No company at this table tonight.....

Since I have this humongous mess of laces scattered all over trying to pick ones to use with the images on blocks 4,5 & 9, I decided to go ahead and pick out the base layers of trims for blocks 1,3  & 7 ...next in the series...  Now that the images are on I am picking up steam and may get at least most of the 6 blocks done this summer...

I had to stick in this picture of a blue perennial geranium... (all one plant) We have hot dry summers and frigid winters and these plants survive with no care and not supplemental water and spread in all the area I want them too...and bloom like crazy and have lovely foliage AND the deer don't eat them....

Lower left is my gazing ball made from mirror bits and a bowling ball..  They are glued on it with a tile mastic and have stood up to many many winters.

Finally thanks to everyone who let me know I did that hummingbird block for Ritva....  I sent her an email this morning asking if she could send it back so I could fix it....  see blocktalk post


Hummer ...when

Can someone remember for whom and what RR I did this hummingbird.  This is not a test ...I just can't remember..


Big hats - Big Shadows.

I've been working on these photos of the girls on the bike...The first thing was to simplify the background somewhat and then I wanted to lighten the face of the girl on the left...  Big hats  leave big shadows.  It's not that important in this photo but in larger photos it makes a big difference.

Her face was so dark on the left that when I added the sepia tone her features would disappear..  I did a tutorial once on how to do lighten faces in photoshop but can't find it...  BUT I will repeat the process if anyone is interested.

Ah ha!!! I found it... so if you are interested here is the post

Not every story has a happy ending!!

Cougars are common around here but since we have so many deer they have never been a problem with my sheep... They traverse a wide range and usually make a kill and move on.  Now though I have a female with young hanging out in my forest.  It didn't take her long to spot the vulnerable, mutilated little orphan lamb I took in  and she killed it and came back four nights later and got my bottle baby.  Needless to say I was just devastated....

The Wildlife officer says that once she's made those kills she will keep coming back until she gets all my lambs. So now all the sheep are locked up in the greenhouse which is totally unacceptable for summer because of the heat.  All projects are at a screeching halt now while I convert the tractor shed into a night shelter for the sheep.  It will be perfect as it is close to the pasture near  the house....

The ironic thing is that because of all the rain, I have the greenest, lushest grass and my sheep are penned up eating baled alfalfa.. but also the lush tall grass provides extra cover for the stalking cougar..  I am not walking in my woods these days..


I do the dinner....he does the clean up..

DH (my party animal) is at it again...  This time I didn't have to negotiate because we'll have appetizers on the deck so he's been pulling weeds like crazy... Works for me...

Fifty years ago I started collecting Vernon Rose pottery by Metlox ... setting by setting, piece by piece... and ended up with a service for 12 and still love it... It's not dishwasher friendly so whenever used, it has to be washed by hand.  Both the pink salad plates and goblets are vintage French and I've had them for years.  The little crystal bowls were from New Zealand and I'll serve  chilled avocado soup in them...   I do love being able to use all the stuff I've gathered  on our travels the last 50 years.  We never bought souvenirs or touristy things... just one nice thing for the table each trip...  So setting the table for a nice dinner is a trip down memory lane.

The guests are old friends from when we belonged to a dinner group.  We were all like minded... we loved to cook and loved to use all the "good dishes."  So when we get together with them we DO dinner...

Prosciutto & Gruyere Pinwheels
Sauteed Baby Scallops
Melon Balls

Soup:  Chilled Avocado Soup garnished with green pumpkin seeds and roasted sweet peppers.
Salad:  Mango, Cucumbers and Spring Greens (new recipe from last weekend's paper)

Main Course:  Baked halibut (new recipe from allrecipes.com) served over creamy shrimp risotto (old recipe) and   Roasted Asparagus

Dessert:  Fresh Peach and Blueberry Tart.  (an old recipe from DH's aunt... fruit is arranged over a sour cream filling.  A real showstopper)

DH is in charge of all the wines and ALL the clean up...


Suffragette Images

I have been collecting suffragette images for about 10 years.  I began when I was making  suffragette art dolls and so I have several hundred items to choose from... When I started this quilt I began to narrow down my choices to nine blocks...and only 2 images to a block...and it was not easy.  I made some last minute changes yesterday..  All need photo editing to even out sepia tones and sharpen...

