9/30/2010

Cathy's Seams Only .......and caught up

Finally caught up with my RRs and this was my first in the "Seams Only" RR....not my comfort zone. I'm sorta working my way into it with apple cores, worms, bees, and baskets... I did use 4 of Carole's templates... #12 for the beeline and # 21 for the basket both of which were a first for me... The circle template I use ALL the time and I used various bumps on another template for the humpy worms... My apple cores (lower left) look like little corsets......Into the mail tomorrow on time.....
We've only 2 more days of this warm spell and I just might catch up on the farm stuff also..a little more hay to get into the barn, a day's tractor work and the chicken house needs a good cleaning... Also want to get the herbaceous clematis moved for sure... Anything else can wait until spring..
I am soooooooooooooooooo ready for winter....

9/29/2010

Mystery Plant - no mystery no more.....

Well Cobi in the Netherlands wins the prize...and she lives in an apartment and doesn't even have a garden... Good job Cobi. It wasn't the variety of thalictrum she found (http://www.missouriplants.com/Whitealt/Thalictrum_dasycarpum_page.html) but that put me on the right track.....mine is Thalictrum flavum commonly called "Columbine Meadow Rue" (explaining the leaves) native to Spain, Portugal and South Africa

Which brings me to another important point.
When I started my garden watering was not an option because of our well... Spokane can go from June until September with no rain...in fact our yearly moisture is only 12-14" and that is mostly snow in winter... I still don't water and at the beginning how I longed for a unlimited supply of water and sprinkler systems etc... But my garden grew and grew and now I'm so happy that it's not dependent on a regular source of water... I can drop dead and the garden will not miss a beat...

But if I like a plant I plant it no matter what the book said it needs.... Of course I most often lose it but time and time again I found that some plants that survive certain difficult conditions thrive perfectly well in other conditions as well... They get labeled and it sticks... and this is one of them.... It is always listed as a bog plant needing moisture but it has been growing wild in my drought garden for over 20 years... I'm sure in a well-watered garden it would be more lush and larger but it survives and blooms every year and I love it... Thank you Cobi

p.s. I should add that this is a marvelous bloom for bouquets...especially with all the blue and lavenders in the garden... In fact it was recommended highly by garden designer Graham Thomas for a yellow and blue garden...

Mystery Plant


Nope definitely not goldenrod... You can see that compared to the penny the foliage of the mystery plant is very tiny and delicate for such a tall plant... and the the blooms are a very soft pale yellow...

Moving Perennials and Mystery Plant....


Reminder: The plant criteria for my garden is care-free, disease-free, drought tolerant , hardy (zone 4) and deer resistant.....

As most of the garden is overgrown and wild I occasionally see something blooming that I want to bring up to the house... One such plant was Salvia nemerosa Plumosa. It would probably been easier to buy a new one rather than hack my way to it... but hack I did... Being a salvia it is drought tolerant and critter-proof...


I had pledged only to move 5-a-day and almost made it.... I have a passion for plants taller than I am and so moved Helianthus maximiliani . Perennial sunflower 4 to 10 feet tall. (zones 4-9) Native plant . Well behaved in a drought garden but naughty if too much moisture.. Somewhat deer and rabbit proof for landscaping . Edible ...tubers similar to Jerusalem artichokes


Maltese Cross --- bold mid-summer color I remember seeing a white variety midsummer so will search for it tomorrow when I move veronicas.


Joe Pye Weed - Eupatoriaum.... another tall drought-tolerant beauty... used for medicinal purposes by Native Americans...



Gilenia -trifoliata- one of my top 10 favorite.. I was lucky to find a seeding today as once established it hates being disturbed. Looks like hundreds of tiny white butterflies on burgundy stems when in bloom....now in the fall has lovely colored foliage...


MYSTERY PLANT!!!! If anything prods me to get my hundreds of perennial slides transferred to CDs, it will be this plant... In the beginning I was diligent about marking everything but I became lax as the garden became so huge and I was so stressed... Usually though if I think on a plant long enough the name will usually come...granted it sometimes takes a few days... But not this plant and it is driving me crazy.... been googling and going through perennial books with no success.

