Friday, December 29, 2006

I've been thinking about 2007...

What do I want to accomplish and where do I want to be at the end of 2007?

Those are the questions that have been roaming around in my head the past week. In 2006 I finished a few crazy quilt blocks and projects and started a few more. I took SharonB's (if the link doesn't work, she is having problems with her blog) encrusted Crazy Quilting class in the spring, had fun with the "100 Details in 100 Days" that she held later in the year and then took her "Personal Library of Stitches" class this fall. I learned alot but have decided that I need a better plan of attack for 2007.

Back in November, I sort of had a plan:

1. Organize the workroom so it is easy to use.
2. Create each morning before leaving for work.
3. Continue thinking about my project during the day.
4. Utilize a visual journal (again!)
5. Take classes and join a guild to push the envelope.

Well, the workroom is almost done... it has been a long slog, going through many boxes and bags of artsy craftsy stuff, organizing most of it and tossing some of it. I think creating each morning before work will get to be an enjoyable habit after a few weeks and I already think about projects during the day. I've started using my visual journal again and plan on attending the January meeting of a local art quilt guild. So... I'm on my way as far as these goals are concerned; however, I need to decide exactly what I want to create in the realization of these goals.

In other words... what will I be creating during those morning sessions and what will I be thinking about during the day? First of all, I have joined SharonB's "Take a Stitch Tuesdays" Challenge (link to be added later). Each Tuesday in 2007, Sharon Boggon will present a special embroidery stitch and show a few different ways of addressing it. Then each of us will take that stitch and spend some time during the week to put our own spin on it... different threads, different sizes, some with beads and some without... maybe we'll turn it upside down and backwards... but the key is to make it your own... learn it thoroughly and make it stick.

At first I wanted to make a crazy quilt and use the stitches in the making of the quilt; however, I think a sampler format would be a better way to go. Doing a sampler gives me the freedom to concentrate solely on the stitches and what I want to do with them, not their position and purpose in a Crazy Quilt. I also want to be able to refer to the stitches I learn on a continuing basis and the sampler will be the way to make that easy. Allie, of "Works in Progress" has outlined how she will be approaching the challenge and I think I will probably be doing pretty much the same thing. I'll have to find a binder and some document protectors first... I wonder if they come in a smaller size than 8 1/2 x 11? Will have to check.

Anyway... this leads me to another problem... although I will be learning embroidery stitches and their many permutations, I won't be creating anything specific. This is where some more traditional quilting comes in. I've decided to make a quilt for our master bedroom, as well as a complementary wall hanging. I also volunteered (via Debra Spincic) to make a woman's Quilt of Valor . That will be a good start for me during 2007... I'm sure there will be other things that reach out to grab me during the year, but this will do for now.

So... for 2007 I'll be learning many lovely embroidery stitches without the pressure of deciding how, when and where to use them in a Crazy Quilt, I'll be making some much needed quilty additions to my home, I'll be volunteering for a cause that is close to my heart.... and I'll be blogging it all!

2007 should be a good year. ;0)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Unplanned blogging break

Sorry for the unplanned blogging break... every moment has been filled with trying to get the kid's Christmas out the door. I uploaded pictures to Flickr earlier this week with intentions of sitting down and posting but somehow it didn't get done. But I'm here now! :0)

Thanks for all the comments on Becky's crazy quilt pillows. It is a good story, isn't it? I answered Debra's question about the background via email but for anyone else who is interested, the background of my blog is the birthday CQ wall hanging I made for my granddaughter, Sophia. If you would like to see more of it, it is on my Flickr site at .

I actually got quite a bit of organizing done in my workroom last weekend. I found most of my stash of different threads and organized them into 4 different color groups. Then I went and bought a four drawer set of plastic bins that I thought would be perfect. I took the grouped threads andd popped them in the bins; however, it was immediately obvious that I would have a terrible mess on my hands and that I needed to rethink things. So... I once again organized the threads, only this time it was by single colors. See?
Sorted threads
Yummy! That bit in the center is a skein of Noro Sakura yarn... OMG, it is gorgeous! I'm going to use it somehow... probably couching it on. Now I just have to find the perfect container to hold everything. It will need to have 12-14 drawers in it... I've been looking around at various office supply stores but so far haven't found anything. Oh, well, guess I need to keep shopping!

Then I moved on to the buttons. I had these sorted out but then a recent trip to the local Brass Armadillo Antique Mall yielded some more buttons so I had to rearrange the colors a bit. Then I went through all the little containers I have been using to hold project bits and pieces and put away all those buttons. More organization!
Sorry for the glare. I have another one of these containers up on the wall that I am going to try and use for my smaller beads. The hope is to get that done this weekend.

We also picked more pecans up this weekend. Our pecan tree has been dropping them fairly steadily the past month, but a lot of wind came through the other day and quite a few had dropped. Once we had them gathered I put them into an old dough bowl of my grandmother's and just had to take a picture to show.
Dec 2006 Pecans
They are very good... I was afraid they wouldn't be all filled out; however, the flood irrigation appears to do it's job very well. They were nice full, sweet pecans. Yay!

