Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I been a bad-bad girl

It's been so long since I had a chance to blog I bet you all gave up on me.

I'm still unpacking from an interstate move and to boot I've been without a computer for a couple months. I moved back to my hometown after about 40 years away. It's wonderful to be back. My family have all moved away except for one cousin and one aunt but I have many dear friends here.

I'm looking forward to getting out my needles, 'freds' and stash to get going on my little project again. I have so much to catch up on, but happily the winters here are long (just how I like them) and I can stitch to my heart's content while the snow blows around outside.

I've joined a class sponsored by CQ International Novice division. It's entitled CQ A to Z and I really am really looking forward to it. Lots to look forward to!

A dear friend sent me an issue of Inspirations magazine quite some time back and I'm only now having the time to peruse it. If you're not familiar with Inspirations, it's an Australian publication on embroidery. To die for! Thank you Susan :) it truly is inspiring.

Til next time ~

Monday, July 13, 2009

Mid-July and a stitch or two

Time flies by sometimes. It's been almost a month since I posted last, and the photos from last month remind me that I haven't gotten much done on my block. Gardening and painting the porch and shutters has kept me busy during the day and I can't see well enough at night to stitch, even by good lamplight, but here are 3 photos of what I have gotten done.

The far right top photo is my first attempt at the Knotted Herringbone stitch. This stitch was week #29 of the weekly "Build a Seam" challenge that Kerry at http://kerrykatiecakes2.blogspot.com/ . Check out her blog if you haven't yet. You'll learn lots of great stitches! You can join from the first stitch, in the middle or start at the end - it's just for yourself - so have fun with it.

Week #30 was the "Meandering Ribbon" challenge, which you also see on my block (pink and lavender ribbon with glass iridescent leaf beads). That challenge was to make a ribbon just meander along a seam.

To be honest, I am waiting impatiently for winter. It's too hot, too humid and too buggy for me in the south in the summer. I want to curl up in my chair with my stitching and home made soup simmering on the stove-top. We have a/c but it's not the same. I need it cold and blowing outside. It won't get cold here until about November :(.

So to those of you, who like me are in the minority, and love winter - hang tough this summer.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

First stitches on block

Detail of Silk Organza Rose

I finally got the gumption to put needle to block. I admit I practiced stitches for quite some time before getting the nerve! However, I practiced with a hoop and I didn't use one when I stitched this Woven Ribbon Rose on the block. Apparently this is also known as a spider web rose but I detest spiders and they are the death knell to my real roses, so for me, it's a woven rose. These are also my first leaves ever. It is looking scanty because I have many more details to add to the area around the rose - and of course the rest of the block is nekkid, for now. It looks a little better in reality, honest!

Not the greatest, but the best I can do so far. Practice, practice, practice....

Sunday, May 24, 2009

I've managed - barely!


It's been a busy last few weeks for me and I have to admit I'm a bit discouraged about how far I've come (or not come!) in learning to embroider.

After as much practice as I could squeeze in, these are the only two accomplishments I'm not too terribly embarrassed to post. Both of these stitches are probably the easiest thing to do. The upper left hand scan is the Woven Rose (on muslin) and in the upper right hand is the Herringbone combined with the Running Stitch (ditto). It's a bit crookedy! But I had to show you something to prove I'm still alive, LOL.

My mentor, Diane, advised me to photograph or scan the blocks and stitches as I go along because photos and scans have a critical eye. It's really true and if anyone reading this is brand new at CQ or embroidery, like I am, I suggest you follow Diane's advice. For instance, on my Herringbone/Running stitch, I didn't realize, until I saw the scan, that it's a bit crooked and my stitches at the top were getting shorter, or going 'downhill' as it were.

The rose and the herringbone are the good news. Scary, huh?

Again, this is not to scare anyone off CQ'ing. If anything, it's to encourage you especially if you are new and getting discouraged about your progress. I know it gets me a bit down sometimes when I'm surrounded by beautiful work that I cannot manage to emulate at all. Check out all the blogs by beautiful stitchers and you'll see what I mean. But you'll also see such inspiring eye candy! I often wish I could find someone who is where I am - a non-sewing, non-embroidering person who doesn't even understand (or have) a sewing machine. If you're out there, I'd love to hear from you. Maybe we can trade war stories ;)

Diane and Leslie have bent over backwards to help me; Susan and Rose Anne have been so supportive and encouraging of me - I'd like to thank you all.

Lately I've been painting (no, not artistic painting unless you call a 3" brush applied to shutters and the porch artistic!) and trying to get things done before the onslaught of summer. It's very hot, and very humid and not in the least conducive to strenuous outdoor work in summertime middle Tennessee where I live. So, it's hurry, hurry, hurry to get it done.

