Sunday, September 12, 2010

Hello Autumn...I {heart} you!

So happy FALL is here. More walks with Little Miss this weekend. Our jaunts to the creek include searching for the same landmarks over and over. "That boy's red hat" (a plastic construction hat) "the big leaf" (no idea where its mates are!) "the old bike" (which has nearly rusted away since last year) and "the doggie's tree" (a hollowed out tree that Little Miss used to be able to stand in and she and her daddy decided was where a doggie lived). At this time of year some of these things are harder to spot - everything is still so overgrown and green....but little by little, Fall is arriving and soon the view along the path will change again. For now, these are some of my favorite sights.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

September is the perfect time for heading back to Stitch School!

A Sunday walk with Little Miss and her babies.
(Blurry, I know...but she moves too fast for me these days.
She's not a fan of the camera anymore. Had to sneak this in with the cell phone!)

How cool is this blog? And this? And this one? I am sure there are many others out there...but these are the ones I found when I searched for "embroidery stitches" when I wanted to add a few more stitches to my repertoire.

Stitches I can now execute on a fairly consistent basis:
  1. Straight Stitch

  2. Satin Stitch (but never as perfectly as my sister Kristin)

  3. Stem stitch (but never as well as my Mom or sister)

  4. Cross stitch (and half- and quarter-cross)

  5. Chain stitch

  6. Lazy Daisy (always my fav)

  7. French Knot

  8. Split stitch

  9. Bullion stitch (sort of)

  10. Spider's Web (I think I have it right?)

  11. Seed stitch

  12. Fern stitch

  13. Couching stitch

  14. Algerian Eye

That's not many, is it? There are a drillion out there! who knew?

I can't really remember when I first learned how to do embroidery....I think my Mom must have taught me the basics (or maybe Gram?) My mother's work always amazed me. Her "back" was as perfect as her "front" (mine never was/is)...and even when I learned counted cross stitch and then got my mom and sisters hooked....I still never had "pretty backs" like Mom.

I had thought my great-grandmother taught my mom. But she tells me it was her own mom who taught her - (Gram's Raggedy Ann doll faces were examples of her precision work. Absolute perfection.) And for all these years I only knew the most basic stitches - French Knots, chain stitch, split stitch, lazy daisy, satin stitch. But I so admire the more elaborate stitches like I have seen in crazy quilts and other needlework projects (like everything Rebecca Sower and Pam Garrison do!)

And so I am determined to learn a few new tricks this month. I think I will start a little sampler to track my progress.....seriously in love with this and this and this...

Off to it I go...will share pics as I make progress!

**PS The photo has nothing to do with my stitching, obviously....but I couldn't post with a PHOTO. It's one of the THREE walks we took this weekend "to the creek." How stinkin cute is she with her baby in the backpack (there is another in the stroller, along with a pack of gum and some rocks.) Love her to the moon, I do, I do, I do.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

A bit of stitchin'...

As always...inspired by Rebecca Sower's needlework.....there is nothing about this little tutorial that I didn't instantly fall in love with. (But I restrained myself from heading to the needlepoint shop for some fancy wool threads....instead...allowed myself 2 new skeins of teal DMC floss and a strand of pearls at AC Moore using my 40% off coupon, bien sur que oui!....the rest came from my stash.)

Needing some lovely words or a saying to complete this piece...then I want to frame it for the wall in our family room. Want to find a nice fabric "3" to add as well. We shall see how it evolves....

So this is what I did late into the evening on Friday while catching up on some DVRd tv shows. A pretty perfect pairing, I'd say!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Because "3" Is No Longer a BABY!

I need to come up with a name for this one....

In the mood to revamp every room of the house.
Started small last week, with a new quilt for Little Miss's toddler bed....since the IKEA duvet cover on her wee comforter looks so babyish to me. (And um, yeah. For those of you playing along at home, YES, the ORB quilt-along quilt top is STILL unfinished. Your point?)
Based loosely on the Amy Butler Ginger Bliss pattern, using fabrics from my stash (mostly Kaffe Fassett and Anna Maria Horner's "Garden Party")...planning a RED backing...need to get more Kaffe fabric (I used up quite a bit of fabric! Aren't you proud of me for CUTTING INTO IT, STELLA?)
Mac was not budging from his spot....
What I learned:
  1. I should have had a better PLAN! All those polka dots really JUMP OUT at you - I should have spaced it all out better.

