Rotten Rabbit and Dear Abby!!!

 Somehow I have mislaid the rabbit on felt which I had almost finished.  I have searched everywhere to no avail...  I will move on to the next block and hopes it appears.  If not, I shall have to do another...

And this is my "dear Abby"...sometimes called "blessed Abby."  With ultrasound, massage, exercise, sim treatments and ice packs she has me walking again without a cane and almost NO pain.

I am going to have to stay awhile at the assisted living facility with my mom and will  have no internet access... Hopefully just a day or two.


The life of the barn.....

Marlynne asked for a picture or two of my wonderful barn so I gather parts of older posts about the barn and combined them.

When we bought the farm in 1980 part of the barn had milking stalls and a drain along the floor... It often happens I'm taking a picture of one thing and inadvertently get a photo of something else that I need later. I was actually taking a picture of the gallica roses in this bed.  Not realizing I was also capturing about half of the outside of the milking room in its original state.  Before I could even start remodeling we had to shovel out a mountain of dried manure and scrape the floor clean... My DH is not a "handy man" with a hammer but he can really shovel "sh--"!

As I started the nursery I knew this room had to serve many uses.  To achieve my vision for this large room I figured I'd have to do "shabby mismatched" (my specialty) but found the 5 matching windows at the left at a thrift store "as is" lot. I couldn't believe my luck. The same day I found the 4 smaller matching windows on the right.  The room is quite large (about 12'x30')    

This room became an all-purpose work room during the nursery years... I build things for the garden in it such as benches and arbors etc. during the winter... In early March when plant seedlings began to arrive it was transformed into a potting center and May 1st the nursery opened... Friday, Saturday and Sundays it was open to the general public and during the week it was open by appointment.. So on the weekends the room was gussied up as a tea room with overflow from the gift shop..

During the week it was transformed for workshops and lectures...

 This was another accidental shot... I was getting the room ready for the weekend not realizing I also got a picture of the original drain in the floor which carried all the cattle waste out of the barn...I kept it covered with old carpets.  All someone would have to do is shovel the gravel out and it would be ready to use again...  

Then when the nursery finally closed it was transformed again into my big sewing room where I sewed garden smocks, aprons, etc. to sell at garden shows... I finally got tired of bending over sewing machines and quit.

Unfortunately I didn't quit checking the yardage at thrift stores and kept hauling it home and piling in this room with the plan to make totes and purses someday. In addition to what you see here there is a long counter on the inside wall which has many bins under it. This is what it looked like when   my neighbor "Super Woman" Liz came and helped me get ready for Cathy Kizerian's visit.

We got all the fabric folded and sorted on the rolling racks and actually found the cutting table. One rack has tapestries, one has cottons and one has home decor fabrics...

Even though it was a January thaw, the wind was blowing and we needed the big propane heaters. It's not the best place to sew as it is most often too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer...impossible to keep clean and of course, there's the mice...

But the light is incredible... and it is surrounded with old-fashioned rose bushes.

I still needed to attack the other end of the room not seen in the tidy photo... it is where there are 5 sewing machines, ironing board and another big rolling rack... all buried in fabric.. Liz went home with lots of goodies....  .
There are three sewing machines and two sergers.  The blue machine is a Sail-rite which is great for denim.

Since I was doing crazy quilting I had way more "fancies" than I could ever use and Cathy Kizerian flew up one February.  I kept what I needed and she kept what she wanted and we filled several large trash bags to take to the retreat to share.  The weather was as decent as you could expect in February and we were able to work long days with the big propane heaters going...

But a frigid front moved in and the last day we were working all bundled up.   Even the big propane heaters couldn't keep the room warm. All the wall bins are filled with trims and lace.

But we finished and it was great fun watching all the gals at the retreat cutting the fabric up even more. Ever so often I will see a piece show up in someone's block.

About a year and half later Susie Wolfe came and we spent almost a week working on our BoHo  bag project and putting together fabric packs for bags.. and the big fans were going and shade cloth was on the windows to keep the room cool.

There is an adjacent room which used to be the gift shop where I have more supplies and an ironing board set. up...It's a cute room with rosy wallpaper, lace curtains and barn wood cabinets.

So I think 6 or 7 women could easily work in the barn at the same time.  I seldom work out there by myself anymore preferring the comfort and convenience of the house... Maybe when I get enough CQers here in Spokane we could have a retreat of sorts..

When we do finally have to leave the farm and put it up for sale, it will be fun to watch people's reaction to this side of the barn...  Well anyway the rest of it is still a REAL barn....  I have a fantasy of someone buying it and turning the sewing room back into a milking room for cows..  Wouldn't they be contended cows surrounded by roses and such a great view?


Eye Candy for Possible Class!

