Best of the Nests Giveaway

Which nest do you like best....?  As I was working on a bird nest Saturday I was trying to remember all the nests I had embroidered over the years....most going out in round robins.  But I was able to gather a few pictures.  I wish I had taken more.  And I also realized it had been ages since I did something fun like a giveaway...so I'm combining nests and giveaway...  Just leave a comment on this post and I will pick a name Sunday and the winner will receive this hand painted antique MOP button... painted by me of course.

This was on round robin and I think went to Cathy K.

This was also a round robin and went to Cobi in the Netherlands.  I don't have a picture of it finished on the block but here it is in progress.  It was one of my favorites. I did the bird in two parts.. the wing separately so it was three dimensional.

This one was on a block I did for my mother years ago.  I loved the button nest and want to do it again.  I had forgotten this one.

I just did this one last winter on my anniversary hanky quilt.

This should be 5... It was on the first cover I did for my beloved featherweight.. All the fabrics were busy prints.  You have to look closely to see the baby birds..

And this one was on the vest I wore to Houston.

And finally the nest I'm working on now.

Do you have a favorite?  Be sure and leave a comment ... you may be the lucky winner of the button!!!!


Decisive I'm not!!!!

I had prepared these three bird patterns to do in gold for my next three CQJP.  I thought long and hard about which I wanted to do first.  It was going to definitely be between the owl and the swallow.  I finally decided on the swallow.... definitely...
And what did I do first?... the baby birds...The nest is the star here so it got all the beads and sequins, etc. and I will add more when I actually put it on the block.. I chose this lace but need to paint it gold yet.  I experimented with lots of gold threads, etc but what turned out to be a surprise material that worked well as a filler was narrow strips of gold tulle.

And how did this come about.  Well I had some stitchers here on Saturday and I traced the baby birds on some blocks for them to do and I put a big selection of various texture in cording, threads, etc. in the middle of the table.  Their task was to be momma birds for the day and build a nest for their babies.  Since they were doing this I decided I would work on mine also....in gold. They had a fun day being momma birds.
Yesterday I rested a while on the front porch and watched a white-crowned sparrow flying in and out of a juniper building its nest....



My garden is still large enough that I can't do all the weeding by hand so I have this "Gerry-rigged" helper.  It is an old hand-pull golf bag cart... When people actually walked around the course.  I never see these anymore at thrift stores but I have found them extremely useful.

I just strapped on a large nursery pot and my two gallon sprayer fits perfectly and it rolls nicely along behind me on the paths and drives.  But even still I end up hefting the tank a lot in areas that the wheels won't go and the tank is heavy.  The older I get the harder it is to keep up with the weeds and the heavier the tank gets.

But when we were driving home yesterday I saw this... Instantly I knew this is exactly what I needed.  It would be the perfect solution.

So the minute I got home I got on the internet and searched through all the garden equipment sites.

I found a wide variety of back-pack sprayers in all sizes and colors but unfortunately I didn't find a single one that came with a man attached.


Crossing the finish line soon...

Once I started noticing that how blocks are finished is as important as stitching the blocks, there is no going back.  I am compelled to go a bit further with the finishing of each project now.  When I finished the pages in the corset books I trimmed each page with the same lace.  This time each page is receiving its own unique edging.

I'm having to really dig deep into my stash to find just the right thing... but I already know that I will love it.  It just seems the appropriate way to finish these pages.

And I did get the knitted lace on the front cover.  I bought that knitted lace to use on my vest but I really didn't like the way all the tips on the points curled up and recurled no matter how I pressed them... But on the cover of this book  I love the curly tips...it gives it a sort of whimsical look... And it proves once again that if you save something long enough there will be the perfect spot for it.
I have a special vision for the spine of this book but it will be a bit before I get that far.


Eye Update and stitch progress..

