The other side of the door!!!

Remember a while back when I told you about our ugly odd-sized door with 30 coats of paint on it? Rather then have a door specially made or reframe for a standard door I chose to paint and antique it. When someone asked where the "facilities" are, we just tell them to look for a green door.

Well obviously the other side was just as ugly so I painted it also with a different scene... Not only to disguise the ugly door but to give someone something to look at in the tiny bathroom... We have a couple friends well over 6' and I wonder "Do they have to put their feet in the tub when sitting on the toilet?" Anyway a long time ago I promised to put up a picture of the other side of the door so here it is.


Audio Books Addiction

I have been totally hooked on audio books for years. I used to keep a list and ran across it the other day and it has over 300 of my favorites. I'm so sorry I didn't keep the list going. Everything was on tape in those days so I decided to go back and listen to some of my favorites again . I was surprised that a good many of them had been discarded due to wear and not replaced. Our libraries are not buying books on tapes anymore and many of the those books are not available on CD.

So it is renewed zeal I'm going over my list.. I just finished an excellent book on tape, "Haunted Ground" by Erin Hart. It is set in modern Ireland and it weaves a story about a bog discovery with a recent mystery...mixing in Irish history and archeology...

I not only get books on CDs but now I can download them directly from the library to my computer and then to my MP3 player... I have three little players and am loading them with books for my trip to the retreat.


Not the felt thing AGAIN!!

Yep! I know you've suffered through poppies, peacocks and bunnies. But now it is robins.. But I don't think I have mentioned how much I love these little 6" hoops for doing motifs.. I pick them up at thrift stores and I have numerous sizes...They just the perfect size to pop into a ziplock bag and take along to doctors, dentists, etc. Such places are hard to work on a regular block although I have been known to take a lightweight TV tray along if I'm waiting on someone else. In fact I keep one of those trays in my trunk just in case.

I will work on all three simultaneously and work the colors in layers.. Will post as I go..

Emmy's Block done

Except for the dragonfly and the painted butterfly button, all I've done is embellish the embellishments. I added lots of beads, more crocheted flowers, and found button centers that complemented each other for all the flowers. Every so often it happens I receive a block that is very full but I always find plenty to do by adding and filling out what's already there. It's always more fun having your "own space" but I enjoy this sort of challenge also.. Of course I'm always hoping nobody's feelings are hurt when I tweak here and there and make little changes...


Emmy's Block- "embellish the embellishments"

To begin with this is a very small block...7" at basting line, barely bigger than a DYB block... So it's already very full when it gets to me as the last person... When that happens I shamelessly embellish the embellishments. LOL I want to have it done before I go to retreat as it's the last block in this RR for me to work on. The changes to the block will be more subtle that on the others in this RR. As I look at it:
1. It definitely needs more lace and will put some under the butterfly and on the purple block at center bottom..

2. I'll add a large elegant dragonfly front and center (my bit of drama).
3. It needs a several smaller crocheted flowers to repeat larger one and work with the larger one to echo the shape in the lower right and maybe button centers on all the flowers....
4. I love the intense purple in the center of the poppies and will try to sneak it into other places in the block.
5. Finally I'll finish lots of beading all over....starting with the rose in the center.....and maybe a few more buttons, including a hand painted butterfly button to fill in...
So even tho it is a small block and fairly full, I find plenty I want to add to it...surprise! surprise!


Basic Structure and Paper Dolls

The planning for the basic structure of project is set at this point.. All the seam treatments , SRE, charms, buttons etc. after this stage are impromptu and flexible.. But once this stuff shown is basted it stays. I going with larger major motifs to balance the bold prints. One robin motif has morphed into three and I reluctantly abandoned the velour basket because it just didn't work.... but I will use the velour for the nest for the baby robins...

