Sheep book about done!!

I'm slowly making headway on my lists of long neglected tasks... but still finding time to occasionally stitch and hope to finish the sheep book this weekend..

The front cover is done and I'm trying to figure out how to bind it with faux lamb's wool without it being too bulky...Think I got a plan now
Here is the back cover and it will have a lamb's wool edge also.
DH felt Pitiful Pearl needed here own page so it is below along with all the rest of the pages.  I backed them with felt and bound them with a lightweight suede.



The spider pattern and the eyes

 I am  always buying patterns that are close to what I want and then never use them..  But I saw this bag pattern in Houston and knew I would use it and it will be perfect for my spider bag..  I love the shape, all the pockets and the opportunities to use coordinating fabrics. It is called Quattro by Studio Kat Designs..

My lovely daughter-in-law is coming Wednesday for a visit... I thought she might like one and maybe this is a project we could do together...   The dyed laces from Nicki should be here in a day or two..

Next I started going through my picture file looking for cat's eyes.  I wanted them looking in various and found a bunch... My cats will all be black of course..

If you image google this pattern many, many versions of it are displayed... but this one was my favorite...  Isn't it fantastic..


Another Stitch and Travel bag you should see!

I can count on one hand (the hand that has only 4 fingers) the stitchers that I am truly in awe of and Lisa Boni is one of them.. Her attention to detail is unparalleled and there is a feeling of elegance and simplicity in everything she does...  You must go to  Lisa 's site and see how she has fitted out her travel bag...

It is obvious that she has given a lot of thought to what would meet her needs and fitted everything into her clever case.  AND every single thing in her case is coordinated... just amazing.   If you are thinking of putting together a travel bag, you must make a list of everything she included to use as a check list for yourself. 

What I thought was amazing was how she found her pattern and how  she could look at this pattern and think "travel bag."  But she did and adapted it  to her needs.  You can see it next to the child that it is fairly good sized. 

I can see how I might adapt this pattern a little differently so I will order it.  I often buy patterns "just in case" because they disappear quite quickly. Nothing is more frustrating than to think of a use a year later and the pattern is obsolete and unavailable... that's why I have a lot of unused patterns.


My most treasured buckle!!!

The most treasured purchase on my trip to a Colorado CQ retreat  in 2009 was a handcrafted, brass belt buckle which is almost 3" across. I spied it on a mannequin in front of a shop that sold used clothing. I snatched it up immediately for $10... I probably would have paid three times that much as it is a beauty... It is so beautiful that I keep it my jewelry box....and it's not for sale at any price...
Not that I've done anything with it but I DO HAVE A PLAN...
Below is part  of a RR block I did for Janet Popish with spider and "I spy" cats.  I think it would be a fabulous theme for a BoHo bag,  Maybe 3-5 hidden cats and dripping with Nicki's  lace flowers, sexy black lace, and spider webs with my fantastic brass spider buckle for the latch...  In fact I think I'll  run  by Nicki's today..  Whatta ya think???
Had laser surgery this morning  to clean up  the membrane covering an implant in my eye.  Now I have a storm of floaters and as I was cleaning cabinets in the kitchen, it looked as if I had fruit flies everywhere.  Kitchen got a good scrubbing.


Have I mentioned I love fancy buckles.......

Over the years I have acquired a large collection of cool belt buckles,  I love to use them on bags and totes and on handle and straps.  Every once in a while I drag them out and fondle them... I have used a lot of these and added more..  The one center right is on Susie W.'s boho bag.  I'm going to pull a bunch and list them on Etsy.  Of course they all came from thrift stores... 

Here's one on my bag.. 



I've put these on Etsy and will add some more this evening.  The problem I love them all.....

I've put these up last night...


Marilyn Nepper's "Stitch & Travel" Kit.