The two images on the left will be in the center block .  They have been my first choice for some time.  I can lighten the face on the young women voting.  I will print them all on paper first and experiment with size and placement.

Block 4 is center left on the quilt and these are the my choices for that block

It's on block 9 (lower right on quilt) that I changed my image choices completely... Last winter our museum had an exhibit celebrating the centennial of women's rights to vote in Washington State...  Part of that exhibit was devoted to the importance of the bicycles to this movement.  I originally planned to include some bicycle imagery on each block but now decided to devote an entire block to  the bicycle. 

For fascinating reading on this subject go to Women on Wheels: The Bicycle and the Women’s Movement of the 1890s

And a book that I found invaluable is Wheels of Change: How women rode the bicycle to freedom by Sue Macy.  This is a National Geographic book that I  love and would be a perfect gift for a teen or preteen girl. If you have a daughter, granddaughter or niece of this age I highly recommend it and they will look at their bikes differently for the rest of their life.

Now that I've made my final choices I will start editing the images...  Each block will also include one or more of the following...poster, banner, placard etc..   I had two many images on my AAQ entry but I was trying to tell the whole story on 1 block... so it will be easier with nine blocks..

I have had my goals for the images pretty clearly defined.... I wanted to include groups of women, proud women, happy women, determined women,  and strong women..


Forging ahead at a snail's pace!!

I was ROFLOL at Susan E's blog on underestimating her time...  When I started this project I thought I would have 3 finished blocks to take to CT in April and have it all finished by the fair in Sept...  Then I got sidetracked with the AAQ entry and hoped for 3 blocks by June and still the rest for fair..  Now I'm just hoping for 3 finished blocks  by Sept. and the fair in 2012...

But am making progress... I am working on three blocks at a time to keep a continuity in the stitching.  Have the seam work as far as I can go until images are placed...  You are looking at blocks 4,5, and 9 of the whole quilt (nine 12" blocks)  I'm ready for the real fun now and will add images. I needed new ink for printer and was waiting for SS check which is due this week so it all works out like I really had a plan...   more ROFLOL!!!!


Chateleine vs Hussif/Needlecase

One of the blogs I follow is Crafty Storage.  I do get the occasional idea for stash storage but it is mostly geared toward people with whole rooms and money for storage units...  but she did devote one blog post to my hospital table for people with limited space.

Today she put out a request for storage ideas for "on the go", for those who don't have a dedicated space or travel .. Well is my chatelaine perfect or what???

This picture was taken by Holly at the Crazy Quilting workshop in CT and of course I am wearing my "tools."
Last year I did a post about my chatelaine and how it came about...  Susan Elliott asked "Why?" and Ati asked why I preferred it over a hussif.

The answer is available space and travel...  You can see my small home work area at the left....hardly room to roll out a needlecase or hussif.. but that is only a small part...  "On the go" is the biggest advantage... I have my needlework with me when I am waiting at doctors and hospitals, in the waiting room while my car is being serviced or having seasonal tire  changes, at duplicate bridge tournaments between sessions and rounds, in the park at summer concerts and in airports between flights, etc. etc. . and invaribly there is never a table or surface to lay out a needlecase and I'm trying to work on my lap, a magazine, or my clipboard.  But in the car and on the plane are the very best use for it...  Try picking up your tools from the floor wearing a seat belt and we all know how big those airplane tray tables are...

So I am reposting what I wrote about my chatelaine and please note it took me THREE times to get it right! 

From 6/14/2010:

Antique chatelaines were sewing tools on silver chains which needleworkers attached to their bosom with an attractive brooch. I decided I to design my own chatelaine. Besides traveling, I often stop and start projects and needed everything handy...my various needles, retractable scissors, awl, pincushion, tape measure, pockets for threads and orts.

To the left is my third try and close to perfect for my needs.For my first one I actually used two men's ties attached at the middle. I did attach scissors, needle cases and pincushion by chains and added small pockets at the bottom. The chains were always tangling and catching on things.

On my second try I used a man's tie for a pattern and used decorator fabric. I made pockets (or pouches) for items. In addition to needle cases, scissors and pincushion, I also had an emery bag (to sharpen pins and needles), an awl, a tiny tape measure, and sterling antique threads holders. It was too much and too heavy. So on my third try I stripped down to what I needed the most and decided to make it pretty as well as practical by doing it with crazy quilting.

