Plan pinned up

To me this was a very happy block. I have things just pinned or basted and will explain my plan and choices as far as I've gone this morning.... As I mentioned in the previous post, this is a was a very linear block with some very long vertical lines.. My goal was to introduce more horizontal elements and move the eye around the block... Here are the first steps..

First I found a very happy silkie.. She looks like she's about to burst into song... I can embellish the silkie with fargo roses to repeat the SRE already done.. I'm thinking to use this bluebird button because it repeats the blue in her dress and fits the mood. I picked polka dot ribbon because it also fits the mood and will give a strong horizontal element. For the same reason I added the black horizontal pieces of ribbon. They serve two purposes...they bring the sides strips into the composition....and likewise extend the black into the block.....

The black lace below the silkie was chosen because it has the arrow-like tops that bring the eye back into the center of the block... I broke up the long side seams and only used half to repeat the polka dot element with beads and sequins... Then I've pinned a piece of pink crushed velvet ribbon on the diagonal to repeat the diagonal line in upper left. It is very optional at the moment...It would provide a place for two embellished seams plus breaks up the large space below for two
Next just a couple design tips... I was avoiding vertical elements so on the right side of the silkie I chose to finish it with something that disappears into the background.....a strip of black ribbon and a row of sequins for glitz... That left the strong contrast of the black and pink where the little arrow is pointing... I laid the lace roses there and that vertical line disappears like magic... This is a nifty trick that is very useful... These roses repeat the trio of flowers on upper right... On the left side of the silkie I will incorporate some vines and fargo roses to extend what's there into the silkie and soften that vertical line...
I hope you've notice how often I have used the word "REPEAT" . Repeating colors and elements is so critical to the success of a block that I just can't stress it enough!! Of course that is just my opinion and if you're not a fan of encrusted you will not like what I'm doing at all. Having made that qualifying statement I will proceed to sew everything down and then address the upper right corner..... Now that I read back over this I probably should have broken it up into several posts as it is rather long. Sorry!


How many and what size

This container is 8" X 12" and 1 inch deep..The beads are about 2/3 layers deep.. It weighs only 1 3/4 lb and a kilo is 2.2 lbs. I put the largest and smallest beads next to the dime... Very few of the largest.. mostly medium and small and lots of unusual shapes... I've used all my reds, greens, blacks, blues, purples,and oranges but somehow the turquoise never fits my needs (except for Jo's fan.) That is a LOT of beads for $8....... Remember you would receive assorted colors... I have used lots of them on CQ blocks and some for jewelry making....
I love the mix and match bead look in jewelry and just ordered Robin Atkins book "Beaded Treasures" which does a lot of this. That is why I'm ordering again....

Bead Embroidery and Bulk Beads

Along with seed beads, I used beads from my bulk order of assorted beads to do this bead embroidery fan for Jo in the Fan RR. I ordered 4 kilos so I had a large amount of beads in every color and they have lasted me for years... I got them at wire-sculpture.com and am planning another order soon for those who want to get a better price... Just let me know....
If you have a pre-teen or teen daughter or grandaughter who's into beading, a kilo would make a great xmas gift....

Getting Nekked

We've a family thing today and tomorrow is the "shearing of the sheep." When the shearer had time I wasn't ready and when I was ready he had no time... But tomorrow's the day... Moving the rams into a small pen by myself will be the hard part but separating the ewes and lambs is no piece of cake either... EVERYBODY will be bawling and wailing and baaaaaaaaaaaahing. DH always has a commitment when I need him.

I want to start milking and haven't been able to until they are sheared as it's unsanitary....It's exciting to have things moving along again...I was so afraid the ewes would dry up before.I could milk and they are probably close as the lambs are huge..... No posting for a couple days.... Wish I had someone taking photos. But if anyone was standing around with a camera, I'd put them to work....Wish me luck....


Changing directional elements of block.......

