Tuesday, July 31, 2007

More hearts headed out...the end of this year's.

These are the last of the hearts for the swap for this year. It's been a bit of a disappointment for me that I've only received the 3 in return, having sent out 20. Some of the hearts I should have received for June are with Linda, the hostess for this swap, and I've told her to keep them until December, and just send them all along together.

I've continued to dabble with the SRE on the first three hearts pictured. There was a good amount of ribbon left over from the kit, enough to do quite a few more little bouquets. That little cameo rose lace motif that I used on several of these hearts is from some lace that I bought many many years ago. I've seen it on other people's hearts and am wondering if it is still available to buy somewhere. I think I've got 5 of the little cameos left.

The blue heart with the plaid is very different for me. I don't usually use plaids for one thing, and I just used simple embroidery stitches and beads on the seams. The last heart, with the oriental print tree, is unembellished in the picture. I don't really have need of another heart right now, but I have 3 foundations left, so I'll go ahead and finish them. Anybody wanna swap hearts?

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Silk Ribbon Embroidery

I finally got to do the SRE kit that I've had for nearly a year. This is an insert that is supposed to go into the cover of a journal (which was included in the kit). I think I may put it in a cq block instead; I'll have to think about it. It was fun to do, but the directions weren't totally clear to me. I ended up not doing the magenta flower the way it was supposed to be done, but I still like it. I gave it beads in the center, instead of French knots, and I did that on purpose, but the petals I did differently because I'm dumb. The largest lavender flower didn't come out the way it was supposed to be either; it's way smaller, and sort of looks like a wad of gum. Artistically chewed gum, but yeah, gum. I also mixed up the light green and yellow ribbons. Don't ask me how that happened, but some of the flowers have light green centers and yellow leaves. Must be some of those genetically engineered plants.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Hearts with silk ribbon embroidery

I am having so much fun with the SRE that I've done 3 hearts with just a touch of it included. I'm still practicing that loopy petaled flower and the whip stitch buds with Japanese stitch leaves. I've tried French knots for centers, and gold glass beads. What I really need is more ribbon. And to find that kit I bought.....it has more colors of ribbon in it......yeah.......
These two hearts will find homes in South Africa and Michigan. The third is still in the works and doesn't yet know where it wants to go.

Anne's CYOT rr blocks; my additions

Here's the embellished block for Anne. I will often piece a block very quickly, as it sometimes just falls together so easily. Not so in this case. I kept finding my piecing too balanced; almost symmetrical, and I don't like symmetrical! So it took a few tries before I felt I'd lost enough of that quality to please myself. Even with embellishments, it's still a bit more "balanced" than I would generally go for, but I like it now. Not sure if it's done. I don't have to send it on until August 15th, so I can contemplate it for awhile.
I tried a new stitch on this, called the Vandyke stitch. It is on a nearly vertical seam, between the navy background floral print and the greyish-green brocade. If you look at it closely, it looks almost like a centipede....which is not what I was going for, but sometimes these things happen....

I am rather pleased with my very first attempt at silk ribbon embroidery; the dusty rose loopy flower and buds. I've had an SRE kit that I've been meaning to start for a year now. Guess I'd better find that and really give it a go. The book I have on beginning SRE seems way too simple, now that I've actually threaded a needle and given it a try. Our library has a video that was more helpful than the book has been. Maybe I'll borrow that again and actually do the stitches along with the teacher.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Another MEME challenge

I was tagged for another MEME challenge this week, by Sue in western Washington. It's taken me several days to think about the answers, but here goes:

5 things to do before I die:
1) Own my own horse.
2) Get paid regularly for doing something I would do without getting paid (something artsy).
3) Learn to speak, or at least read, a foreign language.
4) Somehow, acquire a green thumb so I can grow tomatoes like my grandmother used to.
5) Clean my bedroom clutter so the kids don't have to.

5 things I can do:
1) Teach religious education to children (I'm a 3rd grade volunteer catechist)
2) Stitch! Most anything, but especially embroidery...
3) Cook. I don't always enjoy cooking, but I love to make soups in the winter.
4) Read. I'm a voracious reader; it's like breathing to me.
5) Make people laugh.

