Monday, December 31, 2007
If you or any members of your family are familiar with the 1930's Depression you might find this book particularly enlightening. In my family my brother remembers those times, but I do not, having not been born until 1942. Ha! ......So now you know my age!
At any rate, you can read reviews at amazon.com. It's not your typical warm fuzzy story, but what a great story it is!
I will send this post haste (book rate) to the first fellow blogger who speaks up! That means leave me a comment here and I'll get in touch!
I'm off now with Ashley to have coffee with her grandma who will take her home. Don't know who Ashley is? Click on the picture of the book and see the next picture posted in my photostream at Flickr!
Saturday, December 29, 2007
I haven't participated in a round robin for quite some time, but recently I signed up for one on the CrazyQuilt International list. We are doing jeweltoned embellishment on all black blocks.
This is my naked block that I have ready to send off. Yes, those are all black fabrics. I know some look grey, but I think it's the way the light was hitting them. They are all different textured fabrics from wrinkly taffeta and faille to crushed velvet! The hardest part of making this block was doing the applique of all the patches. The black stitching on black fabric drove my eyes crazy!
The pink stitching I did outlines the 12" square block that I intend to make up into a pillow when the block returns home. I really like the way the piecing turned out on this block. I didn't have as much trouble with the curves as I usually do. I had no plan actually. Before I began piecing I went through the stack of blacks in my scrap sorter and pulled out all the solids. I laid out a few that I was sure that I wanted to include and since some of them had curved edges, things just started to come together. The only hitch in the whole thing happened when I was about 90% done. I moved the block to the ironing board where, with the light shining on it, I discovered a couple pieces of velvet that I had included were actually dark brown & not black!
I can't wait to get started on this RR; jeweltoned stitching on black is one of my favorite looks for crazyquilting. Just this past Spring my Omaha roommates and I each stitched jeweltones on black blocks and then they were all put together. The wall hanging that was made from them was awesome and it went for many dollars at the 2007Omaha Retreat's auction to benefit Breast Cancer Research and retreat scholarships!
This will be mailed off to Japan on New Years Eve day and after that it will make it's way to Australia and then around the USA before coming home.
So, now it's back to making the outfit for my dolly model, Ashley. I must try to remember how to make a little pom pom for her hat by hand because I was unable to find a pom pom maker today at JoAnn Fabrics.
Stitch On! No time to waste!
The hat still awaits a pompom and, since any pom pom "thing" I might have is in storage, I'm not sure but that I should just go buy one of the newer ones I've seen on the internet. They look much improved.... Or perhaps I should try to make one myself without any fancy tool. Will have to decide at some point because I also want to make my granddaughter's doll one of these hats to go with that hot pink poncho outfit I sent her.
The dolly wardrobe was a big hit Christmas morning according to my daughter. Isabelle also got another baby doll from Santa and she quickly figured out that her new baby could wear the same size about as the Bitty Baby. Possibilities are endless now for this Gramma (called Maas by her grands) to endlessly design and sew babydoll clothing!
As for these circle looms, once you get the hang of them, they make a hat quite quickly. At first though I thought I could have knit one with needles MUCH faster; it was a little discouraging. Now I also want to try one for G (dh) from a less bright color using the 2nd largest green circle. He says he would like something in the green color family because he just got a new dark green sweatshirt.
So I guess my stitching vacation is over. After embroidering on those jeans for Isabelee for Christmas my hands were swollen and sore, so I took a week off from stitching. I did a lot of reading, but mostly I was bored out of my head! I live to stitch! Good thing I have a lot of projects lined up to keep me busy!
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Mary Frances of the blog Frequently Wrong but Never In Doubt tagged me on her blog regarding something called a Meme I think. So I'm going to attempt to answer these Christmas questions! I'm not going to tag anyone since it's so late in the season, but if you read this and wanna play, leave me a comment below so I know, ok?
1. Wrapping or gift bags? Wrapping... usually. Unless something is odd-sized or I'm in a hurry! I don't mind the bags, but never think to buy them.
2. Real or artificial tree? Artificial and small too - 4 foot tall....after many years of having a real tree. But now we have no one but the two of us and if we aren't going to be here for Christmas, we don't even put up Tiny Tim (my name for the tree).
3. When do you put up the tree? Usually a week before Christmas. I grew up the youngest in a family that never put the tree up until Christmas Eve. I always loved Christmas Eve when it was all about the tree and getting to bed early in my room upstairs where I'd try to stay awake to hear Santa and the reindeer land on our roof. Alas, I always fell asleep despite the noise coming from downstairs. A few years ago I was comparing Christmas memories with my brother who is 12 years older than I am. I told him how I found it hard to put up the tree so soon (a week before) because I loved our family's traditions so much. He laughed loud and hard at me and told me that was no tradition; it was necessity. He said our Dad always waited until Christmas Eve to bring home a tree because they were half price then. Take note because little things you do just might be making memories/traditions that your children will remember.
4. When do you take the tree down? At least by New Year's Day! Usually G removes the ornaments while he is watching football games and piles them in a chair and I wrap and box them up.
5. Do you like eggnog? LOVE IT! In fact I just had a glass because today I got the results back from my bone density scan. There's only a slight change from 5 years ago, but the doctor made a note that I should up my calcium intake. So, instead of just the 2 chocolate calcium chews, from now on I have to work in a couple other milk products daily. I also still love the stuff off the grocery store the best!
6. Favorite gift received as a child? Wow! It's hard to pick just one. I'd say it's a toss up between the Flexi-Flyer sled I got when I was 7 or 8 or the Terri Lee doll I got when I was 11 or 12. The sled was great and on Christmas Day my dad even took me to the local park to try it out. The doll was his doing too. I had asked and asked for that doll, but before Christmas my Mum took me to look at and buy a parakeet & cage, which I also wanted. She thought I was too old for dolls, so when I opened that box on Christmas morning and found that doll, my Mum stared daggers at my Dad, but he pretended not to see.
7. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes, but it's not on display this year because it's in storage. We usually display it in this wonderful hand carved (by G in college) small cabinet which is also in storage this year. The nativity set itself was my Mum's but we have added to it over the 40 years we have been married. Gosh, that's a long time!
8. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? I don't recall anything but I DO recall one Christmas when I got nothing at all from my mil. We had all gone up to a Lake Tahoe cabin for a snowy Christmas and she gave G a desk set of letter opener & magnifier and each of the girls these pink parkas with fur around the hoods that they absolutely refused to wear. Me? I got nothing, nada, zip, zero. Perhaps she thought the desk set was for both of us, but my name was NOT on the tag! Truly never figured that one out cuz we had a fairly decent relationship all things considered.
9. Mail or email Christmas cards? We sent no cards out last year because we were traveling in Texas. We also thought we'd be sending out wonderful newsy cards this year with our new address. Well, house didn't sell; that didn't happen. So, this year I did up a Christmas letter and sent out about 35 to family and old friends. So far we've only gotten less than a dozen cards. Guess everyone crossed us off their lists last year when they didn't hear from us. I will mail out electronic (Jackie Lawson?) cards tomorrow to close friends who we may not see before Christmas.
10. Favorite Christmas Movie? "The Christmas Story" ....I always wanted a BB Gun and a train set, but my parents told me those things were for boys.
11. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Since our girls are all over the map, if I can't make them something, they get a gift card from somewhere. This year I mailed the packages out on December 20th. The one for Atlanta made it there in 2 days! Amazing, huh?
12. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Yummmmm! Ham, this baked pineapple souffle and the potato dish made with Potatoes O'Brien! Oh and fudge & Italian Pizzelles too! Just made a batch of Pizzelles last evening. Will probably have to make another so that we can eek them out until about the end of January. Wonderful with coffee!
13. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Clear lights on the tree. No lights outside, but we normally have blue icicle lights all over the house. ....Yup, those are in storage too!
14. Favorite Christmas song? "Here comes Santa Claus" definitely. When I hear it I feel like I'm 7 years old again. Back then we sent letters to Santa and he was on the radio station every night at 5 p.m. That song was the one they played at the beginning of the show. All this month, in the car I have had the radio tuned to an all Christmas music station and in the house on the computer I have XM Holly station playing that comes through AOL. Our stereo, alas, is in storage. Are you sensing a theme here?
15. Travel at Christmas or stay home? This year we are staying home, just the two of us. There's a slight chance that our eldest daughter may come down out of the mountains just for the day to see us. Next year, although we don't know where we will be, perhaps we will go to Texas again so we can see our two youngest daughters and their families. They are married to brothers and one lives in San Antonio along with the brothers' parents who are also our friends.
16. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer? Used to be able to, but am out of practice.
17. Angel on the tree top or a star? There is nothing on the top of Tiny Tim. He is pre-lit and from the outside the neighbors can't tell he has no ornaments on him. Truly a cut-back Christmas here. Somewhere in storage there's an angel that we've had for 40 years!
18. Open the presents Christmas Eve or Christmas Morning? Oh, always Christmas Morning. And we always took rotating turns opening one gift at a time going from eldest to youngest. It takes all morning but we don't start until we have the morning food on the table and then everyone just waits on themselves. For G and I it was a big shock the year that we turned out to be the eldest and had to go first. The reality of it all was overwhelmingly sad.
19. Most annoying thing about this time of year? Shopping, crowds & rude people. And stories of decoration vandalism.
20. Do you decorate your tree in any specific theme or color? Nope, but the tree used to be mostly things the girls made in school or special ornaments to commemorate achievements. Next year I hope to have enought crazyquilted ornaments to dress TT to the hilt. I may even give our elderly angel a makeover with a white cq skirt!
21. What do you leave for Santa? When we are with the grands we HAVE to leave eggnog and pizzelles cuz that's what Santa likes, doncha know? (and all the cats do too!)
22. Least favorite holiday song? I can't think of any I don't enjoy. I grew up singing in groups and choirs in church and school and love all the music. There's so many new ones now too. I especially like "Mary Did You Know" that is new to me this year.
23. Favorite ornament? Well, with this post, I have included a picture of 4 ornaments that I just adore. For many reasons but mostly because they were made for me by my stitching students. Alas, I actually couldn't find my very favorite which is a cq old fashioned ice skate complete with curled blade.
Let's say it together now....."It must be in STORAGE!"
Merry Christmas to you All!
Remember! If you wanna do this "meme" let me know by leaving a comment!
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
I just could NOT send that poncho to San Antonio for my granddaughter without a matching outfit to got with it. I had the hot pink Kona cotton handy for the pants and found some white seersucker for a blouse. The picture of what's under the poncho is below this text.
The pocket on the shirt is made from another funky print I had bought with hopes to use it for a dress for the baby doll, but, alas, time has run out. This evening I'm wrapping things and packing up the boxes that I'll take to the post office early tomorrow morning.
Picture me breathing a sigh of relief!
Later tonight I'll clean up the doll sewing mess I've made and refold all the fabrics. Then it's back to the purses I'm making for a couple family members who we may not see until after Christmas.
I look forward to getting back to my redwork stitching AND I must construct an all black crazyquilt block for a round robin called "Jewels on Black" that starts in January.
Merry Christmas & Stitch On my friends!
Well, obviously the doll clothes making bug has bit me! Last evening while watching a couple rare new programs on tv, I sewed up this little tote and pink poncho for my granddaughter's doll. Just when I'm getting in the swing of making doll clothes, I have to quit and get all this in the mail.
If you'd like to see the other outfits I made for the doll, just click on this picture and you will find yourself in my Flickr picture site where you can see a dress, a pants & shirt outfit and a nighty.
This little tote was on a preprinted panel for 18" dolls. I must have made the outfit (robe & pj's) for one of my other grandgirl's American Girl doll a few years ago. I found this in a box of doll clothes things.
The pink poncho was an afterthought and the poor doll won't have anything to match, but I have some pink fabric for pants which I will send to my granddaughter after Christmas. .....unless of course I get another spurt of energy later today! LOL!
Stitch on my friends! Hope all your holiday preparations are going well. I hope to get to a little baking tonight!
