance Garden by Goode Houswife looked perfect, so I thought about starting it.

Whenever I see Renaissance Garden, I think of 1762 Canterbury Tapestry by Barrick Samplers for some reason. They are very like and very unlike to my mind. I have the fabric and could have started it.

But the birds were singing yesterday, and the bees were buzzing, and the day was unusually mild for February.(ETA: Thanks, Barbara! It is January! lol) So I considered English Cottage Sampler by Chessie and Me.

or Awake the Dawning Day by Blackbird Designs.

As you can see, I was spoiled for choice. With all this vintage-y goodness spread before me, my capricious needle may another stab, as it were. I sat myself down in my car in front of the ballet studio and stitched this.

I suppose I will always have a spot in my heart for Cross-Eyed Cricket!

I found this freebie in one of the newsletters at Stitchville USA.


Monday, January 23, 2012

Sewing Class

This weekend we went to a craft store. The girls chose some Valentine fabric for little pillows I have in mind made from a Sampler Girl freebie. I mentioned to Nutmeg that it would be cute to stitch up a few for her a couple of her besties. She misunderstood; I was suggesting she stitch them! Maybe we will stick to candy this year...
I divided my weekend stitching time between Mary Queen of Scots and Anonymous Women. I picked up a few DMC colors I was missing and so was able to stitch some of the "fun bits" of Anonymous Women, in particular that big glow-y flower. I stitched it incorrectly. I decided to call it personalization and leave it.

This will be the week the girls and I conquer the sewing machine. If we can get past Latin, French, Math, Composition, et al. hmmmmm....

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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Because I Love You...

...and nothing says love like a Sheepish Designs chart...


I hunted down what I believe to be the last Sheepish Designs freebie on the internet! I stitched this a few years ago, and my chart is too ratty to share! This is the "Peace to all who Enter" Angel. Download it and save it while you can.

You are welcome. ;)


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Tweet Tweet!

Alright, the title is lame.

Here is my first ornament finish of the year - not the first ornament start, no that has already been laid aside.
I confess, I chose a design I knew I could easily finish in an afternoon. As I stitched, I was constantly aware of what an excellent designer Paulette of Plum Street Samplers is. The design is small, yet filled with detail. I stitched this on 32 count antique ivory with the given DMC conversion.

Here is Hector guarding my progress on Sheepish Design's Anonymous Women. I really like this more and more. This was designed by Cindy Bradford, now of Little by Little Designs. As I stitch the bottom portion, I seem to recognize the hand that designed Ann Pennsylvania Peacock. Maybe that is just fanciful! I would love to hurry and finish this up, but I have dutifully laid it aside to work on another piece or two. My definition of rotation is getting looser by the day! ;)

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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Stitching Progress

Happy Saturday to you all! I don't have any big stitching news, but I didn't want anyone to be scared off by that last homeschool post!
Here is my current progress on Papillon's Mary Queen of Scots, GH's Easter Rabbit, and Sheepish Design's Anonymous Women.

Hope your Saturday is full of stitching!

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Weekly Report 9 January - 13 January

This was another eventful week here in our homeschool! Highlights this week include the vet discussing revolting dog things with the children (science-check!), a delivery from Rainbow Resources, a new 6-week composer/artist study .... Read on, Dear Reader, read on!

My parents gave me a gift certificate for Rainbow Resources for Christmas. The order arrived this week, and I am looking forward to livening up these winter months with new lessons and books. Monday we started our new 6-week artist/composer study: Rembrandt and Vivaldi. I love a new beginning with a new plan. I never know whether the end result will meet or exceed the plan.


Our first picture for study is Tobit and Anna.

