Thursday, June 28, 2007

Crazy garden quilt; a work in progress

This quilt has been in the works for two years, I think. I tried to get it done for the county fair last summer, but I would have had to just finish it quickly, and I had definite ideas about borders and embellishments. So now I'm trying to get it done for this year's fair, which means I have exactly 3 weeks to finish it, or wait....again.

Each block has some wording on it, either a poem, a bit of song lyrics, or a quotation. Having this in the works for such a long time has meant that I've learned new things in the interim. So after I sewed the blocks together and embroidered those seams, I had to add a button cluster, lace that I dyed, and some beading. Then I added a couple of charms, and the setting embroidery for them. It's still in need of something in the remaining three intersections; I have some huge buttons in mind for two of them, but I haven't decided about it for sure yet.
In order of appearance, these blocks are middle row right, top row center, top row right, bottom row right, and top row left.

Here are four more blocks of my crazy garden quilt. These are, in order of appearance, the center block (with a little poem I wrote specifically to tie all the blocks and motifs together), the center of the bottom row (which represents the pond in the garden), the bottom left (featuring my little frog design), and the center row, left side (with a spider one her web).

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Another heart!

I got another heart yesterday! This one is from Donna Deen in AR. I just love the little old fashioned basket she embroidered, and the SRE flowers in it. She really put a lot of detail into it, with tiny beads and French knots everywhere.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Sharing Our Hearts and an Ebay purchase

Yesterday was a good day for mail. I got my second heart, from Susan Nixon (currently) in South Dakota and a vintage lace collar that I bought from Lesa on the CQ4N group.

Susan's heart is done mostly in a gorgeous irridescent orange fabric that didn't photograph terribly well. It includes some SRE flowers in deep red and a very intriguing mandala shaped design. The little butterfly charm looks like stained glass; I've never seen one like it before. There's a very tiny dragonfly bead in the center green patch. Susan also sent some beads and a bit of ribbon for my stash. I'd almost purchased some of the butterfly beads on-line this week, then decided I'd better not. Susan, your timing is excellent!

The vintage lace collar will be beautiful in crazy quilts, that is if I don't attach it to a t-shirt and wear it. The only worn spot is in one upper corner, and it's wonderfully soft and supple.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Zackery at 6 weeks

I worked so hard for this sort-of-smile! After I spent an hour and a half feeding this little guy 4 ounces of formula, he promptly smiled at his Aunt Michaela. So later I caught him in his smiley mood, and worked up a few smiles and coos from him. This is the closest thing to a smile that I could capture with my camera. Was it worth all the work? You betcha!

Beaded and blinged; Lauri's romance block

Okay, I tried to do this yesterday and had it all ready to post, when BAM! I rolled the cursor over something I shouldn't have and it all disappeared. Needless to say, I was quite ticked off.

I think I am done with Lauri's block for the CYOT round robin. I have beaded and blinged it more that I have ever beaded or blinged a block before. It now weighs about what Lauri's sample block does, so I'm thinking I must be done. It has lace that we dyed at Lauri's house one day this spring, beads in several colors, a button trail arch (which I'd never done before), and of course, embroidery.

The button arch was a learning experience. Before I had done much of the embroidery, I laid the block flat on the table and positioned the buttons in what I hoped was a pleasing arrangement. Then I did a quick sketch of what button goes where. As I sewed them down, they sort of rearranged themselves just a little, but I liked the way they came out. Sometimes you just have to listen to your embellishments; they usually know best. Except they didn't tell me I should have done the buttons last, as the embroidery thread kept catching on the buttons, and they made the block heavy in that spot and hard to handle.

You might note that our fair lady's purse is lime green, while her dress is purple. One can only assume that the purse matches her shoes and perhaps her belt, neither of which can be seen.
Also note the tiny bee in the turquoise patch. She is about 1/4" long.

The last thing I did on this block is a signature stitch. One of the Colorado Crazy Quilters, Leslie, and I have been thinking about and working on a small motif that we can use on any quilt project to "sign" it without using our names or initials. It needs to be small enough to stitch quickly, and generic enough to fit in with any quilt theme. The small heart in the blue patch is what I am thinking about using. For many years now I've used a very simplified version of that design in counted cross stitch projects, and thought, "A hundred years from now, when one of my projects ends up on Antiques Roadshow, they'll be able to identify it as my work!" Delusions of grandeur....

Friday, June 22, 2007

Sharing Our Hearts--my first one!

