Saturday, January 23, 2016

Love Never Fails....

~ Greetings and Warm Welcome ~
to dear friends!

It may be freezing outside of many of my reader's windows, with snow blowing and ice tinkling on window panes...but I am sure many of you are snuggled in warm with you hearth glowing, a warm drink to sip and the love of home surrounding you, perhaps creating until your little heart's content!

That is what I've been doing this day...
I have been creating. Last evening after I got home from work and enjoyed our Friday night pizza, I put on my favorite clothes of the day...
~ my nightgown ~
and settled in with a sweet little freebie design from The Primitive Hare. You can find her free patterns by clicking: HERE

I have a special date...
coming up in April. It is our 20th wedding anniversary. I was so very blessed the day I met my husband 22 years ago, but even more greatly blessed the day I married him. He is my heart and I'm pretty sure I am his.

So since a Facebook Group I belong to: 
SAL Stitchers Group
and the leaders decided to have a stitch-a-long this winter using this design, I decided that last night was THE night I was going to print it off and begin to create my little nod to my anniversary.

May I present:
"Love Never Fails"
by The Primitive Hare
stitched 2 over 2 on 28 count Autumn Fields cashel
using Classic Colorworks "Caterpillar" cotton overdyed

Primitive Hare_Love Never Fails Bowl Tuck

I stitched it up last night in just a few hours time...
and then finished it up this  morning.

Primitive Hare_soft Love Never Fails

I used a lovely vine covered fabric with a hint of brown pillow ticking peeking at the top and then embellished with some jute ribbon and a wee heart skeleton key hanging from the bow...
I had it envisioned as looking like this and was edified to see it turn out just like I saw it in my head.

Primitive Hare_Love Never Fails

Small details, executed from start to finish always makes for a wonderful finish!

Prmitive Hare_detail love is the key

Really no "new" news from the home front...
I have my yearly mammogram next week. Always a little nervous about that....
Keith will be away on work travel next week... :(
Katie is keeping busy tutoring two young students in Geometry and Chemistry and working at her job plus her school work...
The boys are in the middle of winter conditioning for the track season and school work...
Ellie is in Art School twice a week on Monday and Thursday evenings, every other week. She's learning so much and is just loving every minute, like we knew she would.
We are well. 
We are so richly blessed.

I have people ask me ...
if I would ever consider doing a video for finishing. I've been tossing the idea around in my head for weeks now. I decided today while I was getting ready to finish this pillow, I'd give it a whirl and see if I could do it. All I have to say: 
But I did it and it is currently published on my YouTube channel Vonna Pfeiffer. I'll be adding it to my Tutorial Blog, but I'll link you to it here as well: 

For a first try...
I don't think it's bad. The video takes you through from start to finish, step by step. If you have an iPad or Tablet, it would be perfect to just set beside you as you finish and you can start and stop as you go. I'll be right there beside you, helping you along the way
It was a big step out of my comfort zone.
Plus my voice....ugh.
I'm my own biggest critic.

I feel strongly about helping people learn to finish. Like I always say: 
there is NO magic
Everyone and anyone can finish.

Well that does it for me for today...
back to stitching some models
(that I should have been stitching on all last night and today)
but sometimes I just have to do what my heart leads me to do!

Until next time my dear friends...
I'll be...
Keeping my hands to work,
and my heart to God...
while treating my neighbor with love, kindness and respect

~ because you just never know what they are dealing with ~

and trying to be the best ME I can be.
It's hard, trying to do this...
every day.
And Lord knows, I fail, time and time again...
I may stumble and I fall...
but then I remember:
To thine own self be true...
I want to BE the change I want to SEE
in this old world.
I pick myself up and I march on!
Because there is joy in my journey...
and there is joy in yours...
We are blessed!

Love and Hugs in stitches,
Vonna xxxx

Sunday, January 17, 2016

I Bring Thee Joy....

~ Greetings and Warm Welcome ~
to you!

I have another finish to share with you...
may I present:

"I Bring Thee Joy"
by Pineberry Lane
stitched on 30 count Weeks Dye Works Tin Roof
using the charted DMC ~ two strands over two threads

Pineberry Lane I Bring Thee Joy

This design was released in 2013
and I've loved since I first laid eyes upon it....

