More pitiful than Pearl

We used to call one of our sheep Pitiful Pearl when we got her...  She had been rejected by her mother and bottle fed.  None of the other sheep wanted her around and she bawled the whole first summer...  But she has always been the most loving and one of my best mothers....

But this lamb is truly pitiful..  A neighbor called Sunday and wanted me to take this lamb.  It was about the same age as mine and had been rejected by its mother...  In addition she said her dog was harassing it..  I was really overwhelmed when  it arrived..  It is so emaciated as you can see by its haunches...and her dog had chewed off the bottom of both its ears and it looks like the dog  was chewing on its leg also..  I'm trying to get it to come for a bottle supplement but no luck so far...

You can see it here with one of my fat-assed little darlings who have been very kind to it.

The dinner yesterday was a  success and the center piece was one of my favorite.... flowering quince, blue clematis, blue double columbine, doronicum and a little yellow wildflower... DH did all the dishes...


Missed photo op and how to put stress on your marriage

I've mentioned many times that DH is not the handyman of my dreams and I often have to negotiate tasks...  This was even bigger than sour cream rolls....  I had to offer up TWO dinner parties in one weekend.

First I wanted all the old wax stripped from the   old-fashioned linoleum in my kitchen.. (an on-your-knees job with amonia and scouring pads) and then I wanted the backup refrigerator moved from the laundry room into the kitchen to replace the one that died about 2 months ago.

He wanted to do the frig first but I knew that if the lino didn't come first it might not make it...  So he was a great sport and did a bang up job....all the time thinking he'd whip that frig into the kitchen in short order and be off to coffee at Starbucks...

Everything had to be unloaded from the refring/freezer combo.  Then both doors had to be removed.... Then the washer disconnected and moved.  Then the door to the laundry room had to be taken off the hinges...  THEN he had to maneuver a 29 1/2" frig through a 29 1/2" door opening...  He started by thinking he could pull it through but it was hard to get a grip and about halfway through it was stuck and he could neither move it forward nor backward and had no way to get behind to push...  So he had to get the step ladder to climb over the refrigerator...  That was my missed photo opportunity but I was busy holding the ladder...   About an two hours later it was moved, cleaned and reloaded and he was off to Starbucks...

Today I am marinating lamb chops, fixing individual potoato au gratins, and have a lemon sponge tart in the oven. All to go with roasted beets with an orange sauce and spring greens salad...  Monday will be braised leg of lamb, mushroom risotto, salad and rhubarb pies...  But my floor has a shining with a new wax job and the refrigerator is moved.... Sometimes a girl just has to do what she's got to do.


My theory on color and color gone WILD!!!!

When it comes to color I tend to be analytical. I love monotones, pastels and subdued earthy colors..and colors I choose are always directly related to my moods. So I'm always fascinated by people who use pure colors and lots of it... The first retreat I went to in Colorado I saw a large piece by Lauri Burgessor and was immediately in love with it and her... It was her endearing "Romance Novel" quilt. This butterfly is one of her latest. Of course she is a superb stitcher but it was her use of color I found especially exciting. She doesn't blog nearly enough but I see that she did today..

Another similar person is Cathy LaBath. Anyone receiving her blocks to work on is aware of her love for color.....all colors and all at the same time. I am convinced there is not a color she doesn't love and use... Her blocks are challenging but always make me smile. I have a "seams only" block that she did for me in my colors which I shall treasure because limiting her palette must have been a challenge for her..

And then there is Allison Aller who I swear I saw skipping in CT. Her love of color is pure joy and if you haven't seen her "Jill's Quilt" she did for a cancer charity you must..

Now my theory is if you could peek inside the heads of such people who use color with such wild abandon that it would be like looking into a kaleidoscope and whirling color would be exploding everywhere in their heads... And since for me color is tied to my moods, I am convinced that these people also have a deep source of inner joy.. I want to thank each and everyone (and those I missed) for adding all the extra color to my life and always making smile...

I love you all.


Block Talk with Gerry!!

