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Scarlet Quince

Scarlet Quince Ramblings

Cross stitch ... art ... life

November 27th, 2009

Our original plans for this week were:
Tuesday: Go out for Ethiopian food.
Wednesday: Go off-roading.
Thursday: Thanksgiving (potstickers).

Early Wednesday, the plans were revised:
Tuesday: Go out for Ethiopian food. done
Wednesday: Be very sick.
Thursday: Go off-roading.
Friday: Thanksgiving (potstickers).

We could have gone off-roading on Friday but it wasn’t supposed to be as nice as Thursday. So I had the most unusual Thanksgiving I’ve had since the year we flew to Louisiana to go birding (we arrived mid-afternoon, weren’t hungry then, and foolishly headed into the boonies thinking we would get something “later”. We didn’t find an open restaurant until about 10 PM.)

Do I hear you saying, “I wouldn’t have guessed you were the off-roading type”? You are absolutely right. But 8 years ago, MRA bought an old Toyota FJ-40 (like a little jeep) and has proceeded to turn it into a monster ORV.


I had never been in it. It has only been in the last year that it has gotten to where it is both running and sort of reliable (as in, if you drive it somewhere, you can plan on also driving back). We’ve discussed taking it to Big Bend Ranch to get into the back country but thought it would be a good idea to go somewhere close by first to see if I could stand riding in it at all. So yesterday was finally the day. We went to an “adventure ranch” near Marble Falls which is about an hour from Austin (when you’re pulling a heavy load). I forgot the camera so have no pictures of us plunging over cliffs and climbing vertical surfaces. The step comes about chest level on me, though, so I wouldn’t have been hopping in and out to take pictures anyway. It’s not as noisy as I thought it would be and if you keep moving the exhaust fumes aren’t bad (damned by faint praise, I know). It’s pretty scary jouncing along high off the ground in a vehicle with no doors but once I was strapped in with 4 parts of the 5-point harness I felt safer and eventually stopped gasping at every jolt. There wouldn’t even be much of a story to tell except that we ran out of gas.

Technically, we weren’t OUT of gas but we stalled going up a steep hill and there was no starting again. By amazing luck, we were less than 1/4 mile from the trailer so we took a gas can (I had assumed that they were there for a reason but both were empty), walked back to the truck and tried to siphon some gas out of it (there actually was a siphon). That didn’t work so we had to drive into Marble Falls to fill the gas can but it was only 6 miles. We then drove to the foot of the hill we were stuck on and lugged the gas can up, filled the tank, and we were off. Barely a minor inconvenience and it happened early enough so that we were still home before dark.

So Big Bend Ranch next? Maybe. Probably. MRA says it’s perfectly flat which I know not to be true (I’ve been there) but if we can stay in the canyons and not try to climb the walls, I can do it.

And now on to potstickers. I’ll let you know how they turn out.

November 11th, 2009

Apparently Christmas is upon us (I find it so disorienting to go into a store the day after Halloween and find it filled with Christmas decorations) so I thought I’d do something Christmas-y (for folks to stitch for NEXT Christmas)…

Burne-Jones "Star of Bethlehem"

This is Burne-Jones’ “Star of Bethlehem”. I got the pattern finished and went looking for the date it was painted, and discovered that his first version of this was a tapestry design for the William Morris Company. He was later given a commission to do a painting and in it he reworked the colors and put in a lot of detail you couldn’t have in a tapestry. Here’s the tapestry:

Adoration of the Magi

This one is called “Adoration of the Magi”. I know which one I like better! >sigh< Partly the tapestry has a more reasonable level of detail, and partly I like the colors better. So much of Burne-Jones’ work is in these murky blues and greens that make me feel like something has happened to my vision. (Nothing wrong with blue and green — I just like red better.) So I have started over on a pattern of the tapestry. I’ll release the other pattern too, since it’s finished, but I want to put them out at the same time because I don’t want anyone to buy one pattern and then wish they had the other. (By the way, these are not pattern images — these are the retouched art I worked from.) Kind of interesting to compare, don’t you think?

November 11th, 2009

Did you attend the recent online retail needlework show? Hopefully everyone is familiar with the wholesale show that’s held twice a year — well, this was a show where everyone, not just shops, could buy. We didn’t get much advance notice of the date so there wasn’t time to put an announcement in the newsletter, but I did announce it here.

So: if you heard about it, did you visit the show? If so, what did you like and dislike about it? Right now the organizer is looking for feedback about whether to continue with it and what should change. It probably wouldn’t be this same time of year — July has been suggested. What would be a good way to get word out about it?

(I posted the same questions in the forum. Feel free to reply whichever place is easier — no need to reply in both.)

November 3rd, 2009

Recently someone suggested Frederick Church’s Twilight in the Wilderness.