Pineberry Lane_ I Bring Thee Joy

Now I have one all finished for my very own!

I Bring Thee Joy by Pineberry Lane

With the finish of this sweetie...
that means a trip to the frame shop to pick out frames because
 ~ after a lean 18 months with ZERO framing finishes ~ 
I have three completed in less than a month!

"Melicent Turner" by Little House Needleworks

Melicent Turner front

"Bringing Home the Tree" by Pineberry Lane

Pineberry Lane_Bringing Home the Tree

Doesn't that just make a girl want to wiggle with excitement over the possibilities?!
~ It sure does make me wriggle with excitement ~
but it doesn't take much to make me excited!


Until next time my dear friends...
I'll be...
Keeping my hands to work,
and my heart to God...
while treating my neighbor with love, kindness and respect
~ because you just never know what they are dealing with ~
and trying to be the best ME I can be.
It's hard, trying to do this...
every day.
And Lord knows, I fail, time and time again...
I may stumble and I fall...
but then I remember:
To thine own self be true...
I want to BE the change I want to SEE
in this old world.
I pick myself up and I march on!
Because there is joy in my journey...
and there is joy in yours...
We are blessed!

Love and Hugs in stitches,
Vonna xxxx

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Melicent Turner....

~ Greetings and Warm Welcome ~
to you!

Do you know what brings me great joy?
What warms the cockles of my heart?
What gives me a little pitter patter to my heart?
What makes me want to leap and spin and jump up and down?
Or to Sing my heart out and shout for joy?


May I introduce to you:

Melicent Turner
~an adaptation of a reproduction sampler~

LHN Melicent Turner

Miss Turner...
is in the private collection of Diane Williams
and Diane reproduced the sampler and adapted it by changing the color scheme of the sampler.

Melicent Turner close

I love the bowls of fruit...
and as I was stitching the sampler, I could tell this young girl must have been very young. 
She had backwards letters, misspellings...
I think the most sweet thing was the "t" that she smooched in above the word "lookeh"

~ it made me smile ~

particularly thinking of my young girl that stitches and how she wants to "plow" through rather than savor the time spent stitching.

Melicent Turner front

Melicent Turner
reproduced by Diane Williams ~ Little House Needleworks

I stitched mine using: 
40 count Vintage Examplar Lakeside Linens, one strand over two threads
Classic Colorworks Cotton Over-dyes in the colors:
Apple Fritter (red)
Wild Oats (white)
Roasted Chestnut (brassy brown)
Cocoa Bean (dark brown)
Weeping Willow (green)

Melicent Turner side close

~ modeling my sampler are Putford scissors from Kelmscott ~ 
the shape of these beautiful scissors always puts me in the mind of old, vintage, antique
granny glasses! 


Until Next time...
my dear friends, I'll be...
Keeping my hands to work,
and my heart to God...
while treating my neighbor with love, kindness and respect
~ because you just never know what they are dealing with ~
and trying to be the best ME I can be.
It's hard, trying to do this...
every day.
And Lord knows, I fail, time and time again...
I may stumble and I fall...
but then I remember:
To thine own self be true...
I want to BE the change I want to SEE
in this old world.
I pick myself up and I march on!
Because there is joy in my journey...
and there is joy in yours...
We are blessed!

Love and Hugs in stitches,
Vonna xxxx

Saturday, January 09, 2016

A million...

 I was contacted about adding a young lady, recently diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer to my prayer journal.
 Her Aunt is trying to get 1,000,000 people to pray for her. 

She is in my prayer journal...might you take time to go see her story, share it and pray for her too?

~ thank you ~
Vonna xxxx

Friday, January 08, 2016

Organizing your Over-Dyed Threads....

~ Greetings and Warm Welcome ~ 

Today is the final installment of our thread storage question from:
Ask Vonna...the question was:

"Vonna, how do your store your threads used in stitching?"

Ok so to reiterate what I've talked about so far...

and today I will show you something that I came up with last Spring (and shared it then). 
But I've "updated it some" and deleted last years post and here it is so that I can link to it and never say another word on it. 

