Saturday, March 31, 2007

Making time for family and friends...

Don and I will be heading over to Sheila and Dennis here in just a bit. After providing her "a visual laugh for the day" while telling her about "my housecoat excursion", we sat and chatted on the telephone for a half an hour. It seems she's had quite an awful week and her mom has been admitted to Riverside Hospital. Sheila's mom is one of the sweetest, wonderful people you'd ever want to meet, and a recent bout with cancer and chemotherapy has left her blind. She has fortunately been able to stay in her own home with the assistance of family, friends, and a nursing assistant program until Thursday of this week when she awoke feeling breathless. A quick action of utilizing her Home Medic, she was taken to a local hospital before being transferred to Columbus. X-rays taken a few days ago show a mass on her lung, putting pressure upon her esophageous and upper digestive track. Due to the low amount of oxygen in her bloodstream, future tests and a biopsy have been postponed until Monday. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers: the diagnosis and prognosis doesn't look too promising at the moment, and it seems that her cancer may have returned.

My heart goes out to Sheila and I have an sinking feeling in my heart. She has been one of the nicest, most kindest of friends to Don and I. Heck we're just like family. I believe my next crazy quilt project will be a heart for her. I found a couple of quotes that I like: "In the crazy quilt of life, I'm glad you're in my block of friends. ~Author Unknown; Good Friends are like quilts - they age with you yet never lose their warmth. ~Author Unknown; and A family is a patchwork of love. ~Author Unknown" that I think I'll use within its creation. But for today, I think our presence will speak a bit louder than any words could ever say.

Crazy Quilting and My Crazy Life....

To assist getting over my humilation, I worked on my assembling my Crazy Quilt Journal cover for a bit this afternoon. The above photographs are of the front cover, the inside with the journal added, and the completed backside. I worked without using any pattern so it isn't perfect but I love it anyways!

Time for some Fun and Laughter....

Isn't it great when you can laugh at yourself? At least now that the "humilation" level has dropped just a bit, I can. I'm almost too embarrassed to admit that I've done this, but knowing it will bring a smile to so many faces, I've decided to share. {LOL!And to my sister, Mary, don't you laugh too hard!}

Earlier today, after updating my blog, I thought I heard something out back on our rear deck. Deciding to investigate, I ventured just a little too far out onto the deck, when I heard the door gently shut behind me. It seems Chaos heard the pitter-patter of my footsteps as I crossed the kitchen floor and decided to investigate with me. The only problem was that as his body brushed across the open door he managed to close it --- locking me out of the house! To add insult to my already bruised ego, I was only wearing my short bathrobe! Racing around to the front of our home, hoping and praying the front door would be unlocked and the neighbor's weren't stirring yet to see me, I suddenly became close to tears when I discovered it was also locked. I snuck out to my studio, searching frantically for a house key only to discover that I'd previously taken it on another "locked out" occasion and hadn't put it back. Swallowing what little pride I had left, I made my way over across the street to awake the neighbor's and begged to use their telephone to call Don at work to return home and unlock our doors. "No problem," he says. Can you imagine the further humilation I felt when I looked out their window to see a friend of ours, Brian pull up in his van to hand me a set of our keys? With whatever dignity I had left to muster up, I kindly whispered, "Thank You!" as I snuck off to let myself back into the house! ROFLOL! {Needless to say, it didn't take me any time at all to change into a pair of flannel shorts and a T-shirt! ---- well after the damage had been done!} What a way to start a Saturday!!!!

Spring Cleaning and preparations...

After planting and potting flowers, I walked around our yard making mental notes of what I'd like to do where, noting areas that aren't well-drained and would need to be avoided or planted with bog-like plants, or perhaps raised beds, and I began thinking about designing a garden sketch of what is in my mind and dreams. I'm still uncertain of what I desire within all this space. I can envision parts of it, its just pulling it all together. While I walked, Don began emptying and making preparation for me to clean out our water garden. That has certainly become an experimental process as I'm still learning the ends and out of planting, maintaining, and watergardening itself. Although, I do look excited towards working with it once agian.

