Faye's block progress

I had this silkie of lilies in just the right color and stitch a purple bias strip around it...It's the tip of the day. On 99cent day at my thrift store I check all the better dresses for the "hanger strips" They're used to help keep a dress from falling off a hanger and are usually attached on thre inside at the shoulder seams. In better garments they are bias strip matching the fabric in the dress...

So it can be an odd size and ugly dress but have great "hanger strips". That is exactly what the purple bias is... It was rather plain by itself so added a bit of gold on the inside and purple beads around it... Rather than worry about where the ends meet on the frame I placed them where a butterfly would cover them....


Faye's block

Faye's block arrived yesterday and I'm eager to start immediately on it... Some things I knew right away on seeing it... I had the perfect piece of antique lace and didn't even look any further and it is even attached already.. There are lilies, hydrangas, peonies on the materials... so NO roses. ..(we do tend to overdo roses in CQ when there are sooooo many other beautiful flowers) I've never made a ribbon lily but I'll try... There is a lot of lavender and mauve in this block and I will focus on those colors... Since this is "insect month" in the challenge I will add a butterfly and an elegant beaded dragonfly using the organza ribbon. Last of all I think one of my handpainted cottage buttons belongs on this block.....I'm sure other elements will appear but this is where I'm starting......


Wording Update

Pansies will be the focus flower on this block and "heartsease" is the word for pansies in the "Language of Flowers". I had a "Duh! How stupid am I?" experience and found a much easier way to get my guide lines basted on block. Unfortunately I forgot to photograph the procedure but will do so on my next effort... I'm slowly working out the technique that works for me but haven't found the thread that I like. This is a rayon perle and better than anything I used so far....but doesn't make my heart sing...will keep trying... Any suggestions???
Now on to the pansies.....

Whimsical Gold Leaves

Since I am blockless for a few days I went back to work on my 20009 Challenge Block... I wanted to get my gold leaves on it while the April challenge for leaves and trees was going. Since the both the birds and gold beaded branches are whimsical, I wanted a similar effect for leaves. They are 3-D stumpwork style (semi-detached) and I did them with a tiny gold braid. It was really a bit too stiff and difficult to work with but I am happy with the end result. The gold thread I had was too lightweight and the gold cording I had was too heavy.... But they are very "gold" and that is what I was aiming for.....


Menu for Daffodil Tea for "Valley Girls"

Sometime back I joined the Spokane Valley Senior Center and started playing bridge with my "Valley Girls." They are not only friendly, positive, warm, and intelligent.....they are FUNNY!! It was a day of good bridge and lots and lots of laughter!!!

Daffodil Tea Menu
Rose Mint Tea
Lemon Bread
Mango Tarts
Apricot, White Chocolate Scones with Pecans
Main Course
Chicken & Artichokes in Filo
Roasted Asparagus & Garlic
Fruit Kabob
Coconut Pound Cake with
Strawberries dipped in Chocolate
Note: I added a photo of the Mango Tarts a few posts back....

Meg's Clutch Purse Block Finished....

Through the magic of photo editing I was able to show how the various parts of the block would look as a clutch purse.... I added everything on the upper left strip plus the butterfly...

Still on the same diagonal strip I added a paisley using the only purple rinestone I had.. and left space for Lisa
Below is the underflap with Ati's fabulous seam and more space for Lisa.

Below is the block laid out flat. Except for the butterfly I worked only on one long diagonal strip and there is plenty of room for Lisa to finish it off... You can see that the flower cluster and the paisley look odd together on the long strip but it works when you realize how the piece will be folded....


Apricot, white chocolate scones with pecans

I'm not a lover of scones but my husband is so I make them often. This is by far my favorite receipe, not only because they are delicious, but because they freeze beautifully. I baked them this morning for the tea on Monday. Popped them in the freezer and I can stick them in the warming oven Monday just before guests arrive and they will taste fresh baked...... Of course you can substitute any dried fruit or nut of your choice....

2 cup All-purpose flour
1/3 cup Granulated sugar
2 teaspoons Baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/4 cup butter, chilled
1/2 cup Heavy (whipping) cream
1 lg Egg
1 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla extract
1/2 cup White chocolate, cut into chunks or chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup Finely chopped dried apricots
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut the butter into 1/2 inch cubes and distribute them over the flour mixture.With a pastry blender or two knives used scissors fashion, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs
In a small bowl, stir together the cream, egg, and vanilla. Add the cream mixture to the flour mixture and knead until combined. Knead in the white chocolate, pecans, and apricots.With lightly floured hands, pat the dough out on a floured work surface to a thickness of 5/8 inch. I cut in squares and then the squares into triangles. .Bake scones on ungreased baking sheet for 15 to 20 minutes, or until lightly browned on top. Place baking sheet on wire rack for 5 minutes, then transfer scones to wire rack to cool. Serve warm or cool completely and store in an airtight container.Makes 8 or 9 large scones. or a dozen smaller scones....

