Autumn Blessings

I received this wonderful pay it forward gift from Wendy in the mail recently. I just love the colors in the design and the expert finishing. Thank you again, Wendy! Such a lovely and unexpected treat to brighten up my autumn.

The fall colors have been absolutely gorgeous here in Philadelphia the past few weeks. I snapped these pictures of the beautiful hill across from our apartment complex this morning. I fear that all the rain we are getting this evening may knock a lot of leaves off the trees. Such swiftly fading splendor.

And lastly is a picture of my sweet and silly Philo, who loves to squeeze himself into a wee basket on our table.

We are traveling to some dear friends' home in Ohio for Thanksgiving. They live on an apple orchard-- we are looking forward to lovely walks outside among the trees and lots of apple cider! I hope your Thanksgiving is bountiful and blessed.

Red and Blue

I first want to say a big thank you for all your kind comments on my last post. They truly blessed and encouraged me.

Somewhere along the way, I started decorating with a combination of red and blue, and I have a lot of these colors in my home. The last photo in this group is the top of one of our bookshelves. Last weekend, I re-arranged some furniture in a little corner of my apartment, and finished something I have wanted to do since moving in 2 years ago: I made valances for my windows! I finally had enough confidence with the sewing machine to tackle this project. I found some really cute red fabric with golden ladybugs. I hung some of my favorite blue transferware plates nearby, and also finally framed my BBD Sunflower House, and hung it in the same area, as it has the reds and blues I love so much. I am so pleased with the result. The desk in the first photo is where I put my sewing machine when I sew.

Yesterday was hubbie's 29th birthday! We went out to dinner and had fun looking through e-cards and birthday notes when we came home. We are enjoying leading a Sunday School class together at church, and I bought him this Bible as a present.

I have several wips going on right now, but this week I have been stitching away on the 2006 Prairie Schooler Santa; hope to show you that finish soon.

Autumn Leaves and Summer Fruits

Autumn Leaves has been in my finishing drawer for some time, and I finally got it made into a flat fold with some gorgeous paisley fabric. It inspired me to pull out my autumn plates and decorate my hutch for the fall.

I also have been inspired to finish off some of the fruit thread packs by LHN into little pinkeeps during a stitch-a-long we're having at the LHN group. I really want to do pumpkins, peaches, and pear next.

I wish my blog posts weren't so few and far between these days but that is life right now! Hope you all are well.

birds and words #5

'Tis been too long since I've done a Loose Feather's Poetry Corner for you.
As you can see, the house is finished, hooray! I have almost decided to finish this for my mother for Christmas. I think she will love it.

my progress on Awake the Dawning Day by Blackbird Designs

And now for a selection from On Wings of Song.

"Jenny Wren" by Walter de la Mare

Of all the birds that rove and sing,
Near dwellings made for men,
None is so nimble, feat, and trim,
As Jenny Wren.

With pin-point bill, and tail a-cock,
So wildly shrill she cries,
The echoes on his roof-tree knock
And fill the skies.

Never was sweeter seraph hid
Within so small a house--
A tiny, inch-long, eager, ardent,
Feathered mouse.

Lots of Pictures to Share!

This is my small start on La D Da's "Peaceful Ways." The fabric is so pretty and fine, but I've forgotten what it is. I think it is a 36 count by R&R and I am using GAST threads Cinnamon, Walnut, Tarnished Gold, and Dried Thyme.

Two loveable Santas for the PS Wreath SAL.

Michele B. (Striped Rose) sent me her pretty squares for the Fair Square exchange Round 2. I am envisioning a pretty pinkeep! Thanks, Michele I do love them.

Sweet stitched piece received from Shelleen for the USEBB For the Birds Exchange. She had laced it to some matboard and framed it ... I hope she won't mind, as I'm on a bit of a pinkeep kick lately and I plan to re-finish as a pinkeep with some of the pretty fabric she sent along. Thanks Shelleen for the lovely stitching and extra goodies you sent.

These are my squares to Michele. I know she likes Little House Needleworks so I stitched motifs from "Morning Berries" using Crescent Colors threads on 32 ct. Natural Light. I do hope you like these, Michele.

We had a lovely trip to Yale; if my pictures turned out, I will share those next. Mike and I slept in this morning and made a yummy sausage and egg scramble with fresh french press coffee. I hope to work on some finishing and other home projects and then we have a birthday party to attend this evening. Happy Saturday!

Just a note to say . . .

