Thursday, February 28, 2008

New Look & Features!

Okay...this is the third or fourth time I've changed the template for my blog, but think I really like this one!

I wanted to add a "links" list like I've seen on others...and voila....did that this morning!

Now when I want to poke around the Web....all my fave links are in one spot! That'll be great.

So...with this done...I think I'll go play for a bit....those beads are calling me!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Evolution Triggered by New Stash

Hi all. Did ya miss me?

I am bound to disappear on occasion for days at a time (from the Web I mean) and it's usually due to "blinders on" focus on what I'm creating.

This past week I pieced and embellished # 27 & 28 of my Portholes project, and during this started going through bead withdrawal. It was short-lived .... fortunately for me ... & thanks to my dear friend Mary Anne (who has graciously agreed to be my personal shopper) as she dropped a whole new bag of inspiration off to me yesterday!

Seems that was just what I needed to start the vision thing happening I completed #20 in the 2008 series of ornament covers.....but as I was working on it....something way cool happened. I was thinking about a comment I had made to someone about the covers....that smaller versions would make fabulous CQ embellishments. My subconcious must have picked up on the thought, & the new stash triggered some ideas that have evolved from them....and more!

Needless to say....I ended up with 6 new creations between last night and this afternoon! Some are based on the circular concept (medallions) but...freeform beading that does not have to go on a ball...well that's a whole new tangent and world of possibilites! I made a fan and a couple of straight edgings that can be couched onto a CQ is or have stitching added to further embellish!

Now....I know what you're all hoping...."Oh...Let's see...let's see!"

Well kids....I think for the moment I shall reserve the I have some plans cooked up for them already....which I will share with everyone when the time is right.

Suffice it to say.....that I myself am totally impressed with these, and I know you will be too....but "good things are worth waiting for"....right? I promise to make it a "not too long" wait!

So...stay won't be disappointed!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

More French Knot Roses

I found myself with some free time this morning and decided to poke around some computer files. I stumbled across a small piece that I had entirely forgotten about...and coincidentally it is another done with French Knot Roses!

Another of many projects that I never found time for.....I started stitching some floral motifs that I planned to put into a collection so that others could add them to CQ pieces, stitch onto clothing or other small projects.

I think I will keep this on my ever-so-long list of things to that it has come to mind again! In the mean time, I will simply share for you all to enjoy.
This particular spray was worked with 7mm ribbon for the larger roses and some of the leaves with 4mm roses & leaves beneath, as well as some feather stitch /Colonial knot floral sprays as filler.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Tutorial on French Knot Roses

A - Bring ribbon up through fabric. Stretch ribbon out and wrap needle for French Knot about
2 - 2 ½" up the ribbon.
B - Insert the tip of the needle into the ribbon at the base of the knot wrap and weave the needle in and out of the ribbon every 1/4" or so. When the tip of the needle reaches the base of the ribbon, insert it into the fabric beside the up point. Push the ribbon down the needle to the fabric and pull ribbon tight to the needle. ( I have found that if you hold the ribbon a few inches above the French Knot, hold it out and make a circular pass around the flares out the woven layers so that they sit like petals would.)
C - Hold the stitch with thumb on top and forefinger below and pull needle & ribbon through to the back. The French Knot will lock the stitch into place.

You can vary the size of these roses by starting the French Knot farther up the ribbon, and leaving longer gaps of ribbon as you weave the needle down the length of ribbon.
You can make larger blooms by using 7mm or 13 mm ribbon. Adjust the starting point farther up the ribbon and make the gaps longer according to the size of the ribbon.
For 13mm ribbon, a Size 13 needle would be necessary.
The lovely ribbons used for these (and the Melanie Roses on the dress) were hand-dyed by Vikki Clayton.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Katrina Block & Roses

As an after thought.....I went to Sharon B.'s "Inaminuteago" site and saved a copy of the Katrina block to share. Check out the top right corner for the French Knot roses.

Two Hours in a Miniature Rose Garden

Today was (as anticipated earlier) a stitching day for everybody else seemed to want to do their own thing. I had one porthole ready to go, and pieced two worked on embellishing yesterday and today.

I spent the last two hours focused on a miniature rose garden. It barely measures 3" x 1.5" and in that small space I packed in 18 tiny French Knot roses...complete with stems and greenery, set against a wrought iron fence. I did a similar (more prolific) garden on my Katrina block as well as on various projects over the years.

These wee splendid roses are my second favourite ones to stitch (the Melanie Rose would be the first). What they lack in size they more than make up for in character. They look very much like my real miniature roses...that the kids got me for Mother's Day last year.

I'll share this once I get it scanned in.

Food For Thought : Things Sold, Given, Kept and Lost

Creativity for me is an outlet. My day job is for the most part stressfull...a constant barrage of situations to deal when I withdraw from it into my natural talent...I can forget about all that and make a thing of beauty. I am sure this is what keeps me sane!

