Thursday, January 29, 2009

Let Go ... and Let God

Some things are just out of our hands ... that higher power is the force that directs things.

As it happened ... Dianne's Mom continued to deteriorate to the point of failure..and has since passed away.

I'm sad for her loss ... but know that she finally has closure ... that she doesn't have to watch her suffer any more ... and that she will be able to move on once the finalities have been dealt with.

It's part of life ...having to deal with death...and the hardest part is getting on with our own lives. We ... the surviviors ... must keep on going ... doing what we do ... in the face of this adversity.

My sympathies go out to her ... I know this feeling of loss ... and have had to deal with it personally ... as I'm sure most of you have ... and it is never easy.

The challenge is to keep living.

This is where I believe that prayers come in to play. If you send them out to those in need ... then it is sure to help them be strong ... to face the loss ... and to carry on.

Believing that our loved ones are in a better place is a comfort ... and helps to ease the pain.

Our lives will go on ... we can remember the good things ... and keep them close and dear.

At times like this ... I count my own blessings ... and realize that it is all good...even if it just doesn't quite feel that way.

While you let it go ... it is fine to let God help to see it through. ..... I think.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Today Was ... One of Those Days

What I mean is one of those days that you never want to have.

Things are getting from bad to worse at work...partially due to issues that my staff are having to deal with on a personal level.

Primarily ... Dianne ... who has been my Customer Service day anchor & is having a hard time facing with the iminent loss of her mother ..who is a Stage 4 cancer patient. She bravely arrived to do her daily shift today ... only to be picked up by her DH as I arrived ... as her Mom's condition continued to deteriorate. Lesions found on her liver ... collapsed veins that forced the removal of her IV ... that can't be a good thing.

While this is typically skeletal staff time of year...my skeletal staff is dissipating to a mere ghost!

And I'm having nightmares ... about doing it all myself ... OMG ... 830 - 9 ... 5 days straight...that is just too much! On top of which ... I can't even schedule my own nervous breakdown ... how bad is that!

And the crowning jewel of stress ... to have to deal with a hardware upgrade too! These new chip cards require us to upgrade our equipment to accommodate them ... and of course that was scheduled for tonight too ... just shoot me! It'd be a small mercy!

Gripe as I may ... life goes on ... and I am relied on to keep it going ... so that which does not kill us will make us stronger ... but really I need a clone!

It's enough to drive me to drink! Tonight wine & music are my only solace.

My support staff is not as committed as I am ... and/or have issues in their own lives to deal with. Prayers...that's all I have right now...will it be enough? I hope! One day at a time! That's all I'm doing right now ... deal with it as it comes.

So ... there ya go! Hoping you all had a better day than me!

Monday, January 26, 2009

A Change is as Good as a Rest

When you get used to things being the same way for so long they become the norm ... and sometimes the smallest changes can really break the boredom.

I've had the same template for a while...and changed it today to see if I like it...and while it's okay...I might play with it again.

My stitching slump thing ... funny that by getting distracted by the hat & mitten thing actually refreshed my creativity ... and I'm back to working on the Drag Bag and other things.

I also added a link today to a Playlist that I created. Still want to add more to it and am working on figuring it out...but clicking on the link does work ( I wanted to put the whole thing in the side bar...but it's too big and only part of it shows).

I have to warn you ... I grew up on Rock ... and while there are some good old classic songs in the mix ... there's some pretty "in your face" current stuff ... especially the Linkin Park stuff.

I like it...keeps me feeling young.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

CQ Mag Online is Up ... and Awesome!

I spent some time browsing through all the fabulous articles in the brand new issue of CQ Mag Online. I flew through much too quickly ... and must go back and read many of the articles in more depth ... but I did want to get some stitching done tonight ... now here I am back on the keyboard!

I was most anxious to see Mary Corbet's project ... she's been showing tidbits on her blog ... and wow ... she added some stunning seam treatments and motifs!

Sharon Boggon added some graphics for seam ideas ... 20 of them ... that are way cool!

Well ... there's sooooo much more ... go see it all for yourself!

Off to stitch!

One Year Today - Hurray!

My how time flies when you're having fun!

I have always enjoyed sharing info on lists in the past (and still put my two cents worth in on occasion)... so when I started this blog I felt that it would be a natural progression ... only in a more concentrated form ... in one location ... without having to worry if my post is off-topic.

I think I've achieved that ... and am so looking forward to sharing more...projects, thoughts and oh ya...the pics.

