Hello, and welcome to another edition of “Ask Jo”. I get many comments and questions from all sorts of places, the comment section here, Youtube, email, and from our Facebook group. Sometimes I think others of you might want to know the answers as well so I answer them here on the blog. Today I’m covering topics from tomatoes to framing cross stitch.
I had a VERY popular question…
“Jo – your gardens and pots look lovely and your veggie garden is waaay ahead of mine! In one of the pix, it looks as tho your tomato plants (? … not sure – can’t enlarge the pix on this computer) are wrapped in brown paper or grown in tubes. Can you tell me what’s going on there?”
“Lovely yard. I will look for supertunias next year. What are you growing your tomatoes in?”
“Your yard & garden are lovely ! I’m jealous ! It all looks so healthy!! Nice work. May I inquire? What exactly do you have at the base of your tomatoes? You should be proud! Lots of hard work! Thank you for sharing!”
This question came after my garden post. I’m guessing this picture prompted the questions.
Here is a close-up picture of what I have around my tomato plants. They are old field tiles. In the olden days before modern tile that farmers us for drainage, they used to bury these in the ground to make a pile and help with water drainage in farm fields. Everything is modernized nowadays and they no longer use these.
Growing up both my and Kramer’s parents would use these in the garden for tomatoes. My parents would put a tile around a tomato plant when they planted it in the spring just like some people put coffee cans or milk jugs around their tomato plants. The tiles work even better. The sun warms the tile and warms the small seedling tomato plant. It acts a bit like a greenhouse. It also prevents the wind from whipping the small plants.
When I plant in the spring, I put a tile and a cage on each tomato plant. I have a small garden and pack way more into it than I should.
The tile also helps keep the plant together in a smaller space. I love using them.
Below is a picture of three tomato plants. I ended up buying more plants than I had tile for. These three have no tile. Look how crazy they are. Even with cages, they are pretty sprawled out. It makes them harder to weed and well, it makes the garden just look messier.
So I like the tile. The sad news…tile can’t really be found.
Buck found these for me. He was driving past an old farmplace and saw them. He stopped and asked if they might be for sale. Happily, he said yes and Buck shared them with me.
Next topic…cross stitch frames…and initials…After I showed my framed cross stitch Rosie asked:
“I noticed you initialed the smaller sampler, but didn’t see your initials on the big one. Any reason why you didn’t add your initials? And I LOVE the frames you used. Makes the pieces absolutely STUNNING!! Brava, girl. Way to go.”
This one is an easy question. The small sampler had a place built in the design to put my initials. The large one didn’t. I had thought to put them in the corner under the moth’s wing. I got it stitched and was so excited to get it framed that I sent it off without my initials. I didn’t realize that I forgot to put them in until the piece came back from the framer. I’m going to get some placards mounted to the back of the piece that gives more info.
“Love them can’t you find goodwill frames and frame some yourself would be a lot quicker.”
These were my finished pieces.
I am so in love with them. I sprung for the more expensive museum glass and I had them custom framed. I spent a lot of money on them…but I’m okay with that. It’s my guilty pleasure I guess.
As far a framing and finishing things myself, I have.
This is a small Lizzie Kate piece. It’s in a thrift store frame.
The board that this cross stitch piece came from is also a thrift store find. It had a little saying in the middle. I mounted this where the words were. I love it.
I finished this piece too. It is mounted onto a thrift store decorative cutting board. I am very pleased with this too.
This was a thrift store frame the Kramer cut down for me.
Kramer cut this one down to size too.
I am so happy with all of those finishes. I think the finishing is great and I wouldn’t do it any other way.
But. Now that I’ve seen how nice a custom frame is, I am no longer happy with the finishing on the piece I stitched below. This is the first big piece I did. It was my “Covid stitch”. I thought the verse was so special and meaningful to me then and now.
The thrift store frame is fine…it’s not wow. It doesn’t make the piece shine. I want this to go on my sampler wall and put with the latest pieces I got framed, it looks exactly what it is…a thrift store frame.
The piece is from The Scarlett House and is called Seeking Refuge.
I want a custom frame for this. I want museum glass on this. I want this to look nice and give it an upgrade that is befitting to it.
These larger cross stitch pieces take me 3-4 months to stitch. I put in anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours into them a day. One blog reader left a comment saying I am stitching heirlooms. I believe I am. I’m sure my boys wouldn’t be thrilled to inherit these, but I feel like my girls might. I want to really make them look nice.
Elizabeth is right. It would be a lot quicker to do it myself if I can find the time to lace the piece if I can find a frame. So many cross-stitch samplers are custom-sized. Few fit a standard 10 x 13…or any other standard size. Then I might have to touch up or paint the frame. Then I’d want to buy the museum glass to protect the piece and not have the glare…for that, it’s a 30-mile trip twice. Once to take the piece to order…once to pick it up. It’s still not a fast process to do it myself…this way I can pass it off and only worry about writing a check.
I’ve made the decision that this one is going to get popped out of the frame and I’m sending it to Total Framing for an updo.
I am perfectly content finishing small things myself. I love thrift store frames for them. I don’t care if they do or don’t have glass. I only had a week or two into stitching them. The big pieces are getting custom framed.
I liken it a little bit to quilting. It’s perfectly fine to tie a charity quilt or a charm square quilt…or any quilt that has more of simpler design. But…if I spend hours and hours making an intricate feathered star quilt, it needs to long-armed. I guess I’m saying there is a time and place for everything. Tying can be okay…longarming or hand quilting can be okay. It just depends on the creator and their preferences for their work.
There are many people who go to home decoration stores and pop out $150 for something they are hanging on their wall. They don’t think anything of it. The piece wasn’t handmade. The piece will likely make its way to Goodwill in 10 years when styles change. My pieces won’t be going to Goodwill and I don’t think these classic pieces will ever go out of style.
I thank Elizabeth so much for her comment. I have actually been feeling a little bit guilty about wanting to take the stitched piece with the thrift store frame out and sending it to Total Framing. I kept reasoning with myself about the cost and the extra money I’d spend but, after writing this post, I’m convinced more than ever that I want to send it off…
and with that, I’m off to pop it out of the frame, print the form to go with it, and send it off. I want it to look really good and I’m confident they will do an amazing job on it. Stay tuned…