Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year and Time to Remember


Happy New Year to everyone.  I know it looks like Madeline has already celebrated and crashed -- but rest assured, she's just playing.

This past year has been very hard on so many people.  Maddie and I wish for 2010 to be better for all of us, especially those who have had such a hard time in 2009. 

I know I have not been the best blogger this  year.  I look back through the archives and there are some months I've been barely present.  I hope to do better this year. I want to thank all of you who stop by, look at my projects or at Madeline's latest antics -- we both appreciate you.   I need more time management skills -- if I can do it at work, I should be able to apply that to my own time as well.

Also, please spare a thought for my friend who lost her beloved Duchess (kitty) girl (18 years) yesterday.  She's playing on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge with her brother Jester.  While we are happy the two of them are together, we are terribly sad at being left behind.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Waiting. . . .

 

I've got my pretty collar on -- the one with the jingle bells.  I'm sitting here at this window waiting for Santa Claws.  I'd like some nip, a new mousey toy, and some nip.  Did I forget to ask for nip?

Please come soon Santa -- this collar is not comfortable and I refuse to wear both the hat and the collar at the same time.


 

A WONDERFUL HOLIDAY TO ALL OF YOU!


Monday, December 07, 2009

Beginning to Look. . . .



It's that season.  The end of craft show season -- YAY!!!  I did well this season of shows.  But I'm always glad when the season is over.

Do you like Madeline's picture?  This took me over two weeks of working with her to get this one shot.  Believe me, this is a one in a million shot.  And that's all I got -- was the one shot.  Of course, that's all I asked her for (please, please Maddie, let mommy just take one picture, okay?  Just one picture pretty girl?).  She sat absolutely still for the first shot.  I told her what a good girl she was.  Then asked for a second picture.  Well, she flew off the sewing machine table quicker then quick and that was it.

But I do think she looks too adorable in her little Santa hat.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Hexagons



A couple more hexagons for your viewing pleasure. These are such fun little "bits" to hold in your hand and embellish and embellish and then embellish some more. When I have them in front of me, they look absolutely "full" and totally embellished. However, looking at these pictures, they look a little bare. Hmmm.
This month is my busiest month for craft shows -- every weekend until after Thanksgiving. Along with a full time job, I am sometimes meeting myself coming and going.
I want to thank all of you for the comments about my new treadle machine, especially Dorothy B (you came through as a no-reply blogger). Dorothy gave a link to a group: http://www.treadleon.net/ where there's lots of information on treadle machines.
My new machine is home, in my front room, and I have tried practicing a little more. As I'm sure will come as no surprise, Madeline loves to sit on the metal pedal, so I keep the belt disengaged when I'm not at the machine.
I'll be back, later, hopefully with more hexagons or other things to show.

Monday, October 26, 2009

New Machine

Earlier this year, I told my good friend, Crazy Judyth, that if she ran across a working treadle sewing machine, for a reasonable price, to grab it for me. Not only did she manage to get a line on one machine, but she got two machines -- and one of them is mine.

It's a Singer, 1928-1930, and it is a beauty. The decals are Egyptian themed and in such good shape considering it's age. The machine runs like a charm, and would run even better if I could get my feet coordinated (LOL). I went down this past weekend for a viewing and lessons. The machine will be coming home to my house in a week or so -- could not fit it in the toy car for the long journey home.

Here's a few shots of the decals:




The cabinet is in very good shape -- only one little spot on it where it looks like someone set a wet glass, but to me that's nothing. I see lots of fun in my future when this baby comes to my house to live. Gee, do you think maybe I could get Madeline to work the treadle part?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Birdhouse Quilt


Here it is -- my birdhouse CQ. Since starting CQForNewbies (button to join on the right sidebar), each spring I'd run a birdhouse block swap. Here are all the great blocks I've received through the years, all nicely trimmed to size and ready to be sewn together. I made a few more blocks myself as I wanted 16 and just didn't have the patience to wait until next Spring and another swap. My thanks to:

Row 1: JK, Kathy Shaw, Me and Unknown
Row 2: Kathy Shaw, JK, me and me
Row 3: Me, Kathy Shaw, Christy Thornberg, Janet Popish
Row 4: Me, Faith Debbs, Unknown, Unknown

Some people didn't sign their blocks and I forgot to write their names on it. If you recognize your block, please let me know. EDITED: These blocks are 8 inches finished. This is our (CQForNewbies) standard size block that we swap.

