January 31, 2013

Busy Bees...

Lunetta, deep in concentration.
Yesterday was the second and last session of the first hand embroidery class
I taught at Crazy Quilters in Venice, FL. Only three of my students were
able to make the session, but they'll still receive their second class from
me if they want it at a later date. My classes aren't finished until they are.

We had a great day. Once they learned their stitches and a few "tricks"
from me, we had a plenty of time for them to work on assembling their
projects. I especially enjoyed seeing how each student chose to 
personalize their own embroidery envelopes with beads or more stitches.
Stitching away...Andi in back and Debbie in front.
 There was even time for sharing stories, learning more about each other
and sharing ideas and requests for me to teach future classes at the shop.
Lunetta's kit
Lunetta is a girl after my own heart. She had to straighten up all her
pieces before she'd let me take a photograph of her work. Just like I would!
She added lots of French knots on her needle case. LOTS! She said she just
couldn't stop once she started. hee hee Then she added pearl beads on the front.
Debbie's kit
 Debbie used different floss colors on each of her interior pockets.
Her work was lovely, too and she made great progress on her kit.
Andi's kit
 Andi decided not to put beads under the hearts on the front of her kit, 
but she was fond of the lazy daisy stitch, so she used those to embellish
her hearts instead. She also had all her pieces stitched so she spent the
 class time assembling her pieces into a finished envelope. 

The last things I taught them were how to make crocheted button loops
and how to make cording. They were all really tickled to learn those things, 
which they'll be able to use in many other projects in the future. I couldn't 
help but smile when I saw the "light" go on and they'd learned something new.

They're also looking forward to a continuation of techniques when 
they move into my next class in hand embroidery, the "Over The River
and Through The Woods" quilt that we'll begin on February 28th.

All in all, yesterday was a thoroughly successful day and I must 
always remember to thank God for all the gifts and answered prayers.

January 30, 2013

For Mom...

This is actually the closest to the quilt's accurate colors.
 Apologies for the uneven color images. It was mostly overcast (and then, dark)
by the time I finished Mom's (Grace's) quilt, but it's completely finished now.

I haven't done any free-form machine "writing" before, but decided to 
attempt it on her quilt. It definitely doesn't look like my handwriting,
but it was fun to add a few important words to the quilt for her.

 I decided on the three words that mean the most to her...
Nothing has been more important to her for her entire life. 
She sacrificed all her life putting them first, and
 (God Bless her), she happily took me in as one of her own.

Just so you know...
I'm just going to call her "Mom" on my blog from now on, like I do in real life.
 I liked doing the colorful medallions in the quilt intersections, too.
I hand stitched them and then machine stitched along the inside of the
shape with a little swirl in the center. I was going to add heart-shaped
buttons in the centers but decided to free-hand quilts along the outside
edges at the intersections. I thought that would be enough without the buttons.
 Last shot of the night.
Mom's finished lap quilt.

Today is my second session for Arlyn's Embroidered Envelope.
I can't wait to see how the ladies have done on their projects, and
we'll finish them all today. I'll take lots of pictures to share with you!

Have a great day, dear friends.

January 29, 2013

Slowly, But Surely...

 I've been FOCUSING a lot lately and have either finished or nearly finished
a couple more projects. There are few things as satisfying to me as meeting a
deadline or a goal, and this past month has been especially hectic for me.
That's why I'm so darn proud of myself for keeping my shoulder to the wheel
so that I can complete my backlog of UFOs in the near future. 

These jammies are my latest accomplishment. They really make me smile!
 Today I'll finish this lap quilt. I'm making it for Mom Grace and I just know
she'll love it. First, I know she'll love it because I made it, but I also know
she'll love the sewing-theme fabrics that I chose to make her quilt.
 The top is complete and I'll sandwich it with batting and backing and do
the surface quilting. The heart-shaped buttons aren't attached yet either.
I'll add those after the quilting is finished, add the binding and take one
more picture of it to show you before I pop it into a box to mail to her.

One of the things that helps me concentrate is to play music while I'm
in the studio. This song had been playing in my head yesterday, so now
you can have it playing in your head, too! It's ok. You don't have to thank me.

January 28, 2013

Tuesdays With Tag - About Gnomes...