This is from an episode in the Book of Tobit. The righteous Tobit has become blind, and his faithful wife Anna is working and brings home a goat kid. Rembrandt has painted the couple after Tobit accuses his wife of stealing the kid and then asks forgiveness. We had a Sunday School lesson on this in October for Raphael the Archangel's feast day. I hoped this would be fresh in the girl's minds. St. Raphael, who is the angelic guide to Tobit and Anna's son Tobias, is a favorite of mine and Jerry's. This archangel leads Tobit to the wife God intended for him, and prayers are often prayed that, by the power of God, St. Raphael will lead you to whom you seek. Jerry had a St. Raphael prayer card that he carried with him for some time before he met me. We have decided St. Raphael's feast on October 24 will be our "Valentine's Day."

Even if you are not interested in this book for religious reasons, I strongly recommend familiarity with it if you plan for you or your children to study art history.

Resources I plan on using for Rembrandt

Now, don't freak out about the number of books on my list! It is not all necessary! I have collected many of these books over a couple of years from my favorite used book seller for $1-$3 each. Some I have purchased on the Amazon Marketplace for under $1 plus the standard Marketplace shipping of $3.99. An incredible variety can be found if you hunt and hunt for months and years BEFORE you do a lesson. I don't have any where near this many books on any other artist, but Rembrandt books were easy for me to find. I just want to show you what is available if you look around (or check your library.)

The focus of picture study in grammar and middle school is on the PAINTING itself, not the artist or his times. Some of the books I have are for me to read (and educate myself!) and pass on the information to my children in conversation. I know my children would be mortified if I hauled a few books to the museum and walked around reading out of the book! I hope (one day) my children appreciate me walking around the museum and whispering to them funny stories and sad histories related to the artists and their works. My children want us to tell them things in conversation; they want to be treated like maturing human beings. Eventually, my children can read the art histories for themselves. I love my Kindle, but I cannot imagine studying art history on a screen.

Many of my books are ex-library. I hope they can still be found on many other library shelves!

General Art Histories

*The Story of Art by E. H. Gombrich (I think I paid around $6 total)

A classic work for generations. You can read about the various editions and choose the one for your purposes.

*The Story of Painting by Sister Wendy This is an enormous coffee table hardback rich with color. Because I care neither about the original dust jacket nor the black line drawn across the bottom end, I was able to purchase it for $20 and free shipping. Some of the paintings cover 2 pages and are good for detailed study.

*The Annotated Mona Lisa by Carol Strickland

I love the sidebars! I love the comparative charts! A "Crash Course!"

Anthologies for Children

*Lives of the Great Artists by Charles Ayres

If you hang out on homeschool forums long enough, you will notice other homeschoolers posting "deals and steals." I think this book was on special pricing for $3 or $4 and free shipping at one time. The selection is limited to 20 artists from Giotto to Van Gogh. The book is over-sized which allows for pictures large enough to study. There are sidebars throughout such as "Why don't you..." and "Did you know..." The artists covered are covered well for $4.

*Stories of the Painters by Amy Steedman.

This book can be found from $20 to $100. Mine was $20, in beautiful condition, and with pages still uncut. Many of Amy Steedman's books are in the public domain and can be found in many places online such as The Baldwin Project and This book is apparently not in the public domain. Sometimes I see 1910 as the date and sometimes 1938. I love this book. I love Amy Steedman's writing style and the color plates. As always, Steedman's stories begin with childhood. These stories make a nice read-aloud over several days for grammar and middle school students.

*Masters of Art by David & Emily Kales 1967

I spotted this book at a friend's house. Her librarian MIL passes along "discards" to her. I read several selections and then immediately turned to the computer. I found it on Amazon for $0.30 plus $3.99 shipping. I plan on using this book for middleschool outlining and written narrations.

*Young People's Story of Fine Art by V. M. Hillyer and E. G. Huey

Hillyer and his works are legendary in the homeschool world, but because of decades of revision and updates, I never know which editions to choose. My favorite online used book dealer, Linda's Used Books, had several individual titles in his art series for $3 each. She was selling the homeschool library that belonged to a friend. I have rarely paid $3 for a used book before, but these have been worth it. These are from 1970, and have color pictures and text suitable for both reading and outlining. (Nutmeg has written several narrations from the Architecture book - I highly recommend it as well!)