On the far top right I have two needlecases. One is long and used to be a sterling case for a thermometer but is perfect for long needles I use for doll making. The other case is used for regular embroidery needles. Both are on chains and tuck into pockets so they won't get lost and won't interfere with my handwork.

Below the the needlecases is a flat pincushion in which pins are inserted from the side. I may replace it with one filled with emery powder. It holds only a limited amount of pins because it is small but certainly enough for handwork.
Below the pincushion at the bottom of the right side is a pocket that has a tab which swings out and holds needles that are threaded and in use. When using several colors the unused threaded needles can be pinned into the tab and needle and thread tucked into the pocket.
On the left side is my beloved scissor angel with its own pocket for the scissors. At the bottom of the left side is another pocket into which I tuck all theads I clip.
I've made it pretty to look at and pretty to wear by doing it with crazy quilting and adding favorite buttons and charms. I've used this many years now and it has traveled all over the world with me. If you decide to make one I recommend you make a list first of what you need to have and draw the size of pockets needed on your "tie" pattern.

 When not in use it hangs on a lamp by my work area.....ever ready.... So if you always stitch at home and have everything at hand or if you always have space to put your supplies or hussif, I suppose there would be no advantage.

I also have a several needlecases and occasionally use them  ... but years ago I figured out those stitchers in earlier days had a great idea so I just adapted it.... and it works for me.....

Addendum: For several years now any scissors shorter than 4" have been OK for both carry on and checked luggage. ...  I always take a $5 pair rather my good ones just in case but have flown all over the US with never a problem.  I can't speak for overseas flights.  Used them on 6 different planes going to and from CT in April....no problem...


When is a bench not a bench? When it is 3 chairs.

When is a bench not a bench? When it is 3 chairs.
I was delighted to see this title on Jackie's blog
because one of the favorite benches I built was from 3 chairs. 

I ran a post about it about 2 years ago but thought newcomers would like to see it...

Repeat post from March 2009:  This "bench" is actually 3 chairs held together with pipe clamps. Again the chairs were thrift store finds and classic "70s" Mediterranean complete with ugly plastic upholstered seats and back inserts which were trashed and replaced with boards I painted.... I do not leave this outside. It is in a workroom in the barn and on occasions such as a garden party it is pulled out. If I had a house with a large entry it would be perfect.... Right now it is piled high with fabric. (This photo was taken by friend and garden photographer, Charles Mann and was in Better Homes and Garden magazine 3/2003)

Here was my inspiration...  I took this picture in 1999 at some hall where I was speaking...


Back on Track...

Well I'm back on track with my suffragette quilt... These blocks are good size...almost 12" and have lots and lots of patches...  a little overwhelming  to get my focus again.. When that happens I pick a small area to concentrate on...this time the lower corner...

Of course I didn't make it any easier for myself when I set the goal of having EVERY single seam on the entire quilt (all nine blocks) be ones I've never done before.. and no fly stitch... I'd gotten into a rut of using the same seams stitches over and over...  So stitching the seams on this quilt is a journey unto itself..  Also I always want to rush ahead with the images and beading...and it is soooooooo tempting as I've acquired so many wonderful treasures to embellish it with.... some from my stash and some from friends.

So here I am with my Carol Samples book (Treasury of Crazy Quilt Stitches) and my templates and taking a deep breath to slow down and explore.  The seams I choose are always a starting point as I modify as the space dictates... You can see the seam I chose middle right on the page and how it is ending finally at the bottom of the photo...

The long strip that appears gathered is actually a pleated trim.  A thrift store evening gown had the entire A-line skirt covered with rows and rows and rows and rows of it... It took me forever to remove it.  It is so unique  and hope to have enough to use when I assemble the quilt also.. I'll do a close up of it when I get it secured.


Yummy Book

 Well I'm back and my computer is working much much better... Computer Man had to strip it back to it's original configuration so it came back with my data but no software programs so I am busy trying to reload what I really need... He said I needed to delete a lot of files and get more ram.. so that is on my list also..

When I was without my computer I was looking through my books for ribbon embroidery and ran across this book I bought some time ago...  Does anyone else buy books just because the book makes them feel good???  This book is just yummy!

