Sunday, February 17, 2013

A Bit of Fun: A New Website Called "My Needlework Box"

I may be a bit premature in writing about this because I'm only a couple of weeks into its birth, but I am committed to starting a new website. I even bought the domain name for it.

My Needlework Box.

It will never be more than 4-6 pages long, and I can tell you that the first subject will be 'Doilies' in 'My Needlework Box'. I am so very excited about this that I had to write a post about it even though it is still way premature to do so.

So why am I excited about a tiny website called 'My Needlework Box' when I already have 2 websites and moan about maintaining them? Because this one is different and it has a tiny story.

Those of you who follow me will remember my angst when Apple threw Queendom Website under the bus by snatching away support for its easy-to-learn-easy-to-maintain program iWeb. I know a number of you lived through the whole messy process of MacSoph and my move from our Old Castle over to our New Castle over at Adobe.

We're happy, in fact very happy in our New Castle. We've learned to run things and keep up and we aren't afraid of it any longer, but I've never stopped being wary of computer companies and their tendencies to discontinue software at the drop of a hat.

'My Needlework Box' is a very different type of website, for MacSoph and I are writing it ourselves. Yes, I took the plunge into MacSoph's real world and now my life is full of angle brackets, forward slashes, squiggly brackets and all sorts of very strange language.

When I finally publish 'My Needlework Box' you will hear me crowing from the roof tops, for I will be free and unencumbered, except for a text editor called 'Coda'.

Is it ever possible that I could write the code for my own website, one the size of Queendom Website? Not likely, but it will give me a lot more freedom in choosing a program and being able to manipulate it to suit myself if I know some html and css. So that's what MacSoph and I are up to these days.

It has one other small consequence: it's given me a new lease on life and makes me feel a part of today. And strangely enough, it has a lot in common with my first love in life, needlework. I suspect if I asked my engineer friends who stitch if this is true, maybe they would understand why I say this. The main thing they have in common: both can be very tedious and very precise, and just about the time I think I've got it, I discover I'm off by one digit. Same as having to rip that one stitch that threw off my count.

I've been tackling it exactly the same way I tackle learning a new technique in needlework: practice every day. 10 minutes a day, just like taking 12 Stitches a Day.

Now it remains to be seen if I'm smart enough to do this. If I can't, it won't be for want of trying.

Gay Ann

Thursday, February 14, 2013

My Jane Austen Needlework Basket

For some time now I have promised I would post photos of my latest project, a basket filled with needlework related to Jane Austen. I have been working on and off for about 6 months on this project and finally yesterday it came together: I posted a slide show of the basket and its contents.

To see the basket and its contents, travel to:

The slides transition fairly quickly, too quickly to read the captions. Here's my recommendation: watch the slide show through once without reading the captions.

If you want to read the captions, click on one of the thumbnails to stop the automatic feature.
Then you can click through the slides at your leisure.

I had a great time playing graphics designer and creating Jane Austen Button and Trim Cards as well as two little booklets, one for samples of ground fabrics and one the alphabets I used in my projects, but far and away my favorite pieces in the basket are my Pride and Prejudice Needle Book and its Bookmark. Maybe it is because I have always loved Pride and Prejudice that I think my Needle Book Edition is the best needle book I've made. 

Interesingly,  the inspiration for my needle book was not a first edition of Pride and Prejudice, but a 1908 edition bound in green cloth with beautiful gold tooling. My husband  bought the set of Jane Austen novels long ago in an estate sale and I've always loved it. I've meant to take photos of the books and post them on my website. I will do so very soon.

A small aside: when I put a pair of tiny Dovo scissors in the bookmark, my husband said he'd never seen a pair of scissors in a bookmark before. Said I, if it's the Needle Book Edition, it needs scissors doesn't it. Together the Needle Book and the Book Mark make a sewing case, ready to go and help me stitch. I do need to add a needle threader to the set, maybe on the end of a fob attached to the scissors.

The slide show is to say Happy Valentine's Day. I hope you enjoy it and your day -- and if you manage to sneak in a few stitches today, all the better your day will be for those stitches.

Gay Ann

Thursday, February 07, 2013

An American Doll Story

This isn't on the topic of needlework, but I can't resist writing about a recent favorite article in the New York Times. Maybe my excuse is that the article has a photo of an American Doll sitting in a basket much like my Jane Austen Stitching Society basket.

Here is the article, a story about a librarian and an American Doll. Do read it and be certain to read the note included from the little girl Flora.

A lesson about the success of  tweaking conventional ways of doing things and how the results can be wonderful.

Gay Ann