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
We had a great time at Olive Garden. We all had the Soup,Bread and Salad special and it was wonderful as usual. My favorite is the Zuppa Toscana soup and it turns out several others like this one best as well. One member had never had it but fell in love with it. Since I have the recipe, she called me last night to get the recipe so she can serve it to visitors this week!
Afterwards we adjourned to Laura's beautifully decorated home for our Angel exchange and dessert. I have posted a few of the angels that were exchanged. As far as the members go, if you click on the picture, there are names to put with our faces!
Fran and I both love Kitties and so when I drew her name a few months ago for this I just knew that I had to make my angel a kitty-angel!
I'm happy to say she was delighted with "Miss Kitty" as I dubbed her. She was fun to make and, as Fran said she liked traditional Christmas colors, it was a simple piecing from out of my piecing scrap box. The threads used are mainly silk pearl and mainly J.Walsh ones at that. I have just learned today that my favorite shop, Needle in a Haystack in Alameda California, is no longer going to carry this line of thread and is closing it out at half price! I need to take inventory and make a call to Alameda!
The beads I used came from a multi-colored box of little containers of seed beads that I purchased at Michaels Craft Store before all my other beads went into storage. The starburst jewlelry-like item on the front is a piece of broken jewelry from a bag that I got at a garage sale this past Fall in Sedona, Arizona.
Miss Kitty's eyes are 2 black Swarovski margarites that I put on with the gold backing side up using a black seed bead to anchor them.
I was very happy and surprised at how this turned out because I was just winging it with a vague idea in my mind. It turned out so well that I may just have to make one for myself!
We all love her cross stitch work though and still wonder how she gets so much done when she still has children at home and also has a full time job as a secretary for a school Principal.
I sat next to her last Saturday at our holiday party at Olive Garden and I think I now know her secret! Shhhhhh....don't tell, but she confessed to me that she has a HOUSEKEEPER. My friends: she doesn't have to do housework! Boy! that would sure make MY life easier!
Andrea is a wonderful and prolific beader and we all lust after her lovely beaded ornaments. The wings on this angel are all beaded and I don't mean on a foundation! They are soft & flexible to the touch and the whole thing is just lovely.
The crazyquilted angel body isn't shabby either - great piecing & stitching!
Thursday, November 08, 2007
This is block #5 from the Chocolage Quilt booklet which I finished on 11/6/07. There are a total of 16 block designs and so I have 11 more to go. My backstitching is getting faster and I have been doing these in the evenings while watching tv. I do not plan on making "my chocolate quilt" the same as is shown in the booklet. I am going to frame each block with the fabrics shown above my finished block #5. I will frame each block with strips of the pink and green fabrics and perhaps use the chocolate brown fabric either as cornerstones or fill ins/sashings. I just couldn't resist buying it. I loved how it looked like melted chocolate. The bonbon fabric will be the borders of the quilt.ARE YOU READY?
As I promised below are the Judith Baker Montano fabrics from her new line called "Ornamentation". I just love these fabrics and after seeing a few fat quarters at a nearby fabric & craft store called Beverly's, I vowed to treat myself by buying a half yard of all of them. I actually didn't buy ALL of them, but I bought MOST I think, only passing on the extreme pastels. I placed the order just before we traveled to Arizona and when I got back the package from http://www.fabricshack.com/ was waiting for me. It took me a couple days to get it all laundered and pressed. Below are 5 pictures of the ones I bought. Aren't they gorgeous?
I've seen the ones in the 4th picture down referred to as faux silk ribbon prints. I can't wait to start using these beauties. I have been unable to find a lot of the colors of the Kaufman Radiance line that are a silk/cotton sateen and coordinate well with these JBM prints. I may have to go back to Beverly's and just get the other colors in fat quarters. I already have one project in mind. When I visited the hospice shop last week, I found an interesting lacy doily intricately woven into asort of a 4 pointed star. I am thinking of making 4 blocks from these fabrics at least 12" square or more. Where they meet I will piece with the same color of the sateen in all blocks so if I put this lace piece over the center where the blocks meet, it will show that one color through. I'm not sure I've explained that well, but I can see it in my addelpated brain and hopefully will show you the reality soon. I've taken classes from JBM in the past in Omaha at the CQ Society's Yearly "do" and so would like to make this a piece to honor my experiences in her classes.
Stitch On my friends!
Sunday, November 04, 2007
Last evening I finished this Chocolage block which I started while on vacation in Arizona. I think it's my favorite one so far. It's a cute cow! Also the backstitching for the wording isn't so much of a chore anymore. It seems I am getting it more even and it is going faster now. Practice-practice-practice is what always works, right?
I've traced off a few more blocks to work on in the evenings while watching tv with G, but during the days I need to get busy on Christmas gifts for my daughters and grands. The youngest is a girl and wants clothes for her Bitty Baby doll.
Since I don't own that particular doll (G says it must be the ONLY doll I don't have in my collection), I borrowed a Bitty Baby from my friend's granddaugher. They brought her over today, so now I just need to find a pattern.
I got the shock of my life yesterday at JoAnn's Fabrics when I found the PERFECT pattern with several outfits and by the description it was obviously designed for this 15" baby doll that is from American Girl-Pleasant Company dolls. I about fainted! When did patterns go up to US$15.95? That is just plain crazy.
When I worked at JoAnn's years ago there were always sales on patterns every week or in every sale flyer for like $1.99 each. Next week I noticed in their current flyer that Simplicity patterns will be $1.99, so I guess I'll wait and make sure I get down there on the first day of the sale. At that cost, I could buy 4 or 5 for what it would have cost me yesterday even with the 40% coupon!
The Judith B. Montano fabrics? I haven't forgotten. I'll take the picture tonight, ok?
Friday, November 02, 2007
I managed to snag a few things while we were moving boxes - like some supplies I had to make Christmas gifts for my grandkids. Silly me, I thought we'd be moved by now and would be making gifts in my new studio.
So, a crazyquilt friend, former student and member of our local stitching group asked me the other day if I knew that our local Hospice Shoppe was having a "Vintage Sale". She told me briefly about some goodies she found and I was intrigued. So, the next morning I managed to get to the shop soon after it opened.
