My history

 This post camFe about because of two things. First I have been thinking about Sharon B’s challenge for July ( “What is it to be at the half way mark? For me three word lead to a mix of ideas. “Half”, “Way” and “Mark” all lead off into interesting directions that can be represented in all sorts of ways.” I have decided that I am probably “half way” through my life expectancy, but I know I have not learned “half” of what I would like to know. In some “ways” I know more than “half” and in other “ways” I have not hit the “mark.” Will I leave a “mark” on this world? Sure…but is it “half” the “mark” I should have or could have left? This is a very thought provoking, and I’m glad I’m doing the color scheme for the month….I know this is a cop out, but what can I say…This question is much to deep for a gal who just came out of the June fog! 

And then second, when I finally remembered to registered with Stitchin Fingers ( I thought about what lead me to this point and why do what I do. While roaming around here I came to realize I am but a grain of sand (and a small one at that) on a very large planet of creative people. There are so-o-o many wonderfully talented people in this world that I am constantly in awe. I realize how little I really know and how little I do compared with many of you so very talented people. One of my favorite teachers and mentor told me one time that you will never learn it all and if you think you have learned it all, you need to take up a new creative endeavor because you are not doing the your art justice. And my mother used to say you need to learn something new every day so the day is not a waste. So along these lines I think we can all learn from each other and in order to learn we must know where we came from… what lead us down this path? how did we decide to pursue our art? A friend says: “You are what your are because of those who came before you.” So with this thought in mind, here is my history…I look forward to reading yours on your blog or in my comments soon.
My creativity comes from my Grandmother Gordon. There was nothing she could not do…except reach the top shelf with her feet on the floor. She was one of 14 children, a wife and mother of two, a grandmother of two and lived to see 6 of her seven great grandchildren. She was very creative, I don’t know anything she couldn’t do. She did more in her 89 years than I can ever hope to do. She wallpapered a large dining room when she was 70 years old, this is not on my agenda! I have been very fortunate to have met, known and learned from some really talented people, not only in needlepoint but in many areas of my life. But my needlepoint history is…
These are the very earliest needlepoint of from our family. The three lower ones are the oldest and stitched by (l-r) My Grandmother, Florence Gordon; Me: and My Mother, Jean Gordon Scott. The second picture is my very first needlepoint, continental stitch (some creative stitches too, and even a missed area or two in the middle (see them in the third picture?). But not bad for 8 -10 years old. The forth pcture is my second needlepoint and I didn’t miss any stitches this time, it is the top picture on the right in the first photo. The top pictures were the second adventure into needlepoint and a family affair…my grandmother wanted all of us to do pictures for her. These hung in her bedroom until she passed and then my mother had them in various places in her house and now they all reside in my workroom (last picture). The first picture were stitched by: Top left – my cousin Melissa Gordon Dorssom; Lower left – My Aunt Donna Jean Gordon; Center my Grandmother; Top Right – me; Lower right my mother.
I learned to sew from my Grandmother and school, made the traditional towel and place-mat and napkin for sewing & cooking class. I made the traditional blouse and skirt in high school. Learned all the basics in school but grandma taught me all the shortcuts and tidbits. I never mastered knitting in high school and still haven’t. But my main interests were not stitching but … boys and art… and probably in that order. Went to college and then married (in my 20’s)… I was more interested in making a nest than stitching. I still sewed for myself and did learn to hand smock thinking I have a daughter and make beautiful clothes…alas we have three sons but I had some great maternity tops. I also learned to crochet and tried quilting, macrame, decoupage, oil painting, enamelling, egg making… just about any craft of the day.
Then Christmas 1972 (Yes, I remember the date), my mother gave my this needlepoint book for Christmas. Needless to say I thought this was a strange gift but it was one of several so I just smiled and said “Thanks.” When I asked her why she gave me this book she smiled and said, ” I forgot to tell my book-club not to send it and I didn’t want to return it.” Destiny!
The following summer 1973 our youngest son was hospitalized with unknown illness and it was a scary time. A friend brought me a Family Circle to read and one of the articles was: Teach yourself to needlepoint. I decided to try needlepoint, I sent my friend to a needlepoint store to by me three colors of wool, a piece of canvas, needle and scissors. Told her where the needlepoint book was on my cookbook shelf in the kitchen. If I was going to learn to needlepoint it was going to be more than 5 stitches.
These are the two pillows that started my current adventures into learning needlepoint. The blue, green and white Persian yarn is the pillow I did to learned many stitches. The brown pillow was my second design and I taught this at a local needlepoint shop and at my house for three or four years. You bought Carol Roma’s book; A New Look At Needlepoint…I gave you a poor picture of the canvas and two line drawings: one road map with the stitch name and page reference number in the book and the second road map gave you color suggestions –ie. lightest shade. Since you got to pick 3 shades of your favorite color tapestry yarn, you had to write the color numbers in. I looked closely at these pillows and I didn’t seperate the strands, let alone lay the strands. Talk about primitive teaching. I found these instructions at a garage sale one time and was so glad I had not put my name on these instructions.
I’ve been needlepointing ever since. When I first started needlepointing we had two kinds of wool: Persian and tapestry; if you were really adventuresome embroidery floss, perle cotton and Kreinik . We needlepointed in our hand as you can see by how distorted the pillows are and no amount of blocking keeps them square. We didn’t separate the stands of thread and a laying tool was an unheard of tool. The one thing I never did was allow a finisher to use rabbit glue on my designs. It was suppose too keep your canvas straight after blocking and many shops then recommended this process to keep canvases straight. It didn’t work, attracted unwanted bugs and also rotted the work.