Specifically Rembrandt

*Picture Study Portfolios published by Simply Charlotte Mason.

I purchased the Rembrandt because I felt I needed "handholding" as I embarked on this journey. A booklet is included that gives detailed information (with quotations from Charlotte Mason) on the purpose and form of CM Picture Study, as well as an adapted biography of the artist. In the case of the Rembrandt Portfolio, the biography was adapted from Amy Steedman. Eight large, glossy, sturdy prints are included. This would be an option for someone who does not have ideas about which pictures to choose. (I like none of them.) Finally, the portfolio includes a list of other books for further study. Here I found the title of a middle school novel called "Night Watch." I have been unwilling to pay $15 for it on Amazon though. I'll keep searching...

*Hanna in the time of Tulips

a picture book by Deborah Noyes

*Introducing Rembrandt by Alexander Sturgis

$1.50 ex-library book, middle school

*Rembrandt and Seventeenth-Century Holland by Claudio Pescio

This ex-library book I bought from Linda has come in very hand this year as we have studied the 16th and 17th centuries. Several other artists from this time and place are covered as well as political and social aspects of the society. It is over-sized and contains good pictures and illustrations. The large, detailed illustrations of the canals, dikes, and windmills were invaluable as we studied events in Holland's history. There is a lot of information here!

*Eyewitness Art: Looking at Paintings

I have had this ex-library book for several years. It has interesting information on wide range of topics.

Composer Study

Our Composer for this 6-week period will be Vivaldi. The children are already familiar with some of his music; Jerry and I listen to it a lot. The focus will be putting the name, face, and a few facts with the music.

*Classical Kids cd and Teacher guide Vivaldi's Ring of Mystery

*The Music Masters Series cd The Stories of Vivaldi & Corelli in Words and Music, $4 ?

*Lives of the Musicians Good Times, Bad Times (And What the Neighbors Thought), used

*I, Vivaldi a children's picture book written by Janice Shefelman, used

*Anna Maria's Gift A Stepping Stone Book by Janice Shefelman, used

I worried that this last book might upset 7-year old Buttercup. The first chapter deals with the death of a beloved parent. I then remembered that most of Buttercup's imaginary games begin with orphans whose parents have died of the cholera... Yes, Buttercup has been steeped in classic children's literature, in large part due to

I am considering reading the chapter on Vivaldi in Victor Chapin's 1969 The Violin and Its Masters. Perhaps I could glean some interesting bits of information and pass along to our violinist, Nutmeg. It is something to keep on hand for high school at any rate.

In addition to these resources, we will be listening to my husband's impressive Vivialdi collection as well as some Vivaldi pieces found in the Beethoven's Wig cd series. We love those at our house!


Some time ago I purchased a download of Beautiful Feet's geography program using four of the Holling Clancy Hollings books. I did not want to spend the money on the maps hoping I could use some I already had or could find on the internet for free. Using my gift certificate, I bought the Beautiful Feet maps that go with the program. Each of the four maps is 24" x 18" and printed in two shades of brown on cream cardstock. I really think these maps are necessary to the program; the size will allow the child to include and observe so much detail! Nutmeg was very excited when she saw the maps, less excited when she saw the first book, Paddle to the Sea. I think she will certainly be able to handle one lesson per week.


I also purchased Elementary Greek: Koine for Beginners volume 1 of a 3-year program. It is New Testament or Koine Greek. Now, I know this is perhaps controversial. I know that Attic Greek is preferred in Classics departments. I know it is recommended that one study the more difficult, Attic, before the simpler, Koine. I know.


1. My primary goal with this subject is for my children to read the New Testament as written and to understand the nuances and idioms.

2. My husband is studying New Testament Greek.

3. There are many homeschool Koine Greek programs for non-Greek-reading parents to choose from. Attic - not so many.

4. I got a Rainbow Resources gift certificate. This program was on their damaged/bargain page. That's how I was raised to shop. :)

I'll update again in the coming weeks and let you know if these resources are livening up our homeschool through the winter months!

