Friday, February 21, 2014

February Potpourri

My attempts to write the Perfect Blog Post After Not Posting For Ages have been futile, so I'll just jump back in, natter on a bit, and show some photos of a few things I'm playing around with :)

 Since the summer, I've been taking care of a few family matters, travelling for a short holiday, and visiting family a couple of thousand miles away for an extended trip.   I've stitched a few pieces - finished some smaller ones and kept going on the larger projects.  Some of these have been simpler designs that I could work on without a magnifier and in less light than I'm accustomed to.  And while I was away, I was able to photograph several pieces I'd given as gifts years ago - here's one of them, a needlepoint bell pull:

 And another, a little Christmas ornament that the recipient displays year-round - the yearning for "Peace" knows no season - 

With one of our extended family currently living in Sweden, I've explored more deeply my interest in Scandinavia and the Nordic regions that dates back from high school years when I had a pen-friend in Norway.   Anne Barbro from Bergen sent me a pewter brooch - don't you love the scene? 

Vintage Norwegian pewter brooch
 Here's a little ornament (not yet finished off) with Scandinavian motifs - I stitched a couple of these while flying.
Ornament from "Scandinavian Stitches"

 I've also been reading and cooking from several Scandinavian cookbooks - Beatrice Ojakangas, of course, and also books by Andreas Vierstad,  Trina Hahnemann  and Camilla Plum, as well as one of my favorites, the Northern-themed Roast Figs Sugar Snow, by Diana Henry.   As much as I love the root vegetables and many of the flavours featured in dishes from that region,  I do draw the line at lutefisk:  at one time we lived in an area that had strong Norwegian roots, but the annual lutefisk supper was an experience we denied ourselves ....   One advantage of that area was that such cooking implements as krumkake and rosette irons were as easily available at the local hardware store as a toaster or kettle - I still make both treats occasionally with the kitchen tools bought there all those years ago.  

In other stitching, I finished a Victoria Sampler piece, Blackberry Alphabet - one of those that was easy to stitch while I was away from home.  It  will find a place in our family room where I've hung several more "rustic" pieces, some that I can change out depending on the season, using the same frame.  I'll post photos of it when it's properly mounted.   I continue to stitch a simple Quaker-motif piece that I'd set aside for several months, as well as the much more complex "10", our 10th Anniversary guild sampler designed by Amy Mitten, and also Drawn Thread's Violet Sampler - no pictures yet of those.   I've also been spending a little time finishing off some of my other pieces - here's the front and back of the Drawn Thread "First Snow" ornament:

Reverse side of First Snow
Front side of First Snow

My other major project for the year is a Scottish sampler, Janet Burnet 1830, from The Scarlet Letter.
Janet Burnet 1830 (Scarlet Letter website)

 Each month I'm re-reading the monthly chapter in The Garden Cottage Diaries, Fiona Houston's account of her "year in the eighteenth century" - she lived in an 18th century Scottish cottage, growing a garden there and  living most of her life  during the year as closely as she could to the way a woman might in that era.  
She's an historian herself and has carefully researched the time period.  Her experiences were a little different to other similar projects, as she actually lived day to day right in the cottage itself, cooking and sleeping there, and restricting her diet to what was available in her gardens and from local suppliers as near to historic products as possible.   The historical period of the book sets the backdrop leading into the time period of Janet Burnet's sampler, so I'm enjoying that glimpse into another life - yet one more reason to love historic samplers.

Instead of a snow scene, one that many of you have become very familiar with over the past few months, I'll leave you with a photo from our July holiday this past year. 
Prairie Skies
Now back to a few more hours watching the Winter Olympics and stitching during the commentary and commercials .....