Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Garden Visitors

Someone recently mentioned that they loved dragonflies. I saw this one sitting in pose this evening, so I took Pixie in, grabbed the camera, and he was still there, waiting to be shared with the world.

I looked out toward the garden - remember the sweet little garden from earlier in the spring? There was another friend posing - a very hungry friend.

It was coming along so nicely - two rows of green beans filled with blooms, cucumbers in bloom... and then one evening sitting on the porch I saw a deer run across the yard (not in pose - dashing away). The next day I went out and ALL the green beans were gone - nothing but stems left - see below next to the tomatoes. Cucumbers, too. Never heard that animals liked them...but they do! I have been getting a few squash - zucchini and yellow, and the tomatoes are there, just not ripe yet, as is the corn - some as tall as me, but no tassels yet - or maybe the deer ate that, too!

See the nice, red South Carolina soil? It has rained at least some every day since Saturday. That's great - don't have to use the well to water. Since the tomatoes are kind of light/white, they should be getting ripe soon. Yummy!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Tray for Beads

Has anyone tried using one of the small paint mixing trays (5x3.5) for sorting beads to use different colors at once? I have other ways to use one color at a time, but am going to try this for multi-color beading. We'll see...

Playing with Hearts

I've been playing around with stitching and embellishing another heart - not for anything specific, just auditioning some treatments. My thought was a Magnolia tree, then these little tatted with sparkle rings hit my eye - how would they look? Then the umbrella shape, and I'm always wondering what to do with extra bits of lace. I saw a photo of a 'girly' umbrella with a ruffle and thought I'd give that a try. Next the tatted 'heart' rings - that is officially called a dimpled ring - edging I'd been practicing. The last added were the few stitches. I'm planning to add a few beads, too.

The Drawing of the Three - The Dark Tower II *****

Ive finished The Drawing of the Three, Part II of The Dark Tower epic by Stephen King. Roland is still on the beach where the Gunslinger ended. After the man in black has told his fortune with Tarot cards, showing The Prisoner, The Lady of Shadows, and the dark shape of Death, Roland travels into the 1980's.

Enjoyed it so much I've already started The Waste Lands, The Dark Tower III.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Stash for Pounds - The Box

In December of 2006 a sub-group of the CQ for Newbies was established by Susan N called Stash 4 Pounds where we have a monthly 'official' weigh in, and we can 'report' on Monday each week. This is a wonderful group of women who are supportive and encouraging! Another neat thing about this group was that everyone contributed a starting squishie (packet of CQ materials), and with each month of gain or maintain added a little more. The member who lost the most at the end of six months would win The Box - of which Judyth was in charge. The end of the six months was June 4, and guess what?? Yes, I won The Box at 163 - a 15.6 pound loss in six months.

Good grief, girls. Do any of you still have stash? I think you sent it all for The Box. I was overwhelmed by the sheer amount of stuff in the box. There were several gallon zip locks plus quart bags stuffed! There are beautiful fabrics, beads, sequins, buttons, lace, motifs, fibers, threads, ribbons, charms, jewelry pieces, ... simply amazing! Wonder why there was no Orange?? Just teasing, Judyth - you could have kept half of everything and I'd have been none the wiser! Hang in there -- you really DO want to win the next one !! See what I mean?

I couldn't believe all the things that came out of this box!

Beads and buttons and trims and nic nacs galore...

Beautiful motifs...

Lovely laces abound...

And a plethera of swatches of all kinds of fabrics, lavendar, pink,

burgundy, green and blue - and even a hint of orange! :-)

And a great book by Dover with CD for printing images!!

Thank all you Stash for Pounds members again for your generous contributions!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

I am happy to report that I have just broken the 160 mark - 159.6. In October, 2006 I decided that 193 was fat on me for my 5'4" frame, and that I was going to do something about it. Seeing women who were not 'skinny' but looked good in their clothes, I would say to myself, "Why weren't you satisfied when you were that size?" If there was one thing that really made me realize it and prompted me to take action was walking into the grocery store to buy ice cream. I was ashamed to buy it - I was fat and buying ice cream. No, I didn't buy it. I started by trying to cut back - eat A cookie instead of half a pack, or a FEW chips instead of half a bag, a CUP of ice cream instead of three!

