Tis the season to be romantic!!

Feeling romantic... I'v just hand painted a group of valentines on vintage mother of pearl buttons...  including a one-of-a-kind cupid on a large,very special button.


CQ students off to a great start!

I couldn't be happier with these stitchers..  All the blocks are coming along great and will post pictures as they are completed.  I ended up with 13 students in 2 classes... They are all 1st timers..  Check out the seams on Kathy's block after 2 sessions....
Here are more after the first two class sessions.

Valerie has a precious blue bird she is cross stitching off block..


It's a rare day for a rare siting...

Birds for us are a passion and an integral part of our everyday life.  Anyone following the blog knows  that every tree or bush of the thousands I've planted (and I do mean thousands) has been chosen because it provides with food or habitat for birds... In fact for years the Washington State Dept. of Wildlife had open house here annually  and had talks and tours on how to plant for wildlife habitat...

So it's  indeed a rare day after 33 years to see a new bird....and yesterday was just such a day... in fact a bird rare enough here that the Audubon Society requests a special report when one is sighted  ... I was able to get pictures of the females but not the male as he just wouldn't sit still.  He was glorious. So my newest bird on the farm list is a Bullock's Oriole


New Bridge and Pond

Marilyn was reserving judgement as she liked the old bridge and pond...  But the lace bridge was far too heavy and I had used Edmar thread on the pond.  Although it had a nice sheen it too was too bulky... So I am anxiously awaiting Marilyn't approval of the new pond and bridge.

The new bridge is lacier and I used a fine single strand of silk for the pond...  When I redid the path it went where I already had foliage (far right center) so now that has to be picked out for a gate and I hated the door the minute I finished it and it has to be picked out...

Haven't figured out one of the worst problems...  Lower right I drew on the silk with permanent marker when I did the design... Of course the design has changed and now I have this scribbling in ink..... I have a couple options..
1. Do a large clump of lavender which seems out of place....or
2.  Paint this cottage on a MOP button and position it over the  scribbling..

Have many photos from class and lessons but will be a few days...


CQJP2013 - Do I have a plan? and Kathy's boho bag.

I'm waiting  until I can get new cartridges for my printer so I can transfer the image... But other than that this block is done...  One of my students asked if I had a plan when I do a block... My answer is a definite yes AND no!!!!!  I knew I wanted a cottage theme, pastel colors and lots of lace...beyond that much  it is all spontaneous....  moving and testing materials  in my stash....  I used the bees because I had a little bee skep charm I wanted to use....but after the bees were on I decided I didn't like the charm so a skep was embroidered lower left... It was the finishing touch...

Kathy, one of the stitchers at my house, came today and showed me her finished boho bag and it is fabulous... She finished it with elegant detail and has every right to be proud of it.... As a relatively new CQer her work is extraordinary...


Something else from the barn upcycled!!

While teaching the crazy quilting workshops I find it necessary to haul about 7-8 totes.  I have supplies for the day's activities, plus the laptop with a slide presentation, related books and lots and lots of samples of my needlework, and essentials things for my own use such as camera, notebooks, etc.   Getting it all to the car and then into the shop was a battle...

 Also I needed something elevated to set the laptop on so everyone could see it...something the height of a bar stool... a folding bar stool for easy transport?  Maybe a folding bar stool on wheels??? So in searching through the barn I came upon  vintage folding carts and if I put a cake rack across the top of one, it was just about the right height...  I could use it for the laptop AND to haul all my totes as well...and get to the car and into the shop in one trip.
I used to use mine to haul trees and shrubs around the garden to transplant. I have two ...this one with larger wheels which is my favorite.

Last winter when I visited Susie in California she took me to the humongous flea market at the Rose Bowl...There were people everywhere pulling these vintage carts.  I was amazed because I never see them in thrift stores any more.When I did a search on Google I found they are now actually referred to as "flea market carts"  I also saw lots of them for sale with fancy little liners which would be easy to do.

But the one I liked the best not only had a liner, it had the pockets and a tool belt... The liner would be nice because the metal wires are quite widely spaced and things can and do fall through the sides and bottom.    I think I definitely need to do this..
Is this cool or what?.


Quick updates

This has been a perfect block to tote about but it is very slow going.  I did get moldings  door and shutters done plus lots of flowers.  I find I'm happier if I put in all the blooms and then go back in and add the greenery...

But I took out the bridge and the pond.. Had a tiny new bridge and mislaid it.

It didn't seem like a lot of progress but when I place it by the last photo the newest work does show  up...

I'm trying to keep my work on my January CQJP2013 at a pace with my CQ classes...  Today is devoted to seams but we will be doing NO stitching...  I think I found the solution to the teaching problem of difference levels of comprehension and ability..


First thing and my two cents...

When my students registered they got a pattern to make a block... but the shop owner had some blocks made up so if they didn't want to make the block they had the option to buy a pre-made block...  Either way everyone had a block..  I made sure it was on a foundation.  Then VERY FIRST THING I passed around a square template which they traced on the back of their block and basted... This is so their stitching area is well defined...  While they were basting it was the perfect opportunity to introduce myself, my background, and views on crazy quilting which takes all of 5 minutes.