Finally, I'd decided I'd wasted enough time with my heads in the clouds, I began focusing my attention to our rear deck. After inspecting it, making a list of boards that require replacing,noting that handrail needs to be re-installed for safety reasons onto one set of steps leading out into our backyard, and the dreams I envision for it, I began powerwashing it. After several hours, I'm happy to report that 3/4 of our deck is finished! I had to stop as not to saturate the ground near the hot tub as Brian will be over one day this weekend to work once again on our hot tub maintainance and unforutanely needs to crawl under the deck. Perhaps one day next week, I can finish it up, before turning my attention to waterproofing it. Several years ago, a friend assisted me with that job; this year, I'll be on my own accomplishing it. While I had the powerwasher out, on decided to wash and clean up our Jeep. So, things are beginning to take shape and come along. I just hope and pray that the weather co-operates a bit while we work to complete this and that. Afterwards, we can begin decorating it with our patio set. I'm excited about the promise of branching out into our outdoor space and setting my sights upon decorating there once again. Little by little, year after year, we add to this space, with either furniture or plant materials, so I'm excited to see the changes we'll make throughout the seasons this year.

More Spring Flowers...

After working with the seeds and the perinneals, I set about to fill an rather large urn with tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths to grace our front door. Another pot was filled and will be used for my indoor enjoyment. There's nothing like the smell of a hyacinth blooming to soothe and comfort my soul!

Gardening and Outdoor Spring Cleaning

Yesterday was a very busy day, starting out with only one cup of coffee before a quick dash was made for the bathtub, preparing for my weekly chiropractor appointment. It seems my upper back and neck are healing nicely enough now that we're reducing my treatments to once a week. I hope and pray this is the right thing to be doing, but the reality is I am getting back to my more normal level of activity and the pain is subsiding --- so I'm busy, busy, busy and feeling so much better.

Upon arriving back at home, my gardener's hands were begging to be digging into some dirt from the earth although my mind knows it is still too soon here in Ohio for such thoughts, so I compromised a bit by starting a few Jiffy trays of seeds: Dianthus, a wildflower perennieal mix, lupine, and Chrysanthemum fill one, while another has been established only for Lavender. I worked out the back deck, enjoying the 70 degree weather, the sunshine on my face, and the singing of the birds. As I worked with the small peat pellets, watering, watching them expand, fluffing them with my fingers as I added the variety of seeds, a mourning dove sang her cries overhead from the branches of a neighboring tree and I imagined her whispering, "grow, grow, grow" to these little beauties. After covering them with a thin layer of Miracle Grow's Moisture Control potting mix, re-watering them, the domes were lovingly replaced.

I also worked to prepare a few other pots and containers for planting the Peonies and Astilbe. It may be too early to plant them into the ground but within the containers, I can assure the soil will maintain the 50 degree or higher soil temperature. Doing so will also assist with allowing them to grow a stronger root system before the final planting within our backyard.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Signs of Spring

Along with waking to the sound of bird's singing, the robin's that grace our yard, and the few carpenter ants that have made their way into our home, signs of spring are sprouting up everywhere, even in my daily thoughts. My little patch mixed with tulips and hycacinths are even promising signs of blooming soon. The ants, however, I can do without as they tend to pinch every once once in a while should they crawl upon you. They are one of the reasons why I've hesitated to grow the "Queen of the Garden" peonies because they tend to draw them to them. Yesterday, I decided if I had to endure the ants, I may as well enjoy their beautiful flowers so I purchased a few bulbs to plant soon. I'm thinking they will look nice out in the yard, near the posts where my hammock once hung. And speaking of hammock's --- I'm thinking of either purchasing a new one or having a bench added to the yard utilizing the posts for its frame or possibly even adding an arbor there for climbing vines. It's looking rather bare...