I always double the receipe!!!!!


Mango Curd Update

Received the following question from Cobi:

"I assume the t and T stand for tablespoon and teaspoon, but which is which? thank you for sharing the recipe. btw could I use another fresh mango instead of the dried one? we don't have them dried here."

I should have thought of the abbreviation thing Cobi...I'm sorry... T. = 1 tablespoon and t.= 1 teaspoon.

Yes, by all means use fresh instead of dried mangos. The internet receipes all use just fresh. I used the dried because the flavor is so intensified in dried fruit and I was trying to increase the mango flavor.

Added note: Online receipes all called for putting the cooked pulp through a sieve to get a clearer end result. But I like the texture of the mangos in the curd so I skipped the sieve part....

I had some on my toast this morning and it was yummy.....


Mango Curd

I'm doing something Monday I used to do quite often....having a fancy tea .... One of my usuals were tiny tarts filled with lemon curd. Since this time I'm having my new favorite lemon bread made from "Sour Cream Lemon Pound Cake" recipe, I decided to make a mango curd for the tarts... The only problem was finding a recipe I liked. The user criticizim I most often saw was the mango taste was not strong enough so this morning I set about to make my own recipe:

1 c. dried mango soaked overnight in 1c. water
1 large fresh mango peeled and diced...
3/4 c. sugar
Simmer soaked mangos, fresh mango and sugar in water from soaking until tender.

Process until smooth. Add 5 beaten egg yolks, 1 T. lime or lemon juice, 1/2 t. ginger and cook at low heat until it thickens. Add 1-2 T. butter... Chill and fill tarts or use on scones....

It tastes great and when I fill the tarts on Monday I'll take a photo to post.....

Meg's block .. progress

First I added the butterfly nestled in Ati's flower. It didn't show up all that well so couched it with tiny gold piping. Then I added my lace that I dyed... It complements the pattern in her fabric and I was really happy with the way the colors of the lace work on the block.... Tell me I'm not TOO crazy to get so excited about a piece of old lace....

I have started on seams. I worked some on the rickrack Marya put on and have started down the longest seam..I'm on my third pass and hope to do 6 or 7. I'm very hesitant to add beads or sequins to this seam as I believe there will be 2 folds that cross this seam and do not want anything that will protrude or catch on things... I tend to work my seams way too tight...

The elegant seam in the upper right was done by Ati... It inspires me whenever I look at it... Thank you Ati...what fun to follow you!!! ..... I also love the white and turquoise floral spray that Ati added in the lower left. As soon as I finish the seams I will repeat elements in that spray in some other way to coordinate the needlework.... I have some special variegated satin cording that I hope to use somehow as the colors are perfect.....



I did this chain-stitched lettering on Ati's ATG block last month.. I did mark this lettering with light pencil marks. Now that I can take a critical look at it....it would have better if:

* I had basted base lines before I started
* paid more attention to the spacing
* marked each letter only after I stitched the one before
* choose wording that used less Ss as they are tough...


Meg's Block..to my delight!

Meg is making her block into a clutch purse so one has to think carefully about folds and directional embellishment. This afternoon I started gathering trims, buttons, beads, etc., and to my delight I found a piece of white lace and that almost perfectly echos the little round thingys in the print of her material.. I dyed it a bit ago and it is drying as I write. I could search a long time and not find anything more perfect.... Made my day!

I seem to have NO turquoise beads. I must have some somewhere as I did a turquoise beaded fan for Jo a while back..... Oh well, another trip to the bead store....LOL I don't know about your store, but mine sells little vials of odd leftover beads for cheap, cheap, cheap... I always head straight for the big basket they're in...

Kim's Heart Block - 28 hearts added

Counting all the hearts in the whimsical beaded heart and the celtic hearts plus heart buttons, heart beads in seam, heart charms, I added 28 hearts in all. (A few don't show in this photo in case you're counting) I think I even counted the word "heart" in the lettering.

This was the first of my ventures into various ways to add lettering. This "heart to heart" is a variation of an art nouveau lettering style..... The vine above the lettering echos the gold vines in the patches above and below. I want you to notice I actually did seams..... See post below for method I used to baste in the lines for lettering.