Gathering all the laces and trims you see hanging there in the picture after their Oxyclean soak was a long process as most of them were buried in bins filled with doilies and other things like ladies gloves, etc. I don't believe I've ever seen so many hand made doilies in one place before. My Mum used to make fancy doilies and whenever I see large numbers of things like that I remember how many hours and how much concentration she used to spend on her crochet projects.
One of the best treasures I found was a little crocheted dress that you can see kind of laying over the top right hand side of the rack. It's ecru with pink trim. It was obviously not an actual doll dress, which is what I thought at first. It IS 2 sided but has no opening, only a little hanging loop on the back side of the neck. It must have been made as a kitchen decoration. As a hot pad, it wouldn't do very well; it's very lacy! I plan to save it for embellishment on my planned doll-themed quilt. I saved some of my daughters' doll clothing in a box SOMEwhere, so I'll add it to that eventually. (If you'd like to see closeup photos of the little dress and some of the trims, click on the picture of the rack and you can see 2 additional photos in my Flickr pictures.)
A couple days before my trip to Hospice, the couple we do our morning walks with returned home from their month-long vacation. Diana, who used to work with me at the doctor's office brought me back a packet of awesome tatting that she and her daughter found in an antique shop in Seattle. Such a lovely thing when you see something like that and realize you know exactly who will love it SO much. I've done the same for her on trips as she is one of our Katie's "other mother's" and cares for Katie when we travel if she can.
So I am sort of tatting & crocheted edging rich! Now if I could just find some motifs! Perhaps I need to go out to the storage place by myself and see if I can manage to reach some of my stash. The other day when I had to go pick up something non-cq related, I actually was able to pull a couple of my embellishment drawers open and fondle some ribbons & such before I to leave.
Did I tell you that I ordered a half yard of most of the new line of fabrics designed by Judith Baker Montano? They were waiting here for me when we returned from Arizona. It's time to make dinner, so guess I'll leave that for tomorrow, okay?
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
I have to say this photo comes up looking like the velvet is blue, but it is not. It is a deep rich teal in color.
Each side measures 19 inches and from the base to the top it measures 17 inches high.
99% of the stitching is done with the old-style chenille thread. There is a little pearl cotton stitching in the center of each of the flowers. The piece is in good shape but there are 3 or 4 places where the stitches are loose. I will repair these discreetly using a strand of silk floss and tacking the errant ends down from the back.
I do not know how this was used originally, but you can see the old seam lines and, in addition, there are evenly spaced small holes inside the seam allowance. It's almost as if someone had used a pushpin to tack this piece up somewhere. I don't have a clue as to what would have made these holes.
So those are all the 6 pieces and now..........
I'm off on a week's journey to Arizona where I will visit with my brother and visit some favorite places. This is the first time in a while that I will travel without my laptop, but at my brothers home I can check my email and some favorite links.
I'm also taking my cpu into the shop where, while I'm gone, they will tweak it and maybe give it a physical and put some life back into it. It may need a transfusion for all I know. Or perhaps it's just getting old like me. At least IT didn't fall on the laundry room steps this morning!
LOL! I'm not sure how this "no computer trip" will work, but I have forwarded some things to my yahoo mailbox in hopes I can still check things at my brothers place.. Whether I'll be able to blog remains a mystery. But if I can't, I'll see you all in a week!
I'm taking a lot of stitching with me for evenings when my brother reads. He doesn't watch television!
Monday, October 15, 2007
No, the house has NOT sold, but according to our realtor there's been much more action on the listing since we lowered the price. Remains to be seen what that means.
So here we have the 5th vintage embroidery piece I bought at that shop in Carson City, Nevada. It is also 8.5 inches square and the velvet base is the darkest navy blue I think I've ever seen. The skillfully-done embroidery looks to have been done in one strand of silk. I think this is my "next to favorite" because of the subject.
California's official state flower is the California Poppy and they have always been my favorite wildflower. In our former home I used to have 100's of them in our front yard and they would re-seed every year resulting in some interesting variations popping up over the 12 yrs we lived there.
This is a lovely well-done embroidery whose colors are a bit more intense than the photo shows. Somehow I just couldn't get the orange as bright as it should be nor could I get the stems and leaves to appear as green as they do in real life.
I can't wait to work up an idea to incorporate all of these pieces. Tomorrow I will post the 5th, final and my favorite piece. I promise!
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Today I got Halloween cards made for each of them (thanks to the Dover free weekly samples!), wrapped them up and took the 2 packages to the post office where the lines were long - even at the automated teller "thing". The lady in front of me had never used it before and so I and the guy behind me ended up training her! LOL.....she made a mistake twice, so by the time she was finished she'd done the whole thing 3 times and said she'd never forget how EVER!
After that we went to Circuit City and bit the bullet. We purchased a dvd/vcr recorder that is even digital and should last us a long time. We had hoped to avoid any big purchases until we moved, but when your vcr dies, what are you gonna do?
What I'm going to do is recommend that anyone reading this NEVER buy a television with a built-in vcr, okay? Trust me! Three-year-old TV is still great, vcr inside NOT so great aka virtually dead.
So, tomorrow morning, when my mind is fresh, I will try to figure out how to hook it up. The cute young salesman assured me it's simple, but you gotta know by the point he told me that, he was already thinking of how he was gonna spend his commission!
It's back to the studio/sewing room for me! Loads to do before our trip next week to Arizona!
Friday, October 12, 2007
This is one of the 4 peacock prints in Judith Baker Montano's new line of fabric from Kaufmann called "Ornamentation". The fat quarters of solids/sateens (55% cotton/45% silk) are also by Kaufmann and thename of the line for them is called "Radiance". I have to say that the feel of the sateen is SO wonderful. I would love to make a blouse/shirt out of one of the colors - maybe the teal.
The colors of the solids are fairly true in the picture except that the one on the far right is actually a deeper true green than I think it shows in the photo. I took this photo with the peacock fabric hanging over the drying rack in the garage. It's been raining hard here all day so I had to dry it inside after pre-washing it. I didn't pre-wash the sateen. I may just rinse them lightly before I use them.
