Wednesday, October 29, 2014

When I Help at School

My two days per week spent within the locked school fence are full, full, full. I spend the mornings with the Third Grade class and the afternoons with the First Grade class. But I also do some popping into other classrooms to help with kiddos that need a little more one-on-one.

Some days fly by while others feel like the longest ever.

I get to read with my Third Grader's high group both days I'm there, and love hanging with those six kids. We have great discussions about how they see life in connection with the stories read (Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot, Buffalo Song, Mary McCloud Bethune, to name a few).

And then there are the projects... Lots of copying, laminating, sorting, filing, and generally making myself useful in ways that free up the teachers to do what they have been hired to do. I get to float around, in and out of buildings, brushing shoulders with other volunteers and staff alike. It is a good community of people committed to doing the best they can for the student body. I have plenty of issues with the way schools are run in our country (lets not get on that soapbox today), but have no complaints whatsoever about what the giving hearts at our school do with the limitations handed them.

Much of what I do isn't photo worthy, but I'm going to start snapping pictures of those that let me channel my creativity, so I can share them with you.

First up... for the Third Grade classroom, I was given a small and very poor black and white printout of a "Parts of a Paragraph" hamburger that someone had created digitally and posted online. This teacher was also the Third Grader's First Grade teacher, so she knows me well enough to hand me the paper and say, "Could you make this into a poster? Like a big one? And colorful? And then laminate it so I can hang it on the wall? Oh, and Mrs. ______ would like one too..." knowing that she will most likely be happy with what I come up with.

I give you:
Yeah, I know... wonky and hand-made, but those two hamburgers took me ALL day, so I'm pretty darn proud.

And for the First Grade classroom, I got to take my camera and laptop to capture then edit then size correctly then cut out their darling little heads. To glue onto the bodies that they had colored.

Fortunately, this was on a different day from the hamburger posters, because it took SUCH a long time, but when all was said and done, they were so adorable I wanted to take them all home...
Their bobble head creations were pasted onto construction paper along with a writing project to send home. My girls' project turned out like this:

Monday, October 27, 2014

Last of the Warm Days

These photos were all taken during the first half of October, when the days were still more pleasant than stormy, when there were more flowers than colorful leaves, when I could get away with sitting barefoot along the driveway stitching while the kids rode their bikes.

Those days are over now, it would seem. It has been nothing but rain and wind and damp for the past ten days with nothing but the same in the forecasted future. Now we turn our pursuits toward the cozy indoor activities and try to not long for the out of doors too much.

The lovely decorated porch that you'll see further down in this post was a surprise gift from the Farmboy and kids. I spent a few Saturday hours running errands and came home to find this festive display. That guy can still surprise me 15 years later; I count myself very blessed.
Homegrown Salsa, Before and After :: Geranium :: Honeysuckle :: Hydrangea :: Dahlia :: George and the Chicken :: Hello, Son :: First of the Changing Leaves :: Autumn Yardwork :: Sunflower :: the Neighbors :: My Monkeys :: Holding Hands :: Racing the Neighbor :: Black Kitty and Pumpkins :: They Love Each Other :: Asparagus Berries :: They Love Each Other Too :: Sun on My Toes :: Training Wheels :: All Boy

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Anniversary Tree 2014

Every year, around this time, I get out the tri-pod, set the timer on my camera, and we snap a family picture in front of our Anniversary Tree, documenting the changes in our family as well as the growth of our tree.

This tree was chosen by us on the first anniversary of our first date, which also happened to be a month after we got married. So watching its growth has been a special and fun tradition.

I love to look back over all of the photos to also see how the landscape has changed. From a tree surrounded by field to the development of flower beds and fencing, the addition of greenhouse and kennel, the move of the vegetable garden from the South side of the house to the North side of the house, growth of surrounding bushes, addition and sad subtraction of pet family members. Even seeing the varying shades of color change in the tree itself has been fun, indicating either tardiness of photo taking or unusually mild seasons.

Our photo was snapped 9 days late this year (goal is always October 10), and still the color is just beginning to change. But my heart is full when I look at this image, because the happiest moments of my life are when I'm surrounded by these three people, the very dearest gifts to my heart.