At this stage I often cut out shapes and pictures from paper and play with placement on the block... Even the pic of my grandmother is just a paper print to help me with placement and size. I have considered 5 or 6 different options for framing the print but once I pinned this lace down that was it... The lace on the upper corner of the right block was chosen because it echos 2 other shapes on the block. (see arrows) Same for flowers on left. This large motif was a gift from my super secret sister (SSS) I couldn't bear to cut it up and waited until I had a project large enough to handle it. On lower left front I want to embroider "Love my Singer." and somewhere on the piece I want to duplicate celtic knot decal on the bed of the machine.. There is a fabulous site featuring old Singer decals http://www.treadleon.net/oldtreadleonia/university/museum/decals/decals.html

Once basted it will go into the "retreat" pile. Last year I didn't take enough to work on and won't make that mistake this year. It's amazing how much you get done sitting hour after hour chatting, laughing and stitching...


Today's bread...oatmeal sourdough

We had someone at the house the other day who said she stopped baking bread because flour had gotten so expensive it was cheaper to buy bread..... I am still thinking this through....deep thinking... very deep thinking...

First I don't bake bread to save money...There are just the two of us and baking the bread isn't a necessity. I started baking bread I suppose to save money as a new bride in 1958 and entered some in the fair in the town of our first teaching positions. I won the best of show with a huge double blue ribbon and was named Wheat Queen of Garfield county (obviously a big deal in a wheat growing county).

But I've always made bread... always. I love the smell of the yeast, the feel of the dough in my hands, the aroma of it baking and what could be better than that first slice when it comes out of the oven.. Baking bread is a healing, restorative, and essential experience to me...It is a living and breathing thing in my hands.

But it had become routine...feed the dogs, set the dough to rise and go feed the sheep...yada yada. I guess I had just taken it for granted after so many years until she said that and I started thinking about how important it really is to me and it certainly makes for a happy husband.. . Now making cheese has also turned into an almost orgasmic experience...more on that later....

"Happy Husband"


Antiquing the lace - Potassium Permaganate

I antiqued the lace with potassium permaganate (PP) ... a technique that Cathy K. shared at the last retreat. It is still wet in this photo and will dry lighter. I did way more lace than I needed for this project but since I was making a mess I might as well do extra... All this was done in the same container for the same length of time so you can see that different fabrics absorb differently!!

There's a super tutoriaI at http://tinyurl.com/medgxz I got my PP on e-bay and it is the texture of salt but Leslie has some that was liquid... It only takes a teaspoon so if you get some, think small.... I have enough for my lifetime and 6 other people...

Gathering and planning

I love the gathering and planning stage if for nothing else I get to fondle all my stash...

Here's where I am...
1. Because the prints are so large and bold I'm using the finest and most delicate laces I have as a counterpoint.
2. I pulled a lot of antique gold braid and cording, plus black velvet ribbon and black sequin braid..
3. Seeing some velour thread on Allie Allison's site prompted me to find mine. I will overdye it and use it to weave a basket for flowers.
4. Because this is a challenge I am still avoiding roses and trying flowers I've never done... I pulled out a book, "Ribbon Renaissance" by Helen Eriksson and found some great inspiration...
5. Main colors will be shades of gold, green and white....burgundy accent color
6. A bird... I've never embroidered a robin and one eating berries would work perfect on this block...
7. Since the colors are somber I chose this picture of my grandmother which fits the mood. Her hand was awkward to make an oval so I will photo edit it to have it appear in her pocket.


Time to start kissing toads!!!

As I get older it's harder and harder to tackle some projects alone... Years ago I had a retired carpenter I could call for help with the odd job and he was perfect. But, alas, he too got older and passed away and I've never been able to replace him... The ones I have tried have been either lazy, expensive, unreliable and incompetent and really don't want small jobs even though they say they do. And it is amazing how many resent taking directions from a woman.
But after 20 years I did find the perfect plumber...again retired.... who is willing to do the odd plumbing job. We have an 102 year old house that always has plumbing problems. Plumber Bill is a prince but I had to kiss a lots of toads and waste a lot of money until I found him. I give him perennials and bake him cookies and bread and treat him royally..