Our small garden is planted with tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers and zucchini. I'm not much of a veggie gardener, but my roses are blooming and the peonies were really showy this year. Wish I had a camera - would have loved to show them off to you! My lavender plant that I thought I'd lost over winter is sending up new green and even some flowers, so I'm tickled about that.

And that's what I've been up to! Doesn't sound like much but it's worn me out. Getting a bit long in the tooth to be learning new tricks methinks!

Here is one final picture. I ran across it the other day. It was hiding in my old files dating back to when I owned The Age of Elegance in Clearwater, Florida. These are the original Body Parfaits, an extra light body cream best for summertime or oily skin. The story behind these Body Parfaits is interesting. They are very 'big' among handmade body product makers. I actually am the person who invented them and my best friend Karen came up with the name. It took me years to improve my recipe. Before I was able to trademark it, a supplier of some of the ingredients I used to make my Body Parfaits from scratch asked me one day how I made them. I confused her with my village priest I guess, and I told her assuming she wouldn't 'share' my method. But she did - at a soaper's convention. This was many years ago - probably about 8 or 9 years now I guess... Anyway, the soaper's conventions draw many soapers and she wanted to sell her ingredients. Soaper's conventions always have demonstrations. She 'demonstrated' not only my parfait but also the name and now so many people make the Body Parfaits that I still think about the loss at my one shot of fame, LOL. She probably made a pretty penny selling the ingredients for the Body Parfait but she also substituted chemicals for the basic structure I used. I asked her nicely to discontinue using my name but she ignored me. That's a pretty big thing in my book. But she's out of business and has been for at least 4 years. Karma.

See you soon - with more (and better) stitches I hope!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Finally - My First Block is Pieced!

This is the middle portion of my first Crazy Quilt block (can't get it all on the scanner). As yet it's not embellished. The photo above shows what is called 'auditioning'. I have placed the green floral braid and the lavender silk flower on the block to see how I like the effect before I sew them down.

As I learn to embroider and make my own silk flowers, I'll be adding alot to this block. This particular block was done in satins, silks and velvets. As you can see - in the purple 'colorway' (a fancy way of saying 'all in purples and hues of purples'.)

If you are interested in learning to Crazy Quilt, don't be put off by how long it takes me to accomplish piecing and learning. I have a few obligations that keep me from getting to it as often as I'd like to and you would probably get it done much faster. It is really fun and very satisfying!

Ciao, Di

Saturday, May 2, 2009

And more gifts! This time from Stash Angel Rose Anne

Fabric & Trims from
Stash Angel
Rose Anne of Winnipeg, Manitoba

What a delightful surprise awaited me in my mailbox again today! I am truly blessed with the most generous new friends since joining the Crazy Quilting world!
Above is a scan of a few of the beautiful fabrics Rose Anne sent me as a gift and below is a scan of the trims she sent me to help me get started in this new (to me) craft. I'm not very good at scanning and have yet to figure out how to make some satins and pale fabrics come out nicely on the scanner, so you'll have to trust me when I say the fabrics I couldn't scan are to die for.
I'm particularly tickled over the beautiful threads and tatted motifs because those are the first I've ever owned. Just like when Connie sent me my first beads, when I saw those threads and motifs I was so touched!
I can't wait to use everything as I learn to crazy quilt.
Thank you Rose Anne!
~ Di

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Stash Angel - Gifts from the heart

Thank you Angel Connie for the lovely Stash goodies!

Been super duper busy the last few weeks doing Spring cleaning and haven't gotten much fun stuff done so have been feeling the weight of the domestic goddess routine! But the other day a wonderful suprise came in my mailbox and I wanted to share with you.

I belong to a group that fosters mentors and apprentices in the needle arts. The group also has a designated area of ladies called Stash Angels. Anyone who's just started out in a craft knows what it is to need stash. It takes a long time and a more than a few cents to gather up a working stash; so these ladies just send stash items to newbies like me!
Isn't it really wonderful that there are people in the world who care about a stranger having enough 'goodies' to get started in a new craft?
This entire group of ladies, from the Stash Angels to the Mentors to the Apprentices are loving, giving and so very generous with their time, their friendship and yes....their STASH!

I don't have a digital camera anymore but am going to attempt to load up a scan or two of the goodies I received from Connie, my Stash Angel. The scans don't do these beautiful trims, beads and fabrics justice, and there was much more that I could not get onto my scanner bed, but I still want to show you what I received. Cannot wait to use them!
If you are interested in learning to crazy quilt, embellish and/or embroider; or already know how but want to join a really fun group of crazy ladies, look for us on Yahoo Groups. We're "Stitchmap"! We'd love to meet you!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Lovely mentor!

A mutual online friend (S) found a wonderful woman to mentor me through the CQ process.

I'm thrilled to pieces. She's a lovely lady, very interesting and very talented. And apparently very patient.