Embroidered words

I want to experiment with different ways to put lettering on a block. Before I try the waste canvas I wanted to try basting in lines similar to those on penmanship paper in grammar school. I wanted these particular words, "heart to heart", to be embroidered on a curve, in an art nouveau style and in all capital letters...

I created the desired line on a piece of interfacing, inserted pins along the line and then folded the interfacing back and basted along the pins.... Then it was easy to baste a second and third row of pins a specific distance from the first basting line, repeating the process. Below is picture of all three lines before pressing and then a photo of stitched lettering and basting threads removed... I liked this method because I didn't have to mark on the fabric and wasn't limited to cross stitch alphabets.... Yesterday I received some canvas and alphabets from Janet and am anxious to try it also....


Fun & serious website

Well I did find the website that featured the phone but unfortunately it did not give a name but I also fell in love with the website and as soon as my house guests leave I am going to give it some time... It is rather a hodgepodge but is dedicated to crafts, recyling, environnmental concerns etc. It is called Art for Housewives....


There's an interesting and eye-opening article in it called Waste Couture: Environmental Impact of the Clothing Industry. And clever solutions to deconstruction and recyling clothing.. Check it out as it is going to on my favorites list I know...


If it's ugly - phones

Someone emailed me the picture of the red phone... Had no idea where it came from... If anyone knows please tell me... Not only do I want to give them credit, anyone who would do this has to be my newest very best friend. I LOVE IT!!!!... Now the other old phone is on my desk. It's the only phone that works when the power is out. It was originally black and years ago I gold leafed it. The gold is dull and worn and it's now outright ugly. Guess what's on my to-do list now!!!


Life is uncertain, eat dessert first!

Well I managed to get 5 of the 6 lambs in one shot... Once they're back out in the pasture it will be impossible... Below I have alfalfa in one bin and grass hay in the bin in the forefront. Guess what they like best?? Once the alfalfa is gone then they eat the grass hay... Life is uncertain, eat dessert first!

Kim's beaded heart.....

I finished Kim's beaded heart tonite and counting the heart itself, it adds 10 hearts to her block....The color is a bit off as I photographed it under a halogen light... All in all I am happy with it and will try another on my block...maybe with some sequins in it too...

Kim's Heart Block

I started on Kim's heart block last nite and praying that my vision will work out.... Two things inspired this vision... one being the lavender whimical-shaped hearts Kim has put on one of her hearts.. (on left) and the second my discovery the Diana Maus "All My Heart Art", http://tinyurl.com/cel74n
I find myself really drawn to this "bead mosaic" or "bead embroidery". I tried it on a fan for Jo and know that I have to do more of it so will bead this whimsical CQ heart on Kim's block... I'm making no marks on the block so it will be easy to remove if it doesn't fit Kim's vision..... I'm the third to work on this block and only one heart has been added so feel I can add a bunch....


Fritz gets wheels

Last fall Fritz started losing the use of his right rear leg. After test after test and vet after vet, the cause was inconclusive but obviously getting worse. Finally he could only get around with kind of a seal walk (very heartbreaking) so it was time to get wheels. He got them Thursday and that night at the hotel he went racing down the corridor on his new wheels to get to the elevators. He adores riding on elevators...

He's still adjusting spacially and tends to cut corners too tight and gets caught on some things.. But already he has learned to back up and try again.... and now can chase rabbits and butteflies in the garden again....


Where's the April Showers?

Not what this male robin wants to see on the 4th of April!


Miss Muffet and Tuffet

I found an area about 1 1/2" square below Lauri's spider to tuck another cat (Tuffet) and space by it to squeeze in a small web and beaded everything......and I added a perky bluebird button I painted that seemed to fit with Lauri's bright colors.... Lauri said "move the color"....so I did and I came close to her neon colors. Here's the whole block... Still room for lots of webs.. And "oops" ...no seams....


Spring Lamb

Is she a sweetie or what? I adore my sheep!!! My husband was NOT happy when I announced I was getting sheep a few years ago. He (and others) could not believe I wanted to take this on at my late age.... But like my dogs, they bring joy to my life every day.... I have never regretted the time, work and committment for one single moment...

First cat done

The cat is embroidered on black felt, appliqued to block and slightly stuffed for dimension...I will do the next cat the same way... I still have to add green beads to the leaves but will do that after I add the next cat. I am trying to use a minimal amount of space on this block because there are still 2 others to work on it. BTW the cat's name is Little Miss Muffet......
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