  2. Next time - chose MORE fabrics. It got harder and harder to piece the rows as my stash dwindled. I ended up adding some rogue pieces that weren't originally intended...and I think it shows. (Don't let the Quilt Police Ladies see this!)
    I really like "just winging it" as opposed to following a pattern or (horrors!) using a cutting template. I think that makes me a "modern quilter" according to the June/July issue of Quilter's Home. I'll take it!

  3. The best part was the extra set of helping hands laying out the blocks as I finished them....on Thursday night she gathered them all up in her fists and took them TO BED with her. I couldn't figure out where she put them...and sure enough, she had them clutched in her hand while her Daddy read to her. (And fell asleep that way. Luckily for me, I LIKE ironing so I didn't mind starting over with that step on Friday night. hee. Love her to the moon!)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Great Big Stitched Postcard Swap

Thanks to a recommendation by Stella, I participated in The Great Big Stitched Postcard Swap, hosted by Beth Nichols.
Here is the postcard I received from Lana in Australia:
(Bonus: Yummy Vera Bradley fabric on the back.)

Lana wrote: "The theme being 'time,' I have shown seed to seedling to tree." The photo doesn't do it justice - I love it! Thanks, Lana!

I was most delinquent in sending mine off to Carol in the UK (apologies, Carol!) so I will wait until she receives it to post the photos of the postcard I made. In the meantime, check out the Flickr group for more:

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

I Caved...

...I said I wasn't going to do it.

I don't NEED another notebook/journal.
I am sure a regular dollar store composition notebook would have worked JUST FINE.


I really, really, really wanted to try the Moleskine notebook like all the cool girls have for their art journals! (Surely that is the secret to fabulous spreads, no?)


And so far, I am in love.

Behold my new journal for my Lovely Notions class.

Kraft cover, decoupaged with papers from the Lovely Notions class, plus a paper doily and some K&Company bling and paper ribbon tape in Wild Saffron. The fabric insert on the lovely lady's dress is fabric from my wedding dress (swatches I have been saving for TEN YEARS. Oy.)

First exercise was to use a favorite quote.

Turned out quite lovely indeed, if I do say so!

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Rainbow Around the Block Project

I am participating in this project to support victims of the floods in Tennessee, as sponsored by Anna Maria Horner. Read more about it here and see entries on the flickr pool here. I can't seem to get another quilt FINISHED (I tend to stall at the "sandwiching" stage) but I can certainly zip through a few 12" squares! Who is in with me?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

More Artful Amblings pages...

...caught up with my Artful Amblings - Year in the Life of an Art Journal pages. Not really thrilled with most of these....the prompts didn't flow easily for me. But I decided to soldier on and post nonetheless....

UN: this one was really tough for me...wanted a positive word (but you can see my mind wasn't cooperating...lot of negative "un's" in there!) I knew I wanted to try a tape transfer - and tho' it didn't turn out exactly right, I liked it for this I went with it.

SOAR: I had recently read this quote and thought it perfect for this inspirational reminder to me to be my authentic self....

MOVE: Stole a line from Len on Dancing with the Stars when he scolded the "Stars" to listen to their dance pros when he told them to "show up, shut up and keep up!" Struggling with ENERGY for quite a while now...need to keep reminding myself to just KEEP MOVING.

TEARS: Was in the mood to collage and these colors are my favorites right now....the little yellow sub-page is for some private words on the topic....I think this needs more work but not sure what I want to do to it. I may doodle a bit the layers.

TANGLED: This didn't come out at ALL like I envisioned....loved my idea of the entangled circles - first thing I thought of was the TANGLED MESS inside my jewelry box (no matter how many times I re-re-re-organize!) - and I liked the bold black word across the page...but then I tried to use my Portfolio oil pastels to highlight the lettering and ugh, I just don't like it now.

....and now I off to watch the LOST FINALE (so sad!)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

My next art journal...

..will have this fabric cover ala the technique Teesha Moore taught in her latest video shares.

Seriously loving this technique....and that it is a portable project. Love to have something to take along on long car rides...and these little "quilt pillows" are addictive!

Niki & Kaylin - we must plan a stitching weekend! xoxoxo

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Nostalgic Musings e-Course

Handmade journal - using Teesha Moore's tutorial
Oh my...lovin' me some art journaling these days!

