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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.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

report card tuesday ~ jan. 31st

it's report card tuesday once again already.
  • tuesday, jan. 24th: cretan stitch practice ~ made a fabric covered button using the cretan stitch
  • wednesday, jan. 25th: basted my pink lemonade quilt ~ hexie work
  • thursday, jan. 26th: made three fabric covered buttons
  • friday, jan. 27th: cretan stitch work on stocking (with some of those fabric buttons)
  • saturday, jan. 28th: began quilting on pink lemonade ~ worked on hand stitching the binding on gift quilt
  • sunday, jan. 29th: worked on hand stitching the binding on gift quilt
  • monday, jan. 30th: worked on hand stitching the binding on gift quilt
if you would like to see what others are doing with their 15 minute challenge or you're interested in joining in you can visit Kate at Life in Pieces.

my only photo for this post is a bit on the dark side. that's because i was using the bright afternoon sunshine to work by and really got into the stitching 'zone'. before i knew it the sun had dipped down below the mountain.  i could still see (just barely) to stitch so i kept right on going . . . then i realized that i hadn't gotten any shots yet for this post and i'd better get to it. after all, there has to be at least one photo doesn't there~!?! as you can see i haven't completely gotten that binding on yet but i'm really close.  this is a quilt that i've shown bits of before. a friend and i have collaborated on a gift. this quilt is a really BIG king size and i'd like to show it in it's entirety but am not quite sure where i'm going to hang it to get a full shot . . . if anyone has ideas please feel free to share them with me in the comments. i don't have a wall big enough inside that will work . . . i have a wooden six foot fence but that's not big enough . . . i'm seriously pondering ways that i can hang it on the side of the house . . .

as you can probably tell this binding has sort of eclipsed everything else. i did get a few fabric covered buttons done this week. one of them i sewed onto the stocking and there is a detailed shot of it within a previous post (feel free to look back if you missed it) but  the other three will be photographed later on when i have more time and better light . . .

my pink lemonade has taken a very temporary back seat to this binding work. Lori at Humble Quilts is planning a linky party on wednesday so you may want to check out all of those delightful little quilts when that happens. i'm probably not going to have mine finished completely for that event but i'll add a shot of it anyway.

my new stitch for TAST (week 5) practice is the herringbone stitch. there is also an additional challenge to combine the herringbone with one of the stitches already presented this year (weeks 1-4). i'm enjoying the practice and i'm very excited to see the stocking coming along so nicely too.

recent gifts include:
  • the excitement of being close to a big (quilt) finish
  • MORE completed fabric covered buttons
  • the use of my hands. sometimes they ache a bit but they still work well enough and i know my life would not be happy in the same way without the use of them.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

TAST week four's cretan stitch

it's once again time for me to share my practice for Sharon B's Take A Stitch Tuesday (TAST).

because this is a stitch that i didn't feel as comfortable with i took some time to 'doodle' a bit with my needle, various threads and some aida cloth before i felt brave enough to stitch into the stocking.
i varied the stitch length and width and generally got a fairly good feel for it.


then i used a hand dyed embroidery ribbon to work a variation of the cretan stitch over a slightly downward curving seam. the top of the stitch is quite small while the bottom 'legs' of it were elongated. and the spacing within the stitch elements enabled me to place three of my fabric covered buttons into every other of those spaces created  between those 'legs'. feel free to enlarge the photo for a better look at the details.
i think that this area seems unfinished and  i may come back to it at some point . . .


i did manage to get a button created with a cretan stitch feature. this time i worked the stitch in a uniform way in red thread across narrow white grosgrain ribbon. there is a tiny accent stitch worked onto the ends of the stitches (on both the top and the bottom) in a copper colored metallic thread. i actually used the cretan stitch to couch the ribbon to the red fabric prior to wrapping around the button.

if you are interested in seeing more loveliness within the world of embroidery you might want to take a look at CQ Mag Online's newest issue: January 2012 . this online publication always has lots of stitchy eye candy and is a great source of fancy stitching/crazy quilting information. one can browse through an extensive archive of past issues as well. a new issue is presented every four months and best of all: it doesn't cost a dime~!

recent gifts include:
  • homemade cream cheese and butter (~!!~yummy~!!~)
  • newly baked bread warm from the oven served with dinner
  • my ritual afternoon cup of hot chocolate with cinnamon sprinkled in

Friday, January 27, 2012

i have been wanting to participate with the sketchbook challenge for quite a while. i haven't followed through because i felt like i had to be committed enough to sketch on a daily basis and i knew that was unlikely. recently i re-read their guidelines and realized that i could join in on a far less regular basis and still grow creatively. my goal (for now) is to sketch at least once a week and to post a minimum of two examples within their flickr group each month.
the prompt/challenge for january 2012 has been "doodles". i have managed to get my sketchbook out as planned and although my doodles aren't impressive in any way i am pleased to have finally jumped in.

you can tell that i've been heavily influenced by the zen doodling practice that i've done . . .  and i see a bit of quilt-like mark making . . . i guess it's a start.

