About Me

My photo
i am a creative person. mother to a daughter who is an active young woman and a constant blessing in my life. i hope that you enjoy your visit here and that you will return often.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12-12-12 and a christmas wish

December 12, 2012 or 12-12-12 will be the last date of it's kind when all three numbers in a date are the same. The next time something like this will happen will be on January 1, 2101. According to popular belief, 12-12-12 is a lucky date that will bring good fortune.

i hope that your holiday is a reflection of this good fortune.

within the above image you will notice that there is a sweet little flying geese quilt. i received that from Maureen of Pursuit of Quilts. she made four small wonders using some left over flying geese that she had after working on her "October Surprise" quilt (shown within this post). October Surprise was a beautiful quilt and each of the four smaller pieces were just as wonderful. she gave the first two away and did a give-away drawing for the other two. i was thrilled to be one of the lucky recipients~!!~ this little quilt has so many lovely reproduction prints within it and Maureen's work is absolutely perfect~! THANK YOU so much Maureen. i love it~!!~

i haven't actually sewn much of anything since just after thanksgiving.
the carpets were all cleaned a few weeks ago and moving everything was lots of work. i decided that since i was shifting things around (and then back again) i would take the opportunity to do some other cleaning as well as some sorting out of things no longer needed and/or wanted. this slowed things down a bit but feels good to be doing. i've also been working on a bit of face-lift magic in the studio as i go; more shelves, more sorting, more folding and organizing of the fabrics and hopefully more clean surfaces by the end of it all. i guess i have spring fever a bit early this year . . . so-o-o not a lot of sewing.
no progress on TAST at all so i have a lot of catching up to do when i get back to it.
the 15 minute challenge has been designated to studio planning and organizing as i wade through these tasks.
even my photography has dwindled down to a trickle . . .
however, i was able to snap a few still life shots using some pomegranates and that new little quilt that recently came into my life. i layered my favorite with a shot from my archives of some spiderweb that had a heavy frost on it, did some blending, added text and then added a couple of festive borders to it all to create the above christmas "card". 

in addition to all of this cleaning and sorting i've been doing the same sort of thing mentally. thinking about the past year's activities and accomplishments as well as considering various challenges and tasks that i would like to line up for the next year. still mulling all of that over but i'll have it all figured out soon.

this past week has brought me a broken heart. i had to find a good home for River to move away to. i've been in denial for quite some time about my inability to manage two large and very active young dogs. i thought that if i just kept trying and hung in there until my health would give me a reprieve, than things would get better. unfortunately that's not the way it's gone and so with the wonderful daughter's help, River is safely into a new home. i just received word yesterday that she is doing well. she now lives where she is the one and only dog which means that the attention that she craves will not have to be shared with any other dog. she will like that. there is a cat but that has never been a problem with her and in fact, she seems to enjoy their quiet company so i expect that will work out well too. the adoptive owner seems very prepared and has experience with rescued dogs so she understands that River is dealing with abandonment issues from her past as well as the loss that she feels from leaving us. River and i had a special bond and this whole thing has been much more than difficult but i am sure that the right thing has been done and that she is being well looked after. my wish is that the new owner and River will forge a bond that is just as special and that it will last for the remainder of her life. she deserves it.

meanwhile, i will continue to love and care for my grand-dog until the wonderful daughter can take over the task. life is noticeably simpler and quieter which i need it to be in order to deal with my health issues. such a bittersweet ending and so many tears but life goes on and all will be well.

i promised to share photo's of the contemporary/modern piece that i created for a good friend's birthday. it's now been happily received and i can share those.

the piece is runner sized but could also be hung on the wall as skinny art. i think the picture is a bit overexposed so the colors are somewhat washed out but the detail shot does give a little bit better idea of the color.
when i was cutting and pasting the shot of the whole quilt (within photoshop) i didn't completely crop the bit shown in the detail, which is one of the reasons that i have included it. feel free to look at any of the photos in a larger format by clicking on them.
i think i still have a lot to learn about modern quiltmaking and i'm grateful that my friend happily receives experimental pieces from me. there are so many nice examples out there of this style and clearly i need some practice with it in order to achieve those kinds of results.
i am really in love with all of that quilting though~!!
i also have the november postcard that was made for the wonderful daughter. btw: those edges are straighter than the border/edge treatment would lead the eye to believe. i was happy with the results and she seemed happy to receive another card. 
i have begun work on the december card which i will show you within my next post. however, i have decided that i will take a holiday blog break and won't be posting until after the new year. with any luck, i'll have caught back up on my TAST stitching/christmas stockings and have some progress to show you.
i will find time to visit your blogs once in a while as i do still want to keep up with those of you who are blogging throughout the festivities. 

