Monday, January 31, 2011

The end of January already,

Boy has this month flown by. It's hard to imagine it's already the end of January. There are a couple more things I really wanted to finish. I did actually start my BBD Easter Parade.

Not much to show for yet but check back next Monday. I plan on having Mondays be my counted cross stitching updates for this blog. I hope it will help me progress on the many I want to stitch.

Recently I joined a yahoo group for blackbird designs. What a group of talented stitchers and while checking out some of the many blogs I was inspired to perhaps pull out my Red Thread from Bent Creek and stitch one month's design per coincuding mnth this year. Who knows perhaps it will be finished by February 2012. As for the other 2, I'm off to finish them. One is a promise to my Mom and the other a hope for myself.

Enjoy your day,

Saturday, January 29, 2011

What is happening

Phew! I did finally get all that crap off the stitching for the little this and that pattern "Snow Much Fun" and I can honestly say it wasn't any fun! So tedious pulling off all those bits of flakes from the fabric. I know I'll never do that again!

Hopefully, I be able to get to that project this weekend. No grandchildren here today or planned for tomorrow, so I should be able to focus on something without interruptions.

Check out came in the mail recently. The first photo is the half yard fabric which Jamie from BabyBoomer Quilting Bee Blogspot kindly sent me. I am thinking of doing a cross stitch piece finished as a flat fold with this fabric a the "Key element" with the design. My Mom's significant other collects antiques keys and since he is going through so much medically (he just started dialysis without any forewarning), I thought a Valentine flat fold with a couple of his keys dangling off the top corner would be perfect for them.

Now only to get it stitched. I think I'll use a freebie pattern from the net. I have many printed out, so I'll post a photo here when it's finished. Thank you so much Jamie, YTB!

The other parcel which I received today is for the fabric and threads needed for the BBD (Blackbird Design) Easter Parade that I recently posted a picture of and want to do. I hope to get this one finished by the end of March. I did pull out the pattern to pull threads for the "Snip for a Queen" designed by Raise The Roof, but I don't have the Kreinik specialty fibers in for it. That one will have to wait, can't order another $50.00 worth this soon nd rationalize it. I need to finish some things first.

While maintaining my blog site, I realized that I have 48 UFOs or PIGS (projects in Grocery Sacks) listed. YIKES!!!!! That is very over ambitious list, but since I did get 4 projects done so far this month and it's still not over with, I plan on leaving it listed just as it is for now, but realistically thinking that with some of the more complex and denser CXS designs, quilts and such, there is no way I'll be able to complete them all. AND that's okay, progress is better than nothing at all.

While blog hopping I ran across a quote from Emsscrapbag.blogspot saying that creative Clutter is better than neat idleness and I totally concur with that.


PS: One last photo I wanted to share is from the UFO#6 challenge I finished, It shows the art glitter applied to the icicles and the snow laden roof. Boy did that stuff get all over.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I goofed.

A little while ago I was writing about using transfer ease for my Snow Much Fun embroidery part of a little quilt. But I really don't know where my head was. I have seen it several places on the web and with this transfer medium you can copy your embroidery design through a printer/copier and the design will show up on this medium. All you have to do is iron onto your fabric, use an interfacing and you're good to stitch.
I thought at that time, ah haa! I think I have some of that in. So I went to my den where I store any printing and transfer papers and found my ink jet transfer paper, that all you have to do is iron onto fabric. I should have kept reading. This stuff is permanent. The snowman's stitching is done from the This and That pattern, "Snow Much Fun" and feeling very pleased with myself, I went and dunked into a sink full of water. Now imagine my surprise when that transfer element didn't dissolve off my fabric!

So here I sit, instead of stitching, I'm using my magic eyes, a lint brush and a pair of tweezers trying to pull it all off. GGRrrrrrr! DH sat and watched me for a bit and calmly stated, won't it be easier to stitch it all over again. Of course I said yes, but the fabric I used was all I had and it was perfect for this design, so now I rip! How could I have goofed so bad?

I did receive a couple of patterns that I really like. Perhaps I'll stitch out Snip for Queen while I am waiting for fabric for my first Blackbird Design, Easter Parade. I truly love this pattern and was lucky enough to find the pattern.

Enjoy your day,

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A bit more done.

It feels wonderful to be finishing up some UFO's I've had going for a bit. Between the Counted cross stitch, quilting, and beading hobbies, many times I feel like my creative endeavors are just running amok!
But Whoo!whoo! several more projects have been finished this past week.
My UFO#6 through Judy Laquidera's UFO challenge, Bird house wallhanging or Waiting for Spring, finished.