I'll never do a project from this book but love everything in it.... the colors, the fabric, the lace, the flowers...just everything...  I will try to dye some ribbon the colors they used for their roses...
It is loaded with projects using antiqued lace like Cathy K. sells on her Etsy shop.

But I've also added other things to the list...  I found this 2000 issue of Inspirations on Ebay and it is FILLED with the most delightful birds... It seems like ages since I've done a bird... But Ritva's artist blocks are coming and I know I will do a bird on one of her blocks...

Finding time to stitch has been difficult and also finding it hard to get back to my suffrage quilt...  I'm thinking I will start a small block for Maureen.


Computer heading for repair...

will be back who knows when!!!


My Mondrian block.....

I finished my Mondrian block and am so happy with it.  I wanted a clean, simplistic, graphic, childlike look and I think I got it...my fantasy of what might have been Mondrian's work as a child...and would his teacher have thought "This kid is on to something!!!"  Everything but the bees is done in a flat chain stitch...

When I was reading about Mondrian about every third sentence was "and then he moved".  His passion for his work was the primary force to where he lived...  The adage "Home is where you hang your hat" popped in my brain and I translated to "Home is where you hang your heart."

Margreet asked that we include our initials and mine are in the red patch above the hanging heart..


Marilyn's Grandson button finished...

Marilyn's grandson is now on his very own 1 1/4" button.  It was about done for awhile but wasn't happy with it and then I realized his ear was too low...  When I fixed that I am now really done.. The background is not grey but I scanned it and the mop reflection made it look grey.  I will have to search for her email address.

Worked a while on Margreet's block and should have something to share tomorrow.. Will start on Shirlee's button tomorrow and then take a button break and get back to stitching.


Time to face reality.....

Remember last August when I was getting ready to take button painting seriously???  I set up one of my beloved little hospital tables  and I think I made some brash statement  that if I confined my area I would have to limit the numbers of bottles of paint I was using at one time...

Well I must have made that assumption after a couple of G&Ts because it was pure wishful thinking on my part...

By last month my painting table was looking like this...  There was about two square inches that weren't covered with bottles of paint and, with the ends of the table open,  bottles of paint were falling to the floor...  Of course Morris was always on the watch... chewing the top of paint bottles is one of his favorite pastimes.

So it was out to the barn last week to make a new "topper" for my hospital table.  It is about 4" longer and about 3 " deeper but the biggest change is the long tiered paint rack at the back and I have screwed on trays at each end to keep bottles from falling off...  (Morris going"Grrrrrrr rats! )
Now if you are new to my blog and haven't seen my incredible clever mobile work areas than you might try this  post. (toot! toot! That my own horn)



Mondrian has arrived!!!

Margreet's Mondrian blocks have arrived.. and I had studied some on his life and had an whimsical idea in  mind...  But I'd never  settle on it until I saw Gayle's work but it will work well together...

Gayle used his later years and love for jazz as her inspiration...  I'm choosing his peripatetic life.. Living through two world wars and moving with the art world he was continually on the move throughout his career...

Margreet has limited us to the three primary colors plus white and black....no greens.  I probably would have used a little green so will adapt. I want my images to appear flat so will use a chain stitch for filling in areas of color. Also I'll do no seam treatments... DH is out of town this weekend so I'm not answering the phone, shutting the gate and will paint and stitch.... well also defrost the freezer and clean the oven....

One other small detail...  the line on the upper left is a little out of plumb and  that will drive me NUTS... will have to fix it..

A girl and her doll

What a lovely way to start the day...  Hideko posted her work on the girl with a doll she chose... and it is so endearing... Although I only sent out six in this RR, I ended up with 18 of these images and will send them out in other RRs until I have enough for an album.

I wanted "girly" and sweet and Hideko definitely captured the feeling of the period of this painting... Look closely at the bottom and you see she has created an entire country scene with manor house and all.  With all the special touches now the block itself has a story.

She has posted about what the painting reminded her of as a child and it is very touching.  To hear her tell it you can go to her blog.  I could do all these blocks myself but they would all look like MY work, my voice.. It will be so much more special for each block to have another "voice."

Thank you so much Hideko...  I shall treasure it.


Check out Block Talk!

The latest posts on Block Talk with Gerry  address  the issue of bold bright prints on RR blocks and also a critique of Vivienne's gorgeous block... The next post will answer an interesting question posed by Berta...
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