Thanks to all of you who stop in to visit ... either regularly or occasionally ... I always look forward to your feedback.

And...as you know...comments this month earned each of you a draw ticket for each one left. After a short after-dinner power nap ... I finished adding the last of the names to the Lucky Tin.

Paul drew one name ...

and the Winner is .......

Gwen Buchanan

Congrats!

I have your address on file ... and will get your prize on the way (as soon as I finish it!)

I think this draw thing is so fun! I might have to do this more often!

Hugs to all .... Marie

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Melanie's Hat



Okay ... that's more like it! Melanie snapped these today of herself . I'm so glad that the daylight and the camera were able to capture the true colours of this yarn ... if you scroll down to the mitten ... you'll see the difference (and why I was so disappointed with the scan)! It really brings out the natural beauty in her blue eyes. The pic below shows the cable pattern above the band.

I finally finished the other mitten a few nights ago & now she has a set!

There's still a lot of yarn left ... and contemplating one for myself ... or maybe a pair of house booties for her ... we'll see.

Today is January 24th ... so that means tomorrow is my official One Year Blogiversary! Almost up to 170 posts ... I wouldn't ever have guessed I'd have done that many in one year...or that I'd have had so many visits!

I have to work part of the day tomorrow ... so will wait until after dinner check for the last names of those who have left comments ... and we'll see whose name will come out of the Lucky Tin!

Tutorial - Wired Beaded Spring Flowers - Part One

(This is a reprint of the article as published in Maureen's newsletter - April 2006)

The Promise of Spring

Even those of us who actually enjoy winter do find that it gets old after a while!
We start to think ahead to what spring will bring, and the first signs of spring bulbs poking their greenery up get us gardeners really excited in anticipation!
This year I simply could not wait.....so decided that I’d "make some spring".
After having so much fun with the poinsettias, I turned my mind once more to beaded flowers only this time spring ones! I want to end up with a whole bouquet to share with you! So far I have three flowers....a snow drop, tulip and daffodil!
These flowers all follow the same basic construction technique, but there are a few finishing differences for this new batch; I’ll explain those as we go.
So........without further ado.......let spring begin!
****************************************
Basic Technique:
(A small pair of needlenose pliers is helpful to have handy for wire manipulation.)
Cut the indicated length of 32 gauge wire for the section you are making. Fold the wire in half being careful not to make the fold too sharp (this weakens the wire and it could snap).
Load the number of beads noted for Row 1. Feed one end of wire over and through the bead(s) and pull through. Load the number of beads noted for Row 2 onto one end of wire. Fold this wire over so the beads sit over Row 1. Feed the other wire end through the beads of Row 2 entering where the first wire comes out (the wires criss-cross through the beads). Pull both wires in opposite directions to eliminate any slack. Gently bend the ends up vertical to hold beads in place, and proceed to the next row. Repeat until all bead rows have been worked, then twist the remaining length of both wires together and trim off any excess.
When you have all petals and leaves completed, proceed to the construction phase as noted for each flower.
****************************************
SNOW DROP
Materials Required:
32 Gauge Wire - 2 yards
24 Gauge Wire - 6 - 8" (depending on desired finished length of stem)
Petals-White Seed Beads : 102
Leaves - Medium Green Rocaille (or Seed Beads) : 118
1 - 5mm round green bead (for top)
Green florist tape
For all patterns: 1st number at left = Row 1, & bead count for each row follows in sequence
Petals (make 3) : Cut 3 lengths of 32 Gauge wire 12" long.
1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 5 - 5 - 4 - 3 - 2
Leaves (make 2) : Cut 2 lengths of 32 Gauge wire 14" long.
1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 4 - 4 - 4 - 4 - 4 - 4 - 4 - 4 - 4 - 4 - 3 - 2 - 1

Flower Construction:
Cut 1 length of 32 Gauge wire 6" long. Feed it through the 2 beads of the last row of all 3 petals.
Pull the two ends of wire together to form a circle. Twist them together a few times. Twist the three petal wires together tightly and feed this single strand through the 5mm green top bead.
Cut 1 length of 24 Gauge wire 6 - 8" long. Push one end into the green bead at the bottom end (where the twisted wires exit). Wrap the twisted wires around the 24 Gauge wire. Wrap the full length of stem wire with green florist tape, spiralling downward after wrapping the top end several times to secure.
Cut 1 length of 32 Gauge wire 4" long. Feed through last bead of each leaf. Wrap around stem at desired position and twist the two ends together to secure. Cover these wires with another wrapping of florist tape.
Bend the wire below the flower head down in an arch until you get the desired droop.
**********************

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Is It Spring Yet ?


