A fond adieu and a scam foiled!

Remember my tiny hothouse I have used over the years for my tomato plants in the spring and in the fall... I loved it because it was built of everything salvaged from around the farm....except for the stained glass which was salvaged from a Catholic hospital torn down in the 60s.

Well the winters, especially a couple harsh ones, had taken their toll and it began to shift a little each year until the glass began to crack and break...  Now I have a helper coming tomorrow to dismantle it.  He wants the stained glass but I'll keep a couple small panels for keepsakes and find somewhere else to use them..

Probably somewhere in my tiny multi-fenced veggie garden because it gets the lovely morning sun to light up the glass. On top of two of the posts in this garden I have antique owl andirons which have colored glass eyes which were designed to glow when a fire was burning...  When the morning sun rises they make me smile!

What doesn't make me smile is GREED!  A month ago a solicitor contacted my mother and assured her he could help her get VA benefits as my dad was a WWII vet.  I warned her it was a scam and if she wanted to apply we would go to the VA and see an A&A advisor and I'd do all the paperwork.  She is borderline financially to qualify, 94 years old and not likely to live long enough to receive them.

But as usual NO ONE listens to my excellent advice and against said advice she met with this person who turns out works for a scuzzy lawyer.  He took my mother to this lawyer who in turned wanted to revise my mother's perfectly good living trust to the tune of $2800... and help her invest her income. Luckily I did find out what was happening..  She was a perfect target and so willing to believe they were such nice men and they just wanted to help widows.


Update on chatelaines - 3 approaches

Our CQ group had a "sit & stitch" yesterday.  I was working on my cottage piece and three people were making progress on their chatelaine...  I love how diverse they are..

Theresa used an elegant tapestry and is basting down laces from her collection.  She also does doll costuming so has a supply of interesting embellishments.  She had also ordered some interesting tools from e-bay... I should have photographed them.  I'll to remember.  Several were antiques but one was a fancy retractable awl from a country with a cyrillic alphabet and none of us could figure out how it worked.

Kathy F. is using a paisley brocade in deep rich autumn tones.  Her  pockets are  of coordinating, heavy textured silk.  One of her pockets will have an elaborate spiderweb and the other will have lace butterflies.

She also has compiled a large collection of trims and threads..

Kathy S. (we have 3 Kathys) had the surprise of the day.. Hers is totally whimsical.  She has recently learned to crochet and is using this new found skill to make the embellishments for her chatelain.  Her lining is red with tiny yellow dots....perfect.  You just have to smile when you look at it...


Watch my garden grow and come to life.....

I said I was going to put this away for a bit but obviously I lied and will work as I can on it. The whole objective with this class project was creating perspective with color, size, detail etc. always starting in the background working forward.

Size of thread is the first consideration... On the climbing rose and the flower box I used a single stand of extremely fine German silk..

For the flowers in front of the house I am using single strand of regular floss.

I am using mostly french knots and chain stitches. But no matter how many flowers colors I add it will NEVER look like a garden until I do the greens.. Which I have sketched in with Photoshop so you see the difference.

I was surprised to hear Judith say she never used whites in her gardens.  I love using whites in my stitching and in my painting.  It adds life and interest in my opinion... and is great for carrying the eye.  I will use it to help define the path.

Color is the next tool for creating depth.  In the back I'm using dusky or muted shades.  I am a sucker for variegated threads when I see them and always buying them and then find the variegation is so long they are not  effective... but for this project they will be perfect.  As I move forward the colors I use will become more jewel-toned and intense... as well as switching to heavier threads and ribbons..

I'm starting with the greens now...threads plus some specials yarns etc... Judith Montano was so creative in her choice and use of materials and I'm using that as inspiration.

Here is my friend Holly and I at the seminar with our watercolor painting.  She chose an English cottage and a much larger format than I'm doing.


I am drowning in lemonade....

I really need a tattoo that says "when life gives me lemons, I make lemonade."

No one believes me how bad this house was when we moved in 33 years ago until I show  them the pantry... I had left the upper part "as was" to remind myself occasionally how far I've come.

The bedrooms were all papered like the first shot with a border going to the ceiling.  Some walls were a pressed board which had been painted with enamel and sealed with duct tape which had also been painted.

I myself  had added the shelves to the pantry and they were made from used and mismatched, salvaged wood.. So after the plumber mess was cleaned up and   repaired I decided to paint the whole damn thing black...black black... like they do ceilings in commercial buildings to hide pipes and heating ducts..