There is art glitter glued onto the fleece that I used for the ice and snow. I also changed a bit of the design by also creating some ice spots on the branches. To me it was unrealistic that the bird house was snow and ice laden while the rest was not touched. I know here in the Adirondacks, when something is encased by the elements, many things are encased too so I made it more reflective of that.
Besides the white fabric changed out for a lustrous fleece batting, I also changed some of the fabrics in this kit I got from Nancy's Notions years ago. The birdhouse and branch colors were all brown and too close in color to be visible. So I did some stash diving to come up with a higher contrast values. The pattern is actually "Waiting for Spring" designed by Lake View Quilts adn I am glad that Vince pulled No6 UFO. Just in time for Winter in these parts.

Next are the beaded earrings I finished last Sunday while playing with friends. The "Read and Bead" group I belong to gathers monthly to bead, eat and share lives. Each month a different person will share their technique for a project when we can. At December's meeting, Michelle taught us how to do a dodecahedra (aka: Chinese Pearl Balls). Usually I am not so thick headed but I had an awful time trying to grasp this concept. Poor Michelle actually did one of my beads since it was too difficult for me. Each step that I would do and she'd check it and it was wrong, so she'd correct it. Ye gads! When you work on this bead you need to use 2 needles of thread at the same time. One of the ladies mentioned it may be better to try 2 different size needles to help keep you straight with which needle should be at whichever orientation per row since with each row the needles would change positions and making notes while beading it. So when I got home later that night, I pulled out all of the necessities and I actually was able to finish another bead. Of curse not correctly, but I could tell where the next spin off design was needed and then would work my threads to that area. Close enough I say!
Anyhoo, I made them into festive drop earrings and they are DONE! And I'll never tell that one bead is correct and the other one is a very near miss. LOL

This next photo is of a counted cross stitch design I finally picked up from the framers. Shhhh! it's a gift for a stitching buddy when we gather for our late Christmas party. I know she doesn't read my blog, so it's safe to show here.

It's a Calico Crossroads pattern designed by Linda Connors called "In Stitches". It's just purrrrfect for my bernina and cat loving friend. I even stitched our initials into the outermost border of it with a tiny heart in between as a token of our friendship. I hope she love sit as much as I loved doing it for her.

The last photo is of the pet bed I finished in a gridded pattern for a community project that our guild does for the local animal shelters. This pillowcase bag has been hanging out under my cutting table for the past year. Any snippets of trims not large enough for my scrap bins, found it's way into the bag. Ingenious way of utilizing the scrappiest of scraps. It was finally full enough that I realized I needed to finish what I had in mind. Grid off the main area to stop the shifting of the stuffing.

When assembling the pet bed, it also was a trip down Memory Lane of past projects and felt great to reminisce about all the "love" sewn into projects this past year. Since we don't have any pets currently, but remembering trying to wash the different animal beds from the past, I found it difficult to keep the stuffing from shifting whilst trying to be neat, clean and sanitized around here. So I tried a "grid" of stitching for this bed to help facilitate against the stuffing from shifting where ever it lands up. The most difficult part was trying to keep the stuffing equal in the parts, Of course I used my zipper foot and chalked pencil lines which I needed to continuously re-draw after rubbing off the previous lines by stuffing it. But now it's done and I'll need to cut and sew another bag from upholstery fabric to hang off my cutting table for another bed next year.

Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate and look forward to all the comments from your visits. I'm off to the sewing room now, enjoy your Sunday.


Monday, January 17, 2011

Learned something

A while back I found this tutorial for a Faux Piped Binding at TLC Stitches. Making a note of it on my blog, I actually tried it out this past week and finished it this afternoon. Trisha's instructions and pictures were fantastic and very easy to follow (I wonder what model of camera she uses, her pictures are gorgeous.)

So what did I learn? That for me it didn't lay right when I pressed the seam allowance toward my piping (Black) fabric. It seemed to bunch up and didn't allow me to get the binding pressed in half correctly. Some areas the showed piping was thicker than others, not by a lot, but too much for me to live with.

Thinking about the binding for awhile, I finally
figured out that I needed to open the binding strip flat then press the seam allowance towards the binding side and really try out this technique. I was very tempted to revert back to my piped regular binding and hand sew the finished edge. I am so glad I experimented with this wall hanging, it worked. With my nerve and pain from my back injury, sometimes it's difficult for my fingers to work as dexterously as they used to. With this I found it a bit hard closing up the binding strip and mitering the corners correctly. So I'm thinking that this technique would be so worth it for a king size quilt! Because of my fingers' numbness and pain, while considering the fuss factor needed, it may be easier doing the older technique of sewing each piping and binding on separately much easier for smaller quilts.

