Home Decor Interview:
Vonna Pfeiffer from "Twisted
If Twisted Sister represented evil, rebellion, and hedonism, then the Twisted
Stitcher, Vonna Pfeiffer, is the complete opposite.
You could not possibly meet a nicer, friendlier, more loving woman than Vonna.
As a 15-year-old, she taught herself how to stitch, and it has become her life's
work ever since. She shares her work and life for all to see on her
We're always on the lookout for unique ways to decorate your home, and as you'll
soon read, having a stitched finish hanging on the wall is one of the easiest
ways to get your house guests talking. Wow them with stitching, and
they'll really melt because, after all, it's something you can do yourself.
Vonna is here to tell us more about herself and her favorite hobby: stitching.
Let's sit back, grab a needle, and learn about a skill that is easy, yet oh so
enjoyable. To the questions!
1. Hi Vonna, thank you for sharing your
time with us today. Please take a moment to introduce yourself to our readers
and tell them all about your blog,
Stitcher." I love that blog name!
Hello Giorgina, first I’d like to
thank you for inviting me to participate in this interview and may I extend a
warm welcome and hello to your readers as well!
My name is Vonna Pfeiffer, I reside
in the rolling hills of southern Indiana in the city of Bloomington. Bloomington
is a small city with big city appeal as it is the home of the Hurryin’ Hoosiers
of Indiana University and part of the “limestone belt” in Indiana. I have lived
my entire life in the state of Indiana –growing up in the small German Catholic
Community of Haubstadt, Indiana.
I am proud to the core of being a Hoosier – I
even have the accent to prove it – and I believe that Indiana has the most
wonderfully embracing and friendly inhabitants of the 50 states!
I am a wife to
Keith and a mother of four young children – Katie (11), Ian and Jacob (twins, 9)
and Ellie (3). I am first and foremost a mother and wife, however I do work
outside the home on weekends as a Clinical Laboratory Scientist specializing in
Microbiology. I also began a “Finishing Service” for those stitchers that like
to stitch, but don’t like to finish their completed projects.
blog came about by my being
introduced to them from an online friend. She told me that there was a whole
community of “bloggers” who stitched. She gave me an address of a blog and from
there I hopped, skipped and jumped from blog to blog. After reading other
people’s blogs for a few days, I was hooked and like so many things in my life,
I decided right then and there to jump in – both feet first!
As I was setting up
my blog, one of the first things that it asks for is the name of your blog.
WHOA! I thought…a name….hmmm….as I sit stumped in my desk chair, I thought about
what I wanted my blog to “be.” Primarily I wanted my blog and it’s title to
reflect me and my personality. I’m a child of the 80’s, I try to live life to
the fullest, but am not without my “quirks.”
So as I was thinking up cute and
clever names, Twisted Sister (the band) changed to Twisted Stitcher popped up
immediately. That was me The Twisted Stitcher – it fit, so it stayed. The
Stitcher" was born and I’ve not looked back since! It will be three years
this summer that I started blogging and I have enjoyed each and every minute of
2. Please tell us a bit more about your
Twisted Stitcher’s Finishing Service? Did that come before or after your blog,
and how have you enjoyed having this little side business?
Finishing Service was born one year ago this past spring. It came about after I had
finished something for Diane Williams of Little House Needleworks. Diane told me
I had talent and that many people in the needlework industry says that there are
a lot of stitchers to stitch, but don’t like to finish. Diane advised me that I
should open a “finishing business” and provide a “service” to those that don’t
have the time, inclination or talent to finish items that they stitch.
that this was a crazy idea to be honest, but after more discussions with Diane,
I decided I’d give it a go. I created my Finishing Service blog in March 2008
and announced it on my own The Twisted Stitcher blog and I’ve been busy ever
I honestly enjoy finishing. I like the idea of helping other people and I
believe that my service is just that – a “help” to other people. I try to price
my finishing services to make them affordable, yet reimburse myself for my time.
I don’t expect I’ll get rich financially over the endeavor, but the self
satisfaction I get is my primary reward. I am rich as a king however, in the
friendships I have formed by finishing their pieces for them.
It’s been a
rewarding venture for me! I’m glad that Diane pulled my leg and got me running!
There are other finishers in blog land too, and if you look at all of us as a
whole we all do good work, just in a different way. We all have our “signature”
finishing style. I think that makes it fun and unique for everyone.