Twilight in the Wilderness - Frederick Church

I thought, “Wow, that’s really an amazing painting — we need a pattern of that.” (Yep, that’s approximately the process around here.) Of course, someone else was the first to suggest it. It had been on the list for about 18 months, but didn’t make much of an impression before, or maybe I didn’t see a picture of it before. I did tell the person who suggested it recently that she wasn’t the first, so she isn’t expecting to get a free copy of the pattern, but I always feel a little guilty creating a pattern right after the SECOND person suggests it. It must seem a little fishy to them as well. Of course, if the first person doesn’t respond to the email about the pattern, the second person will get the free pattern. (In the old days, we only kept the email address of the first person to suggest a pattern, and if they didn’t respond, nobody got the free pattern. Now we keep all the email addresses and go down the list until someone responds, which seems a lot friendlier.)

Anyway — if you have been a second suggester and had this happen, I really am sorry. I’m not sure if this story has a moral — maybe “the squeaky wheel gets the grease”.

November 1st, 2009


There’s an online RETAIL needlework show coming up very soon, November 5-8. You’ve seen our announcements in the past about the wholesale show, but this one is retail, meaning individual stitchers can shop this show. Here’s the announcement. Note: LNS = local needlework shop, ONS = online needlework shop.

We’re trying something new next week…we’re offering you a RETAIL show online! The show will open at 2pm EDT on November 5th and close at midnight on November 8th. The “location” for the show is:

We realize that many consumers don’t have an LNS or ONS that they regularly use, so sometimes, trying to order products shown during a wholesale show can be a bit awkward. Even if you have an LNS, perhaps the store owner can’t order for you due to minimums and shipping in the wholesale show.

Now, you’ll have the opportunity to place your orders directly with exhibitors! Better yet, since it’s a retail show, many shop owners are participating, too! If you don’t already have “your” LNS, it’s a great opportunity to find one. :D Plus, you never know what “goodies” other stores will be offering, so you can go on a virtual shopping spree.

We hope to make this a yearly event, but that’s UP TO YOU! If you like the idea of a retail show, let the exhibitors know, even if you don’t place an order with them this time. Send them feedback about the products they’re offering or let them know what you’d like to see next time.

So mark your calenders… Nov 5th-8th at

Scarlet Quince will be advertising in the show, although we’re not selling through the show (but as always you can shop through our website). We’re going to have drawings for doorprizes so be sure to visit!

October 21st, 2009

My latest project (like I needed another one) is scanning old photos and memorabilia. Partly this is to make pictures that there’s only one copy of accessible to other family members, and to get our slides out of boxes and onto the net where we can look at them without having a major production (plus usually when we get the projector out, it’s broken), and also to get some electronic copies in case the house burns down.

One of the things I’ve scanned so far was an old copy of the Wooster College (Ohio) alumni bulletin, which ran an article on my grandfather when he was about to retire in 1959. Here’s a snippet from the table of contents:

On the cover we present this month another professor, Roy I. Grady ’16, who will he retiring officially at the end of this year. To hundreds of alumni this picture will bring back memories of the chemistry “lab” — not only to those who took a few courses, but to men who have gone on to vocations where they have used the knowledge they learned here as well as to those who have received in this room the inspiration to continue work in graduate school. There will be memories, too, for women who “worked off the science requirement” here and later, to their surprise found an amazing number of uses for information they acquired, in their own kitchens.

OK, I know it was 1959, my mother didn’t have a paying job, I didn’t know anybody whose mother worked outside the home (aside from school teachers). But still! This is a COLLEGE magazine, remember. Maybe girls weren’t taking chemistry so they could have a career, but the implication that they were too dumb to guess that it might ever be useful irks me. My mother and her friends raised funds and got a swimming pool built in our little town. They got the school playground paved so kids didn’t get covered with mud at recess on rainy days. They organized and ran scout troops and libraries. They were smart and capable and they kicked ass at whatever they did.

I know a number of young women these days who feel that women’s lib did them no favors. They would rather stay home with their babies than go to a job, and wish that their husbands would just support them instead of expecting them to bring home a second paycheck. I understand that being Wonder Woman is exhausting. But yikes! Before we wish the “good old days” were back, let’s remember what they were really like.

October 19th, 2009

We went out to the Austin String Band Festival on Saturday, sponsored by Austin Friends of Traditional Music. It started Friday night and I’m sure we missed many good performances. Saturday morning there were workshops — fiddle, dulcimer, harmonica, mandolin, and singing. I had intended to attend a few of them but we got a late start — first I woke up feeling kind of oogly, then we forgot the folding chair and had to go back for it, and then we stopped at Academy to get a second folding chair because for some reason when we bought the first one years ago we only got one. Then off to Camp Ben McCulloch in Driftwood!

It was a beautiful day — low 70s, dry, clear blue sky. And my kind of festival — not crowded at all. (I hear that at the recent ACLFest people were standing packed like sardines, despite the fact that it rained the whole weekend.)

