Black Friday Has Passed; I SO Deserve Another State Park Trip!

As some of you know I work for a Sewing Gallery selling sewing machines.  For the most part I like my job because I have time to be creative, meet new and interesting people, and I am the computer person because the boss doesn’t like to put the monthly calendar on the website.  It’s not a bad job to have really.  There is some drama now and then, but it’s not a bad job to have for eight to twelve hours a week.

That is until today.  Yes, I worked some of Black Friday today and I am NOT amused!  People can be crazy when they think they are going to get something for nothing.  However, I was lucky because those I served in our little gallery were extremely pleasant and truly excited about the prices we had for them.  They really were great prices.  However, it was so busy today!  I didn’t have any time to run an embroidery machine except for two demos!  It was brutal; I had to actually work hard the whole time I was there.

With this in mind, the husband’s comment “Saturday is supposed to be a great day, we should visit a State Park” comes to the front of my brain.  I thought I wanted to do nothing but sit around the house and stitch, maybe play on the computer; but now as I think about it, as I actually ponder the thought…

***dream sequence begins***

I’m sitting in one of our comfy camp chairs stitching on my quickie cross stitch project while Scott plays around with his new video camera discussing how he wants to add videos on to the website….

Wait!  Scratch that, let me try again….

I’m sitting in one of our comfy camp chairs stitching on my quickie cross stitch project while Scott plays around on his guitar practicing the wonderful bits of music he learned at the O’Flaherty Music Retreat.  He says, “Now I can video me playing music on the new video….”

He DID say video camera…. You all are so in for it when he figures out how to use it!


Happy Thanksgiving From Us To You

I hope you have as beautiful Thanksgiving as we have!  Granted this photo was taken last year by my daughter Andie, but it has everything you need for a happy Thanksgiving:  family, smiles and an adorable turkey!



Ren & Scott

A Little Stitch ‘N Post

A Little Stitch ‘N Post

Sweet Snickers keeps me company while I stitch.

Sweet Snickers keeps me company while I stitch.

It’s 3:30am and I can’t sleep due to an allergic reaction to cedar.  so I am up working on a little quickie project.  I wanted to do something small and easy.

I was sent a package one day by a friend.  Inside was a tiny kit.  The cross stitch pattern has instructions in six different languages: Nederlands, Deutsche, English,  Francais, Svenska, and Dansk.

Trying to find out where or who or when the item was created has been a task and is STILL a mystery.  in the upper right hand corner, there is this number: 33235-I.  I am sure it is for an alphabet sampler but I have never seen another chart like this.


I am sure I will find something someday, but for now I am content to stitch.




Hand & Machine Together Rock

Hand & Machine Together Rock


Ornaments for the grands

In September I attended a workshop on the finishing of embroidery projects.  It was a wonderful opportunity to learn from Carolyn Standing Webb as well as being in the company of my fellow EGA stitchers.  I took time to practice what I learned on a piece my co-worker had produced during a demo.

Since this time, I have gone crazy making similar items for my grands.  They have turned out beautifully!  I think what I love the most is that I am taking two embroidery styles and meshing them together: machine embroidery and hand work!  During the monthly EGA meeting of the Fort Worth Chapter I showed off my work and there was a bit of a discussion about if machine embroidery really counted.  It was all in good fun of course but I found it a very good subject to look into.

Often you will hear those who do hand embroidery say using a machine is cheating. It is often because of the speed of the machine, the accuracy of the stitches, and the lack of attention used.  Is it really cheating?

Hand embroidery is an art that takes time to learn and do.  I know I have worked on a small project and within eight hours of stitching I only accomplish an inch of work.  That is looking generously at the amount of work accomplished.  One of the reasons it takes so long is the process I go through as a  stitcher.  I must decide how long, tight, loose, ect… my stitches need to be, I have to make sure I am doing the stitches correctly, and I am happy with my work.  If any one of these are not to my satisfaction, out comes the stitch ripper.

With a machine there is a computer.  A computer is not smarter or more talented than a person, it is just a computer.  It has written rules that it follows and as long as it follows those rules it does a perfect job.  Because of this programming the machine is able to finish a perfect job quickly.  This doesn’t make it any less in beauty or art.  It just makes the machine faster.  Granted the machine will not have a hand work look, but should it?

I believe there is a time and place for both styles of embroidery.  I believe they can both be used at the same time to make a piece better.  Granted my following example is going to be focused on how the next two pieces are finished and not on the actual embroidered parts.

