Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Complain, complain....

I'm getting complaints from some people who shall remain nameless (you know who you are, Barb-my-sister) about not posting frequently enough, so here's a little something to silence the whining.

This block belongs to Arlene in Australia. We are in the Butterfly, Bee, and Beetle round robin together. She and I both chose all white and cream fabrics for our buggy blocks. On this block I didn't do all the work you're seeing here. That parade of beetles was done by Diane in Ontario; I love it and hope she'll do something similar on my block. I did the blue butterfly, which is done in the 3d fashion of stitching two printed butterfly images together and attaching them to the block with the stitching that forms the body (if you'd like a more detailed explanation than that, leave a comment and a way to contact you). I also made the ribbon pansy, the irises, and the little bees. The red of the pansy was pretty strong, so I repeated that shade around the block a bit, including adding blossoms to the vine that Diane's beetles are following. I attached the hand-dyed green lace to the seam on the right, and added some beads and "tulips" to it. Also did the leafy vertical seam with the pinkish berries. I'm having such fun with this RR. Sadly, just one more block for me and it'll be over. But then I'll get my own block home!

During the last hand embroidery class I taught, I was asked if I would teach a silk ribbon embroidery class, so I have that planned for May. This little bear will be my "advertiser". He'll get a silk ribbon decorated vest and be on display at the used book store where the class will be held. As you can see, it's a work in progress; the back of the vest is on the right, and both front halves on the left. This little bear is super soft. He was originally a zodiac bear, with "Pisces" written on the bottom of one foot and the fish symbol on the other. I covered over that with some ivory moire taffeta (same fabric as the vest). I liked the aqua color and knew I could match it in the embroidery.

My husband is an avid outdoorsman. He's a member of the Western Slope ATV club and these are pictures he took on their last outing to the Yellowcat area of eastern Utah. Here's a beautiful red rock arch....

...and a view of the Colorado River from up on a cliff. If you click on the picture to enlarge it, you can probably see the ranch there by the river. What a spot to live; remote, but beautiful....

....and a view of the La Salle mountains. We liked this shot so much we're using it for our desktop!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Back to the gold quilt

Here's a photo of some current progress on the gold quilt. This is one of the corner fan blocks. My friend and fellow CQer, Leslie, offered to make a motif for me to add to this quilt, and she hand stitched this wonderful, graceful dragonfly. It fits perfectly as the fan "handle", and I just love it!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Butterflies and birdhouses

I finally got around to painting some of the mother of pearl buttons I bought recently at Tuesday Morning. Can you tell I'm longing for spring? What was your first clue? The little teapot is for a tote bag that I'm making to donate to the CQ convention in Omaha this summer. I've donated a bag every year for 4 years now, I think. They usually bring about $50 at the auction and the funds go for breast cancer research and for scholarships for CQers to attend the convention. Maybe someday I'll apply for one of those scholarships...

Rachel found out about this fund raiser that helps send hard to get but handy items to our troops overseas. They are raising money this year with a decorate-a-birdhouse contest. Rachel bought 5 of the little paper mache' birdhouses and gave two to Michaela and I to decorate. Here are Rachel's:

And here are Michaela's (right) and mine:

I believe they will be voted on by the public, then auctioned. Here's a link if you'd like to see the others people have done:

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Tiny birds tutorial

I'm using Arlene's Flower Fairy block to demonstrate. Here's a couple of sketches of the stitches' placement. I just noticed that I drew the sitting bird facing right, while the one I stitched faces left. Hope that's not too confusing. These birds are tiny, about 1/2" when done in size 8, just a little bigger when done in size 5, which is what I used here.

Begin the first and larger of the two bullions for the bird's breast and body. I don't count wraps; I "eyeball" the distance of the stitch, and since I want this bullion to curve like a bird's breast and belly, I make more wraps than needed to just cover that distance. If you plan to make a lot of birds and want them uniform, you might want to count your wraps, but I figure Mother Nature isn't very uniform in making her birds, so why should I be?

The first bullion is done and laying down where it should rest. Take a tacking stitch at some point along its length to keep it in that curve.

The second bullion should curve to fit into the first, and it should be a little shorter, so fewer wraps.

On the head end of the bird, make a 4 wrap French knot. Sometimes it helps to tack the French knot on both sides so it lays like you want it.

Add straight stitches for the wing....

...and for the tail, refer to sketch for placement.

I gave the orange bird two tiny straight stitches to make a little crest or topknot on its head; this is optional.

The flying bird is done in a similar way, but with two wings, and I gave him a wider tail (he's coming in for a landing!).

Add dark brown or black straight stitches for the beak and feet.

And here's Arlene's whole block. Am I absolutely done with it? Time will tell....

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Orbs and RRs

I tried to take a photo the other night of the moon rising into a skiff of clouds. It was beautiful the way the light edged the clouds. I could tell it wasn't working well when I viewed it on the camera's screen, but I posted it anyway for the orbs.

The brightest orb is the moon, of course, but there are 4 other orbs floating throughout the photo. Does anyone have a good explanation of what they are? I have gotten orbs in photos taken inside and outside, in full daylight and now in darkness. They rarely show up in close-ups, but in the mid-range they can be between the viewer and the person in the photo. The photos that several of us took at the grandsons' baptism are full of orbs of various sizes and in various positions.

There's one between Rachel's pant leg and the camera. And below, one next to Corbin's leg.

I know there must be some scientific reason that they pop up sometimes, but I prefer the mystical one: they are spirits or angels.

This is the block I embellished for Arlene for the Flower Fairies III RR. I'm having so much fun with the colors and theme of these blocks. They're springy and whimsical!

And here's the finished winter block that belongs to Beryl.

And a small shot of what Beryl did with my winter block. I'll post a larger pic when I get it home!