So now I find myself with more carpenter work than I can possibly get done alone before winter and went through Craigslist last night. I pulled the following ads:

#1 Any size of project I can do. I can fix small items, yard work, maintenance, remodeling, new structures, and even custom homes. I work hard, efficiently, and can do or organize just about any project you can put in front of me. Call Mike at

#2 I have the time and skill for the jobs around your house you don’t have time for. I am an experienced Handyman with references to do just about any of your needs at a reasonable price. Free estimates, on painting (interior and exterior), hauling debris, landscaping and lawncare, culture stone, flagstone patios, deck repair, fence repair, sprinkler systems, minor plumbing and electrical, Dry wall, and cleaning. Email me. Thank You for Your Time, Rick P.

#3 I have been a general contractor for over 10 years and can do your laundry list of unfinished work, yardwork, general labor, and small projects. I am very efficient and ready to start. Please call

The words "general contractor" probably rules #3 out for small jobs... The first thing I need done is to raccoon-proof my chicken house which might be below the standard of employment for him.... Wish me luck!!!!!


Out of My Comfort Zone #2

Doing the Out of My Comfort Zone (OOMCZ) challenge on a CQ list this early summer was definitely uncomfortable. But it changed my stitching habits and color tolerance so I began thinking of doing it again on my own.. On the left is a block typical of what I love doing...soft colors, small or no prints, and plain fancy fabric. I pick fabrics that will showcase my needlework ---not overwhelm it.

This time the challenge I chose for myself is doing large prints and dark colors as you see below.......something I have NEVER done and just looking at them makes me dizzy... The fabric choices are going to be a big enough challenge without adding other restrictions so I'll antique some lace and start pulling threads and find a photo for a silkie... I'm thinking maybe a photo of my grandmother.. The fabrics are silks and velvets so needed a firm foundation fabric...

What you see is actually two blocks pinned up next to each other. I will work on them separately but simultaneously and put them together to make a cover for my beloved Singer Featherweight.... At this point it is difficult to envision stitches or motifs that will show up on these prints....and not be overwhelmed... I'm thinking I might make a fans of the same materials to use as end pieces for the cover....


Eye Movement

I added rhinestone stars for the Jack in the Box to juggle.. I felt the arms and hands were too strong an outward element so the stars bring the eye movement hand to hand.... I also liked the way the red stars echoed the strong red patch... NOW I'm really finished....


Debbie's Faces RR block

Finished today except now that I look at it, I'll add a few stars as the arms are carrying the eye out of the block..... I'll mail it off a bit early to Rose Anne in Canada to get ahead of the post....


My chair!!!

I've had several e-mails about my unique chair... I did have it appraised years ago and it's value was est. in the $500-$1000 range and dates back to the turn of the 19th century.....Of course having the orignal chamber pot intact and in good condition is a important factor in it's value... Even without the pot it's a outstanding piece of antique furniture.

Have a good start on Debbie Xmas Face block... Love doing the whimsy of christmas... Saw a lovely stitch on Hideko's blog this morning ( http://hideko-windfromtheeast.blogspot.com/ ) that I want to try on the corner of this block.


Another winter project!!!

This old commode chair has been sitting in the barn for about 30 years ever since I picked it up at an estate auction...It is very old, extremely heavy, well-made chair with the original china commode and lid... Originally I had wanted to refinish the wood but never got around to it...Last week when I was putting bales in the barn I had to pass it with every trip and decided that I really MUST do something with this chair...
It has always reminded me of a throne and then I burst out laughing when I thought of one of the meanings of the word "throne". What a wonderful play on words....so a throne it will be... but a very whimsical one...and I can even cover the padded lid with CQ... You know how I love to paint furniture and it has a lot of marvelous surfaces to paint..... Looks like I will have some fun projects once winter comes...

Peacock's Tail

I was asked what yarn I used for peacock's tail... I know it must have a name but I got this bag of 4 partial skeins at a thrift store... It is very wispy and ethereal. I used about a foot from 3 of the skeins, couched them in place and then beaded over it. I'll look the next time I am at Michaels to see if it is something they carry. I thought it would be great in water scenes and the rust on autumn blocks... Never thought of a peacock when I bought it but isn't that the nature of CQ?? Buy it all just in case.....

