Saturday, April 28, 2012

Easy Cream Cheese Pound Cake!

I've been busy working on several needlework projects that will be out soon.  So I don't have much to post.  So I thought I'd post one of my favorite recipes that I use all the time!  I actually even get requests for it.

This is probably the easiest cake I have ever made that tastes like a "from scratch" cake.  It comes out great everytime.  Sometimes I buy frozen mixed berries, (strawberry, black berry, raspberry combination), add some sugar and let them sit for an hour two, then serve the berries on top of the cake with whipped cream.  Yum!  Try it and let me know what you think.  One of the best cakes you'll ever eat!

The recipe:
1 Butter Recipe Cake Mix
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. oil
4 eggs
1 8 oz pkg. cream cheese (softened)
2 tablespoons butter (softened)

Mix cake mix with water and sugar.  Add oil and eggs.  Add cream cheese and butter.  Mix well. Bake at 350 degrees in greased and floured bundt pan for about 45 minutes.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Live Simply

New Design that will be available from Hoffman Distributing in a few weeks.  Part 1 of a 4 part series.
Live Simply, Care Deeply, Love Generously and Speak Kindly.... Sneak Peak before it was framed!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Ann Merchant Sampler Original

The antique Ann Merchant Sampler.  As you can see she was attached to a wooden frame with nails...She will be lovingly framed soon.  The verse which cannot be seen on the bottom from the middle to the right reads:  My Mother, My Father, I know your kindness I cannot repay.  But I hope that as older I grow, I shall learn your commands to obey.

Her name is also faded but it on the left bottom.  Ann Merchant aged 11 years 1838.

Mary Pilgrim Sampler

My lastest...Thought you'd like to see the original Mary Pilgrim Sampler.  She was dated as 1707 but the date is not on the original.  This photo does not do this sampler justice!  She is stitched on at least a 50ct. linen....alot of the work is over one thread.  The colors are still good although there are several holes in the linen but the stitched areas still seem to be intact.  It is so will take me some time to reproduce.

Update on Abby Rose Designs--Ann Merchant 1838

Just finished the instructions for Ann Merchant.  This past week I had a great time at my LNS.  I went over with Ann Merchant (the original) in tow and selected the Needlepoint silks for the design.  We carefully checked the back of the piece for clues of what the original colors were back in 1838.  And then, pulled and pulled colors to match them up!  What did we ever do without the hundreds of thread choices that we have now?  I also selected the fabric for the sampler.  Again, we took our clues from the back and I chose Weeks Dye Works Parchment linen, 30 count.  The original design was a 29 count and I wanted to keep the size as close to the original as possible.

It is remarkable that the original sampler has no holes in the linen.  There are some threads that are very worn but still in tact which made it hard to chart those areas....But with several magnifying glasses, I was able to study it carefully and I believe it is charted as accurately as humanly possible.  The original came to me unframed so I'm assuming by the aging the piece, that it has been unframed for many years.  I plan to have her professional framed to preserve Ann's work for many years to come.  We are so fortunate to be able to find some of these old samplers...I feel like I am preserving our American stitch at a time.

I have asked a local guild member to stitch Ann Merchant.  I usually stitch all of my work, myself.  But I have several projects waiting for my attention and another sampler to reproduce.  I am so excited about Ann Merchant,  as soon as she is stitched, she will be ready to market and you will be able to find her at your LNS.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Ann Merchant Reproduction

Thought I'd give you an update on Ann Merchant! Today I completed the middle of the chart. Just need to complete the flowers on the boarder. Reproducing Ann's work was very interesting. She was just eleven when she worked this sampler and I am amazed at some of the ideas she came up with...she had no chart, so I'm sure with her teacher's instruction, she stitched her sampler with her mind's eye. After some research, I discovered that Ann's sampler was a Pennsylvania German sampler typical of the area where it was discovered and the year 1838. The linen is a course uneven weave and has a yellowish hue, also typical of the time. The fabric count is 29 threads per inch. I have chosen to stitch my reproduction on a 30 count but you can still find 29 ct. linen but you might have to order it. Ann's colors were blues, white, and cream. Again, typical colors that might be easily dyed. This could be the reason for the 3 different colors of blue that I found. Ann was not framed so I was able to turn the sampler over and look at the back for help in choosing colors. I do believe that this sampler was once framed because it did arrive on some type of wooden frame with paper partially on the back. Time has caused the paper to crumble somewhat but a portion of it is still in tact. I plan to have the sampler framed as soon as I have completed the reproduction. After much though I have decided to use silk threads instead of overdyes. The threads that Ann used were probably silk and I would like to keep her sampler as authentic as possible. The verse she used: My mother, my father, I know I cannot your kindness repay. But I hope that as older I grow, I shall learn your commands to obey. I would love to stitch this one myself but will have to find a stitcher to do it for me. I have 5 projects waiting for attention. And...another sampler found it's way to my home....Mary Pilgrim, 1707, an Adam & Eve sampler, completely stitched over one. This one might take a while to reproduce!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Summer Vacation, Part II.....

Paula Deen's Restaurant, The Lady and Sons
Savannah, Georgia......I fell in love with this place and it is now on the top of my favorite places to visit list!  So absolutely beautiful.  We were there in mid June and it was already a bit warm but had a great time!  There where several downpours during the day and that cooled us off a bit.

We stopped in at Paula Deen's Restaurant and had lunch...  

And toured the Historic District many, many times.  I couldn't get enough.  They have these great trolleys that will take you all over Savannah all day long.  It was very convenient because you could get off anytime you wanted and then get back on and go see something else.

Savannah Historic District

What a wonderful time.....if you get an opportunity to visit either city, I would highly recommend it! 

Summer Vacation....

Lately I've been thinking about summer vacation.  I guess I am in need of a vacation very badly or I my mind wouldn't keep going there....

This doesn't have anything to do with needlework but I was going through pictures and found these of last year's vacation.  Every year I like to travel to either a favorite place or find somewhere new that I haven't been.  Last summer I was fortunate to be able to travel to two of my favorite places....Charleston, South Carolina and Savannah, Georgia.  Since they are only about 100 miles apart, we decided that we should see both. 

Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston, South Carolina

We landed in Charleston, South Carolina and I couldn't wait to get off that plane and get to my first plantation!  I have seen many plantations....New Orleans, Virginia, Mississippi......but this was my first one in South Carolina and it was beautiful!!!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Ann Merchant, an 1838 Reproduction Sampler

This morning I began the process of reproducing a sampler that I purchased last summer. The sampler was found in Pennsylvania. It was well worn but what called my name when I saw it was the fact that my mother's maiden name was Merchant. I have spent quite a bit of time researching the Merchant Family over the years and I know that the family came to this country in the 1600's through Massachusetts but evenly settled in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and New York. My family eventually settled in Virginia. I have gone through all of my research but only found one Ann Merchant that was born around the right time. The sampler was dated 1838 so it was easy enough to research. There wasn't enough information to know for sure that this was the same Ann Merchant who at age 11 worked so diligently on her sampler. I have tried to photograph it but the threads are so old that it does not do justice to the piece. This Ann was probably a relative of mine because of the location of where it was found but for sure I doubt that I will ever know. But one thing I do know is her work found it's way to me. It will be loved and proudly displayed at a home of a needleworker.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Care Deeply

Just completed the second  design in the series, "Care Deeply".  I am hoping to have all completed and ready to go to the distributor in mid April.  Now on to designing the third...."Love Generously".