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