3. Congratulations on your kids’ recent
completions of their school years. Do your children ever participate in your
stitching activities, and if so, do you have anything planned for them this
Two summers ago, Katie (my oldest)
decided that she wanted to stitch. I was so excited! I had visions of us sitting
together stitching for years to come. I gathered all the supplies – aida, floss,
size 24 needles, hoop and a pattern. We sat down and began the lesson. Katie
picked it up immediately and stitched beautifully for a young learner.
was becoming reality! That summer she stitched and completed three projects! I
was ecstatic! I had created a stitching buddy right here in my own home.
at the end of her third project, she came to me with her head down and red faced
and I asked her what was wrong? She told me that she knew I really wanted her to
be a stitcher, but that she just didn’t like it. I laughed and told her not to
worry, you don’t have to like everything Mommy does, and we left it at that. I
have a feeling though that sometime in future years, Katie may stitch again.
My boys, they have no interest in
stitching or anything craft related other than making their own created comic
Ellie, she’s not much of a stitcher
either – yet. But she’s young and she has seen me stitching her entire life –
there may be hope for her! Ellie does help me in the finishing department
though. She’s my constant companion each day sitting on my finishing table
handing me buttons, scissors, ribbons and glue when I need them.
So no activities of the stitching
variety planned for this summer, but with four children there is constant
4. Our site is about home decor,
which we feel stitching falls under because they can be used as decorative items. In
addition to stitching, do you have a general interest in home decor and
decorating your home? If so, what are your favorite things to do?
I enjoy all things that would fall
under “Primitive Country.” My passion outside of stitching – is to create a home
that is cozy, comfortable and a retreat for my family. I’m not much of a world
traveler or vacationer, rather I feel that within the walls of my home I am on
vacation every day.
My greatest pride beside my family is my home. I am
constantly seeking something or making something that would enhance the decor of
Two recent things that I have done for my home is: I taught myself to
make wool penny rugs and I rescued an old cast off pie safe that was painted a
horrid shade of country blue. I stripped and refurbished the pie safe and now
both things - penny rugs and the pie safe - reside in my home and are lovely
additions to our decor.
I am constantly looking for little things that can be
transformed into big impact for our home. Decorating my home is one of my most
loved pastimes and one of the big reasons I stitch to begin with!
5. What part, if any, do your heavy
religious beliefs play in the kinds of designs you like to stitch?
Our being Catholic and raising our
children in the faith plays a role in every part of our lives, including my
stitching. If one looks at samplers in general, especially antique school girl
samplers – many of them include bible verses or religious sayings.
samplers that incorporate bible verses or religious sayings in them. I think it
enhances the piece. That isn’t to say that I ONLY stitch things with bible
verses or religious sayings in them – because that would not be true.
I like all
things old fashioned as mentioned above and I like my stitching projects to have
that sort of “old fashioned” feel. I love samplers and am considering even
“naming” our home “Das Sampler Haus” to reflect our German heritage and my love
of stitching. I think it would be very special to have a plaque on the wall in
our entry way that announced our home as “Das Sampler Haus.” To reflect my love
of samplers and since my family has to live with them too…we are The Sampler
House! I also am working on creating an “Adam and Eve” sampler wall in our home.
My religious beliefs doesn’t necessarily guide my choice of stitching, but it
most certainly is reflected in many of my finished projects.
6. Stitching is definitely a skill, and
it’s something that can be done leisurely around the house while watching TV or
hanging out with friends. For people reading this who would like to take up
stitching as a hobby, how do you recommend they best go about learning the
skills? We did notice several tutorials on your blog.
I would suggest that any interested
parties – if they have a stitching shop in their neighborhood or close by them –
that they stop in. The shop keepers that work at these local needlework shops
would love to help them learn the techniques.
Do they have a relative, friend or
neighbor that stitches? Stitchers are the most giving, sharing people on the
planet. They’d love to share their hobby interest with someone wishing to learn.
I bet if one thinks they don’t know a stitcher – they are wrong.
are embarrassed that they stitch because they think people may think they are
“old fashioned” – they frankly are closet stitchers. Ask around – you’ll find
one, I’m sure. If all of these avenues seem closed to you, I would suggest
going to a local craft store finding a small kit and take it home. There will
be directions on the inside of the kit telling the proper way to cross the X and
how to go about stitching.
And let’s not forget about the internet! A simple
search in your favorite search engine of “Cross Stitch” or “Cross Stitch
Techniques” will get you to a page that tells all about how the job is done. My
best advice is: if you have the desire – try it! But one word of caution: Start
slow – baby steps – and work your way up. Starting a project that is 11 inches
by 18 inches with 1000 colors would not be conducive to learning. Slow steady
progress and a progression in size of the project is the steps to success.
Stitching is a fabulous hobby – try it!
7. We’re guessing that you like to do a
lot of holiday themed finishes. If so, what is your favorite holiday to stitch
for? Your witch boot for Halloween is particularly adorable!
That witch’s boot is one of my
favorite finishes too!
Honestly I decorate my home “seasonally” – Winter,
Spring, Summer, Fall and Christmas are my main decorating “themes.”
incorporate Easter stitched things – bunnies, eggs, etc.
incorporates A LOT of US Flags and fourth of July type stitching.