CLUES: 1. very tall - 5-6 feet - extremely delicate looking

2. Pale yellow plume-like blooms similar to astilbe

3. Delicate soft-green, lobed leaves - small and similar to columbine leaves - no large basal growth of leaves

4. Obviously drought tolerant in my garden and I had to hack through species roses to get a start...


I do remember it was a very dissimilar plant in its generic family....

If this description rings a bell email me...and when I get a photo next summer I will post it...

9/28/2010

Finished blocks that hang, sit on a stand and travel.

This large tote has a dozen finished blocks and easily could hold another six... It is stored in a closet at home but can be taken out at a moment's notice to display the blocks.... The following information is from a post from a year ago but really should be a tutorial.
I always have trouble explaining what I do so I hope this makes sense. It seems the easier things are the harder they are to explain... So any input would be appreciated so I can finalize this as a tutorial.
Using the heavy pellon was Jo Newsham's idea and she wrote about it in the CQMag online. To read her approach http://www.cqmagonline.com/vol07iss04/articles/848/index.shtml But I wanted mine to have trim around it and be able to hang or sit on a stand so I made some modifications. The most important thing to me was that the blocks looked nice and traveled easily..

I measure the area of the block that I want to trim. I mark that on the heavy pellon and add 3/4" for the trim... Then I put the block face DOWN on a heavy blanket so the embellishments won't be crushed. I put the pellon adhesive side down on the block, lining up and pinning the corners. Then I cover it with a damp cloth and press slowly until the pellon is firmly adhered to the back of the block. I trim off any excess fabric up to the edge of the pellon. Then I sew a piece of 3" bias strip down each side. press it back and sew a 3" bias piece across the top and bottom.... And end up with what is above right...








Then I turn it over and put a strip of Heat & Bond on the backs of the bias strip. I pull the strips firmly against the edge of the pellon and when I turn it over I have what you see on the right. I tuck under the corners and finish them by hand...

Then as finishing touches I added a strip of gold cording on the inside of the trim. I secured the tassels with loops with a button so if I have to hang the block it can be done with pearl-headed pins so it hangs nicely.. or I can just display it on a stand.
I bought a bunch of these tall stands at the dollar store which are lightweight and fold neatly..






9/25/2010

Addendum to Birds on Felt

I received an e-mail asking me to be more specific as to how I applique the birds (flowers, rabbits, etc.) to the block with the stitching appearing invisible... I hope this clarifies it..

The very first step is to outline your motif in a VERY TIGHT chain stitch...for two reasons. 1. Felt has a tendency to stretch and you don't want your robin turning into an eagle.... 2. The tight chain stitch defines the edge nicely and you can weave all outer stitches into it and it makes cutting it out later very tidy indeed.. When it comes time to applique the motif onto something you can weave your stitching into this same tight chain stitch....

With this photo of Arlene's bird you can see I am only part way through doing the long and short. As I start the green tail I will weave the long and short stitches along the edge right into the chain stitch.

Once that is done I turn it over so I can see the original chain stitch and using small scissors I cut right next to the chain stitch... You have a nice secure edge for applique...nothing to turn under or fray...... Then I use matching threads and stitch the applique down catching the thread into that original "very tight chain stitch" and occasionally weaving it a stitch or two into the applique.. ... literally making the attachment process part of the motif.

As I go around the motif I change the thread I am using to match the colors in the motif... So on Arlene's bird I will use green, blue and red as I sew it down...

As you can see on the with the goldfinches it would had been yellow, white, and black...




9/23/2010

Hidden Images













I'm really just use photography for documenting something of interest.. I never see it as an art form for me personally but occasionally I do get a really grand photo unintentionally and this was one of them... There is a deer camouflaged in the foliage in the garden and I always thought this would be a great photo for a jigsaw puzzle...

When I put it on the blog so many people couldn't find the deer that I had to follow up with this.....Look closely and you see her entire back.