8) "sew" glad that I've tried this technique! All I have left on UFO#6 is to hand stitch the mitered corners closed and stitch down the hanging sleeve on the back. Think I'll bring it theis week while I serve on Jury Duty. Ohh! I also have to use that art glitter stuff for the icicles when all the stitching is completely done, I'll post a photo of it when finished.


Friday, January 14, 2011

Club inductee

Our local schools offer programs for positive behavior and students by acts of kindness, responsible behavior and safety in mind are awarded slips. Every student has the opportunity to "win" some of these slips by their good behavior. I am so proud, PGD#1 was inducted in the program this past week. She earned enough slips to become an honor student.

We have a Canon Power shot A590IS camera and at these types of functions and events, it takes really crappy pictures. Of course it's not the photographer! These were the best her Dad was able to get. I would love to take a photography class sometime to learn more about cameras and photography, but it would interfere with my quilting and other commitments. I keep asking DH to learn, but with his condition he gets confused easily and fustrated so I guess it's up to me.

The ceremony was nicely done with a really cute set up. Notice the rope lighting highlighting the Red Carpet, it's for indoctronees to march up to receive their medals. Congratulations to PGD#!, I am so proud that I had to share.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Great Recipe - Donut Muffins

Donut Muffins:

Preheat Oven 350 degrees.
Cream together:
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/3 Cup Shortening

Beat in:
1 egg

Alternately add in the mix:
1/2 Cup Milk

with sifted together:
1-1/2 Cup Flour
1-1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Mix together then bake in a greased muffin tin or cupcake tin lined with papercups. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

While the muffins are cooking, melt
6 Tablespoons Butter.

In a separate dish mix together:
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon.

As soon as the muffins come out of the oven:
dunk the tops into the melted butter
then dredge them in the cinnamon/sugar mixture.

Serve Warm. This recipe make 8-9 cupcake sized cakes. DH thinks they taste like the Little Debbie coffee cakes and PGD#1 just loved them.

A little fun and a Math Test:

This year we will experience 4 unusual dates, 1/1/11 (Jan 1, 2011), 1/11/11 (Jan 11, 2011), 11/1/11 (Nov 11, 2011), and 11/11/11 (Nov. 11, 2011). Now I have a little math test for you. Take the last 2 digits of the year you were born, and how old you are going to be this year, and the total will be 111. No matter how old you are or when you are born the total will always be 111. (Me 55 + 56 = 111)
Just a interesting little tidbit for your day

Monday, January 10, 2011

Yee gads!

Felt like I birthed another child! Here's a snap.

Just kidding but it surely felt like that! When my daughter and her family stopped by I actually pointed to this geode and told her to welcome her sibling to the family. Of course she smiled and said "your not right, you need help"!

I had great plans for this past weekend and passing 2 kidney stones was not on the agenda. I've never had problems like this before and I hope to never have it again. Since the holidays I have embraced a healthier lifestyle. Exercise, better diet choices,... you know the drill trying to live right, (I know boring but really essential especially since I'm tryikng to rid myself of diabetes). However, I really felt great because of doing it and it wasn't all pyschological either. I was more energetic than typical and was progressing with my organization, creativity and continuing with connections with friends and family. Then Whammo! What pain. I actually thought it was appendicitis because the pain was so acute and excrutiating. So hubs and I spent all of Saturday in the ER. Arrived at 1pm and didn't get back home until 9:30 pm. That place was a Zoo, I am amazed how people can work in such a high stress atmosphere without burning out. Then Sunday I started with a repeat of pain that I had n Saturday, I thought oh no another one, but at least this time I had some pain medication and I started drinking quarts of water. So much easier to pass that way than the first one.

Anyhow, now that it's behind me, I feel as if I was beaten up and then rolled over by a freight train, so I am taking it easy. Just counting the days until I can restart my engines.


Saturday, January 8, 2011

What do you think?

Hopefully the binding will be sewn on the #6 UFO project of the bird house quilt tomorrow. But I'm in a quandary, which binding should be used? Initially I had planned on the Brown fabric shown on the left of the above photo. It's the same fabric that I used for the branch hanging down and usually I tend to make sure the binding used is also somewhere on the quilt when I go to finish one. BUT the deeper blue one used on the backing of this looks great with just that little bit of black piping. Which one do you think works best?