Let's remember...
this is not the only way to store something.
It might not even be the best way to store it.
This is my way. If you have something that you do that works for you, that's perfect!
This works for me.

Now then...
this will take some time to do. I worked on this for over a week getting it all together. It was a little frustrating at times because it was taking so long. But now that I have had my Over-dyed threads like this for the past year...IT IS FABULOUS! I can't begin to tell you how great it is.
If I need a thread, I just go glance see if I have it (because they are all right there at my finger-tips). I've likely saved money doing this because I can find it immediately.

Down side to a system like this is....
you actually have to "put them back" when you are done or when you purchase new threads in order for it to work.
Mid-December when my finishing was done, I needed a thorough tidying to my Stitch Cave and sat down there for 6 hours putting threads up in their proper place (Over-dyes and DMC). I tend to just throw my used threads in a bowl thinking "Oh, I'll do that later..." and I didn't. 

So far this year...
(7 days in) I've kept up with keeping my threads all stored and neat and put up...

HERE WE GO! Supplies needed:
Hanging Folder plastic bin
Hanging File Folders
A hole punch
Key Tags
and small rings


Cut off the top of the hanging file folder with a two inch piece left from the top:


Punch some holes:
I did 1/4 inch from edge
And about 3/4 inch between punches for a total of 12 along the length

Alphabetize by using vinyl letters and key tags:


Sort your threads and load them onto their appropriate "ABC.." file
I started out by alphabetizing year later...
just put the A's with the A's and the B's with the B's and so on...

Hang them in your specified box!

Hmmm....I need Classic Colorworks "Calico Kitty". All I have to do is: turn my box to the side see where the "C's" are: 

and grab it out!

And here they are ONE YEAR later...

Still perfect!
Color is protected by the box.
No tangling.
No dust.
EASY PEASY at my finger tips finding the correct color.
Saves space.
MOST important to me: TIDY!

Now I came up with this on my own...
I know from Pinterest there are other people that have sort of used something similar to this for organization of stamping/scrapbooking items, but this just came to me by walking the aisles of Office Depot for a solution.
I like Office Depot/Staples a appeals to my nerdy/obsessive compulsive side :)

Until next time folks...
Vonna xxxx

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Storing my DMC (Anchor, Sullivan) threads....

~ Greetings Friends ~
back today with installment #2 of 
"Ask Vonna ~ how do you store your threads?"

Yesterday I showed you how I created my "numbered bobbins". A couple of clarifications, I have in the past used cardboard bobbins, I didn't care for them, so now when that bobbin is finished I toss it and replace it with a plastic bobbin. I have the DMC threads set probably about 3 times over.

Here is where I store my DMC threads on their bobbins.
In my REPRODUCTION Spool Chest:
My Spool Chest
I got it on eBay, 8/9 years ago. The person I got it from, no longer is selling. I look from time to time to see if any similar to this comes up and I haven't found any lately.
I'd like to have another, to be honest, my drawers are full


Here it is opened:
I use the plastic bobbin cases you find at any craft store in the thread aisles.
I pull the lid off and slide it in my drawers and fill it with my threads in numerical order...
Spool Chest opened

If you look on Etsy, eBay and Craig's List....
you can find the real, antique ones that come up for sale from time to time.
But you are likely to spend over $400 and likely closer to $900-1000 for one.

I like my reproduction just fine. I paid like $120 for it, if memory serves.

You can get a "kit" to put together from a place that is a reproduction. 

If anyone else has places to look or knows people that make reproductions...
Let me know! I'll post links.

That does it folks!
Come back tomorrow to see how I store my Over-dyes and Silks!

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Numbering Thread Bobbins....

~ Greetings Friends ~
Today I am going to start a 3 part series on how I store my threads for stitching.
I have spoken about this before on this blog. But it is likely time to rehash the idea, since I have new readers and maybe refresh my longtime readers.
Everyone has their own way to store threads. Everyone has their own ideas. Remember! I'm not saying mine is the only way to do it, but I've had three people contact me over the last month asking:

"Vonna, how do you store your threads for stitching?"