I want to offer a "fans from ties" (Let's Tie One On) class this summer at the thread shop as an exercise in building seams and fancy stitching.  So for display in the thread shop today I assembled this wall hanging from an RR years ago.  The stitchers included Cathy K., Cobi W., Bonnie W., and Leslie E.

There was another one in the series and I'm using it on a journal cover.  I had to do some searching in the barn to find all the trim.  I love my barn.. I can always find something wonderful plus fabulous things I didn't even remember  I had..  I will add more lace which I have on order to finish it off.

The blocks went out looking like this.

Now that it's  finished I wish I had did it lengthwise with half fans... too late now. Oh Well!!!


More than a few glitches and adjusting.

There always a glitch or two in every block but this one has had more than a few... First the pink is just TOO pink and so I'm having to move it around into the rest of the block.... (small glitch) Second I initially placed the cottage too far to the left and then proceeded to really embellish it in place. (large glitch)  It really needs to be farther right to have room for my large rabbit which is already stitched on felt..  Am I going to move the cottage?... NO!!!!  I'm unhappy with the green seam so I will either take it out or do something drastic. (medium glitch)  Then I have a limerick I want to add upper left.  It's too long to stitch and I have it printed and still mulling over how to attach it in an attractive way.  Not really a glitch but definitely a problem.

And to add to the list of glitches, not only did the space for my large rabbit shrink, somehow the rabbit got  larger when I stitched it... Not sure what will happen with this pretty major glitch... Am I going to redo the rabbit?  NO!! And finally my rabbit looks sad.  In fact he looks about to cry. Certainly can't have a sad rabbit on a happy block.


Shirring from thrift-store pillow sham.

I salvaged the shirring and some fabric from a fancy, thrift-store pillow sham and used it to trim out this block... The block was from an old round robin (seams only) from 4-5 years ago..  I did a lot of fine tuning on it last summer and finally got it finished in style..  I'll hang it in the needlework shop... I think it turned out great.  Some of the fancy pillow shams at the thrift store have lovely fabrics and trims..

Things Remembered!

Over the years I have been in so many round robins and have sent literally hundreds of blocks to homes around the world..  It has been always a challenge and learning opportunity to create on someone else's colors and try to fill their concepts for their block...  There have been a few blocks that I was reluctant to put in an envelope and send off..  I would have been perfectly happy to keep them for myself.

I always think I'm going to do that motif (or seam etc.) again but seldom do.  So I went back through some old RRs and found some of my favorite bits I could reuse in this cottage series. The first being this stumpwork garden lady.  It was based on a logo I did for my nursery business about 25 years ago..  A version of it will be on my June CQJP2013 block.

On one of the blocks I want a rose arbor and two I've done in the past which I liked was a lace arbor and a twig arbor. The twig arbor was for Ati and  is on a piece of lace her grandmother made.The trick here was to have the arbor and cover as little of the lace as possible.

I've done countless stumpwork birds but one of my favorites was this nesting bluebird  for Cobi.  I especially liked how the nest came out.  Since I have already done a bluebird, I will do a robin on a nest. And actually bluebirds like to nest in houses and cavities but I took creative license with this bird.

And before the series is finished I want to include a pair of doves similar to these I did for Ati.  The yellow roses  by the birds were done with organza ribbons. Ati's blocks were always a dream to work on and we were in numerous round robins together.


Next block - rabbits and daisies

As I've mentioned before I am working ahead on these blocks in case I have to have more eye surgery so this is actually the May block...  I've a good start and you can see the lovely vintage daisy trim I found on etsy and will never ever admit what I paid for it...I will have to use every piece of it...which will be easy as it is precious...

I've started the rabbit on felt and as always, I outlined it with a chain stitch before I started filling it in...  I do the lightest areas and the darkest areas first and then start blending them together.

This is absolutely the very worst felt I've ever used.  Usually when I do the tight chain stitch it compresses the felt...  This stuff just disintegrates and leaves holes... I bought it at JoAnns and sadly I bought a whole yard because I wanted to use it with my students...  I"ll throw what's left in the washer and dryer and see if helps... Nasty flimsy stuff.

And speaking of nasty stuff....one of the earlier fabrics I ordered on line came and it was terrible..


Mini-tutorial - Modifying a patch

This a technique I use a LOT and seems like a silly tut but someone might find it useful...  On this new CQJP block I have a rather small green patch lower right... I wanted a fancy seam AND a daisy patch AND a bunny on this small patch and all three weren't going to fit so I decided to make the patch larger.

First I folded a wide piece of seam binding and stitched it to the top of the patch..

At this point I could have used braid or lace to hide the seam... The gimp was too bulky since I wanted to embroider over it so I chose to cover the joint with a simple ribbon.

This technique added over 3/4" to the patch and will give me enough room for all I want to do.  Nothing matches perfectly but it all blends in.