Also am thinking of this style of embellishment, Art Glitter to add some life to the icicles. I did try to capture the sparkle, ut it's lost in the photos, trust me though, it has plenty of shine to the naked eye and I think it will be perfect!

While blog hopping I stumbled across a cute idea. PGD#1 and I fixed it this afternoon for her treat after school.

The recipe came from cheeky kitchen and it's called snowman shooters. Of course I adapted it to fit her likes and my dishes. We made a bed of snow out of whipped cream first and then I scooped different sizes of vanilla for the snowman. She decorated the face out of a part of a candy corn and the top parts of 2 hershey kisses. Then she thought about hair and made some out of the cream and used the remnant chocolate piece for a top hat, all her own idea. She had a ball!

Well actually make that 3 balls. She had a lot of fun and she didn't wait too long to scarf it up either!


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Progress on UFO#6

How I spent my day....

Very enjoyably!

#6 is coming along ...

Smilin' here

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Goodbye 2010 ~ Hello 2011

Recently, well actually the day after Christmas, DH & I went to my sister's house in Vt. to deliver a quilt my Mom made for her and reconnect with her and her family. I actually found myself stumbling over words at the dinner table. WOW, how did that happen? Not sure if it was the residual effects of my illness, but I seem to think it's spending too much time with my youngest grandchildren and DH and I'm not getting enough adult stimulation. What to do?
*I rejoined a book club that I had belonged to years ago. I left it because I found it a struggle to attend and to get the reading done in time, besides the difficulty in obtaining the book through our public library system with other members of the book club. After signing up, I mentioned to the organizer that I'd be willing to be the liaison for the book club and library. Making sure we'd have enough copies of whichever books were needed at the scheduled months. (Now why didn't I think of that 3 years ago I'll never know!)
*I also figured I'd call up friends and reconnect with them if their schedules allow(ed). It'll be great to get out of the house more besides being mentally and creatively stimulated, a great way to spend the day too, with friends. So that is what I did on New Year's Eve Day. Trudy is always an inspiration and the conversation flows freely, besides of course our love of the needle we have many similar thoughts and philosophies of life.

Anyhoo, after a pleasant visit with Trudy, I decided to go further afield and visit my friend Carole at her shop Fibre Junction. Uh hum... look what I came home with me.

Beautiful fabrics right? It jsut so happened that she was having a spectacular sale, thanks Carole! To stay honest with my stash reports for 2010 is another matter. So I need to add in that 36 yards..... the last stash report for 2010 is:

To date's Stash Report is:

Used this week: 0 yards
Used Year To date: 57.25 yds

Added This week: 36 yards
Added Year To Date: 124 yards

YTD is a gain of 66.75 yards

I have given this some serious thought. I do plan on tracking my stash for 2011 and also perhaps to track my craft expenses. Scary thought! But I do need to keep it real. Perhaps I'll use an excel spreadsheet or just a plan notepad that I hope to revamp. Stay tuned, I 'll share whichever way when I decide.

The next couple of photos are what I currently am working on.

It's the bird house quilt that I numbered 6 and that is the number Judy Laquidera pulled for her UFO challenge. Now mind you, this actually was a pig (project in grocery sack) but it's been in my house for several years and I've been wanting to get it done, but there are usually too many other projects that I am focused on and UFOs to finish that I wouldn't allow myself to start it, so I am so happy Judy's husband picked out #6. Thanks Vince! Here is a little snapshop of my Janina doing the machine applique. (That's my Bernina's name and the one she's had since I adopted her many years ago, a blend from her origins and my name, goofy huh?) Here's a link to website for her UFO for January. Gorgeous isn't it.

Since having this kit in, I am using most of the materials given including the pellon fusible. Can I say I don't like this stuff. It's not fusing like I think it should. It also is allowing little bits of a fringing effect on the edges of the applique which don't happen when I use the Steam A Seam Light that I normally use and now know that I prefer. Now that stuff works great. No hairy edges on your applique and when you fuse it down.... it stays down, not like this pellon stuff. The changes I made with this kit are with the fabrics I'm using. I changed out the kit's brown for the tree branch (1st pictured) and also the white for the snow and ice (which isn't pictured). Why did I put this off for so long? It's really an enjoyable stitch.

Usually near the first of the year I also have tried to recap the previous year's projects. I will be getting to it but not today, check back another day, perhaps I'll find the time later this week.

Stay well and enjoy your endeavors,