After picking out the above lay-out, it was time to start sewing the blocks together. Here's where I learned some lessons:

We are sewing embellishments way, way too close to the seam line and not leaving enough extra on the blocks for seam allowances. I'm as guilty as everyone else. I have a nice little pile of beads, butterflies, more beads, charms, that I had to clip off the blocks in order to get the seams sewn -- and these were just the things that were in the actual seam line. I had to hand-sew many of the blocks because the beads were too close to the seam line to enable the block to go under the sewing machine. Hand sew. Through all those layers -- sometimes as many as 8.

Then my "assistant" decided to come and see if I had made the right choices in my block arrangement. She needs an up close and personal view.


Okay. What can I say? Things are now totally out of control! Christy, it was the little wooden birdhouse that tipped Madeline over the edge. The little wooden birdhouse that survived the U.S. Postal Service may not survive in my own house!

I have Row 1 put together and will be working on the seams and I'll show the progress for you as I go.

Friday, October 02, 2009

"Tocktober Fest"

For those of you who are familiar with the Cute Overload site, you will know that October is "tocktober" -- the time of year when little animal "tocks" are shown and celebrated. Of course, my little animal has the cutest "tocks" I've ever seen -- what do you think?






Don't know what we're talking about when we mention "tocks?" Then scroll down.





















"Tocks" -- cute name for "buttocks" of course.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

CQ

As promised, here's some of what I've been working on.


13 hexes pieced. From the top to the bottom, each hex measures 5.5 inches and I used 6 or more fabrics in each one. And still that pile of fabrics in my room seems just as large as it was before I started. I actually have 21 pieced now, but this is the first group. Do you like the peacock center on the blue one in the center of the grouping?
Then after all that piecing comes embellishment:

Pink one



Green one (some people see green, some see gold -- it is green, trust me).



Back to work.

Friday, September 11, 2009

New Project

Over the Labor Day weekend, I got the urge to start a new project. On one of my Yahoo groups, a challenge was put out to have a large crazy quilt completed by 2012. The battle cry is "CQ by 2-0-1-2" (it rhymes). I started out with one idea, a CQ I had been working on off and on (mostly off). But it just wasn't calling my name. Then an idea popped in my head and I thought about it and then I took off full blast.

Here's what one corner of the sewing room looks like when inspiration strikes:

Boxes of fancy fabrics and a big tub of vintage kimono and obi fabric. These guys are finally going to see the light of day and no longer be cooped up in boxes and plastic bins. I worked and worked for 2 days piecing blocks and you know what? The piles don't look any smaller -- they still look the same size. How can that be? How many blocks do I have to make before I notice a dent in the stash? Sheesh!

My little friend got all "hyper" with all the activity going on -- pieces of fabric thrown to the wind, lots of strings to play with, the iron cord whipping back and forth.


So far I have 19 blocks. I'll show them next time.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I won!


Several weeks ago, I was one of the lucky winners of a lace jackpot from Cathy at Crazy by Design. As you can see from the pic above, there is a lot of lace here. And there was even more, but I already used some -- couldn't wait! Thanks Cathy! I have only won one other time in a blog giveaway so it was great to be the recipient of your generosity.
The lace pieces in the lower right -- those were dyed with some wild indigo I have that's growing in my yard. Somewhere in my internet browsings, I saw where someone had used indigo leaves to dye yarn. I tried the leaves, but mine didn't work. So I ground up the seed pods (which are a beautiful dark purple/blue color) and the seed pods did the job. I only used a couple of the pods because I was just experimenting, but I think when I have some time (yeah right!) I will pick a whole bunch of the pods, lose the leaves, and try this again.
Craft show season starts this weekend so at least now I'll have an excuse as to why I don't blog that often.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

New Round Robin Starting

On CQForNewbies, we are doing a new round robin -- Fantasy Landscapes. Above is my fantasy land, Midnight in the Fairies Garden. Since CQForNewbies has been established for a little over three years now, we felt it was time to take everyone a few steps further. This is our first RR for more experienced stitchers. A lot of our members have been with us from day one and are ready to take on more challenging swaps.