Taking Hope Wallace Karney's Nostalgic Musings art journaling e-course...and love love love every bit of it so far. Cannot wait 'til tomorrow...first prompt arrives!! These photos are of the first two exercises. I can see doing many more spreads using these techniques/layouts. Loving how the watercolor looks - (as opposed to my usual acrylics and markers.)
Pages below are the first two exercises....cannot wait for the first prompt tomorrow!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Artful Amblings...Prompts 2, 3, 4

I am so behind in my posts! I've been spending lots of time with my art journals...(neglecting my stitching/quilting!)...and have been so inspired by the group participating in A Year in the Life of an Art Journal.

Over the last week or so I caught up with scanning my pages for the prompts.
The Jan 30th prompt, "Hope":
This started as a blue painted page (big surprise there! blue?!?) and didn't like where it was I painted over it with some pink acrylic paint and sprayed some Glimmer Mist over the masked word "Hope" then outlined the letters before removing the mask; decoupaged torn pieces of napkin on the left (covered some messy stamping!), added some stamped butterflies and dots, the word "hope" repeated down the right edge, and my favorite part - some book text words to write out my thought. Love using gel medium as glue and sealant all in one...for these teeny words I used a small paintbrush to apply the gel --first to adhere the text to the page and then to paint over the words with the gel to give them a bit a sheen.

And the Feb 15th prompt, "The Unknown"
This started as a blank white page....I spilled some ink while playing with my calligraphy nibs, and decided to just leave it and doodle around it (not happy with how that came out....but there you have it)...the photo is from an ad in a magazine....the journaling is done with an UltraFine Point Sharpie how they write over the watercolor paper and the glossy magazine page. Very tempted to paint over those dang doodles/ink splotches....would have liked to see this as all black/gray/white....hmmm....

And the Feb 28th prompt, "Silence"

Right, right....we all know how LOUD I am and that I don't like total true to form, this page did not come out in soothing, pale hues. Loving the white pens of late....trying to find the ones that write smoothly without luck with the paint pen versions -- is my technique the problem? How do you keep the paint/ink flowing without pressing out GOBS of it? I do like the Galaxy Marker in Milky Way White by American Crafts....broad point (used it to color in the doodles and outline the word "Silence" - but it isn't as opaque as I'd like. And it feels like it is "running out" already after only a few uses.)

Still working on my page for the March 15th prompt...will post it soon as it is finished and scanned.

Happy Sunday...and whoever took Spring away....we'd like it back, please.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Remains of the Day Journal...

Finally uploaded the photos of my ROTD journal...and some of the pages in progress.
Silk ribbons for the tie....
Some applique on the front cover (hidden under the flap when closed).
The inside lining...

I added a patchwork strip to hold pens..

Loving this online class from Mary Ann Moss. I keep watching the videos to learn how she puts her pages together - love this idea of using up the bits and pieces that you have (er, hoard!) and making background pages for journaling on.

I ended up with four FAT signatures -- but only two fit in the journal...(so guess who will be making ANOTHER cover!?)

I used a bunch of thin, kraft-brown pages from a sketch journal as a base for stitching other bits to. This is a security envelope sewed onto the page as a pocket...with a bit of fabric tacked on (yep. Anna Maria Horner. From her first line - "Bohemian")

Scrapbook papers in my favorite greens...the picture is from a PaPaYa catalog (oh artful much do I want ONE OF EACH! And GUESS WHAT?!?! They are making WRAPPING PAPER out of PAM GARRISON's ART JOURNAL PAGES! oh my. CANNOT WAIT.)

The newsprint paper bag is from a scrapbooking store (can't recall which? I just always save these types of bags because I love them...can't trash 'em!) I trimmed it down and stitched the bottom closed - left the top open so I can slip things inside. Beneath it is a page from an old atlas. The bird and butterfly were cut out of an ad from a Somerset Studios magazine, the Making Memories packaging is from their Vintage Findings line (love it) and the quote is from the packaging of some Amy Butler stickers.
The page on the left is a gorgeous painting of an almond plant from a hotel/spa room service breakfast menu...the green/white checked page is a bag from The Queen's Ink stamp shoppe that Aimee and I stopped in on the way to and from Inspired last year...(we need another ROAD TRIP, AIM!)...

I cannot believe how many HOURS I spent stitching up these PAGES! (It is ADDICTING, I warn you!) Seriously. I could do it all day (and I did last Sunday!)