Fun Give Away!!!

Pat Winter is having a give away at her blog http://gatherings100.blogspot.com/ These are absolutely adorable little bird nests with eggs which Pat makes herself.... ... Allow time to browse as I enjoy her blog everyday....about CQ, her garden and her adorable dog Angell....


Dealin' with Wheelin'

When Fritz was a puppy I had to build him a ramp to get up the 2 steps to the back deck.... Now that he is disabled and on wheels I built him another ramp to get up the same two steps. He's had his wheels about 6 months now and they don't slow him down one bit... The door jams are scuffed from when he takes corners too fast and we don't go barefoot as he runs over toes in a minute... But he can still chase toys, bring me my socks, demand treats and all the other things that made his life fun. He does need to be lifted into the wheels, lifted onto the couch so he can watch the birds out the window, lifted into the car to go for rides and lifted onto the bed at night to snuggle and cuddle ... so I'm glad he's not a Great Dane...

But comments Pat Winter today made about how casual some people are about disposing of pets when they are inconvenient really hit home... There have been people who have said to me that we should just put him down rather than deal with all the expense and bother of the wheels.. Other than telling them that it a good thing then that he's not their dog, I've not come up with a adequate retort.... Like Pat said, it's best just not to listen to them and hope they don't get another pet.... but is still makes me sad ......


Peacock block finished

My part on this block is finished except for adding legs.. It was really an interesting mix of fabrics and colors. I liked the paisley wing on peacock and will use the idea again... The "feathery" tail is heavily beaded with purple and turquoise beads but they don't show in the photo... This block is ready to mail to Emmy in the Netherlands and she will be the last to work on it... I love how these blocks travel the globe.....

Att: Miss Cathy K....please note that I did a 7 layer seam!!!!

Peacocks on felt

Remember my plans of last week to add peacocks to the block I'm helping with for the novice group? The plan at the left was what I did with photo tools but now I've started the actual peacocks on felt.

The paisley wing turned out great and I need to devise something really clever (and quick) for the tail. I want the peacock on the upper left to be bejeweled also and maybe an elaborate top knot...

I'll file these ideas because doing a peacock "something" is on my list...my ever growing list....


Beady eyes

Starting on a face for Debbie's block this morning.. No matter how I manipulated the smile on the face on the left I wasn't going to get the happy look I was heading for....So I took out the small beads I had inserted for eye balls and inserted a slightly larger beads... Same face and same smile but see what a difference a larger eyeball makes..... hence the term beady eyes I guess...

Gypsy tambourine

I could not be happier than I am with the results of using leather for my tambourine... I even tried to pat myself on the back for thinking of leather. I used a pieced of lightweight board (tissue box) cut the shape of the top of the tambourine and glued it to the back of the leather... It was soft smooth leather and very easy to stitch and I made it a size that would accomodate these little bells. In fact I will add two more bells.... Now I can set this project aside until I finished the current RRs and then do the coins, lettering and a few more finishing touches....
And don't I feel smug because for 16 years my DH has wanted me to throw out that bin of leather and now that I've used 3 square inches I can justify keeping it another 16 years..........


Gypsy Block

No, no no this is not all my work... This is my RR block that came home and I am finishing it off... The paisleys were added by Wendy and Meg and Meg also added the coin trim.. Lisa did the rose and lace at the bottom which started the gyspy rose theme in my mind... Ati did all the lovely floral stuff on the top right....NOW I added the crystal ball and will add a tambourine, more coins, stars etc. etc. and more more more....