. . . that I am alive and well. :) With my new job (you can read about it here) my stitching has tapered off to a few tiny projects and one bigger secret project - my first experience as a model stitcher! I will share more about that as soon as the designer gives me the ok to do so.

I should also be able to share my squares --both sent and received--for the Fair Square exchange in the next few days, as Michele and I both sent to each other over the weekend.

I'm so sorry for neglecting to post or comment much lately! Hopefully the dust will settle a bit soon. Love to all and happy stitching to you. :)


Well, as Barbara said, "Wow, I rock." What a nice feeling! Thanks, Mary Kathryn, for tagging me as a "Rockin' Girl Blogger."

I completely agree with Vonna that there are so many amazing bloggers out there, that I could honestly nominate dozens and dozens of other rockin' girl bloggers. But, in the spirit of fun, here are 5 of my top gals. Many of my most favorite chicas have already received one of these little awards. Here are a few more...

Isabelle must be the definition of a rockin' girl. Anyone who sews her own wedding gown out of gorgeous silk dupioni totally rocks in my book. Isabelle has mad, mad seamstress skills, girls!

Michelle is my friendship exchange partner for Fair Squares and I am already blown away by her amazing gardening abilities and great needlework sense. Go by The Striped Rose and marvel at this lady's gorgeous roses!

Andrea is one of those bloggers that I truly enjoy reading; she puts a little bit of extra love in each post. She picks wonderful projects, has a fabulous wit, sense of humor, and the most gigantic collection of silks you've ever seen.

Katie - 8 years old and stitching like a pro? 63 comments on your first post? Oh, yes, girl, you rock!

Deborah - I bow before the designing genius that is Midsummer Night Designs! Deborah can I please be you when I grow up?

I hereby nominate all the other worthy stitchers and bloggers in our fabulous stitching community. You all inspire me. :)

Lazy Sunday

I suppose it's not very sabbatarian of me, but I've been enjoying shopping and stitching all afternoon long.

A little start . . .
My husband's cousin is having a baby in one month and her nursery colors are chocolate brown and tiffany blue. I had fun playing in my stash and coming up with this combination for the Lizzie Kate chart, "Bless the Baby." I plan to use these fabrics to frame it as a sweet pillow.

Impulse buys . . .

Hands to Work "I Wait For the Lord"

Carriage House Samplings' "Quaker House Samplers."

I could not resist these two beautiful charts this afternoon. I ordered them on sale at SBB--so who knows when I'll receive them--but I'm not planning to stitch either immediately so, no matter. I went ahead and purchased the silks called for in the CHS chart just as a special treat to myself.

More birds, Updates, and PIF Offer!!

I have been away from blogging for a couple of weeks due to many changes happening in our lives. The biggest one is that I was let go of my full time job at the end of June, and by the Lord's grace have found a new position already which will begin next Monday. My new job is Foster Parent Recruiting/Training in the Community Based Program of a non-profit agency here in Philadelphia. I am so excited to have an opportunity to serve in this capacity. There are 8,000 children in foster care in the city of Philadelphia and I feel so blessed to be a part of helping some of them find supportive and loving homes.

I really want to take this moment also to give God glory for answering prayer. It came as a big surprise to us when I lost my job and we immediately sought His guidance and provision and many dear friends in our church community began praying for us. Within two days I had interviewed for this job and within two weeks they had extended the offer. God does provide --sometimes, not always as we imagine, but sometimes in miraculous ways. :)

Now on to a little stitching news.

First of all, I have signed up with Tanya for her Pay it Forward offer and cannot wait to see what this multi-talented designer Super Mom will stitch for me. Tanya has creativity and hospitality oozing out of every pore and it has been a joy to get to know her online!

Here's how it works:
I will send a stitched handmade item to the first 5 people who leave a comment on my blog under this post. You will receive it within 365 days; you have my word. The only thing you have to do in return is Pay It Forward by making the same promise on your blog! Once you sign up, I will be emailing you for mailing address information and will keep an eye out on YOUR blog to see what designs, colors, designers you like.
Please do sign up; this will be my second time to Pay It Forward and I had a ball stitching for new friends last time.
For the Birds Exchange Pictures

Here is my completed piece for the USEBB "For the Birds" Exchange; I think it is safe to share as I don't believe my partner reads my blog. I stitched this for Toni and selected a design by Bent Creek, changing a few colors. The text reads "One bird having some friends over." This is the exchange for which I solicited all your opinions on choosing a design; thanks to everyone for your input!