Hope you found something useful!

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Monday, January 9, 2012

WIPocalypse January

Greetings, Fellow WIPocalypse Stitchers! For this month's full moon, the Full Wolf Moon, I finished Stitcher's Prayer by CHS. I started it in the last week of 2011, so it was hardly a WIP that had been long in Stitching Limbo. But a WIP is a WIP, and a Finish is a Finish!

I also have made some progress on Susan Rambo. I started her as soon as she appeared in SANQ last summer. I am stitching her on Exemplar with DMC threads, some are my own conversion. I love her, and want to see her hanging proudly on my wall, but I have a serious case of Stitcher ADD. I hope to show you more progress by next month.
This is a new start from yesterday, so it is not on my WIPocalypse list. I am going to spend 2 more days on it to complete a rotation. I don't want it to be on a WIP list or a UFO list one day!

ETA: This is Anonymous Women Sampler by Sheepish Designs

I am looking forward to seeing your progress!

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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Time for a New Start!!

I am doing a Cross Stitch Rotation this year. Yep. I just got a little side tracked, but I bought a little calendar to keep records so I can get back with the program. 1 and 2 January I finished A Stitcher's Prayer, and 3 and 4 January I dutifully worked on Susan Rambo. 5 January, instead of finishing a 3-day rotation on SR, I chose to start Souvenir de France, a freebie from the Blackbird Designs blog. I used a cream-colored scrap of fabric and DMC 924. I knew I should have chosen a ribbon first and then selected a matching thread, but I didn't. Now I will have to settle for a thematic match instead of a color match. Nutmeg started learning French last summer, and I thought it would be a cute little pillow or pinkeep for her. (I would also like to purchase or borrow French Lessons by Birds of a Feather. I'm not paying 80$ for it on Ebay.) I finished Souvenir up this morning. As I note that in my little calendar, I see that I should work on SR again today. But I don't want to. I want to start something new...
I have some natural light fabric that I think is the correct size for Anonymous Women Sampler by Sheepish Designs. If I can locate my DMC 3011, I will start this after I feed lunch to the Fam. You know I love Sheepish Designs, don't you? So I don't need to go on and on telling you about my SD obsession, how I watch and wait and snap up the designs where ever I find them, how I flip through the charts in a huge binder before I sleep at night (counting sheep- haha-sorry), how I called Dawn Bradford last summer and begged her to release all the designs digitally....yes, I really did. She was sweet to me, but she has moved on...

I also plan on ordering some 40 count linen from Terri at The Stich Store to begin Bridget Power. She's gorgeous. *sigh*
She is also huge. Look at those flowers! Look at that altar! My favorite things in a sampler - how could I resist?

Now look at this.
Jerry and I are going to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary next month. We have a little trip planned, but I don't know if he will be able to leave Hector. What do you think?

Oh, our wedding anniversary! Now I remember that I wanted to stitch Tanya The Sampler Girl's ' Jane Austen & Me...the Emma Project for our anniversary. Hmmm....better get stitching!

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Friday, January 6, 2012

Homeschool Weekly Report 2 Jan to 6 Jan 2012

We started back formal homeschool and music lessons this week. It felt good to sit at our little school table, and have a routine. It felt good, but it was very draining. I am going to fortify myself with no driving and lots of stitching this weekend because dance classes start next week. A little voice in my head frequently commented, "Isn't it nice to take a long break in the middle of the day, or even two breaks, and do some subjects in the late afternoon?" Even with no rushing off to dance, it was impossible to get everything done. Latin did not get done. Science got done a bit. History got done a bit more. Math, grammar, art, and composition got done A LOT!

I had one last thing I really wanted to introduce before we moved on to our next Artist Study. Paintings and Painters are our main focus, but I would like to introduce other art forms occasionally. To finish our Degas study, we read Degas and the Little Dancer and looked at Degas' sculpture "The Little Dancer." Buttercup colored another page from Masterpieces: A Fact-filled Coloring Book.