This whole idea of hidden images has always fascinated me so when I was in a spider RR and I received this block of Janet's with lots of black silk and jewel tones flowers already done, I decided hiding black cats watching the spiders would be fun.... Can you find them???
Just in case you give up!
I always wanted to take this one step further on a project for myself.
So last January when I was making up blocks ahead I did some black ones for hidden images but haven't started them yet.. But as I am finally catching up and slowly feeling better I am thinking two or three projects ahead and hidden images are swirling around in my fertile little brain..... I am still getting headaches from the concussion and find resting in a dark room for a while is effective but the brain continues to ferment......
I've always loved Bev Doolittle's hidden image art...

9/20/2010

Buttons, dragonflies and redheads.........

I was delighted to receive an email from my friend Freda with a picture of one of my buttons on a crazy quilt square... I love how she tucked the hummingbird right in with her trumpet flowers...This is a lovely piece and to see the rest of the block go to http://www.sewwhatsnew-fredab.blogspot.com/ Thank you Freda!!!!

Now you can see this design in two versions...beaded and goldwork.. I think I might do it one more time with embroidery and lace just to complete the experiment...

And if you are a redhead or have any redheads in your family you will definitely want to visit this site...http://madmoe.blogspot.com/2010/09/redhead-day-in-breda.html All the years I taught first grade and kindergarten, I never had a redheaded kid I didn't adore.... The blog belongs to my granddaughter (whose car is staying with me) who is studying this semester in the Netherlands...

9/18/2010

Leslie's Block is Done - Fool's Gold.

I got to use lots of my Christmas gold cords, braids and beads and gold work techniques... It was fun and I definitely want to explore this some more after the first of the year. I'll also be checking the hobby stores for Christmas gold stuff on sale.... One of the best was the elastic cord sold for gift wrapping.. it was very supple and easy to couch... I tried several kinds of gold threads and liked Sulky the best...

Remember this as my inspiration... ? My flower was really too small but it is a great look using the red thread to couch the gold.... I will use it in the future...I used red Edmar threads to couch and will use something else next time... I just love it when I find something that I know will show up again and again in my work.....

Here's the latest from barn!

Okay I'm on the floor laughing... Recent comments have used the terms "wander" and "stroll" through the barn and THAT is funny... My barn is definitely a hard-hat-required area and you need to tie a life line to your waist and to the door to find your way out... If you don't emerge after 24 hours there is no guarantee you'll ever be found... I need to get it cleaned out before I die because DH would have a heart attack dealing with it....

Saying that here's the latest from barn! I am really trying to keep mailing costs down on my Etsy buttons and thought I could use tissue paper and regular envelopes to mail them but right off I could see that wasn't going to work. Buying 5x7 padded envelopes just adds more costs...
In my search for an alternative I remembered the "frost blankets" from the days of my big greenhouses when I had thousands of plants to get through cold spells. They had a heavy plastic outer layer and then 2 layers of foam. It was all perforated with tiny holes to help prevent condensation and mold...but might work for envelopes.
With a little white duck tape and labels (because sharpie pens wouldn't write on the plastic..) they work perfectly and are FREE!!! I am so glad I thought of using them (upcycling) and I can use them for mailing envelopes for RRs also...
I had built a special loft shelf near the ceiling of the barn to store them during the summer so they were really "out of sight - out of mind."
Each of the rolls you see is approximately 8'x20' and this is about a third of them... I figure I easily have enough to make about 10,000 envelopes.... AGAIN ROFLOL..... I will have to get on Craigslist to see if I can find a home for most of them....






9/17/2010

Gerry-rigged..a little hokey but it works!