I got my first heart in this swap on the CQ for Newbies site. Since January, I've been sending out 2 hearts each month to the lady whose month it is, and June is mine! December will be mine, also, and that is why I send two per month. This is the first one I have received, and it is from Peggy Reynolds in Florida. She did some beautiful beadwork around the rose ciggie (that's short for cigarette silk). If you look closely at the tiny spider, she seems to be waving a leg in greeting. I absolutely love it, and am looking forward to 9 more this month!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

A book review, 100 years late

I bought this little book at our library's used book sale this spring, thinking it was just the cutest little thing, and exactly 100 years old, and needed to come live at my house with some other old books (and an old bookworm). It's not in perfect condition, and has a red cloth cover, which, I belatedly discovered, bleeds when it gets wet. It is titled Arizona Nights by Stewart Edward White. I believe Stewart might have been British, as he spells color "colour".

Anyway, I intended at first to just put the book on my shelf with my other old books. Then I thought, maybe I should actually read it. What a concept!

The first part is made up of various stories told by a group of cowboys about cattle drives, branding, rustling, treasure hunting, etc. The last section is about Buck Johnson, owner of the ranch that most of the cowboys work for, and how his growing appreciation of the desert's beauty leads him to search out a wife via the personal ads in the newspaper.

I tried to read it as if I was living in 1907, and curious about the wild western US. White's descriptions of the desert landscape are vivid; but could I see it in my mind because of his painterly words, or because I live in the high desert? I'll never know for sure, but I did enjoy reading it. And now it is happily living on my shelf, having celebrated its 100th birthday by being read and appreciated yet again.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Egyptian blocks; now there are 6

Egyptian block #6 is almost done. I have one more seam to embellish, and some hieroglyphs to do. I bought some Egyptian print fabric on Ebay for another project and just had to use a bit of it in a block for this swap.

I posted a pic of this block before it had any embellishments on it, and now it is complete. The mask has a sparkly gem pendant on a gold chain, and the glyph reads "yesterday, today, tomorrow". The circle with the dot in the center indicates time, and there is a snake that is really a snake in "yesterday."

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Choose your theme round robin, Lauri's theme

This is Lauri's block for this round robin. Her focus fabric is the romance novel cover couple, which is a large print with about 10 different couples printed on it. Lauri explains that her block contains every romance cliche' she could think of, including daisies (for "he loves me, he loves me not"), a dragon to slay, a castle wall to scale, a knight on a white horse, a sunset to ride off into, a rainbow, a crown, and a swan because they mate for life.

It also includes a 3 dimensional bodice (romance novels are sometimes called "bodice rippers") complete with a jewelled pearl drop necklace to nestle in the bosoms.

My block for this theme is a work in progress, but so far includes lace that Lauri and I dyed one day at her house, beads, a quote from Mr. Right, a button trail arch, and a spider from the spider print fabric that Lauri gave me, just so she'll know I made this block.
I need to be done with this block and have it in the mail to the next person on the list by July 1st. If everyone follows Lauri's example of embellishment, the package should weigh several pounds by the time she gets it back.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Father's Day

Just a quick post for Father's Day. This is my DH Paul with our younger grandson, Zackery, who is 5 weeks old.
Sure wish I knew how to crop a picture. You really didn't need to see the paper plates and napkins, did you?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

More Egyptian blocks and another b-day present

Here are 3 more blocks for the Egyptian swap. The first one features Isis, cut from an Egyptian print fabric. Her chest piece is embroidered in metallic gold thread and has red glass beads--much prettier in person.
The second one pictured is almost done, just a couple more seam treatments to do. It has the gold thread outlining the discs that the men are carrying, and a red bead in the center of each disc. The glyph for "starry skies" is in the bottom right corner. The literal translation is "a thousand is its soul" which is very poetic, isn't it?

The third block is "nekkid", as we say, which is a technical cqing term for unembellished. The pharaoh mask has enormous ears. He would have fit into my family just fine. I wonder if I can find a glyph for "enormous ears"....
And last but not least, the birthday gift given to me by my friend (since high school!), Rhonda. She's a pretty crafty lady herself!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Ugly butterfly finds a home...