This is especially useful if you end up with small awkward corners or long skinny patches...Remember this works equally well for a patch that is too large and not in balance with the rest of the block..

The following is a repeat of a tutorial on block talk demonstrating some of the same elements.

I discussed this block a little when I did it. It was Jeanne's block in a "seams only" RR. I had three areas I wanted to change..

1. I wanted the orange patch to appear bigger and make the lavender patch beneath it a little more interesting shape. 
2. The teeny tiny corner patch upper right was just too small so I either had to make it appear larger or disappear.

3. The long narrow patch lower left just had to disappear..

First the orange patch.... I put a purple ribbon on top of  a very wide orange ribbon and stitched it at the very lower edge of the orange patch making the orange patch look larger... By putting it at a slight angle it changed the shape of the lilac patch below it.. You don't have to ALWAYS follow the seam//

I used the same treatment to solve two different problems (#2 & #3)... an extra large bold seam.... 
and it made #2 (tiny triangle) seem larger by again putting a purple ribbon on the very edge of the patch. and giving it a bold seam and a bold seam on #3 (long narrow strip) makes the narrow strip seem to disappear.

The bold seams are always an excellent way to draw OR focus attention where you like  on a block


Happy, whimsical, rainbow paisley found!!!

I had pretty much given up searching through paisleys for a happy rainbow paisley but Cathy K. mentioned Liberty of London and it got me surfing again... I didn't find anything in their paisleys so I went back to  Etsy... Etsy has 121 pages of paisleys and each page had 40 shown...

I had found lots and lots that were colorful, whimsical, and gorgeous but they only had a 4/5 color palette at the most.. I had my heart set on one which used my ALL my colors.  Finally on page 52 I found this one and it fills the bill perfectly...  It's a happy, whimsical paisley and uses all my rainbow colors... Even better they are sending it U.S. mail......

Can't you just imagine it all now.....???


If  by some miracle I did find this paisley I would buy it and have an extra cushion for the chair.... It is still my favorite,


Bluebirds and Forget-me-nots...FINISHED

Blue is the keyword for this block and it's my favorite in this series... Of course every block I just finish is my favorite.   These blocks have been a godsend for my life at this moment.  They're small enough to tote around and work on absolutely everywhere ... and everywhere is my life just now.  I am whipping right through the series and this is April.  I decided to start on both May and June simultaneously so I won't fall behind as it looks like I might need more surgery on my injured eye.

This a fabulous book on cottages and I just bought it.  I got it used from Amazon for $1.49 plus $3.99 for shipping.  There were still about 1/2 dozen left at that price.  It is a companion book to the Victorian Gardens which I already have and treasure...  Great inspiration for floral work in CQ.

USPS vs. UPS.... Grrrrrrrrrr!

Our United States Postal Service mailbox is on the main road, 1/2 mile from the house.  Years ago we had the police show up with a large box of mail addressed to us. It was from a mountain of stolen mail found in a police raid.  At that time we rented a mailbox at a small post office near town and have had everything delivered securely there.. When I order online I want my packages delivered there unless it is something very large or very heavy not handled by United States Postal Service....

Now occasionally (as with the paisley ordered) I run into companies which will ONLY ship UPS... no matter the size of the package or my preference... which presents a whole new set of problems... Rural robberies are now frequent in our area... trucks are backed up  to small farms and load it with scrap metal, tools and anything salable at flea markets.. So we like to lock the big gate when we leave... People could climb over anyway but it would be difficult to haul stuff out... Why make it easy for them?

So if I'm expecting a UPS delivery I must leave the gate open for days or have my package sitting in the weather or on the road.  I now refuse to order from companies who refuse to support United States Postal Service and ONLY ship UPS.  It also irritates me that UPS is willing to spend, $10 on gas, driver salary and truck use to deliver a small package to a rural address in order to create a monopoly which shuts out the United States Postal Service.

ADDENDUM:  We have now been notified by the police that when we leave town and have our paper delivery stopped that this very fact has become a salable item... They have found that newspaper carriers  who for a price let thieves know when and how long you will be gone... Police advise having a neighbor collect your papers rather that advertising you will be out of town.. It's all very depressing,


My Passion for Paisley (Persian Pickles)

 I have a passion for paisleys.  I love them in fabric design and I love stitching them with threads, beads, embroidery and sequins. Paisleys have been a very traditional element in crazy quilts from the very beginning.  They rank right up there with fans and spider webs as popular motifs...  
When I decided to paint the commode chair I knew I wanted to have a paisley cushion and paisley elements in the painted decoration... I have to admit that my experience with buying fabric online has been abysmal, both in quality and color.. But my choices at our two local fabric stores were nil so I was forced to go to internet sites.  First I tried major fabric sites and then I resorted to Google images... The problem with Google images is even though you are offered a huge selection to look at, not all of them are for sale...And that is what happened with my very first and most favorite paisley fabric. I was looking for a paisley that had ALL the rainbow colors I have in my door kit... But this fabric was sold on Etsy last summer and not available anywhere I searched.  If you have this fabric in your stash...let me know as I just love it and I need very little.  I will keep searching for it...it is a Waverly fabric.