i hope that your holiday season is wonderful and that you are looking forward to what the new year will be bringing as much as i am.

recent gifts include:
  • finding an outstanding home for my sweet River
  • the smell of hot apple cider simmering on the stove
  • a mug full of that apple cider on a cold afternoon
  • twinkling christmas lights
  • a new little dolly quilt  :-D
  • christmas party visiting

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

TAST/checkered or magic chain stitch ~ Photo Art Friday ~ 15 minute challenge ~

this week's optional challenge at Photo Art Friday was to experiment with using Bonnie's  "Signed & Sealed" texture.
Bonnie's texture/layer: "Signed & Sealed"

i used an archived photo of my orchid plant in bloom and came up with the above image.
i did find this texture a bit difficult to work with but it was good for me to experiment with something more challenging. stretching those digital wings is exactly how i will learn to do more with them. thank you Bonnie.

Sharon of Pintangle has presented the checkered or magic chain stitch for the TAST challenge.
this variation of the chain stitch changes color as you stitch it.
it was great fun. i did some playing around with it on my own christmas stocking using a white pearl cotton (size 12) and a hand dyed variegated cotton thread of the same size. both are threaded into the needle together but only used one strand at a time.
i also played around with 'the rythym' of the white and green placement within this curvy line of stitching.
what i really wanted to do was make a candy cane with it but i didn't feel like i would get the best color contrasts since the stocking's base is a piece of a red and white quilt. no matter where i placed the candy cane one of the colors was going to blend into the background.

so i decided to play around some more and ended up creating this candy cane/sled runner onto another work in progress. i used heavier cotton threads for this attempt and used a dark red variegated with the white. i continued to use the red thread to create the rest of the sled which worked out beautifully with the thread changing color just when i needed it to.
i thought that using the lighter weight thread was a bit easier but it wasn't too much of a challenge with the heavier thread either.

i think i'm getting this 15 minute practice thing down now and i happily have seven more days of success to report. this challenge is hosted by Kate at Life In Pieces. i managed to get the TAST practice onto a stocking this week :-)  as well as another project and i'm in the process of mending/darning socks. i suppose it's not commonly done but i have a few pairs of wool socks that i like to wear around the house in winter and they are well made really good (and a bit pricey to replace) socks so i'm mending them rather than purchasing new ones. it's time consuming but i actually really really like to do this which is good because i have several pairs yet to do.
i don't have a darning egg so i'm improvising with one using an inexpensive plastic easter egg.  it actually works quite well.
i have decided to keep it fun and am using wool blend threads that do not match the sock's colors. i will use same colored threads on each pair but change the colors for other pairs as i do them.
i really don't know what i'm doing and am not sure this looks too 'professional' but apparently, i'm doing a good enough job at it, as i'm now being asked to darn other socks~!
i didn't have the perfect thread colors but there isn't a hole there anymore~!

recent gifts include:
  • finding out that i won a beautiful little quilt from Maureen at Pursuit of Quilts.
  • being able to darn my own comfy/pj socks~not only does it feel good to do it but it's very satisfying to be wearing one's own stitchery even if only on the heel of a sock. 
  • warm soup and stew dinners in front of the t.v. and a snuggle with the wonderful husband after for 'dessert'
  • anticipating my family all together over the thanksgiving holiday . . . just a couple more days . . .

by the way, i'm wishing all of you who celebrate thanksgiving a warm, safe and full of love kind of holiday. if you don't traditionally celebrate this holiday i'm inviting you to make it a personl day of thanks and wishing you the same.

