Thursday, December 31, 2015

12 Days After Christmas Giveaway - Day 6

Again, I really liked this project which was a family tree that also contained pages on various family members.  The Just Cross Stitch magazine has the graphs and there is a pack of ovals to go with this. This is a really good giveaway!

If you like it - send a with FAMILY in the subject line.  Send it by midnight on January 1st (Happy New Years!) and put your mailing address in the body of the message.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

12 Days of After Christmas Giveaway - Day 5

It has been fun putting up these giveaways, its a walk down memory lane for me.  This one is for the magazine and a Tokens and Trifles to work one of these designs.  This is the lullaby that my mother and her mother sang.  I sang it to my kids and will to my grandkids as well.  Hard to believe that that chubby cheeked boy is now a robot guy.  Still has great cheeks to kiss - although he avoids it now as much as possible.

If you are interested in working one of these for a small one in your life - send me an email at  But LULABY in the subject line and send it by midnight on Dec 31th.  Include your mailing address in the body of the message

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

12 Days of After Christmas Giveaways - Day 4

The charts in Sampler and Antique Needlework Quarterly for a beautiful set of needlework accessories is my giveaway for today, including a random piece for one of them.

If you are interested, send me an email at with ROSE in the subject line.  Send it by midnight EST on December 30th with your mailing address in the body of the message.


Monday, December 28, 2015

12 Days of After Christmas Giveaway - Day 3

I have to admit some of these projects were really fun to do.  Mixing paper crafts with embroidery on our sewing cards.  Many of you might not have been familiar with these works.

Todays giveaway is the magazine with the charts for a set of halloween themed designs for Trinkets Confection (as well as a sewing card for you to use).  If you like it - send an email to me at and put HALLOWEEN in the subject line.  Send it by midnight EST on Dec 29th and put your mailing address in the body of the message.


Sunday, December 27, 2015

12 Days of After Christmas Giveaway - Day 2

Here is another Christmas themed giveaway with two ornaments in the Just Cross Stitch Ornament issue.  There is one Trinket sewing card in the issue.

The star design tells you how to color our Trinkets cards and the bell is a working bell!

If you are interested, send me an email with STAR in the subject line and send it to before midnight on December 28th.  Put your address in the body of the message.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Christmas Giveaway - 12 more days of Christmas!

Another set of Giveaways!  They never end!  This one is a NeedleArts EGA publication with a Mommy and Me chart in it for eyelet Tokens and Trifles.  It comes with a sewing card.  If you are interested, send me an email at with MOMMY in the subject line by midnight EST on Dec 27th.  Put your mailing address in the body of the message.


Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas - Giveaway Day 12

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Christmas today.  To make it a bit more sweet, here is a giveaway that allows you to capture those wonderful Christmas memories in a scrapbook.

The patterns on this one are for Trinkets and it comes with a random trinket that allows one of the designs to be made.

If you are interested, email me at by midnight EST, Dec 26th.  Put your mailing address in the body of the message and then put Memories in the Subject line so I can sort the entries.

Good Luck and hope you are making memories today!


Thursday, December 24, 2015

12 Days of Christmas - Day 11

Todays giveaway is a small needle book pattern and Tokens and Trifles to work it.

If you would like it, send me an email to with NEEDLEBOOK in the subject line.  Send it by midnight on Christmas EST.  Put your address in the body of the message.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Giveaway - Day 10

Here is a lovely giveaway!  These are close friends of ours and my treatment of their wedding photo. They are the parents of one of the robot crew.  If you would like to get one of these magazines with the charts for such a quick and easy way to treat a guest book or scrapbook - send me an email at with WEDDING in the subject line.  Send it by midnight EST on the 24th and put your mailing address in the body of the message.

It was a beautiful wedding!


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Giveaway - Day 9

We are back on track!  Today's giveaway has a baby theme with a mini round scrapbook that unfolds to show many pictures.  There is a circle shape Tokens and Trifles with the magazine to allow you to make your own.

If you are interested, send me an email with BABY in the subject line to by midnight EST December 23rd.  PLEASE put your address in the body of the message so I can just send it to you if I pick your name.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Giveaway - Day 7 and 8

So I am doing TWO different giveaways today!  You have to enter separately for each of them.