So I settled for this fabric...but I found  it on several fabric sites and the colors on the screen varied widely...from very bright and colorful to kinda dull...so we'll see when it arrives..  I do like the whimsical rustic look of the paisleys.

I also ordered this and then I would only use part of my paints which I guess is okay... It is a beautiful paisley though and if I don't use it on the chair I will use it for a bag, Just because the door is rainbow doesn't mean the chair has to be...

  Paisley or Paisley pattern is a term in English for a design using the boteh, a droplet-shaped vegetable motif of Persian or Indian  origin. Such designs became very popular in the West in the 18th and 19th centuries, following imports from British India and were then imitated locally. The pattern is sometimes called "Persian pickles" by American traditionalists, especially quilt-makers, or "Welsh pears" in Welsh textiles as far back as 1888. Its western name derives from the town of Paisley, in central Scotland, a center for textiles where paisley designs were produced


Rapid Rabbit Makeover

It looks like April is going to be like March and I'm in the car constantly..   I feel like a visitor when I do get home... in fact my current fantasy is a whole entire day at home..  So tonite I am too tired to stitch and it's too early to fall into bed so I played with rabbit images on the computer.  With this CQJP block almost finished I'm thinking ahead and the next one will be rabbits and daisies (besides a cottage of course.)

I was looking through my file of vintage images in search of a rabbit in a sitting position because I want my rabbit to be holding daisies...  I found the one on the left but it's rather skinny and the head is rather static...  I love a tilted head and almost always adjust heads on birds... It gives them a dash more personality... So I liked the head on rabbit #2 (weird arms though) and tilted the head a bit and added it to rabbit #1 and then fattened him up a bit...  I did this all on the computer but I could do it just as easily by cutting it into pieces like I did the birds...  To fatten him up I just cut out an extra   right side) and moved it over a bit.  At this point I can cut him out and trace him on felt to be embroidered.

I found this precious vintage daisy trim and it will be perfect.


Bluebird audition and parts are parts.

I use birds a LOT in my work and do have a huge picture file of all kinds of birds which I have compiled over the years...  I like to do them "off block" on felt or something backed with fusible tricot....(http://olderrose.blogspot.com/p/bird-on-felt-tutorial.html)  But before I get to that stage I usually play with them in "parts"

I can almost guarantee that you will never find the perfect bird in the perfect shape to fit what you want to do.  At least I never do.... So I will print off a variety of  birds in a variety of sizes and cut them into parts and play with them like puzzle pieces... interchanging them if necessary... After all a wing is a wing is a wing...  Eventually I find an arrangement I like which fits my block and I tape them back together. These are three birds I was auditioning for the upper left corner which is an awkward space.  This technique works with most animals...You can rearrange ears, tails, set of the head etc.....

The  birds pinned to my block below are parts which have been taped back together and now I will trace the shape onto felt... I did finish the stumpwork birdbath and use bits and scraps of felt to test placement... There will be a cluster of forget-me-nots at the base of the birdbath to finish it off... so the end is in sight now.
p.s. found the camera but the freezer died.


Unique Chair with Storage Chamber LOLOLOLOLOL!!!!!

About 20 years ago I ran across this chair and had to buy it and it has been in the barn ever since.  It is solid oak and if you haven't guessed the porcelain "chamber" served a special purpose... I've tried to sell it at a couple barn sales to no avail.. So I am going to paint it when I'm doing the door. I know I will have ample paint so I was searching around for something to do at the same time and THIS chair is definitely it...

The finish needs sanding but the chair itself is absolutely solid and has lovely lines.

I envision a new life for this chair looking something like this..  If  I put casters on it and a soft cushion I could use it as a computer chair.  As old as this chair is, it is amazing the chamber pot is not only still with it, but not a single chip in it...

Of course this post falls under "If it's ugly, paint it"

A really inspirational site for embellished furniture is http://pinterest.com/dotfisk/embellished-furniture-one/

Also in the running for a repaint was my reproduction sewing basket.  Mine is like this but on legs.... I wanted to take a picture of mine but can't find my camera today...

It opens up similar to this..  I bought it because I could add CQ to the top instead the the tapestry already there.  I have worked myself into a frenzy looking for that camera.  I took pictures at class on Saturday and know I packed it with my stuff..  I've searched through everything several times, searched the car and even called the thread store.

But the day started out having to repair the vacuum and has gone downhill  from there.  The only way to salvage the day now is a nice nap and cuddle with Morris....
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