White stuff everywhere...still...and it's about this time of year when I've pretty much had my fill of it. I wish spring was here already ... would love to see the tips of the tulips poking out of the ground ... but alas ... that is still a couple months away.

A few years back during this generally depressing time of year, I decided that I just had to make something ... springy ... to get me through till the day when I could see the new growth for real.

This bouquet was the first of two groupings (each with three flowers ... and will show the whole thing later). The patterns were shared in Maureen Greeson's newsletter ... where some of you may have seen this already ... but for those who didn't ... I will share them again here in a set of posts to follow.

They were created using fine wire ... upon which the beads are loaded ... then the wires criss-cross through to anchor the row. Each petal & leaf is created individually then wired together and wrapped in floral tape to finish.

Enjoy!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Thumbs Up!


One down ... one to go! I was surprised how easy the thumb actually was....piece of cake! The hardest part was working with so few stitches with such long needles. Don't they make "thumb needles" !

I was going to add some cabling on it to match the hat ... but decided to go plain knit for this first pair ... as the pattern makes two same mitts ... and wanted to see it done before plotting any fancy stuff.

I'm disappointed that the colours don't show true...it is much prettier...more vibrant. Maybe the camera will get it right ... will see when Mel takes some shots of it.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

One Hat & 1/2 a Mitten Later . . .

Before I found SRE ... knitting was one of my main passions. I just remembered that recently ... as I was stitching away at the last rounds of the hat...which turned out really well I might add!

The designer in me was actually nutured & unleashed through knitting.
I created my own patterns for many years ... sketching a concept and then making it take form.

My original creations found a fabulous venue ... my dear friend (and partner in crime at the time) Sue Copeland... had opened a very cool shop in Queen West Village called Ko - Havoc ... a venture with exclusive rights to a fledgling clothing line called Havoc ... very trendy stuff at the time...kinda Goth / Victoriana. My stuff was a consigned sideline ... and the focus was accessories to go with the line ... as well as off-the-wall creations that were wayyy out there ... several of them were purchased by musicians ... stage wear! Ahhh ... those were fun times. Damned shame that I don't have any pics of those pieces ... they were so cool!

Whoa ... sidetrip down Memory Lane ... but I digress!

The hat is done ... and it fit Melanie perfectly ... but of course I knew it would ... because I measured her and matched the gauge...so the math worked out right. She has promised to model it and snap some pics of herself (with that new camera that Santa brought her for Christmas) so as soon as I have some I'll show them.

I found a perfectly functional (and free) mitten pattern at the site that Mary Anne suggested ... http://www.lionbrand.com/ and with a couple of minor modifications gauged it to the yarn and needles I wanted to use. The thumb gusset was the part that I couldn't recall how to make...so it was fabulous to work from a pattern to get that right...and as of now I've done that and am on to the top end.

Decided to stop for a while ... as I've been at it a good part of the day. When I came up from my stitching cave ... found that Mel was watching a movie. I'd seen it twice before already ... but watching it again 'cause it's so good!

P. S. I Love You ... is the one ... a total "chick flick"... Hilary Swank ... Lisa Kudrow ... Kathy Bates ... a well done love story ... keep the Kleenex handy.

I usually don't watch movies more than once ... prefer to watch as many as I can ... but this one is a lovely story ... so real and fun ... the kind I make a rare exception for and watch several times.

Off to plug in !

Friday, January 16, 2009

Another Old Friend ... and More New Links

I was surprised yesterday by another "blast from the past" friend! Debbie who lives in Jerusalem ... has just begun blogging ... and stopped in to say Hi. She shared a pic of Melanie Roses that she stitched on her family heirloom chuppah! They are lovely!

I've also found more cool work from members of the Goldwork, Japanese Embroidery & Stumpwork groups over on Stitchin Fingers!

Elisabeth from the UK has a blog called " Sew In Love " and her work is stellar!

Shawkl is another blog that I know I'll be visiting often ... more fabulous creations! I'm totally impressed with her stitching aim for this year ... Twelve Dozen in Twelve Months ... CQ seam treatments that is! She's already up to # 7 ... so off to a great start.

Nuido details the journey of Jane ... whose passion is Japanese Embroidery.... awesome work! She shows fabulous close-ups of her progress through the creation of projects.

I will be adding these to my side bar so I can visit often ... and looking forward to seeing more from all of them.