I'm envisioning some awesome crazyquilt blocks in my future using these fabrics and wondered this evening if I could find any more of the prints online. I managed to find a site called fabricshack.com that has a lot of the prints in the Ornamentation line and some (maybe 5 or 6) of the Radiance sateens.
I recently also found some peacock feather iron on appliques at Michael's that go well with this fabric. I found them in the aisle where they have the iron on rhinestone things and the printer fabric sheets. As I've done in the past, I'll sew them on and won't actually iron them on as I have an intense dislike of glue!
I've no affiliation with either of these places; I am just a happy drooler and sometimes customer!
Well, I said that about glue and now I have to confess that yesterday I also bought a BeJeweler Electric Rhinestone applicator. It's not for quilts or crazyquilt items at this point although I know a lot of quilters are using these for embellishment. I actually bought it because our youngest grand, a real girly-girl named Izzy, is absolutely crazy about sparkly & fancy stuff. I plan to glitz up a pair of jeans for her as soon as her Mum tells me the size I should buy.
Well, it's back to the sewing room/studio for me! I've been busy making Halloween pillowcases for the 5 youngest of our grands and tonight I'm trying to get them finished. They need to be mailed and I'd like them to have some time to use them before Halloween arrives. I've left out the 16 and 18 yr old girls; somehow I don't think they would care much for them.
ta ta! Stitch On!
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
1906 - 1991
Happy Birthday Mum!
Wish I could send you flowers like always. But if Heaven is like we all think it is and filled with our favorite things, you are surrounded by flowers every day.
I hope you know I'm still stitching as you taught me and have learned techniques of which you never dreamed. And I'm spreading the stitching love by teaching others, which I wish you had lived to see.
We Stitch On!
Saturday, October 06, 2007
Thursday, October 04, 2007
I haven't had such a nasty upper respiratory bug in a few years. I'm still coughing and SO tired!
I hope to be better tomorrow and able to get back to blogging!
Friday, September 28, 2007
It was amazing watching her as she breathed life into the small rooms of our cottage home. I have to admit to muttering "oh-oh" under my breathe about a dozen times as she went blasting from room to room! After all was said and done, we are doing about 80% of the changes she suggested even though it means the garage is a little fuller now because of the things we have removed from the interior of our home and the front porch. Some of the other 20% either are not doable or will take some time and/or muscle and may get done when we have time.
Some of her ideas were actually forehead slapping moments for me. Because she hasn't lived here, she was seeing things with an unbiased eye. We are looking at some of our old tired things that she moved around in a new way. To us they were nothing special, but she loved much of what we haven't packed away and said more than once that she wished she had come while we were packing up the house so she could have had us leave some more things out.
This wonderful much-loved wooden bowl which is a true antique bowl that cracked many years ago and is repaired with leather lacing was just sitting on the top of G's grandmother's little china cabinet. She had moved a piece of furniture into the den for use as a coffee table and then placed the empty bowl on top of it. She suggested we fill it with something like apples or lemons - either real or fake.
On our trip to Michael's and the grocery this afternoon we laughed when we found that the fake things cost more at Michael's than real stuff at the grocery store. We got this mix of oranges, lemons, green pears and colorful gourds and are very pleased with ourselves at how it looks in the bowl.
We are frantically doing a lot other things before we have to go off for two days for G's 50th class reunion. On Sunday the realtor will be having an open house here and I'll be very curious to see what she thinks of all the changes. And, of course, it remains to be seen if any of the "staging" will help sell the old homestead. Of course, we surely hope so!
So, I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! When I return I will be posting the pictures of the last two vintage blocks I bought up in Carson City, Nevada. I think you will agree when you see them that I saved the best for last. Ideas are bouncing around in my head about how to use all of the six pieces in a hopefully memorable crazyquilt wallquilt or throw. It's no wonder I am having trouble sleeping!
In the studio today I had very little time to do nothing more than quickly admire my Gambler's Special order that arrived from www.fabric.com this afternoon. I have to say that I got two of the most awesome black brocades and one blue one that are just too yummy! If you hurry on over to their site, you might be still able to snag some for yourself. No affiliation, yada, yada - just a very happy (and long-standing) customer!
In the stitching department I have managed to get my September Doll Quilt Challenge piece almost done. All the rows are pieced and I have 7 of the 10 rows sewn together. I'm leaving it out in my studio to show how true my sign is that I leave out for realtor showings. It says "Quilts in Progress - Watch for Flying Fabric!"
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Here we have the fourth embroidery I recently acquired at a Carson City, Nevada shop. It is worked on a piece of dark navy blue velvet about 8.5 inches square. This velvet is much nicer than the black/dark grey of block #3 and seems more like silk. It's very soft. However, this embroidery was definitely done in one strand of cotton floss. There isn't the sheen to these flowers that the ones on the black velvet have. It's more of a matt look and the threads on the back are definitely cotton.
I believe the flower design depicts nasturtiums which are one of my favorite flowers. If you look very closely you can see on the far right that someone at one time had embroidered an outline of a butterfly. It was removed perhaps because the embroiderer wasn't satisfied with the look.
At first I thought that I would have to embroider another butterfly there in order to use this piece but I have since changed my mind. I have not been pleased with the results of my few threadpainting experiments. I think this piece can be worked into a crazyquilt project quite well with some strategic applique piecing over the former butterfly area.
Today I'll be working to finish the piecing of my September doll quilt challenge piece and then I may try to finish that tiny outline embroidery on the purple and gold crazyquilt pillow cover. I may have to load up on Motrin a bit though before I get into that! My hands are better, but not much. I was hoping the recent Fall-like weather we've been having would help, but guess it's going to take a bit more time.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
The stitching has a wonderful sheen or light to it that I don't think shows in the photo. Silky to the touch, it's a very nice example of what these days is being called thread painting. There are many shades of greens, golds and browns used skillfully for the stems and leaves and almost as many shades of reds used in the flowers.
I wonder at the patience and skill this floral piece took to complete. The design appears to have been drawn onto the velvet with some kind of white ink or paint. On the back there are thread ends and jumps that show the fineness of the stitches and threads used.