I take pride in the end result, but once it is completed ... it is a commodity, and with rare exception I don't seem to have a problem parting with it. Maybe it's because my joy has been in the creating, and once done my experience with it is let someone else enjoy it.

Many pieces have been sold (and I cannot even count how many...hundreds for certain), and a whole bunch more were simply given away. Family, staff and a few select friends have been thrilled with them.....and impressed with how I could find time in my busy schedule to accomplish this.....but what they don't facter in is my need to.

Some times I do wonder where these creations have ended up. In some cases I a sachet that was purchased by a lady visiting from Japan...who left a message for me saying how much she loved it and that she was taking it home with her.....and a cool knitted top that was purchased by a rock star from Vancouver (back in the days when my friend Sue had a shop down in Queen West Village & I made original works for). I suppose there are bits of my work all over the world...and that's way cool....maybe this makes me immortal?!!

So of all the things I've made...what have I kept? I have all of the Round Robin projects ever done...these are ones that others have stitched on too....and I will never part with. Sir Prance-a-Lot is another...he is perfection! I've also kept the original prototypes of all published patterns... to remind me of these accomplishments.

Things that I've lost (and wish I'd kept) .....early works in mediums that I dabbled an acrylic painted picture of a cockatiel...and pencil sketches of "guys".... done back in my high school days ..... ah well ..... a drop in the bucket I guess.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Between Laundry and Dinner...Creative Stitching Today

I thought I was experiencing a creative dry spell...just didn't seem to have any ideas or visions happening...but that was only as far as beads go. I started ripping apart the ties & tops that I recently aquired at Goodwill and found some new direction for my Portholes project! I managed to piece two more of them, and have three more fabric combinations on deck to go ... so ya ... it was a productive day!

Add to that ... I actually completed the seams on a porthole that was waiting to be now the count is up to 26 done.

I am very much looking forward to our new Family Day holiday which as yet is undetermined as to how it will be spent...but will have to see what kids think we should may be something together...or they may want to hang out with friends. Will go with the flow.

If they decide on the latter...means stitching time for me...and I'm okay with that. DH gets precious little free time so he will likely take his digital camera and go in search of some natural phemonon to capture...for which he has a quite uncanny talent. Will see if he'd be willing for me to share some of these....after all a picture is worth a thousand words!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Speaking of Roses . . .

Ah ... the rose ... so lovely to see ... so fragrant to smell ... and one of my favourite to stitch.

Many years back I was inspired by my neighbour's beautiful rose bush. I began to wonder how I could manipulate ribbon to make it look like an open tea rose. I played with it for a long time until the final idea came to me ... and the result was a stitch that came to become known as the Melanie Rose. (It was named so as a tribute to my daughter...that is her name!)

The stitch was first introduced to the public in an article published in Quilting Arts Magazine (2nd issue). Since then stitchers everywhere have added it to their repertoire.

Two years ago my DD graduated from Grade 8, and the dress she found to wear was very classic and elegant. It had a plain white panel inset off - centre which called to me as a canvas. I thought "What could be more fitting than to fill it with ... Melanie Roses!"

I know some of you have seen the dress ... and am posting here for the rest of the world!

For those who wish to see how these are created ... go to . Look under "Stitch Directions" .


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentines Day

Love is in the air ... yes it's that special day when we focus on the love in our lives ... and eat chocolate! Tons of roses will be delivered around the world too!

It is a special day for my DH and I ... we had our first date on Valentines Day ... 24 years ago ... and just celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary. My how time flies when you're having fun!

Love to all,


Friday, February 8, 2008

Food For Thought: The Previous Life of Clothes

I had a day off today and as usual had a whole list of stuff to do....most of which I neglected to do because I got distracted (again) by other things. I had to pick up a few things out in Ajax (just east of here) and decided while I was that close I'd stop into the Goodwill store to poke about & see if I could find any treasures.

While I have an entire bag of fabric to use on my Portholes project, I thought I'd see if I could find a few silk ties or tops to add to the mix...and there were some fabulous ones! Prices on the ties used to be $1.99....and recently doubled....but still a far cry from their original retail tag. Found a few with those still on...$18.50 on one and $22.95 on a bargain! Silk blouses start at the latter and $5.95 is a steal!

I thought to myself as I pawed through the racks.....who would wear this? Then my mind started trying to imagine a persona type to go with the item. It all started with the "Carpe Diem" shirt. It was almost gawdy...had a huge bright smiley-face sun on the back and a busy pattern of various graphics all over...including some Roman Numerals....and bead work had been done to trim out some of the design segments. I was oddly intrigued by it, thinking it'd be interesting chopped up for my purposes...but decided against it.

People around me must have thought me an image would come to mind and make me snicker! As odd as I found some of the articles, I am sure of one thing....somebody at some time paid good money for it and thought it was stylish...maybe even loved it. To each their own!

