Inspiration all around

The world is full of inspiration; just take the time to look. Nature offers an endless supply of inspiration but so do your local art museums. My goal this year to be inspired at least once a month with a visit to at least one of our local art museums: Nelson Art Gallery(, the Kemper Museum of Modern Art ( or  National Museum of  Toys and Miniatures ( Then there is always 1st Fridays in the Art district, but the weather has to be nice for this…I am a fair-weather art lover. Then in May, our outdoor art shows begin and they are always fun to attend…just to people watch.

But this winter I have been doing the museums…

The Nelson Art Gallery had a special exhibit of the Plains Indians from Sept 2014-Jan 2015; if it comes to a gallery close to you be sure and go see it. What struck me most about this exhibit was the detail of design…and then it dawned on me…How did these people store all those beads and porcupine quilts they were using to make whatever bag, robe, dress, fan, envelope, cradle board, ceremonial pipe, etc.?

I have a room full of stuff that I can’t live without to use for my needlepoint and I don’t have to move it as the weather changes. Plains Indians followed the buffalo; it was their source of living. I can’t imagine being pregnant, making a cradleboard and having Mike say to me, ” Today we are moving. Pack up the beads, your stitching, take down the tepee, move and I’ll see you in a couple weeks down south.” I would have not survived as a Plains Indian! Pack up the needlework and move to where…I can barely change rooms with my needlework. Those Indian women were more organized than I’ll ever be and they had the patience of Job to do all that beadwork. I was impressed.

15-01-19 NAG mini 3This week-end Mike and I ventured out to the Nelson Art Gallery again; another exhibit at the gallery are pieces from the National Museum of Toys and Miniatures ( on loan from our National Museum of  Toys and Miniatures that is being rehabbed.   The new OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAmuseum is supposed to open early this year, cannot wait to see the changes and improvements. Many of the miniatures are replicas of works in the permanent collection of The Nelson Art Gallery. My favorite piece was the sewing casket; 1 1/8 inch tall. My picture does not do it justice but I was trying to show the size in relationship to my index finger. The picture from the brochure is better but larger than actual size, but you OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAcan see all the details included.

I always thought I  would like to make a sewing casket , but if I ever get around to it, it will not be a miniature nor will it have the details of the sewing caskets I have seen in other places.  Don’t hold your breath; it is not on my “to-do” list, just my “If I run out of things to stitch…I might consider doing this” list.  And the comment you can see on the picture from the brochure says it all: “One work can take months, even years, to complete.” Mine would take the rest of my life and that’s if I started today. So this is one thing on my bucket list that probably won’t get completed in any size.

15-01-19 NAG mini 1My other favorite piece was the teapot. The miniature is a 7/16 inch replica of a 1765 Earthenware teapot 5 1/2 inches from England (part of the Nelson Art Gallery permanent collection). My picture with my little finger for size does nothing but I am OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAshowing you the picture from the brochure too; you can see the comparison better than the picture I took.

For all of you who do not know, our own Sharon Garmize ( stitched many of the miniature rugs that will hopefully be on display when the National Museum of  Toys and Miniatures re-opens. I’m not sure if she stitched other pieces or not.

15-01-19 El Amatsui 1The art Gallery also had this piece on display. Dusasa I by El Anatsui is a large piece that is made of found aluminum and copper. Many of the pieces looked like labels and bottle tops that were flattened and then stitched together with copper wire to make a 15-01-19 El Amatsui 2cloth like sculpture. It was hung high on the wall so it draped and protruded in different areas. It was quite striking, and as you walked past it the shadows and light changes made for interesting textural changes.

15-01-19 NAG 1But my favorite sculpture at the Nelson Art Gallery is Fall of the Rebel Angels. It is a 10 3/4 v 6 inch Italian ivory. When I was a young girl this piece was shown in a display where it was at the back (about 24 inches back from the glass) and you could not see the detail. Today it is shown up close and you can see it from all sides.