All the stitching on the pink patches is linear and these are flanked with two long narrow patches with very long seams.. As I look at this block I feel that no no matter what it is added to the center it will all feel it is draining off the bottom of the block... I always think of patches as changeable shapes....

This is an entirely fixable problem and just needs a plan to incorporate those strong linear elements back into the block.... This will require encroaching on existing patches and stitching... I AM NOT BE INTIMIDATED BY THIS!!!! This is what encrusted is all about ... the merging and overlapping of elements. Of course if you are not fond of the encrusted look to CQ then skip the rest of this post..... Just the arrows alone are a clue.. Now to make a plan..
All the stitching thus far on this block is so elegant and lovely. Now I've studied it a bit my initial plan to is

  • Add at least two strong horizonal elements
  • Add a silkie
  • Divide up the two side patches with something that draws eye to center...
  • There's also the funny little black strip upper right that needs to be incorporated.
  • Repeat the lovely trio of beaded flowers and echo the diagonal line of the triangle.


Mary's block arrives

Mary's block arrived from Australia today... Not the best photo but it was a bit difficult to photograph because it is all metallics.... Of course anytime I receive a block with the center still vacant.... it's mine... Both Diane and Faye were concerned about working on the glitz but did a great job...but I feel glitz needs velvet so will get some black velvet ribbon and pick out an image for the center... It definitely needs even more black... maybe black lace, black sequins etc. The bottom rectangle looks black but is actually dark green....Not a very large block so poor Nikki won't have much left when it gets to her... When I finish my part I'll give a synopsis of what I would do if I were to finish the block.....

Bunches of Bunnies

This is Lisa's ATG block... In her booklet she expressed a fondness for bunnies. Since I was last and there was a lot of space left, I said I could get 6 or 7 bunnies on it. Well Kerry politely scoffed at those numbers. This was a challenge if I ever heard one.... Well I got 10 bunnies, including the bunny on the button..... Actually there is a little patch on the lower right that I could have possibly squeezed in one more bunny!!!!!


Bunnies are done

I finished embroidering the bunnies tonite and am anxious to applique them on the block... but since I am gone tomorrow it will have to wait until evening...

The Spirit of Maggie

She had spirit and was bossy, grumpy and independent
She was a Corgi, abandoned, unwanted, and unloved .
We adopted her and adored her and she tolerated us.
We catered to her, pampered her and she reluctantly
decided to live here if we continued to fuss.
Ron became her person, her follower, her slave
She was his constant companion, his girl, his mate
She rode on his lap in the truck and slept at his side at night.
She joined him for long daily walks and lavished
him with kisses when he returned from an outing.
Atop a pile of pillows, she’d survey her realm,
a princess, a treasure, and a friend to the end.
In the early years she begrudgingly endured poor Fritz
but in their old age she was his gentle and loving friend
In her dotage she survived brain cancer, radiation,
medications and would pace the house for hours.
But at fifteen, she went out one evening to pee
And, like a little ghost, just disappeared into the flowers.
We will miss her terribly. I’ll have to learn to cook without her
underfoot and Ron will reach out to pet her the rest of his life.
Now when there’s dew on the grass and wind in the trees
Maggie’s spirit will wander the farm, as free as that breeze.
Maggie Krueger
May 1994- June 2009



I enjoyed the picture of Pat Winter's (http://gatherings100.blogspot.com/) mom in her bathing suit pose.... Made me think of this snap of my mom... I have another picture of mom that is on a block in progress.... Mom blocks has the makings of an interesting group challenge or project.... would seem to fit into the Breast Cancer or other women's project ....have to give this some thought...


My Grandmother

I have two granddaughters graduating from college next year and am trying to combine a CQ project and the women in our family for their graduation present. It will probably be an album or journal of some kind and I want women to be the focus...not only pictures but stories from their life.... This my maternal grandmother at about 16.. just before she was married to a farmer who was 36. She was a tiny little thing, barely 5' and she had a very hard life. If you look closely at her shoes you can see her circumstances were not too great to begin with. I know very little of my paternal grandmother and noone left living to tell me.