When I started to notice a difference I created the Ticker on my CQ blog, starting at 190. Even through the holidays I was able to lose a few more pounds. On December 4 (178.6) a new sub-group of the CQ for Newbies was established by Susan N called Stash 4 Pounds where we have a monthly 'official' weigh in, and we can 'report' on Monday each week. This is a wonderful group of women who are supportive and encouraging! Another neat thing about this group was that everyone contributed a starting squishie (packet of CQ materials), and with each month of gain added a little more, and the member who lost the most at the end of six months would win The Box - of which Judyth was in charge. The end of the six months was June 4, and guess what?? Yes, I won The Box at 163 - a 15.6 pound loss in six months. I have signed up for the next six months - there are 13 of us - and I have asked to not be considered next time for The Box. I have/will contribute, but someone else should win next time. It was a close race this time, with Carol L coming in with only a bit more over a pound away.

At times in the past when I wanted to lose, it was usually due to wanting to look better for someone else. Well, there is no Someone Else now - not even a prospect on the horizon, so it's strictly for ME. I also have high cholesterol and hypertension (heredity) for which I take medication, so it may help with controlling those issues, but I've still needed the meds in the past when I lost weight.

I eat chicken, seafood, veggies (come on garden!), pasta, beans, and fruit. Cherries and prunes are my favorites right now. Oh, and I've never been a breakfast eater, but am now eating a small bowl of raisin/nut/bran with skim milk every morning to "get the metabolism kicked off." Recently I've started taking vitamin B-12, and they seem to give me a little more energy. I have progressively gotten to the point of only eating fried food on a 'splurge' day - usually have one every couple of weeks - and with smaller portions even then, but pretty much what I want. The last was Chinese with my son. I don't eat much red meat, and try to stay relatively low fat. I'm also a sugar addict, so I try to avoid sweets, too, 'cause if I ever get started it seems I can't quit.

I still need to incorporate more exercise into my gardening, household chores, and walking the dog daily routines. I must also confess that I started back smoking - not a good thing at all - which probably does contribute to a few of the pounds lost in the beginning. There's really nothing profound in what I've done, but a couple of tips I have to keep in mind:

You can't eat it if it's not in the house and Keep those hands busy to help control snacking.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Spring Garden Block - Received

On the CQ for Newbies group, we had a Spring Fling block swap, and this is the one I received from Susie W. Isn't it pretty? I love the bird house with the tiny bird and flowers, the tatted butterflies, great stitching and lovely beads and pearls. Thank you, Susie!

Another Egyptian Block - Finished

Such fun it was stitching this block. There are several ladies on CQ for Newbies doing more than one, but I think the two will be all for me. It was really something different for me! You can see the first one here.

Since I finished the first Egyptian block, I decided to work on another one. It has been fun building the blocks with more earthy tones, and finding motifs to include. Here's the one I made last night.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Round Robin History

For the next few posts you will see the Crazy Quilt round robins I've participated in over the years. There is some fantastic stitching on these blocks, and they need to be seen! I'm ashamed to say that they've just been sitting in a drawer, and they need some 'air' time!

To any of the ladies who did stitching, I am truly appreciative! I just know that none of the stitching I did on your blocks was anything nearly as wonderful, but thank you for giving me the opportunity to learn! And thanks to the other stitchers who 'made up the difference' by doing more than their share! It would be great if you would leave a comment for the RR on which you participated. Of course any other comments are welcome, too!

Southern Friends RR - 1999 - My First

"This block will be used as a part of the quilt (or duvet) that is my ultimate goal. I have finished seven blocks, but have recently been sidetracked by other projects, swaps, etc.

I love royal colors of wine, forest, navy, gold, purple, as you can see.

Please let the block "talk to you" and I'm sure it will return beautifully!"

This was my first round robin. Of course, I have not made a quilt or duvet... but when I do this could well be a central piece. Notice that one of the stitchers did a couple of things for the first time (she had done a practice on her sampler) - the spider/web and owl. The block is just beautiful, and I truly thank the stitchers who participated.

Carol - On the blue piece I did an oriental violet in BE, surrounded by lace. Just above it is a basket charm with colonial Knots and the ribbon flowers on the green.

