Saturday, February 28, 2009

199 ... Okay I'm Cheating ... So Sue Me!

Yeah ... I'm stretching it here ... but I wanted to make the Draw the official 200th Blog.

So...I wanted to say that I hope to have some pics of these current projects for you tomorrow.

I really do need to learn how to use Mel's camera ... and snap pics bymyself ... but hoping she will get some tomorrow for me ... as the projects I want her to photograph are destined to be BD gifts on March 2nd & 3rd.

Okay ... so ... Face Off is on now ... great flick ... off to put my feet up & relax.

A demain (which is French for "until tomorrow" (I think) !

198....Into The Vacuum

It happens sometimes ... the creativity disappears.

Coincidentally I've noticed this occurs after I've had a big barrage of ideas. I'm sure I've even mentioned this before.

I guess that once all of the ideas are out ... it leaves a void ... a vacuum ... until my creative mind can recharge and fill the emptiness with more ideas or vision.

That's where I seem to be at the moment...coupled with a long mentally exhausting day at work...there is nothing coming to mind.

However ... in anticipation of the Draw planned for tomorrow ... I started putting together some things that will go to the winner of the 200th Blog Draw ... fun stuff ... beads, buttons, charms & embellishments that I hope will be an inspring addition to someone's CQ stash!

So ... maybe since the "Mojo" ain't happening tonight ... I'll just plug into a movie.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

What An Awesome Day!

The new moon ... the beginning of new things. New things are always inspiring to me!

My day started with an interview ... no not for a new job ... but with Rosalie...the gal who writes up the artist bios for A Needle Pulling Thread!

We had a phone appointment for 9am ... and ended up chatting for almost an hour ... about my submission and what led up to the article. Until today she had not seen what I had created...so I sent her a quick pic of it...so she could see what the planned creation was. Her passions are quilting and knitting...socks specifally..but creating is the common bond...and she was excited to see what I had done. It'll be interesting to see how she interprets our conversation into written word!

After our chat I decided to finish something I had in progress ... namely the CQ piece.

I so love it when the inspiration crests! That's just what happened today.

My recent circular distraction resulted in a partially completed project ... the embellished circle has now been finished into a jar topper...which came together quite nicely...but...when I looked at it felt like it needed something more.

It actually looks perfectly fine but ... somehow incomplete. I stared at it for a while ... trying to figure out why...or what it was that it seemed to need. Trim ... beaded trim ... yup ... that's what. I'm going to leave that for now...let the focus get a bit more clear...then tackle it later.

So ... good opportunity to pursue another distraction...same concept...different medium. I completed the fundamentals but now waiting on the vision. I'm seeing a floral spray in ribbon and decided on the colour scheme...but that is where the vision ended. Don't push it...wait...it'll come into focus. All in good time.

After all..tomorrow is another day!
As Ashley would say ... Gone with the Wind. Get it?

Pics will follow ... eventually.

HEY......ANOTHER BLOG MILESTONE ON THE HORIZON!

Wow ... I'm soooo close to my 200th blog!

Now for those of you who have blogged for years ... you've probably well surpassed this mark but this is a big one for me!

So ...ta da..ta da..ta daaaa....I'm gonna share some stuff!

All comment posters this month are gonna get in on a DRAW ... this time for a Stash Share!

I'm going to throw together a "CQers Delight" package ... little bits of this and that... things you can work into your own projects...now or later...whenever the mood or inspiration strikes!

I'm going to exclude recent winners ... so Allie and Gwen ....you won't be eligible.
Let's see who the Lucky Tin will favour this time! I'll announce the winner on March 1st!

Good luck everyone!

Fun ...Wow!

Awesome Surprise in the Mail!

Imagine my surprise when I found a small envelope addressed to me in the mail yesterday!

I got very excited when I saw who it came from ... Gwen!

It was a totally unexpected thank you gift from her .... for her Blog Draw win. She sent an exquisite pair of earrings in a rose pattern ... as they reminded her of the teeny laser-cut ones I sent her ... on the heart ... and some extras to use on a special project of her own.

