Twinkle toes....

As soon as Britain's PM Theresa May hit the political scene she became my shoe idol.. No matter how mundane and "grown up boring" her outfit is, she wears shoes that rock.. and of course is constantly criticized over them.. Most always flats or a sensible heel, she has a never ending supply...much to my delight...

I've always loved pretty shoes but always plagued with foot problems and all my shoes are chosen by comfort first but I want to change that .... a bit anyway.  I always have a pair of fun red shoes.. but I have my granddaughter's wedding coming up in the spring and I'd like a snazzy pair of shoes...... I mean really snazzy so I started surfing the internet.  I can remember in the 70s everyone was covering their shoes with fabric to match their outfits and there are Youtubes that show you how to do that...

There are directions for covering shoes with fabric or lace, directions on covering them with jewels, and for decoupage and painting.

I am thinking I could handle a very low heel and I am drawn to the shoes with the buckles.
I have good luck with finding new shoes at the thrift stores so if I start now I should be in good shape.

Like this one but with a sturdier heel.

More like this heel.

And I  REALLY love the absolute maximum of color like these below.. So one pair will sure to be painted or decoupage and maybe a second pair bejeweled.

In my dreams I would dance all night in these..............

But in reality these are probably more likely...


Jewelry Interlude

Well once I got all my beads out and semi sorted I did get quite a few pieces done last month and it has been fun wearing them... After about 4 necklaces though I got bored and you can only wear so much jewelry.

This pendant I bought from a street vendor in Gernany and it has been a favorite.  I had a metal bead necklace I dismembered, blue recycled glass beads from Africa, amber beads from Oregon and red beads from LA  I never fail to receive comments on it and wore it to the doctors this am.

The largest stone here was a piece of raw amber that I bought as a souvenir and mounted on pieces of filigree. There are parts of a necklace and two bracelets combined with it.
The main part of this is comprised of two vintage brooches and added to a upcycled necklace.  Now that I've gotten a good start, have most of the parts sorted, and added  small fortune in new tools and findings, it will be easy for me to pick it up at will and work in short periods of time.
This bird brooch with romantic charms is paired with some old pink lampwork beads.  I put a magnetic clasp on this and it raised havoc with the chains so will have to change that before I wear it again..

I even have a few picked as the next possibility...

I have had this brooch for at least 50 years and it was the first piece of quality heirloom jewelry I bought.  The cameo is hand painted and the mounting hand wrought.  It is labeled as hand made in France.  I do wear I occasionally as a brooch but know I would wear it more often as a necklace.  I may pair it with this pearl cord... Not sure yet/

I love this cameo but it is too delicate to make an impact by itself.  It too has been around for years and  needs to be the center of attention.  I love the soft green...

The third possibility for work is a lovely cloisonné butterfly that I bought in China in 1999 and it has languished every since.


Prepping my way- Guest book for wedding.

I NEVER take short cuts when prepping my work... Over the years I have developed what works best for me and find a direct correlation in the quality of my finished work and the prep time I put in. 

First when cutting fabric I allow ample margins as often I have had to shift a design and having that extra fabric  has been a godsend.

Second I clearly and carefully baste   critical guides.  Always in red is the all important "stop" line.  All beading and motifs end here.  Nothing is more demoralizing than cutting off beads and needlework when you are finishing a piece.  Having this stop line prevents this.  I do this every single time on every single piece...

The green line is always my goal of the actual size of the finished piece which may vary a bit but I need the line for a guide.  I also do this every single time on every single piece...

On this piece I have a third line which will be the fold line when applying it to the cover of the book.  I only rarely use this step as seldom are edges folded back.

Instead of using the usual filet crochet for my base, this time I am using a piece of fine silk backed with knit interfacing bonded to the back. This is something new I'm trying and am totally making it up as I go along.
I usually use elastic cord to keep a cover taut but I wanted to try a new technique that may give a more finished look.

I bought a pair of women's knee-high nylon stockings.  These are a little denser in weight than ordinary nylons.  My plan was to stretch them over the cover and sew the finished lace cover  to the stocking.  Will it work?  Hope so!
I cut off the heavy elastic at the knee and the rest stretched quite firmly over the cover.  This is not a large guest book...7"x9". Not sure about the next step but so far so good...

I am not a lace snob... Just because some lace is machine made does not mean it is inferior to handmade lace.  There are some really crude handmade laces and some truly exquisite  machine-made laces.  Below is an example of the latter.  This is the sleeve from a very expensive silk  peignoir found at thrift store and is just lovely.  It blends perfectly with the silk and will be the base for the rest of the laces.  I have marked the center for the spine of the cover.  Do not forget to allow extra fabric for the spine.  I can see all my guide lines through the lace. 

I went through my finest laces and picked out the most delicate ones and antiqued the ones which were too white and now I will give them a good pressing.
And below is the picture I will print on fabric use on the cover..  Madison and Ryan... soon to be wed.


A definite challenge

I spent almost the entire summer outside banishing weapons (aka as tools) such as shovel, spading forks, hammers, drills, and saws.  It was a great stress releaser to bang, prune, repair and attack everything in general..  If it was raining I was in the kitchen banishing different weapons but still stomping about as I was listening mostly to the   music of the Statler brothers.  All in all it was a very physical summer.