Lyric Kinard recently posted (within the sketchbook challenge blog) on the topic of turning doodles into art. she explained as well as stepped out exactly how she uses the thermofax process to print unique fabrics from her own sketches. she then pieces these prints into beautiful abstract fiber art.
her question at the end of the post "What ways can you think of to make use of your doodling?"  got me to thinking . . .

i've become very interested in combining traditional art techniques such as drawing/doodling, stitching, photography, painting, etc with the more contemporary field of digital art. and so i played with that as a jumping off point for how i could use my own doodling . . .

and so i isolated one element off of my doodling pages . . .

combined it with photographs that i have taken of some of my paper/mixed media hexagon work, subtly layered in my own textures and within a reasonably short period of time came up with a digital image that i could live with.

and best of all: i had fun.

i'll get my chosen images into flickr tomorrow and have met my goals for the month of january.

recent gifts include:
  • celebrating 31 years of life together with my wonderful husband
  • making a start with the sketchbook challenge
  • a faster internet speed (~!!!!~)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

report card ~ jan. 24

i have another successful week to report for the 15 minute challenge:
  • tuesday, jan. 17th ~ fabric button using the feather stitch from TAST
  • wednesday, jan. 18th ~ cutting for pink lemonade (alternate) blocks ~ fabric covered button using the feather stitch from TAST
  • thursday, jan. 19th ~ sewed the pink lemonade top together ~ embroidered christmas stocking using TAST stitches ~ fabric button using the feather stitch from TAST ~ applique on secret birthday blocks
  • friday, jan. 20th ~ two fabric covered buttons using the feather stitch from TAST
  • saturday, jan. 21st ~ applique on secret birthday blocks ~ fabric covered button using the feather stitch from TAST
  • sunday, jan. 22nd ~ two fabric covered buttons with various embroidery
  • monday, jan. 23rd ~ applique on secret birthday blocks
a busy week with some accomplishments that i am pleased with.
if you would like to find out more about the 15 minute challenge visit Kate at  Life In Pieces.
i am finding it a great way to keep myself moving forward.

next week's TAST challenge is the cretan stitch. in the past i have found this stitch to be difficult. hopefully with the upcoming week's practice it will become less so. i may not work it into fabric covered buttons but it will be within the christmas stocking for sure.

i do LOVE making these buttons


Lori over at Humble Quilts  has been hosting a darling doll quilt (pink lemonade) quilt-a-long. this is my pink lemonade top/flimsy. i am now considering fabrics for the backing and how i will quilt it . . .

recent gifts have included:
  • receiving an unexpected but totally wonderful surprise within the mail
  • seeing my houseplants early response to the slightly longer daylight exposure
  • discovering and creating my own fabric covered buttons

Thursday, January 19, 2012

TAST week three's feather stitch

this post probably looks a bit out of season. i'm ashamed to say that our family's christmas stockings are badly in need of replacement. the reason i'm ashamed to say it is because i make and embellish stockings every single year . . . just not for my own closest family members. shame on me~!
this year i decided that the time had come to get down to business with the family's new stockings and even still i only got the fronts/bases cut late on christmas eve. i had to hang them by a safety pin for christmas morning display. how very sad is that~!

so slowly but surely the "light" went from pretty damn dim to about as bright as it gets (really not very) and i decided i should use Take A Stitch Tuesday as a working format for getting these stockings embellished. what you see above is feather stitching which is this weeks (3) stitch. i decided to let a white thread and a burgundy thread P L A Y together and this is what happened.
you can also see that i have couched down a tatted snowflake using tiny fly stitches (from week 1) around the edge. i carefully picked a thread of similar weight and kept them relatively regular as they went around which resulted in some tiny (additional) snowflake symmetry. it worked very well.

this is part of the toe of the stocking. i worked a fly stitch (week 1) along a seam and added a pearly white bead to the tail part of the stitch.
the wandery stitching in the variegated thread that you see below that is a buttonhole stitch (week 2) that morphs into a feather stitch (week 3) and then back again.
i think the buttonhole stitch got a bit cheated here so i'll probably be thinking of other places within the stocking that i can work it in.
there will be a total of 3 stockings in this project. i won't show the whole stocking/s until i have each of them stitched, lined and finished. i think this should keep me nicely involved with TAST as well as fulfilling a project that (finally) deserves it's turn. i anticipate being able to hang these lovely finished pieces next christmas season. and i won't be waiting until late on christmas eve to do it~! i hope.

this last photo is some covered fabric buttons that i've made. i wanted to see how stitching on them might work . . . and added feather stitch (in one form or another) to each one of them. they are the same size as a nickel. they are a bit fiddly but great fun to make and i anticipate using them within the stockings as well as on other pieces that i work up.

today's gifts include:
  • a warm fire and stitching time in front of it
  • a friendly dog at my feet
  • needles and thread aplenty

