My Stitch Sampler: Goals for 2017

My mother gave me Yvette Stanton’s wonderful Left-Handed Embroiderer’s Companion as a Christmas gift a couple years ago.

I began working my way through this step-by-step stitch dictionary, using a large cotton tea towel and bright embroidery floss, and practicing each stitch until I was comfortable with it. This year, I want to finish this “sampler” and use my new stitches on a new set of floral-pattern tea towels.

I’ve been embroidering since I was little, but I haven’t incorporated many fancy stitches. I normally use a back stitch, a cross stitch, or a herringbone stitch. Continue reading

Europe, Memory, and the Heart: 2017 Reading Challenge

I’ve never participated in a reading challenge before, but my friend Gilion at Rose City Reader just published her 2017 European Reading Challenge.

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I love Europe, from St. Patrick’s Ireland to pre-Bolshevik Russia and medieval Norway to ancient Greece. I made an effort this year to focus on reading more whole books, and that brought a freshness to my mental routine that I knew I needed. Continue reading

A Song for Saint Cecilia’s Day

If you have visited Colonial Williamsburg or Jamestown, Virginia, but have never been to St. Mary’s County, Maryland, it is worth the beautiful drive to Colton’s Point on the Potomac River to retrace a lesser-known chapter in America’s founding. A Maryland Historical Society sign on the shore near the St. Clement’s Island Museum marks the landing of The Ark and The Dove on March 25, 1634, adding, “Here, on the same day, Father Andrew White, S.J. celebrated the first Catholic Mass in the British-American colonies.”

That simple event, a Catholic Mass, inaugurated religious freedom in British North America.

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(St. Mary’s City Historic District: Reconstructed 1667 Catholic Church, built on site of the original Jesuit mission church in the St. Mary’s City colonial settlement, Maryland’s first colony. HSMC, July 2009, via Wikipedia) Continue reading

Happy Birthday, Charles Carroll, Founding Father of Maryland

Born on September 19, 1737, Charles Carroll’s life spanned nearly a century. By the fiftieth anniversary of July 4, 1776, the Founding Father of Maryland was the last living signer of the Declaration of Independence, having outlived Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, who both died on that day.

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(Portrait of Charles Carroll of Carrollton by Michael Laty)

Benjamin Franklin is said to have advised his fellow patriots of the potential consequences of challenging the British Empire and its king: “We must all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.” While each of the 56 British subjects who affixed their names to the Declaration risked life, fortune, and sacred honor, none may have risked as much as the delegate from Maryland, Charles Carroll of Carrollton. Continue reading