Progress on Gypsy Rose block

I need turquoise felt for novice block and am making a face for Debbie's block. So in the meantime I am working on my Gypsy Rose block... The spider disappeared but the web makes a wonderful celestial map for her crystal ball. I'll be adding more stars...
I took off the buttons on center right and raided the box on my husband's dresser where he puts change when he returns from a trip overseas. I found a lot of foreign coins and drilled holes in them.. As soon as I polish them up a bit they will replace the buttons... I also want to put some text in that area...."With rings on her fingers and bells on her toes....my sweet gypsy rose.." Since the space is limited I might substitute actually rings and bells for the words..... I also added the hand symbol lower left.
Now the tambourine... I have mulled this over for days and finally the light dawned. I wanted a smooth surface for the tambourine and thought of sanding a button to shape or cutting a piece of copper and then I realized I had lots of the actual thing... leather. I can pierce it, paint it with alcohol dyes so will look for the right piece this evening. I have a big bin of soft leather that I used for doll's shoes...perfect!


New challenge

I felt so good after I suffered through the "Out of Your Comfort Zone" challenge that I am ready to go again so I stopped at the thrift store on my way to mail Nicki's block... Today was orange tags 99 cents so I gathered a few things to make a dark large print project.....again a long ways out of my comfort zone... I should have a few more black pieces in my stash bin and of course I can raid my husband's ties which he never wears anymore.......

Also found this cool crystal necklace which needs some repair and I have big plans for it... After being washed it really glistened....


Sea Life on Parade

This is a first...painting a fish button...... It is nestled on the left near Faye's lovely treasure chest.

I always thing of everything traveling in groups in the sea and that is what I set out to capture.... After the dolphins and circling fish I add the turtles and painted the bead fish.. Even tho this was a very large block I ran out of room so am sending it on home to Nicki and maybe she can sneak something else in there... There is one unfinished seam.

The turtles were worked on felt on a hoop so they are very dimensional and the beads were an experiment using neon paint which was a disaster as it just turned transparent on the glass and I had to go back to acryllics. I wanted to use black on the fish to echo the black in the sequin trim... but it doesn't show in the photo.

Added some arrows so you can see how the elements keep moving the eye around the block. I used the painted button as an arrow toward the treasure chest..... It stops the eye to focus just the same as the fish on the lower right brings the eye right into the scene and the turtles.... When you look at other blocks it is fun to watch for the elements that move and stop the eye...


My real love!!

I think I'd give up my car before I'd give up my tractor and stacking bales is my favorite.... Running the rototiller is boring, moving gravel and picking up bales is more fun... But stacking the bales in the barn without touching them by hand takes REAL finesse... One lever moves the bucket up and down and another gives a wide range of tilt to the bucket... Getting in the right position and tipping at the right second can set a bale in perfect position on the stack... If it's a bit farther back than my bucket can reach, I can flip the bucket fast while lifting it, putting a spin on the bale and it falls about two feet back... It's a real challenge and when I set one perfectly, it's a loud YES!!!!


Cathy's block planning

I'll be done with with Nicki block by the end of the week so pinned Cathy's block (CQINoive group) to the wall... and WOW this block talked immediately and what it said was PEACOCK!!!
I just love the bead work in the upper left and all it needs is a body.. And never to do things halfway I could see space for a second peacock in the bottom right... I see this second peacock with a paisley wing and tail that echos all the colors of the butterfly fabric....

There's also a nice little fan thing going in the heart and I have the perfect brass filligree fan to go there.. Did a little rough sketching with photo tools to give you an idea where I'm headed.

No stitching today though as alfalfa bales were delivered and need to be moved into the barn pronto.. a couple day's work at least... And my hands will be swollen, scratched and sore.


Ruthie's Block

I finished the poppies and feel they are strong enough to balance the red patches. I aimed for bold, brash and RED!!!!!

I would love to take the time to put a hummingbird in the center red patch and some lovely red buttons and..... and.....I could spend another week easy but want to get this to Emmy before she leaves on her vacation.... The color in this photo is true.

Because satin stitch or any filled stitch is difficult for me to work over lace I again embroidered it on felt on a hoop and then cut it out... I do the lines with a tiny stem stitch or chain stitch, fill it with stitching, trim right up to the stitching and attach over the lace.. Because the felt does not fray I find this technique work VERY well. The dyed leaves are from a whole doily of leaves I found at a thrift store recently...
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