I absolutely love them! I immediately took off my dull standard gold keepers and put these on ... I feel so different!

I didn't think to scan them to show ... and now that I'm wearing them I don't wanna take them off ... so I am going to get Mel to take a pic for me ... of me wearing them ... & then will update my photo ... so you'll all get to see how lovely they are! Can't promise this will happen today ... but will get it up as soon as possible.

If you have not seen the awesome creations that Gwen & her husband John create ... you must check out their Desideratum site! I ordered Melanie's Treble Clef / Bass Clef earrings from her at Christmas ... & she loves them!

Thanks again Gwen ... they are so awesome ... & I'll treasure them always!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Swirly Thingies

Okay so here's what I was talking about last post.

The second one I did is shown first as it hasn't been embellished yet and gives a better idea as to the lure of the pattern.


The first one was not the same design ... but along the same lines.


I added several leaves & a butterfly that were a recent share from Pat Winter...have been wanting to use them but they just needed the right project! The vines that they're on were done with a chain stitch which I then wove over ... doing a figure 8 from outside to inside ... left to right then right to left over the threads...and to make it thicker did this several times over the same chain. The silk flowers are three straight stitches overlayed with 3 Alton Loops ... and kinda remind me of lilies.

Each of these will be gathered over a disc and backed with a stopper-thing ... comprised of stacked artboard circles with fabric gathered over...and then joined.

Will get pics of these two again when completed.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Circular Distractions

At Christmas I had given each of the three regular day girls something special from my stash of goodies ... they were small jars with lids that I had done some ribbon work on. These weren't recent creations but done some time ago ... they had Concertina roses, gathered florettes and the like. Originally I had made them for the booth thing ... to go with potpourri that I was making back then ... but they could be use for earrings or tea bags ... a generally functional piece.

One of the girls told me recently that she didn't even get to keep hers because her daughter claimed it for herself ... she just loved it! As I know she has a birthday coming up soon ... and she always gives me gifts for everything ... anniversary included ... I started contemplating another piece for her.

I started doodling with a circle ... then another ... and another and before I knew it I had half a dozen. I suppose I should've just kept it simple and did some SRE ... but I decided on CQ ... and the circular patterns I came up with began to intrigue me ... as they sort of spiraled.

There are no rules in CQ....right Sharon?

I ended up piecing two of them ... and just finished embellishing the first one and well ... I wanted to stitch a whole bunch! I'm out of time...for now...back to the grind tomorrow...but they are very portable projects ... something that I can work at during my dinner hour!

Distracted by a new idea ... again ... OH NO! My list of things to do just got longer!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Mural Magic

Some time ago I had an e-mail from a friend sharing a link to a very cool site.

At first glance what you see is a mosaic ... but on closer inspection what makes up the entire piece are smaller works that were put together to create the whole. You can click on each individual section to see it up close...and it is quite awesome to see how it all came together!

Mural Mosaic is where to go to see these artworks.

Enjoy!

What the Heck???

I had a really good laugh at myself the other day!

After showing the first sample of the Trellis stitch ... I decided to play with it again the next day with some other threads ... as I thought I had it down pat!

But try as I might ... could I get it to look like it was supposed to??? NO!

After the first failed attempt...ya think I might have gone back to Jeanne's pics for a refresher course ... but did I??? NO!

I tried twice more and still it didn't work! Finally I logged on and found her site...& then in one glance ... I realized what the heck was wrong! Somehow overnight my brain flipped the process! Where I was supposed to be going over the needle then under it ... I went under the needle then over ... hmm ... maybe if I cut out the fabric & looked inside...the knots would be on the inside!

Okay well ... just goes to show ya ... we're none of us perfect!

If you look at the sample below ... it will be obvious which ones were the failed attempts!







For these I played with DMC Coton Perl 5 (blue & beige) ... Pearl Crown Rayon (light fuchsia) ... and Ribbon Floss (berry) ... and I definitely like the #5 beige one the best.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Gwen's Gift


About a month ago I held a draw to celebrate my One Year Blogiversary ... and Gwen Buchanan was the winning name my DH pulled from the Lucky Tin.


