Thursday, July 30, 2009

BAS - Week 32 - Couching with Embroidery Stitches

First, I'll start with a brief explanation of BAS, that is, the Build a Seam Challenge. I was finding myself using my same two or three favourite stitches for most of my crazy quilting seam treatments and knew I needed to stretch and grow a bit. BAS was born! lol Each week (roughly) I post a new stitch, technique or framework for a seam and the challenge is to use it in a seam treatment, to try something that might be new and to widen our outlook and consider new ways to use these stitches.
The Build a Seam Challenge is open to everyone. It is run out of the CQI Novice Group but I also post it here on my blog for anyone who is not a member to have access to it. You can jump in anytime, play catchup, or just pick the ones you like. There is nowhere to sign up and no obligations. I would love to see your seam treatments though so if you post a comment with a link to the picture, it is great inspiration for me and others playing along. On the right hand side of this blog you will see a list of previous weeks with links so you can check those out as well.
So, on with this week's challenge - couching with embroidery stitches. The inspiration for this one came from Judith Baker Montano's great little book, "Crazy Quilting - A Complete Guide". The idea is to take a braid, trim, cord or other fiber and to couch it down with embroidery stitches - something other than the usual little straight stitches. I've used fan shaped clusters of straight stitches for this one. You might use buttonhole stitch, detached chain, or any other stitch. By the way, the stripes you are seeing in the picture are my stripes of Tiger Tape. This bit is a work in progress so my trusty Tiger Tape is there helping me to keep my stitches spaced evenly.
Have fun! I hope you like this one and I can't wait to see what you come up with!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Celebration Giveaway!

I feel like celebrating! I had a wickedly awesome day and scored all kinds of goodies at the thrift store today. So, I thought I would share the wealth! lol I found this package of three embroidered hankerchiefs with the letter "B" on them. I will save one in case I make something for my ddil, Bobbi, but the other two are up for grabs. Just leave a comment and the first two who either have a first or last name starting with "B" or have some other reason why "B" is significant to them and could use one of these in a project will get them. Don't forget to make sure I have an email address for you!
While you are at it, take a peek at the other two giveaways I have still open here and here.

Colorado Here I Come!!

I am getting more and more excited about the Crazy Quilting International retreat being held in Colorado this September. There was only one more obstacle standing in my way but look what came in the mail today....
MY PASSPORT!! I was so worried because the deadline for not being able to cross between Canada and the US without a passport had kind of just slipped by me. But it arrived! Watch out, girls, I'm a'coming!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

More Eye Candy from EAC

The Embroiderer's Association of Canada (EAC) recently concluded a contest for bookcovers. You might want to visit the website to see all the gorgeous entries - well worth the time!

Notes from the Lake

Well look who decided to spend a couple nights on the little supply shed next to my trailer! I don't know exactly what kind of owl he is but I am referring to him as a screech owl since that is certainly what he did for two nights in a row! lol He wasn't alone either - his girlfriend was on the other side of the trailer answering him. I know it is a terrible picture but it was pitch black outside when I took it from my trailer doorway. He hasn't been back and I am missing him even though he compromised my sleep for a couple nights. I love owls!

Christmas in July! OOPS!

How could I have forgotten I signed up for a giveaway? It was to have happened on July 25th and I don't know where the time went?! Lots of reasons, no excuses, but here I am at last announcing that I am giving a book away for the Lollishops Christmas in July giveaways.
This is an older book but it has some lovely projects and ideas in it so I think it would be a fun library addition for anyone who loves Christmas and making handmade items. At least I hope so! I will leave this up until August 3rd, next Monday, when I will pick a winner randomly from any comments on this post. Sorry again for missing the correct date but a giveaway is good anytime, right? lol

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Cobi's Spider II RR Block

I have finished my work on Cobi's Spider II block and am sending it on. The first thing I did was the wisteria in the bottom left hand corner. Details and a closeup picture were posted earlier here. It was my sample sean for week 31 of the BAS (Build a Seam Challenge).
The other work I did is here in the upper right hand corner. Debbie had started a silk ribbon garden with the coneflowers and the little dragonfly charm. I added a unusually short hollyhock and a calla lily plant to complete the garden.
To the right of the garden I added a trim on the seam. There is a little story with the trim. When my friend, Ilys, and I went to Toronto we went to the Mokuba store and each left carrying a little sandwich size baggie and more than $100 poorer! This trim was one I fell in love with. It was very expensive - can't remember now if it was $35 or $65 a meter/yard but one or the other. I couldn't bring myself to buy a meter but bought the 4" sample size (which the ladies there were kind enough to measure very generously!) in the hopes I could "build" the trim myself later. I haven't got around to that yet but still have a couple inches left in case I decide to. Anyway, I have been hoarding this tiny piece of trim for a couple years now and when I saw the colours in Cobi's block I had to let go of it. To me it was a good match, colour and theme-wise. So, Cobi, not only do you have a piece of my trim on my block - you actually have a piece of my heart!

Second Covered Tin Received - from Diane!