I LOVE talking about blocks, studying blocks, and playing with them in Photoshop... I am always on a quest for great blocks and trying to figure out what makes them so great and MAYBE what little tweaking would make them better... So I started a companion blog that will be devoted to this quest. I will be moving some block discussions already done over to it as I go along...

So I started with Janet's block and have a few others lined up for the next posts. I'm hoping that you will pop over....become a follower and join in the fun...


Artist Round Robin

Round robins in our online crazy quilt group (CQI) usually lend themselves to crazy quilting either in theme or technique but this one is totally different from any I've seen posted. The title was simply "artist" and I had no idea where it was headed.. I joined because I admired the stitchers who had signed up. I have never been in a group with Gayle before but Helina, Ritva, Margreet and Hideko are all outstanding stitchers.

Rather than pick one artist I chose to pick one theme done by various artists ... "a girl and her doll" I asked for very "girly" blocks which should definitely lend itself to CQ

I received Gayle's block first and she chose Georgia O'Keeffe. You saw my choice and how I handled it yesterday. But don't all her blocks capture the desert feel that had such a huge influence on O'Keeffe? I knew immediately which block I wanted... When I join a RR and the blocks are posted I always look ahead and decide which blocks would be my favorite and the possibilities.

Next I'll get Margreet's blocks and I have no favorite as they are all very similar....Her choice of artist is Mondrian and I do have a few ideas but not the easiest to relate to crazy quilting. I will follow Gayle.

Ritva took an entirely different approach and chose specific pictures and designed her blocks to capture the feel of each picture. She did a fantastic job. I can't remember his name but he is a Finnish wildlife artist...and all have birds...my very favorite.

Here I do have a instant attraction to one block and will be holding my breath until I get them hoping it is still available.. I'm third in line so chances are good but I love all of them so if my first choice is gone I will be delighted with any of them.. Can never go wrong with birds

Helina inserted images from the artist of her choice, Schjefbeck. Again I have a favorite but not holding my breath being fourth in line.

Last but not least is Hideko and she also chose a modern artist Paul Klee and constructed blocks that reflected the color combinations in his painting... Of this group I see one block that the entire block leaps into my head.. but only once in all the RRs I've been in has the block of my choice still been available being last to receive them... But I can hope.

Actually it is probably just as well I don't always get what I want as then I have an extra challenge to myself...which for me is the whole idea of joining RRs. I just thought you might enjoy seeing how each participant handled this generic theme..."artist".


Georgia's on my mind!!

This is Gayle's block for the Artist RR and she chose Georgia O'Keeffe as her artist.. I'll share some of my thoughts as I started on this block... First I wanted the seams mostly to add texture and didn't want them to stand out.. I put radiating lines in each seam because that symbolized desert heat to me... I know that's silly but when you're stitching it is nice sometimes to think you have a purpose even though no one else will ever notice.

Next she had that lovely little black patch in the center which I didn't want to cover.. That meant the main elements had to be off center... and of course since it was Georgia, it had to be BOLD and graphic.

I chose a poppy and used a technique we learned in Allie's class in CT. We used silk ribbon in class but I used a peach silk strip which worked just as well... I painted it with dyes, gathered it and then spritzed it with water and pressed until it was very very flat. Then I singed the edges with a candle. It is very batik looking.

The center repeats the black and is clipped threads and is 3D even though it doesn't show that way in the photo... I didn't want it to sit like a lump in the corner of the block so I used the bud and stems to bring it all out into the block... So we still see most of my radiating seams (LOL) and the little black patch.

One thing I adore are cordings, especially satin cording and even more especially gold satin cording... Whenever I can find it I buy LOTS. We went to a fabulous bead shop in CT and there was an entire shelf of cording and I really loaded up..
It is great on seams and as an element to add movement and interest... The ends were always a problem because they fray. I used to either hide them or satin stitch near the end and clip close...

But Sharon shared this SUPER technique... You start at if you were going to make an ordinary knot in the end but you wrap it 4 or 5 times through and then pull tight. You then clip right at the knot and it doesn't fray or come undone...truly magic!!!! I just love this... and will use it over and over. Cathy K. said she knew it as a quilter's knot.... whatever it's mine now.