Having your stitching area clearly defined is always a problem on blocks coming through RRs.. Not only do I want the stitching area defined, I personally like having ample ( at least an inch) available outside the stitching area... I'm mentioning this because one of my students yesterday had a block she had from a previous CQ class and saw it as a dismal failure... The most obvious was the stitching area hadn't been defined and she was in trouble at the get-go. Of course I always have an opinion and I saw this block as a marvelous opportunity once a few issues were addressed..  Go to Block Talk to see "my two cents" and see my vision for her block.


Another classy bunch...

 Today my Saturday class of five morphed into a class of eight enthusiastic stitchers. Two of them drove close to 70 miles to get here. The room is small and we were tight but managed...  Their blocks were all lovely and perfectly suited to embellishing... After we had gone through the laces and all the trims I had them put everything in their plastic bag and it was easy for them to see before any stitching began that their choices were in harmony with their blocks...  They left with everything pinned in place and went home to finish basting.


Computers...a great CQ tool!

When I first started doing a blog I would photograph blocks as I went along and post  them on the blog... But invariably when I saw a block-in-progress on the screen, I would notice some element I wanted to change.  It was always something I never noticed when the block was on the table.. So it became a habit to put a block on the computer screen before I declared it finished....
I was facilating between pink velvet ribbon and green velvet ribbon and couldn't make up my mind but the minute I saw both versions on the screen I knew I preferred the pink...

Now if you have photoshop or a similar program (and there are many) it is even a greater tool for making decisions... And last night I put the first efforts on my CQ2013 block in the photoshop... When I am going to use an image I will print it in several sizes and audition them for size and placement BEFORE I print it on the outrageously expensive photo fabric sheets.

Here I have decided I want a larger image than I first thought... And although I love the colors of this lace motif it is entirely too large for this block and overpowers the cottage.  I may color a smaller lace motif if I have one or else cut this one apart and use the smaller flowers... I just love all the decisions...and using my computer and photo editing makes it even more fun.
The piece of antique lace lower right is especially beautiful and very rare as well as very fragile.  I have been saving it for a long time and will do little to embellish it as it stands on its own beauty.

Note: response to Marjolein's comment below about color: Thanks for commenting Marjolein,,,and I think the key words are "When I took pictures"  I find my camera, not the computer, does all the weird things to color... I find colors pretty true if I scan the block....and I scan all the buttons for my etsy shop.  I find great variation in color just by moving the subject from room to room or outside to photograph...... It DRIVES ME CRAZY...  Just by trial and error I found I get the truest color if I put things at an angle to the table in the dining room....Not sure why but it works best there..

Since I use the computer for color for more general things like whether I wanted a pink or green ribbon, it definitely does that and general color combination...but then I usually scan whenever possible... it's quicker and truer color...  



A classy bunch...........

Remember last fall when I arranged to teach a CQ class at our  new thread store - Lovely Little Stitches?  The group was limited to five students and I was hopeful I could get five...  Well 10 people signed up and I'm teaching  TWO classes and today was the first... One student was ill.

None have done any CQ so this was the very basics..  They were given a pattern for a block when they signed up so they arrived with block in hand and nothing else. Then we had a mini stash-dash as I piled the table with laces, braids, ribbons, cordings, and  other various trims... They cut quantities of whatever took the fancy until each had a nice pile to start choosing what they were going to use and adding it to their block...

Next week we'll use graph paper to experiment building layered stitches...using only about 4 of the easiest and most common stitches... Then start stitching... The thread part will be fun because the store is fully stock with a luscious array of thread... And we all know how we love thread.  The last week will be adding beads, buttons and motifs.  I do believe a good (and stress free) time was had by all.


Where there's a will, there's a way.....

The good news is I'm painting again and it feels good...  I either patch the bad eye or, most often,  just adjust the angle of my vision. Occasionally I do paint buttons with holes but mostly I paint buttons with a blank surface so there are no constrictions on whatever I decide to paint.

But over time I have accumulated a goodly amount of these vintage buttons with a pin shank....which means there is an awkward metal nub in the center... I can and have removed the shank which leaves a hole which can be filled with a bead... less obtrusive than the metal nub.  These buttons were usually attached to garments with hitch pins.

The ones I have are glorious mother-of-pearl and a shame not to    use.  So I spent some time coming up with designs that incorporated the center metal nub into the foliage. You hardly notice the nub is there.   And here are a few... Not all are on etsy yet but will be soon.


Choosing fabric and a thrift store treasure

I was still struggling with recovery from the accident and surgery and contracted a killer of a cold.  I couldn't get out of bed for days and am still incredibly weak and wobbly...  So  I feel I deserve a treat and  I am reserving tomorrow for piecing my CQ2013 blocks.

My initial plan was to use creams and whites but then I remembered this whole pile of pastel silks given to me by my friend Susie W. (Susie of BoHo Bag fame).. I will probably add a few subtle stripes and textures as well.

I had to drop off bags of donations at VV yesterday and so of course I had to do a quick run-through of the store... I found this all silk wedding suit which is  gorgeous silk...  I assume it was a wedding suit as it has a very long train...  It is beautifully tailored and softly shirred around the waist and hips...  I can hardly wait to start chopping it to pieces...

But what was on the back was a bonus..

But down the entire length of back and train are all these tiny silk-covered buttons....91 of them. There is a small bit of crystal beading in the  front but  the straps are elaborately and elegantly beaded ...
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