I made the bottom birdie a pretty green to co-ordinate with my backing fabric, and stitched the word "bird" in that color; then had the letters of "friends" match the colors of the bird's friends (pictures are clickable if you'd like a closer view). The fabric was a scrap from my Awake the Dawning Day 30 ct. Iced Cappucino by R&R; threads are DMC.

This was my first ever flat fold, and I have the lovely Vonna to thank for her awesome finishing tutorial.

........In other news, I had many comments asking for the Amitie freebie. I'm afraid that Echevette has taken it off her freebies pages, as I cannot find it. I also managed to discard my hard copy. If anyone happens to have this to share with others, please drop me an email (rachelvendsel at yahoo dot com).

birds and words #4

loose feathers poetry corner

Well, my apologies for not getting this out on Friday as planned, but here is my update this week on the lovely Awake the Dawning Day. My house has a roof now and all the satin stitches are done. I hope my SAL partners are enjoying their projects as much as I am. Has everyone seen the newest Loose Feathers? I like it very much; it's a bit different in style than the first two but I do like it.

Hope you enjoy week's poem.


Suddenly, like an arrow from the East,
Smart as new paint appeared our gorgeous guest,
Green in his plumage, scarlet on his crown,
Strolling about a tree-trunk upsidedown,
Tap-tapping busily with beak on bark,
His mind imagineless, his purpose dark
To us who watched him, startled out of speech,
Exchanging secret glances each with each.
So all that day, being young and fearing not
Lest custom dull the treasure we had got,
All that day long we jingled, as we went,
New-minted coins of bright astonishment.

Gerald Bullett

Harry Potter Bookmark, Happy 7/7/7

"Hedwig's Four Patch"
32 ct. Lambswool

Weeks Onyx
GAST Deep Sea, Burnt Orange, Brandy, Hyacinth
CC La Tierra

A big thank you to Tanya, fellow reader and HP enthusiast, for the delightful freebie!
Stop by Tanya's website: to see this and all her great designs.

Mike and I are going blueberry and raspberry picking today at Linville Orchards. It is supposed to be hot in Philly today so I will be lathering on the sunscreen.

Hope you all have a great weekend. Oh, and THANK YOU for all the nice comments on my little finishes!!

~four finishes fa la la~

I spent a good part of our 4th of July holiday working on these pieces. I finished stitching "Berries" for our LHN Cottage SAL, and plan to turn that into a little pinkeep, but need to find the appropriate fabric first.

.... "Bluebirds pins and needles" from the new BBD book will be a belated birthday pincushion for dear Vonna (happy birthday, Vonna!).... I had great plans to get this in the mail to you days ago but this way you can just extend your birthday celebration a bit. :)

And even though I'm spoiling the surprise, I just can't wait to share these, too. The purple "Amitie" pillow is my pif for Wendy (I hope you like it, Wendy!) and the red "Merci" tie on pillow is a surprise pif for Karen V. in England as a thank you for who she is and all she does to bless our stitching community. I used Karen's tutorial to make the tie-on pillow --so a double "merci" to you, my friend! I hope you ladies enjoy these gifts and I hope they arrive safely and soon. I enjoyed making them for you so much.

p.s. "Amitie" and "Merci" are both freebies found here.
  • I sitched "Amitie" one over one with Carrie's Threads Deep Purple on 28 ct. evenweave.
  • I stitched "Merci" over two on 32 ct. Lambswool with two strands of DMC 115.
  • The BBD pincushion was stitched with the recommended Weeks threads on 36 ct. Antique Cotton.
  • "Berries" used the Crescent Colors from the thread pack on an unknown scrap of 32 ct. linen.

birds and words #3

Many, many thanks for everyone who voted on their favorite option in my last post. Purple Martins (#1) won the popular vote, but after reading your comments, I'm leaning towards #3 or #4 as something my parnter might like best. I'd like to stitch Purple Martins for one of you and do a little name drawing to determine the recipient. I'll let you know when I can get to that!

Loose Feathers Poetry Corner

The house part of Awake the Dawning Day is now under construction. I managed to put in the door and windows and part of the birds at the bottom.

(If you're just now tuning in to birds and words, I am stitching this Blackbird Designs' chart using the recommended Weeks fibers and R&R linen.)

Hope you'll also enjoy this little poem by Daniel Hall.

"Short Circuit"

For no reason,
all at once,

a dove and a jay
swerve and land

at opposite ends
of the clothesline,

and the clothes--mine,
all mine!--commence

to dance with reckless
love and joy.