Friday, October 17, 2014

*NEW* Ann M. Franks (an Antique Sampler Reproduction)

I found this 189 year old sampler at a local antique show and immediately fell in love. Ann M. Franks started or finished her work in 1825, comprised of two impossible-to-resist wreaths of flowers enclosing a quote, which, despite missing stitches, I am rather confident reads,

“With all thy soul
Love God above,
And as thyself
Thy neighbor love.”

I don’t consider this a truly faithful reproduction, because the original was stitched on uneven weave linen, giving it that nicely out of round, taller-than-wide appearance. But the availability of similar linen is extremely low, so I chose to stitch the model on even weave. The colors too, were a big challenge to match, so the overall effect of the reproduction, although lovely, is different enough from the original to warrant a changed subtitle from what I would usually use. “An Antique Sampler Reproduction” rather than “A Faithfully Reproduced Antique Sampler”. Regardless, she is lovely, and well worth the time and crossed-eyes it took to get her charted and framed.

Without the helping hands of my model stitcher Candace Shalongo, this sampler would most likely still be waiting her turn in a digital folder, since my stitching hours are all taken up with my original designs. She gladly took the project on, and finished quickly and skillfully. A heartfelt Thank You from me to you!

Stitch Count: 232 x 181
Model stitched on Silkweaver 32ct. Midas Touch
With one thread over two.

Using flosses from The Gentle Art: 0112 Grasshopper, 0511 Country Redwood, 7025 Shaker White, 7040 Lexington Green, 7044 Dungarees, 7045 Mountain Mist, 7049 Lambswool, 7057 Roasted Marshmallow, 7080 Endive, 7082 Piney Woods

And flosses from Weeks’ Dye Works: 1118 Goldenrod, 1268 Molasses, 1274 Terrapin, 2219 Whiskey

Frame by Valley House Primitives.

This design is now available in my etsy shop, and will be going out to my distributors and the shops on my automatic shipments list soon. If you prefer to bypass etsy and order directly through me, you can send me an email: beth@heartstringsamplery.com 

Monday, October 13, 2014

New Friend


Our large family of Rufous Hummingbirds seem to have all migrated, with the exception of two that linger still. If they stay all winter, they are classified as "vagrant" hummingbirds, which apparently isn't that uncommon, even in areas with harsh cold winters. We'll keep the nectar flowing and defrosted for as long as we continue to see them coming.

It was a big surprise to us to notice this brand new individual that started visiting our feeder bank a few days ago. It took me awhile to be fast enough to capture it with my camera, and boy am I glad I kept trying! Isn't it beautiful? It appears to be an Anna's Hummingbird, and I hope it sticks around.

Three feeders + three vagrant winter hummingbirds = Perfection.

Click on this picture to see a larger version of our gorgeous new hummingbird friend.

His Eye is on the Sparrow *Another Chart Error*

Good grief... yet another chart error! It is small, but thought you'd like to know that the stem and leaves of the little flower just under the T in "watches" are charted for Brethren Blue, but the model was stitched with Endive.

I am completely out of the original batches of printed charts, so any orders that go out from here on will contain the corrections that have been found. It is all of you that came out in support of this design early on that will need to make notes on your chart.

Kids Were Here

Friday, October 10, 2014

Lately

Sunny and mild days, chilly nights, more frequent rain showers, and starting-to-turn leaves. Dewy mornings, too much school (not enough kid time), ripening orchard fruit, and holding on to these pleasant afternoons with all of my might.
Mums :: Work in Progress :: Grapes :: Homework :: Muted Sky :: Warm Kitties :: Rain on the Sunroof :: Lone Bandtail Pigeon :: Fiery :: Stonecrop :: Sour Apples :: Weathered :: First Fallen :: Return of the Downpour :: Splash :: Ethereal :: Heavy Laden :: Catch! :: Home Where She Belongs :: Pileated Woodpecker :: Swing :: Motocross and Stitching :: Missed the Migration :: But Will the Weather Hold? :: New Linen Order :: Her Turn to Read