5 things I cannot do:
1) Function well without caffeine.
2) Play chess. And I refuse to learn.
3) Do math in my head, except for percentages, like "this fabric is discounted 40%, how much is a 1/4 of a yard?"
4) Be mean to anyone on purpose.
5) Speak a foreign language, yet.

5 things that attract me to the opposite sex:
1) Good sense of humor.
2) Intelligence.
3) Integrity.
4) Loyalty.
5) Facial hair (only one is superficial--that's not too bad is it?).

5 celebrity crushes:
1) The Rock
2) Hugh Jackman
3) Vin Deisel
4) Adam Baldwin
5) The late, great Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin

5 people I want to tag for this challenge:
1) Lauri Burgesser
2) Susan Nixon
3) JK
4) Trystan Popish (send me an email, kiddo)
5) Lesa Farmer

And, by the way, who the heck is MEME, and why all the challenges?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Anne's CYOT rr blocks

These are the blocks for Anne's Japanese theme blocks. Her focus fabric is the fan pattern in the muted purple, green and blue on a gold background. The first pic is of Lauri's beautifully embellished block. She even printed out a photo of a geisha girl, near the center of the block. The second photo is of Anne's sample block, which isn't fully embellished yet. Anne ran out of time and says she will finish her block when they all return home to her.
The last photo is of my naked block. I have some lace to put on it, and of course will add some beads and bling and embroidery.
This has been the most fun round robin. The other ladies' choice of focus fabric and trying to follow their example has really been a good stretch for my creativity. Coming up next is a "pineapples and palm trees" theme, and then....Elvis lives!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Crazy garden; finished!

I finally decided to finish the quilt with a 1/2" black binding. It occurred to me that if I kept it small, I had wall space where I could hang it in my bedroom. Then I remembered that I still needed to do something with the 4 inner corners, where the blocks come together. I'd put the button cluster over one, so I stitched vintage metal buttons on two others and used a crocheted motif with a button center for the 4th. Then I remembered that I wanted to do my signature stitch somewhere on it. I dug out my pendant and realized that I'd been doing the stitch wrong. I have now finalized how I want it to look. I think.....
The last thing I want to do is make a label for the back, listing the people who said the quotations on the front. This is how they go, beginning at the upper left block (row 1, block 1) and going left to right and top to bottom:
R1B1 "When the deep purple falls over sleepy garden walls..." song lyric from Deep Purple by M. Parish
R1B2 "One touch of nature makes the whole world kin." Shakespeare
R1B3 "The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent upon it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do." Galileo
R2B1 "May things grow in the garden that were never sown there." T. Fuller
R2B2 "I dream of a crazy garden, locked within walls gone grey, where never a leaf has fallen, never a petal strayed." I penned this just to tie all the blocks together in the garden theme.
R2B3 "Don't sit under the apple tree with anyone else but me..." song lyric from Apple Tree by L. Brown, C. Tobias, and S.H. Stept
R3B1 "Earth laughs in flowers." R.W. Emerson
R3B2 "The Lord is my shepherd....He leads me beside still waters..." Psalm 23; and "In the spring rain, the pond and the river have become one." Y. Buson
R3B3 "A weed is no more than a flower in disguise." J.P. Cowell

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Stash container

We were challenged to show our stash of fabric and how we stored it. Here's where I keep my fancy fabrics. This is a wooden and metal chest that I bought at Hobby Lobby a few years ago. Grandson Corbin refers to it as my treasure chest. Inside are bags and bags of fancy fabrics, and one bag stuffed full of silk shirts and ties. The bags totally fill the curved top of the chest, and it's getting to be a challenge just to close the lid. The chest sits in the living room next to the entertainment center, so the lid really looks better closed than gaping like an open mouth.

My cotton fabrics are kept in 3 different places in two different rooms. There's some in an antique buffet in the living room, and a lot in the bedroom; in a plastic drawer tower and stacked under my sewing machine desk. Oh, and in the corner.....and there's some in my craft drawers....and there's that bag of scraps that could be anywhere....