There are pressed hems on the back on all 4 sides of this piece and some remnants of stitching leads me to believe that it perhaps had a former life as a pillow.
The more I study these pieces, the more thankful I am that I was in the right place at the right time and was able to give them a new home where they are greatly appreciated. I only hope I can do justice to their stitcher's skills when I find a way to give each of them a new life.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Whenever I go to this show I always look around for familiar faces, but the town has changed so much since we moved away, I've never seen anyone I know.
It's always a good show though and since they went to having it every other year, it has doubled in size. Most of my "haul" came from the booth of the Blankie Project (Chemo quilts) that I make quilts for. Just look at all those silk threads someone donated! The lace was from there also plus I bought 4 fat quarters of Christmas fabric which were, sad to say, busy in the laundryroom and couldn't make the photo session!
The buttons I bought to put on my Under The Sea block for the Crazy Quilt International charity project block that I'm making. I don't think you can see them very well - they are all starfish things. The cluny trim was a "just because it was there" purchase. You never know when you might need some trim.
One of the vendors had those little lacy corset appliques in black and red. I just couldn't pass the black one up! I've no idea what I'll do with it, but I just had to have it! There were also stylized cats and fancy hats but the corset just grabbed me! And it was only $2!
Be Honest! Could you have left it there?
Saturday, September 15, 2007
This is the 2nd of 6 embroideries that I purchased at the shop in Carson City, Nevada. This one is done on a 10 inch round of an elegant rich teal velvet that is very soft and feels like silk. Typical of the velvets used in many vintage crazy quilts I've been fortunate enough to handle, this one too has a similar cotton-like backing.
The design that was embroidered on this piece is similar to a copy of a vintage embroidery image that own. I don't know what the gold flowers are because my copy did not have a name on it. Could it be Goldenrod?
The embroidery work is done in two shades of chenille, 1 strand of a thread and a ribbon with a crimped look. The thread used for the background stems and leaves appears to be a very thin twisted pearl cotton. The "flowers" were done in a lighter golden colored chenille while the leaves on the left and across the bottom were done in a darker gold chenille with a long and short stitch.
I'm not sure you can see it, but at the very top of the design there is one broken thread in the chenille. It won't be difficult to fix. All the lighter colored gold stitches are french knots and one has come loose. The back of this piece, by the way, has nothing on it to secure the thread ends like the back of Vintage Embroidery #1 has.
The clover or thistle-like flowers were stitched in what, from the back, appears to be 3 different colors of a pink ribbon that has a crimped look to it. On the back you can see the original colors and the bottom of each flower was actually done in bright fuschia pink, but the front of this piece has faded. I'm very curious about this stitching ribbon and have taken a close up that you can see in my Flickr pictures if you click on this post's picture. If you have a clue as to what this ribbon is, please leave a comment here on my blog.
UPDATE 9/16: A friend with more knowledge of vintage pieces than I have says she believes that this stitching ribbon is "silk grosgrain". She also says that Mokuba Ribbon company currently makes a similar ribbon but it is rayon. Sounds fine to me; now I just need to find some! Anyone ever seen this. I don't ever think of Mokuba since they stopped selling the silk ribbon here in our Michael's stores.
I think perhaps this embroidery was stretched and framed or may have been a small pillow. You can see the stitching line in the photo and on the back there appears to be remnants of what looks like a dried glue-like substance in many places but especially around the edge.
UPDATE 9/16: The same friend suggests that this piece may have been put into an embroidery hoop for wall display maybe in the 1970's when doing that was popular. That would explain the glue residue on the edges.
Again with this piece I think it could handle being the centerpiece of a crazyquilted item all by it's self; maybe a wallhanging or pillow. More and more though I'm thinking, after I have studied them all really well, that I might try to find a layout that would showcase them all together.
Because the Realtors are having an open house here tomorrow, my day has been spent cleaning and clearing projects off the table in my slimmed down studio. We are going to take a trip to the closest IKEA store to dream about new furniture for new rooms in a new house!
After that I look forward to getting back to stitching on the crazy quilt pillow I started last month, but first I think I have to finish the Halloween pillowcases I started for the grandkids.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
The shop's website, by the way, is here in case you'd like to see it. After you watch her little video make sure that you click on the slide show button on the left to see all the different rooms and gorgeous things in this wonderful shop!
Aside from the odd shape of this piece, it is in perfect condition. The bird's beak and legs are embroidered in long and short stitch using a single strand of a floss which may be silk. This is like threadpainting I believe and there is a subtle use of difference colors not only on the bird's legs and beak but also in the foliage worked into the scene. The cattails are 3 dimensional and done with a rich brown chenille in a tufting stitch where looped stitches and been cut and then shaped into the cattail shape.
I think the chenille used for the bird's body is the vintage chenille is often seen on vintage crazy quilts. It's very soft and I actually have some in my stash so I'm familiar with it. The bird's eye is glass and has been attached with a very tiny wire.
By scooting aside some of the stitches some white lines can be seen. It appears that the whole scene including the bird was carefully drawn onto the black satin-weave silk fabric with white paint.
Something interesting I noticed is that on the reverse of this embroidery the knots and threads appear to have been sealed with something perhaps to keep them from unraveling. On the other hand, the lighter colored chenille that was used on the bird's body appear to be brown n the back. I don't know if something was dabbed onto the back to discolor it or if it's just the age of the piece. I feels like the sugar-starched doilies my Mum used to make in the 1950's.
I have no idea what I will do with this treasure, but like the other 5 pieces, I think you could build a whole crazy quilt project around him!
I'm still winding DMC floss on bobbins and just heard from a friend that she found another Wal-Mart and managed to get a lot more colors including 54 more for me that were on a list I had given her of colors I don't have.
I'm having a painful flare up of the OsteoArthritis in my right hand and this winding is about all I can handle for now. I've always been very thankful that I only had OA in my left hand, but recently it has appeared in the joints of my right hand sadly. My mum had it in both hands so I expected it actually. I'm anxious to get back to my ladies boot pincushion motif on the pillow, but that tiny work is just impossible for now. But you all....
