Fabric Enhancement

One evening we piled all the fabric we brought to share in the middle of the floor and there were many large bins of it and it was all silk and other fancies... Cathy sat in the middle of it all and held pieces up and we called out if we wanted some and Cathy and her her assistants divided it up.. It was rather wild and loud but great fun... I was rather restrained as I am trying to reduce my fabrics but some I could not resist.Another day we piled all the "ugly ties" we brought onto the big table. Of course as you would expect, what was ugly to some was beauteous to other. Often the backside of the tie was far prettier than the front, On the right side of this photo are some I pulled to make an ugly tie block... One pastel tie that was my absolute favorite everyone else thought was so ugly that I got it all.. Lucky me. While it was ending I stepped out to call the rental car company and while I was gone they put all the ugly tie leftovers in my bag..... Unlucky me....(but I hid that bunch in someone else's luggage)

Stash Enhancement

I certainly did my bit to boost the economy of the state of Colorado.. I came back with the above which I will get to fondle and sort today. This pile includes threads, beads. fancy trims, ribbons...etc.etc. When someone found something special we all had to rush and buy it. I had never used Edmar threads and many of the stitchers love them so when we had a chance to visit a sales representative who had it for $1 a skein, I bought LOTS...hoping that I would love it too. Not only at a bead shop and thread store, we found great things at Walmart, JoAnn's, and dollar stores. I found enough goodies to last me through this winter and maybe next.

Pilot to Co-pilot and spooky car

Having had neither, the day before I left I bought both a cell phone and a GPS navigation system. Armed with manuals for both I boarded the plane. I figured out almost all the features of the cell phone on the plane and met Diane Matheson from Canada at the Denver airport. We picked up a rental minivan and the salesclerk programed the GPS to meet up with Leslie...
Being a timid driver at best, navigating through Denver traffic avoiding toll roads was extremely intimidating. But Diane held the GPS and repeated all the directions.. We made a few wrong turns and but gradually figured it out.
The rental car was another matter. It was possessed and belonged in a Steven King novel....The rear side doors were electronic and opened automatically when you pushed the handle. But one door opened occasionally all by itself whether it was locked or not... Not only that, it may or may not close itself at will.... We could not leave it parked unattended anywhere. Every morning we'd awake to it open and one time someone even knocked at our door to tell us it was open... Eventually the rental car company replaced it with another mini-van..
Diane was always calm and supportive and I was soooooooooooooooo glad to have her as my co-pilot and now as a new friend......


The retreat

The retreat house was huge but it was buried in stash and stitchin' women. There was not a spot on the floor anywhere that wasn't piled with supplies... The activities just flowed and there was great sharing going on continually, both formally and informally. We did polymer clay faces and molds, painting bird buttons, experimenting with angelina fibers, making ribbon flowers and leaves, embossing velvet, dying lace and ribbons with at least 4 different brands of dye, learning punch needle, sharing books and materials, practicing tatting and we stitched and stitched and stitched. .. We also divided and shared an absolute mountain of fabric and ugly ties.

In addition we went shopping in Breckenridge and probably made the bead shop's entire year (with some ladies returning there 3 times in 4 days.. ) Ing brought the wonderful piecemaker’s quilt and in addition we got to see Leslie’s lovely landscape quilt, Lauri’s fantastic "Under the Sea" quilt and a fabulous quilt by Claudina. The Chinese Auction was a huge success as everyone was appropriately ruthless and poor Janet kept having her gifts stolen. I ended up with a whole tin of handmade beautiful ribbon flowers (by Theresa) which I will use on something very very special.

All in all my head is still spinning... I know of several books I HAVE to have, along with tiger tape, a punch needle that is large enough to do ribbon, more dyes, and special hoops that stack. As I track down sources I'll share with you.. I can tell you there is nothing more therapeutic than laughing out loud and we did plenty of that...



Off to the retreat in the morning.... I have no idea whether anyone will bring a laptop but if so....... I'll be able to post.... if not, I'll catch up when I get back.... I'm leaving DH in charge of animals and hope I have the same number when I return....

Miss Molly had her first walk on the trail and passed many dogs and showed no sign of dog-aggressiveness but I have one hen missing a few tail feathers that will testify that Miss Molly is chicken-aggressive.


Rolling out the red carpet

Once Fritz got DM he was unable to do a lot of his tricks. Luckily this one he could do until the very end even with wheels. Whenever we had a party or company he would roll out the red carpet.. Since it always ended with cheering and clapping it was one of his favorites. I started with a small piece of throw rug dyed red with a treat in the roll and kept adding to the carpet until it was about 10' long.

I've been going through his photos and videos this morning looking at happy times. If you have a dog that like to perform, try this trick.. If Fritz even heard the word trick, he was at full alert and prancing...

Clean teeth and clean machine

For a couple years I've been addicted to these "go-betweens".......... little brushes for cleaning between my teeth and I end up with lots of used ones. I happen to like this brand but there are several others in different sizes and shapes.

So true to my nature I HAD to find another use for the used ones... and they are absolutely marvelous for cleaning in tiny hard-to-reach spots on various things... My favorite use is cleaning around the bobbin areas on my sewing machines and under the needles on the sergers....