 And the rest is history. My stash is overflowing but I never have all the right stuff. I’m collecting canvases and charts so my friends will have something to remember me by when they come to the sale my husband has been told to have if something happens to me ( he even knows who he is suppose to call). I have amassed a very large art and needlework library for my friends too. I belong to NAN ( EGA ( and ANG ( I’ve completed two levels of teacher certification with ANG. I have designed, taught, learned how to put all this on the computer for myself and other teachers and designers. I’ve taken and take classes from many great teachers. I wrote Diagonal Daring and if I would stay off the web I could get the revisions completed to reprint this book.
This is my history what’s yours?    






I am catching up & June TIF


I finished reading some of my favorite blogs, finished the laundry, and even started swimming program at YMCA today. I feel like a nap! I’m either catching up or maybe just so far behind I look like I’m winning.

NP or SP
NP or SP
Equator or obi


I also have a picture of my June TIF projects or post and will also send them all to Flicker: See I was not ideal the month of June…but as someone else on another blog said, ” the real world interfered with my blog.”

The thought was:  stories that are and stories that are possible. I think this was also in reference to stash. And I have lots of stories waiting to be told, in fact closets full. But you know something really strange with all that stash, I still always need at least one more thread or just a slightly different color thread than I already own. My stash is never complete! If it were I’d die with the most and win and I know for a fact that man of my fellow stitchers have far more stash than I. So, I will just happily plod along knowing I have more stories to be told along with those I have already told.

My Temari this month are all the same pattern just stitched with different colors on gray, black or neutral bases. I really thought they were fun. And it shows how one basic pattern has endless possibilities with different colors and threads.

Hope you enjoy.




I finished these last week, just did not get around to posting until today. I have had the worst cold of the season…at first I thought it was Spring allergies, but now I’m calling it what it is a virus. I am on the mend but I still feel like a bobble-head doll and much to my families joy…have no voice. This too shall pass with my dose of antibiotics and tea.