Now by no means does that mean we are not helping newbies any longer. CQForNewbies is still a newbies group and we still have lots of swaps open to everyone, especially newbies. If you'd like to join us, there's a button on the right for you to click and it takes you right to the sign up page.

Below is the next to the last block in my Birds of a Feather quilt that was supposed to be done much earlier this year. Don't know what happened -- I was doing really good with my block a month and then the bottom just fell out. These are all appliqued blocks using fabrics from my stash. I am currently working on the LAST BLOCK (yahoo!) but it has about a million leaves in it so it's going slow.

Last but not least, is my final block for my Birdhouse CQ. When we first started CQForNewbies, one of our first swaps was a birdhouse swap. I continued this swap each year, always with a birdhouse and/or a bird requirement, and by adding a couple of extra blocks myself, I now have 16 completed blocks and am ready to start setting this together. This will be the first CQ I have attempted to put together and of course, there will be all the seam work and embellishing after the top is complete. Since craft show season is starting up, it may be a while before I can get back to this one.

Thanks for stopping by and thank you to all of you that leave me comments. I try and answer each one but some of you come through with "no reply" which means I have no address for you.

Monday, August 03, 2009

August

Hello everyone. Here it is August -- where the heck did the time go? Seems like it was just Memorial Day a couple of seconds ago.
This post has lots of pictures -- I know you love to look at pictures, because I do too (g).

I've been working on a few things -- here's a little covered tin I did. I was inspired by all the little covered tins that have been turning up on the 'net and by my friend Mary -- and I finally got mine completed.


A little fairy -- all embroidered and beaded. She will become a pillow to be sold at the craft shows this Fall -- which is one month away!



And this is my crazy girl. This is how she sleeps on the recliner. It doesn't look very comfortable to me, but Madeline will sleep this way for hours.




Tuesday, July 21, 2009

July 21

It's been so long, once again. About 4 weeks ago, I fell down the concrete stairs coming into the building at work and completely tore up my foot and ankle. Nothing major broken, but extreme swelling, 3 broken toes, a HUGE fat, fat foot that was the most lovely shade of purple (both top and bottom) for several weeks. Since it was my clutch foot, I could not drive or hardly walk for 4 days and then I've been hobbling around ever since. No celebrating the 4th of July -- just sitting around with my foot up in the air and an ice bag on it. Finally getting better.

While I was supposed to be off my foot (yeah, right!), I made up two blocks for the CQForNewbies Season to Season swap. Right now we're starting with the Summer season. You embellish one half the block, then trade and someone else finishes it, while you finish their block.


I did two blocks as I am the hostess and I had to be prepared in case an odd number of people joined up.

I also received this gift from my dear friend Mary in Louisiana. We'd been discussing covering the little Altoid tins and I guess I asked so many questions that she was nice enough to send me one so I could see it up close and personal (LOL). It even has my initial on it. And as if that wasn't enough -- she sent me two of her beaded motifs. I definitely see more CQ blocks in my future so I can take advantage of these great beaded paisleys. Thank you again Mary!

And last, but definitely not least -- I bet you didn't know that a chair rung could be a pillow? My little wild kitty was very good while my foot was so messed up. She sat very close to me for days on end and was a very sweet companion.

At one point, I had my foot up on a TV tray and Madeline jumped up on the tray right by my foot. I was immediately on guard -- scared she would hit my foot -- but she didn't. She layed down, very close to my injured foot, and put one of her soft little paws ever so gently on my foot and would give it a little pat. Then she's sleep a little, wake up, and put her little paw, once again very gently, on my foot and give it a little pat.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Hey!

Where's everyone been? My faithful companion here has been her wild child self -- ripping through the house, climbing the door/window screens (I should try that someone -- Madeline loves it so it must be a lot of fun!), jumping on the back of the reclinder to attack me each time I walk by. Madeline still has all her claws and I have the scars on my arms to prove it.