My first thought was to do another pin ... or a pendant ... but thinking these would only be occasionally used ... suggested that she might prefer a Wall Art concept ... something she could enjoy on a daily basis. She loved the idea ... so that became the plan!


I chose to create a small CQ heart in creams with only the centre patch having a hint of colour ... some tiny roses ... and built around that. I had found these exquisite mini laser-cut rose charms at Arton on Queen St. West in Toronto ... and added them as a finishing touch!


The frame ... is 5" x 5" ...cut from art board, padded with knit back fleece, and covered with fabric. The back is fabric only with an inserted hanger that matches the trim on the edge.


Gwen absolutely loves it ...and I'm so glad! If you take the link to her blog above you can see the pics she took of it ... front and back ... as well as an awesome sunrise shot of the Bay of Fundy!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Trellis Samples


These are the bits I did earlier ... circular & linear patterns of the Trellis Stitch.

I found the circular one much easier to do ... it's like "knitting in the round" whereas the linear form is more like "two needle knitting" ... turning &/or reversing the work ... but here you work across & back with the right side facing.

The circular one I started with a double running stitch outline ... then continually working the trellis stitch counter-clockwise around. After the third round I decreased ... skipping every other stitch and worked even on the remaining stitches for two more rounds. I used Vikki Clayton's # 12 Silk Pearl ... Lavender Rose.
The "leaf" section at the right was done in YLI Pearl Crown Rayon ... I found it difficult to discern the loops between the knots ... and while it looks okay ... I switched back to green #12 silk for the one on the left ... and the pattern seems more obvious. Both of these began with outlines done in backstitch.
I noticed that the samples shown were worked on a canvas-type background ... but I chose simple cotton muslin ... and hooped it for stability.
I did like the look of the samples the other articles featured ... the texture is denser ... due to the fiber used...wool & cotton give different looks to the same stitch!
And ... speaking of different ... picture trimming out a painted button or a cabachon with this ... I think it'd look awesome ... oooh or a mirror disc ... how about a glass disc ... like those ones you find at Michaels used for floral arrangements?!! I have a bunch of those I aquired when we closed the store back in 2001.
Yup ... too many ideas ... never enough hours!


Monday, February 16, 2009

A Totally Creative Day

Well ... after my earlier trip to the Antique Pattern Library & printing off some wonderful finds there ... I bounced around the blogs to see what everybody else was up to ... and lo & behold my dear friend Sharon B has come up with another great find (and posted links to tutorials) for a stitch I hadn't experienced before ... the Trellis Stitch!

I checked out both links and decided I just had to play with this!

I totally love it! So many ideas started going through my head as to the possibilites! Will show my results a bit later when I can get to the scanner ... but suffice it to say ... I can see this becoming a regular new addition to my stitching repretoire!

Also ... my sister Cathy has a birthday coming up March 2nd ... and I recall her telling me recently that her pin cushion that I made her just isn't big enough! She is a seamstress extrodinaire ... and when she's doing a full piece ... she needs hundreds of pins at a time ... so as I was contemplating what would accommodate this need ... a vision struck me ... and so I proceeded to construct a new creation that I think she's gonna love!

If you saw the pin cushions that I shared in one issue of CQ Mag Online ... the ones with the CQ'd tops ... use that as the starting point of reference ... only picture it taller ... with Pinwheels anchored in between multiple layers!

This is not a scan-able piece ... so will ask Mel to snap pics for me. It's a Pin Tower ... and instead of doing CQ on top ... I anchored a beaded medallion made of multi-coloured metallic beads ... that fit so well with the multi-coloured heads of the pins!

As prototypes go ... it turned out pretty good ... but I realized afterward ways to make it better. I can see a subsequent edition being done to iron out the glitches...but still I'm happy with the result.

As typically happens with one project ... it immediately began to morph into other possibilites ... and an idea struck me ... the top section alone ... done in a pair ... would be another ornament evolution! Have yet to start it ... but already confident that it'll look way cool!

Some days are just meant to be creative...and so glad that today was one of 'em!