First of all...
before I show you storage ideas and how I store mine...
let's talk about:
Numbering our DMC floss.

I'm all about quick, efficient and neat...
I might not have "top of the line" out of pocket, fabulous equipment, but what I do have is affordable and economical, serves the purpose and is NEAT.
I like tidy.

OK, I prefer plastic bobbins for winding my DMC on.
I do not like paper bobbins, because they always seem to either:

1. tear at the hole that I put on my thread ring
2. warp 
3. the slit that you slide the thread so it doesn't unwind gets bent, or torn from use before the whole skein is gone and then unwinds all over the place.
4. Deteriorates.

I like plastic bobbins where the slit that you slide your thread through is flush against the other side. DMC had plastic bobbins that frankly would not keep the thread from unwinding. I bought several packages of those and hated them. I haven't looked at them for a handful of years and I don't know if they changed their design or not. But a little *hint* from me to you...
find plastic bobbins that will hold your thread tightly.

My plastic bobbins...
 are from Hobby Lobby.
Although I'm sure you can find other places that carry bobbins. They used to be "Hobby Lobby" brand, but now my Hobby Lobby carries Sullivan's Plastic Bobbins and they are just as good.
I don't care what brand you use, just get the ones that you's your thread collection
I just prefer plastic bobbins that stay wound.


OK, here's a trick for fabulously neat bobbins...
you will need: Skeins of floss, plastic bobbins, scissors, tape and time.

Slip off the little plastic sleeve on your skein of floss that has the skein number on it:


Clip off the number...


Cut it at the end...


Slip it on the top of the bobbin and then tape...

IMG_6608 IMG_6609

Wrap your floss...


Put it in your thread box or slip it on your thread rings....
I'm kitting up a design so I'm slipping mine on my thread rings because I like all my threads for a certain project to be on the same ring.


How simple was that?
Pretty doggone simple!

How neat is that?
Pretty doggone neat!

Think how fabulous all your neatly numbered bobbins will be now when you store them!
Pretty doggone fabulous!

Some negatives...
OK, I need to put in here that: there are some very professional people in the needlework industry that I admire that say they would NEVER wind their threads on a bobbin because of "kinks" that it puts in the thread. This is what I have to say. I have been stitching since I was 15. I am 45. Some of my rarely used colors (neon greens/yellows) are that old. Still on cardboard bobbins and I will agree...there are kinks the closer I got to the bobbin surface - when I pulled these out and examined them. I even went so far as to stitch about 30 stitches with them on a piece of leftover remnant linen. They looked perfect and especially after I ran the length of thread through Thread Heaven  you couldn't tell it had been kinked.
I have stitched very successfully for many, many years and always my thread has been on a bobbin.
When I wind it, I do not wind tightly. I wind loosely and do not pull.

But it all comes down to this:
You DO what works for you. I DO what works for me. Bobbins (no matter cardboard or plastic) is what I prefer. If you use the bags or the stitch bows or whatever...GREAT!

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Pedestrian Safety...

~ Greetings Folks ~

This blog post today is self-serving.
Writing, to me, is cathartic.
And I'm really riled up.
I have been in a battle for the last 10 years.

On May 20, 2006...
we moved to this house. We had to change schools because of our move. We live within the "2 mile fringe" of the Elementary School that my kids attend and we do not have bus service. Having young boys at that time, who were filled with a lot of energy, I thought it would be good to just go ahead and walk to and home from school every day. It would run a little juice out of their engines, it was healthy, it got me exercising every day, aren't we supposed to conserve energy, protect the environment, reduce our "foot print"? What was not to like?...I was doing all of those things by getting my rump out of bed a little bit earlier to make it "all come together" by time to walk to school.
Let me also note...this was no small feat.
I had 4 children ages: 8, 6, 6 and 10 months.
I have continued to do it for the last 10 years...
and will continue to do it until Ellie graduates from Elementary school.
Every day. Just like a vitamin.

We walk in rain, in snow, in ice...we walk all. the. time. period. 
I am known as: "aren't you that woman that walks to school every day?" 
Why yes, I am.

Did you know that pedestrian deaths has risen in the United States drastically over the last decade?