Gathering blocks for retreat

The main project I'm taking is the four squares for the cover for my beloved Singer featherweight... Everything is basted. It is amazing how much stitching you can get when you're sitting around stitchin from dawn til dark. Last year I quickly finished what I had taken along...
I'm also taking my gypsy rose block which only needs a few finishing touches and the coins that I have drilled. Also bringing my 2009 Challenge block which I want to put ribbon pansies on it and Cathy is going to demonstrate them... I have special ribbon I've dyed for it.
Then there is the small butterfly block for the Making Memories block. The colorful block with lots of tiny pieces was a gift from my secret sister. I'm bringing it along for others to do a seam and sign the back... As a last resort I did the red square just as backup....


Well I cleared both temporary files and cookies, signed in and out again to blogger, shut off and restarted my computer.. The only other suggestion blogger suggested was changing to another browser...they suggested Foxfire but I've tried 6 ways from Sunday to download....plus shutting off my security but I keep getting assorted error messages from Windows... since I have a long list of other things to do I'm giving up...

Anyone else run into this problem..????? Anyway sorry as I had some really cool pictures...


By golly Miss Molly

Our new rescue dog, Miss Molly, is settling in beautifully... and has found a home with us. She is 4 years old and has been rejected from 2 homes and slated for the pound...I can't even imagine us returning her. She has had some training and knows both the sit and down commands promptly (maybe more) which is encouraging.. She is house broken, polite and very well mannered and we love her to pieces already..

She is sleeping soundly now after all the trauma of the move.. .She is very nervous and paces everywhere but we can live with that and imagine she will settle more over time... By their arrival she had bonded to Ron and keeps him in sight at all times but is very anxious for me to give her tummy rubs also.. . All the quiet here must seem like heaven to her. She is already his dog......

Strange way to recycle golf balls

My new chickens are adjusting to their new home and were hesitant to use the nesting boxes... They were laying their eggs on the floor of the roost just in front of the nesting boxes... So I used a little chicken psychology and put a golf ball in each box. Sure enough this morning there was an egg in each nesting box... I do think I might have one that is eating her eggs which is difficult to stop once they have the habit... I'll to watch closely and see who is doing it... Oh the drama of living on a farm!!!!


Making memories block

I finished the motif for this block and am taking it to the retreat to do the seams.... I plan on focusing on seams during the retreat... Jewel tones are required for this project. This was a lace butterfly which I dyed and overstitched.

Homemade Granola

These are large baking sheets of the toasted oat mixture cooling before I add the dried fruits....The house smells marvelous.

You may think that granola is an odd thing to make and pack all the way to Colorado in your suitcase, but you haven't tasted my granola... I start with rolled oats. wheat germ, flax meal, raw pumpkin seeds, raw sunflower seed, almonds and walnuts...add 1 pt oil to 1 1/2 parts raw honey. Lightly coat oat mixture and toast in oven..

THEN I add dried cherries, blueberries, cranberries, raisins, dates and apricots.... My secret ingredient is Chinese 5 spice.... Of course I had to make 2 double batches as no way was my DH going to let me take some to CO and not leave him as much at least...

Well life goes on!

DH with his Maggie last winter. She was 15 years old at the time. Maggie, died in June and he is ready for another dog . He doesn't have the patience for puppy training so an older dog suits him just fine...

We received a call from Corgi Rescue and they have a 4 year-old female that was slated for the animal shelter and needs a loving home. A loving home we have! DH is driving over to Olympia (about 6 hours) to pick her up today.
They did tell us she was nervous and not dog-friendly but as she came from a home with 3 dogs and 3 kids I'd be nervous and not too friendly either. But our Maggie was not very dog-friendly either and considered herself an "only dog" even tho Fritz lived here too! Anyway our quiet house and farm will probably seem like heaven to her. And the timing couldn't be better as things have been pretty sad here.


In Loving Memory

A Hard Act to Follow
When other puppies were learning to sit and stay,
Fritz was learning the first of his bell tricks…
At “puppy show and tell” everyone said:
“That Fritz is a hard act to follow.“
When thing were slow in the shop, Fritz did
His routine and everyone would clap. He loved it….
So to hear the clapping, he’d do his whole act again.
At any event where people clapped for performers,
Fritz assumed it was for him, barked and took a bow.
Fritz was hard act to follow.
He was fun-loving, independent, sassy, assertive,
A charmer, and loved being the center of attention.
We took lessons for dance routines with your dog
So we could take an act “on the road.”
Fritz was a regular Fred Astaire;
But, alas, I was no Ginger Rogers!
Fritz was a hard act to follow.
He slept on my bed every night of his life.
His fur was the last thing I touched before sleep,
And the first thing I touched in the morning.
He licked my wounds when I was hurt,
Dried my tears when I was sad,
And made me laugh every day… Oh, how I loved him..
Fritz will be a hard act to follow….
Fritz Krueger


My new chickens...

Three Ameraucana and one Austrolorp.. I've had an Australorp before and they lay more eggs in a year than any other breed. I've never had Ameraucana before. They're sometimes called Easter Eggers because they lay green and blue eggs. I'm hoping they're as happy to be here as I am as happy to have them... I just adore chickens... It was a joy when I could hear them talking away today.