Do you like the new header?? I've been painting ladybug buttons for several days..


I'm not sure it's worth the time...

I brought some barn stuff to put on Etsy but by the time I rounded it up, brought it to the house, pressed it, photographed it, did the write-up and posted it....knowing that if it does sell it will need to packaged to mail...

I think it takes more time than I want to spend on it at this time... It was all stuff I had left from the last time we did a show years ago...

I did put up a few floral smocks, and a couple samplers and the last of my favorite bag for hands- free shopping. I will have to see if I still have that pattern.


I'm into the barn stuff now........Please Read!

When we had the old-rose nursery I had about 1 1/2 acres in a display garden ...mostly native shrubs, old roses and perennials.. But at the same time I was trying to run the gift shop and tea room in the barn and keep up about 4000 sq. ft. of greenhouses plus give lectures and workshops.

Invariably someone would tell me that if I were going to have a garden open to the public I should make a better effort to keep the weeds under control... At this point I would grit my teeth and put on my plastic smile and say.."You're absolutely right and thank you for bringing it to my attention."

In desperation I had these signs made on super tough vinyl with laser printing so they are completely weather proof...(5 1/4" x 8 1/2") It solved the problem but then there were the kind souls who wanted to know which weeds I used for migraines.

I know someone probably might want to buy just one of these signs but I also know they have at least one friend who needs one and the other can be a door prize at their garden club.. So I am selling them on Etsy in sets of three for $5.00 . And even if you don't want to buy one I hope I gave you a chuckle!!!!

Mice and Cathy's question

Quick Post: The bane of living on a farm but I'm sure others have seen a mouse or two.... For anyone having problems with mice I have the solution.... Bounce Fabric Softener...not any other brand... It used to be a constant problem in barn and unused closets and cabinets upstairs... but plopping down 5-6 sheets of Bounce keeps them away... I layered in all the materials and linens in the barn and have never had a problem since... I put it in suitcases going into storage in the barn.. and in winter bedding going into storage upstairs... Works for me..

Cathy L. asked whether my "Hints and Techniques for CQ with Vintage Linens" would work with things other than garments... ABSOLUTELY! pillow tops, wall hangings ...anything..


Stuff from the Barn

Not only did I still have the printed instructions with all the tips and techniques for constructing a garment from vintage linens, I actually went out to the barn and found them. ....under a bench behind some bins.... but I found them.. So I started a whole new area in my etsy shop ... "Stuff from the Barn" .... and will start adding more treasures from the barn.

Three full double-sized pages of helpful hints and techniques for assembling a crazy quilt garment using vintage linens... covering everything from supply list, preparation, and actual construction...

It all applies to any garment you wish to make.... jacket, vest, apron, or jumper. Detailed closeups and simple-to-follow instructions.

Now's your chance to make something really special with all those embroidered linens you've been collecting....especially those with a stain or damaged edge or two...

So if this is something you might want to add to your list of things to do in your spare time I listed them for sale on etsy for $3.

I did this years ago and all the good photos are on a zip drive... and of course zip drives have gone the way of film...


From whence I came.....

In CT we were chatting about when we started CQ and this is how I started...probably in the mid nineties.. When I look at it now I can hardly call it CQ... There is not one scrap of yardage in it.. it is ALL cut up vintage linens - every single patch...plus a lot a lace, some trims, no SRE and very little seam work... The technique is very similar to hanky quilts being done now...

It was a vest I made for DH when he manned the booth at garden shows... I had at that time acquired a new sewing machine that did the printing and as you can tell I loved it... Nothing like a new toy... I especially loved the label upper left. "I'm a fungi!" It doesn't fit him anymore (the vest as he is still a fungi) and thought I'd alter it... He said forget it... But if we are going to do a booth this summer (and we may) he's wearing it... We make a great team.. I talk and he takes the money!

