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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.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

TAST ~ palestrina stitch

morning gifts from the garden.

this week (26) the stitch on PinTangle was the palestrina stitch.
this is a new one for me once again and i really needed to study quite a few versions of instruction as well as videos to understand how to do this stitch.
once i did understand it though, i found it to be a really great stitch to work. it became wonderfully rythmic as i settled into it and now i'm looking for more places to put it~! first i worked these samples using a variety of threads. i randomly tried a few different things and then made a decision about which stocking to apply it to.

the wonderful daughter's stocking received a bit more work in this lacey area that i started  a few weeks back . . . the newly added palestrina stitch is along the top  of the lace and i love the way it created a small braided type of edge. feel free to click on any of these images to see a larger version and if you would like to see a 'before' shot of this area go here. it's been fun to see the actual 'evolution' of this particular area. i think that there will be more stitches placed here before the TAST challenge is finished . . .


i did miss a day of the 15 minute challenge . but for the remaining six, i managed to meet with success. i worked on a few appliqued basket handles, more experimental stitching on some atc's, and the TAST/christmas stocking project.

my time and energy for stitching does seem much more limited during the summer but with this challenge on my daily list of to-do's i am still able to make steady, yet slow, progress.

if you think adding a 15 minute sewing session to each day's priorities is something you would benefit from head over to Kate's at Life in Pieces and join in.


i thought i would show you a few shots from my garden. it's what has been keeping me only minimally involved in blogland and my stitching.

one of the columbine plants in some soft morning light

this is russian sage which is a new plant to my garden. i like it for it's wispy leafyness and purple blossoms which remind me a lot of lavendar. it smells wonderful when touched or wind blown and is supposed to be very winter hardy. i'm anxious to see how it does. i've planted several plants in various places and if all goes well i'll be adding lots more.

i've been unable to find a lavendar plant that makes it through our high altitude winter so until i do this plant will be my stand in. it's very fragrant (both plant and blossoms) and looks similar. it may be that this russian sage will be a better choice for the extreme winters as well as the other harsher elements here (lots of wind, very short growing season, cool nights and hot daytime temps).

we seem to have a lot of butterflys this year. the small blue ones like the one above flutter up out of the lawn as it's being walked upon. they are so pretty and so fragile looking.
this one had a bit of tatter on one of it's wings . . . i suppose that it's a short life that butterflys live but they seem to know how to make the most of it, don't they~!?


recent gifts include:
  • a couple of days rest from the garden work
  • working on the dog's fetching skills in the evenings
  • a small fabric shopping trip (+ lunch~!) out of town with a friend
  • picking vine ripened tomatos

Monday, June 25, 2012

TAST ~ linked chain stitch

or profound fragmentation
half full
or half empty
and ye shall receive


last week (25) on PinTangle the stitch was the cable chain stitch.

a new stitch for me, so i attempted it on some aida as a sample first.

then, just for fun, i experimented with working it using a fine piece of copper wire. this was interesting although a bit problematic . . .

in the end i used a metallic (like) thread on a short seam within the wonderful husbands stocking.


this is the 'surprise applique' that i've been working on. i've given them as a gift and can finally show what i was doing.

55 very simple/primitive basket blocks with sweet curvy appliqued handles.

these were made for a friend's birthday.
she seemed delighted and i have to say that after working on them all this time i'm still quite happy with them myself. in fact, i'm making myself a few with the leftover bits that are hanging around in the studio.

LOVE those colors together~!

and of course there was a little party with flowers, and dark chocolate and a few other fun presents.


for the 15 minute challenge  during last week all went well on all seven days with work being added to my own baskets as they get handles, some experimental stitching on atc's, and of course, the TAST/christmas stocking project.

if you think adding a 15 minute sewing session to each day is something you would benefit from head over to Kate's at Life in Pieces.

15 minutes doesn't seem like a lot but this challenge has kept me puttering forward on many things this year. thank you Kate~!


recent gifts include:
  • a weekend visit from the wonderful daughter
  • the accomplishment of a really tasty pasta salad lunch
  • further work and even some planting on the pond rehab project 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