They're a bit spooky now and only two went to roost last nite so I expect it will take a day or two to settle in..


Diane's face block finished

Occasionally I finish a block that I'd like to keep and this is one of them. It all came together so easily..


Finally the railing is out of the bushes......

Sometimes I have projects or visions that literally take years to come to fruition. This is one of them... I had salvaged this piece of rusty, damaged. decorative iron railing 7 or 8 years ago and wanted to put it on this little porch.. The only problem was that the steps on the porch were in the middle and I didn't want to cut the iron railing.. The old stairs were rotting and building new ones was more that I wanted to tackle.

So as soon as my handyman finished the chicken house, I had him make new steps.. On the other side I added some old decorative wooden slats that only heaven knows where I salvaged them. I also have another iron piece to add above that but that will have to wait til spring...I also have some old cedar shakes and shutters that I want to use out here somehow. Now I can start looking for some funky old furniture to recycle....

I am sooo happy to finally have my little railing up... This little porch faces southeast and not used in the summer because it is too hot... But in the spring and fall it's perfect not only for catching the warmth of the morning sun but because it's sheltered from prevailing winds...

Progress on Diane's face block

Used my "magic" pencil in photo editing to play with colors for the crown of her headpiece and decided on burgundy.... I can't decide whether to gather fabric for it or ruch ribbon. Will play a bit with that and do the seams... Have a great filigree moon to add and some sequin stars...


I feel a pincushion coming on!!!

I've only made one pincushion in two years but am finding myself setting aside a brooch here, a piece of lace there, or some trim because it would go well on a pincushion. I only buy a certain kind of candlesticks with weighted bases and I still pick them up when I find them...sooo that probably means I'm about ready..

For me making things to sell takes all the fun out of whatever it is.. I made and sold lots of pincushions but got to a point I was always conscious of time vs. money. They sold well at shows but I hated people picking them up and handling them. I wasn't happy with how I photographed them for online. And after a while it was like I made them to a formula and they were less creative and more repetative so I just quit..

I keep lining up winter projects and pincushions will probably be on the list... but I will not allow myself to think about the money vs. time thing....... I love them lavish and encrusted with layers and layers of trims, jewels, beads etc.

Yes, I feel a pincushion coming on.....

Inspired by Debbie

One of my favorite things about round robins is the collaboration and inspiration of working as a group.. Debbie (my very short friend in Maine) was the first to get Diane's blocks who wanted an Art Nouveau theme. Debbie did this block at the left with really fits the theme and the bullion hair was inspired...

It just so happens that my favorite artist is Alphonse Mucha from that era. In fact in my small kitchen I have 2 huge Mucha posters that I bought in Prague years ago. One of the hallmarks of his posters and others from this movement is the masses of flowing hair...

So following Debbie's lead I found this face from a Mucha exhibition poster and will use it for my block in this series and
the hair will be the focal point....I printed it on cotton rather than silk.. Let the tresses begin....


Robins...cutting out

Susan asked how I applique my felt pieces and what I do with the felt edges... That's the neat part...there are NO felt edges... The trick is doing a tight chain stitch around the outline. (See robin's nest ) When I embroider I stitch right into that chain stitch and when I cut it out I cut right up to the chain stitch... so there are no raw edges to tuck under... Nothing unravels.

Then I just put it on my block and stitch around it (catching the chain stitch) with the colors I used for the embroidery. If there is a loose thread or a felt fuzzy, it's easy to catch in a stitch... You can see that this robin is over a seam and some lace. It would have been hard to embroider this robin directly on the block..

I was never very good at applique using other fabrics. I could never get the edges turned under neatly and the whole thing to lie flat. So this technique using felt is perfect for me for both embroidery and beading. For beading you still outline in the tight chain stitch...The chain stitch outline is the magic element in this technique.

Actually I don't remember seeing this technique done on felt anywhere. But I may have so I won't claim to have invented it... and Susan I hope this answers your question and do try it!!!


Progress on robins

I have stitched in areas of flat colors on my robins. The next step is adding feather details and highlights and shadows... Will add before and after photos tomorrow... It's so hard to get the true color with camera but this thread was a brownish grey which I love... I had to go to Michaels to get more thread for the robins as nice grey and orange shades were not in my stash....


My Handyman

He was actually ad #2 and a nice polite young man. I've had him 3 days and will use him one more. He got my chicken coop raccoon-proofed and I found an ad in craigslist for layers. He took all the covering off the sheep's winter quarters and bundled to go to the dump... Today we moved fencing in my milking area and built 2 new gates to replace the ones that the rams destroyed. It has been over 90 degrees all three days and he has been able to keep up with me all the time.. What a treat to have the help.... He's not a long term solution but he's been just what I needed at this time and I'm so grateful...


Opal ready for tea at the Ritz

I made faces of seniors and attached them to DYB block and sent them out in this RR to be "behatted"...Rose Anne was first and chose Opal... Isn't she just lovely? An her hat is to die for!!! Thanks Rose Anne.
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