Painting the buttons was easy..getting good photos very hard! I just HAD to get directly over them or they were oval shaped.... When I was leaning over them I wasn't steady enough to get a good focused shot.... After umpteen hours trying to get focused shots of buttons by standing over them and rigging assorted apparatus to hold camera steady, I found the PERFECT PERFECT PERFECT thing in my very own barn...
About 20 years ago I had a relative who fancied a darkroom and bought a bunch of equipment at the garage sale which eventually ended up in my barn... I've always meant to get around and tossing the chemicals and papers as I'm sure they're no good.....but the old photo enlarger was there... I took the enlarger thingy off and brought the frame into the house.... The screw on the frame that held the enlarger fits my camera and holds it firmly and the apparatus raises and lowers the camera beautifully right OVER the buttons..... It's low enough I can bend over to see the screen and I just have to touch the button to shoot...I could even use my plunger if I can find it.... And as it is only about 18" square, it takes very little space and I can keep it set up permanently... By putting the buttons on several layers of velvet I can just tip them individually slightly to adjust glare...NOW I can think about the light filters, reflectors etc...
Of course I could have ordered a horizontal tripod but not before I tried everything else first since the purpose of this Etsy venture is to make money not spend on something I might use very little.....This problem had been driving me crazy.... well crazier... When it actually worked I was jumping around yelling YES YES YES and the scaring the dogs.... Truly Gerry-rigged!!!!

9/15/2010

Button Painting has its own page!


The entire button painting tutorial is up on a page of its own...
It covers:

1. The importance of prepping the button and how to do it.
2. Brushes..what size to use, where to get them and how to use them.
3. Tips and techniques with paints and working small.
4. The purpose of a base coat and then finishing details
5. Foolproof way to paint roses
6. Sealing and protecting your buttons..

http://olderrose.blogspot.com/p/button-painting-tutorial.html

9/14/2010

Sneak peak at Leslie's block!!


So far I've use 4 kinds of gold cording and 1 gold braid.. Next I'll do the flower. For new readers the dragonfly is a paper cut out... I often cut shapes out of paper when I'm trying to make a placement decision. In this case I wanted to make sure both the dragonfly and the flower would fit easily in the circle shape.... A lot of my favorite gold braids are only going to be useful for linear designs as there is very little give to them to go around a curve.
The nice thing about having something breach the circle (such as the the wings) it give you an area to hide all the starts and stops of your cords... When I'm finished I'll show a close-up of all the gold items I used....remember this is all inexpensive stuff available at Christmas... I often use bits of gold in my regular CQ work.
Due to my injury fall farm work has fallen way behind and stitching time will be hard to come by today... I love winter when it is snowing and blowing and I can sit by the window and stitch all day.. I know it is fall tho...because Randy Andy is pacing up and down his pasture fence with his nose in the air...sniffing for any sign that the ewes are in heat...AND because a family of racoons are trying to den up under our house...

9/13/2010

Almost done with Arlene's Stumpwork



The lorikeet body is sewn on and stuffed but the wing is just pinned there and not shaped yet... I need to add leaves and beads to the flower garlands and it will be easier if I don't have to work around the wing. The wing will be the very last thing I secure...

To sum up and did I follow my first instincts... pretty much.! I had wanted to add a third bold motif to balance the two already there and I believe the lorikeet was successful in that regard.. It was an awkward shape to fill and I wanted to bring Cobi's stumpwork flower into the composition. The colors of the lorikeet were perfect for the block...It's hard to believe a real bird has those joyous colors...

I also felt it needed much more lace as a unifying element and I added a lot... Usually I'll use repeated color or a visual shape or element for this so using lace was a first for me... Of course there's no such thing as too much lace ... I will do a little more beading on it .. I'll bead in short sittings because of persistent headaches and should have this in the mail by Friday...

9/12/2010

Crafty Storage - a great blog

Today my mobile work center is featured on one of my favorite blogs... Crafty Storage... http://tinyurl.com/2b28uk5 . I discovered it in one of Sharon Boggins blog searches. Each Friday she posts a list of blog beginning with a specific letter...this week is F. I find at least one useful blog every time she posts her blog list...

9/11/2010

How I did my storage cabinet..