Patty - The sparkly blue fabric spoke to me of sunlight bouncing off water. I had the pewter charms on hand - took the backs off them and glued strings so I could make them lay flat. The stitched fish is from Carole Samples' Treasury of Crazy Quilt Stitches. I doodled the seaweed with one strand of DMC and one of DMC glitter/metallic. It didn't show up, so I did the outline stitch into the stitches with the metallic. The fish is stitched with flax and copper metallic. I tried a new stitch for me on this seam. This feather stitch is done in Kremik Ombre.

Betsy - First I put the black trim w/different colors on yellow & blue seam. I also put the cord around your beautiful black velvet square. Now I hope you like the spider web & spider (her first). Then I did the chain stitch in a hand-dyed pearl cotton and added the pink and purple variegated bullion roses. Then the feather stitch over as leaves. PS: The black piece just kept telling me to do something so I put an owl on it in white floss - I drew it myself, used tissue paper (first time).

Mary - I added cast on roses in lav on the sm gold patch w/beads to fill in . Also the small oval flower piece and anchored it w/beads. I added the button with sparkly thread. The white trim at the top left corner with beads. Twisted roses with brass ribbon. Gold/black trim over Carols great basket.

Faye - I did the flower bunch next to Patty's underwater scene, the 'starry sky' next to it and the fernstitch / bead combo along the red/green seam next to your flowers.

My Choice RR - May 2005

"I am happy to be a part of this My Choice RR. Please enjoy yourself with my block, letting it 'tell you' what it needs. It's not a Christmas block, I just love the fire/jewel tones. I don't care for lots and lots of lace, so you may want to save it for someone who LOVES it.

I hope your block returns filled with beautiful work, and that it fills your heart with smiles!"

I just love the way this one turned out. The colors are really pretty, and everyone did a great job of stitching and SRE! Thanks to one and all!

Janie - I did the yellow flowers with Vicky Clayton's silk ribbon. Then I did the Holbin stitch with the lazy daisy flowers. Next I did the weaving using JP Coats threads. Then I used Vicky Clayton's silk thread to do the red lazy daisy and herringbone stitch. The green lazy daisy stitch was done with silk and beige straight stitches using silk perle. Last I did the feather stitch down the striped.
Judy - I did 7 different treatments on patches or seams. Included was a floral spray I did using beads, added a red beaded flower, red silk ribbon rose spray, a seam treatment using red sequins, 2 seam treatments with a combination of stitches and a little flower bush on one corner with yellow French knot flowers.
Candji - I did the red rose vine in the top center. The thread is Chinese Silk I got off eBay.
Ronnie - I stitched your initial ;using red moonlight by YLI. I also stitched a lazy daisy seam finish using the same metallic and gold. Then I stitched a yellow gold rose spray using silk ribbon.
Andrea - The flowers on a vine is from Motifs for Crazy Quilting by J. Marsha Michles. I adapted them a bit so they would fit along the seams. I stem stitched the outlines and then filled in the flowers with rayon floss. Next I did a simple seam treatment using slik parl fly stitches and Edmar Glory rayon french knots. Lastly I did another simple seam treatment to the right of the top flower. I used Edmar Glory rayon.

Embellishers' Round Robin - 2003

"This block is one that I would love to see your expressions of what the color and texture say to you -- enjoy!!"

"Something about myself - I love crazy quilts! Don't we all? One of my favorite things is stars. I love the royal colors of blue, green, burgundy, gold. etc. I like lady bugs, dragon flies, just any and everything -- just do YOUR favorite thing and it may be mine next time.

Thank you all so much for your time and creativity.

I hope your block returns to you filled with much beauty and love."

Another lovely block with the stitching of a group of great stitchers! Thanks to all.

Ida - The seam between the yellow piec & the saisley piece, I did a woven stitch w/rust sparkly thread (p.144 in Carole Samples book). Bewteen the yellow paisely peice & the green wool, I did a row of Chevron stitches w/rust thread. I attached ecru lace along the green velvet piece. I attached a butterfly silk. I put lace around the silk. I put 3 yellow flowers below the butterfly picture, and 3 lavender flowers above the butterfly picture.