Marilyn Nepper from Canada has been a long time reader of my blog and we have become friends over the years.  She sent pictures this morning of her "Stitch And Travel" kit.  It's obvious that she put a lot of thought into this project so she would have just what she needs when away from home.  One thing she has in her bag is a packet of templates.  I've never carried an extra set but often wished I had them so I think I will add that to my travel kit.. 

Originally I used a different fabric and was putting in a zipper all around but instead I decided used a lovely sari   put the flanges with the snaps.


Addendum from Marilyn:  Its 12"x12"x3".  And it would be nice with a cq cover too but at the time I made it, that wasn't in the time frame."


The first page is for hoops although I don't use them often.  But it’s a good place to store them.  There is a pocket  on the left side. (back of cover)

Then there is the page with the scissors, needlebook, thimble case pin keep, emery bag, thread roll and pencil/utility case.

Last page is a template envelope and a beading case made from a vintage cigarette case with felt glued inside. (I use a metal CD case lined with felt for bead soups)

Pockets on inner front and back covers for the blocks, a book or two and my chatelaine.

The inner page is attached with velcro so can be taken out if need be. Now I think that is a great idea and will keep that in mind...

 Lisa B. said she would send pictures of hers...  Anyone else?


Tips for Stitching Away from Home.

Over the course of my stitching life  it seemed I have stitched almost as much away from home as at home.... in waiting rooms, meeting rooms, at ball games, on decks, banks of rivers, hospital rooms, airports, on planes, etc. etc. Being able to do this has helped to pass countless long boring hours...  A blog reader wrote and asks if I had tips for doing this.... I sure do.... start with being prepared.

This bag ALWAYS hangs on this chair ready to go packed with the most necessary tools  In 5 minutes I can add some additional threads, beads, or trims and be out the door.

Take a long hard look at your most indispensable tools and keep an extra set in your bag.  For me it is these four tools:  Do note: both hemostats and scissors are on retractable badge holders so if for some reason I do not have my chatelaine, I can clip them on my shirt and not be searching all over for them.

 (1) a tiny pair of hemostats 

(2) A  favorite scissors.

(3) An awl. Mostly for making holes for button shanks but also a very useful tool  for teasing ribbon work as well. 

(4) This threader intended for needlepoint... larger yarns and needles.  But I find it fabulous for threading Kreinik threads which separate like crazy and works for perle, etc. as well..  It is a MUST for me and I  have a special pocket for it on my chatelaines.

You will notice I do not have a thimble because I do not use one.  Your list of tools will be slightly different... but it is so nice to have the right tool when you need it.  But for me it is the rarest of occasions that I do not have a chatelaine I designed for my own needs. It is great not only for travel but for workshops and retreats where you are working amongst others.  The biggest plus is you can't mislay a tool if it is attached to your body..

This is an older chatelaine and you notice I had to put my name tag on separately but my newest chatelaine has my own name  on it.

This is an older one and does not have the tiny forceps which I now want with me. But I have gone through several   chatelaines until my latest one meets all my needs.  Every item has its own pocket and nothing is dangling about to catch on things.

I did make a pattern when I taught a class for it but need to update it and do printed directions and plan to offer it as an online class by late summer.

So I always have a chatelaine in my bag.  This one only looks like it is crazy quilted.  It is actually whole cloth embellished.. trompe l'oeil


Next I have a piece of a velour blanket approx. 12x15"  It is handy to keep a supply of various needles and pins on it so I don't need a needle book and if I have something special like the beads in the little bag, I attach it so it won't get lost.  It's fuzzy surface is great to keep beads from rolling about.

And an added bonus is if I am using it  with beads, I do not need to put the beads away when I have to leave.  I fold the cloth in thirds one way and in thirds the other way and pin it.  When I need it next I just unfold and all is ready to go.

Next at the last minute  I pop in a ziplock bag with my needlework, the valuor pad and just a few threads, ribbons, etc. and am out the door...

Now for the nice but not necessary... First is a work surface.   In the car I use a padded lap tray which are readily available in craft and thrift stores... But they are bulky and not always useable.