Giveaway for Day 7

The first is a Just Cross Stitch Christmas Ornaments magazine with a Trinkets in it to do one design in the book.  The design is a Nutcracker on a Trinkets mitten shape.  If you are interested in being entered, please send me an email at by midnight Dec 22nd with NUTCRACKER in the subject line.  Be very sure to add the mailing address for it if you are picked.

Giveaway - Day 8

The giveaway for Day 8 is a Just Cross Stitch issue that has a design for our cross Trinkets shape.  If
you are interested in it as well as one of the cross Trinkets, send me an email at with CROSS in the subject line by midnight December 22nd EST.  Put your mailing address in the body of the message as I can't ship anything that I don't know where it is going.  :-)

Sunday, December 20, 2015


So the Giveaway will go up later today (most likely during the Star Wars marathon I am hosting before taking the robot kids to see it).  But I have had a lot of pings to see how they did.

Checking the checklist - a lesson from the older team
born of so many mistakes.  These guys have had
their share and so now believe in the checklist too.
So this little team did very well.  I have to admit that I had a pit in my stomach all yesterday as I had the feeling that this might be the year where their high expectations would be dashed and they would learn the hard lesson of the sting of failure.  While you can work very hard, the combination of extreme youth and the variability of running the robot can go against you and you just don't come out above other teams.  But that wasn't the case.

We have been working very, very hard with them on their ability to answer questions and public speak.  Because they are all below 7th grade (most are 4-5th graders), they are shy about taking to unknown adults as well as often unable to understand the point of a question that is vague and open.  That is why most teams that win a judged award at the state level are 7th graders and up.  After the qualifier, where they won the top robot score (and the top score in the state at that point) as well as a judged award in
Supporting their team mates.  All our kids are in driving teams
so they have their chance to hold up their end of the results
robot strategy and innovation, we decided to run them through the ringer to get them ready.  Their work product is very good but their ability to deliver it is weaker than equally qualified teams because of their age.

I asked all the parents to take a week and put their kids on the spot - stopping almost any unsuspecting adult and asking the child to explain their project and robot system to them.  The idea was to get the kids over the fear of talking and to have to field questions constantly.  Everyone took it to heart.  Starting with me - I informed my boy minutes before arriving at a birthday party the day after competition that I was going to select a random parent and would have him explain the stuff.  Better get your elevator pitch ready, I told him.  He of course freaked as he is the one with
In the zone before their set of three judging sessions.  At this point there
is nothing to do but watch them coach each other on their points and smile
the biggest phobia - but as we pulled in - he had developed a pitch.  And he got through it (and apparently didn't die - I pointed out).

We all informed their teachers of their outstanding performance and the need to do this public speaking.  So all the kids were surprised at school when teachers and principals would stop them to hear their pitch as well as most were asked to get up in front of the class and explain.  By that Friday, they had done it so much that they were starting to compete with each other on how many times they had done it.  And then one kid had the realization that his mom (digital head of NOVA) was having a christmas party for her team next door.  They ran up the stairs and before I knew it, had grabbed the poster presentations and ran to the house and did an impromptu judging with the unsuspecting guests (most of whom had judged science fairs, not a surprise).  I was so thrilled as the ploy was working to get them out of their skin and realize that it wasn't the end of the world to put themselves out there to talk to adults.

Now there is history to all this.  I have learned so much from working with the older team.  The first
The mantra is one perfect run in the stadium.  It is exhausting to watch
from the bleachers.  16 teams running at once with MCs screaming out
the progress amid cheers and rock music
year, I had no idea that there was a research project!  Dumb coach.  I also didn't understand how to coach kids to work together - nine 9-year olds couldn't agree on anything.  We ended up 64th out of 64 at the first competition we went to.  One hilarious story was that at the end of that competition, they held a single round elimination for fun.  Being the worst team, we were paired against the top team (who ended up winning robot for the whole world).  Their robot was a full black 'death star' looking thing.  But as can happen, it had a computer glitch and stopped half way.  I was concentrating on my side of the table and watching my guys finally not drop everything and did their best score.  I was thrilled - but I couldn't understand why all the strangers around me were jumping up and hugging me. Seems it was not clear who won - all the refs and head refs were brought around as the 64th team may actually have beaten the Death Star in the fashion of Luke Skywalker.  These 14-yr olds were pale as they might have been eliminated.  As I walked around the gym with them to collect my team - they congratulated me and my team in a very gracious act.  I stopped then and said I soooo hoped that we hadn't as they deserved to go on.  In the end we lost to those gracious boys by only 5 points.  As we moved on, we ran into these kids - the Lexington Pickle Jar Heads - several times and the teams would laugh at how far we had come and enjoy the mentoring they would give at those occasions.  Yesterday we were handed a special invitation as a top performing robot team in Massachusetts.  On Tuesday those Pickle Jar Heads are coming home from college and are getting together to spent 24-hours to do this FLL challenge for fun and they have invited the top few teams in MA to scrimmage them for the public.  How hilarious that the younger siblings of that team that almost stopped their world run were asked!  We have come so far!