The sight in my right eye is pretty much a fun house mirror image like this picture (not only blurry but distorted as well) and because of a partially blocked vein in that eye I will be lucky to keep that much vision.. and it is not fixable. But I use drops usually used for glaucoma to reduce pressure in that eye so the vein does not completely block. The blocked vein is not part of the macular and is a separate problem all together.

I can see things fairly well with my left eye if it is something within about a 24-36"  range and it allows me to stitch with my wonderful magnifying lamp. 

But you might remember about 3 years ago I shattered the ocular bones on the left side of my face and they had to implant a plate to support that eye to keep it from sliding into the sinus cavity...That saved the eye but it affected its ability to focus...especially when it is tired. So I can only stitch for short periods before the eye tires and I see double.  Grudgingly I'm accepting what I just can't do and finding other ways to do things.

Having said all that I am determined to slowly finish up what I have going...  First the books of the cottage blocks.  I have six of the blocks as pages all   bound.  Will now add laces etc. to finish off the pages...

It is nearly the end of April and  I am barely started on the gold images let alone the cream on cream..  As always on anything I cut out, I outline with a very tight chain stitch.  The last ones I did on gold velour but I'm wanting to try these on cotton and will paint the fabric gold before I stitch it. (after the outlining)  These are small enough to stick in my sewing bag and tote about...  I love that.

And the biologist at a nearby wildlife refuge confirms that we have a visiting badger in our forest... and the hummingbirds have arrived for the summer....now I'm waiting for my wren who arrive in May.



My "thrifting" friend picked me up this morning with a hot white chocolate mocha in the cup holder... My idea of a best friend and a best day!  But I couldn't believe this piece at one of the stores.

 I haven't seen a card file in years and years and this one was solid oak and in pristine condition...  It must weigh a 1000 lbs.  Even though I have nowhere to put it and I am downsizing it took all my self resolve to leave it... It was as tall as I am and about 6' wide and it was only $199.  A CQers dream.  Sigh!!!

But I didn't come home empty handed.. These three laces will go right on my April CQJP.  The upper one has cupids in the design...the second one is an old collar.  The ribbons were all in one bag.  They are satin and lovely and again the white striped one will be used right away on April. The 3 laces, ribbon and butterfly earrings were all less than $5.

Also got this grab bag of lovely nylon machine lace.  I'm not a lace snob and love this type of lace.  It dyes beautifully with alcohol inks and is a marvelous base for silk ribbon embroidery.  I can immediately think of places to use the piece with fans..

Also I did get a nice lightweight velvet in soft mauve and a Ralph Loren cotton sheet to cut up for foundation pieces... (not pictured)  All in all a fun day.. The weather was gorgeous, all the trees are in bloom and I didn't have to drive.....


Happy Hubby and my Mystery Digger

Friday night DH came to my workroom to show me that he only had 3 sour cream rolls left in the freezer (hint! hint!)  Saturday night he came again waving an empty bag.. (HINT! HINT!!)  Well it just so happens I need  some holes dug and help moving some railroad ties so yesterday I baked some and he's a happy hubby indeed!

His very favorite just like his mother baked...  From start to finish they take about 4 hours.
I posted the recipe several years ago... http://olderrose.blogspot.com/2010/01/mother-kruegers-sour-cream-rolls.html

My path is the forest is a soft bed of undisturbed pine needles.  It is comforting to my old feet to tread upon them and they smell divine..  The key word here is undisturbed....

But yesterday here and there were ruts where something had been digging.

This trench is about 6 feet long and 8-10" deep.  So this digger had to be fairly good sized.

In fact this area is about 8'x3' and looked as if a rototiller had been working it.  I'm going to send the photos to a friend in the dept. of wildlife and see if I can find out what is doing this.  I suspect it is a badger but we haven't seen a badger in 30 years... but  since they're a nocturnal animal they could be out there while I'm sleeping...  I did see my barn owl today and not too far from the barn.


Two more patterns....owl and baby birds

I'm going to stitch the gold images for the April, May and June CQJP2016 blocks all at once.   It is just as easy to do three as do one when I have all the gold stuff out. 