Here he is at the end of a 12-hour day and looking pretty tired... Notice the jacket hanging on the right. It is made the same way.. I wore it when I was on stage and could just slip it off and use my denim jumper to work... It has been washed (by hand) many, many times and is looking pretty sad.. But it has traveled all over the US and even on speaking tours in Australia and New Zealand...

I show it here because I actually wrote up "Tips and Techniques" on how to make it. I am sure I still have some of those instructions in the barn and am going to put them on Esty.


New Buttons

I figure it will take me until the end of the month to have my button inventory built up again but am having fun adding some new ones like the chipmunks and pansies. I can only work for short periods of time because I have to stay so focused to keep my hand steady working that small. These are all 1". If you look closely there is actually a highlight painted in the eye of the hummingbird.

Next week I will start on bugs (bees, dragonflies and ladybugs) and then the following week on cats and kittens...

I have only two special orders to go...one is Marilyn's grandson and I have been looking forward to that one.

I did do some colorful whimsical buttons for another special order that I received before I went to CT... I love the multicolored dog and may do more of it. I can see it doing all the silly things Morris does... Morris may just be black and white but his personality is definitely multicolored...

The root canal was done Tuesday and I am on the road to recovery...and I do think spring is finally here...


Believe me it's perfect!

Every time I post about putting ultra-stiff interfacing on my blocks I get comments and emails on how I can do it better... I must not do a very good job of explaining why I do them like this.....Believe me, it is PERFECT for what I want to do...

First I get the easels at the dollar store by the frame section.. The taller ones work best. I keep a bag of about a dozen packed and ready.. Right behind it is a tote filled with a dozen blocks. They are ready to go at a moments notice...I just have to throw both totes in the car...

I have shown them at churches, craft fairs, meetings, senior centers, etc.

It doesn't matter if there is a table, counter or even a bench... I don't need a wall... I can set up a CQ display in two minutes or less..

People can see them at close range....
I only have 8 here but I have 12 mounted this way... pretty impressive all together...

It's portable, lightweight, compact and easy. Now if you can think of a better way to do it... you do it!!!! ... and I'll just keep on doing this.

For anyone interested in doing this I did a tutorial last fall....


Symbiotic relationship between shape and needlework

Sharon Boggon spent a good deal of time the first day explaining the differences (historically and now) between Australian and American crazy quilting. I am so sorry I didn't take better notes..but it was very evident that it affects her approach to crazy quilting..

She had 3 large pieces there (along with numerous smaller pieces) but I was immediately enamoured with the all-over floral areas which were different in that they defined a shape of an entire patch and in turn, the patch defined the shape of the floral area.. I know this sounds obtuse but there were so many examples that it took me a while to put my finger on why I noticed them... They were definitely not motifs or floral work as we use here. In this first one please note all the contrasts in color and materials.. I especially love the little pinwheel flowers.. they are so unexpected and delightful.

This is another example combining SRE and beads...lots of beads... Notice that it's the little burgundy roses that carry your eye across....

So much of our SRE and floral work here in the states (myself included) is roses, roses , and more roses. Seeing her pieces made me excited about expanding the types of flowers I include and how I use them.. Again this needlework is clearly defined by the shape of the patch and the shape of the patch is enhanced by the texture of the needlework.. This was on her tumbling-block quilt where shapes of the blocks was critical to the overall piece.

This is another example that was on her long sampler and the photo was taken by Susan Elliott.. the same symbiotic relationship between shape and needlework.. There was a lot of cast-on work and bullion stitches in this patch..

I was absolutely AMAZED when I saw Sharon do her bullion rose...her finger moved so fast it was whizzing thread around that needle like an electric mixer. I was in total awe. Notice how it is the little purple centers that carry the eye across.

She brought her unbelievable 75-foot sampler band with her ... Susan Elliott did a whole post on it so I won't repeat it. Sharon is doing sections of it on her site (which is in my side bar) but to see it all laid out in one piece was amazing

This is favorite photo of Sharon as I unintentionally got her bare feet into the picture.. Her shoes went off first thing in the morning... In a few days I'll do a summary post on this workshop and how I think it will affect my work...