Did you know that 14% of all traffic fatalities involve a pedestrian?

Did you know that is up from 6% in 2002?

9 years ago...
because of my persistence in contacting and voicing the hazards that are apparent to children walking to school in my district, I was "named" to sit in with city engineers to talk about ways to "make safe" the street in front of our school. Who am I kidding? The upper echelon of school management (principal and assistant principal) was tired of hearing from me. I went to the PTO, to be told  "that it wasn't an appropriate topic for PTO."  Then a member asked me, "WHY are you so upset and can't get off of harping about walking to school?" I looked at her and said, "If your children were the ones walking to school, and you saw what I saw on a daily basis... your face would be in everybody's face too."
 Needless to say, between this encounter and a subsequent one 5 years down the road with the same person and after volunteering very heavily in PTO functions ~  I left the PTO and will NEVER EVER be associated with one again. EVER.

So I was pushed off on the city engineers...
who were very happy to have me there (not). After meetings, and city council meetings and more meetings I helped bring about awareness to the need for signage to the neighborhood I live in.
Essentially crosswalks were painted throughout the neighborhood, where none existed before.
Crosswalks were painted at the entrance of the school, where none existed before.
Crosswalks were painted on school property, where none existed before.
A crossing guard was employed at the front entrance of the school, where none existed before.
A pedestrian crossing and "island" was created at the back entrance of the school, where none existed before. (this is where the most foot traffic is, but no crossing guard put here...but there should be)
Signage that flashes your speed when travelling in the street in front of the school was put up.

to make a long story short, I did a lot to help get these things put into place and it was all because of my big mouth and persistence.

Did that help things?
for a little while, yes it did. But when you don't have police that patrol. Or when they do patrol, they just sit in their car and don't hand out tickets. People learn that it's not important because it doesn't affect them or their own children.
So who cares?

Nearly, every day...
and I'm not exaggerating, Ellie and I almost get mowed down in that crossing.
This morning, a very well put together woman, in a very fine SUV was travelling so fast in the street in front of the school that when she came to a stop at the crosswalk (that Ellie and I were IN at the time) her braking made that high pitched noise. She began shaking her fist and head at us and then motioning in an angry almost violent way to get across the crosswalk. We barely cleared her side before she sped off. She had just dropped off her child at the school. We see her every day. This is NOT our first encounter with her graciousness. And sadly, this is NOT, an isolated event. This happens in a fashion like this with many other drivers at this same crosswalk (most if not all are parents dropping off/picking up). Typically instead of me doing the yelling, they do the signage and yelling at us.

Yes, I take license plate numbers.
Yes, I call the police.
Does anything happen?
NO. the Indiana State Law for Pedestrians...
Even if you are not an Indiana resident. Because more than likely YOUR state has more strict rules than Indiana, as Indiana is not one of the states whose pedestrian laws are the most strict.

Indiana: Vehicles must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians within a crosswalk that are in the same half of the roadway as the vehicle or when a pedestrian is closely approaching. Vehicles approaching a yield sign must yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian legally crossing the roadway. Pedestrians may not suddenly leave the curb and enter a crosswalk into the path of a moving vehicle that is so close to constitute an immediate hazard. Pedestrians must yield the right-of-way to vehicles when crossing outside of a marked crosswalk or an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection. Where traffic control devices are in operation, pedestrians may only cross between two adjacent intersections in a marked crosswalk and may only cross an intersection diagonally if authorized by a traffic control device.

Oh and about driving in a school zone...
its 20 mph in Indiana...not 35, not 40, not 50 (yes, the sign HAS blinked 50 mph when I'm walking to school for some person usually smoking a cigarette, drinking Starbucks, on her phone, dropping her kids off .

And if you are employed at that school and you have a habit of being late...
and you are trying to make it before the first bell rings...and you are driving 55 mph almost daily in your BMW and my daughter says: "Ms. xxxx sure does drive like a maniac..."
Out of the mouth of babes...
Maybe that's a clue that you need to get your rump out of bed a few minutes earlier.

Can you tell I'm done with this subject? 
Can you tell I'm fed up?
I am.
And I wish people at that school that could do a LOT to educate and make known that acts like this aren't acceptable....would step up and do something, instead of placate me with pretty words.

