Monday, May 31, 2010

My Art Bra is Finished at Last!

I finally managed to get my ArtBra finished for The Way to Women's Wellness. This is entitled "Leggo my Gecko" and is dedicated to my wonderful new in-law, Cheryl.  She has battled breast cancer with courage, grace, good spirits and a sense of humour and this is what I was trying to reflect in the bra.  The front is done in dupioni silk and the bra is lined in cotton batik which also covers the straps and sides. The front of the bra is further enbellished with leaves and roses and, of course, the gecko!  lol
If you look closely at the gecko you may recognize this week's buttonhole stitch variation on his backbone - so now you know why this week's BAS looked all crooked and wonky!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Notes from the Lake


As you can see, I am ready to take matters into my own hands vis a vis the beaver problem.  The Beavers are continuing to plague the campground as they build their home bigger and bigger.

I have nothing against beavers personally - I would be one of the first to stop and take a photo if I saw one.  Recently, however, I have started to feel like if I saw one I would take the boots to them!  Just look at the devastation they are leaving in their wake.

It's very frustrating to see them taking down these good size trees and then only stripping the branches and taking them away. 

Thursday, May 27, 2010

BAS - Week 54 - Another Buttonhole Variation

Okay, I know this is an absolutely terrible picture and it looks like I was drinking when I stitched this one!  I actually had a reason for wanting my version to be graduated small to large to small again.  More on that in a later post!  In the meantime, here is Week 54 - two rows of buttonhole stitch with the legs facing each other and overlapping into each other's space.  Hmmmm... not describing this well but I hope you can understand what I'm getting at! 

Sorry to have been so long getting back to the BAS again - no excuse other than taking a long time to get settled out here at the lake.  I will try to do better at being consistent.

Can you see a difference?

My friend Gerry suggested I add an antique glaze to the white pansy button.  So, the photo on the bottom is the button as I originally showed it and in the one on the top I have painted it with a mix of instant coffee and, once dry, glazed over it again.  What do you think?

Notes from the Lake

I took a couple pictures of some yellow headed blackbirds out of the trailer window this morning.  They look pretty wet and miserable don't they?  Well, I know how they feel!  We have been having a downpour since I woke up this morning - after five hours I am ready to call it quits!  And I have at least five days more of this to come according to the forecast!

I can already feel cabin fever setting in.  It is cold and wet and muddy as all get out.  I am afraid to try to take my truck anywhere in case I get stuck in the mud and this is just the first day of this!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

More Fun with Buttons

I have been playing around some more with buttons and I guess what I am doing is basically decoupage.  In refining my method, I have decided that I prefer to sew the button in place first.  Then I use masking tape to attach pieces of aluminum foil under and around the button to protect the fabric.  The two I have been working on are for Carolyn's Pansy RR blocks.
This first one was done on a green button to match the colours of the block.  Since I don't have my printer out here this summer I have been limited to what images I have been able to find in some of my expendible books.  So, I found a pansy and fussy cut it out.  A layer of of the Fimo glaze went on the button and then the pansy went on top of that.  I added a couple more layers of glaze and then decided that I would like to add some glitter.  Then another layer of glaze went on top of that.  I think I like how this one turned out.

This is the second one I am working on for the other block.  I used a nice mother of pearl button from my stash and sewed it on backwards since the back was flatter.  Another fussy cut pansy was applied in the same way with the glaze.  This photo shows it with just one coat of glaze on top.  I will likely add a couple more before I am done but this time no glitter I think. 

Friday, May 21, 2010

Another Great Giveaway!

You have to run on over to Bitter Betty's blog and see her first great giveaway!  She is giving away the iron dreams are made of.... very posh..... the kind you lust after but would never buy for yourself.  While you are there check out Betty's blog - it is one of my favs.

This and That

Well, my first - but not last! - AAQI quilt went off to them in the mail today.  I am very curious now to watch and see if it goes for sale or auction, what kind of price it fetches and whether it makes it into their exhibit or not.  I would be thrilled with that but am not expecting it.  I can't share pictures right now but will later on.

I have been receiving some wonderful mail lately!  Since I only get home once a week to pick up the mail, it is so nice to find lovely squishie envelopes waiting for me.  I receivd all these goodies from my Secret Sister on a sane quilting (as opposed to crazy quilting) group I belong to.  So many fun goodies and great fabrics!
Of course, the handmade items are always the best - look what she made for me.  Isn't this sweet?  I think I forgot to show off the last Secret Sister package I received from this wonderful mystery lady and I really have to cause it had another lovely handmade item - a table runner! 