The bonus is ... that it's not over yet ... and I still have time to play some more!

Awesome Irish Crochet

I find myself with the luxury of two whole days off ... today being the second annual "Family Day"... and tomorrow my regular day off...so I am scrolling through the offerings on the Antique Pattern Library and found this exquisite book from the early 1900s !

Priscilla Irish Crochet Book - No. 1

As if the cover isn't amazing enough ... I am sure your jaw will drop ... as mine did ... when you get down to Figure 1 ... a breath-taking coat! It would clearly take months to complete such a detailed project.

What I really love about this book ... is that it is a primer ... starting out with the basic stitches and progressing to motifs and projects. It is a printable version...and I'm doing that too... so I can have it handy for reference.

I was thinking as I went through it ... some of the motifs would be fabulous to add to a CQ project ... especially the dimensional roses.

So ... check it out!

Enjoy!

PS ... the whole book is comprised of 4 PDF files ... the link above is to the first one.
You can see all of them if you take the Antique Pattern Library link at right ... then click on Catalog ... then scroll down to Harvey, Lula M. for the 4-part series.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentines!

Hope you all had a lovely day with the ones you love!

Paul & I had our first date on Valentines Day...25 years ago!

Our wedding anniversary was this week too ... February 10th ...
19 years this year!
Wow how time flies when you're having fun!

Friday, February 13, 2009

On-line Stitching Resources

I've added a new gadget!

I thought it'd be beneficial to have a section with links to sites & blogs that all have great info on stitching ... patterns and directions for a variety of mediums that are helpful in the creative process.

These are some of my faves ... and I'll add to it periodically as I find new links of interest.

I have to warn you...these are places that you can get lost in for long periods of time!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Blog List Updated

I noticed yesterday that I had a lot of saved links for blogs & sites that I visit often ... and have been meaning to add them to my side bar!

Finally did get around to that today...so now I can get there from here!

A day off ... yay! Plan to get some organizing and stitching done!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Frilly Flowers - Drag Bag


Okay so here's the iron & vines with the frilly flowers added.


This is Stage 2 ... have one more element to add to this yet & will share again when that is completed.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Needlelace, Anyone?

Sharon B always finds the coolest stuff!

I spent an hour today checking out this find of hers...a tutorial on creating needlelace!

Textile dreams - fibery wake up features a crash course tutorial showing how to make needlelace. It focuses on one project and shows how to create the stitches shown. There are also resources given for further info ... and I was quite taken by The Encyclopedia of Needlework ... which is an online book by Gutenberg ... antique in origin that was so comprehensively awesome!

Fabulous thing to curl up with a "cuppa" like Sharon likes to say! Thank you my friend!

Today I focused on the Lace section...diagrams obviously dated...but workable with the text.

There's a broad spectrum of many needlework mediums ...everything from "Plain Sewing" to "Miscellaneous Fancy Work" ... something to save a link to...and get absorbed in for a while.

Check it out!

Long Live Needlework!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Carrot Cake / Muffins: Total Comfort for the Senses

Can you smell them? A mix of cinnamon & brown sugar & carrot filling the air ... I love that smell!

I have been wanting to make a batch for weeks ... but something always came up or I was missing something ingredient wise ... but today it all came together ... time, ingredients, energy & desire. I might not be able to wait until they're iced to have one...but I will wait until they cool a bit.

The recipe I use comes from a tattered copy of a book called "All-Occasion Cooking". It is a collection of recipes from Canadian kitchens ... featuring submissions from such well-known Canadians as Maureen Forrester, Margaret Atwood, Karen Kain, Pierre Berton, Wally Crouter and Gordie Howe. The book was created as a fund-raising project for Epilepsy Ontario. I was personally involved with it...had a short term job going through office buildings selling them! I did pretty good at it ... and glad that I kept one for myself ... it is full of wonderful recipes.

By far my fave is this one. The original recipe is for a cake...and I've made several of them...but I've played with it...added things...and figured out the exact right baking time for muffins too.

I decided to share the comfort...and the recipe... my augmented one. If you don't care for either walnuts or raisins (or both) they are totally optional.