Friday, November 16, 2012

TAST/open base needlewoven picot stitch ~ the fifteen minute challenge ~ Photo Art Friday

 this week's optional theme at Photo Art Friday is to experiment with a 'digitally-edited still life'.

i found this still life within my archives. it is one that i have always liked as it's not a picture of any 'thing' it's a photo of shadows and reflections of a fork resting on a glass bowl on my kitchen table. i was making bread one morning and fell in love with how it looked.
i decided to convert it into black and white as it was mainly shadows and reflections. i then added an additional layer/shot of a manuscript that i took, converted to black and white and used as a texture layer. i cannot remember all of the percentages of opacity, etc but when i liked the way that it looked i merged it all together for a new digitally edited still life image.
what do you think? do you like the original or the digitally altered version better? can you tell me why you like one more than the other?


i was reading a post this morning by Kathie at Inspired By Antique Quilts and was given a dose of holiday reality when i read that there are only 39 days until christmas. i knew it was coming and i felt the time whizzing by but the number just totally caught me off guard.
i have a plan to keep the holidays simple. over the years we've worked at enjoying the importance of time with family and friends as we reduce the frenzied shopping hours and pare down the decorating chores. this year my wonderful daughter has requested that she not be given any gifts at all as she just wants to experiment with enjoying the holiday for other reasons. i've requested (and been granted) the compromise of only filling stockings. after all i've been working on those crazy quilted gems all year long~!~
so i shouldn't be feeling too pressured right~!?~
those stockings are coming along beautifully but they aren't finished and i'm doubting that they will be finished in time. i've worked on them faithfully, carefully placing stitches as they have been presented by Sharon of Pintangle with the TAST challenge. in the beginning, there were lots of seams and spaces to work with and as the year has progressed many of those spaces were filled. all good, except that the choices of where to place the given stitches became more limited as time went on. if the stitch didn't  seem to 'fit' my vision within one of the stockings i would work it into something else rather than compromise the stocking. so now, i'm looking at not quite finished needlework on each stocking . . .  should i just push forward and risk not being happy with the results? this alternative doesn't seem comfortable to me which leaves me with the distinct possibility of not reaching my deadline.
i'll be letting myself down as well as my family and others who have been watching them come along, including my blog readers (who have been anxiously waiting to see the finished pieces).
so i find that i must remind myself to breathe and continue moving forward without panic. so my self mantra is: they'll be ready when they're ready and they will be beautiful when finished.
my apologies to all of those i may have disappointed if i don't complete them when expected.

i have to once again report that the TAST stitch went onto a postcard in progress. i have added the stitch to the top of a very small crocheted doily. i'm only showing this much of it because i want it to remain a surprise until it is received . . .

sharon presented a stitch that is a variation on the stitch done the previous week and is called an open base needlewoven picot. it was time consuming but not quite as fiddly due to the open base of the stitch. this made it easier to weave. i also got a really good tip from Queeniepatch of Queenie's Needlework on using a small piece of paper under the 'warp' threads/stitches so that the needle tip moved more freely to do the weaving. this helped enormously~! thanks Queeniepatch.

i have seven more days of success to report for the 15 minute challenge hosted by Kate at Life In Pieces.  my work this week included the TAST stitch practice, work on a postcard, some experimental/creative mending, and one more christmas ornament for my guild's decorated christmas tree donation. 

be sure to hop over to see what everyone else is doing with this challenge.

recent gifts include:
  • in the U.S. we recently celebrated veteran's day. i am so repulsed by some of the violence and hate that i hear and see in the news and i wish that i lived in a world where it didn't exist. the reality/fact is i don't. i am a pacifist in the extreme but there are many men and women who were and are willing and able to actually fight for our right to certain freedoms (that i very much enjoy). i would like to acknowledge them with a sincere thank you for all that they have given in doing so: sometimes their very lives, their family life is interrupted, their physical and mental health is often forever changed, and the daily issues that they face are for the most part incomprehensible to me. so, yes, i have extremely ambivalant feelings on this issue but what i do know is that this country would not be the same without them and i am grateful.
  • knowing that my wonderful daughter (and friend) are coming for a few days to help celebrate the thanksgiving holiday
  • enough energy to lightly decorate the house for the upcoming holiday season
  • a morning cup of hot cocoa
  • a totally unexpected and lengthy visit from a friend who was passing through. i hardly ever get to see her and although there was some terribly heart breaking news to share we are both grateful for our long time bond of friendship.
  • the gift of laughter: hearing others laugh and being able to laugh myself is such a joy. some advice for a happy heart: really listen to those laughs. if you do, you will be unable to hold back a smile yourself.
  • the ability to help in some small way with the storm sandy relief efforts. i was able to share a package of fabrics and batting with Erin of My Patchwork Life who has organized many of us quilter's into one cohesive body. maybe you can help too? Erin is clearly one of those earth angels that we all so desperately need in our lives. THANK YOU ERIN~! 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