Isn't it lovely?  It is just perfect for my big dining room table - it looks so great there!
She also sent me these beautiful items for my crazy quilting.  I think it is so thoughtful that even though the Secret Sisters are run out of a "sane" quilting group, she finds items for me to use in my big passion - crazy quilting!  Thank you, Secret Sister, whoever-you-are! 

Did you visit the online needlework show?  I always love looking at all the new items in the designer pages there, and of course I usually enter for the doorprizes as well.  Well, look what I won at the Prairie Grove Peddler booth!  I think this is such a lovely pattern and I hope to work it up this summer.

No wonder I like going to the post office!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sweet Pea RR Block

I finished up this Sweet Pea fairy block - I blogged about the circle of sweet peas I did a couple posts ago.  It has headed off in the mail to its next destination now.  I ran out of sweet pea ideas.  I did a little bit of SRE - the red sweetpeas in the corner.  After that some violets seemed to sneak their way in - oops!  I played again making another button - this one has a little Dover clip art on it and you might recognize an Avon earring next to it!  lol  Other than that it was seam treatments and some butterfly charms, and the trailing bit of purple trim.  My muse must have been out mowing grass or something because she didn't seem to be around to help me with this one.

Notes from the Lake

Well, here I am, back at the lake for the 4th summer now working as a campground host.  Basically what I do here is .... everything!  lol Since I am the only one working here I do everything that needs to be done for this 100 site campground.  I collect the camping fees, enforce the rules (or try to), pick up litter, haul trash to the landfill, keep the outhouses clean, sell firewood, mow the grass, dig out firepits, do minor repairs, etc.  All the physical work does me good I think but ask me after a busy long weekend and I might have another story to tell! lol
Also, I live out here in my trailer at the lake for four months of each year while I am doing this.  No housework or cooking to speak of and long evenings without the television for distraction.  So, I have lots of time in the evenings for stitching, reading, etc.  Right now I am getting ready for the first big weekend of the year next week - the May 24th weekend.  So, I am furiously trying to get everything mowed and the firepits all dug out before then.
The best part of this job, of course, is living at the lake.  The bird life out here is wonderful and I just don`t get that at home.  The quiet is wonderful - and then to wake up to the song of the meadowlark - heaven! 
One thing that my home and the lake do have in common though is the difficulty in keeping trees alive.  The prairie just doesn`t want to support them and so each one that grows successfully, usually a poplar, is a treasure.  So, I was sad to see how many of the trees we do have were cut down by beavers over the winter.  It is especially annoying when they cut down a tree and then decide it is too heavy so don't take them with them like the one in the photo above.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Sweet Pea Motif

I am presently working on a sweet pea flower fairy block and this is the motif I have done on it. I used a pattern from the A - Z of Embroidered Flowers and it is about 2-1/2 inches in diameter.  It took me the better part of two days, lol.  I used the tracing paper method of transferring the pattern, doing the stems and tendrils in stem stitch.  Then the leaves and flower petals were outlined in stem stitch.  After that, I went back and used satin stitch to fill them all in.  Covering the stem stitch with the satin stitch gave it a nice edge and a bit of padding.  It was all done in one strand of DMC cotton floss.  

The Culprit!

This is MacBeth - one of the litter of feral kittens we rescued from the woodpile in the yard.  I suspected it was MacBeth who had a liking for my varigated perle cottons (I have lost about 10 balls now) but this time I caught him in the act.  This kitten is too clever by far!  I had barely got in the house and set down my stitching box, turned around and caught him with one. 

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Back at the Lake

Well, I am back at the lake for my 4th year working as a campground host.  As you can see from the photo, it is not ideal camping weather!!  It has been storming all week since I moved out here for the summer with high winds (100 kph), rain, sleet and now snow for the last two days.  It is so quiet!  The up side of this is that I am getting lots of stitching done!
One of the good parts of coming to the lake is seeing the return visitors.  None of the campers are here yet but I was greeted on my return by the meadowlark singing his heart out.  Also, I have a wonderful pincushion I keep in the trailer to use in the summer and she feels like an old friend when I take her out to use.

She's a bit of a troll but as you can see from her bracelet, she is comfortable that her inner beauty shines out.  She was really beautifully made by Connie and I was fortunate to receive her in a swap at CQI about five years ago.  She is still a favourite of mine and I just wanted to show her off!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Nicki Lees Giveaway!

