Thursday, March 17, 2011

Fine Arts Week!

Hello friends!

WOW!!  It is an absolutely gorgeous day here in the Shenandoah!  The sun is shining and the sky is blue...what a glorious day!

We are in the middle of Fine Arts Week at school and I showcased my "Hidden Talent" today.  I displayed four framed pieces as well as two unframed pieces and three works in progress.  On the tables I also placed several sampler books and quite a few SANQ magazines for them to look at.  The "Hidden Talent" Showcase was before lunch and there were several different staff "hidden talents" ranging from needlework (yours truly) to quilting, dancing, and drawing.

In the room where I was stationed I set up my framed and WIP pieces.  I was not sure what to expect but I am pleased to report that the kids were amazing!  Of the 35 students that attended about three wanted to learn how to cross stitch!  And while not all students wanted to learn how to cross stitch, ALL of them were interested, respectful, well-behaved and asked great questions.  I was absolutely thrilled!  And while that may not sound like a lot, where I work, it is.  I teach in an adolescent mental/behavioral hospital.  Summon the worst language and behaviors you can think of and my students have probably done them....twice...at least!  So to see the kids interested and RESPECTFUL of my hobby was a blessing.  My heart is briming with pride today...I am so proud of my students!  It is days like this that make me proud to be a teacher!

I could not snap any pics of my presentation but I did catch a few pictures of the art room before the kids came in...




The three students who would like to learn how to cross stitch will be able to use their art time to learn.  Terry, the owner of Cross Stitch Station (my LNS,) DONATED aida cloth, needles and thread for the kids.  I am so grateful and lucky to have such a wonderful LNS, and friend, close-by.

Thank you for all of the wonderful comments and emails about Fine Arts Week and my presentation.  Your kind words mean more that you know!  Until next time...Happy Stitching!

Valerie

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Getting in gear...

Hello dear blogging friends!

The art teacher at school approached me the other day about Fine Arts week.  The week of March 14 (next week!) our school will be celebrating Fine Arts through a myriad of activities and special events.  She said that she was having a "Hidden Talent" event and would like for me to showcase my needlework.  Well.....I must say that I was thrilled about the possibility of showing off my needlework not to mention the possibility of getting some of the kids interested. 

So, I began thinking of all of the finished projects that I had and realized that I don't have as many finished projects as unfinished projects!   Well, not much can be done about that in only one week but I thought that maybe, just maybe, I could accomplish some serious stitching on Richmond Sampler.  Here are the fruits of my labor...

Here is a before pic...


And here is my progress as of tonight...


Stitching these flowers makes me think of spring!




Gotta love those over one berries!

I certainly do not think I will be finished with Richmond Sampler by March 17 but I am trying to at least have the border finished.  Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Here is my stitching helper, Simon.  He always has to be involved with my stitching!

Happy Stitching!
Valerie

Monday, March 7, 2011

Sampler in miniature and dollhouses! (Picture heavy)

Good day everyone!

The sun is shining and it is a gorgeous day here in the Shenandoah.  We received lots of rain yesterday (much needed though!) and now the sun is shining.  I have a feeling that the Easter flowers will be blooming soon!

I was going through some old photos the other day and happened upon some pictures that I took at the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum in Williamsburg, Virginia.  Although it was a couple of years ago, I remember our visit like it was yesterday!  The sampler "drawers" were open and I was able to drool all over the extensive groups of antique samplers in the Colonial Williamsburg collection.  I could not take pictures of the samplers but once I moved on from the samplers (I was there for over three hours!) I found my way over to the doll house collection.  I love doll houses and had one when I was a child.  Walking through the exhibit I can honestly say that I felt like a kid again and I even found one that even had a miniature sampler in it!  Here are some pictures of my adventure with doll houses...
Yours truly in front of the doll house with the sampler.  See the tiny sampler on the wall above the bed?

This is a close-up of the sampler

A picture of the entire house


Here is the kitchen...

A close-up of the wine bottles in the kitchen

Living room

Foyer


This is a tiny greenhouse right off of the main house...adorable!


Another lovely house

Dining room...see the little picture of George Washington? 

Bedroom above the dining room


I hope that you enjoyed perusing the dollhouses...sometimes it is fun to be a kid again!

I will leave you with a picture of what my future car will look like...including the license plate!

Have a good one!  Happy Stitching!

Valerie


Thursday, March 3, 2011

A finish and a history lesson

Hello dear readers!

It was a beautiful, crisp, sunny day here in the Shenandoah.  I am looking forward to the first day of spring but cannot help but wonder if there is not one more snow up Mother Nature's sleeve! 

I do have a finish to announce...I put the last stitch in Ferry Farm Cherry Sampler on Monday night!  This was a SAL with my dear friend Robin (no blog.)  She finished hers on Saturday which gave me the incentive to put the pedal to the metal and get mine finished as well! 
Ferry Farm Cherry Sampler
by Homespun Elegance
Weeks Dye Works Linen 28 ct. Natural
Called for DMC threads

I enjoyed stitching this sampler...it was quick (only eight Saturdays worth of stitching!) and the colors are lovely! 

The history behind the sampler is what really makes this one stand out, at least for me.  For those of you who do not know, Ferry Farm Cherry Sampler was designed to honor the family of George Washington.  Sandra Sullivan of Homespun Elegance included detailed historical information about why she designed the sampler and the significance of Ferry Farm with the chart.  I did a little of my own research as well and I would like to share with you the story behind the Ferry Farm Cherry Sampler. 

George Washington was born on Pope's Creek Plantation in Westmoreland County, Virginia in 1732.  Westmoreland County is located on Virginia's "Northern Neck" and only a few short miles from Confederate General Robert E. Lee's Birthplace, Stratford Hall.  The "Northern Neck" is the northern most peninsula of Virginia with the great Potomac River to the north and the Rappahannock to the south.  The Washington family moved from Pope's Creek when George was 3 years old.  When George was six, the family settled at Ferry Farm in Stafford County, Virginia, near Fredericksburg.  It was at Ferry Farm that George "grew up" with his mother, father and siblings.  The famous "Cherry Tree Legend" of George chopping down a cherry tree and telling the truth about it, still permeates our culture and is alleged to have occurred at Ferry Farm.  A 2008 excavation at the site of the Washington's home at Ferry Farm unearthed a wonderful and ironic find.  Fragments of enameled creamware were found that dated back to 1765-1775, the latter part of Mrs. Washington's residence, and some shards were found to have a cherry motif!  Sandra Sullivan, of the Homespun Sampler worked with the George Washington Foundation to create the sampler.  The cherry motif on the enameled creamware along with the initials of the Washington family members who lived at Ferry Farm were used to make up the sampler.  If you would like more information about the sampler or about the history of George Washington's boyhood homes, here are the links:

George Washington's Birthplace

George Washington's Boyhood Home - Ferry Farm

Homespun Elegance - Ferry Farm Cherry Sampler

Thank you for humoring me and I hope that the history lesson was informative.  One of the reasons I love needlework so much is because of the rich history behind it.  The feeling of being a part of something that has lasted not just generations but centuries.  And it is not only the samplers that amaze me but the people who either created those wonderful works of art or just inspired them. 

Till next time dear friends,
Valerie