We did not get everything done with this Artist/Composer round that I had envisioned. I am trying to look at all the resources as "options I can choose from" instead of as "boxes I need to check in order to feel good about our experience." We drew ballerinas, we listened to different pieces by Tchaikovsky, Nutmeg worked on a Tchaikovsky piano piece, we went to a school day at a theatre for what we thought would be an abbreviated Nutcracker (It was a disappointment), we discovered new books about Degas and Tchaikovsky, Nutmeg noted the men in her Book of Centuries, and we even managed to tie Young Indiana Jones in by watching an episode where Picasso argues with Degas about art! I keep telling myself this is exposure, this is enrichment, it is not meant to be the end-all-and-be-all Culture Experience!!

We did some "hands-on" art as well this week. Nutmeg grudgingly did an assignment or two out of Artistic Pursuits- we are giving it another try, but we still have not discovered its "magic." Buttercup experimented with positive and negative images. (We haven't quite figured out how we want to display them.)
How to Teach Art to Children is still my favorite art program we have used. I remember having so much fun doing it with Nutmeg. Nutmeg also remembers it fondly and frequently asks to be included in Buttercup's lesson. Today they were each given three sheets of paper and three blue circles. The assignment was to make the circle part of the drawing in different ways on the different papers. Nutmeg's all had a Harry Potter theme, of course!
Buttercup also drew a tiger while I read to her about India. I know it looks like she misspelled tiger, but it was her little joke - a tiger growls "grrrr!"
India was our history focus this week. Yes, we are only on week 11 of Story of the World. I am past hyperventilating about that. Occasionally I do hyperventilate about other things though, like Social Studies. Now, I couldn't tell you what Social Studies is off the top of my head without a lot of "um's" and "you know's." Homeschoolers seem to pooh-pooh Social Studies. We always look at the geography, religions, foods, current events, etc. of any country we encounter in our history texts. But sometimes, sometimes, I get the Social Studies Bug- enter the Weekly Reader Social Studies Skill Builders Grades 4-5. I bought it used somewhere or other, and I pull it out now and again. This week Nutmeg did a few multiplechoiceinterpretthegraph-type worksheets about India and global energy use. She came downstairs so indignant that we Americans use more energy than we produce! Her reaction was so charming that it made my half-hearted purchase worthwhile!

I want to introduce you to a few more members of my Stinky Book Collection.
I am indebted to Jenn of Wildflowers and Marbles and Angela of MommyLawyer/Gratia Plena Academia for sending me down so many rabbit trails! I go to their blogs (and Angela's house) and rifle through their book collections, jotting down titles and authors as fast as ever I might. I have come to appreciate the uncluttered, simply illustrated books of the 40's, 50's, and 60's that can still be found at used book stores and sites. Sometimes a child (or parent) really needs a good, technical graphic or an up-to-the-minute text. But sometimes, sometimes, the parent and the child want to savor a book that does not overwhelm with flashy graphics (that remind me of MTV videos of the 80's and 90's) with text hidden here and there all over the page! I also appreciate the tone of many of these books. They seem to be written for children who have or at least appreciate an attention span longer than 2 minutes. I grabbed a handful that we looked through this week and include them here if you feel like going down some rabbit trails of your own!

Myths of the World Padraic Colum 1930
Getting to Know the Ganges Welthin Soni 1964
The Story of Peter Tchaikovsky Opal Wheeler 1953
All About the Symphony Orchestra Dorothy Berliner Commins 1961
Christmas Trees and How They Grow Glenn Blough 1961
Masters of Art David and Emily Kales 1967
The Golden Geography Elsa Jane Werner 1952

Those are some of the highlights from earlier in the week. Today is 6 January and we celebrate The Feast of the Epiphany!

May all your comings and goings be in search of Truth!