The team with their trophies
As I was going to write above but distracted myself - the second year of the older team, we had a skit about PCBs in bottles.  They wrote it and I should have edited their performance more.  They decided to take half the boys who 'couldn't talk to adults' and make them pigs in their Farmer Brown skit.  Well, when 10-yr old boys play pigs and root around on the floor for a 5-minutes while their teammates speak, things can get out of control.  I famously got feedback on their judging sheets that the pigs should refrain from sniffing crotches.  That was the day I decided that traditional presentations would be our thing - not the encouraged skit or song method.  Ha ha.  I had a very enjoyable evening late Friday with the older team sitting around reminiscing about how professional they had become after they had run the little team through their paces and sent them home.

So back to yesterday.  Our goal for the year was to win a judged award at the state level - that would show us that they had growth in their ability to express their work.  They had some trouble getting the robot to score as high as they did at home at first, scoring between 5th and 8th place as the day went on.  Then on their forth run they pulled away from the field and were first by quite a bit.  That lasted until the last run of the day and a team beat us.  Unfortunately they switched the posting to elimination matches so we didn't see it and the kids thought they had the 1st place sewn up for about 10 minutes before I learned from someone that they had been passed.  Guess that was their little failure point.  But winning the 2nd place robot performance a second year in a row over 435 other teams is pretty unheard of - so we were thrilled.  Then the big surprise - we had hoped they would win a second place judged award in one of the three robot categories.  As they went by, we figured that we hadn't accomplished our goals.  Then it was a huge surprise to be selected for the 1st place Inspiration award as the team who best exemplified taking the values and lessons of all the areas of the competition in their lives.  A big trophy and way more than we were hoping for them.  They won four awards this year.  As FLL has a rule that you can only win one at a competition - the only exception is if you win robot performance.   So we just can't get over doing that two years in a row - the parents all had a big dinner out in town.  Fortunate as the party ended up at our house as the celebrating was big.  So much relief at the end of the season.  

Except that as we loaded the robot into the truck and put it into reverse to leave the venue - a small voice from the team in the back asked me the following:

"So how can we improve coach..?"  

They have decided to start working again in January.  

They want the big trophy.  Guess I don't get much of a rest.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Oh No!

I missed a day!  I thought I had several loaded and I had less than I thought.  And now I just checked and realized that I have to climb in bed to get up at 5am and take the kids to the robot tournament.

Forgive me - this was my day since noon when the first robot kid got off for Christmas break:

The Robot Room - Each team has a zone where they are running
their robots in the competition area - imagine that most weekends there are between
10-20 kids in this space.  Today it was 13 and six parents.

The nights checklist of work as well as scores from the runs the kids were doing.
This was the best thing we ever made when renovating the house - a sliding white board.
It tucks into the wall and disappears.  The kids love it and fill it daily.

The big robot guys are acting like judges for the presentation practice.  They have been thorough it so much and are the best trainers ever.  They take it so seriously - the mentoring was amazing with things I never thought of.

Running the robot over and over to get the 'pit crew' smooth.

I will be back on giveaways on Sunday - Lynne Anderson of the Sampler Consortium is meeting me right after the competition for dinner.  So it will be a full day.  So I will have to double up with some extra giveaways that day!!

Of course what you can't see is that in the dining room there were frostings boxes going out and a packing of Cabinet of Curiosities Kit 1 with an elf of mine working today there.  There is a shrink wrap station in the living room.  Think I will forgot wrapping paper this year and just shrink wrap their gifts!  ha ha

Now off to bed, I seem to be getting punchy.  :-)


Thursday, December 17, 2015

12 Days of Christmas Giveaways - Day 6

To celebrate the nearing of the end of the First Lego League robot season, here is a giveaway for those little boys (and girls) in your life.  I have seven of these magazines, each with one Trinket rectangle, to work the monster or robot of your choice.