I've been a bit hesitant to start planting but the urge is becoming a bit much to resist. I've seeds that need to be started soon if I'm going to grow them. So today, I thought with Don's help, maybe we'll get out into the carport and begin working on setting up the rear deck with it's patio set and pulling out pots and various containers for planting upon it. It will be a lovely chore to get them washed and ready for planting within. It will also allow me a chance to take inventory of what I have on hand and what I need to purchase once again... like a concrete bird bath top to fit the base. Mine didn't survive as we never sealed the concrete and years of use finally took their toll upon it.

We didn't make it to any of our local nurseries yesterday. In a hurry to get back at home in case Brian made it over to look at our hot tub, we ventured into WalMart instead and purchased a beautiful potted Azelia for her birthday gift. We stopped for a nice but brief visit with her and watched in amazement of the Golden Finches and Cardinals already gracing their property. Cindy has done an amazing job with their yard already and has been working to increase the size of a few of their flower beds. I was a bit envious of all the natural materials she's been gathering from the woods... Rocks, half-decayed logs to plant within.

Don and I talked more about our desires for our back yard and we've decided to plant more perinneals this year. The past several years, I've mainly focused on annuals for their color and ease of care but have come to regret the money we've spent, once here and now gone. I often think about how I want a garden but lack of money to do it all at once has interferred with me not starting to get serious enough about it. Then, it hit me that we've accomplished so much in short periods of time before... doing what we can, when we can... and our garden wouldn't really be any different. So, I took some inventory around the yard and discovered we've a lot that needs to be done. The water garden needs emptied, cleaned, refilled and chemicals added before any planting can be done there. Surrounding it, I noticed a few trees attempting to take root in its fertile soil --- those will have to be removed. My hostas and woodland ferns are beginning to sprout, and the waterfall section needs to be re-worked. So, we'll start there. I always thought it would look pretty to have a cement blocked in area near the waterfall end to plant in and a border of white blocks surrounding it, so I must take some measurements soon so we'll know how much to buy.

Anyways, we've plans to begin... I'll have to do some sketches and figure out what we desire where, remembering to take other things like a place for Chaos and Alexxis' "one day to be" tree house into consideration. Its a start!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A card....

Ever since I first laid eyes on Sandra Evertson's Birdcage Couture in her Fanciful Whimsey's line at Stampington & Company, I've been desiring to create a paper tole style card using it. I found a few hours to work on completing it this evening and these are my results. There are several layers to this card creation, in fact the only one intact with the entire image is the first one mounted to the card. The other layers have been cut, decreasing the dimension of the original image, and in several of the layers, I removed the birdcage entirely. I added the banner that reads, "Wedding Wishes" and on top of that is a small section of the image to assist with additional dimension. The sentiment inside reads, "The little bird sang the song she had long ago captured within her heart." The perfect spring-time sentiment for two wonderful people in love. {smile}

I don't know how much of the little birds you can see within those photos, but they were purchased today after Don and I took a ride to Ontario. We shared an quiet lunch, enjoyed the sunshine and warm weather, the opportunity to connect with one another again. We shopped at a variety of stores before finally checking out another of my favorite places, The Evergreen Company in Galion. This is one of a two sets of birds I discovered today, although I was "supposed to be" shoppping for a birthday gift for his mother, LOL! But never fear, I did find her a wonderful 18" garden stake with a resin and glittered "Garden Fairy". The fact that it was in the clearance section for 50% off didn't hurt either and justified me purchasing a few treasures. Don't you love how I justified that? LOL! Tommorow we'll be shopping at a few local nurseries in search of the perfect potted Spring plant or perhaps a perinneal. I did spot a couple beautiful, soft pink, lilac bushes at one nursery today --- but resisted the urge to get us both one! One day, soon.... I've promised myself one... perhaps after the threat of frost disappears.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Something to Share...

