On the way home from the ANG seminar in New Orleans, the Department of Transportaion inspected my luggage that I had checked. Where did I find the information sheet telling me that they had checked my suitcase? It was in the ziplock bag that held my frame weight! (It originally was a long heavy weight that I had made for my mom to hold her book open while she was reading at lunch. It contains sand as the weight which is why I keep in a plastic bag). I mentioned that today while I was stitching with friends. One of these women told me that several years ago Debbie Stiehler told her class that at the top of her suitcase she includes a printed sheet saying that she is traveling to a needlework event and she has her tools packed in her luggage and then includes a list of what she has packed. She began doing this because her luggage was often inspected. When you think about it, here we are with several pairs of scissors, pointy things we call laying tools, numerous needles strong magnets and, of course, a frame weight. I think I will be doing this in the future as well!
Hi Everyone —
Today Sue and I are in the same class which doesn’t happen very often. She has already told you the wonderful story of how “Sisters” got its name. I did hear one woman in the class mention that she was renaming it the “Coven”. In case you didn’t know, that is how many of our husbands refer to our stitching groups. In my house, they’re my “Peeps!”
Tomorrow we will add aquas and grays to the larger piece.
The hotel here in NOLA is right next to the Superdome. So we dealt with the Saints playing the Steelers on Friday night, a Little Wayne concert on Saturday night, and the Saints playing the Ravens tonight. One side effect of this is the earplugs that were placed on our pillows. Another is total gridlock in front of the hotel. So, when six of us needed a taxi for dinner tonight, we got in a very long line. After about five minutes and no movement, I decided to use a skill that Meg taught me and I hailed an Uber cab! Our driver arrived in about three minutes — but the bottom line is that we paid less than half of what our friends did! So easy!
I forgot to mention that Meg had been in NOLA with her high school friends a few years ago and she sent me a list of recommended restaurants. So tonight we followed her advice and ate at Muriels in the French Quarter.
The food was terrific and I know that I ate too much. I did my usual two appetizers instead of an entree: 1. zucchini rolled with sun dried tomatoes and ricotta cheese, then deep fried and served with mint sauce and 2. pan-fried crab cake with capers. I also ordered wood grilled asparagus and Gruyere mashed potatoes. Dessert was a carrot cake ice cream sandwich — the ice cream was cream cheese flavored! OMG! We had six very happy campers!
Here’s a random sample of some other lovely meals:
Many thanks to Meg for the excellent recommendation. My other daughter texted me a picture of their dinner at my favorite Madison restaurant. B***h, slapped!
I love root vegetables! Today was the start of a two day class for Jennifer Reifenberg’s Beets. This is the third in a series of three root vegetable pieces – carrots, radishes and now, beets! I have stitched Redishes already.
Jennifer is a very organized and patient teacher. We started with the band that goes between the beets which represents the earth, it will continue in what looks like layers to well below the end of the roots. We worked on the middle and right side beets – my middle is finished except for beads. Then we tried the stitches for the leaves. But I wanted to wait to finish the leaves until I have stitched the sky behind them.
Tonight we are off to Muriel’s on Jackson Square in the French Quarter for dinner. Who knows if we can sneak in some beignets?
Progress so far on Beets
Did you think I made a mistake? Yes, this is my second class with Nancy at this seminar as these were my two favorite pieces of the offerings that I saw last year. Nancy told us a story of visiting her best childhood friend, who had remained a lifelong friend, a few years ago in Iowa, half a continent away from where Nancy lived. While seeing her friend, they visited the friend’s sister where Nancy saw a metal wall sculpture of interlocking squares that she liked. A photo of this led her to the eventual design of this piece. The name comes from the association of her friend, the photo at the friend’s sister’s home and Nancy’s feeling that her best friend was like a sister to her. I like the story behind this beautiful design.
This piece of peach, aqua, and grey blocks is interesting as you will eventually see because all the small units are the same in each block but rotated. We learned all but one component of the block that is foremost in the design today so we can transfer that knowledge to the remaining blocks when we return home.
Each section has beads that will be added and the missing block on the right will be just beads and stitched when we are fresh tomorrow morning. I opted to wait until I am home to stitch the beads in the other sections. Doesn’t this look like a pieced quilt block? Nancy explained that this was her concept of the overall blocks, so there are no borders within the block but there is a Kreinik double border around it. This block has two shades of peach as well as a Kreinik and a variety of beads coming. I am looking forward to more stitching on it tomorrow.
The first day of Beets taught by Jennifer Riefenberg was very successful…look how much I accomplished! (I’m hoping my photo shows up here, I’m using a different app to post and am not 100% certain what is happening.)
The red-violet color of the beets (they get beads added at the end) is luscious compared with the other threads, many of which are greens and shades of violet-gray. Jennifer talked about how she thought about the colors in all three root vegetable pieces (Carrots, Radishes, and Beets) as she was designing them, at the same time. It always interests me when teachers talk about the process of designing–especially since everybody seems to do it differently!
