Thursday, December 18, 2014

Day 4 - 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway

Today I have four copies of a real yummy thing!  Copies of ROBE May 1667 a faux fashion magazine of the 17th century produced for the wonderful exhibit by the Royal Collection on Stuart fashion in the summer of 2013.

Four lucky winners will get a copy.  Send me an email with ROBE in the subject line ( by midnight EST December 19th.  Send your mailing address in the body or I will have to pass you by.

Hope you win!


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Day 3 - 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway

Hmmm - how about five issues of Piecework - most of 2013?  This will go to one winner of the random pick of emails sent to me at by midnight December 18th EST with PIECEWORK in the subject line.  And don't forget to send me your post office address in the email or I can't send it to you!


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Day 2 - 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway

Today the giveaway is a cute little notebook with an embroidered pattern on the cover.

The rules are the same - send me a email by midnight Dec. 17th EST at  Put NOTEBOOK in the subject line and SEND YOUR POST ADDRESS.

Hope you win!


Sunday, December 14, 2014

12-Days of Christmas Giveaway - Day 1

Yes!  I am doing my 12-days of Christmas Giveaway again this year.  I have been saving or collecting yummy things to give away in the spirit of giving.

Today's item is the 2014 Just Cross Stitch Christmas Ornament Issue and I have more than one copy to give away to lucky respondents.  I will chose the winners randomly from emails I get before midnight EST on Dec 15th.

Send JCS CHRISTMAS in the subject line so I can easily find your email.  AND your post address in the body of the email.  I won't be searching for your mailing address!  Send the email to

Then watch for the rest of the giveaways and you can enter for each every day!


P.S.  Thanks for all the well wishes for my father-in-law.  It has been a rough week and the future is
Total Elation at 460 points in 2 min 30 sec
hazy.  But fortunately we are also deep in our robot competitions and that has been a great way for my husband to keep busy and positive when not at the hospital.  I will leave you with a great photo - my husband made it to the regional competition from the hospital just in time to see our young team have a 'perfect run' of their robot catapulting them to the highest robot score in the state last weekend.   The kids were  understandably terribly excited as you can see on their faces (and they were going against a great veteran team of 14 yr olds).  Every year our mantra is 'one perfect run' in competition and this is the first time it happened in the six years of coaching.  They also won the most Innovative Research Award for their comic book for dyslexic kids which is going to be published (more about that later when it debuts publicly).  Quite the double play by the kids on a day we needed a pick-me-up having both stayed up all night at the hospital.  Saturday they go to the State Championship to see how well they can do.  They have worked 500 hrs as a team this season and it is showing!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Embroidery Frames - Linda Eaton

Linda Eaton has discussed the importance of maintaining the original mounts for needlework with the piece in talks.  Recently she published an online article about the subject.  She makes a good argument for what type of important information can be had from these auxiliary materials.
I will be starting my 12-days of Christmas giveaways soon.  Sorry for the light blog.  Focusing on lessons and shipping at the moment because I am in 'high robot season' and my Father-in-Law had a massive stroke on Friday.  He is improving a tiny bit but the future of what level of care needed is unclear.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Turkey, Gingerbread and Bots

I hope those in the US had a lovely holiday!  Mine was really nice yet hectic and eventful, I have to admit that the actual Turkey dinner was a sideshow to the main events.  There is nothing quiet about our Nov/Dec in this house as it is prime robot season with our competitions all in the several weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas (except the older boys now compete every few weeks until the
This WAS the dining room.  As soon as the
Turkey was cleared, they moved out the
furniture and set up the 14 foot square robot
field.  I hear I get it back for Christmas Day
middle of Feb).  So ALL the time the kids had off (except Thursday), they were here.  Literally I would have to walk around the house and count how many people were in it (my extended family, robot kids, robot parents, in-laws, etc) to figure out how many were eating at each meal.  The number wavered between 12-24 at times.  The spontaneous parties and kids blowing off steam with NERF all over the place added to the chaos.  I am letting the older kids run their robot team this year (learning to organize - growth but a loss of parent control) but that means that I never know what is up.  They text and 'call in reinforcements' as progress goes forward and that can mean that a few teens show up at the door at 8pm to work when I thought we were just emptying out!  (Time to get out more chips!)