Hats off to hats!!!!

Red, black and white definitely were the most popular colors for hats.. There were about 100 people at the party and about 40 ladies wearing hats..

I earned MAJOR "good wife" points for this function... My husband adores huge parties and flits about like a butterfly chatting with one and all.. At the very most I am comfortable in groups of 12 or less so I abhor these functions. We had a little rain and a little sunshine and it was very cold. I was wishing I had brought a blanket..

Lots of blues and turquoise but not a single pink.

The most unique!

DH's favorite hat!

And of course mine... Being the paradigm of indecision I not only changed my choice of horses several times I changed my choice of hat... I wanted to wear the vintage but it needed a hat pin to keep it in place and no way was it going to stay on my short hair...

So this green is another Liz C. I had planned put a bet on Pants On Fire (Susan E. choice) But so many people were betting on POF that even if it won, the payout would be bleak.. So I put my bets on Derby Kitten and Nehro and won $11 for my $4. I asked for a non-alcoholic mint julep only to be told they are all alcohol.. So I opted for a glass of ice water with a sprig of mint in it. The food was fabulous and now I can return to being a happy hermit again for awhile...


And what is it you do? & It's a Winner

Remember this quilt I was working on this winter for the national AAQ contest ??? Well it won an Honorable Mention and is the only CQ in the winner's circle....

I get so tired of people asking "And what is it you do?" and they assume sane the minute they hear the word quilt... Last year Cathy Kizerian was encouraging everyone to get CQ out into the public eye... Well I realized she was so right and I am determined to enter CQ whenever I can so here's my big splash . There were well over 100 quilts entered so I am really happy...

So thanks to Cathy's urging and Allie's encouragement it is out there... and the best part it is touring quilt shows all over the country and will be auctioned on ebay in Nov. to raise funds for AAQ.

What I did learn is when entering something that black is not the best color choice... It does not photograph well. I had the absolute most yummy black velvets, brocades, satins, and textures in this piece and it all photographed flat.. Take a look at the winners here and go to the gallery to see all the entrants..

I want to do something for Kerry's altheimers project and enter the Hoffman this year... I have some of my block on stiff interfacing so I can plop them on stands and display them anywhere. Have blocks...will show!!


Ode to Hats and You Get to Vote!!!

I have hats on this wall, that wall and every wall.

Hats in baskets, hats on racks and hats in stacks,
Summer hats, winter hats, straw hats, and vintage hats.

There a crown or two on one bed post for days

I need to reign supreme

And a witches hat on the other post for days

when I'm really feeling mean.

There are hats for work, hats for rain, even holiday hats,

and fun dressing-up hats.

I wear so many hats people often say,

"I didn't recognize you without your hat today!"

And why, my dear, so many hats you say???

Because for me every day is a bad-hair day!!!

One of the first places I check in thrift stores is the hats... I am convinced women try one on in a store, buy on impulse and never put it on again..... We been invited by some friends to their "Third Occasional Kentucky Derby" party.... Everyone brings an appetizer and the party starts with Mint Juleps and information about all horses in the race... Everyone gets to put $2 on the horse of their choice. Of course all the appropriate noises are made during the race.... and the winners split the dollars and it's followed by a BBQ ... AND of course the ladies are to wear hats... but what hat to wear as the weather is pretty iffy...

If it's an absolutely warm glorious day the pink with a pink polka dot ribbon and roses would be great...

but I also love the red and white straw since red is my favorite color to wear.....

If it is cloudy and dark I have two other choices....the navy with the veil is an old vintage hat from the 40s. It was easier to wear when I had long hair but smashing with a white dress and navy jacket...

Last is one of my favorite Liz Claiborne straws... a yummy chocolate brown that goes well with my brown linen dress. So cast your vote.....

I pick my horse by it's clever name (and wines by their pretty labels.) My horse usually comes in last but the hat part is really fun....

Sorry about spacing in this post...computer is really weird and needs serious help.
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