I left with three ties and two blouses. When I got to the cash....the lady commented that she couldn't remember the new price of the charged me the old rate...and still not sure how the old rate times 3 came out to $3.98. She just smiled and put them in the bag! I said "Thanks" and smiled back!


Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Food For Thought - The Power of a Modest Upbringing

Thanks to Gwen for reminding me of some things about creativity that I had forgotten about!

I am the third of seven children. I have two older brothers and four younger sisters. Guess who was the one responsible for a lot of things around the house? Not the boys! As early as the age of 7 I was responsible for helping with laundry folding, changing my youngest sisters, and keeping the other two busy by finding things for them to do.

Back then there was this thing that some of our friends had; it was a doll that came in a book which had clothes printed on the pages. You cut them out and folded tabs over the body (this was fun!) One of these books probably cost as much as a dozen my Mom would opt for the latter. She encouraged me to try and copy the idea and make my own. I could find some box board to make the doll, and typewriter paper to make the clothes which I could colour with crayons. of my sisters mentioned that doll a few weeks ago!

But that was only one of the many projects that we did over the years....we also made Barbie clothes, made puppets and a theatre for shows, Christmas decorations (including popcorn strings). I know there were many more ... but what they were is not as important as their influence on shaping creativity! After all ... necessity is the Mother of Invention!

It is quite possible that the need to create our own fun actually helped to develope creative talents still with us today!


Monday, February 4, 2008

Food For Thought : Inspiration & Insight

Artistic talent and creative ability: where does it come from? I think it would be interesting to ask a hundred designers this question to see what they'd say!

My personal thoughts...some of it is a gift and some of it is learned. Some of what we create is influenced by what we have been exposed to; I know that certain influences can be credited for their contribution to what I have created in my time, but at some point the inspiration gave way to my own insight, and I think that's where the line becomes drawn. The insight takes over and a personal flavour becomes predominant...we use the same medium and add a signature that becomes our own.....and by doing so we have transformed into a designer.

This in turn becomes a new inspiration to others, as our creations stand out on their own merit! In a sense it is an evolution, as we no longer follow...but take the lead...forging ahead with new ideas that leave others with a sense of awe and respect.

There is this thing that happens when I set out to create something ... that I find quite fascinating. If you have ever experienced this you will know what I mean: I see things! That is the "gift" imagination sparks a vision that is created by my "mind's eye" which I can visualize the end result of a combination of elements and materials...and when I am armed with that...I can proceed to the creation of that very thing. I know what I need to do to achieve it and map it out mentally.....then let it flow from the mental image into a visualized creation. I take the "learned" part and transform it into the elemental construction of shape and form.

One thing that I have learned about this creative that it cannot be forced. It is a fragile thing...sometimes it must be mulled over before the actual vision can be revealed.
Sometimes they come in waves...idea after idea....non stop! (It would be at this point that my housework will tend to fall behind.....and creating is all that I can think about.)

Sometimes...there is nothing...for long stretches...(artist's block?) but that comes with the territory I suppose...and then I will do the dishes!


Sunday, February 3, 2008

It Has Begun!

Over the past few weeks I have been plotting out the set up for my next big project ... the creation of pattern sets for the beaded ornament covers.

I have been somewhat distracted by another creative streak (just gotta get those ideas out of my head and turn them into tangibles) but yesterday I forced myself to get going and copy my notes into the computer!

I did manage to get the entire introduction completed and two whole pattern pages ... so am happy about that. Just need to keep up the momentum!

A thought occured to me as I was copying the graphics: how these covers have two distinct lives ... a flat one and a hanging one ... each with it's own beauty. I'm adding a pic of one of the flat scans to illustrate!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Winter Wonderland

What a difference a day makes! Yesterday was clear, sunny and quite pleasant. It was hard to believe that a storm could possibly be coming! Ohhh but it did....and with vengance!

It still has not stopped snowing here....and they were quite accurate forecasting that the total snowfall would be 25 - 30 cms. I'm inclined to think (whithout measuring) that the stack of snow on our round table out back is 35 cms or more!

It was the first time in a long time that we've been hit so hard. It was a snow day for most schools in Southern know the kids didn't mind!

There was no chance I was getting one.....had to be up & at work for 8:30.....and even though it was slow.....we sold a lot of shovels (7 in the first hour), salt, windshield wiper blades and washer fluid. ( I'm not sure if I mentioned but I'm the Head Cashier at Canadian Tire here in Pickering. ) Automotive products are in very high demand when weather gets nasty.....not to mention that we sold out of snow blowers last night (for the second time this winter)...but we also had customers who bought things to enjoy the snow....lots of toboggans & other things that go downhill very fast! Woo hoo!

While all this snow did make for messy travel and a lot of vehicular has also turned our world into a winter wonderland! The evergreens look spectacular! And if you do it right....snow shovelling is a good cardio workout!

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