As it turns out  I love it.  It is so pretty now with all the jars and cans on the shelves.  And what did I do about the duct tape...?   I painted it black of course..  Now I have to come up with a clever (cheap) solution for the wallpapered section...stay tuned!!

And then there's the bathroom solution.... I went to the garden department and found this amazing sprinkler...  The red thing on the handle adjusts the flow and the head has NINE settings....including mist... Just like a 5 star hotel.  I bought a lovely white hose used for campers and when I want to take a shower I can just run the hose to the bathroom sink.

I think I am going to have to paint the black clamp a coordinating color... Whatta ya think??

I found an adapter for the sink faucet which allows a hose to be connected when I need to shower...  Works great.

Now I need to find a clever (cheap) solution to the hole in the tiled wall...  Maybe filling it with plastic greenery... any suggestions? Not anything using duct tape, please!


Some days are worse than others or the joys of living in 107-year-old house!

I do have both hot and cold running water in my bathroom sink but the cold water in the bath/shower was just a bare trickle and I finally called my favorite plumber... Both he and I thought corrosion has built up in the old galvanized pipes and it would be a relatively easy fix....NOT!

After trying to fix it through the faucet   he needed to break out the tiles to get to the   pipes in the wall but he still could not clear it.

Then he hoped the problem was where they had joined copper pipe  to the old galvanized pipe and the only way to get to it was to tear out part of the wall in the pantry.. (an old closet)

So he proceeded to tear out the wall in the pantry and was able to access that joint but the problem was even further back, There is just a small cellar and there is no access to those pipes from beneath the house..

So the one option left is tearing up the bathroom floor and possibly part of the laundry room floor to fix it. This is hardly a viable option because of the cost.   The other options are to get a faucet/hose adapter and run a hose from the sink to the tub to take a shower or fill the tub with hot water and bring buckets of cold water from the kitchen...

So I ended the day with no fixed water line, several hours of a plumber, and a big mess in the bathroom and pantry. There is a shower upstairs which my husband uses... But the only reason our marriage has survived 38 years is because we have never had to share a bathroom.  Today I am going out to find an adapter and short hose...  


Sky behind house

I took time this afternoon and patched the sky behind the house.  I knew I would worry over it until it was done as I only had a handful of scraps of those colors.  Since the silk house was stitched in place, it was a delicate operation.

Each patch had to be hand cut and hand stitched and I just barely had enough fabric. I ended with one small piece extra.

The seams now can be fly stitched to match the left side.  But I can do that later and for now pin it on a board until I have more time...

You might be as surprised as I was that one item on our supply list was an acid-free glue stick and we used it a lot.


My workshop piece at this moment....

 I've a good start on my piece but a very long way to go...  The title of the workshop was "Cottages Galore" but the main focus was creating perspective and depth with fabric, color, stitching and embellishment.  There were five in the class and we were all to bring a picture of a cottage or house and there was a variety including my little victorian cottage, Holly's English cottage, Cindy's contemporary home, Doreen's family ranch style, and Becky's southwestern adobe cottage.

Getting the cottage to silk as a watercolor was a very involved day-long process. Our photos were put into the computer and photoshop made them into a line drawing which we  then transferred  to watercolor paper and painted ... The   watercolor was scanned into the computer and printed on silk. It took the entire day and part of the evening.

I picked a little house only a block from my favorite thrift store. It is surrounded by  commercial buildings and faces a parking lot.  It is obviously a rental as it has no garden and junk everywhere... But every time we pass it I always comment on how I love that little house and am delighted to give it the garden it deserves.

At this point I'm still working on the sky and have decided I need to add more darker patches to anchor the lower left. Of course that means picking out the patches I already have there...

In the last hour of the last day Judith was showing us how she does trees and the little tree you see is just basted there so I could remember the technique.

It needs to be removed and made MUCH larger to be in the proper perspective,  The path is hard to see now and will not stand out until it is embellished and beaded.

This will all take a while as it is too large a piece to tote along as is my usual practice.  Almost everything I've worked on in the last 18 months has been 7-9" and this piece is about 12 x 15"

My knowledge of Mexican food is about at the Taco Bell level.  So when Holly said she was bringing ingredients to make mojitos I expected something like a burrito....  NOT and boy are they good!!!


LaVeta and Judith's studio

LaVeta is an absolute gem of a small town in southern Colorado filled with artists, galleries, interesting shops, inns, restaurants and a fabulous bakery.. This trip was special because I not only got to see Judith Montano's studio but to see her work up close.. and there is nothing like seeing it in person...