TAST/closed base needlewoven picot stitch ~ the fifteen minute challenge ~ Photo Art Friday ~

i have been really busy getting the last of the tomato crop into jars. we had a fabulously long growing season this year and as i was picking the last of the crop i didn't actually notice this particular heart shaped tomato. it was only as i was in the kitchen prepping them for canning that i really looked at it and discovered what i had.
i hope that it brings you the same kind of smile that it brought me~!

i thought that it worked for this week's optional prompt at Photo Art Friday which was to "showcase an image that features distinct line(s)".

i straightened and cropped this photo but otherwise it is as it was from the camera. no textures, layers or other additions.

are you all enjoying my recent involvement with Pixel Dust Photo Art?
i have had a good time stretching myself around whatever Bonnie's weekly prompt might be and feel that it is good for me both creatively and photographically.
it's also a big treat to get feedback from Bonnie and the other participants!

on Pin Tangle last week the TAST stitch was the closed base needlewoven picot or needlewoven picot leaf stitch.
Sharon suggested that they could be used for leaves or free standing flower petals. as i was working my first practice stitches i had the thought that they might also make really good feathers. maybe even turkey feathers . . . but, alas, i did not have the time to go down that road. i will keep it in mind for future projects though.
this all brought to mind the days when i was little and made those hand print turkeys every thanksgiving holiday . . . all the fingers representing a large turkey tail full of feathers and the thumb a turkey head and neck. and then came the years when my daughter did the same . . .

anyway, back to stitching, i chose to use this stitch on the wonderful husband's stocking and in two different places. first i placed a few larger closed base needlewoven picot stitches along a previously worked area where i thought that they might add design and textural interest. i used a variegated blue pearl cotton (size 8) and when i was finished with them i chose to gently tack the top end of them down. i brought them in just slightly and this created a bit of an arc in them which i like.

secondly i placed a few within the inverted v formation on my knotted buttonhole stitch (week 39). i chose a solid medium green pearl cotton (size 8) and made them smaller in hopes that they might resemble small green leaves. when stitched these 'leaves' are actually free standing and only attached to the surface of the work at the base of the stitch. kind of a cool feature, i think.

i found this stitch to be interesting but a bit on the fussy side. the weaving takes quite a bit of time and unfortunately points out more than ever that i need to get myself to the eye doctor for a strong prescription. even with a blunt needle and a strong light i was catching the other threads more often than i would have liked.

for this week's 15 minute challenge hosted by Kate at Life In Pieces  i was able to get in all 7 days once again. i think over the course of the past year i have achieved my goal of making this a priority and a habit within my life. if you think you need a 'kick in the pants' from Kate in order to do the same, i highly recommend this challenge. it's my understanding that she's working on a few changes for the upcoming year to keep things fresh and interesting.
my work this week included the TAST stitch practice, work on the christmas stockings, a label for the contemporary/modern piece, and creating some christmas ornaments for my guild's decorated christmas tree donation.
we have begun the tradition of presenting an already decorated christmas tree to our local resource/community center's annual auction event.
the proceeds go to the center for some of their operating costs.
each guild member is asked to bring decorations for the tree that we will donate. i like to make these little mittens every year. so far i have these two completed but i hope to make more in the upcoming week.

the one on the left is made from some paper fabric that i had in my stash.
the one on the right is made from my own hand dyed fabrics sewn around a fussily cut christmas print fabric. i embroidered some details and seams and crocheted a hanging loop. the snowman on the paper fabric has been outlined with a pen stitch detail. if you would like to see the details of any of my photos within my blog posts you can click on them for a larger view and even click on the larger view for an extra large view.

recent gifts include:
  • a few more sunny and mostly warm days
  • an appreciation for lights that come on at the touch of a switch and hot running water whenever i need/want it
  • seeing the goldfish even though the pond is icing up a little bit on most mornings.
  • working the dogs and getting good results

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

this week's optional prompt for Photo Art Friday is to use Bonnie's free Cobblestone Road texture. 