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

report card ~ jan. 17

i have committed to 15 minutes of sewing a day. today i'm giving my first "report card".  if you want more information on this there is a button on my sidebar that you can check out or you can visit  Life in Pieces.
  • tuesday, jan. 10 ~ CPS mixed media postcard
  • wednesday, jan. 11 ~ hexie project and cutting half blocks for  the pink lemonade quilt-a-long
  • thursday, jan. 12 ~ sewing half blocks for pink lemonade
  • friday, jan. 13 ~ applique on secret birthday blocks
  • saturday, jan. 14 ~ applique on secret birthday blocks
  • sunday, jan. 15 ~ applique on secret birthday blocks
  • monday, jan 16 ~ made the four corner blocks for pink lemonade and embroidery on a christmas stocking  
i know one thing. i'm going to have to start writing it down on the day i do it because i cannot seem to remember just exactly what i did on what days . . . what i do know for sure is that i did get some sewing done and i generally spend quite a bit more time in the studio than 15 minutes once i get started.

the blanket stitch was the challenge for last week on Take a Stitch Tuesday.

i've used it here to attach the stem of the pear on my current AAQI project. very tiny stitches. very tiny thread. love the results~!
this week the stitch to use/explore will be the feather stitch. one of my favorites.

today's gifts have included:
  • not having to do the dishes this morning
  • a bright sun on snow creating millions of sparkles everywhere i look
  • a visit from the resident wild bunny "nibbles"

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Cloth Paper Scissors (Post) Challenge

in a recent previous post i showed a bit of this postcard that i have been working on. i only showed a tiny bit of it (the embroidery w/beads) and now i'm revealing it in full.

this first shot is of the card midway through which is why you can see some basting stitches holding various parts of it in place. the hexagons used are a variety of fabrics and papers. the one with the flower on it is my own artwork in watercolor pencils onto a loose vintage book page and then over-stamped with sheet music (in red).

this second photo is of the postcard (front) taken this a.m. right before getting it into the mail. there has been a variety of things added and stitched. you'll notice that the embroidery stitching that i showed on the previous post mentioned has been taken further as well. i had so many commenter's that thought the experimental fly stitch w/beads looked like beetles, bugs, insects, etc that i decided to add a bit more and before i knew it i had created some happy line dancing bees.
i used some paper tape printed with vintage postage as a binding/edging.

and this is the back of the card which shows that i have made it for a challenge put out in a past issue of Cloth Paper Scissors. the deadline was for all cards to be received in their offices by january 20th. i've cut things a bit close and am concerned about it making it on time . . .
they will be putting their favorite cards into a future issue of Cloth Paper Scissors Magazine. i've wanted to involve myself in some of their other past challenges but for various reasons (mainly procrastination and fear) have never actually done it. when i seen this challenge i knew it was time to jump in and participate.
i'll bet they get FLOODS of gorgeous cards~!!~and i can hardly wait to see the issue that includes the cards special enough to be chosen for publication.

today's gifts include:
  • playing with grand-dog Suki and my own dog River in the back yard.
  • pumpkin bread (w/choc. chips) for breakfast
  • finally taking the leap and submitting something to one of my favorite magazines

Monday, January 9, 2012

i've decided to play along with Lori over at Humble Quilts as she hosts a quilt-a-long for a doll sized quilt. i have quite a few other things that i should be working on but this is just too tempting. and speaking of tempting this quilt-a-long has been titled Pink Lemonade~!~Yummy~!~

this is the basic color palette that i will be using for my version. i'm not sure i'll use that particular yellow fabric but it is a possibility. these blocks are from step 1.  i was so pleased to have them done but it turns out i better get right on to step 2 (posted today) or i'm gonna be left in the dust~!

i read a post the other day (i wish i could remember where) in regards to having a word of the year: a word that calls to me . . . something that i may need to learn from or think more about, etc. words can be powerful. what would happen if i chose one and kept it present in my daily life? so i've been sort-of keeping alert to one that 'spoke' to me and hadn't come up with anything. i just figured i wasn't meant to have a word of the year.
 . . . until today when i was walking past a small tablescape that i created during december and had myself a "well, DUH" moment. i've found myself stopping here often and rearranging the vintage wooden blocks in  various playful ways ever since i put them here. so i am declaring my word of 2012 to be the word "play". sounds like fun doesn't it~!?
if you were to pick a word for your new year what would it be? and why? or does this seem like a silly idea (playful maybe?) and a waste of time to you?

today's gifts included:
  • kiwi fruit on my lunch plate. so pretty and a burst of freshness in every juicy bite.
  • catching up on the laundry
  • time to   P L A Y   in my studio. in fact, way longer than 15 minutes   (- :

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

take a stitch tuesday

today is tuesday and i decided to take a stitch.
the seam i embroidered is quite short. i'm working on another postcard using small hexagons in both fabric and paper . . .

fly stitch using one strand of a very thin variegated thread (YL1 cotton machine quilting thread) and seed beads on the 'tail' part of the stitch. the 'tail'/beads have been sewn through twice so as to insure strength.

today's gifts included:
  • a very sunny day
  • a long afternoon walk
  • time to embroider