Nicki Lee of Raviolee Dreams is having a great giveaway to celebrate her 100th blogiversary!  Just look at these goodies!
So head on over to Nicki Lees blog and enter! And while you are at it, give Nicki's Etsy shop a visit and see all her beautitul lace for sale!

Our House - My Family's Biggest UFO (UnFinished Object)

My husband and I have been working on an unfinished project now for awhile and I would like to share it with you.  I have been looking at all the pictures again and think it would be fun to see where we started and where we are now.  Some time ago we left our life in the city and bought an abandoned prairie church sitting on two acres.  We knew if we kept living in the city and driving out to work on it on weekends we would never complete it or move in so we moved out to the country with no power, water or heat and set to work.  Here is a what the outside looked like when we moved in.
We are still not done - I said it was a UFO, right?  But here is a photo of where we are now on the outside.  This summer will hopefully see us finishing up the outside by putting up vinyl siding, eavestrough, finishing the front porch DH started last summer and then it is on to landscaping at last!

He built a balcony on the other side of the house so I can sit out there and look at the mountains and a big deck (20 X 24) at the back of the house and now he is working on the front porch.  As you can see from the pictures, he took the steeple down, repaired and replaced the shingles on the roof and added three dormers with windows.  He replaced all the stained glass windows (except two on the other side of the house) with energy efficient ones, took out the door at the front and put a new one on the side which is now the front.  He has done even more inside though!

Get ready for a shock!  These next two photos are taken standing in the center of the old church, one taken in each direction.  This is what we moved into because I could see the potential and dh - the ultimate DIY-er in my humble opinion - bought into my dream.  Gotta love him!
I know the photos are awful quality but you get the idea, right?  So, this great guy I married (did I mention how much I love him?!) built me the house of my dreams inside this building.  From approximately 2600 square feet of living space he made a huge bathroom and kitchen, a laundry room big enough for two deepfreezes as well, four bedrooms, a library, and a huge open concept living area with living room area complete with toasty woodstove, dining area, home office, music area, and kitchen.  He even turned the original vestibule into a lovely walkin pantry with a french door.  So, take another look at those two pictures above and now look below to see some of what he did with it...

The first room we finished was the washroom.  At the time we moved in there was not any water at all!  There was an outhouse at the back of the yard!  One of the first things we had done was drilling a well and putting in a septic system.  The wainscotting in the bathroom is made from some of the original wall boards that we recycled and painted white. 
Another big project was the kitchen.  We ended up buying the cabinet doors but because the cost of readymade cabinets is just atrocious, dh built the cabinets and hung them himself, including the large island with the sink.  The cost of the island readymade was more than the whole kitchen cost doing it himself.  Just to the left of the frig you can see a glimpse of my pantry door. 
These are a few shots of the living room area.  A lot of pictures to look at I know but I really am proud of the job dh did of it all so bare with me!  lol  You can see the woodstove we put in - just a cheapie to supplement the new furnace but it sure makes it cozy.  There is nothing nicer than the heat from a woodstove!  The floors are the original church floors, refinished.  Considering they are over a hundred years old now they are holding up well.  You can see the new windows dh put in and the ceilings in the living room are 16 feet.  He added a second floor but on either side of the living room with a separate set of stairs to each so we could enjoy the high ceilings in this one area.

This is the dining area - between the living room area and the kitchen.  I have just noticed there seems to be a cat or part of one in every picture!  lol - I guess that is to be expected when you have seven of them.

This is one set of stairs.  This leads up to the two kid`s bedrooms.  I decided to stencil the stairs one day and luckily my husband liked it! Here you can see one of the original stained glass windows.  We left one in each stairwell.  When you are coming towards the house from that side at night and the lights from inside are shining out through these windows they just seem to shout Welcome!
This is a view of my little library from the top of the other set of stairs - can you tell I have a thing for french doors?  Outside the french doors is a balcony dh built for me so we can sit out there and see the mountains in the distance.  It isn`t much of a mountain view but on a clear day they are pretty no matter how far off they are.

This is a view of the library from the other set of stairs.  You can see down into the living room from that railing.  I usually have a couple of quilts over the railing but you get a better view of the room this way I guess.  Coming off the library here are my sewing room and the master bedroom but I did not take pictures of them.

Just another view of the living room.  This is taken from the top of the stencilled stairs, from the same spot as I took the one across to the library.  Anyway, I guess that this is it - all the photos I have taken.  It amazes me what a great job dh did on all this - quite a lot of work for evenings and weekends!  I am not sure if we will ever really be completely done but we get a bit closer all the time.  I guess I am done bragging on him for now - thanks for looking!  It was nice to have you visit my house!