I should have home schooled.

Until the next time...
I'm going to be praying...
and meditating...
and likely going to confession for bad thoughts...
because I have them!

Thank you, if you made it this far!

Monday, January 04, 2016

2016, starting off with a bang!

~ Greetings and Warm Welcome ~
to all my friends and stitching buddies

2016 started off with...
three consecutive days working at the hospital.
But good news is...after trying to work a whole lot more over the past year, we as a family have decided:
that it ain't worth Mama working a bunch of extra outside the home!
I don't have to go back to work now for 11 days!
That's enough of a good thing to put a spring in your step!

When we were visiting our hometown over the holidays...
my mother in law took me to a little Antique Mall.

I found this wooden dough bowl...
for $35!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It's really pretty large (about 26 inches from handle to handle)
That's a steal!
(considering I have a reproduction that I paid $45 for)

dough bowl

And won't it look fabulous when I get all these  (that I've collected over the last year) stitched up?!
(I have all the Serial Bowls but obviously I shoved them somewhere besides my "gotta stitch it basket" and couldn't find #2 and #3...) 
Dough bowl filled

HEY readers...
we've got another "Ask Vonna" request...
Donna TN, writes: 

"Hi Vonna. I'm one of those folks who rarely comments, but I love reading about your family and your stitching. I have some fabric that has some nasty creases right through the middle, probably got too squished in the fabric box. I have tried steaming the bejebers out of them with some dampening of the cloth and the spray thing on the iron. It helped, but the crease is not entirely gone. I'm afraid to start my project on a piece of fabric that might have a permanent crease. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks for all the fun and insightful info you pass along and for any help you can give me." 

Guess what?! I know a lot about this :)

Here is what I would suggest doing:

Getting Stubborn Creases Out of Stitching Fabrics

Now firstly I would do this on fabric that has NOT been stitched on.

First I would try: putting the dry linen/aida on the ironing board, flat. Taking a piece of cotton muslin or old bed sheet (I save all of my old bed sheets and cut them up for pressing cloths)...I would completely wet and lightly wring out the cloth that you are using as a pressing cloth. Then I would lay it over the linen/aida wet and press using the cotton/linen setting of your iron. This typically takes most creases out in a jiffy! 

If that doesn't work, second I would .. .  fill a spritz bottle of 1/2 water and 1/2 white vinegar. Vinegar sets colors so I don't think you have to worry about hand-dyed fabrics ~ but you might want to check a corner first if your fabric is hand-dyed. Spritz, rather liberally, with the mixture and press on the same cotton/linen setting of your iron. Doesn't smell real good at first, but works great!

If that doesn't work...Then its time for the big guns...spray liberally your entire piece of fabric with plain water (or dunk the whole think and lightly roll in a towel to get the excess water out). Lay the fabric as flat as you can get (no folding!) in the freezer. Let it freeze stiff, then pull it out and start ironing. The frozen water, when turned immediately to steam by ironing will push the most stubborn creases out! It works every time! 
*I've even done this on linen that has been stitched on...(but didn't dunk it in the water, just spritzed) and it worked for me...

EDITED to *note* readers comments on this subject: 
Annie says, "I'm a big fan of your final technique, but I roll up the fabric into a cylinder when I put it in the freezer. I call it the 'cross stitch popsicle' method!"

Pam, The Queen Bee says, "We quilters also use a product called 'Best Press'. It relaxes fabric and gets creases out. It's a spray purchased at quilt shops."

Thank you for your question DonnaTN, its always good to think about, learn new things and get people talking!

that does it for this edition :)

Until next time...
I'm gonna be doing my laundry...
and stitching in between...
probably some finishing because my break is over...
I've got three models to stitch and finish...

and you know I'll be...
keeping my hands to work..
my heart to God..
while treating my neighbor with kindness and respect, 
and trying to be the best me I can be.
It's hard, isn't it?
I may stumble and I may fall, but I pick myself up and I remember:
To thine own self be true...
I want to BE the change I want to SEE.
Join me!

Love in stitches...
Vonna xxxx