Send me a email at  Put ROBOT in the subject line and your address in the body of the message.  Send it to me by midnight EST on December 18th to be entered!

Wish the kids luck at the State Championship saturday!


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

12-Days of Christmas Giveaway - Day 5

Sorry today's giveaway was up late, I was busy shipping Frostings Boxes and didn't realize that I didn't have one preloaded for the day.  So I had a bit of fun finding what was going to be today's giveaway.

This is a lovely spring one!  I would normally say it is to harken to those warmer temperatures but we are having them right now, when I was in NYC for the weekend it was 70 degrees.

If you want this April 2007 Just Cross Stitch issue with its now rare Bon Bon Tokens and Trifles to make butterflies, send me an email at  Put BUTTERFLY in the subject line and you HAVE TO INCLUDE your address!

Mail it to me by midnight Dec 17th EST to be entered.  I have three of these lovelies (And yes, that is me picking daisies as a little girl).


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

12-Days of Christmas Giveaway - Day 4

Day 4 brings us another magazine (there will be many as I have an entire 2 - bankers boxes of magazines, some with Tokens and Trifles to go with!).  This time it is a Just Cross Stitch issue - December 2015.

To get in the drawing for the two I have, send me an email at: with JCS DEC 2015 in the subject line.  Then add your mailing address in case you win.

Send it to me by midnight EST on Dec 16.


Monday, December 14, 2015

12-days of Christmas Giveaway - Day 3

Today's giveaway are several copies of the 2015 Just Cross Stitch Holiday Issue.  As always, there is a Tokens and Trifles design in it - and it can be seen on the front cover with the snowflake.  While we are sold out of our Trinkets, there are pieces still in retail stores and they can be found to purchase.

If you want to be entered to win a copy - send me an email at with JCS CHRISTMAS 2015 in the subject line.  And then include your mailing address - I don't track anyone down as there are just too many things to mail!  Send it by midnight EST on Dec 15th.

The issue is chock full of designs to choose from for ornaments and I have several copies to give away.


Sunday, December 13, 2015

12-Days of Christmas Giveaway - Day 2

Today's giveaway is a copy of Inspirations Magazine vol 88 which is one of the current issues.

To win this, send me an email at with INSPIRED BIRD in the subject line.  Put your name and mailing address in the body of the message and send it by midnight EST on Dec 14th.

I will select someone out of the pile of emails to send it to!

Inspirations always has very lovely projects in it and usually at least one with stumpwork.


Saturday, December 12, 2015

12-Days of Christmas Giveaway! Day 1

It is time to start the giveaways!  I have quite a few this year as I have been saving them up and we also have a bunch of extras leftover from shutting down Tokens and Trifles.  Today's give away is just this type of one.  I have several (about half a dozen) of these magazines with a eyelet rectangle Tokens and Trifles inside to do one of the designs.

IF you are interested - send me a email at by midnight EST on Dec 13th with TRAVEL in the subject line (that is so I can sort out the entries).  I will randomly pick out the winners and send them the magazine with embroidery card.

OOPS - I forgot to add that you need to put your mailing address in the email body so I don't have to look for it!


Friday, December 11, 2015

Time is Flying By!!

Well, time is flying by and I have too much yummy stuff for the blog!!  I am going to take a break from the UK Casket Tour yummies (I will go back to it!  Don't worry - there are too many amazing things to share from Bath and our London stops) and have to break in with some other yummies!  I am talking about the fact that I have to start my annual 12-Days of Christmas Giveaways!!  And there are other major things to talk about too regarding the Frostings Club.  So watch for those over the weekend.

But before that - a long awaited book is being published:

A new book on Westtown School samplers will be available in January 2016. Threads of Useful Learning: Westtown School Samplers, by Westtown School archivist Mary Uhl Brooks, is a thorough and engaging look at the needlework produced by students at this Philadelphia-area Quaker boarding school from its founding in 1799 until 1843, when sewing was removed from the curriculum. The needlework – including several types of samplers as well as embroidered celestial and terrestrial silk globes believed to have been made only at Westtown – is discussed in the context of the useful education and spiritual formation envisioned by Quakers for their children.  Fully illustrated with pieces from Westtown School’s own extensive textile collection as well as others in museums and private collections, this work enriches our understanding of this important schoolgirl needlework and the education, religious beliefs, and lives of the teachers and girls who created it.  A list of all currently-known Westtown-made samplers and globes is included, along with illustrations of some thirty samplers not made at Westtown but in the school’s collection. Copies can be pre-ordered for shipping or pickup from the Westtown School store by going to (or go to, select Quicklinks in the upper right, and click on School Store. (Threads of Useful Learning: Westtown School Samplers, 346 pages, softcover, $60.00)

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Slate Frames in Stock

I have two types of slate frames in stock now!  One is the right size to work a full side of a casket and the other is a very large one that allows large projects such as the mirrors to be worked.  The small one is a 16" roller (width of webbing) with 22" slats whereas the larger one is a 22" roller (width of webbing) with 34" slats.

