The totally unexpected---- Splendiferous

The Victoria & Albert Museum was high on my list because of their extension collection of fashion which I did indeed enjoy and it was well worth the visit.  What I didn't realize is that they were having a special exhibition of Indian textiles and jewelry. Greater Spokane has a population of over 250,000 people and the percentage of people from India/Pakistan is less than 1%.... virtually invisible. 

Except for a glimpse on a screen I had never seen these textiles or jewelry in person.... so I was totally unprepared for the beauty and richness of it. I came away in awe and inspired.  and it was all gathered together in one exhibit which made for an  overwhelming impact.  As I had camera issues on this trip, these images are from the internet.

I used the word splendiferous but I could add sumptuous, grandiose, magnificent or extravagant.  The exhibit just made my heart sing..... the intense colors, the patterns, the embellishments.  I went back for another whole day just to immerse myself in the beauty of it.

If I lived in London I would go back again and again...  For me this exhibit embodied the very essence of CQ and I'm sure if I would have had more time I could have found a sari shop for fabric and trim but I will be looking online...  I did find The Delhi Store on Etsy which ships from India, but what fun it would be to actually see and fondle it.

But what you expect from a woman who had to have a rainbow door to walk through every day!!!!  Makes me want to have a rainbow house and maybe even a rainbow garage and barn...

I will take time from Thanksgiving prep today to get my purchases photographed.


The Expected......

Well I'm back from London and had an incredible time...   It will take a few posts to share it all.
But I definitely had two favorites.  One was totally expected and one totally unexpected..

The expected favorite was Portobello Road Market. When you got off the tube, you didn't need a sign for direction....you were literally carried along with the crowd.  Thousands of people (not hundreds) show up every Saturday year round - rain or shine.  AND it's two miles long.  It was pouring rain the first Saturday I went and I had so much fun I went back the next Saturday and it was 39 degrees and a bitter wind which didn't deter a soul.

It is exactly this way every Saturday as it is the only day for the outdoor vendors. 

But besides the outdoor vendors each building has small shops and some are even a maze of  small stalls.  It was in the back of one these I found two older ladies selling exquisite bits of vintage lace ( I will show later as I have time to unpack and sort and photograph my treasures.)

Surprisingly  this market is not that old and only dates back to the 1940s when "rag and bone men" gathered there with their carts and it gradually evolved to antiques, bric-a-brac, and farm goods etc.

The rag-and-bone men  scavenged unwanted rags, bones, metal and other waste, from the towns and cities where they lived.  They sold rags to the local paper makers. White rag could fetch 2–3 pence per pound, depending on condition. Coloured rag was worth about two pence per pound. Bones, worth about the same, could be used as knife handles, toys and ornaments. Metal was recycled for all manner of uses....

There was anything and everything you could imagine for sale...the old and valuable and the new and the tacky.  I especially enjoyed all the vintage jewelry... stalls and stalls of it..

and the antiques as well.  I didn't buy a lot but each purchase was special and will bring back wonderful memories of my days at one of the most famous markets in the world..


Bite the bullet time!!!

I have a couple big bags and a couple drawers of silk ribbon that look just like this.  Not all my fault as much of it I bought as lots on e-bay and it came like this....cheap but a mess.  But I have to admit I hate, hate, hate those little cards and winding ribbon around them..

I still am still ecstatic over my solution to organizing my floss (I hated those little cards also). Thanks to JMB as she had her ribbons on rings.  It has been over a year and I am still over-the-moon happy with it.  Of course it took me several months to get it all on rings but now I am going to do the same thing with my ribbons.  I have the second part of the same shoe rack to use as well but the one for the threads is only about 3' tall.  For the ribbons I am going to look for a floor lamp, dismantle the lamp part and mount the shoe rack on the pole.  I should be about 50" tall to stand behind the back side of my stitching table.  I figure it will take most of the winter.

I'm off to London on Thursday... DH has his list of sites which includes lots of museums, galleries and churches.  My list includes many antique shops, markets, RSN at Hampton Court, Victoria and Albert Museum, and looking for buttons as well.  Found two shops on the internet... The Button Lady in Hampstead and the Button Queen on Portabello Rd.  Know of any others?

DH and I will meet up in the afternoon for a meal at one of the old pubs on our list...


On a jet plane

We are leaving on Thursday for London for 8 days...  This trip had been planned for months for our anniversary and the first trip we've taken abroad  in 10 years.  As my recovery has been so slow we talked about cancelling it, but in the end decided to go and I'll just do what I can...  I started packing today and the first thing of course is what needlework to take.  I put the corset ads on the page linings and will take them along and embellish in airports etc.

I do want to get to Hampton Court Palace to see the Royal School of Needlework and the Victoria and Albert Museum for textiles, clothing and other decorative arts..  DH has a long list and will tear around at full speed to museums, churches, and galleries.  I will putter through antiques malls and markets hoping to find some interesting buttons and lace....  We will meet late afternoon and eat pub grub.

We live high on an open prairie and have always enjoyed both spectacular sunsets AND sunrises but the sunrise a couple days ago was breath taking. 
Sunsets are long and like kaleidoscopes as they constantly changed hues and shapes.  But sunrises are rapid and you best not sleep too long in the morning or you will miss it..



This week I have been continually searching for things and in the process finding things long forgotten...  One was this old needle book. I always loved the bakelite rose button...perfect for the clasp.

 It was too large to carry in my sewing bag so it was shelved and yesterday I repurposed it into a journal cover....perfect!

Below is both front and back....


Squish the centers!!!