15-01-19 NAG 2Thank you for stopping by, I hope you find something to inspire you this week. And of course,  I hope you find time to stitch today! ttfn…sue

OMGosh…Surprise, surprise, surprise

This week-end DH handed me a brown envelope addressed to me, but I wasn’t expecting anything (already had all I was expecting); so I asked him what’s this. His reply was a typical DH remark; “Must be something you ordered.” Knowing he was probably correct I opened the envelope and inside was Mary Engelbreit’s OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFan Fare Cookbook: 120 Dessert Favorites. Still no recollection of ordering this, but since my birthday is in August and I love desserts, I figured someone had sent me a nice birthday gift. Inside the front cover (had not noticed the autograph yet) was a letter (ah, a clue); so I began to read…”Dear Contributor,”… OMGosh, this took my breath away and I sat down to continue reading. At OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAfirst I thought maybe someone near and dear to me had submitted a recipe in my name. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo after my initial surprise I looked through the cookbook to find my recipe and sure enough almost smack dab in the middle of the book, there it was. As I read the recipe and short story OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAaccompanying the recipe I realized this was me and I obviously had sent the recipe (the wording sounded just like me). I did not remember this at all, but my recipe was one of the 120 chosen and here I was in a Mary Engelbreit publication. I can’t tell you how surprised, humbled and dumbfounded I was…Awesome!

13-07-29 ME indian
I have always been a big fan of Mary Engelbreit (; I have several of her cards framed and hanging in my hallway. My first framed card came from a good friend’s daughter, Katie Bax who lived in St Louis and worked at a Mary Engelbreit store and knew I love her artwork so she bought me a card and had Mary autograph it for me.13-07-29ME journal I have books (surprise, surprise), boxes, sewing items, Santa’s, Christmas plates and Good to be the Queen things; my project journals are ME Good to be the Queen journals and I have every issue of Home Companion magazine Mary published…I still miss this publication…it was so creative.
Do I sound like a Mary Engelbreit groupie? Well I guess it is as close as I get to being a groupie…I don’t think of myself as a groupie but more as an admirer of an extremely talented lady who expresses the beauty of the world around her. Her artwork lifts me up and makes me smile.
Mary doesn’t like to cook and although I don’t mind cooking I rather needlepoint and draw than cook…Mary Engelbeit’s saying about cooking is one of my two favorites: “If my family had to depend on me for food, they would starve to death in a really cute kitchen.” The other quote is from Sharon Garmize, another very talented needlepoint lady ( “I only have a kitchen because it came with the house.”
And so, I have spent an evening reading a cookbook from cover to cover. Good thing you don’t absorb calories by reading because I would have absorbed a bunch. There are some really great dessert recipes in this book but the stories that accompany each of these recipes are the best, it makes them so personal. I know this cookbook will become a family favorite. And I am humbled to have been included.
Think I’ll get a stand for it in my kitchen, maybe a stand under glass to protect it…I know I’ve gone too far…I am hoping my head and chest stop swelling (with humble pride and awesomeness) so I can get back to work; but every time I see the book I get excited all over again.
Thank you for stopping by and I hope you have time to stitch today! I’m going to try…

2 Finished projects

I have been saying I was going to frame “The eye in the keyhole” painted by Sharon Garmize ( forever. It is probably the oldest canvas I own and I have never intended to stitch it; I knew I could never do the painting justice. But I have always wanted to frame it and today was the day. I went ahead and put glass over it because it is going to hang in my hallway close to the kitchen.

This second canvas was a chart and pin from Just NAN ( but I can’t remember the name. I took a bunch of liberties with this design, starting by putting it on canvas instead of linen. It was my take-a-long project and somehow I managed to stitch the complete sunflower…I didn’t see the stitched crows until after I was well into the space for the first, so I decided these buttons were too cute and I could use them. And the sunflower looked cute attached to corner.

Today I went to Hobby Lobby to look for frames and found ready-made frames for both. A nice lady in the framing department cut the keyhole mat and backing board while I waited…They have a computer that cuts mats in no time with little or no waste. She also gave me the piece of mat board to mount behind the sunflower and even taped them to the mats for me. I won’t tell you what it cost me but let’s just say Andrew Jackson just needed some change to cover it.