Halloween, Pumpkins, Scarecrows and Turkeys. Christmas is self explanatory and
Winter pretty much is too.
I’m not a big fan of Valentines Day for some reason.
I’m one of those type of people that I pretty much celebrate every day, so I
really don’t have a favorite holiday. However if I were to choose, I’d say that
the 4th of July (Summer decorating), Christmas and fall are my
favorite decorating themes.
I really love the fall…the whole crisp, cool days
with the smell of wood smoke filtering through the air. Big round orange
pumpkins with crows calling in the distance. Frosty windblown evenings with
colorful leaves swirling in the air….Autumn is one of my most favorite seasons,
can you tell? When I choose my stitching projects – again I think of what I need
to decorate my home.
Where would I place this project? How would I finish it?
What would it look like? All of my stitching is devoted to decorating my home.
My stitching enhances my home, makes it warm, cozy, welcoming and gives a person
an instant feeling of well being. So really I don’t have a particular season or
holiday that I would hold above the other seasons or holidays. I guess as the
bible says in Ecclesiastes 3:1, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to
every purpose under the heaven.” So all seasons and holidays are celebrated in
our home and it helps to remember that each and every day along our life road is
8. For those not considering taking up
stitching as a hobby but are considering purchasing finishes for their homes,
what has been the reaction from some of your house guests when they see your
finishes around your home? Are they good conversation starters?
Oh my heavens….YES! I have stitching
pieces throughout my home – on walls, in baskets, in bowls, on mantles, shelves,
everywhere. People notice things that are handmade. I think it gives
“importance” to the “something” that is handmade, for the maker sat and worked
tirelessly on it. It shows that the creator of the piece has stamina, drive,
will and tenacity.
I believe that most people in this day and age of disposable
items have forgotten the importance of tenacity. The importance of saying you’re
going to start something and actually finish it.
All of the pieces in my home
are heirlooms. Heirlooms that my children will inherit and then shall pass on to
their children – down through the ages, hopefully. I want future generations of
my blood line to know my deep and abiding love of my family. I want them to know
that I took the time to care, to give a thought during my time here on earth to
the state of affairs of my home and its inhabitants.
That is usually how the
conversation goes when someone notices that I stitch. That I’m making a treasure
for the future. And honestly besides the thought of what I’m stitching and what
it shall be, I think of that too…that this is something that shall be passed on
for my children to remember me by. Think of antique quilts, how sought after
they are. The tapestry of pieces of cloth stitched together to form a quilt
tells a story of a woman that sat and did the craft.
My cross stitched pieces
are the same. I have spent the same time, have put the same amount of love into
my stitched piece as a quilter has put into her quilt. They each are homemade
and show that the maker had love for her family whether it was meant to keep her
loved ones warm on a cold night or if she meant them to have something pretty to
9. Vonna, thank you so much for taking
the time out to talk to us. For this last question, please explain to us what
it was that first got you into stitching and why you are so passionate about
it. People get inspired reading about other people’s hobbies, so please take us
back to that point in time in your life when you really got interested in it.
Cross stitching is easy – honestly it
is. If one can draw a “X” on a piece of paper and put together a puzzle – they
can stitch. How I learned was: I taught myself. I was bored one summer while on
vacation at my Father’s home and my Step-mother gave me two Dimension kits that
she had gotten on a clearance sale.
I asked her what I was to do with them and
she told me to read the instructions, if I had questions to ask her. I was 15
I opened the kit, read the instructions and got busy. They were small
designs and I think I completed them in 4 days. I’ve been hooked ever since and
I still have those first projects hanging on my wall.
One can cross stitch
anywhere in any environment. I have stitching with me at all times – if I have a
few minutes before I pick my kids up at school – I stitch. Before an appointment
– I stitch. While I’m talking on the phone – I stitch. Watching television – I
stitch. The best part of stitching is that it lowers blood pressure and stress.
How about that?
It puts you in a meditative state – just the easy in and out of
the needle through the fabric. As the saying goes “My day is not complete until
thread and fabric meet”, that holds true for me! But do you know what is heaven
on earth for me? It is combining my two hobbies reading and stitching into one
joyful afternoon. I listen to books on CD and stitch at the same time….NOW THAT
Thank you so much Giorgina for
allowing me to share my love of stitching and decorating my home with you and
your readers! It has been so much fun!
How cool was that? Makes
you wanna get started right now, doesn't it?
Thanks so much to Vonna for giving us such a tremendous interview and opening up
her life to all of us. Please take a moment to stop by Vonna's blog (Twisted
Stitcher) , and
also her shop (Twisted Stitcher’s
Beat your friends to the punch and pick up a finish before they do!
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