She uses lots of rich, dark dusky fabrics.. I came home inspired. Here a couple works in progress on her wonderful design wall.  Her style is so rich and opulent...

Luckily she was doing a bit of purging and had two baskets of supplies priced to sell....and I bought.
She had bags of good-sized pieces of her fabric but she had this one bag of small scraps from her recent projects which I'm keeping together to make my JBM memory block..definitely a winter project. In the basket were lots of trims of which I chose these two at $1 each because they went so well with the fabrics.  I also got many other tidbits from these baskets... most will go on my class project which I will post about when it everything is unpacked.

I absolutely fell in love with her system of storing threads on rings and can hardly wait to get mine sorted that way (not that I have that many)  I have tried so many ways and nothing ever worked..  This is the perfect solution for me... I don't have a lot of wood rings but I do have many 4" & 6" hoops that will work.

Holly is holding  back a corner of a cover on only one of many rolling racks of fancy fabrics... This one is all silks and you can  see a small portion of what is there. It is about 2' deep and 4' across and extends to the floor.  It was breathtaking with an endless variety of color, texture, and patterns.

The workspace was exquisite with excellent lighting.  Since Holly and I stayed in the guest house attached to the studio I was stitching from 6am until 10 or 11 pm.  I only begrudgingly stopped to eat and sleep.

I did have a problem with the 7000+' elevation and the return flight from Denver was 3 hours late leaving and I arrived home and to bed at 2am... Today I am exhausted and struggling to get my bearings.  There are just so many things that need to be done at once.  ... and what I really want to do is stitch... Morris (and DH and Molly ) were so happy to have me home.


Text on felt tutorial and name tag!

This post is a HUGE thank you to Shirlee Fassell who suggested I put my name on my chatelaine.  I did it after the chatelaine was finished as I wanted it to actually look like a name tag pinned to it.  I would have never thought of doing this myself and love it.  And here is how I did it.

When I did the rabbit poem recently and when I did all the lift-up flaps in my Morris book I did a lot of experimenting.  The first thing I learned is when you just use the 2-way fusible to attach the printed text, the felt texture and fibers as well as the adhesive of the fusible  bleed through the printed fabric.  And this is so even though I use a poplin photo fabric which is pretty dense.  It would be even worse with printed silk.  I solved this problem by first using a fusible tricot on the photo transferred text.

Here are my usual supplies for this technique.

First I apply the fusible tricot to the printed text which is untrimmed.  I find it easier to trim it after the fusible is bonded and then there are no loose threads.  I add the 2-way fusible now and trim to size and remove the paper backing.

Then I use the 2 way fusible to attach it to the felt and trim so there is about 1/16 edge of the felt showing.  I usually use this bit for stitching it down and adding beads.

Sometimes in the Morris book I used 2 and even 3 layers of felt to get the effect I wanted.

But  my name tag I wanted to be REALLY firm BUT flexible and  under the felt layer I added another layer....crinoline.  Crinoline is a lightweight buckram which looks like starched cheesecloth.  I had this scrap left from a ribbon flower class.  In the olden days when I was in high school all the girls wore long gathered dirndl skirts with crinoline petticoats.

This crinoline layer was perfect and I'll use it again for certain... The finished piece is very firm (not brittle) and still flexible and sewable.
So I did a little beaded ruffle around it and there you are.  The only other thing I wish I might have tried is an oval shape.. but too late for this project...

Again a big THANK YOU to Shirlee!!!!


Thrift store shopping tip and secret to "safe" place..

One of the things I'm always on the lookout as I cruise thrift shops are cheap little bracelets... either just pot metal or the kind on elastic. I usually snap them up at around $1-2 and use them as seam embellishment. This pink one was pretty worn but so cute and I cut it up and used in on each of my tools and scissors fobs on my chatelaine...

I like the fact that they are different but coordinated.

These are two I picked up yesterday and they are just laced on elastic. Both will be used on my suffrage quilt... The top one was $1 but the bottom one was $4... but it has twenty sections and is so art deco looking.

These little bracelets are often in clumps in a basket or on a rack..  Look for them..

And I'm amazed a follower did not write and tell me the secret to finding all the things we put in the elusive "safe" places and then one can't remember where those safe places are... I started cleaning my little (very messy) painting/storage room and found lots of  lost treasures including my silver needle case that I'd been searching EVERYWHERE for...  So when all else fails....clean house.  I'm thinking seriously of doing it again...but not too soon!!
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