CARROT CAKE / MUFFINS

2 cups packed brown sugar
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
4 eggs
2 cups cake & pastry (or all-purpose) flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups raw carrot , grated
3/4 cup each chopped walnuts and sultana raisins (optional)

Combine sugar and oil. Beat in eggs one at a time.

In another bowl combine flour, baking powder, soda, cinnamon and salt.
Gradually stir into the oil mixture. Add carrots (and walnuts & raisins).
Beat for approximately 100 strokes (with a wooden spoon).

FOR CAKE:
Grease 2 - 8" round cake pans; pour half the batter into each and bake at 350 degrees F for 35 minutes. Cool completely . Frost with Cream Cheese Icing between layers and the outside.

FOR MUFFINS:
(Makes 24 large)
Line two 12-spot muffin tins with large or giant paper cups. Fill each about 3/4 full.
Bake both at same time in a 350 degree F oven for 20 minutes. Cool completely and frost with Cream Cheese Icing .... my fave is Duncan Hines!

Enjoy!

PS ... as I was typing the ingredients ... it hit me ... I forgot the salt!
Just sampled one ... and seems this could be optional too ...
for those who are sodium conscious!
Makes them a bit sweeter...rather than a sweet/salty taste.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Temari

Every once in a while you stumble across something so awesome that ya just gotta share!

I was floating around on Etsy today when I found julieandco .
Stunning work. You must go see...you just must!

I tried my hand at this traditional Japanese art form once...made an ornament for my tree...so I have an idea of the skill it takes to create these. The book I borrowed from the library had some beautifully elaborate design ... but my jaw dropped when I saw these!

Enjoy!

More Doodles - Drag Bag


Okay ... so once I got this frilly idea in my head ... I started playing with it & I'm kinda liking what I see. I've done these little gathered things before as individual bits that were stitched on afterward ... but figured I'd try to stitch them right onto the cloth. It took some playing ... with different size ribbons in various lengths....but it worked.

It's kinda like doing a French Knot rose ... only without the knot & in reverse! Clear as mud?

Hmmm ... this might take some diagramming to clarify ... but for the interim:

I started by bringing the ribbon up through the fabric ... then starting just above the exit point ... I wove the needle in & out of the ribbon ... 1/16 - 1/8" gaps ... & 13 - 15 times....very close to the edge on one side. Then I pulled the length of the ribbon through the weaving (so now it makes a circle) then just kept pulling until the circle closed. I took the needle down through and pulled gently to set the flower.

4mm makes teeny blooms ... & 7mm yields larger blooms ... these remind me of Million Bells or Petunias. I was tempted to try these on 13mm ... but think that might be overkill ... not to mention too big for this piece.

Other bits that I played with ... at top left a bullion leaf filled with satin stitch...to the right of that I did a test drive of some pretty ribbon that Allie sent me ... hand-dyed by Vicki Day...I was thinking to use it here...but unfortunately the denim sucks the colour out of it. Bottom right ... tried my hand at a Buttonhole leaf...the first one was wonky... for the second I drew the shape on first & it came out much better.
So ... guess I'll gather up some laundry ... get it started ... and stitch!

Friday, February 6, 2009

More Snippets from the Drag Bag

I had a chance to do a few more scans of my progress on the bag.

Each of the handles/shoulder straps have been embellished.


I added more to one of the front pockets ... it needed more life.






This is one of the smaller trellises on the side seam.

Also played around on the doodle cloth with some 7mm ribbon & came up with
some funky new blooms...will share tomorrow...after I get them scanned.

Enjoy!

One World ... One Heart!

While having to deal with all these trials and tribulations of late...I didn't have the chance until now to check out the blogging phenomenon called "One World One Heart".

What an awesome concept! This is the 3rd year running for this event...the brainchild of Lisa Swifka ... who invited all artistic bloggers to share their talents with the world by participating in a massive share ... all registered participants will be giving something away. All you need to do to have a chance at these offers is to post a comment for each participant.