The question for the month was what do I call myself? This is in reference to my art work, because I am a woman and I have many titles…Woman, Wife, Mother, Grandmother, Friend! But in my artwork I would refer to myself as a needle-artist or needlepointer. I am not found of the term fiber, I think it is to broad. I also think stitcher is too broad and crafty. I think we need to define ourselves as much as possible and especially as artists, whether we are a quilter, needlepointer, acrylic painter, oil painter, mixed media, whatever we choose…we are artists and we do make this a better world.

Off to read all the new blog messages and drink my potta tea


April TIF

I probably should not be doing this today but I’m afraid if I don’t I will be next week before I can get back here. I think my grey mood is directly related to our weather…Who would have thought it would get cold again in late April…I am really tired of cold weather. Luckily and hopefully, it is not going to damage the foliage.

Anyway, I struggled with this months TIF, almost did not do it. I was expecting a color scheme of bright or pastel colors…after all we in the northern hemisphere are thinking spring and warm weather. Had to change my mind set and work with what was given. Change is a sometimes difficult especially if if goes against your grain or mind set. I decided that even though changecan be difficult it is worth a try especially on the TIF. I have thought of these TIF projects as something that should be quick and fun. Simulating, mind stretching but not overwhelming or mind boggling.

April TIFSo I incubated…then because of another project I am following I decided to make a color card using these colors ( Note: since we all perceive color one way and our computers display colors differently these colors may not agree with other TIF participants) I did take the RGB percentages and entered them into my color program so I think these colors are close. Then I lived with this card for a few days and came up with a few ideas to explore.

I have chosen for the time being to continue to make Temari Balls even though I am a needlepointer at heart. I have known how to make Temari Balls for a long time and have made a few a year but this year I wanted to really get back in the swing (change) and fine tune my skills at this art. And I think the only way to get better at something is to practice, practice, do do. So the media again is Temari  (no change here).

My first Temari Ball was as close to the original colors as my mind set could get. While stitching this ball I thought about Sharon and all of you in the Southern Hemisphere who are entering the fall and winter seasons. I am glad I live where there is a change of seasons, each season has it’s own beauty.


But then I had to do a second Temari Ball to change my thoughts back to spring. I used the same family of DMC green to link the balls together.

You can see all the pictures:

Next week is guild meetings and family business hope I get stitching time in somewhere. And most of all I hope the Mother nature decides to blow her warm breezes our way and turn our world into full blossoming spring.


Another TIF for March & a quick gift

Blackwork TIF  Yesterday, I went to local ANG guild meeting and the program was Blackwork. I could have used the suppilied thread but since I knew I would probably complete this at the meeting and I happen to still have the colors from the March TIF still in my stitching box…Well…It was just a given…another TIF and an ATC too!

Back & Run   This little Blackwork technique was worked in 2 methods: The flower and leaves were worked in a “Back and Run” Stitch; it is a back stitch followed by a running stitch.

 Double Running   The border on the bottom is a “Double Running Stitch”.

Then I committed a great faux-pas… I missed one of my only two Granddaughter’s birthday! It was kind of a honest mistake but it made me feel awful. I sent her an IOU ticket and today took her to lunch complete with cake and a shopping trip.

ticket   cash stash pad  cash stash b

Her gifts were Webkins and cash stash pad. I made the cash stash pad with unused $2 bills and a glue stick. Make sure all the bills are sqared up on one end and rub over a glue stick. I also put a tiny piece of ribbon over this glued end. Then I made the cover using legal sized paper. Glued the cash to the inside and folded. And a gift anybody would love to get. I think I’m out of the dog house now and I won’t make this mistake again!