On Tuesday I was one of the lucky door prize winners. I bypassed all the painted canvases and headed straight to the charted designs. I found several that were appealing but settled on this one:
The design is cute, but I focused on the finishing. It is stitched in one long rectangle and folded to get the effect desired. I think I will try that this fall, and maybe it will be something we can try in the future!
Last night was Expo! For anyone not familiar with the ANG Seminar, that is the merchandise night where you can find things sold by teachers, other needlework designers as well as those who cater to the desires for those of us in needlework trying to find the best in accessories including laying tools, bags, totes, jewelry. It is also, later in the two hour shop time, a chance to connect with your favorite teachers/designers and tell them about the piece you finished and how much you loved it.
These were my purchases of note:
On the lower left are notecards that I purchased from Lois Kerschner with photos of some of her stitched scenes. On the lower right are some cute small needle minder magnets purchased from Nancy Cucci. There are four large disks with holes for stitching that I got from Toni Gerdes. A couple of my other stitching groups would like to stitch designs on these as a meeting program. There are other colors, but these are red, white, navy blue and black to complement the ones I currently have at home, beige, olive green, and burgundy. Then in the center is a design with excellent directions being sold by the Potomoc Chapter as a fund raiser. A chapter member designed the square for the fund raiser. Several members stitched it in a variety of colors as well as altering the square motif in the top which were on display. The directions are well done and the diagrams clear. Hopefully, this too will be stitched shortly!
Part of the fun of Expo! is bumping in to others you have stitched with at seminars in the past and catching up with them. They can also be enablers telling you what you really need to buy before the vendor runs out! I skipped those booths where I knew temptation would be strong as I don’t need any more new kits before I have tackled a few purchased at previous seminars! Maybe next year I will have completed a few of those, yeah right.
Because tour day is always my favorite part of seminar, I generally only sign up for six days of classes. This year, ANG did not have any tours on the schedule. I imagine this is due to the past few years having very little participation. So Sue and I talked with the concierge here at the Hyatt and arranged for a tour of two plantations near NOLA.
We were picked up directly in front of the hotel this morning and our entertaining bus driver took us first to the Laura Plantation. This was a creole plantation (French, Roman Catholic).
The Laura plantation is unique in that early-on the inheritance passed through to the women in the family, a French and not American possibility. One tough old lady managed the plantation and family to obtain untold riches. Yet she was mean as could be. As interesting as this story is, the reason that this house is preserved is that the man who wrote “Brer Rabbit” based his stories on ones that he wrote on this plantation while listening to the oral histories of the black slaves.
I’d like to draw your attention to the doors on the front porch and then two similar doors from inside the house.
Sue and I thought that these were beautiful and would be interesting needlework designs. We learned that these were painted onto the doors using a carved potato. Every door was beautiful in itself and no two were alike!
I had to include this picture of the glassware on the dining room table because it reminds me so much of my Granny’s stemware!
From the house, we walked though the banana garden (36 kinds of bananas) to the slave quarters.
As noted before, the slave quarters are the reason that this plantation is considered a historical place.
We also saw the “dowager” house which housed eight people (including favorite slaves) in eight rooms — contrast this with the slave quarters which housed six people in one very small room.
Our tour guide at Laura was awesome — bordering on a professional actress (if not an actual actress). Listening to Camille was worth the trip all by itself.
Afterwards, we drove a few more miles down the road to Oak Alley plantation. There have been about a dozen films shot here and I think it fits most people’s perception of a “real” southern plantation.
When we arrived, we were greeted by a lady in hoop skirts and offered the possibility of a mint julep which we could take into the house for our tour. In the dining room, I was intrigued by the large lyre-like feature hanging where one would expect the chandelier to be. This was an idea from India — a large, slow moving fan — that would keep the dinner guests cooler during a long dinner. It’s power came from a young slave (about nine years old) who would slowly pull the rope until the last dinner guest had left the room. The table and chairs were quite short because the average creole man was about 5′-4″ and the average woman was 5″-0″. However, the silverware was quite large because it was a subtle way of advertising your wealth!
When we moved upstairs to the bedroom, we were told about the rolling pin bed frame shown below.
It seems that the mattresses were stuffed with Spanish moss which grew in great abundance. It was quite comfortable but would become lumpy over the course of the night. A rolling pin bed would have one of the spindles that detached and slaves would roll the mattress for about 1-3/4 hours each day per mattress to get it all flat again for the next night. An example of a detached spindle is shown on the bed.
One of the most spectacular design features of the house was the medallion in the master bedroom.
The last owner of Oak Alley did not have any heirs, so it set up a non-profit foundation to care for the house and a few acres of land. Other family members maintain homes on the remaining acreage and oversee the foundation.
Here’s Sue in front of the alley of oaks that gives this plantation its name.
After a quick bite at the cafe and an even quicker jaunt through the gift shop, our bus driver brought us back to our hotel in NOLA — just in time for stitcher’s EXPO!