Wouldn't this be wonderful to crazy quilt? Gypsy Pin Cushion by Marcus Brothers
After returning to Marion, we made a quick stop at the video store to pick up a couple of movies to watch at home. I was thankful that "Blood Diamond" was in as I'd been desiring to watch it. It was truly a great moving and Leonardo DiCapro --- well, how can you go wrong! His acting in this movie was magnificant. I like a good documentary every once in a while and this movie added more fact to a book I'd read many, many years ago about a diamond mine in Africa and how it effects the people of Africa. It amazes me that in this day and age, that society can be so primitive and greed can cause so much strife in the lives of others. So sad, but true. It makes me happy that I'm not so much of "a material girl" and even more thankful for the life I live.

This morning, I woke up grateful for that fact, as my thoughts turned once again to creating. I need to start working on my Gratitude Garland once again. Quickly, my thoughts returned to creating with fabric and I did a Google search for creating Fabric ATC's and Postcards. I have the supplies to create some and may even decide to create a few for Tina's "In The Garden" swap. I may have just enough time to complete 10 of them as long as I choose a simple design and get started on them soon. We'll see... I don't want to bite off more than I chew, LOL!

Wonderful Weekend...

Yesterday, Don and I had JoAnne and Steve's wedding to attend at The Gathering Place. The service was beautiful althought Steve seemed so very nervous. Not to mention so wasn't I --- I really am not much for "formal" events, the dressing up, the not knowing what to say, --- I really don't know these people too well to begin with so it is hard to really begin a conversation to even get to know them more and its always in such a large group with lots of activities going on at once. I also think I feel a little out of place because these people where good friends of Don's when he was married to his ex-wife, Karen, and we're 12 years apart. They get to talking about people they went to school with, things they've done, and places I've never known. Anyways, it was so good to see and visit with Jim and Rosella and other family members. It is so funny how two childhood friends, Don and Jim, often teased each other about being related to many, many years later actually becoming related, even if it was Don's uncle married Jim's mother. Aunt Alice, as we call her, has always been so very good to me, going out of her way to ensure I felt welcome within their large family. I even got to spend a few minutes talking with Aunt June; she is such a sweetheart and thinks the world of me! I used to teach a Bible study group that she attended and we became the closest of friends. It has been almost ten years since we've seen or spoken to one another, and strangely, neither of recognized one another, LOL! We made plans and promises to get-together soon, wished the happily married couple the best,and went on our way.

Deciding it was a beautiful day, 70 degrees and sunshine here in Ohio, we drove to Columbus to have a nice dinner at Carrabba's. After eating, we went out the Carry Out door and upon reaching the Jeep, here came Kevin the owner and manager to Thank us for Coming! Don and Kevin had met on one of our visits and now they seem like old friends. I thought that was very nice of him to do, to track us down to say, "Thank you." Although, eating at his restaurant is never a hardship, actually it's one of my favorite places to go and things to do.

Upon leaving the restaurant, we decided to take the back roads home, driving into Westerville, reaching Rt. 3 North when I spied a sign for a Farm Market. Thinking Spring's arriving, maybe they've have some flowers, herbs, and plants we followed the signs. The road we travelled was a bit hilly and curvy with beautiful large homes scattered about the hilltops, and as we drove we looked about, when suddenly, I shouted to Don to "slow down". A group of deer were making their way along a creek bed and a huge buck stood in the middle of the road while a doe and her yearlings followed, yet waiting in the clearing along side the road. As we stopped to wait while they crossed, I was amazed at their sheer size and beauty. It made our ride home a pleasant experience. We did discover the Farm Market, although it had appearred to have long been out of business or perhaps it is just an autumn thing. Anyways, shortly afterwards we came upon St. Rt. 36/37 between Johnstown and Delaware and made our way to Oakland Nursery where we decided to stop and stretch just a bit before they closed for the evening. We didn't have much time to browse, which was alright, as I know better than to prepare for planting just yet --- It's Ohio and we're still prone to receive some freezing temps. Let's just say, I've been there and done that, LOL! But that doesn't stop my heart from longing for Spring to reach full bloom. Things are beginning to bud, to sprout, and turn green although it will be a week or two yet before its will be truly green and beautiful. In the meantime, I'm longing to begin a walking routine, work more on my sewing and stitching, card creating and art.