No one said anything

Jan TIF I was looking at my Flicker account: and noticed back in January I had refered to my postcard and ATC as the Hungarian Stitch and not the Herringbone Stitch. I have changed them but it really brought home “taking care of details”. And I can’t believe no one said anything…

Having St Pat’s dinner for the family so I need to get with it. Happy green to all…


St Patrick cookies

St Patrick’s CookiesToday I spent the better part of the morning baking sugar cookies…rolled iced with sugar and baked. Decided not to ice these so I just used egg white and decorative sugar…and 7+ dozen later I decided that was enough green. I also ran out of green sugar and wasn’t about to send better half to the store for green sugar. So… I started the Easter cookies for next week. About 2 dozen sugar cookies ahead of the game. These I am going to ice with royal icing and try my hand at using decorator tips and pipe decorations on the cookies. Normally I just ice them with a spatula and if you’re luck I might throw on some decorative sugars. No one has complained yet but I don’t think many people bake from scratch anymore. Maybe I better re-consider the decorating. Don’t want everyone to expect this every holiday.

Anyway I went to the framer and left two birth announcements I have had stitched since before Christmas 07. I put them out of sight and forgot them. They are safely at the framers now and maybe the recipients will get them before Christmas 08.

Also went by fabric store and picked out a couple materials for a project that I have been thinking about doing. How many times I have started a project and had a pre-conceived idea how I would like to finish the project? Too many! And usually I either have used a wrong color or can’t find exactly what I am looking for. I found two fabrics for finishing one project but couldn’t find anything for the other idea. small details again…I’ll talk to my finisher before I start the other project, she always has great ideas. But I do have two fabrics for one project and maybe I’ll just do two. But this reminded me of noticing the small details of the March TIF. I guess maybe I am beginning to notice the small things.

Finished my day at the craft store for the cookie decorating tips and the grocery store for food. Now I think I’m just going to curl up in my favorite chair and see what other blogs have to say and surf the evening away.


March TIF

I’ve had these finished for a couple days, just needed to attend to the “detail” of taking pictures…

080305f.jpg    080309d.jpg      080307g.jpg

I  went with the  color motif and did not pay much attention to the “little things, the small moments, the details in life? This months challenge is to do just that, pay attention to the tiny details.” But as I was making the temari balls base, I realized that without paying attention to the tiny details my temari bases are not round and firm. So I do unconsciously pay attention to details. I am more aware that I pay attention to the detail of marking the temari another important step if the temari are to be as even as possible.  

It is amazing how many of the “tiny details” we take for granted or simply ignore because we do them everyday or every time we apply our art of choice. I was in my local needlepoint shop not long ago and a woman came in seeking advice about a thread and stitch. I went to show her a stitch on the extra space of her canvas and there was no extra space…i.e. it is recommended to have minimum 2 inches on all sides of the design area of a needlepoint canvas and 1.5 inches is the absolute minimum. Anyway, there was barely an inch all around,more like 1/2 inch and this was covering the stretcher bars. Thank goodness she was using these because I can’t imagine how she ever would have gotten it blocked back into shape otherwise. I did ask her if she had these professionally blocked & finished and she said she didn’t think it was necessary to block her needlework because she worked on a frame and she finished everything herself. Since I have never seen the woman before and I have never seen anything she’s finished I can’t comment.  I thought to myself that if she was happy and the receiver of the needlework was happy, who really cared if it was perfect.. some child or grandchild was probably thrilled to have something Grandmother made. And I also silently thought to myself, the shop finisher was probably grateful she was finishing herself. But really, isn’t all about the love we put into our work? Anyway that was the least of the immediate problems…Every thread she had stitched with still had its tail parked somewhere on the canvas. I did suggest she start to bury these threads in the appropriate areas and to avoid placing dark threads in light areas. I did several of these so I could demonstrate the stitch in the appropriate area. I used an away knot to start and explained I did so, so if she chose not to use this stitch she could remove the thread easily. I did suggest she add a “bit more canvas around the design” so she would have an area to practice a new stitch or thread if desired. I don’t think she will ever had the recommended 2 inches but maybe her next design will not be up against her stretcher bars.