But like stitching, button painting was at a complete halt for months  except for one special project... a commission by a grandmother for two buttons of a cat  co-owned by two sisters.

The cat was named Hex and I found his eyes mesmerizing.  I happen to have two large MOP buttons that had  very unique coloration which seems perfect for Hex.  I did not paint the background...I just used the natural color of the mother of pearl.

There was another granddaughter who had a pet lizard and I was asked it I could paint a lizard.  I hadn't heard anything for some time so I thought my chance to paint a lizard wasn't going to happen but today I received some photos of and am eager to start.

The elongated body does not lend itself to a round button so it will probably be a head pose.  Meet "Bask!"


Using "filet" crocheted pieces for journal covers

 This was an easy project and I will share my  secret  with you for making it even easier.

I often make journal covers for gifts. I like them to slip on and fit snugly but still be removeable.
What I've always kept a eye out for over the years are these simple "filet" crocheted doilies/placemats. Since they are not fancy they are usually very reasonably priced.  I have gradually filled a small drawer with them and use them often as a base for lace work or covers.
 I even buy them with filled areas as it will all be covered anyway.  The grid is so nice to work on.  I buy odd sizes also as I often have to piece a couple together.  Again they are covered so it matters not that they match.

When I use this one I will probably cut out the center section and piece the two outside parts together so there is lace all around.

Again damage does not matter as it will be covered and then the price gets even cheaper.

You start with something retangle.  It doesn't have to be a correct size....just wider so any extra hangs out top and bottom  and longer so you can have flaps to fold back..  You could even combine two (or more) pieces to make the rectange...  This time I started with a rectangle doily (or doilies) about the size of a placemat....

I added all my bits and pieces before I folded the flaps back. All the laces have been stitched on the outside and it is ready to put on a journal. So here it is with the flaps folded back and the elastic cord "loosely" woven around...see arrow.  I do not pull the elastic snug until all the cover is finished and it is on the book.

  Then when slipped onto the journal it fits just perfect and the elastic keeps it tight and from slipping about plus it gathers the excess lace just a bit....

When I added the elastic cording I started in the middle (both top and bottom) and went across one way going through the flap and then turned and went ALL the way across through the other flap and back to the middle... Then I could knot the ends and leave a little hanging for adjustment... 

Here is another journal cover I finished the cover for a Christmas gift.

The piece of filet lace I used for the foundation was not long enough to make the flap so I added an extra piece of wide lace to either end.

You can clearly see the elastic cording I threaded across the top and bottom to hold it snug.  And it makes it easy to transfer the cover to another book.

It is exactly the same technique I used when I covered the journal I use to record stitches.


The potting of pies about to begin.....

We went to London in 2015 and fell in love with   Beef and Ale  pies in the pubs.  On return I started making them at home when I found a recipe for "proper" English beef and ale pies.  Last winter I branched out and added seafood and turkey pies.  Each time I made about eight and froze them... There's always soup in the freezer for nights I can't cook but the pot pies were a nice alternative.  Now we are down to the last two in the freezer and I've been giving them some thought before I started on a "pot pie" marathon...

Even though the meats are different I pretty much use the same vegetables... onion, celery, carrots, potatoes, peas and red peppers and top them all with a pie crusts.  This winter I want to add lamb and pork pies to our list and I want each type of pie to have a unique taste so I have been trolling through some recipes for ideas and here is what I have come up with for inspiration.

Yesterday and today I did:

Chicken pie with stuffing crust..... usual veggies but added prosciutto, sweet potatoes,  and spaghetti squash.

Pork pie with corn bread crust .... usual veggies plus broccoli, corn, sausage and apples in a apple cider cream sauce.

In the future I'll try these:

Lamb pie with puff pastry crust .... usual veggies plus extra garlic, sun dried tomatoes, wine, spinach and garbanzo beans.  I have one very large lamb shank in the freezer and it would be perfect.

Seafood pie with pie crust....shrimp and cod.... usual veggies plus frozen whole onions, fennel seeds, pernod, kale, tomatoes and clam juice.

Beef pie topped with mashed potatoes... usual veggies but cooked in stout and added a variety of mushrooms, parsnips and leeks.

I have over the winter acquired a large supply of pot pie dishes from the thrift store that go well from freezer to oven...  Let the potting of pies begin.  Soon be ready for looooooong winter.


One has to begin somewhere!

It has been so long since I posted I'm not sure there is still anyone reading but one has to start somewhere.  Same with stitching....I haven't threaded a needle since March but I am ready to try again with new lights, magnifiers, and most important a new attitude and determination.

Since I have to begin somewhere it will be doing a cover for the guest book for my oldest granddaughter's wedding in March.  I will be using all my "good stuff" on this project..  You know - the stuff you save forever because it is too precious to use... Tomorrow I will trip on out to the barn to go through my favorite silks...

Those around for a while will remember posts about this particular adventurous granddaughter, Madi.   Madison has traveled all over Europe, Asia and South America  SOLO with a backpack, a budget, youth hostels and cheap transportation.  When she ran out of money she stopped and worked and then kept on. I was wondering if she would ever settle down.  She had plenty of scary encounters along the way.

But now at almost thirty she has found her "fella" and he loves traveling and the outdoors as much as she does.  To propose he took here back to the first mountain they climbed together....how romantic is that?
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