Meet the Girls!!!

These girls are for a faces DOYB-RR to begin in midJuly. They still have to be fine tuned and smoothed out but their personalities have definitely emerged. Once baked their hair will be attached and styled and their "makeup" will be applied.....lots of blue eye shadow I'm thinking.....
There will be one face for each 7" block. Each face is about 2" tall and I want them festooned with outrageous hats, boas, jewels etc.... I'm thinking about adding boobs to the block.... It's not to start until mid-July so I have time to think about boobs.I want the person who picks a block to write a short biography of the gal she picks... I am really ready for a bit of whimsy CQ!

I'm taking a poll about the boobs...whattayathink?

Marya's Spider RR block

Whenever I do a web I get out my Helen Steven's books and find one of her webs... They are all so simple and elegant... I keep fussing with techniques to keep the web's frame taut and it's getting easier..
I'm the last person to work on this block and there is one small area on the right for Marya to add one more web. All stitching was beautifully coordinated on this block..and what a diverse display of unique buttons.


Bunny Buttons

Keep in mind that these bunny buttons are less than 1" in diameter. I am at the final stage of spraying them with acryllic and sanding between coats.. I like about 8-10 coats. I only paint on 4-5 at a sitting as it is quite tedious with many layers of paint....unlike CQ stitching which I can do for hours at a time.....If I can leave the paints out, I'll do 10-12 at a time over 3-4 days... I like the bunnies and will add them to the list of cottages, birds and roses...

Beading around the button can be done at anytime and I wait until I'm going to attach it to something to make a decision on the color of the beads...

I have already dyed a little lace for Marya's block this morning and as this is my last night to make major messes I am going to do my polymer faces for the upcoming DYOB.


An even bigger mess!

Last night it was piles of lace and stash... Tonight I decided to start painting bunnies on buttons as long as I'm embroidering them... I've never painted bunnies before and they're turning out rather fun... Also painting one rather special cottage. I'll post them tomorrow when I'm done. After chores this morning I went to play bridge, had a frozen turkey dinner for supper, stitched bunnies for a couple hours and painted bunny buttons while listening to an audio book....a P.D. James mystery. All and all a truely lovely day!

Stash Storage

I purchased a third tall storage cabinet in April but hadn't really gotten it sorted until last night... The first tall storage cabinet I had was from Target and the word "junk" sums it up nicely...long gone. The second (above) is the one I painted... much better but all plastic...but I still love it. .. It had all 2" drawers and is perfect for stuff used on a regular basis. I have it right next to my "hospital bedside" work table. I can easily reach all the drawers while sitting

This new one is MUCH sturdier and much taller, wider and deeper. It has both 2" AND 3 1/2" drawers. It was not cheap ($269) but considering how heavy it is and the shipping was FREE it was a bargain.So last evening I drug out tons of stuff in bins, sorted it, and labeled the drawers and it is now all tidy and accessible... I won't paint this one as it was available in a maple finish. I can keep it in a tiny extra room that we use for entertaining and as a guestroom.. I can just roll it out when necessary.
If I had one more with just larger drawers I could accomodate almost all the stash I try to keep in the house... I just had a birthday and have a few dollars and hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!! Their website is http://www.chandlercreations.com/site/1406927/product/CRFTkitN
and "free shipping" is one of my favorite word pairs..... I figure if we ever do move into a retirement unit, these cabinets will be perfect...


New Header or "I never met a dove I didn't love......."

Well the day is off to a good start and I can cross new header off my list... The pair of doves are from a RR block I did for Maire and the dove with the ribbon is from a RR block I did for Cathy K.


DH and his dog doing restorative theraphy...My DH left this am and will pop in Sunday nite only to leave Monday early again til Friday.. Seven whole quiet days to myself... I have a list as long as my arm and will have stuff spread all over the house and eat and sleep at odd hours...