This week the mail brought me my second of three tins in the CQI Covered Tin Swap. This one is from Diane. She is very tricky - the picture she had posted to the group was very fuzzy. Now I know why - my initial! lol I never suspected! So, now I have taken a clearer picture for everyone to admire. The tin is lovely - the bluebird is especially charming. It reminds me of the birds in Walt Disney's Cinderella - where they help to decorate her gown.

The inside of the tin is made up as a little sewing case complete with pincusion. And it had treasures inside: a threader, needles and a beautiful Mary E. button! I love the button and already have a place in mind to use i! Thank you Diane!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Notes from the Lake

I thought I would share a picture of the baby swallows who are now occupying the empty nest I blogged about earlier in the summer. As you can see, they are old enough to be in the cute stage now. Soon they will be on their own.
This is an awful picture but it might be the best one I get so I thought I would post it. I wish I had seen the deer before I startled them - it would have been easy to get a better picture if they were closer.

My Week 31 Sample Seam

This is my seam I did for week 31 with the french knots and colonial knots. It is supposed to be wisteria but since I have never seen that flower in real life I'm not sure how it stands up! lol In any case, I used primarily colonial knots for the blossoms with a few french knots as well, all done in various shades of purple silk ribbon. I used a bit of hand dyed lace I was gifted with for the trellis on the seam. The vine, stems and leaves were all done in silk, Gloriana Petite Perle. For the vine I added a few drops of water to some Tacky glue and soaked the thread in it, then wiped it down and wound it around a pencil (for the main vine) and a needle (for the tendrils), both of which I had covered in Saran Wrap and let it dry so it would hold its curl. Then I couched it down where I wanted it. The little stems were done in straight stitch and the leaves are detached chain stitch (lazy daisy). This seam/motif is on Cobi's Spider II round robin block so I hope she will like it. I just have a bi more to do on this block - then I will post a picture of the whole thing.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

BAS - Week 31 - French Knots/Colonial Knots

This week's challenge is to use both french knots and colonial knots and to think about both and maybe consider the usage of each - and, of course, to use both in a seam! lol Thank you to Lynn in Southern California who suggested these two stitches be looked at in tandem. I have to admit I am one who uses french knots because that was the stitch I learned back in the day when I was learning hand embroidery.

For stitch diagrams and instructions on these two stitches there are some good online resources:

For french knots:
Sharon B's Stitch Dictionary has illustrations here
Mary Corbet's video instructions can be found on Needle n' Thread Video Library of Stitches

For colonial knots:
Sharon B's Stitch Dictionary has illustrations here
Mary Corbet's video instructions can be found on Needle n' Thread Video Library of Stitches
As a last thought, if you are wondering about the picture... Well, I hate posts without pictures! This has very little to do with french knots and colonial knots except that it is a little topiary I made from french knots for Bonnie on a round robin block some time ago. So, it is french knots but the relevance to this topic... not so clear! roflol What can I say? I like topiaries and they are what I usually use french knots for. This week though I'll have to find something different!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Tin Received from Ann Flowers

I received my first covered tin from the CQI swap from Ann Flowers this week and to say I am tickled pink would be putting it mildly! If I could reach through the postal service and pull mine back I would because I don't think they come close to the level of what I have received here. Both sides of the tin are covered with the most exquisite, tiny stitching! Isn't it gorgeous?!
Best of all, look at this! It is made up to be a tiny little purse! I just love this idea! I have already shown it off to the ladies at the quilt store on the way home and they absolutely drooled!

I can't get over the detail on this tin. Ann has painted the parts of the tin that still show to exactly match some of the fabrics - perfect! Inside she personalized it by painting my name and also hers and the date she made it. The pincushion is attached and is beautifully constructed and topped with a mother of pearl button. It is so pretty I am not sure what I will use it for - seems much too nice to kick around in my purse as a sewing kit so perhaps it will end up on my Christmas tree.

And as if it weren't lovely enough, Ann included more treasures inside for me to play with: some beautiful lace from a dress her grandmother started 30 years ago and never finished! And two skeins of beautiful varigated silk floss from Hand-Dyed Fibers! I have been dying to try this thread so it will get put to use right away.
Thank you again, Ann - everything is just too lovely! I feel blessed!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Covered Altoid Tin - 3

This is my third covered Altoid tin for the CQI tin swap. I am not sure if it is because I have come down with a flu bug or not, but I feel kind of blah about everything right now. I hope it does not show up too much in this work and that the recipient will still like it.
The inside of this tin is done up so it can be a little emergency sewing kit with a pincushion and large magnet on the lid (thank you to the injury lawyer who so kindly sent me the junk mail that provided this magnet! lol) The glue on this one is still drying so it may show up in the photo - sorry! By tomorrow it should be dry and first thing I will be mailing these. My apologies to my swap partners who may becoming somewhat impatient with me.

Christmas in July!

More fun! lol Lollishops is hosting an event called Christmas in July! I'll be taking part in the giveaway and will post details of what Christmas goodies I will give away on July 25th. To see the details of this giveaway and to check out all the sites participating go to the Lollishops blog.