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Saturday, September 08, 2007
A friend of mine is doing 3 of these designs in red too but she's decided to add gold accents to the designs. I think that's a wonderful idea. I had already decided I might do another set and use beads on them. Another idea I had was to do a set in the real colors of the items, like green on the leaves and purple on the grapes of this last one. Even doing that I could add some beads here and there I think.
Yesterday afternoon I dug out all the DMC floss I had in the Hot Wheel Garage container labeled "stranded floss" and discovered that I actually did not have much DMC at all. Most of it I inherited from my mother-in-law and HER mum, my dh's gramma. I put what little DMC I found into a floss box according to number and started winding some of the new colors that were unique and I could only find one of. Winding actually hurt my hands worse than stitching does! Who knew? I wound last evening until I ran out of bobbins.
Today I made a run to Michael's Crafts for some more bobbins and they didn't have very many. So.........I dropped into the Wal-Mart on the way home and my-oh-my! Those 3 round-y racks have been raided thoroughly! HowEVER......there were still 43 skeins of white and ecru there for the grabbing.
Now if I just knew where my dyes were in the storage place I could make some unique varigated floss!
Well, off to wind away the evening!
Friday, September 07, 2007
So ... yesterday off I toddled to the closest Wal-Mart store about 11 a.m. where I found the rumor was true and they WERE on sale for 10 cents each. SO.........
I started going through the 3 round spinning racks which I soon found DID have a system to follow the numbers. Wherever I could I bought two of each color they still had. The singles I found I set aside in case I found one to match. Let me tell you - those racks were a MESS! But when I left they were not!
With a carry basket half full I got in a short line and soon there were 3 or 4 people behind me. When I put the basket up on the counter and the cashier and I started laughing, there were many curious glances thrown our way. When the people behind me saw that each skein had to be scanned separately, they ran to other lines like rats deserting a sinking ship!
The cashier turned off her light so no one would get in line and she and I with the help of another employee began laying the skeins out in lines with the upc codes up. That way the cashier could zap each with the scan gun and then sweep that row into the bag. I don't know how long that took, but I had spent a great deal of time going through those 3 round racks - part of it sitting on the floor! What I don't understand though is why they need the codes recorded if they don't need the info for inventory. If they aren't going to carry the floss anymore, why keep track. Ah well........
So, meanwhile back at the cashier's counter, the 3 of us are chatting and becoming friendly and sharing "mom-stories". When the cashier finished scanning and pushed the button to print the receipt, it just kept on printing and printing.....all 650 items! There were doubles of 300 colors plus 50 singles not pictured. You can see the receipt there on the table folded in half. It measures 83 inches long. It created quite a stir! The cashier said that was a record for her since she had worked there - it might be a store record, who knows! It is surely MY record.
Remember I said I left home at 11:00 a.m.? Well, I got home at 1:50 p.m. Allowing for the 20 min. it took me to go and come home (10 min. each way), I was still there a long time. By the way, after going through one rack I had a fleeting thought that I had bit off more than I could chew. But faced with the daunting task of putting what I had in the basket all back, I just made my self comfy and kept going through all 3 racks.
Hint to anyone off to Wal-Mart to try this: Hide a folding stool somehow in your purse. You have to stand up to see the top 3 or 4 trays on those racks but you can sit for the bottom trays. I really could have used a stool!
Priceless was the look on my dh's face when I came home, pulled the receipt from the bag and said: "Well, I was worried that I wouldn't find anything to spend my Social Security check on this month, but I'm not worried anymorer!"
I also said:
"I WILL NEVER HAVE TO BUY EMBROIDERY FLOSS AGAIN!"
Except maybe for red..............
Notice the teeny pile of red? Well, Obviously some redwork embroiderer(s) got there ahead of me. All the bins for the popular colors for Redwork like 304 and 321 were totally empty.
Today a friend pointed out that I should have bought all the white and ecru so I could dye it. Gosh I didn't even think of that at the time!
Maybe I need to go back!
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
I've not accomplished much except these 2 designs in the past few days. Too busy with laundry, ironing and fighting a war with a major ant invasion in the kitchen. I hope I've won, but tomorrow morning could bring a whole new battlefront!
Our realtor's open house here went well (her words) this past Sunday. Three families who have just started the search for a new home visited and seemed to love our home. All three, however, wish it had more square footage. There's not much we can do about that. It is what it is!
I'm sure somewhere in this town they could get more square footage for the same price, but they perhaps wouldn't get our quiet court location, superior elementary school, our large yard, the pool or many of the upgrades we've done to the house like the gourmet kitchen.
There IS someone out there for whom this house will be perfect. We just have to be patient. After the months of preparation, it's a bit strange to just sit here waiting. I'm trying to stay busy. I have actually gone back to regular practice on my piano every day and am doing a lot of reading. Just finished "A Thousand Splendid Suns" by Khaled Hosseini who lives here in No. California now but was born in Kabul, Afghanistan. His first novel was "The Kite Runner".
I have to admit that I'm a bit fearful of the time when the house actually sells because then the angst will begin over where we are going! I'm not so good at decisions these days. I used to be able to move at the drop of a hat, but I am not sure I have the energy it's going to take to make a big move!
Today my order of "back up" cq supplies arrived so now I can continue work on the purple and gold pillow cover. However, one of my silk ribbon colors was out of stock, so that has thrown a monkey wrench into my plans. I am anxious to get going on the embellishment but have a few more stitches to go before that boot pincushion motif is done. I'm finding it hard to work on the fine lines of embroidery in the evenings. Perhaps I need to work on it more during the day. It's not like I don't have time! So I will just.....
Friday, August 17, 2007
Besides working on the crazy quilted pillow, yesterday I decided to try to hide some of the clutter in my office and studio. I used muslin to make curtains for the front of my office supply cabinet and to hide the space under my cutting/work table in the studio. Fortunately I kept a bolt of muslin out of storage and sequestered in my studio closet.
I bought the velcro that has the stiff side made with a sticky back and adhered it to both pieces of furniture. I wonder if it will come off when or if I want to remove it! Yikes!
I made the curtains, which are split in the middle for easy access, with 1" headers and sewed the 1" wide soft side of the velcro to the back of the header.