The weather here has finally warmed up and that's meant lots of time outdoors soaking up the sunshine and gardening, both flower and veggie.

I have been doing a little needlework. Here's a box that I covered the lid with CQ work. The box is gold/beige/white so it was a limited palette for me. All in all, a pretty easy project -- getting the block on that round lid went much better then I thought! Enjoy the pics.




Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Garden Time

I know this isn't a gardening blog, but I thought I'd share a few photos of my yard with you all. It's been a very wet and cool spring this year and the plants are loving it.

An orange iris. This one ended up having 4 flowers.


A patch of wild flowers.

A giant hosta -- this is only one of about 6 or 7 hostas that live in the shaded side yard.

And how about this one? How many of you know what it is? Who would have thought that potatoes would have such pretty blooms on them? (LOL).


I've been working hard dyeing some lace and things. Some will go for prizes in a contest we're having at CQForNewbies -- others may go into the Etsy shop (which has been vacant for soooo long). I'll be back, hopefully, later in the week with more things to share.

And before I forget -- I want to thank all of you who took the time to comment on Ethel Rose and Emma Violet (last post). I'm glad you all enjoyed the story (and I didn't even tell you about the woman who owned the bar, Caroline. When I saw Bette Davis in the movie What Ever Happened to Baby Jane, I immediately screamed, "OMG, it's Caroline!"). I do appreciate each and every one of you who comment -- and HEY! I updated my blog template and found out I have followers. How cool is that? I didn't even know! So thank you all again.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Introducing. . . .




Ethel Rose


and Emma Violet.

I showed you all Emma Violet quite a while ago and I've been working off and on (mostly off) on Ethel Rose.

Ethel and Emma are identical twin sisters. They have lived together all their lives. A long time ago, Emma had a stroke and it left her wheelchair-bound, and affected her speech. Ethel has full-time care of her twin sister. When they were little girls, their mother dressed them in pink and purple (accordingly).

Now they are older, they no longer look identical and they wear lots of colors besides pink and purple. Their parents are gone, Ethel's husband is gone, neither twin had any children, there's just the two of them.

They like to go out to their favorite neighborhood bar and have a beer (or two, or three). Emma really likes her beer and gets very happy and sociable after a few. It's easier to understand her speech then too.

I met these dear ladies one night when I was lost, driving around a residential neighboorhood looking for someplace that was open so I could ask directions. I finally noticed a little hole in the wall bar called Caroline's and I stopped.

As I was walking up to the door, there were two older women, one in a wheel chair. This was before the days of ADA so there was quite a struggle to get the wheelchair across the gravel parking lot and into the bar. I assisted with holding purses, hats, coats, while the regulars inside got Emma and her wheelchair inside.

There was a flurry of greetings -- seems these ladies were still the belles of the ball -- and beers handed out all around. Ethel is quite the talker and had me captivated, first with the news they were twins, then with stories of their youth, with Emma correcting her when she got carried away with the story.

I had such a fun time with these two ladies that I never made my original engagement. I bought Emma a beer (or two -- she wasn't driving after all), and I would occasionally go back and see them at the bar on Friday nights. Ethel was always vivacious, Emma a little more quiet due to her speech difficulties, but she always had a smile on her face.

Some close ups for you:



The pictures were transferred to the fabric using the heat tool method and colored with crayon, colored pencil, fabric pens and embroidered details. Each one is small -- less then 16" (I forgot to measure them).
I had a lot of fun doing these and thinking about old times.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

What I've Been Up To

It's baby quilt time again. The above ABC quilt is a commission piece. This Grandma ordered one from me last year, for a boy. Now Baby #2 is definitely a girl, so both of them had to have ABC quilts -- only this one a little more girly. In case you're wondering what that is beside the letter "W" it's a balloon. It's hard to tell, isn't it, without the string embroidered on. But that comes later.