 Hi, Everybody!
Today I have a literary and information post to share with you.
 I'm going to tell you about one of Mom's favorite books.
Mom told me all about it last weekend and they're pretty interesting.
 The original book is on the right and it's called "Gnomes".
The book on the left is called "The Gnomes Book of Christmas Crafts",
but I'm not going to tell you about that one this time.
 Mom has had "Gnomes" since 1979...waaaayyy before I was born.
It's like realllyyy ancient!
It was written by Wil Huygen and Rien Poortvliet made all the pictures.
 It says in this book that man gnomes weigh about 300 grams. 
Mom said that's just over 10 ounces. That's not very much.
Heck. I weigh 32 pounds!
Lady gnomes weigh a little less.
 Mom told me that all gnomes love and care for animals. They help 
injured creatures, and even feed and care for abandoned babies.
I bet they'd let me help!

I know I'm a fairy dog, but gnomes are kind and sturdy
 like me, so I'm just positive that we'd be good friends, too!
 Most gnomes live in Sweden, but this map has red areas to show where you 
can find gnomes in North America. Apparently, they don't like tropical areas, 
because I don't see a single red spot in Florida, but there are lots of spots up north! 
Mom said it's not uncommon to have one cross your path if you're hiking in 
the woods or taking a walk in a wide open field! Just follow the animal tracks.
 The book tells about other magical creatures, too, because sometimes
gnomes are confused with other magical beings. There are pictures of elves 
(which remind me of fairies), but there are also goblins, dwarfs, and more!
 Elves are not mean, but they can be mischevious and are highly intelligent.
I wonder if they'd get along with my fairy friends or if they ever have parties together?
Goblins are mean and everyone should avoid them. I know that gnomes sure do!
 Then, there are uldras and trolls. Thankfully, uldras are few 'cuz they're
the worst! Trolls, on the other hand are much more abundant.
This is what the book said about them:
"Stupid, primitive, distrustful and unbelievably ugly creatures...
They often keep boxes full of stolen money and jewels, with which
they play for hours, running their fingers through them."

The book says most of them live across the ocean in Russia, Norway and
a few other Scandinavian countries, but Mom swears that she's also 
seen them outside their natural habitat, in Wisconsin and Minnesota.
She promised to make sure that we never cross paths with nasty trolls!
Mom also read parts of the book to me that told about what gnomes like to
do for recreation. They like to make pottery, weave baskets and make
cloth. They weave their own blankets, sew clothes, build their own houses
and rely on each other to create just about everything they need to live!
They're kind and enterprising little people. I'd love to make friends with some.

I know Mom said they don't live in Florida, but I'm gonna keep on the lookout
 for them, just in case. Maybe a couple will come from Sweden to Florida to visit?

You can just figure I'll sniff around every little tree stump to see if I can find any
 sign of them at all. and when we go to Wisconsin, I bet Mom will be able to find
 a couple and introduce me to them. I want the gnomes to know that they have
 a friend in one of the fairy kind...me! So, I'll be on the alert to find one or two.
'til then...
"More Waggin' and Less Barkin'!"

January 27, 2013

A Vintage Chic...

Art Journal Page from A Vintage Chic blog
 Thanks to Pinterest, I found Julie and her beautiful artwork.
Her blog is A Vintage Chic...

She creates art journal pages, with each page prettier than the last.
I also likes the messages she chooses for each of her illustrations.
They really speak to me.
Another Page from A Vintage Chic blog
 I'm especially taken with her lettering skills and art choices.
These are two of my favorite pages.

If you're interested in visiting Julie's blog or learning about
her "Nostalgic Musings" journaling e-course, here's her link.
It's always fun to visit someone new.

One more thing before I go today...
I think it's about time for another giveaway.
As always, it will be open to all my blog followers (friends) because
you are always my biggest supporters. Gratitude time later this week!

January 26, 2013

January 25, 2013

I Remain Affectionately Yours...

 While cleaning my studio, I realized that I have assembled a
"tin container collection". I didn't even know I was collecting them!
You know how it happens. One here. Another there. Before you know it,
you find that you've established a little flock of something you treasure.
How many of something actually constitutes a collection?
Three? More? How many more?

This tin is one of my favorites...Mary Engelbreit's artwork with an
adorable little girl writing a note to a friend. Don't you just love it?
I frequently use this one to store floss bobbins for embroideries-in-progress.
I'll share more of my newly-recognized collection in future posts.
I wouldn't want to overload you all at once, after all.
 Handsome is back home, so all is right in my world again.
I hope you have something great planned for your weekend.
I'll see you later, but know that, always,
"I remain affectionately yours."

January 24, 2013

Studio Bliss...

Thanks to my dear friend, Sherry at Createology, I have a name for
my studio "after" shots..."Studio Bliss". Perfect!! Thanks, girlfriend!!
 I actually find myself with clear "walking around" space! I moved
 the pattern cabinet out of my work space and moved in a little,
 rustic armoire that I used to use for display in my needlework shop.