Why work with a slate frame?  I asked Lamora Haidar of Access Commodities to share her expertise on slate frame history and use and she has provided a wonderful paper about the subject.  It is too long to post here and I really didn't want to show an excerpt of it - so there is a link here to read the history. You should take a look at her write up as she does a great deal of in depth research as she does with every product line that she brings to the US needlework market.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Sunday at the MET - Ratti Center 20th Celebration

For those of you who are in the NYC area, there is an event at the MET this weekend.  In honor of the Antonio Ratti Textile Center’s 20thAnniversary, there will be a special Sunday at the MET program featuring several speakers and a live embroidery demonstration - by me!  

I have been busy preparing the embroidery to be demonstrated this weekend, it includes some of the fibers from the first box of the Frostings Club and I am happy to announce that the two projects that I will be demonstrating will have their instructions put on my website for free about a week after the program for all to enjoy!

Behind the Scenes: Antonio Ratti Textile Center and the Department of Textile Conservation
Sunday, Dec 13th 3:00 - 4:30 pm 
The Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Fashion Museum - Day 7

Wall of gloves in the gallery at the Fashion Museum, Bath
After lunch, we had the chance to visit the Fashion Museum in Bath for the rest of the afternoon.  The displays are always lovely there as well as the amazing wall of 17th century gloves.  You might remember their glove collection - years ago I ran a Needlework Nibble to raise money to buy them the storage containers to rehouse the Worshipful Company of Glovers collection.  They had been in drawers on top of each other and now they are in beautiful individual boxes that protects and displays them better for storage visits.  For all who bought that Needlework Nibble - thank you!

The wonderful thing about this collection is the
Needlework Nibble to fund glove boxes
willingness to allow us to share pictures online, which is not the case at all museums.  You may have noticed that I have been careful to show us with objects in the background and not the objects themselves at some museums.  Well, now I can show you the actual pieces we saw!  So I will be spending a few days on this stop on our tour to let you enjoy it as well.

The first piece to explore is the set of gloves that inspired the glove project itself!  This piece has wild fringe of twisted gold thread on the edges.

The piece shows a phoenix rising from the burning nest.  The level of detail to the embroidery is quite stunning with combinations of multiple threads in one needle, gold and silk composites and a wide variety of stitches.
Fashion Museum, Bath GLO 23342&A, The Spence Collection
Fashion Museum, Bath GLO 23342&A, The Spence Collection

Fashion Museum, Bath GLO 23342&A, The Spence Collection
Fashion Museum, Bath GLO 23342&A, The Spence Collection

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Enjoying Bath - Day 7

Day 7 of the trip was spent in Bath.  We had two stops, first the Holburn Museum and then the Museum of Fashion.  At the Holburn Museum, we had the opportunity to view at least nine wonderful pieces of 17th century embroidery on display (how many of you have visited Bath and missed this?!) on the second floor of the museum.  This included the stunning beaded basket that our beaded basket project helped purchase.

We also went behind the scenes and see a lovely embroidered casket in the collection as well as a piece by Leonora Jenner, a early 20th century embroiderer who did her own reproductions of 17th century stumpwork mirrors, pictures and caskets.

While the casket has had its interior recovered in the past, the piece was lovely on the outside with both stumpwork on the sides and a full counted work top.  It was fun to see that and how tent stitch, cross stitch and queen stitch could be used on what normally would be a stumpwork design and yet was so pleasingly effective; many tour participants were excited about this.

The inside was fun (I couldn't see it for the longest time as I was the designated holder of the lid) and had a compartment that was mirrored with checkered floor, like Flemish cabinets of the early 17th century.  It was obvious to Richard and I that it could come out and we convinced the curator to pull it out - revealing three additional secret drawers in a configuration I hadn't ever seen before.