The ABC quilts are my own design -- if you can call it that -- I make the balloon type letters and cut them out with pinking shears. The letters are sewn down as part of the quilting process with bright colored embroidery floss. I've made so many of these that I have lost count. I've been making them for 10 years now.
This hanger holds about 8 baby quilt tops. Sometime real soon here I've got to stop piecing tops and start layering and quilting. These are for my shows this Fall. I'm thinking with the economy the way it is now, warm coverings are going to be a must for this coming Winter. But I don't even want to think about Winter, as I'm *still* waiting for warm weather here. Maddie and I saw one day of sunshine last week and won't see another day of sunshine until late next week. Lots of rain though. And thunder. And lightning. And cool weather.

This little bunny quilt is hiding behind the others on the hanger. I love the flowers on this little guy. I'm going to spend a couple of days and one night with my friend, Crazy Judyth. We've got lots of work to do for the quilt show that she's going to vend at. I hear there's an iron that's calling my name (LOL)
Hope you all have a good weekend and that you're having sunshine. I know the sun is shining somewhere, just not here.

Friday, April 17, 2009

So Sorry!


Hello? Is anybody still there? I'm so sorry to those of you who still check my blog and see nothing new. I do appreciate you still dropping by, and I know how disappointing it is to check a blog and never see any updates. I really admire those of you who are able to post everyday and I enjoy looking at your new postings. I know it's been over a month since I posted anything.

What can I say? The weather has been rotten for the month of March and most of April. It's just now beginning to warm up and everything is a month behind. I've been trying to get a garden in and it's been hard when there have been hard freeze warnings (and hard freezing) way into April.

I've been working on a few things, mostly baby quilts (yes, again). I've been dyeing some laces for a quilt show a friend and I are going to do in June. I'll post full details of that later for any of you that are near.
Hopefully now that the weather is starting to warm up and spring may actually be here, I'll be more motivated.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Seam

Just a short note here today. Here's another little seam/patch treatment for you. It's a piece of flowered trim and I've simply added beads in the center. I "grew" some silk ribbon flowers along the top of the trim to help fill up the space some. This is actually organza ribbon, not silk ribbon. Organza is a little stiffer and as you can see, makes more lily shaped flowers instead of little knot type flowers like the silk ribbon would have done.

For those of you that had questions, if your comment came through with an email address, I emailed you. If your comment shows you as no reply or no email, they I answered in the comments section.

Someone was asking about how I handle the metallic thread and I at first gave a very smart answer about knowing lots of cuss words. Then I started paying attention to how I embroider with the metallic thread. One thing I do: after coming through all layers to the front of the block, I slide my needle between the top fabric and the backing. In other words, my needle and metallic thread do not go clear through to the foundation backing on the block. I think that helps some with the wear and tear on the metallic thread. So try that and see if it doesn't help some of you with your metallic threads.

Now it's almost the weekend and here is Miss Madeline blowing raspberries to everyone.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Finally Friday!


YAY! Finally Friday! I'm so happy. Last night I received a gift from one of my cyber-friends, someone whom I've never met but we have emailed for over 10 years now (!). She sent me the new Judith Baker Montano spiral book of crazy quilt stitches -- diagramed for LEFT HANDED people! Guess you know what I will be doing over the weekend.
For some of my newbies in CQForNewbies -- today's pictures are appliqued motifs. In the first picture, you will see a flamingo that I cut out from another piece of fabric and hand stitched to the block. Lots and lots of hand stitches. I did not use anything on the edges of the applique to keep it from fraying, just sewed with floss.
The second picture is the same thing, the sun motif was cut from fabric, only this time I appliqued it on with a machine satin stitch using metallic thread. My sewing machine seems to handle the metallic threads a lot better then the hand embroidery threads and then I beaded the edges. By the way, this is the very first CQ block I ever did and I was playing around with machine stitching vs. hand stitching. And if you're wondering -- hand stitching won (LOL).
So I hope that gives some of you an idea on how to use fabrics as motifs.
I want to take the time to thank all of you for your sweet comments. So many of you come through with "no reply" or no email addresses or names, so I'm going to start responding to comments in the comment section. I know I like to read the comments on the blogs I visit and I hope you do too.
We're supposed to have snow tomorrow -- ugh! It was 70 degrees on Wednesday and now snow on Friday night. Everyone is so tired of winter and anxious for spring that I know we're trying to rush Mother Nature. I wish she'd take the hint (g).