I love my husband and have adjusted to him being retired... I have adjusted to him wanting to talk to me when I am concentrating on projects. But I haven't adjusted to him expecting me to actually listen to him and make intelligent responses... other than "that's nice dear" First on my list is a new header for my blog which I've put off forever...


Bunny Progress

No Ruby, you did not miss the finish of the bunnies. I have 5 done....half way there. I have been working on them between other things and they are great to tote along to doctors etc.
I did the darkest and lightest areas first.. Now I'm filling in using 2 different threads at once. One a medium brown and the other a variegated buff color. When I get them all filled in then I will go back and use a medium brown and a light buff to soften the shadows and highlights. If you look closely at the bunny on the left you can see I set the directional stitches with a stem stitch and then fill in with satin stitches.


Assorted media for faces..

I looked quickly through photos and came up with a few different face application... The Jack-in-the-box is paper clay. There were two that were appliqued silkies.. I look for silkies that I can surround the face with needlework such as hat and hair. The plump sugar fairy is a painted MOP button. The polymer caroler is from a woman's face mold I tweaked with a toothpick and added beads for eyes. I'll have to look for the website that I found that was so good on faces...


OOYCZ block

Well I'm almost done with my OOYCZ (Out of Your Comfort Zone Challenge) and it has been a struggle... Every so often I would freeze up and have to put it aside. But I DO like it and will be glad to share it on July 10th after the challenge is officially over. I'm thinking that it is good for me to do things "out of the box" every so often. I might even enter it in the fair this year...

Marya's spider block....

This block arrived today from Lindy in Australia. I'm last to work on it before it goes home. I don't think I've ever been last on a block where everyone has worked so well as a team.. Besides spiders and webs (of course) everyone integrated lace and buttons into their work and the whole piece is beautifully balance... There must be 1/2 lb. of button on its and some of them are exquisite.

I have the blank center to finish off and will have to look at it a few days before I start....and start looking through my buttons.... I'm thinking maybe a branch and a nest......maybe.....

Golf bag cart recycled

Next to hospital bedside tables, my favorite finds at thrift stores are old golf bag carts....especially the ones with bigger wheels like this one that I modified to carry my tools. When I go out to work away from the house or barn I always need, among other things, a cordless drill, hammer, levels, pliers, wire cutters, fencing tools, fence clips, fence staples, screws, nails, etc. etc. Plus I always have all kinds of bungi cords as they are my extra hands for holding things when working by myself. So I keep my little cart loaded and ready to go. I have two more.... one modified to hold garden tools and another to tote a pump sprayer around the garden... I just need to attach a cup holder to it now...

Damn Ram Fence

Well it's done..It was a huge job and the weather was near 90 degree every day....There is another wood fence behind the one you see that keeps the rams from the milking area and there an identical feeding area out of sight to the left for the ewes... What isn't wood is double wired.... You can see in the foreground what the rams did to regular fencing... They are really quite good guys until the ewes come into heat.
The blue piece of equipment on the right is a tilt table. A sheep walks in and I pull a lever to secure it and then I can tip the whole thing, sheep and all, to the side and I can sit on that stool and trim hooves. A very clever invention... But my hands were so sore from pounding and power tools that I could hardly stitch for several days....


My Crazy Quilt Garden Plan

My inspiration garden was this one I saw in Australia years ago. My own garden is tiny as gardens go... It is only 14' square... It has an 8' wire deer fence and a 2' wooden rabbit fence surrounding it and has netting over it to keep out the quail... but I perservere...Because it is so small I plant selectively and fill it almost solid. The stepping stones allow me to water and harvest...

I experiment each year but have settled on a general plan so it is pretty AND workable... I have also been ordering seeds for miniature vegetables which has been fun... Didn't have a garden last year because of knee surgery and only limited one this year because of problems lingering from the broken leg... But it is planted and I love it being pretty as well as the fresh veggies. If you're interested this is pretty much my general plan... It took a year or two to figure out what worked best in the design. With all the bits and bobs and roses and containers it reminds me very much of a crazy quilt block...

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