Cobblestone Road Texture from Bonnie at Photo Art Friday

i once again went searching through my archived photos and found a photo of a raven's scull which i happily married to the generously offered texture. i added a favorite quote of mine and ta-da ~!!~ i now have a halloween image.

i've enjoyed adding this weekly challenge of  Bonnie's from Pixel Dust Photo Art to my life and to my blog. it gets me out with camera in hand more often as well as into the PSE7 program to practice a bit. if you have similar interests please come and play along.

this weeks stitch for the TAST challenge hosted by sharon b at pintangle was buttonhole wheel cups. this stitch starts out as a buttonhole wheel and then morphs into a cup shape when a detached buttonhole is worked into the outer part of the wheel.
i chose to vary my stitch slightly by not bringing the center "wheel" part of the stitch all the way in. this allowed a bigger hole in the center which i decided to interpret as the pupil of an eye.

with this stitch the more one stitches around the outer part of the wheel the deeper the cupping result will be. i only did one tour around the outside of the wheel with the detached buttonhole because i wanted to create an outline effect rather than have a cupping result.  i used a red pearl cotton (size 12) for the stitching of the wheel and the "cupped" outer (or detached buttonhole) part of the stitch.
i then used a black pearl cotton (size 8) for the satin stitched center/pupil.
i was able to do all of this on a piece of cotton fabric printed in such a way that i could emphasize the shape and look of an eye. the fabric was not printed with an eye but i managed to 'coerce' the print into helping me out with the total effect.

this was recently stitched into the wonderful daughter's october/halloween postcard which she has now received so i'm happy to be showing you the whole thing.

i did manage to get all seven days accomplished with the 15 minute challenge hosted by Kate at Life In Pieces. besides the TAST stitch work and working on the postcards that i have included in this post i also worked on my contemporary/modern piece (only needs a label now) and i even managed to do a little bit of hand sewing on my hexie piece.

i won't be able to post a photo of the finished contemporary piece until it has been mailed and received by the special friend that i made it for but i hope to include it in one of my future posts soon. i can however show the other postcard that i worked on and sent out recently as a birthday card.

i used a piece of salvaged, vintage pillowcase that had been embroidered.
i reworked and added to the embroidery in some areas but the rose, it's leaves and the outer parts of the blue flowers are original. the upper edge is a piece of my hand dyed fabric with a lace overlay. the lace has some embroidery (in white) worked in to anchor it as well as to enhance the card. there is a bit of heavy variegated thread (made from recycled sari silk) that has been worked into the lace along the edge that meets the embroidery.
the edges of the postcard have been bound with another piece of my own hand dyed fabric.

recent gifts include:
  • discovering that jelly belly now makes dark chocolate covered jelly beans (cherry, orange and coconut) ~pretty tasty~ 
  • the discovery of a perfectly heart shaped tomato ~ maybe i'll post a photo of that beautiful surprise next time . . .
  • the return home of a certain "prodigal" calico cat . . . where in the world WAS she for three whole days~!?!~
my prayers go out to all of those in the east and midwest who are experiencing such horrible weather extremes. may you all be safe, warm and at peace during this difficult time.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

TAST/week 42 - a dolly quiltalong flimsy - The 15 Minute Challenge - Photo Art Friday

this week's optional prompt at Photo Art Friday is "derelict". 
i went back into my archived photos and found this shot of a rusty old rake laying on the ground. i have added an additional layer which helped to amplify the shadows, which i thought was appropriate to the impression that i wished to create, but is otherwise invisible.



1. left or deserted, as by the owner or guardian; abandoned.

2. neglectful of duty; delinquent; negligent.


3. a person abandoned by society, especially a person without a permanent home and means of support; vagrant.