TAST & the 15 minute challenge

today i was thinking about things that i liked to do as a child. my favorite summer 'activity' was climbing the nearest large tree and getting comfortable within it's branches. i generally took a book but did a lot of daydreaming too. i loved the feeling of being hidden in all of that leafy cool dappled light.
in general i wasn't terribly interested in dolls. now as a middle aged woman i find myself occasionally captivated by the softer and more primitive dolls. the doll in this shot is one of my favorites. she has simple twig arms and legs, stands about six or seven inches high and has charming facial 'expression'. i purchased her at a craft fair several years ago for very little money and normally she hangs on a wall near one of my primitive doll quilts.
today when i seen her i imagined that look of hers to be an appeal for a change in scenery so i took her down off of the wall and lifted her up into the aspen tree. it turns out that those twiggy arms and legs are not great for climbing trees so she needed my help for this.
so there she is way up in the tree having her very own daydreams.
what did you like to do as a child? what made you feel safe and happy and able to dream a little? were you a fan of dolls? are you now? 

i hope that the summer season brings you some leafy cool dappled light of your own to get comfortable in.


last week i had four stitches that had previously been presented during the TAST challenge worked into a seam treatment.
the "mini challenge" for week 23 was to use as many as eight to "create an interesting piece." 

i finished this seam by:
  • adding a detached chain stitch using two strands of a reddish orange cotton floss and placing one on each side of the tiny autumn colored bullion stitches.
  • adding single fly stitch in a single stranded light weight green cotton thread at regular intervals.
  • creating playful arcs with a stem stitch that emerged from the open end of the fly stitches using a single strand of green cotton floss 
  • and finally i loosely braided three separate threads (a light green, a dark green and a purple) and then wove that braid into the knotted cretan stitch allowing it to act as couching.
hopefully i haven't made it too confusing by changing the direction of the photo from horizontal (in my last post) to diagonal.

this week (24) on PinTangle the stitch is the buttonhole wheel stitch. another new stitch for me and i felt that it was a clumsy looking and inelegant stitch to work with at first.
finally i realized that by bringing my stitch size down and using a fine perle cotton (sz 12) in white i could create a lacier effect with the stitch which i liked much better.

by adding this to the bottom of a piece of lace that was previously placed onto my wonderful daughter's stocking i managed to create another visual layer of 'lace'.
this also served well to anchor down that lower edge.


my 'report' for the 15 minute challenge (hosted by Kate at Life in Pieces) was all good this week with work being done on every day: the TAST challenge (stockings and postcard) as well as a few random stitches placed into 'this n that' while playing with some ideas that were scampering through my head.

recent gifts include:
  • the sweet taste of a rosy colored apricot
  • a few cool evenings spent sitting and watching the hummingbirds
  • taking the time to enjoy the feeling of my own breathing. slow inhalations and exhalations. effortless and often unappreciated.
  • being told that seeing my 'recent gifts' is having the effect of other's seeing their own gifts 

Friday, June 8, 2012

the june give-away winner is . . .

Barb of Fun With Barb

Barb commented: "I think your photos had to do with being "open" or "opening."
i thought that this was an interesting guess and so i went back and looked at each picture. i was surprised to find that it really could have been "open" or "opening" but the actual theme was 'contrast'. each of my photos for  the month of may had at least one form (but often more) of contrast.
thank you Barb, i think you must be really paying attention to those featured photos~!!~
would you please e-mail me with your snail mail  info and i'll get your package on it's way.


at pintangle week 22 was the knotted cretan stitch.  this was another new stitch for me and i found it awkward. i'm not sure why because my brain kept telling me that it should be an easy one but i just really struggled with it. finally after a lot of attempts and some removal of said attempts i got it. it ended up being placed onto a new area of the same fabric postcard that i was working on during week 21. i used two strands of a six stranded cotton floss in yellow to create my knotted cretan stitch.
initially my attempts went directly onto a stocking but as i said some removal of stitches happened and i decided to stitch on something a little less important until i got the hang of it.

once i had accomplished this i set about adding more stitches around it which happens to be the challenge for this week (week 23). it's actually a catch up week for those who need it but additionally sharon encouraged:
  "A mini challenge for stitchers who cant stop……
Take up to 8 stitches that we have have done in TAST this year and create an interesting piece. In other words create some eye candy for those who are falling behind, either because of busy lives or because they are new to embroidery that will encourage them to “catch up”."

i'm just barely keeping up but decided to keep going with the knotted cretan as my "base/foundation" and see if i could add seven more stitches to it . . . so far i have added:
  • a french knot using two strands (of six) of a cotton floss in a varigated blue color.
  • three tiny (single) running stitches protruding from each colonial knot using one strand of the same varigated blue floss. my stitches didn't run very far though so i'm not sure if that counts . . .
  • a very small bullion knot using a thin single stranded cotton thread in autumn tones (also varigated). this thread is actually a quilting thread that i thought i would try using for embroidery.
so i've managed to use four stitches so far (counting the knotted cretan stitch) which means that i'm halfway there . . .