My point is that we take many things for granted when we have been applying out art for some time or have learned our art from a professional or someone dedicated to the proper way to execute the art. I know there are no hard fast rules, but there are recommendations that are very helpful. I always tell students, this is my way to do this…there are many other ways out there and many other teachers to teach you their way. You need to try their way and sometimes there is a reason they do what they do. But if after the class is completed, you want to replace a stitch, thread or the way the stitch is executed be my guest. It is your piece and you have to be happy with the piece. There are no needleart police. As my grandmother used to tell me, “Nothing is for certain but death. If you want to change or try something new, fine…But first learn to walk before you try to run.”

So I guess I do notice the little things even though I am not always aware of them. I am trying to slow down and notice the small things…

Have a wonderful change of season no matter where you live. I am really looking forward to the blessings of Spring and all the new, fresh little things I hope to notice.


Time gets away from me

No matter how I try I seem to forget about writing a blog. I was never a journal writer or diary keeper, so blogging is going to be a difficult task for me. And even once I start to write, it takes me forever to get my thoughts down. I am a verbal person not a writer.

I have finished my February TIFs and have posted them. I am going to try and put together a “how-to” for temari but it will be brief. There are many good web sites out there and I will mention two and then from there anyone can dig deeper into this great art. 

February color palette  Temari 080215   Temari 080216  Temari 080217  Temari 080217b

I liked the color palette for February, but then I can’t imagine a color palette I will not like. This is a complementary color scheme and one of my favorite color schemes. I had lots of ideas but decided to stay with Temari Balls because they are quick and easy and that’s what I think these challenges should be. When I first read about this challenge I wanted something that would stimulate my imagination, inspire me and that not necessarily require a finished project.  I have always thought that a group to brainstorm  would be stimulating and rewarding.  I love looking at the interpretation of the month’s challenge and reading how these challenges have been interpreted.  A challenges need to stimulate your imagination, keep your imagination working and even give you food for later thought.  I have several ideas also for needlepoint, but my incubation of a needlepoint design is longer than Temari balls, therefore my goal is to keep doing temari balls as monthly projects.

The other part of the TIF challenge for February was “What I am old enough remember”…

I think this challenge should have said “What I am old enough to admit to remembering.”; but I think I am secure enough in myself to admit that I remember our first TV. We had one of the first TVs in the neighborhood; it was a black and white set in a big mahogany piece of furniture. The piece of furniture was nicer than the TV, the picture tube might have been 13-15″ but the furniture was at least 4 feet high and 3 feet square.  I remember watching the test pattern and thinking it was a great design.  I remember running home from grade school to watch, Howdy Doody, Hopalong Cassidy, and the news. TV was one station and I don’t think it was aired more than 6 to 9 hours a day when it first started. I remember lots of highs and lows of early TV, remember many programs were live. When TV became color TV, we had one of the first in our neighborhood also.  I remember one of the neighbor girls just sat there and stared at the color TV and when I asked her why, her reply left me wondering if this girl every looked at anything. She was watching a commercial and said, “The Folger’s (coffee) can is red.”  No kidding, it always has been red! I remember thinking I must have a vivid imagination because I visualized clothes in color before color TV and sometimes I liked my visualizations best. I still enjoy watching old black & white movies and I still visualize in color. Sometimes I will see an old movie that has been colorized and will think “That’s not the color I visualized.”…color is truly subjective

I also remember my grandmother kept coloring books and new crayons in the hall closet of whatever house we lived in. When I was small it was always a treat to have her get a new coloring book and a new box of crayons was a true gift. She always had the biggest box of crayons available. I don’t every remember not coloring every page, nor do I remember subject coloring books (Barbie, movies, etc) they were themed (farm, princess, Mickey Mouse and friends, etc). They seemed much simpler and certainly had no dot to dot, puzzles…I remember when  coloring book was a coloring book.  I still enjoy a coloring book and especially when you can find one that is simple and fun.

 I also remember …

The treadle sewing machine (learned on this) that I could make run as fast as the new electric one we had.

Angel Food Cake meant 13 egg whites and not Pillsbury, Duncan Hines or Betty Crocker.

Dial phones and a voice on the other end when the phone was answered.