4. Nautical . a vessel abandoned in open water by its crew without any hope or intention of returning.

personal property abandoned or thrown away by the owner.

there are some amazingly talented and creative people participating in Bonnie's weekly challenge at Pixel Dust Photo Art . Bonnie is very supportive and encouraging as are the other participants. consider joining in if you have photo art interests of your own.

this week for the 15 minute challenge i had a perfect week with work happening on all seven days. i quilted on my contemporary/modern piece, practiced the TAST stitch, did some postcard stitching, and best of all, assembled the blocks (from Lori's dolly quilt quiltalong) into a flimsy.
 i sort of snuck this project in between some other things i had planned simply because i couldn't resist it. i'm really glad that i did because it turned out so cute. i still haven't decided on what i will do for borders but i'm considering allowing the (red) binding serve as a finish point. it will be a while before i get to quilting it.
Lori of Humble Quilts always does a terrific job with these doll quilt quiltalongs and this one was no different. this time she used an antique/vintage quilt that she found and loved for inspiration. it is a simple but striking version of a log cabin.
i believe that Lori will be hosting a link party for this newest autumn quiltalong at some point this week and i can hardly wait to see what everyone else did with this fun pattern.

last weeks stitch for the TAST challenge hosted by sharon b at pintangle was a variation of the fly stitch. i decided to practice it on a seam within a postcard that i am working on. it will be a surprise for someone special so i won't show you the whole thing just yet.

week 42 ~ italian knotted border stitch: i used two strands of a cotton floss in variegated oranges. i separated the strands and then recombined them in such a way that each strand shifted colors in different places. this gave me added color variation within the stitch and is something that i do frequently.

i worked the stitch once going in one direction (shown on the right side of the above photo) and then turned the work and worked the stitch again with the stitches going into the other direction (shown on the left side of the above photo). i think the finished effect is sort of zipper like.
recent gifts include:
  • having a few moderate days to get some fall cleanup done in the yard/garden
  • the fragrance of sagebrush as it gets rained on
  • a long phone conversation with a distant friend

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Take A Stitch Tuesday/week 41 ~ the 15 minute challenge report ~ Photo Art Friday

this week's optional prompt at Photo Art Friday is to use Bonnies "Leafy Landscape" within our own images. i decided to turn it into "Things That Go Bump In The Night"

if you enjoy photography and/or creating using a photo art program please think about joining in with many others on Bonnie's blog Pixel Dust Photo Art . Bonnie has beautiful layers that she often offers up as freebies, is very informative and is always very encouraging.

this weeks stitch for the TAST challenge hosted by sharon b at pintangle was a fairly simple one. i had a little bit of halloween fun with it~!
week 41 ~ knotted loop stitch: after practicing/playing with this stitch i thought i might be able to make a wee skeleton . . . i used a variegated brown Anchor pearl cotton thread (size 8) to create the spine and ribs.  i do realize that he/she (?!) is headless and has no bony fingers (!!) . . . i'm hoping to remedy this soon but for now i'm still rummaging through stuff (including my imagination) to find just the right bits.

i will also stitch in a background. what color(s) do you think i should use for the background? and do you have any fabulous ideas for a skull and bony fingers?

this week for the 15 minute challenge i almost had a perfect week. i missed tuesday due to a long day of travel and appointments. i took stitching with me and usually i can use at least some of the travel time for handwork but i was just too tired and slept instead.
on the other six days i did a lot of quilting on my contemporary/modern piece, practiced the TAST stitch, assembled some small basket blocks, worked on postcards, and had a good time putting together the blocks for a doll sized autumn quiltalong that i've joined over at Humble Quilts. Lori always uses an antique/vintage quilt that she has been inspired by for her doll quiltalong ideas. this one is a simple version of a log cabin block and i love the graphic appeal of it~! 

so here is my stack of teensy four patches.

and here is my stack of larger, but still pretty small (5") blocks.  i will be setting these just as Lori did for her example quilt which was also how the original quilt was set. i'm not sure about borders just yet . . . next week sometime there will be a link party for these small gems and i hope to have mine at the flimsy stage by then.

recent gifts include:
  • the smell of freshly grated ginger
  • seeing a butterfly using the hummingbird feeder. i should have already taken it down but when i seen that it was still getting some use i was happy that i hadn't.
  • a large granddog curling up in my lap for snuggles. who says laps are only for little dogs~!?!