I attended the unveiling of the ugly duckling fabric challenge on Saturday evening. There were 26 of us participating, and we had a potluck dinner in the classroom at the quilt shop that sponsored the event.
The items made ranged from wall hangings to table runners to a backpack bag to a convertible jacket/purse/pillow thing that was really imaginative. Mine was the only butterfly and the only crazy quilted item, though there were two wall hangings that were sort of free-form, but not crazy pieced. After we ate, we were asked to stand up one at a time, introduce ourselves and tell a little about what had inspired us to make the item we made. Then the recipient got up and said whatever they wanted to say (lots of oohing and ahhing and thank you's). I thoroughly enjoyed everyone else's "speeches", because it was sort of like when one of my on-line cqing friends tells about something they've made and what inspired them, except they were standing right there. That was so much fun.
My turn came, and my heart was beating so loud I was sure everyone could hear it better than my voice. I hadn't practiced what to say, in fact didn't know we'd have to say anything, but I got up there and said, "My name is Janet Popish and I don't do (air quotes with my fingers) 'sane' quilting. I'm a crazy quilter." In that second, I felt like an alcoholic attending her first AA meeting; introduction and confession in one breath. It got chuckles from the others, so then I was okay and explained what had inspired me. We were supposed to have the others guess what the "ugly" fabric was that we started with, but I pointed to it, so that cat was out of the bag.
Anyway, the recipient liked it, and it was well received on the whole. The store owner called it the "delightful" butterfly, which is a nicer name than ugly butterfly or even Mothra (Lauri's nickname for it). One lady asked me if I gave cq lessons, and I said, "Sure!" So that may be the start of something. The items will all be hanging in the store for 5 weeks to promote next year's ugly duckling challenge, so maybe more will get interested.

The ugly fabric I brought in was made into a lovely old-fashioned looking wall hanging by the sweetest little old lady. She'd written a poem to go with it, so it was extra special. All in all, it was great fun and I will probably do it again next year.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Sampler block, birthday treasures, and Egyptian blocks

This is a sampler block that I did for a newbie to show as many different stitches and embellishment options as possible. It has at least 14 different stitch variations and combinations, as well as sparkly sew-ons, a pewter charm, a button, beads, and a bit of an old doily. I call it "Skies, Eyes, and Dragonflies." Can you find all 4 of the dragonflies?
On my birthday last week, my husband and I went to see the third installment of the "Pirates" movies. When we got home, there on my front porch was a treasure box! My friend Lauri had slipped over and left me a box full of doilies that she made with her own two hands! These are just a sampling of them; they are white, ivory, black, lavender, pale green, yellow, blues...just an incredible array of doilies and trims. I told her that they actually made me want to clean out my china closet (something I haven't done in years) and put all my special vases and cups on special doilies. I also have some petrified wood and fossil poo in the china closet, but that's another story....

And here, finally, are the Egyptian blocks I've been working on for a swap with CQ for newbies. The first block contains the hieroglyphic symbols for "to laugh" (upper dark red patch) and the scarab means to be born or to transform oneself.

The second block has a questionable symbol within the hieroglyph in the black patch, lower right. The hieroglyph means "making love" according to the book I have, which I think is authentic, but I'm a little concerned that the ladies of the group may be a little shocked by it. The duck and heart symbol in the upper black patch mean "friend", because I think friendship is more important than love making in a marriage.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Picture problems

I seem to be unable to post photos today, so if you're looking for pics of my Egyptian swap blocks, please check back later.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

On Wednesday night last week, Rachel and Jared had Corbin and Zackery baptized at Messiah Lutheran Church. It was just a small ceremony, with only family attending. I think it's sort of funny that R & J have connections with so many churches. Rachel was raised Catholic, and attended Holy Family School here in GJ from K-8th grade. They were married at Crossroads United Methodist Church. And now the boys are baptized at the Lutheran Church. I am so grateful for the openness of these Protestant Churches. While I would have preferred to have the wedding and baptisms in our church, the "hoops" that one must jump through in order to marry or have a child baptized are a bit too much, in my opinion.

Anyway, the first picture was taken before the ceremony. That's Michaela, godfather Will Bell, and godmother Trystan. The second picture is of the proud godfather holding Zackery. Rachel had asked Will to be Corbin's godfather years ago, but they didn't get around to the actual baptism till now. Corbin will be old enough to remember it, and that's sort of cool. Zack will just have to see the pictures.

I got these posted backwards; sorry, maybe someday I'll have this all figured out.

Corbin appears to be thinking that this baptism business is taking too long (5th picture).

I was surprised to have a feeling of relief somewhere inside me after the baptisms. It's not that I was worried about the boys' immortal souls being in danger, because I can't believe that God would hold innocent children responsible for their parents' procrastination. It's hard to explain. I guess it just makes me happy to know they are officially marked as children of God. And God bless the Methodist and Lutheran Churches!