Della - I did th work on the two purple blocks on the left side. I added the purple & pink pansys with the black beads. I added the green feather stitch the green beads, the pink blanket sitch on the left side, and the aqua Daisy stitch with the aqua beads. Last I added some antique pink and withe tatting around the purple silk material.

Lois Marie - My additions are the lace butterfly, the gold braid, and the stitchery in purple & white.

Barb - Since you mentioned you loved stars & dragonflies or butterflies, that exactly what I put on your block. I also did the ruched seam on the left side of the stars.

Candji - I did the copper stars on the green seam and the teal spider roses beside the C. I also added the vintage crocheted sunflower in the corner.

Hannah - I added the small mauve colored rose, the dragonfly and the french knots.

Diane - I did the 'C' with burgundy very velvet couched down with a single strand of YLI silk, filled with Burmelana french knots in rust. I did the green lazy daisy stitch with the salmon SR buds. I used rust twisted silk Elegance to make the double knot stitch. I did zig zag chain stitch using Impressions and a variation of the feather stitch using Shey's silk in Berry Spritz on either side of the print silk..

Stitchers' Pick RR - August 2004

"I am happy to be a part of this Stitchers' Pick RR. Please feel free to enjoy yourself with my block, letting it 'tell you' what it needs.

I hope your block returns filled with beautiful work, and that it fills your heart with smiles!"

There were a bunch of purple lovers in this round robin - me being one! Didn't it turn out beautifully? Thank you all for such lovely work!!

Judy - First, I dyed the fan motif and fan lace a lavender color and attached the fan with beads and a purple silk flower. Then I embroidered your initial on a patch. Next added herringbone stitches in pink and white and added pink silk ribbon French knots. Added small yellow blanket stitches and beads on the side of the patch with your initials. Finally added 3 buttons with yellow beads.

Edith - I wanted to play into the drama by putting a ciggy silk of Pola Negri. She was a famous actress from around the turn of the century until well into the 20s. I found that6 the black and white photo goes well with the purple. I decided to surround the picture with a lavender velvet ribbon for a Victorian flair. Then I created a cascading spray of silk ribbon flowers flowing down from the bottom right corner. On the right side I covered the short seam with small pink roundels and then added a large mint coloured roundel on the top right corner of the ciggy silk. Lastly I embellished the short seam to the right of that with the beaded cross stitch and the long seam down with the beaded feather stitch.

Ellen - To start I added three mother of pearl buttons that I decorated with Iris rub-ons and then coated with clear finish and added a purple and green trim beside them on the seam. Above that int he corner I sewed on some sequins (large flower type from Michael's) and smaller 5 mm gold sequin on top (http://www.ccartwright.com/). Next I sewed on the butterfly that I dyed and then on the seam beneath I did a chain stitch and wove some silk ribbon thru it.

JoAnn - I did the gold and purple ribbon under the fan, the ribbon in the other corner that is white with purple flowers and green leaves, the purple and yellow circle under the print, and the cretan stitch beside it. I then added some purple flowers with the pink ones. In the upper corner of the print I dyed the piece of lace and make it into a necklace. Lastly I did a spider web an spider on the changing color fabric.

Lola - On the lower left of the picture of the lady on the white flowered patch and the 2 patches beside it - I used the feather stitch to make a heart. I used several different colors in the heart then added metallic beads. Above the heart I sewed beads forming colorful flowers and stem. The 2 seams above and below the yellow butterfly also has my work - feather stitch below the butterfly and above the butterfly is fly stitched iris (original as far as I know).

Autumn Falls RR - September 2004

"I am happy to be a part of this Autumn Falls RR. Please fell free to enjoy yourself with my block, letting it 'tell you' what it needs.

I hope your block returns filled with beautiful work, and that it fills your heart with smiles!"

Almost didn't get this one back, but finally it came through. What was done is really pretty work. Thanks for stitching on my block!

Mary Jane - I put a spray of yellow roses across the middle, with a magenta butterfly.

Lynn - to compliment Mary Jane's butterfly by adding a purple vine.

Flory - Tried a new stitch with ribbon and seed beads sewed on a strip of antique lace

Kala - On the left side I did a seam treatment with flowers done in the buttonhole stitch, the vine of bugle beads and the dragon flies on the brown patch and a seam treatment using a flowered ribbon. On the right side I embroidered a tree trunk and falling leaves on the brown and yellow patches. I also put the leaf applique at the top.