While it is much slower at work...that presents a whole new set of challenges....in that I still have tons of stuff to do...but with skeleton staff. It also means a major cut in hours for the staff...there's no way around it...but at least we haven't had to do any lay-offs...as it is temporary. Once we get into March ... and spring is in sight ... business will start to increase again ... when customers look forward to getting outside again.

I must admit I've been in a bit of a creative slump of late...with no ambition to stitch. I've allowed myself to become distracted by two unplanned projects too ... which may account for it.

I decided to make new folders for the girls at work ... to put all their cash-related paperwork in. We have a dozen plastic organizers that I found at the Dollar Store years ago, but they have become seriously dilapitated over time ... and of course they don't carry these anymore ... so I had to come up with a new type. I need to make 16 of them ... as we always seem to run out in busy times ... especially when the second shift starts.

I found some simple pencil cases ... and cut up regular file folders to create the inside file cards. I cut tabs in the top and marked each with file names ... then had the girls at Customer Service laminate them, trim the edges, and punch holes in them. The whole works gets anchored in place with zip-ties. All the cards are done now...so I just need to finish punching the pencil cases...and dab a bit of Weldbond on the cuts to seal the outside threads. The inside has a rubbery backing which should stand up well to daily use.

In addition ... Melanie asked me if I could knit her a hat. I had made one for Tim for Christmas ... and she was disappointed that she didn't get one! So...we went out to find some yarn ... and she chose a really pretty Red Heart 4-ply worsted ... a teal / turquiose / blue mix ... that will go well with a scarf she got as a gift from her cousin Emma ... as well as a couple of sweaters she has. I'm well under way with it now...about half done. Will share a pic when it's finished.

The yarn only came in a 340 gram ball ...which could probably make 3 hats ... or one hat and two mitts....so think that'll be the plan. Okay ... now there's another challenge. I haven't knit a pair of mitts in years ... so may actually have to find a pattern. I know I'd be fine doing the cuff part ... but it's that thumb gusset thing that I can't quite remember how to do. Am sure Googling will rescue me!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

New Links Added

I added the two links in the side bar ... finally ... for Carol-Anne Conway & Mary Corbet.

On Carol-Anne's blog ... make sure to click on the Label set for Goldwork...it is awesome!

Mary Corbet has a set of stitching video tutorials (top right) ... beautifully done!

Check them out .... you will be amazed at the calibre of their talent!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Old Friends, New Friends & Awesome Stuff !

It's been a long time since I had the luxury of spare time. Christmas in retail ... and getting it all together for same on a personal level really eliminated much of it...then to add a major project for publication into the mix...yup that just about sucked it all up!

This time of year is what I look forward to...sales slow wayyyy down...and it takes less effort to manage my work requirements....and all the house stuff from Christmas is now packed up.

Those challenges I mentioned at work seem to be ironing themselves out a bit...for now...and am feeling much less stressed.

Because of all this stuff ... I didn't have time to spend online...at least not as much as I'd have liked...especially where Stitchin Fingers was concerned...and I was feeling quite guilty about that ... seeing as I had assumed moderating two of the groups...then wasn't able to even take part.

Tonight I spent a lot of time there...and was sooooo glad I did! I've found that some old friends have resurfaced & joined ... and found / checked out some links to sites & blogs of ladies that I'm sure are going to become new friends.

Maureen Greeson has found us ... and another friend of hers Shirlee Fassell joined too! Maureen and I have been e-friends for quite a while & I am glad to see her back in action ... and when Maureen had her newsletter happening on her site ... I found a lot of inspiration in Shirlee's work (she did several articles in there too ... so looking forward to seeing more from her).

Today I joined the Goldwork group ... and found some awesome things from the members there!

Unfortunately...the links I saved are on the upstairs computer...and I'm posting this from the downstairs box...so will share those another day.

Carol-Anne Conway was one of my big finds of the day ... I had previously been struck by her awesome Japanese embroidery...but her Goldwork is to die for!

Mary Corbet ... (who has an article that will be in the upcoming issue of CQ Mag Online...so be sure to check that out)...is another member there...and I found her today from a link on another blog. More awesomeness!

OMG...time to go...it's now after 1 am ... and I have to be at work for 8!

Time sure flies when you're having fun! Later!

Friday, January 9, 2009

A Blast From The Past


I do read all comments that visitors post ... and check out links to pages of visitors that I have not yet met...and sometimes I discover some way cool stuff.

