WiP Wednesday – Embroidery With Ren – Week 1


In the embroidery world we have a phrase “WiPs” which means “works in progress.”  This is basically what it says, it is an embroidery piece that is in progress of being worked on.  Often we, the embroidery people, get together and show off what we are doing and have completed.  I thought I would take one day a week and show you all what I was working on and what has been finished.

At this time I am working on seven projects.  I know, I know, it seems like a lot of things to be working on at one time, but I get frustrated and bored so I switch between projects during the day.  These projects range from gifts, commissions, to personal projects.

The project that I worked on for Wednesday was an interesting piece I found on E-Bay.  It is stitched on perforated paper.  Perforated paper embroidery is a historical style of embroidery done on just that, paper with holes in it.  It was popular from around 1860’s to the turn of the century and came in many forms from samplers to mottos.  You will find many examples of this style of embroidery done as religious and funeral memorials attached to wide ribbons.20160428_065213_resizedSamplers like this are usually found handworked on linen, but because of this is a “folding” sampler it has been done on paper.  A sampler was handworked by a young child to teach them how to do embroidery.  This sampler was then used throughout her life to be a pattern for letters and basic motifs. You will find many embroiderers like to stitch reproductions of these old samplers; you can find many embroidery shops online carrying the patterns such as The Scarlett Letter or Thistle Threads.

As for the Saunders Project I am working on, this is one I have reproduced the pattern so I can stitch it.  Unfortunately my work is for my own use because I do not own the original piece.  However, this does not mean I cannot create something similar to sell to others.  However, before I do that I have to stitch the project to see if it will work out the way I want it to.

Before I started stitching, this is where I was at, well minus the “z” and flurish behind it.received_10209174632743804By the time I finished for the day I had worked quite a bit.  Just keep in mind that I had also worked on two other items as well as doing some basic stuff around the house.20160428_065150_resized

The other two items I worked on are for other people.  I still have to put flowers around the skeleton (counted cross stitch) and find a good mat to use for it.  I am thinking of doing some embroidery interaction between it and the mat.  The “M” is done in what’s called padded satin stitch and you start out by outlining your object (mine was the “M”) with a split stitch and then fill in the object with rows of split stitch.  Once it is filled, you cover it with a satin stitch.  I just love this look.20160428_081042_resizedI plan on working on the other items throughout the week, but I am trying to get the UFO’s out of my house; the buggers are driving me crazy.  In the craft world a UFO is an UnFinished Object. There is so much fun in starting a project, but it gets boring at times so I find I am strarting new ones.  This is why I am always so busy!

I do hope you have enjoyed seeing what I do; I have enjoyed sharing it with you.  Until next week’s WiPs,

4N36 Part 1 – Mother Neff State Park – The First State Park In Texas


20160417_074651Last weekend Scott and I went to four state parks in a 36 hour time period and three of them were new to us.  We visited Longhorn Caverns State Park (30), Inks Lake State Park (31), Mother Neff State Park (32) and our ever favorite Dinosaur Valley State Park.  We had an amazing time getting know these parks, but I am going to discuss Mother Neff State Park first.  Scott has been working very hard trying to get photos processed, but we have been extremely busy since arriving home.Neff-02096We had stayed at a hotel Saturday night so we woke up around 6:00am well rested and ready for coffee and breakfast.  We were packed and on the road soon after to visit Mother Neff State Park, the very first State Park in Texas, no matter how wet it was going to be.  As we rode along Highway 236 we were pleasently surprised with the lush green pastures and beautiful wildflowers along the roadside, but we were stunned as we rounded a corner to find the Leon River filled with a giant log jam created by the Spring 2015 Flood.Neff-02098Because of this log jam in the river, it caused the flood waters to rush the historical CCC entryway and buildings.  The flooding was so terrible it has caused many of the extremely old trees to be lost adding to the log jam and causing much damage throughout the rest of the lower part of the park.20160417_102256_resizedThe historical part of the park is being cleaned up, but it is a slow process because of the dangerous situation.  The park has been trying to clear out the log jam, but because of the continuing rain in Texas they have not been able to do so.Neff-02091 Neff-02090 Neff-02087We spoke with Park Ranger Miles about this situation.  He explained that the silt from the flood sufficated the trees killing them.  Because they were so old and it was spring, the tops of the trees where huge making the tops heavier causing them to topple.  This is an extremly dangerous situation which is why this area is still closed a year later.  Scott and I ask that you respect the signs and stay out of these areas; this is for your safety because it is really, really that dangerous.Neff-0208420160417_074222_resizedBecause of this dangerous situation and the damage to the old headquarters office, the park has a new headquarters that was opened for use on January 2015.  It is not far from the old entry gate and it is well worth experiencing.Neff-02024Neff-02026 Neff-02083This new building is more than just the headquarters of Mother Neff, it is also the gift shop, museum, and home to a very interesting display.  This display, the “Memories Made, Memories Shared“, allows people to leave messages about their visit to the park on tags as well as showing the most recent Instagram posts with the hashtag #motherneff.  If you visit the park headquarters, you should really see the comments children have left.  Those comments are priceless.
memoriesCollageAs for the park, it was a wonderful place even in the rain.  The only camping area open is the camping loop with 20 water/electric/sewer sites because the original tent sites are located in the damaged area of the park.   If you are wanting to camp here, please make sure to make reservations online at the Texas State Parks Online Reservation site because walk-ins are not guarenteed to finding an open site.  With that being said, let’s talk about the best part of this park, the beauty of its nature.
20160417_084422_resizedBecause we visited the park during the spring we were able to enjoy many things about this park.  We were able to see Hill Country at its greenest since we have had a very wet winter and spring.  This is a wonderful sight if you have a chance to see it.  Because of all the rain The Washpond is full and the limestone creek leading to it is running as well. This spot is a swimming hole for many when it is up.
washpondCollageWe were able to catch a glimpse of some wildlife and able to capture some of them in photos.  There was a doe minding her own buisness as we snapped away.  Scott seemed to have a great time taking photos of birds, well, I should say trying to take photos of them because everytime he went to take one the birds would fly off laughing at him.
Neff-02044Neff-02067Neff-02068Neff-02081Of course the most amazing thing I saw was the wildflowers.  I loved the colors of each; the blues of the Blue Bonnets, purples of the Winecups, yellows of the Coneflowers, the oranges of the Indian Paintbrushes and the reds of the Firewheels set the fields a glow.Neff-02051Neff-02059We weren’t able to do much hiking at this park due to the rain causing issues with my knee, but it was one we will be visiting again; hopefully soon.