I've added the pictures of what I did below. Although the pillow doesn't look like it's going to be ready for the open house this Sunday, at least my clutter will be hidden from view.
With the real estate market in such a sad state we aren't expecting miracles, but it just takes one person and we're hoping that person comes by this Sunday. Currently in our town there are 1319 homes for sale and not very many buyers out there. About 15-20 homes seem to be selling every week, so guess we just have to wait our turn.
I can't wait for our new life to start, but until then I'll just keep my fingers busy ....
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
This kind of embroidery is very calming for me and quite easy to do as I watch tv in the evenings when the light isn't so good. I have my floor Ott light AND my portable Ott light in there to use and I need them both at night. Last night I was watching Heartland, The Closer and Saving Grace all summer program series being run on TNT. I like all 3 of them.
I can't seem to work on the cq pillow in the evenings when the light is not so good in my temporary studio. Not much stitching progress has been made on the pillow project, but today after my regular dental appointment I stopped with my coupon for Michael's Crafts. I discovered that they had their Bead Heaven beads on sale and I got two packages of assorted beads - one gold and the other what they call amethyst. That should give me enough variety to add to the very basic box of small seed beads that I kept out of storage.
Also there are a few nice chunky beads in each that will enable me to make nice 3-D ends for the pins in that boot pincushion outline design. I got that design traced on tissue and found my dark purple silk floss so I'll be starting that next. I like to do any patch embroidery before I get much of anything else on a block so that if I want to use a hoop I can without smooshing other seam treatments.
Last night my round-the-corner-friend and I made an order from Ribbonsmyth.com. So, depending upon how fast our order arrives, I just MAY have some silk ribbon to use on this pillow. I want to get the basics done and have it temporarily put together though so it can be displayed on our bed this Sunday when the open house is happening here.
I can't help thinking about having a new studio space eventually and have been searching for different storage options online. Storing regular sewing thread has always been a problem for me. I have always had 2 wooden thread beds that were hung on the wall that held all my sewing thread. They currently are each residing flat on the closet shelf. They certainly can't be hung up now that all the painting has been done, but they are a major pain to take down from inside the closet when I need a certain color sewing thread. Plus, thread hanging on the wall OR on a closet shelf gets SO dusty!
I'm in the process of looking at lots of online organization sites and sewing room sites on the internet and Flickr too. I'm trying to get ideas for all KINDS of things in my future space. Offhand I think I see a trip to IKEA in my future for one thing!
This afternoon I went to JoAnn Fabrics to check out some of the storage things they had on sale for 50% off and I ended up buying 2 little 3 drawer units that I am going to try out on my worktable. If they work perhaps I can add more if I need them. I originally wanted to lay the spools down so that the colors would be obvious when you pull out a drawer. I was surprised that the spools (I took some with me!) fit standing on end in these drawers. They looked more shallow in JA's online pictures. Perhaps if I put color labels on each drawer they will work.
How do YOU store your thread?
Sunday, August 12, 2007
The shoe pincushion motif I will embroider in dark plum silk floss on the gold patch. It is an enlargment of a tiny rubber stamp I bought yesterday morning at a garage sale while we were out on our daily walk. I had to go to Michael's Crafts to get a stamp pad because all mine, of course, are in storage. The little stamp is enlarged 225%! I plan to use dimensional beads atop the pins in the pincushion.
The faux silk I had left over from when I made a bunch of copies of my Kensitas flower silks to give as a freebie to my eBay buyers months ago.
I'm not sure about the leaf; it's a "silk" one from a packet from the craft store, but I thought it might look good if I stitch tiny gold beads along the veins. Or not - we shall see.
Everything else, believe it or not, came from Wal-mart. I was delighted to find that they have gotten in some really nice things since I was last there. The butterfly was $2.88 and everything else - the pretty dragonfly - 13 of the gold mop rings - 40 of the small mop disks - was $1.88. As I look at the picture now next to the text box I am typing in, I think I need to perhaps move that butterfly up a pit to soften the edge of that sharp piecing corner above where it sits now.
I don't know what I'll do with those little mop disks, but I've got 40 of them so perhaps 3 little flowers and then some semi-detached leaves using the woven picot technique. That might just be a good "make-do" to make up for my lack of SRE supplies!
I think these embellishments with a lot of layered stitches and teenie bead additions will be just what our pillow needs!
Saturday, August 11, 2007
I Miss My STUFF! LOL!
When I bought all new bed linens for the staging of the house for sale, something was missing when I set it all up. I think this pillow will do the trick by taking a place in the center of all the pillows and shams. I'll let you know when I get it done. I just realized this minute that I don't have any fabric in the house to use to make the back of the pillow. Guess I'll have to make another fabric run! G is probably gonna wonder if I'm building a back up stash here!
Meanwhile I realized, of course, that I don't have much in the way of embellishment for this purple and gold pillow cover. I found one faux ciggy silk of gold colored poppies, so I will use that along with lots of layered seam treatments and maybe a patch embroidery on the rather large gold satin piece. At least I have all my threads here!
I didn't think I had any silk ribbon though. I thought it was all in storage, but last evening I found a bag of short pieces. Alas there is no purple in the bag, but I did find a short length of gold. And, of course, all my hand-dyed motifs are safely locked up as well.
All in all it's going to be quite a challenge to see what I can come up with for this pillow!
Meanwhile all last week I worked on and finished 4 quilt tops for our local Blankie Project for cancer patients. I have plans and fabric for a bunch more after spending all day last Saturday at the workshop pinning and prepping quilt tops for machine quilting.
I am still doing Redwork embroidery in the evenings while I watch tv and I have finished 6 of the 12 Blueberry Hill ornament designs now. They and the Blankie quilts can be seen in my flickr photostream which you can access by clicking on the photo in this entry.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
The rest of the evening I guess I will lay out and cut the backing for my July Challenge Doll Quilt. The August challenge was posted today and it's called Crazy 9 Patch. I copied the instruction from the tutorial that was linked to the challenge group and it looks interesting. It's for a full size quilt, so the challenge for ME I think will be to figure out how to downsize the concept for a doll quilt......
Maybe I'll just start Ornament #5!!!!!