Mystie ---

Going Buggy RR - September 2004

"I am happy to be a part of this Bugs & Spiders RR. Please feel free to enjoy yourself with my block, letting it 'tell you' what it needs.

I hope your block returns filled with beautiful work, and that it fills your heart with smiles!"

Hard to believe bugs can be so adorable, isn't it. This was a smaller (8x8) block with so many participants...11 plus me. It is totally filled, and beautiful. Thank you again for stitching on my block!

Mary - I added a small winged little creature in floss & sewing thread, then did a hedge for him in eyelash and ribbon.

Lisa - I chose to create a seam line of little pink flowers for my dragonfly to sit on. The wings are silver metallic. The body is silk and the tail is red beads.

Candji - I used a different stitch method for each of the roses: Boullion, Stab stitch, spider web, chain stitch, chain stitch buds. The silk ribbons are all some I dyed myself. Every rose garden needs a lady bug and a butterfly.

Lynn - I added a double-layered seam treatment of ribbon and rick-rac that I embellished to cover the fabric edges and an insect from Carol Sample's "Treasury of Crazy Quilt Stitches," that may be a crane fly.

Kimberly - I just did the 2 brown butterflies with the wool, bullion knot bodies.

JoAnn - I did a glass body one on the patch near the 3 lady bugs and a little embroidery near by, gold and silk.

Cher - I added a large spider & web on the green velvet patch.

Gretchen - I did the snails.

Ronni - I did the beaded butterfly & the 3 ladybugs.

Julie - I did a fantasy beetle in the corner - spotted with copper legs & beady little eyes. Next to her I did the seam in silk threads - chain, knots, fly stitches - doodling, really.

Mary Jane - I put 6 beady bugs around that yellow embroidered bug, a little seam work with pink flower beads and a cluster of the same SR leaves - the bugs' party corner!

Sunny Gals RR - Newbie Group A - March 2004

"Thank you all so much for your time and creativity.

I hope your block returns to you filled with much beauty and love."

From some of the comments, this was a quiet block - it was hard for the stitchers to 'hear' what it was asking from them - but once it started talking, they did a wonderful job!! Thanks again for all the beautiful work done on this block.

Andrea - The first thing I did was the silk ribbon embroidery vine. The pattern is from "Encyclopedia of Ribbon Embroidery Borders by Deanna Hall West. I used a stem stitch with silk pearl #12 (Holly leaves) from Victoria Clayton (hand-dyed fibers.com). The leaves and flowers were done with Cabochon silk ribbon (#6v - Emerald Greens) for leaves & #29-sunflower for flowers). The second embellishment I did was the chevron stitch using Edmar Frost (#119). Then I added the french knots using two strands of Rajmahol rayon threads that I had received int he Australian swap last year. Next I added the wool and rayon trim. Lastly I added the California poppy motif. The flow is outlined using a stem stitch with Cabochon silk twist. The leaves are outlined using a stem stitch with silk pearl #12 (Holly leaves) from Victoria Clayton. I finish the flower with french knots done with Cabochon silk ribbon (#90).

Linda - On the small purple triangle, I placed a large button, gold/purple stone. The large square w/flowers was next and I placed beads in the center of flowers & french knots using silk thread. On the smaller blue piece I did 3 lazy daisy flowers (silk ribbon) and lots of French knots again using silk thread. The long red, blue, green strips was a problem, just could not see anything on it. I finally decided to run the lines of the design and use yellow silk thread to do chain & running stitches to outline the design.

Beverly - I put the flowers (pink) up the blue-green seam and placed a button the purple.

Ronni - In a teal square I stitched a silk ribbon flower I called a mum. The stem & leaves were stitched variegated perle cotton size 8. In the turquoise area I stitched a silk ribbon flower spray and white french knots using 7 mm ribbon. On the seam I stitched x stitches with lazy daisy flowers & french knots. I stitched the feather stitch spray with silk ribbon flowers,.. I also stitched a silk ribbon flower & another spray with french knots.