And we are home!

We have pretty much just returned home from a two day trip to mark off three Texas State Parks and visit a favorite to get some video footage.  So excited because we are actually not only going to blog about the adventure, but we are going to put a video together about one of our favorite things… the Paluxy River.  So stay tuned and see what we come up with!

And Now For Something COMPLETELY Different – A DIY Post.

photoFinalphotoBeing an “artist” I believe it is important to support your friends and fellow artists.  In order 20140304_122915to do this today I bring you my friend’s bit of art DIY.  Dean Whitney is one of my best friends.  We have known each other for a very long time, meeting within the medieval recreation organization Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA for short).  Over the past ten years she and I have enjoyed many projects together from crafts and sewing to home organization.  We have also been on plenty of adventures.  My favorite adventure was for my birthday.  She was able to take me to lunch at the famous Reunion Tower in downtown Dallas.
20140304_115207 20140304_113954  20140304_114546 20140304_113552
Deana is a true fan of the Wheel of Time fantasy series written by Robert Jordan.  She has been working on a conference called JordanCon  (the link is jordancon.org) in Atlanta, Georgia, and has attended the past three years of the eight it has been happening.  Not only is a a WoT fan and my best friend, but Deana bakes and decorates cakes!  This is where this post comes in.  Not having a website of her own, she has requested to have her DIY project place on Stitch’n Travel.  I was so honored by her request.  So, please enjoy her amazing cake decorating talent.

A Wheel of Time Cake

The Wheel of Time is an amazing 14 book series written by Robert Jordan, who passed away in 2009 with only eleven finished books. Brandon Sanderson finished the series from notes and input from Jordan’s editor and widow, Harriet McDougal.

Known as WoT by its fans, it has inspired many artists. Sadly it seems to have inspired few bakers. A quick Google search finds a limited number of cakes inspired by the series. As a longtime fan of the books and an amateur cake decorator, I wanted to create a great WoT cake. My design uses images, symbols, and colors from the story to create a cake which is both beautiful and meaningful.

If you are a fan of the books, I hope you appreciate my choices as appropriate. If you are a fan of cake decorations, I hope you appreciate my choices as a good design.

I thank my friends Ren and Scott for letting me sidetrack their Stich and Travel blog for a journey of a different sort.
Deana Whitney

Making A Wheel of Time Cake

This cake had white and chocolate layers divided by an apple filling. I wanted to honor the central fight of the book between the Light and Dark. Apples play a role in the book, but not until book 13. I will not explain how to make a cake or how to put icing on one. There are hundreds of places you can find that information. Instead, I will focus on the fondant decorations.

Edible paper images can be bought from local bakeries that offer the service. Check with your local provider for their requirements. I was able to print all 6 icon images onto one piece of edible paper.

*Fondant Colors: blue, green, yellow, red, white, grey, brown, and black.  I used the Wilton premixed fondant, with 4 colors in the one pound box.
Decorators icing, gold color mist spray, food-safe paint brush, clear extract of any flavor
*Edible paper – I had the images printed at a local bakery that provides the service.

To create grey fondant, start with a nickel size chuck of black fondant ripped to small pieces. Add it to a 1⁄4 pound piece of white fondant. Pull it like taffy until the streaky color becomes uniform, as seen in the photo. To create a darker grey, add more black and remix.