Please Help Me Choose!

I'm participating in a bird-themed exchange in a few weeks, and find that I have so many cute charts that would be appropriate. Thus, I'm having the hardest time choosing what to stitch. Will you help me choose?

I have 3 Prairie Schooler options and one from Bent Creek. The third picture is an option because I know my partner loves cats.

OPTION 1, Praire Schooler Purple Martins (Book 24):

OPTION 2, PS Hummingbirds:

OPTION 3, PS Bird and Cat (Book 94):

OPTION 4, Bent Creek, "One Bird Having Some Friends Over":

Please comment and tell me which you like best!

Jane Austen Sampler Finish

Hello friends,

I don't have a "birds and words" for you today, because I couldn't stop stitching on my Jane Austen sampler. (Picture is clickable for a larger image.)

I did manage to finish it up this morning and it is the perfect description of how we have spent the last several days; my dear sister-in-law, Sarah, has been visiting us this week, and so far we have spent most of our time at home, sleeping in, drinking coffee, cooking fun meals, snuggling under the covers to watch movies, and playing with Philo. We are still in pajamas at 1:00 pm as I type! Soon we will get dressed and head downtown to the museum for their live jazz evening. I hope you will all have a restful weekend as well.

Thank you for all your wonderful comments on my last post- I appreciate you each stopping in and taking the time to say hello.

birds and words #2

Loose Feathers Poetry Corner

"THE SADDEST NOISE" -- Emily Dickinson

The saddest noise, the sweetest noise,
The maddest noise that grows, --
The birds, they make it in the spring,
At night's delicious close.

Between the March and April line--
That magical frontier
Beyond which summer hesitates,
Almost too heavenly near.

It makes us think of all the dead
That sauntered with us here,
By separation's sorcery
Made cruelly more dear.

It makes us think of what we had,
And what we now deplore.
We almost wish those siren throats
Would go and sing no more.

An ear would break a human heart
As quickly as a spear,
We wish the ear had not a heart
So dangerously near.

Thank you all for your very kind comments and for taking the time to stop by here. I hope you enjoy this rather sad but lovely poem by the inestimable E.D., as well as week 2 progress. To my SAL friends, Nancy, Janice, Mary Kathryn, and Angela, have fun stitching!

We are desperately in love with our sweet new kitten, Philo. He is affectionate and curious and quite at home in our little apartment.
It is delightful to see all the wee places he is finding to hide and nap.

Now I just wanted to take a moment to address a few questions left in the comments last time. Monique: I do tend to stitch with one color for a bit before moving on to the next one, but if I have to move more than a few squares over, I just tuck my thread under the stitches just finished, cut that thread, and start a new one. This will help you avoid having a messy back. I hope that helps - if you need any other guidance, such as it is, feel free to email me: rachelvendsel at yahoo dot com

Nancy I did leave you a comment at your blog regarding the title title of the poetry book I'm using, but in case you didn't see or for anyone else who couldn't click through the link, the book is called
On Wings of Song: Poems About Birds from the Everyman's Library Pocket Poet hardback collection, which are very beautiful little books, sized for carrying with you to read at picnics, or on the train, or what have you.

Janis Lee: I did not change any of the threads or fabric, I am stitching on the recommended R&R and using the fibers from Weeks Dye Works. There is a rather obvious water stain on my fabric but I'm afraid I made that while ironing my fabric. I'm hoping the house part of the design will cover that up. :)

Barbara, thanks for your comment with the quote by ee cummings -- love that! How wonderful to use on your birth announcements.

I haven't made it around to all your blogs recently but hope to remedy that this weekend. Hope you are all doing well and have a nice weekend whatever you are doing.

New Kitty!

Today my husband and I acquired a precious new kitten. I blogged about it HERE. :)

for the love of birds and words #1

Loose Feathers Poetry Corner

I have decided to create a regular Friday feature here which will include progress pics on Awake the Dawning Day accompanied by poetry. Why, you may ask? Well, I:
  • just re-joined the Loose Feathers Club, which this year is bird-themed
  • just started "Awake the Dawning Day" and am so excited about this piece , and
  • just acquired this beautiful book, an anthology of bird poems
So there you have it.

First, my little start on AtDD. A bit slow going because of all the color changes, but oh, those beautiful colors!

And now our first selection, Bird-Language, by W.H. Auden:

I hope you all have a lovely weekend and get some nice stitching in.