I had painted it, decoupaged Cheri Blum calendar image elements to 
the doors and then added a pair of custom-made acorns I had comissioned.
I won't show you my paint job up close. I wouldn't exactly call it "shabby".
The pattern cabinet occupied 32" in width and more than that in depth of floor 
space, which really cut into my room, and made it nearly impossible to get into
 my last set of closet shelves (not pictured). The armoire is 27" wide and only 14"
  deep, so I have more space in front of it, and opening my shelf doors to the left of it
 is no problem at all now! The pattern cabinet held an insane amount of stuff, so
 I had to sort through everything. Thankfully, most things are still in my room.
Inside my armoire are boxes containing teaching projects, patterns and
fabric. All of my Sulky #12 spools, instructional DVDs and fabric (I
know. I said that twice.), cording, ATCs and a little more fabric. There
is also a drawer below the shelves and all of my needlework scroll frames
and kits are in that drawer, so I can quickly locate them. Sweet!
 Shelves tidy, counters and sewing tables cleaned, and chaos tamed.
 I can find things again, and I'm ready to get back to finishing a few
things that I've started. The sun is shining and I can see clearly now.
(Are ya humming, Shell? hee hee)
 Next on my cutting mat...this fabric will become a sweet pair of pj 
bottoms today. Don't you just adore the cheerful fabric? I couldn't resist!

No, they're not for me, but after they're finished, I might just have to
run out and get enough fabric to make another pair. They're super simple
and crazy easy to make thanks to my trusty serger, Evvie. I'll show you
what they look like tomorrow. I bet you're gonna love 'em, too! 

I'm so anxious to get back to creating thanks to my blissfully tidy studio!!
Later, girlfriends...

January 23, 2013

Keepin' It Real...

 I don't know about anyone else, but when I'm up to my you-know-what in "To Do" 
lists, I get busy...cleaning! It helps me FOCUS my thoughts, so when I've finished
 I can get right back to work - without distractions. Clean it up, then get busy!!

I have an area in the studio that's really been buggin' me so I decided that I'd deal 
with it yesterday. It involved emptying a piece of over-stuffed furniture, moving it 
to another part of the house (garage) to serve a new purpose, and moving a piece 
from another room into the studio. Handsome is up north this week, so I can do a 
bit of tearing up without messing up his life, too. I know he'll appreciate that.

Unfortunately, that means all the proverbial heavy lifting is done alone - with the
aid of those fabulous slider pads that you put under furniture to make moving easier.
As soon as I was finished with the emptying, I moved out one piece of furniture
and moved in the other. Right after that, I took two Aleve and made a cup of tea!

So, I'm calling the photograph you're looking at "Utter Chaos". (giggle)
Tomorrow, I'll show you my rearranged, organized, ready-to-roll studio...
as soon as I find a place for everything that's in my face right now.
(Right after I have another cup of tea.)

January 22, 2013

Michelle's Little Birds...

 Look what arrived in my mailbox over the weekend!
A whole flock of sweet, little cardinals are nesting in my studio.

Thanks to the artistic talents of my friend, Michelle Palmer, I have
all kinds of ideas skipping around in the creative side of my brain.

The framed piece is teeny, tiny, postage-stamp small. I love it!
 This time of year, many cardinals have actually migrated to south Florida.
I imagine the ice-box temperatures up north are as difficult for them as it
would be for those of us who have grown accustomed to warmer weather.

Each morning, we awaken to their songs and I enjoy watching them hop
from branch to branch among the palmettos and pines...flashes of red to
bring a smile to my face. Now, I'll be able to create a few beautiful things
to remind me of our colorful, feathered friends. I'm imagining all sorts 
of new projects to showcase Michelle's beautiful artwork.

You can find more of Michelle's creations in her Etsy shop.
You'll love it all!

January 21, 2013

Tuesdays With Tag - My Latest Trick...

 Hi Everybody!
I'm so excited to see you again today.
I've learned a new trick (rather quickly, I might add), 
and I can't wait to show you what I can do now.

Mom took a short video to show you, so let's get to it, shall we?
(Turn on your sound if ya wanna hear Mom chirp at me.)

(Link: http://youtu.be/ae-ve77Rcb4)
I know you're impressed, aren't you?
So, I have my collar on, I'm ready to ride shotgun
and it's time to hit the road (so to speak). 
Did someone say "speak"?
I can do that, too!
Well, what the heck are ya waitin' for, Mom?
Places to go. People to see. We're burnin' daylight!
Gotta run now.
'til next week...
"More Waggin' and Less Barkin'!"