This year the number of bloggers registered is a staggering 911 ... isn't that a coincidental mark! A number that previously symbolized the date of a catastrophic event of terrorism in the USA has now become a symbol of world wide sharing! That is incredible!

I most certainly will be entering some of these draws...there are many names I know on the bandwagon...and while I missed the boat this round...will be waiting for the next opportunity to share with the world.

I've often felt that The Net has made the world a smaller place...but this event has such a unique twist...bringing so many together for the sake of friendship.

It is awesome to see the responses ... when one blog post illicits over 200 comments ... for the sake of a chance in the share...that is amazing!

What a wonderful world it would be if this message caught fire ... and all the world would share!

John Lennon would be smiling up in Heaven if it did!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Iron & Vines - Drag Bag Update


When I did the trellis on the back ... the one with all the tiny pink roses ... it dawned on me that it kinda looked like a lost sheep ... so I decided I had to tie it in to a larger theme. I added a trim around the edge of the lighter denim...and worked this section on the centre front. I also stitched a couple of smaller trellises on each side seam.

I actually started working on this back in the summer...the week we were at the cottage...and all I had with me to outline the iron work was a pen. The stitching covers most of it ... and figure one good washing will take out the rest. In some spots ... I discovered later ... it is not entirely as symetrical as it was supposed to be...but what the heck...I'll just bury the mistakes with stitching.

The wrought iron was done with DMC Coton Perle # 8 ... back stitched / whip stitched. For the vines I used Vikki Clayton's #12 Silk Pearl - Holly Leaves (from years ago) and the Bullion Tip Lazy Daisy leaves took a whole 6 yards of 4mm Isle Green 3209 ... and when that ran out added a couple more yards of YLI # 19 ... which is a very close match!

I'm still deliberating on the flora ... not sure what I want to do there ... thinking something other than roses ... maybe French or Colonial knot sprays ... or some gathered thingies. Will think on that some more...and maybe go back to the doodle cloth & play with some ideas.

Must run ... Mel just called from school wanting to come home ... her tummy doesn't feel too well!


Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Thanks ... & Thank God for Advil!

I so appreciate the Get Well wishes ... and have to say that I am actually feeling somewhat better tonight ... due to Advil Cold & Sinus!

Hey ... maybe I could be their next spokes person!

Several years ago I had a really bad sinus cold...so bad that the back of my head felt like it was going to explode...and I was so distracted by the pain that I couldn't even think of anything else.

The pharmacist recommended this.....and after only one dose...I was actually able to feel relief. So ... this was the first thing on my cold ammunition list this time...and I swear it cleared out my sinuses in under an hour. I was able to cope with work ... and actually felt almost normal.

The other product in my arsenal was a mega dose of Vitamin C ... Redoxon ... which is an effervescent tablet dissolved in water and packs a 1000 mg punch to attack those nasty invaders. It's helping too.

I'll get more rest tomorrow ... as I am only planning another short shift . Hope that'll keep this virus under control until it runs out of steam.

Speaking of rest...better get some. Thanks again.

And The Other Shoe Drops

WhileI have survived all recent trials and tribulations ... it has worn me down... to the point of exhaustion. My immune system has not been able to cope with it all...and now I"m sick ... which is one of my least favourite things to be...it is such an inconvenience. I have a full - blown sinus cold ... and feeling just miserable.

On the bright side ... Dianne is starting back tomorrow after her ordeal ... and after a flight delay from her vacation ... Barb will back ... so maybe I can actually take a sick day knowing that someone can cover for me.

I bailed out at noon today ... having to cover Barb for the morning ( even though I was supposed to be off) came home and had some chicken soup ... then passed out for 5 hours. After that ... got up and finished off the draw prize for Gwen & got some stitching done on my Drag Bag. I'm pleased with how the vine work came out ... and will scan some pics soon.

So the worst over ... and relief in sight ... & I'm still standing ... kinda ... even though I need a small reprieve myself.

But it just never seems to end...Sue (who is my cash anchor) now has to leave for a month to go to India. Her sister has been hospitalized from effects of diabetes. Fortunately ... the rest of the day staff will be able to cover ... so it'll work out. Life goes on!

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