I am a happy camper and even have time to stitch…

Hope everyone has time to stitch today!  ttfn…sue

Snow & Bunny

It’s snowed again in the Midwest; we got 6 ½ inches in my yard. Today it is suppose to give another dusting and Sunday another accumulation. Don’t know why this is such a big deal to everyone (especially the news media…must have nothing else to report)…But here’s a newsflash for everyone…

It is January in the Midwest!

Kids love snow and snowdays, parents hate snow and snowdays, and we stitchers don’t care as long as we have something to stitch. 

This week I spent some time looking though my stash, I was looking to see if there were any canvases I wanted to reconsider as my favorites. My local needlework shop is sponsoring a sell your stash. You pay $5 per item (2.50 goes to the American Heart Association), register each needlepoint canvas, set a price and if and when it sells you will receive a store credit to purchase whatever you like. If you purchase someone else’s canvas you can also purchase threads at a discount. So I headed to my canvas stash box to make some choices and soon realized I will not be parting with my stash. As I was perusing the canvases, so many memories came flooding back…oh I bought that canvas when…and this canvas always reminds me of…

So after about and hour tripping down memory lane I realized I have this thing about painted canvases (I am really a geometric person or a chart stitcher; so when I purchase a painted canvas it really has spoken to my heart.  I seldom stop to think about threads and stitches at the time I purchase the canvas. I think you have to live with a canvas to decide what it will become. Ornaments can become pillow inserts; some canvases need to have a portion omitted or changed; and colors are not written in stone. But one thing is common among all my painted canvases…I love them!

I found an old Sharon G canvas that I know I will never stitch BUT I love the canvas; All Eyes-Keyhole. I know stitching this canvas would never do it justice it is a work of art as is, so I’m taking it to the framer to have a mat cut and I am just going to frame it. I do have a question if anyone would like to weight in on this. The left picture was taken on a black background, the right on a white background. I’m going to use a black mat and frame but which background do you prefer or will it matter?


Periodically when I look through this stash box a canvas will jump out at me and say, “It’s my turn!” That happened when I found the bunny with a basket; the canvas was panted by Barbara & Charlotte and has the #bss 4. I don’t know if they still paint canvases or not but this one is sure cute. I collect Peter Rabbits (my Peter Rabbit has to have a blue coat and carrots to be in my collection), so this one will fill the bill if I stitch his coat predominately blue. In my minds eye I could actually see the canvas stitched and finished. I measured it, pulled the stretcher bars, and started to pull the threads…All of a sudden I noticed this canvas was unusual…What size is this canvas mesh? I was thinking 14 but my mind was telling me ???…it is 10 mesh! Oh my gosh I would have never guessed, I’m not sure I have threads to stitch this canvas…Oh good, a justified trip to the LNS (not that I need an excuse or justification)! Off I went, and then I hit a roadblock. I had decided on threads for everything but the rabbit and he was proving to be a real challenge. The gray threads available at my LNS were either to blue gray or too brown gray…not a neutral gray in the bunch.  Someone suggested trying knitting wool and so off I headed to a knit shop. I even took a needle to check that the yarn would cover well… I found a gray that will be great.

So now I have the threads and I have begun to stitch… I’m stitching this canvas front the back to the front. So even though this canvas may not still be available I will keep you posted on the stitches and techniques as I move along.

The background stitch is a woven stitch using #3 DMC pearl cotton. In one book it is called a T-Stitch another Woven Stitch. I stitch it diagonally so I guess the T-stitch would be the name using these two references: T Stitch from June McKnight; Decorative Backgrounds  For Needlepoint; Self Published; 1992. Woven Stitch from Suzanne Howren and Beth Robertson; Stitches for Effect; Self Published; 1996. As soon as I get the background and I’m going to cover the green carrot tops, I am going to baste the carrot tops placement on the background for later stitching.

Hope everyone stays warm and has time to stitch everyday. ttfn…sue