Good buys at Goodwill

I went shopping at our brand new Goodwill store last week, and felt like I'd hit the jackpot. I got two suits to cut up for cqing. The first is a green 3 piece set in an oriental woven print, almost like brocade. It's greener than it appears in the photos.

The second is a 2 piece suit in the most lucious raspberry color, with Venice lace draping the front and sleeves. It has some pretty buttons on it, too. I've already started cutting them both up and have used the raspberry in the next set of hearts I'm making; for Susan! Susan listed her color preference as "raspberry, lime green and purple" and I have followed those guidelines. I've just finished piecing those two, and will post pics of those before I send them off.
Oh, I forgot to say, these suits were priced at $8.99, but were half price that day, so I got them both for that. I also got a burgundy silk blouse for $2.00. There were other silk blouses there, but they were in colors I thought I already had.
I really should purge my silk supply a little bit. I have whole shirts in quite a few colors now, and don't really need that much quantity. Anybody want to swap some beads, small crocheted or tatted motifs, or beads for some pieces of silk? Leave a comment with your email and we'll see what we can come up with.

More hearts headed out...

These first two hearts are headed to Phyllis, the lady for July in the Sharing Our Hearts swap on CQ4Newbies. The second set are for Donna Deen, the lady for August. Donna sent me a wonderful heart for my month of June that had an embroidered basket on it, so I embroidered a basket for her on the heart on the left. The one on the right includes a pewter charm of an oriental fan. I've found that I can add some color to pewter charms with fingernail polish. If you look closely, I think you might be able to see the red flowers on the tiny fan. Just another thing to look for when shopping, ladies; fingernail polish in colors to enhance pewter charms!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Grand Mesa afternoon

Yesterday we went up on Grand Mesa for a picnic and hiking. It was so cool and breezy, and very green up there, and the flowers were in bloom. Grand Junction has been over 100 degrees for a week or more now, though we're having a cooling trend today; it's only 95 in the shade of my backyard. Forecast is for more 100 degree days ahead.

The light blue flowers in the second photo are columbines--Colorado's state flower.
We hiked the trail that goes all the way around Mesa Lake. Trystan is home from college, and brought her friend, Cara. It's always refreshing to see the natural wonders of your world with someone who's never seen them before. It just makes you appreciate them more.

This last picture is taken from the trail, looking over the lake we used to call Beaver Lake, towards the Mesa Lakes Lodge. It was a beautiful day, and the water, though mossy, was clear enough to see the fish swimming around.
When we first got there, we saw a deer walking in the lake drinking. As we hiked around the lake, she had gotten out of the water and was lying down near the shore, about 15-20 feet down from the trail we were on. She must have been pretty used to people, because she kept an eye on us, but didn't get up and move away.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Crazy garden gate

This is my actual garden gate. It encloses a small area that, this year, does contain plants that were put there on purpose.
The gate itself was made by my late grandfather, Frank Wooters, probably 50 some years ago. This is its second home. It originally gated the pasture at the home in which I grew up; a pasture that held, in no particular order, bum lambs, calves, and neighbor's horses, though never a horse of my own (do you detect a note of bitterness there?).
The pasture was also a playground for me and my horse-loving, horse-owning, and thankfully for me, horse-sharing best friend, Sherry. I couldn't count the number of times we went in and out of this gate, riding our stick horses or pretending to be horses.
When my mother decided to move to a smaller house, I asked to take the gate home with me. Lucky for me I have a husband who not only is handy with tools of all kinds, but who understood my sentimentality towards this crooked wooden family heirloom. He managed to attach the old wooden posts to metal ones, sunk those in the ground, and built the chain link around it. It even still has the loop of rusted baling wire that secures it closed.

And now back to my crazy garden quilt. There's a little poem that goes;
Don't make love
By the garden gate,
'Cause love is blind,
But the neighbors ain't.
It's been running through my head lately, and inspired me to put a garden gate into my quilt. I used my own gate as a pattern, though my gate has never been this white, to my knowledge. I even included the rusted hinges, nails and wire loop. There are sunflowers planted to the right of my gate, but they are only about a foot high right now.