*General: Cake board, knife, flat spatula, small scissors, and cookie cutters: rectangle, square & oval,
*Fondant tools: Mine are a fondant rolling pen, a pizza cutter, a sewing pin, and a popsicle stick>I highly recommend having a fondant cutting mat for rolling and measurements.

Great Serpent Wheel:

1. Aes Sedai Symbol:

A. Roll out a two circles of the same size in white & black.

B. Cut the white circle into half along the line. I had circle cookie cutters of the right size to mark the curve. Press down lightly tomake a faint indent in the white fondant. I used the guide of thinking of the symblo as three circles, as show in the link below.  How to Draw Yin Yang symbol:  Click here to see house to make one.

C. Place the white half on the black circle to complete. Use water, extrat or a small amount of icing to secure the items together.

 D.  Centered as desire.

step1 Collage2. Wheel spokes:

A. Roll out about 1/8 pound of brown fondant.

B. Liberally mark with cookie cutters to add a wood like texture. Don’t mark deep enough

C. Cut into strips with knife or wheel. I used a popsicle stick for a consistent width.

D. Place around the symbol as desired. In WoT, the Wheel of Ages has 7 spokes.

E. Let the ends dangle until ready to cut; to cut the fondant. Lightly roll it again if marks too deep.


3. Great Serpent:

A. Kneed half of the yellow fondant into a short roll.

B. Continue to roll the body into a long narrow tip at one end. Keep the other end a fat

C. Roll until you have the desired length. I needed a snake 21” long for the 9” cake top.


D. Add rough details to the head: eyes, a pupil, and mouth. Cut the mouth deeply in the front, but just a light score mark on each side.

E. Pinch the head into a narrower shape. This helps stretch the details to lookmore snake-like.

F. Pre-shape into a circle of the desired size.

G. Add texture to the snake with cookie cutters or texturing tools. A 1/2” square held at an angle created a good diamond pattern by overlapping the marks.

H. Once happy with the texturing, spray snake with gold color mist. I used several layers to get the best glow.


I. Once spray is dry, use a spatula to help place on top of the wheel spokes.

J. Using a knife carefully cut the excess length of wheel spokes.


Side Panels:

4. Color Panels:

A. Each package of pre-colored Wilton fondant is about 1⁄4 of a pound.

B. Roll out fondant until about 1⁄4” thick. Cut to size. My panels were around 41⁄2” x 31⁄2”.
Each side was test fitted against the cake side and trimmed as needed. When correct, attach panel to side with a little fresh icing. Or you can use a dab of water to make the icing sticky so the materials will bond.

C. Use a flat spatula to press the panel flat.

D. I overlap the sides of the each panel, except the blue, which was the last panel placed.


5) Icons:

A. Editable paper is typically sized 8”x10”, and comes on a plastic backing. Keep image on

B. Using small scissors cut the icons with a wide margin around the design.

C. For the square icons, carefully trim around the design to the desired look.

D. For the icons with extra curves, use a sharp pin to carefully scratch the editable paper the plastic until right before application. Do not get wet, until ready. along the lines you want to follow. Peel back the unwanted paper. Remove extra paper, then smooth the edges with the pin.


E. Dry fit where the icon will be placed. I used the small rectangular cookie cutter to actas a measurement guide.

F. Remove the plastic backing. With the food paint brush, apply a thin coating of clear extract to the main area of fondant to be covered.

G. With a very light touch, brush the extract onto the back of the icon. If your brush is too wet, the ink will run – like it started to do on the yellow panel.

H. Attach the edible paper to the fondant. Once placed it should not be moved, ripping is very possible. Use dry fingers or a spatula to finish tapping design in place.


A Wheel of Time Cake: final design


Great Serpent as the wheel. Flame of Tar Valon & Dragon’s Fang, ancient symbol of the Aes Sedai.

The remaining descriptions for the symbols and colors contain a few minor spoilers for the books.



Egwene as the Flame of Tar Valon. She really did have the dedication of a Blue. The Amyrlin stole begins with Blue.



Mat & Battle Ajah a good match, even if he always tried to avoid the Aes Sedai.



photofinalyellowNynaeve as the Wisdom on the Yellow. Yellows are the healers of the Aes Sedai. Nynaeve becomes the greatest healer in the series.






Rand as the Dragon on red. He is often shown in a red coat and at odds with the Red Ahja, so the pairing is meaningful in several ways.


Perrin’s Wolf looks good on the Grey. The Grey’s are the diplomats. Perrin was the best at diplomacy among the boys.


Fans will know a white band is between red & grey on the Amyrlin stole. But I only had six sides to work with. The Whites are dedicated to logic. They would approve the logic of not carving a seven sided cake, when a six sided cake pan was available.


Aviendha and the Aiel people are from the desert. The browns they wear make them masters at camouflage. The Brown Ahja is dedicated to study and history. As are the Aiel in their own way.


Thank you so much Deana!  The cake looks amazing.  I sure hope it tasted wonderful  Thank you to everyone who has read this post.  If you have enjoyed this, please let us know in the comments or on our FaceBook page.