Mail and milk was delivered to you front door…hucksters with fresh fruit and veggies came by…and bread was delivered too.

…when life seemed simpler, and certainly less scary.

Thoughts about January

Today is the last day of January and I can hardly believe how fast this month has flown by. As with any January day in the Midwest it is cold and snowy, a good day to hibernate with a cup of tea, a fireplace and reflect on the past month.

As I said in another entry, I had good intentions of starting a blog but thanks to Sharon B. it happened sooner than later. Thanks Sharon.  It has been fun learning how to and doing, nothing like learning on the fly. I know I have much more to learn but I am fingering along for now.

When the TIF challenge was first posted I knew that the first part was going to be easy. The challenge was: “To make a design about a person(s) you admire or to use the color scheme suggested.” This was the easy part, I immediately thought of my grandmother and my Aunt Rose. I don’t think there was anything the two of them could not do or would not try, and both had a great love of life and a true sense of family. The color scheme was definitely colors they loved, wore and used. Simple solution January is dedicated to my grandmother and my Aunt Rose using the given color pallet. I thought it was a good way to start the year remembering two women I admire very much and who had a great influence on who I am today.

The next step was not as simple. Since I am a needlepointer, this is my first choice but what to do? I pulled the threads and canvases samples and tried to sort out the many ideas floating around in my head. I could do grapes, flowers, geometrics (my love) … I felt like a kid in a candy store with to many choices and not enough time. While I tried to sort this out I decided to head another direction…

When I first saw the color pallet, it spoke to me of Temari. So I decided to listen…something I do not always do. I usually try to force my artist endeavors in the direction I want to go and not to listen to the inner artist within me and go with the flow. But it is a new year had decided to try new things so why not listen to the artist within too. So, since Temari balls are another passion I have, I went with it. I just think it is to cool to start with a piece of cloth, some yarn, crochet thread and a spool of thread to make a ball and then to mark that hand made ball and decorate it with a design. The Temari were easy, they almost stitched themselves. The colors and designs just seemed to fall on the balls. Temari was the easy part of this challenge.

TIF canvases But still I was struggling over my canvas ideas, not wanting to give up on this idea completely. Last year I had become aware of ATC and postcards that many applied and textile artists were doing. This idea was appealing to me all though I did not know exactly how I wanted to incorporate them into the needlepoint media. I kept trying to force the design and that does not work…nothing comes together, nothing works. I was just about to give up when I decided to make an ATC of the Herringbone stitch. The Herringbone stitch is the basic stitched used to decorate the Temari so I wanted just the basic stitch. So I stitched the ATC, and it turned out as I wanted it to look but nothing “ah-ha”; then I decided that the postcard would be taking the basic Herringbone Stitch a step further. The large interlocking Herringbone stitches in the round are an interpretation of the purple Temari ball. The stitches to the right of these interlocking squares, the rickrack, and the long bar across the bottom of the canvas area on the right are good examples of how the Obi band might look. The three small purple motifs on the left side are the different ways that the Herringbone stitch would be used on a Temari guideline. This design was originally stitched with the large interlocking Herringbones located in the lower right. I felt after it was stitched that it looked more like an addressed envelope or postcard if I inverted the canvas.

I am neither happy nor unhappy about the stitched canvases. I think that because I am a graphic computer artist and do most of my “doodle” stitching on the computer rather than on a doodle canvas stitch samples do not appeal to me. I am a visual person and I can visualize stitches on the computer.  I do like the idea of making ATC or postcards; I’m just not sure how they are going to work for me. I’ll keep them in my thought process and maybe that “ah-ha” moment will happen.

For now I am going to cleanse my mind by watching a movie, drink more tea, stay by the fireplace and return to stitching Lucy.  I’m looking forward to the February TIF challenge. Since it is February and I think of this as a romantic month: Valentine’s Day and this year Leap year I am going to try and remember to apply the KISS principle to whatever I chose to do.