So, D~ you know who you are - thank you so much. I look forward to a long friendship and appreciate your guiding me through the process. I promise to work hard and will try to do you proud!

And thank you too, S! I owe you big time for sending D to me! For now, I'm posting a photo of a double rainbow. This was taken in South Australia from my front porch right after a big rain storm. The river you see is the River Murray, which is THE river in South Australia. It's down a 300 foot cliff from the house. I sure miss that view!

Ciao for now ~ Di

Friday, April 17, 2009

For Janet

I told a friend I'd post a photo of my tarts. These are my grubby cookie tarts. The cherries, apple slices and pecan nuts are all made of wax (by me) too. Silly hobby I spose, but lots of fun, and they make the kitchen smell yummy as well.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Other kinds of craft. Like gardening for instance...

I may not be doing so hot on the Crazy Quilting so far but I reminded myself I also like to garden (that's a craft, right?) and make candles etc.

This is a picture of part of the garden I had when I lived in Australia. The round tank you see in the pics is a water tank. I lived in South Australia which is the driest state on the driest continent on earth. Therefore, you see water tanks in almost every back garden.

It's been cold here in middle Tennessee for the past few days, so thought I'd liven myself up (and anyone else who's stuck in the cold in mid April!) with some flowers.

If ya can't pick 'em, post 'em!

The peach rose is a close up of one my roses that I used as a label on my handmade rose facial cleanser. I had 28 rose bushes and a nice big variety of other bushes and flowers, plus lavender and other herbs. I used them all for my handmade bath and beauty products and my potpourri. I no longer have time to garden but have planted a half dozen rose bushes and a few other things that aren't doing so well in the climate I'm in now. Maybe my thumb isn't so green after all, LOL
Ciao for now...Di

Learning to Crazy Quilt & Hand Embroidery

This is my first post and as I'm just learning from scratch how to crazy quilt and hand embroider, there isn't much to report!

As I've been practicing my stitches I keep wondering - isn't there anyone out there who is as new to this as I am? Someone who didn't already make sane quilts, or learn to embroider at their grandmother's knee? I can't find a soul to share the trials and tribulations of finding the correct needle, or comparing laughable practice stitches.

I have been lucky to find ladies on a forum list that are helpful to the max; but someone to share the stupid things I do (like ramming my thumb with the needle 100 times over!) would be good, LOL
Maybe at my age (and with the condition of my arthritic hands) I'm pipe-dreaming, but will continue to try. I promise to put up photos as soon as there is anything to show.

In the meantime, I'll post a photo of my dog, Bronny. She's a Pembroke Welsh Corgi, 11 months old, tri-color. Bronny is my 3rd Pembroke. Annie (Angharad) was our first - another tri. Then we got Drewie-dog (Andrew). He was a sable. We also fostered a beautiful Cardigan Blue Merle show dog named Lara when we lived in Australia. Corgis are wonderful, smart, loving, funny dogs. For over 20 years we've laughed every day at our corgis. They are natural little clowns and know when they are making us laugh.

Back to CQ'ing. (yes, I get off-track alot) I'm gathering up a stash of fabrics, ribbons, laces, etc, and so far that seems to be the only part of the hobby I'm indulging in except for stitching practice.

I have learned the feather stitch, French knot, Herringbone and tried the Lazy Daisy but so far the daisies are not cooperating. Am also lending my hand to some ribbon embroidery.

Lesson #1 - pulling poly ribbons thru fabric is nigh unto impossible. Real silk ribbons are pretty much the rule for good reason - they like sliding thru the fabric more than the polyester ribbons.

I've also been making concertina roses. So cute! It's really quite calming to make them (read: no brainers). :-))

Hopefully all my blog posts won't be this boring...

....ciao for now ** PS - Earlier I said this was my first post. Well, it's my second. I'd written one before and thought it disappeared - found it in my Draft folder. I'll learn this blogging thing soon too. I hope! **

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Can't sew or embroider but learning to CQ!

Crazy Quilting is the perfect craft for me. Sometimes I think I'm crazy for wanting to make a quilt when I've never made a 'sane' quilt, can barely sew, and don't know how to embroider! If that 'ain't' crazy, I don't know what is!

But undaunted, I am forging ahead with the help from the lovely ladies on two forums: CQForNewbies and CrazyQuilts.

I picked up one of (what I believe) the most valuable tools I could start out with. Judith Baker Montano Teaches You Crazy Quilting DVD. (no affiliation). It's a great little DVD and has taught me alot.

I'll be adding photos as I can but for now have nothing to show. I refuse to show my practice stitches because I don't want you to hurt yourself falling off your chair in hysterics. Suffice it to say I'm struggling thru the French Knot and Feather Stitch this weekend.

..caio, Di