I have also been doing some Christmas baking to include in the Christmas boxes to the kids.
Christmas baking
Here we have Pumpkin Marmalade Bread and Toffee Sugar Cookies. Yummy, again! I don't bake as much as I used to... mainly because then Glenn and I eat it... well, y'know... quality control and all that!! ;0)

Now I just have to bake 20 small loaves of Pumpkin Marmalade Bread to include in the little gift bags for all Glenn's "kids" at work. He is the supervisor for 20 employees, mostly younger people, and "we" are putting together goody bags for them.

Once that is done, I can enjoy my five day weekend! Unfortunately, Glenn has to work a double shift on Christmas... sigh... but he is trying to get the 26th and 27th off so we can goof-off together. Either way, a goodly portion of this weekend will be spent... wait for it... getting my workroom organized! Hee!

In case I don't get back here before Christmas... let me just say Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Happy Kwanzaa (is that right? must look that up) and any other happy and merry type activities you have planned around the Solstice! ENJOY!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Family CQ

I haven't been doing any of my own stitching this week. The mess that is the workroom has finally made me crazy enough that I have had to start getting it seriously organized. There does come a time when even I can't stand the clutter anymore and this weekend was that time. I've made a lot of progress but not enough for pictures yet. Hope to have the unveiling this weekend (although I think I've said that at least twice in the past few months!).

While I was going through and organizing my fabric, I found these pillow tops. These were made probably in the '30s or '40s by my mother's cousin, Becky. Becky was unlucky enough to be born with the umbilicle cord wrapped around her neck and due to the resulting lack of oxygen, her mind never really progressed past childhood. Every few months for many years I can remember my mother receiving letters from Becky in a child-like scrawl that was just barely legible. Becky died some years ago, but these beauties live on.

Becky's pillow 1

Becky's pillow 2

There are four of them, two backed in red and two backed in orange, each about 14" square. They appear to be made out of men's ties, the patches are handstitched to the muslin backing and the seam treatments are all variations of feather stitch, I believe. (Correct me if I'm wrong.) They are very simple in execution, yet the pairings of fabrics are quite sophisticated. I would assume she had some help with this, or, possibly it was one of those instances where this part of her brain worked quite well. At any rate, this is where my fascination with crazy quilts started. I plan to frame and hang them in my workroom for inspiration.

Becky's pillow 3

Becky's pillow 4

Click for a better look at the fabrics... I love these and will enjoy having them in my workroom with me!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Movin' on up to Beta Blogger

Well, I took the plunge. Last night I switched over to Beta Blogger and spent a couple of hours choosing a template and then tweaking it... including figuring out how to personalize the background. That took forever since I know zilch about HTML! I kept substituting my picture for anything on the template that had a url ending in jpg and finally found the right one! Yay me! ;0)

I like the new template and the ease in moving bits around but I haven't tried to upload pictures yet since I have no new pictures to show. Hopefully by tomorrow I'll have some real content to show you. I still need to update my blogroll with all the ones I'm reading now... that's gonna take some time!

Please let me know how it looks to you and if you see any tweaking that needs to be done. I changed my fonts and colors so if you have trouble reading them I would like to know so I can change them.

Talk to you in a day or so!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Week 5 - Slipped Cable Chain Stitch Sampler Done

Thanks for the comments, ladies!

Here is the finished sampler ornament.
Week 5 - ornament finished
I added another row of slipped cable chain stitch in Kreinik silver metallic braid at the bottom, then filled in the areas between the center row and the top and bottom rows with two different variations using silk floss (starting with two rows of cable chain stitch on each side) and metallic DMC thread. Then, I added a backing of matching wool felt and buttonhole stitched around the edges. I'll set it aside and do some other ones and then figure out how I'll use them.

Allison - here is a link provided by Google to the cable chain stitch and then you just work the "slipped" part through the cables between the chain stitches. It is a wonderful stitch and I just love the variations that are possible with it!

Off to find another stitch to practice before the lesson for Week 6 (the last one!) comes out tomorrow!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Week 5 - Slipped cable chain stitch

OK, so maybe I needed more than a day off from blogging! ;0)

I read over the lesson for Personal Library of Stitches Week 5 and started playing around with ideas for a "sampler." I wanted to use the cable chain stitch because I just plain love that stitch. I also like the variations that SharonB came up with in her lesson. She wanted us to explore the stitches and find different ways of varying them. So... since it is Christmas and you can never have too many Christmas ornaments, this is what I came up with.
Week 5 - ornament
This is a variation on slipped cable chain stitch worked in #3 perle cotton on wool felt. I drew out the ornament shape (it's about 6" across) on graph paper, transferred it to cardboard, got a sore hand from cutting it out of the cardboard and then traced around it on the wool felt. Across the top of the ornament I have started another variation of slipped cable chain stitch using Kreinik silver metallic braid.

Here's a closeup of the stitch... click on either picture to embiggen.
Week 5 - ornament closeup
There are so many possiblities with this stitch... yum!!

I'm going to continue on this ornament and some others I have drawn and see where I end up. Should be fun!