I work for a sewing machine store that sells embroidery machines.  I am always trying to convince my boss to allow me to do a hand finishing class.  She never sees it my way.  However, she has finally decided I am right or just tired of hearing me harp on it.  I would like to think it is because of the photo below.


Top two photos – finished by machine; bottom two photos – finished by hand. You decide.

The ornament on the bottom gave my boss all sorts of “oooooo’s” and “wowzers” and she wanted me to teach a class on it.  I began telling her I would need to teach the cording and tassel as a hand finishing part.  She was not happy with this and told me I would have to do all of it, start to finish, by machine.  Well, except the tassel.

I took it very slow and did the best I could using the sewing machine.  It was a horrible experience for me.  The gathering foot wasn’t working how I thought it should and the guided foot followed the bumps and ridges I had after turning the circular piece.  She even took the piece and tried to “fix” the errors she felt I made.  Unfortunately ornament on top didn’t look anything as good as the original.  She finally agreed to the class being an embroidery machine/hand finishing class.

In this case hand embroidery/finishing was chosen as the best because it was the right tools for the job; machine for the embroidery and hands for the finishing.


All machine embroidery, but finishing will be done by hand.

This is a gift.  I needed something quick, pretty and easy to do.  It was a sudden thing so I didn’t have a month to do the hand embroidery so I chose to use an embroidery machine.  I had to spend the time planning what would be on the fabric, hopping the fabric correctly, watching to make sure the threads where correct, and so on.  It was less time, but no less art.

There is a time and place for both types of embroidery so do not let anyone make you feel less of an artist one way or the other because being an artist is expressing how you feel and see things using anything and everything around you.


…  If you want to see some really great examples of hand vs machine embroidery and how they are both just amazing, please visit Urban Threads’ blog post.

Mighty Big Footprints In Texas

Mighty Big Footprints In Texas


Dinosaur Valley State Park Office

I had planned to do nothing but work on my needle work tool case project this past Sunday, but Scott decided he needed to get out of the house.  I told him I had no desire to do anything but then he said those magical word, “State Park”.  I was dressed and getting my shoes on before he got the word park out.

This time we visited the Dinosaur Valley State Park just outside Glen Rose, Texas.   What a unique place that was.


Our traditional SPsign Selfie.

We did the normal sign photos and signing in.  We were once again reminded how important getting the Texas State Parks Pass is to this project.  We have already paid in entrance fees in what we would have paid for the pass.  Not only this, but we would be getting a discount on the items purchased at the stores in each park.  I am glad we are purchasing one for 2015.

Anyway, we did the drive through the camping area to get an idea of what the camp sites were like.  The areas were clean and in good shape.  We have started looking at the sizes of the parking areas within the sites to see what size of RVs will fit.  We found a few areas that would allow a good sized rig in; but if there was a fourty footer, fitting would be a bit of a challenge. This has given us a pretty good idea what we are looking at when we start looking at the RV we decide to get.  However, that is a totally different conversation for another time.


Trail start and prairie area.

Finishing with the camping area, Scott and I drove to the area where the dinosaur tracks are located but there was a paved pathway we decided to take before going down into the river area.  About half way along the path was a small cut out and we saw the Oceans of Grass information.  Scott was telling me about how tall the grasses use to get; while he was telling me, I took a short video.  You can find that here:


At the end of the path lays destruction…

We made it to the end of the paved trail only to come to a dead end.  As you can see this part of the pathway has been washed away and it is no longer safe to walk on.  This, however, was the reason we were at this place.  If it weren’t for the river’s rushing waters, we would never have known about this place’s secret.  Well, it isn’t really a secret; everyone knows about the dinosaur tracks here.


Dino tracks!

Here are famous tracks in the limestone river bed.  You can see there was a large four footed creature walking along what was an ocean beach at one time.  If you take a bit of time and really look the above photo over, you will see there are three sets of prints in the stone.  It is believed a herd passed through here.  It was a very eye opening experience for me. If you can’t see it, you can see an artist’s vision and a bit of information about this site here:


We are getting inside scoup about the dino tracks!

I was very interested in the size of these prints so I stepped next to one.  It was HUGE!  Fortunately Scott wanted a photo taken of him in the print.  I think the photo came out pretty good.


Piling it on…

One of the things I loved most about this trip was that I was able to play with rocks and stack them like I have seen in many photos.  I had forgotten how much fun it was.  It was a good day to explore, play and learn.

Ren & Scott