Grandpa adding the ball track made from wreath forms while
watching football in my family room.  Note the almost finished
gingerbread train (it moves)
Add to that an event at MIT that my side of the family has gotten into and has become a tradition for us and it gets REALLY CRAZY.  MIT hosts something called the FAT (Friday after Thanksgiving) Chain Reaction.  It is a giant Rube Goldberg device that is built on that day with segments built at home by teams.  This was our 4th year doing it and we go nuts.  We don't start until my parents and brothers arrive in town for Turkey, work on it like mad with all the toys in the house and many trips to Home Depot and set it up in front of the football on TV, only taking breaks to cook and eat the turkey.  For a family that is all mechanical, this is a crazy thing to collaborate on as we all think we
know what is best.  I guess it keeps us from arguing about politics.

We haul ourselves down to MIT on Friday and set up.  It takes forever to tweak it to work and usually still requires 'the hand of god' to move a ball that gets stuck somewhere in the movements.  The public comes in around 1pm and they swarm around all the teams and ask questions and watch your segment run.  The whole thing goes off around 3:30pm and is filmed in a crazy dance to much audience delight.  Almost 2000 people are there.  Tons of kids and that has become our speciality - doing something that delights.  What I am really proud of is how many teams over the years have told us that they came the year before and saw ours and decided they could do it and got their kids doing it with them.  That is awesome!  I am not sure if they are thinking 'heck - I could do better than that!!' or if our team's use of things we have laying around the house is inspiring for last minute prep.  We always limit ourselves to kid-friendly materials, which of course delights the kids as well.  We were the first to use toys and now that is a major theme of teams.
Fox news interviewing my oldest on our team's link.  In addition
to the moving gingerbread train that transported the ball, there
was a lego elevator, a robotic arm (to remove the ball from train),
long winding aerial ball track and a Lego CNC machine he built to
carve the year's theme (17) into a block of floral foam (a big
crowd pleaser).

This year, our theme was gingerbread.  Yes, half our set up was edible and that was a first.  I have been asked for years to redo my legendary moving gingerbread train (my kids remember it from their baby years), so we did it again.  The Lego robot teams used their breaks in competition training to decorate our houses for the set up (a convenient excuse to sugar load before going back to robot tweaking!).  My mom had to bake tons of cookies as diversionary materials for the robot teens and grown-up men so they wouldn't raid the structural gingerbread.  There was generally too much sugar imbibed by all.

The Rubicon X team.  What you can't see is the wire structure
in the air that carries the ball around - it disappears in the picture.
So the hilarious thing is that our link in the chain reaction has been photogenic each time and we have gotten an amazing amount of press every year.  This year we were the picture in the Black Friday events around the nation in Time Magazine.  And those who have met me personally won't be surprised by the description of my family in this Boston Globe article.  We are team Rubicon X (as in Crossing the Rubicon).  In past years we have used Hex Bugs to push the ball, brought robotic talking hamsters,
and used more Knex, Legos, than you can shake a stick at.  We still haven't incorporated live animals (this has been done with bunnies and ducks) but I am thinking of training my hamster for 2015!


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Another Lamora Jenner!

Can you just imagine the end of the 21st century when embroidery curators and enthusiasts are saying "Who is X?" when looking at the volume of embroidery we are right now creating in the 17th century style.  I hope you are all putting your story on the papers of your caskets and the edges of your pictures!

There are at least 2 stumpwork mirrors, 2 caskets and now 2 pictures known to have been worked by the elusive Mrs. Jenner in the pre-war period in England.  This piece just turned up at Christie's in their Dec 2nd Masters and Makers sale and I was shown the other picture at the Holburn Museum this summer!  One of the mirrors is at the National Trust, saw a different one at Witney's a few years ago too.

It really is making me want to find out this woman's story!

And maybe it makes me feel just a little bit better that her work is being treated so well by the Antiques market.


Leonora Jenner C. 1940 Lot 441 Sale 5870 Christie's