Yesterday I checked out CRAZYQSIS's link and saw something beautiful that she had stitched on her Breast Cancer block called a "Wyld Rose". (Coincidentally...it was adjacent to a patch featuring my own Melanie Rose...which was also beautifully done!)

I knew immediately what the origin of this creation was...as there was...is...and ever will be only one Wyldwmn!

While I have lost touch with her over the years ... Wyld & I go way back ... to the early days of the "silk-ribbon" list ... and her creations were always awesome.

So I took a side trip over to her site...and found a very detailed account of how to create these gorgeous roses...worth checking out!

http://www.wyldwmn.com/rose1.htm

While there I clicked through pics of things in her gallery...to discover a couple of pieces I had made and sent to her for different swaps. One of them was a Chatelaine...and I believe I posted that one some time back...but this little gem was part of the Pin Puff Swap....back in 2000. I was a "Silk Ribbon Purist" back then ... oh...I did use thread too....but only silk.

My how times change!

I've often wished that I had thought to keep track of exactly how many pieces I've made over the years ... I'm absolutely certain the count would be well over 2000 ... so I guess it shouldn't surprise me that I'd forget about the odd one...but it was nice to stumble across this piece and remember the good ol' days!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Allie's Gift


As most of you know by now ... Allie was the winner of the December Draw.

In my haste to get her gift in the mail ... I totally forgot to scan it ... but she was kind enough to snap a pic and forward to me after she received it.
This pin finished is barely 2" in diameter.....has 7 teeny patches...and embellished with lots of metallic threads for glitz. I love those green dagger beads at the bottom ... found them at a shop down on Queen St. in Toronto...called Arton....they have some of the coolest stuff.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Food For Thought - Why Do You Blog?

I was checking out Sharon B's Pintangle blog last night ... and she posted a very thought-provoking segment...about blogging. You can check it out for yourself by clicking the link in the side bar.

I left a rather long comment there...and don't want to reiterate here...that's just too much typing for the time I have this morning....but suffice it to say that I realized...I've been blogging for almost a year! January 25th was the exact date of my first entry...my how time flies when you're having fun!

That is cause for celebration! Yup...you guessed it...a prize draw to commemorate my One Year Blog Anniversary!

I will collect names of everyone who leaves a message on all January posts up until the 25th....and then put all the names into the Lucky Tin and the winning name will be selected.

So...read along...and leave me your comments...and Good Luck!

Hugs...Marie

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Drag Bag Scribbling


Here's a pic of the stuff I was talking about last post....the small swatch of cloth that I used to try out some stitches.


The vine with the 2-wrap LDBTs was done in chain stitch...then whipped. The odd stitch at the bottom right was done with a centre bullion and the added two Cast-on bits on each side.


At the top is the Double Cast-on bit.


The Bullion stitch and Cast-on stitches techniques I learned from Betty Pillsbury herself at a stitching weekend where she was the guest teacher ... way back in 1999. Best money I ever spent...and one of the most fun weekends ever!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Scheming in Green . . . Drag Bag Revisited

Well...I found a bit of time this weekend to play...after deligating the dismantling of the tree to the kids...and occasionally getting up to change loads of laundry...so managed to finish off the big wrought iron trellis on my Drag Bag...and now considering what I want to put over it.

I don't really want to bury it...there's too much time and effort spent in its creation. I do want to enhance it but still have a fullness to it. Instead of blasting full steam ahead...I decided to turn my thoughts to a "doodle cloth"...and try out some of the contemplated greenery.

This is kinda like scribbling with thread...a means to the eventual end...by giving ideas a place to take physical form without commitment to the project itself...and a chance to decide if I like what I see or not.

My efforts were mixed...some of it I did like and some of it...ummm...no. I tend to get bored with the same old same old...and forced my brain to consider different effects.

Vines are what I want....but bold ones. I did a line of chain stitches then whipped over it...and added some silk ribbon Double Wrap BT Lazy Daisy stitches for leaves...this I love the look of...and did a mental calculation as to whether I had enough of the ribbon to manage the whole thing. It'll go far...but may need a secondary fill-in. I played with the Double Cast-on stitch...and with 2 Cast-ons with a bullion centre...this has great potential & I have lots of #12 silk to use for it...so quite possibly what would work.

Pics would certainly be helpful here...but I didn't manage to get any scanner time...as DS was busy completing a project for school....yes holidays are over...back to class tomorrow (yay)...but will try to get visuals this week.

Back to the grind early tomorrow...for me and kids...means I better get to bed now.

Catch up more soon.

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