Next step: sewing the signatures into the spine. Can't wait!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Prompt 1 - Artful Amblings Art Journal

The first prompt of 2010's A Year in the Life of an Art Journal was posted on the 15th. (Prompts are twice monthly, on the 15th and 30th.)

The prompt is: "WHAT? What is holding you back? What is stopping you? What are you afraid of? What is keeping you from your potential? WHAT?!?"

I answered in relation to my art journaling process. Even though I love to sit down with any of my journals - even if it is just to doodle a bit while watching TV or relaxing...sometimes that WHITE PAGE just causes me to freeze. And especially when the plan is to share it on a group site. Rachel's idea to write out all the reasons holding you back and then PAINT OVER THEM to take away their power was a great exercise for me. Originally, I started with a watercolored page, wrote all along the border of the page and filled in with some circle stamped images. But I really didn't like the end I gessoed over it all and added two shades of acrylic paint as a base to start again. I used a Sharpie fine point pen for the journaling, and markers to fill in the letters. The stamps are a sheet of stamps I bought eons ago and cut up and foam-mounted myself (not very well!) The circle stamp is 7gypsies. The collaged bits are cut from a paint chip flyer. I love that I can still see a bit of the journaling peeking through the layers around the edges.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Art Journaling...2010

Ever since I participated in Emily Falconbridge's "Deck of Me" art journal group in 2007 - I have loved having an art journal (or two, or three...) going, and especially having regular prompts to keep me company along the way.

This year, I am participating in "A Year in the Life of an Art Journal" - with Rachel Wetzel.

This is the book I will be using (watercolor paper signatures, the cover is a patchwork of Anna Maria Horner fabrics - inspired by the journal Pam Garrison created from Mary Ann Moss's online class The Remains of the Day (which I have signed up for but haven't received yet....I CANNOT WAIT!)
And so...the first PROMPT was posted on morning has been spent layering some paints and textures on the page - I think I am going to go with some stamping and collage....all subject to change as the mood strikes! Will share when it is finished!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

It's all about pretending, right? in fairy tales and make believe.

So pretend you can't see the gobs of hot glue which were needed to shore-up my attempts to hand tie the frame of twigs. (I had better luck with the canopy when I stripped down some twistie ties for the thin wire. Just right.)

And pretend that the left, front twig is not completely unsuited to serving as a bed post due to its curves. (It was dark out when I busted the twigs off the tree in the front yard, because, yes, I HAD to start this project the moment I got home from work on Thursday after seeing it on Emily Falconbridge's blog that day.)

Other than those minor issues - (hee!) - I am smitten with my version of The Princess and the Pea bed for Little Miss (ok, for ME and Little Miss!) You'll note the Princess in our version is sporting a gown of Anna Maria Horner's Garden Party Polka Dots fabric for the bodice, and Liberty of London Tana Lawn in Navy/Red for her skirt. With that garb alone she is clearly a princess, right? (Note to self--metallic DMC floss is a b*tch to tie and KEEP tied. May have to replace her sash with some narrow ribbon...that is, if the gown lasts. Sirryha is in the habit of disrobing all of her dolls and tossing aside their clothes never to be worn again. Oh dear. Doesn't bode well for us enjoying Barbies much, eh? Maybe she will grow out of it? Moms? Yeah or nay? Is there any hope for me on this one?)

Sigh. Oh well. At least she didn't smash up the bed! (I am guessing it is NOT as sturdy at the one Miss Emily and her hubs created!) I think Sirryha sensed how fragile this whole game was for me! She right away wanted that GOWN OFF of the wee doll, and once we counted the mattresses and restacked them a few times, she went back to her other babies.

And, uh, yeah. For those who will ask---that stack is 20 mini mattresses. (I do have some standards! I Wiki'd the original story for the official count!)

Alas, Saturday was spent with her other dollies....and the Princess was undisturbed in her slumber atop the leaning tower of bedding! This is Sirryha putting all her babies down for a nap. Note the "Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh" instructions aimed at me!
Not sure why the dolls end up under the highchair all the time....seems a tent or playhouse is what I should be constructing, no?


Sunday, January 03, 2010

One Little Word...2010

Love this tradition that I first read about on Ali Edwards' blog a few years back....

This year my word is "GO."

I needed a VERB. Something to remind me to GET IT ACT.
....and now off I GO to finish cleaning up my DESK!