So I keep a folding TV tray in the trunk of my car.  I buy the cheapest, most lightweight one I can find at a thrift store.  The old vintage ones are the best because they are the lightest and have the lip around the edge. 

But they are harder to find and now I have one like this.  It does have a bit of a lip and is so light I can carry it and my bag in one hand... 

They are the most useful for places you are going to be for a while like a hospital room with someone sick and you need to be there... Also they are nice in hotel or motel rooms as you can easily set them where there is the best light.  They are also nice to set out on a balcony or deck. It takes up next to no room in the trunk of the car and that is where I always keep it.

And then there is the issue of light.  I cannot recommend a light more enthusiastically than this one.  It was actually designed  for a music stand. Each head had TWO LED bulbs so it is very adjustable and can be easily focused where you need the light.  If you don't have a table to clip it to, a book works just as well.

 It operates on both batteries or AC/DC.  Of course you get a brighter light on AC/DC which is usually how I use mine.. Much of the hospital time I have spent sitting in a semidark room.  This clips right onto my folding tray.  It is less than $20 and available at Amazon.

Recently we went to the hot springs... I like to wake about 5:30 and DH likes to sleep until seven.  Not much to do in a dark cabin,  I used this light clipped to my folding tray table and stitched until he woke up. 

If you have something that works for you when you stitch away from home, let me know and I will add it.


A dress for the hereafter!

My mother became a widow in 1988....27 years ago.  As I mentioned in a previous post she promptly got a face lift and then wanted to ride with us to Seattle to buy a new dress.  She had her eye on a particular tall, handsome widower.  We shopped at a store specializing in fancy wear for proms, weddings, etc.  I kept bringing her dresses which I thought were classic and elegant.  She quickly dismissed all my choices.

She picked a dress that was bubblegum pink, covered in lace, bedecked with bows, and an abundance of net petticoats. (Quite similar to the one pictured)  When she tried it on,  I was about to open my mouth to make a comment that it would be perfect for a 14 year old going to a junior high dance...  But I quickly shut my mouth as she twirled around, swishing all the petticoats and said it would be just perfect as everyone would notice her as she danced...  She bought the dress and soon she and the widower were an item and off on a cruise.

I recently asked my sister if she had picked anything for mother to be buried in.  She said some time ago mother herself had given her a garment bag with the dress she wanted to be buried in.  My sister couldn't ever remember seeing it and didn't think it appropriate.  She wanted my opinion but when she unzipped the bag  and pink petticoats billowed out I had to laugh.  I told her the story behind the dress and she agreed it would be perfect.  Now forever when I think of my mother I will have a vision of her twirling through her afterlife swishing her petticoats.


End in sight for Wool Sheep Book

I did some final touches on the wool RRs.  I had asked for SPRING!  with blocks festooned with flowers  so I did a little more "festooning" on some...  I hope to have this finished within the week.  The front cover is done and I'm working on the back.  I will do a tutorial on how I integrate the text.
I had a great rest at the hot springs and walked several times a day with the dogs... but even still I managed to get a killer cold after I got home..  They had a great "getaway package" two dinners, two breakfasts and a night's lodging plus the hot springs... $199.  Here is DH enjoying his lobster...  I had prime rib.  The food was incredible... Both appetizer and dessert were included...  The appetizer was a seafood platter with two kinds of shrimp, calamari, and crab cakes.  The weather was mild and the 3 hour drive through the mountains was lovely...  We went there for DH's 80th birthday last June and might make it an annual getaway...


WIP and life goes on

My mother is buried and we're taking a few days to go to the hot springs in Montana where I plan to soak, rest and walk, walk, and walk...   I'm taking along my wool sheep blocks which I plan to make into a book.  This will be the cover..

This is Molly and her brand new lamb.  Whenever I would coo and sweet talk the ewes they would rub my chin with their nose.  They were such loving animals.  When I was milking them I would sing "Ewes Are My Sunshine" to the tune of "You Are My Sunshine"
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