Pay it Forward

Time for some fun! The first five (5) people who comment on this post will receive something handmade and heartfelt from me!
There are some restrictions and limitations on this offer so please read carefully:
1. I make no guarantee you will like what I make.
2. What I create will be just for you, with love.
3. It will be done this year (2009).
4. I will not give you any clue what it will be. It will be something tangible.
5. I reserve the right to do something extremely strange.
6. In return, all you need to do is make five (5) things for the first five (5) people to respond to your post.
7. Send your mailing address if you don't live close to me.

IMPORTANT: This offer is null and void if I don't see you post your own note to Pay it Forward.

My Sample for BAS Challenge - Week 30

This is my sample for last week's BAS Challenge, Week 30. The challenge was to use a meandering ribbon in a seam so this is what I have done. My seam is a series of baby rattles (made of bullion stitches) with a ribbon sewn to appear to thread through the handles of the rattles.
This is the first seam on a baby block I intend to frame for my niece's new baby boy. It has taken me much too long to get going on it but hopefully now I have started it will chug along.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Covered Altoid Box - 2

Here is my second tin for the CQI covered tin swap. This one is made from the Altoid tin and is my attempt at the moulin rouge style I have seen some of the ladies at CQI do. I prefer doing the inside of the tin first so I lined it in red velvet and for the inside of the lid I used a piece of petit point and framed it with black silk. I used a couple of trims I picked up at Mokuba in Toronto.

I pieced the little block for the top from red velvet, black and red silks and some brocade as well as a fancy fabric I received this week as a gift. I attached a red moon face I made from Fimo and surrounded it with black Mill Hill beads as well as red petit Mill Hill Beads. The fan is a piece of reclaimed jewelry from the thrift store and I used the same petit red beads to create a tassel. I made some silk ribbon roses in red and black. There are a couple of bead blossoms attached in one patch. Most of the seam treatments are simple stitches done in gold metallic thread - the other two are done with more Mokuba trims.
Once again the construction was the difficult part - this one doesn't seem to want to close tightly now it is put together. Too much stuff on it? I hope the recipient likes it anyway - it looks pretty sitting open because of the petit point. Until I mail it, it is sitting here with a jar of pennies on it in the hopes it will get over its stubborn streak! lol

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Covered Tin 1

This is the little collection of tins I have accumulated so I was all ready when a covered tin swap was announced at CQI! I will post my completed tins over the next couple days but here is the first one.
I used the Sucrets tin for this first one and covered the inside with gold coloured silk, adding a pincushion made of silk and tatting and trimmed with organza ribbon. I also added a band of tatted edging so that the recipient can slip a package of needles or perhaps very tiny scissors in there and have it held securely. On the inside of the lid I added a magnet to hold a needle or two in use and trimmed that with tatting as well.
I used dupioni silk for the outside in a gold colour as well, trimming it out with silver bead "feet", some gold metallic trim, more ribbon and some trim I picked up in a sari shop.The top of the tin has a tatted medallion and on it I used silk ribbon to add two large roses: one rolled rose and one spider web rose. I added three organza roses, some beaded forget-me-nots, and some embroidered leaves. Lesson learned - if you want to add leaves on top of tatting, silk ribbon would be the way to go! lol

This project was more of a challenge than I thought it would be, mostly in the assembly process. Everything is so tiny and I have such big "man hands"!

Notes from the Lake

Well, it was a fun-filled family weekend out at the lake! In spite of it being a busy weekend with campers, I managed to make lots of time to visit and even managed to get out on the boat for a couple hours. The picture above is dh going for his first ride on the tube!

DD, Katie, had to work most of the weekend but she still managed to come out for one day to spend time with everyone and have some fun tubing.
DS, Sean and his love, Bobbi, came too with the kids. I am so happy that my son brought Bobbi into our family. She is a lovely girl and just as sweet a person as she is pretty!

Bobbi's oldest, Allie, had a chocolate milk "shooter" in this picture. She is a darling and - best of all - calls me Granma which just melts my heart!

This handsome fellow is Bobbi's younger child, Sam. He is going to be a heartbreaker when he gets a bit older. It seems like he has a new girl on his arm each time to comes out to the lake - and he is only 11!
So, as you can see, my campsite was a happy, crowded place this last weekend! We had a blast on the boat - I am so happy we decided to get it. Now, back to work for awhile...

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Another Thrift Store Adventure

It may be shallow on my part but there is nothing like a shopping spree when you are having a bad day! Tuesday was one of those days where I had a million things to do and nothing was going right so I took myself off to the Salvation Army thrift store for a spree! I was very pleased with my first selection which was this Jim Shore Heartwood Creek collectable figure. It is the extra large rooster and a $4 it was a great bargain. I love these quilty figurines - I have the nativity set already. This guy is over 20" tall and I will enjoy having him no end.

Then I found this wonderful temari ball for $1! I love temari balls and they are on my list of things to do at some point. Maybe having this one around will inspire me to get around to it.
This second picture is of the ball hanging from the little light fixture in the trailer just to give you an idea of the size. It is huge!
So, yes, I felt better after spending some money even if it was only $5! Like I tell dh when I bring all these goodies home: It could have been worse - I could be doing this shopping at the mall instead of the thrift store!