Besides the swallow, I especially wanted to do a barn owl... I just love them and have one in my forest that I occasionally get to see.  I always watch because they roost so quietly in a tree that I can easily just pass by without seeing it.

I used the same procedure as I did for the swallow.  I gathered pictures and found something I liked in each.  Lower right was my favorite because its eyes were open and alert.  Its head is turned as if it has spied something.  But I liked the wing lower left because of the great detail on the feathers.  Upper right showed the beautiful detail on the breast feathers and upper left had good detail on the branch and feet.

So I put them all together and this is my pattern. 

The third pattern is baby birds which will be a real challenge to have gold baby birds show up in a gold nest.  But I have just had this urge to use gold threads etc. to build a nest....and it is that season after all.  It may not work but I have to give it a try...nothing ventured, nothing gained.

I will post cleaner copies of these later.  Kathy Shaw has volunteered to put them in her Adobe Illustrator and clean them up for me.   I am so grateful to her for offering... Big hugs for Kathy Shaw.


Free Swallow Pattern

Occasionally when I want to stitch something I'm lucky enough to find an image that I can just transfer to fabric and stitch.. But most times it is not that easy.  I want to do a gold swallow on my April CQJP... and the following process is usually typical.

I started by gathering a lot of swallow images...many more than you see here and then I study each one and find features I like.  Many times the bird images are from vintage postcards as three of these are.

I really liked the one upper left the best but I would like it a bit more streamline like the one on the upper right.  I like the markings of the one upper right also but the wings are too thin and awkward... I love the elegant tail on the one lower left.  Lower right is   is gorgeous stitching...  it is from an 1884 crazy quilt and reminds me of Betty Pillsbury's work.

As I said I like the upper left one best to start with but I want my swallow to be "swooping" upward and I want his sprig of flowers trailing to add to movement. This one looks like it is about to dive into the sea.

So I load the image into my photo editing program and make some changes.  I can easily turn the image to have the swallow going up rather than down and I moved the sprig of flowers to a trailing position which I feel adds to the movement of the bird.  It also needs to be greatly simplified for gold work.

At this point I get out a pencil and paper and put all these ideas together.  I am using a 6" hoop for all the images so I draw a 6" circle to make sure it will be the right size to fit my block...  Below is what I ended up with...  My swallow is swooping upward trailing a sprig.  I sectioned the body parts to use various gold elements, slimmed and stylized the body and tail..  It is ready to trace onto a piece of cloth. 
My swallow will be gold beads, sequins and gold threads, but this would work just as well with floss and I may use it again in color in the future.  If you would like to download this image and use it PLEASE FEEL FREE TO DO SO!!!!  I have said this often but it is worth repeating.... Anyone is welcome to use anything of mine on my blog...
My final images are often very messy and very smudged and I don't save them.  Because people often ask about a pattern, I decided I will try to make an effort to clean more of them up a bit and share them...



Progress and Peonies

Making progress on the cover for the CQ cottage blocks.. I'm loving the ruched ribbon... it is just pinned in place here.  I can't believe this ribbon  languished in a drawer for years.... Soaking it in boiling water really did the trick to soften it enough to make it useable and I had to candle flame the raw edges.  The knitted lace is going to be great..  I have a lot of it in various sizes and lengths...enough anyway for this project.

When I get frustrated with the eye situation I need to do something physical or I would climb the walls and this time of year it's working outside...  This morning I took this "before" picture.  I used to have peonies scattered about the property and have been gradually moving them to one area near the house.  But it had been overtaken by weeds and my lovely granddaughter Leigha helped me clear the weeds last fall and I want to get the bare areas covered with black plastic and mulched this week or it will be too late and the weeds will take it again.  Many of the later varieties of peonies are just poking through the ground so I had to wait.  Looks kind of sad here but there about 35-40 peonies in this bed and when it matures it should be spectacular.

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