Pat - First I worked on the coral/peach patch using a cross-hatched design w/a silk ;earl #8 in aqua w/ seed pearls & french knots. Also I did a smaller one in coral & aqua beads. Then I added some French knot flowers. The seam treatment on the coral patch was a straight stitch w/ a loop caught in the straight stitches - #8 silk pearl variegated, (french knots in each thread loop.) Then I worked on the white floral on teal patch. I just did a vine w/silk emb. thread and sewed coral pearls on the flowers. On this seam I did a yellow wheat ear pattern. Next I worked on the small, yellow patch. I did 3 fans, curving next to one another...stem stitch and straight stitch using a variegated #8 silk pearl. Then I added pretty matching beads to the fans. On the yellow seam, I used beads and a stitch that I have forgotten the name of. Next down the teal & yellow patched, I added a vine made of feather stitch & French knots - pearle cotton & silk ribbon. Then on the red velvet & red satin patches I did 3 variegated silk ribbon roses, using the wagon wheel spoke method with tiny seed beads for centers & "dew drops." The roses are encircled with chain stitches of silk pearle #8 from Vikki Clayton's fibers. Right beside the red/gold satin patch, I did a seam of chevron stitches using #8 silk pearle & some lilac glass beads. I did a small seam treatment to separate my 'circled roses' . Finished enclosing the peach patch 2/ 2 short seam treatments, other than he looped stitch. Lastly, I sewed 5 pretty beads on the red silk patch that is right beside the "Xmas stripe - made me think of Christmas".

UFO-II Round Robin, September 2003

"I love the royal colors of purple, blue, green, burgundy, gold, etc. as you can see from my block. This block is intended to be the front of a cover to be made for my sewing machine. It is a big block, and I have no idea that it will be finished when it returns. Just do YOUR favorite thing and it will be perfect for me.

Thank you all so much for your time and creativity.

I hope your block returns to you filled with much beauty and love."

The next few posts will be a 'history' of the CrazyQuilt round robins that I've participated in over the last few years.

I used this block as the foundation for my sewing machine cover. The women who stitched on this block did a wonderful job. Thanks again to each of you!

Janie - I did the blue woven stitch on the green patch. Then I did the dark and light herringbone stitch on the red patch. Last I did the mo... on the purple patch.

Kristen - I stitched on the purple & green pieces in the upper right. First I stitched the antique blanket stitch in wildflowers - carnival, I can't remember where I got the clear & pink leaves & the blue seed beads are #11. Next I stitched the feather stich vine in wildflowers - pussy willow, the ...stitch leaves are Brucilla 4 mm ribbon & the pearl beads are from a swap. Last I stitched the upside down lazy daisy's on the green satin in wildflowers - meadow.

Marianne - I did the silk rose flowers with green leaves and rose buds and french knots on the purple piece. Then I put the fly stitch with lazy daisy stitch on the red seam. I also added the design in beads on the red piece. Finally I seamed with a button hole stitch between. I used hand dyed silk perle thread (green and red pieces) silk ribbon and white thread.

Cher - I added a pink & red lace trim I dyed & a rose that I hope you like.

Leslie - I did the following: green lace motif with SRE bouquet & beads; cretan stitch of Caron thread with rayon over stitch; 3 green button hold half circles of silk buttonhole twist; feather stitch next to center patch with red beads. I also added two buttons with bead dangles.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Visit from a CQ Friend

Gerry was in North Carolina, and she had time to drop by for a visit. It was nice to get to meet someone in person that you feel you've gotten to know online. When she walked up to the door she said, I'm Gerry. I knew immediately who she was, and was happy to learn that she's who I expected. She did say she didn't think I'd be as quiet... She had one of her cell phone pouches with her, and y'all just think it's pretty in the photo online. It was beautiful in person!

Thanks for making the effort to come, Gerry! I totally enjoyed your visit, and hope Pixie didn't drive you crazy with kisses!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Trace -- ****

I just finished reading Trace, A Scarpetta Novel, by Patricia Cornwell. One of my favorite authors, this is a good book, back to the old standards. Dr. Kay Scarpetta returns to Richmond and her former lab when she's asked to consult on the death of a young girl. Scarpetta suspects murder, but her investigation is thwarted at every turn.