although i'm late with the 'report' the 15 minute challenge hosted by Kate at Life in Pieces was mostly a success for me.
mr. wonderful unexpectedly invited me out for dinner one evening (~!!~). it wasn't until the next morning that i realized i hadn't stitched at all the day before. talk about sweeping a girl off of her feet~! normally if i don't stitch during the day i get some time in during the evening. i've been spending quite a lot more time outside with the spring turning into summer days and have begun to really rely on that time. ooops.


recent gifts include:
  • finishing up a group of surprise birthday blocks (just in the knick of time). i hope to show those on a future post.
  • a cup of hot chocolate on an early rainy sunday morning while i watched the news with mr. wonderful
  • a whole flat of pretty flowers given to me by a friend for planting in the garden ~!!~

Friday, June 1, 2012

the june giveaway and a prayer flag

i promised to share where the more intuitive approach/participation in needlework is now taking me . . .

i've been considering making a prayer flag for some time now and recently there was one of those 'perfect storm' of events and it's just what i needed to catapult me forward. i think i've waited for so long because i knew that it could very well turn into a full out project and not just an experiment. i was right.  
i've done various searches for both prayer and prayer flags over the past couple of years. i've read and re-read information, pondered my time and energy restraints, and done a lot of thinking about it . . . recently it was brought up by a friend during a conversation without provocation from me, which felt like yet another little tug. i've seen the subjects pop up as articles in various magazines and briefly discussed within both books and blogs: more tugs.
once again i was back to the 'lots of thinking' stage . . .
do i have enough time and energy for this? exactly what will it involve? will my own spiritual beliefs (which are not the mainstream) 'fit' into the spirit (no pun originally intended) of the project? what is prayer exactly? am i any good at it?
and most importantly, how can i possibly turn all of this confusion into a gentle physical symbol of love? 

this is some of what i discovered while i researched prayer flags:

this is some of what i discovered while i researched prayer:

this is some of what i personally discovered as i created my first prayer flag:
  • i must be mindful of every single thought, action and personal perception of devine guidance as i move forward (aka: an intuitive approach/participation)
  • i am beginning and continuing a dialogue of (mostly) silent prayers which become unexpected blessings within my own life as i create as well as within the life of others as they receive and use what i have created.
  • the prayer flag itself is a process not a product. it is very personal, very beautiful, and is entitled to my respect regardless of where or how it may end up.
  • my understanding and empathy are greatly deepened as i work/stitch/pray
  • my own personal sense of faith is enhanced tremendously throughout the process.
  • the prayer of serenity is a perfect addition to any prayer flag  that i may make.

the list goes on but you get the idea: it was a continual series of "aha moments" for me.
there will be more prayer flags as the guiding powers within my life make me aware of the need(s) and i'm willing to bet that every prayer flag i make will add more discoveries.
this process has already become a welcome part of my life that i want to expand upon and yes, i'm now completely committed to my very own prayer flag project.
a journey that i am anticipating with a happy heart.

i'm interested in your thoughts and experiences in regards to prayer flags if you would like to share them with me.
if you would like to investigate more in regards to this subject you might also be interested in the prayer flag project blog as a starting point.

i once again met my own personal goals within a challenge framework. so i'm doing a quick dance of joy as well as celebrating by offering three of my photo note cards (of my choice) as well as a few extra surprise goodies. if you are interested in winning, please leave a comment on this post telling me what you think my theme/challenge for may was. 
i think this last month was a huge challenge for myself as i didn't take a single floral shot and i think it's going to be a tougher challenge for all of you who are participating. it will be interesting to see your guesses but you don't have to get it right, you just have to take a guess within your comment. if you happen to have an idea for a future theme, feel free to share that as well.
i'll draw a name/winner on june 8th.

btw: i don't know whether you all missed those flowers or not but it was absolutely painful for me not to be shooting and sharing them with you. i'm looking forward to getting back to them~!!~


the cards were made by a company called snapfish. i'm not being paid by them but i happen to think they're pretty nice cards.

recent gifts include:
  • the discovery of a birds nest within my favorite tree (the one that grows tiny crab apples that the robins like to eat during the fall and winter). this tree grows right by my front door and the nest is inhabited by . . . yep, you guessed it. robins~!
  • being able to observe the parent birds as they built the nest and continue to faithfully lay and guard the eggs
  • the dappling of light near the pond as it falls through the aspen's whispering leaves
  • time spent reworking the area around the pond
  • seeing the fish become friendlier as the season progresses