I missed some of the workshops I would have liked to attend but did arrive in time to join the Sacred Harp (shape note) singing in progress. That was fun. (If you aren’t familiar with Sacred Harp, the music is written on the usual staff but the notes are different shapes to help those who don’t read music. You sing through it once on the names of the shapes, fa, sol, la, mi, then again with words. I don’t really know the shapes so I just mumble through that part.) I accidentally ended up sitting with the sopranos and would have moved once I spotted the alto section but the sopranos were seriously outnumbered so I stayed where I was and “helped” them. They probably wish I would have moved.

We had lunch and then the performances started. There were 45-minute sets under a shelter (equipped with hard benches — we were glad of the folding chairs) with 15-minute sets outside by lesser-known bands to fill in the gaps. We only stayed until about 5 but there was a tremendous variety of music — Cajun, Mexican, Celtic, all sorts of takes on traditional, bluegrass, and old-timey music, and one band which categorizes itself as “alt-folk-progressive”.

It was a lot of fun and completely different (I don’t get out much). Usually on Saturdays I go to a yoga class then rush back and fill orders before the post office closes and then it’s three o’clock and I’m kind of going, wow, where did the day go? This was a wonderful change.

October 2nd, 2009

I just forced myself to finish proof-reading my page for the online Needlework Show.  I feel like I have checked and checked so when I get that email saying “here it is, check one last time” it’s very hard to fire up for checking AGAIN.  But I found a couple of errors, so it was good that I checked.  I don’t have this kind of issue with proof-reading other things.  I don’t know what it is about this. But it’s great to be DONE, two whole days ahead of the deadline.

I’m trying something new for this show: introducing a new pattern at the show.  Not featuring a pattern that was just added to the site, but a pattern that is not on the site yet at all.  It’s a nifty vintage Christmas pattern which I like a lot.  I’m not going to tell you what it is — you’ll have to visit the show to see it. (It will be added to Scarlet Quince after the show.)

September 13th, 2009

I’ve been surprised by how popular the “Earth from Space” pattern is.  I was less surprised that, almost as soon as it was available, I got an email from someone asking when there would be an “Earth from Space” pattern showing her part of the world — which turned out to be England.  She said she didn’t mind if it was off in a corner as long as it was there.  But as far as I’ve been able to find, the other daytime images of earth from space are centered on Saudi Arabia and mostly show a lot of Africa.  If you use your imagination a bit, England IS there, but it just didn’t seem very satisfactory.  So I was pleased to find a really beautiful (I think) image of earth at night centering on Europe.  It has an edge of Canada, northern Africa, the middle east, India, most of Russia, and some of China.  I don’t think you can see Australia — sorry, guys.  The large sandy and icy areas are a deep blue and the shape of the continents is picked out in lights.  This pattern will be released soon.

I thought it might be a nice pair with the other one but I had to make it larger than the first one to get the lights to show up well.  If this one turns out to be popular as well, I may make a larger version of the other so that there are two with the earth the same size.

You just never know.  I am from John Glenn’s hometown (although I usually think of it the other way around) but I have just never been that interested in the whole space shot thing.  I know people who feel that they can never miss a one (going back 40+ years) but somehow after the first few I felt that they were all awfully … similar.  I do really enjoy the pictures of other planets and galaxies and so on.  It’s a beautiful universe!

August 19th, 2009

We’ve had quite a few requests for Andrew Wyeth’s work, most recently by someone who was enthusiastic enough to track down who I needed to contact about licensing it.  I emailed and got a quick (and admittedly, courteous)  response that they don’t license the work except for “art historical books and limited posters”.  If I were 8 years old, I would wonder why some of these people are so stuck up, but I’m supposed to be more mature than that.

I am not deeply grieved, in reality, because I am not Andrew Wyeth’s biggest fan.  Of course his work is very good, technically, but the colors are not to my taste, and the subject matter doesn’t move me (except for “Christina’s World”, which creeps me out — what sicko left that poor woman way out in the field dragging herself back to the house?).

My father was a big Wyeth fan, and I have been dragged to the Brandywine River Museum,  which has a lot of assorted Wyeths, way more than I deserve.  My dad was a big museum-goer in general, and it was always something of an ordeal, because there was no such thing as leaving before we had seen everything.  That’s more fun some places than others, but it’s always exhausting.  I’ve seen everything at the Franklin Institute (but don’t remember anything except the Foucault pendulum).  I’ve seen everything at the Franklin Mint, where they have a gallery with every commemorative coin and little model car that they’ve ever made.  Maybe, on all those occasions, he was tired too, and was waiting for me to say I was ready to go.  I never sensed that but it is theoretically possible.   When “Tora! Tora! Tora!” was in the theaters (yes, a LONG time ago) he wanted to go and I said fine.  We saw it, and then the next movie was going to be “Herbie the Mixed-Up Volkswagen” or some title like that.  He asked if I wanted to stay and see it and we did one of these “do you?” back-and-forth things and ended up staying.  In retrospect, I am pretty sure that he didn’t want to see it, but at the time I couldn’t tell, and didn’t want to say I didn’t want to see it in case he did.

Anyway, fair or unfair, that’s one more thing I hold against Andrew Wyeth (the museum trips, not the movie.  The movie is Walt Disney’s fault.)

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