I just love this piece of ribbon embroidery and I would highly recommend anyone EVER contemplating doing daisies (or daisy-like flowers) to study and keep this photo.  You should notice right away that each flower is different but you know each is a daisy.

And not a single one looks like a fried egg...

Over and over again I see daisies (or daisy-like flowers which includes aster, cornflowers, etc.)
looking like a mass of fried eggs staring right at you...

One trick to force yourself to avoid this is when you draw the centers, flatten or squish them and then draw a irregular shape around the center....and do each one different.  This will force you to add variety to the shapes of the flowers.

At our Sit & Stitch meetings we are doing ribbon flowers with a 4" hoop to use in hexies.  At the last get-together I had them do blue cornflowers using this little trick... This one is by Kathy Streeter and she has already finished the hexie as well.  She not only used blue centers instead of yellow centers, she added a second row of petals in a different shade of blue.

This one is by Teresa Smick and is still a work in progress.  She used a variegated ribbon and also added a second row of petals which added depth and interest. PLEASE NOTE: every center is an irregular shape.

Both these exquisite examples just ooze interest and variety to a simple composite flower... so remember "squish " the centers...

The wild turkeys have flocked up for the winter and are regular visitors now...


In the nick of time!

I did indeed finish October's block on the very last day of October... 

The cream colored folded ribbon lower left was my least favorite of all the folded ribbons Susie and I did and it was the very devil to attach to the block.. or embellish...  It was supposed to look like the ribbon on the right.  It just doesn't look right and was too much trouble.  I will cross it off my list.

The ribbon "thing" upper right was supposed to look like the lower one on the left which was done with ribbon a different color on each side.  I tried to use TWO different colored ribbons and it was just to bulky.  I ended up adding some silk ribbon embellishment to it.  I like the fold well enough that I'll watch for a ribbon which will work better.

Now that I see the entire block on the screen I'm going to find some 15s and add them to the lace rose.

I use these CQJP block as testing pieces for various things... In this case I was using cotton pearl I have had for ages.. (wheels by bottom of image)  but it was heavier than I like to work with and probably won't use it again..  If these were RR blocks and going to someone else I am less likely to experiment.


Working in threes!

This entire CQJP project I have been working in threes.  Not really intentionally but it has worked out that way and I like it.  I put down the laces and trims on three blocks and then do the blocks one by one for the rest of the embellishment..  DH has been gone all week and one of those days I stayed in my nightclothes most of the day and just stitched.  It felt so decadent.

Lower left is the October block which I may indeed finish in October which I did not think possible last month.  Usually I get kind of tired of a theme or color scheme after this many blocks but these have been very restful colors and the challenge of the ribbon folding technique has really peaked my interest all along.

Enough that the next CQJP project will not have a theme as such but be focused on technique. I must be on the road to recovery as I am actually having pain-free (well almost pain free) coherent thoughts.  The therapy on the shoulder is going well, the ribs are mostly healed and the bruising on the rest of my body has faded..


An owl came to visit!!!

As I was passing the kitchen window at dusk I was literally stunned to see a great horned owl only feet away in the maple tree right outside the kitchen window..   I was trying to get these pictures through the kitchen window and, besides the fact it was getting so dark so fast, the sunset was reflecting in the glass. 

I lightened  one picture and you can see it turned its head and stared right at me

I love owls and often see them hunting if I walk at dusk.  Having one this close was so special.

When I was sorting projects the other day I ran across this sampler from Sharon Boggins' class.  I have always loved it and want to do something special with it....BUT WHAT?  Recently I was gifted this purple blanket binding and lovely velvet ribbon..  Maybe that will inspire me.

And then I have baskets of RR blocks just waiting...


My day was waylaid.....

The last thing before I fall asleep I often plan what I want to do the next day.  I love waking up with a sense of purpose.  DH is out of town and I had a lovely long uninterrupted day ahead. And I decided I was going to spend the day painting buttons and answering emails.  I did neither.

I got the lace and trims on the last three blocks last night and this morning I awoke wondering where was the blue silk I bought in LA two years ago and what did I do with the two extra blocks I made for the covers for the corset cuties.  And so I ended up making a huge mess but finally found the silk, etc. and was able to sort tons of things out. But not until I had made a huge mess everywhere.   My goal is to go right into January and finish this project.  I got the silk page linings cut today, the interfacing applied, and the seam lines basted.  Now I can add the corset ads and embellished them. These linings will be my on-the-go blocks for the next two months.

I decided I would not start any new projects in 2016 until I finished the hanky project and the cottage project.  The hanky project has been held up because I could not find exactly what I wanted to back and border it with.  I had my heart set on a dusky blue moirĂ© taffeta and it proved almost impossible to find... But I have it now and will move ahead after the first of the year.  There will be lots of embroidery on the taffeta so this is not a quickie project.

The second big finish will be the cottage blocks.  I originally intended for these to be a book.  But after the excitement of a quilt in Houston, I thought I might finish it as a quilt and enter it.  I just could not make a firm decision.  But now I have.  I will go with my first plan and make it into a book.  Friends and family can look at it in a book and I know that  I  (nor anyone else) would ever hang it on a wall... so a book it is.  I have this lovely striped silk for the linings and now that I have made that decision I am eager to do this.  I loved these blocks from start to finish.  The blocks are only 7" but I want the book pages to be about 12" square so each block will be bordered and embellished.  So this also will be a time consuming finish.

When I do finish these, which will probably take several months, I ran across two projects to finish that have been shunted aside.....  especially  the peacock piece which I have MANY hours already into.  The other is a ORANGE piece with a Moroccan theme. 

So even though not one button was painted, it was a very productive day and just what I needed to get myself going again.
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