Someone asked how I did the storage cabinet I have by my work table in the living room... I had found this drawer unit reasonably priced but it looked like it belonged in a dental office. Since I had finished a small chest in antique Chinese red for my bedroom, I decided to try my hand doing something similar in black to the big white thing...
I started by painting it with a high-gloss black and hoped to end up with a facsimile to the Asian chest on the left.... A little paint, stenciling, and more painting........
I did ALL the painting BEFORE I assembled the cabinet (much easier). First I used rustoleum gloss paint and put it on the cabinet pieces with a fine-finish roller ... a 6" dense foam that lays down a very smooth coat and is available at any hardware store.
I did the gold line with an Elmer's paint pen and the corner deco with a stamp and gold stamp pad (Michaels craft store.)Then using some old stencils and ordinary craft acrylic paint I put on the flowers.I wasn't even especially careful with the stenciling as I was going for an aged look in the end. The long stencil was too wide so I just used bits and pieces at a time. I sprayed the drawers with high gloss black paint and then sponged them with gold Folk Art paint from Michaels. It required no "artistic" talent using the stencils....just time and patience. This would have been sooooooooooooooo much easier if I could have done it in the summer when I could have laid everything out on a tarp and sprayed it..... It still looks much nicer than the big white box in my living room....
I had started off with different cheap units from box stores that were just junk and when I had some birthday money I splurged on a cabinet from here http://www.chandlercreations.com/site/1406927/page/629006 They have a great sale every so often and they also have free shipping... Now you even can get some models in black...

9/10/2010

One more time.......




















Often when I have a design I like I want to try it in
different techniques.. The stumpwork bluebird I did for Cobi is a good example. I had previously used that same design on a block for Ati in Norway and I beaded it.... This is from a block I did for Kerry in a beaded RR. I really liked the design and how it came out but I wondered what it would look embroidered.... or in goldwork

As I am finishing up Arlene's lorikeet I am thinking ahead to Leslie's Art Nouveau block and thinking I want to use this dragonfly design...

At the first of the year when I was setting goals I wanted to do something with goldwork techniques...not real gold... fool's gold... all that cheap gold cording, thread and braids that they sell by the bin before Christmas... I have a big bunch of it...

So when I ran across this goldwork flower on Mary Corbet's site I immediately fell in love with it and could see it on this flower by the dragonfly...... The gold cord is couched with red thread.... how cool is that...? I don't know if I will do the whole design in gold ..although that would be fabulous I think....but the flower for sure... I will HAVE to work this on a hoop so will add extensions to Leslie's block to make it fit a hoop...


9/09/2010

Carole Samples and my exchange program

A couple days ago I mentioned my winter goal will be to improve my seams and Carole's book and templates will be my guide... Imagine my delight to find a comment the next morning from Carole herself. I had no idea she read my blog and now as I post my way through the templates this winter I'll be hoping she's reading along.. Only on the Internet is something like this possible.. Like others, the Internet has enriched my life with so many wonderful friendships around the world.. Carole has a very informative blog and Sharon Boggon wrote an article on the templates for CQMagonline.


But at home it's a different story... I love staying home..I never wake up and think I want to "go" today... Since I hate to leave home, I have an exchange program with my nearest and dearest friends... They always come to my house so I don't have to leave home and in exchange I make them a gourmet lunch... So I have friends that come to chat, friends who come to play bridge, others who do garden stuff and a friend who spends days making jewelry with me.....


But I have no stitching friends.... So I'm going to have to bite the bullet and find some... I knew of an EGA chapter but it meets at night and is very far away but yesterday I have found a Needlework Guild which meets quite close...so I will attend their meeting in October. CQers are not falling from the sky and all my previous efforts to find some have been fruitless. In a metropolis of over 250,000 people there HAS to be other CQers and I'm determined to find them...


I used to occasionally attend various quilt groups searching for CQers but eventually tired of someone asking of a CQ "What can you do with it when it's done?" I did all my sane quilting years ago...even then piecing wasn't my favorite...it was the hand quilting I loved... Anyway I have missed the guild Sept. meeting and will try for October...

Progress on Arlene's stumpwork lorikeet

Well I've started and it feels sooooooogood to be stitching again....I hope to be all caught up by the end of the month...
I'm doing this bird on felt (see tutorial under heading) which is my favorite.. This is a softer felt than I usually use and I thought it would be easier to plump up for stumpwork...we'll see. I'll start working the shading and yellow on breast now.
I've the tail to finish and then I'll do the wing separately like the recent bluebird for Cobi.
I cut the bird out and attached it to the nest which I also did on felt. The bird's body was stuffed slightly with batting and wing is only attached at the shoulder and the whole ensemble was appliqued to the block....




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