Friday, March 23, 2007

After Don left for work tonight...

I worked on my CQ journal cover a bit more. I finished up the perle cotton blanket stitch and then decided to add a bit of whimsy by embroidery "CQ journal" on the section that will later become the front cover. I love it! It's childlike and whimsical, adding to the image that Pat so generously shared with me. To use up some more of the purple thread within my needle, I added a few daisy chained daisies to the upper green print. I'm really liking those as they fill the square in a bit more.

A Crazy Egg....

A friend, Daniel, who is also a published designer has been challenging some members of an online message board to strive outside of their comfort zones. So, while posting my embroidered stamp image, I visit the message board to see he had issued a challenge using an egg template. I love it's design, so I downloaded it, printed it off to fit a 5x7 and this is what I created. The section of the bee is stamped with black acrylic paint and a textile medium and I crazy quilted the rest. The egg is approx. 3 1/2" x 2" --- perfect for hanging on a little tree. I have several more in the works and am giving some thought to how I'll create a tree. I may just spray paint a branch white and drill a hole in a chunk of wood to hang these on. I'd also like to create one just for Alexxis' Easter Basket.

The last several days have been a ...

breath of fresh air. On Wednesday afternoon, Don and I stopped at our local Goodwill, where I found some great bargains on Linen and Adia cloth. I purchased three rolls of Irish linen for $1 each and a baggie filled with Irish linen squares and Adia cloth for $3. Gotta love a bargain! Afterwards, we took a ride over to Lexington to have dinner out at the Dutch Heritage Restaurant, then walked around the Gift Shop. Of course, I had to purchase a clearance piece of Heritage Lace and some blue robin eggs soaps for the bathroom. While driving back home we rolled the windows down, turned up the stereo and bellowed until we laughed ourselves silly. I just love days like that!

On Thursday, I spent a few hours with Lil Miss Adorable! She is getting so big and her personality never ceases to amaze me. She's loving the living room re-arrangement since the love seat is now in front of the mirror. It is so easy for Garndma to hold on to her while she plays "patty-cake" with herself. {I haven't had the heart to clean off her little handprints and smile every time I see them there.} We had a short and sweet wonderful visit before she returned to Mommy. I apologize for the photo above being a bit blurry --- she's becoming quite a challenge to photograph and can you tell she loves her car? LOL!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

While the "cat" is away...

visiting one of the warehouses for the store this morning, I experimented with something I've been dying to try. I used one of my favorite Anna Griffith rubber stamps and Stewart Superior's Black India Ink to stamp the image onto a piece of satin fabric. I choose the India Ink mainly because it is designed for quick drying for watercoloring so I thought maybe it would be an excellent choice for stamping onto my fabric. And was I ever right! I gotta admit that I was impressed with the crispness of the image. After setting it aside, just long enough to put away my stamp and inkpad, I was soon digging out my embroidery hoop, floss, and scissors to create this beauty above. I am desiring to use it in my next crazy quilt experiment of creating a heart to hang in the "pass through" niche. A small heart would offer just enough to keep experimenting with my stitching, as well as providing me with a beautiful home accent to display in my sewing/stitching space. I cannot wait to create some more stamped on satin images to embroidery, I found it so relaxing and a great way to start my day.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

CQ For Newbies - Squishie Mingle

As an example, my “Squishie” for this mingle contains the following:
• 7” square of 14 ct. adia cloth;
• a generous piece of muslin;
• cotton fabrics: 1 solid, 1 batik, and 5 prints --- three of them small and two paisleys;
• satin – one of the following colors: dark purple, lilac, and a sparkly teal blue;
• my first attempt at creating a siggie – although the image is faint;
• 4 white cotton fabric pieces using stamped images created with acrylic paint and fabric medium for embroidering upon;
• 1 yd. of lace;
• 3 color coordinating full skeins of DMC floss;
• 3 bobbins of silk ribbon – two 4mm and 1 7mm:
• 1 yd. or more of perle cotton
• a small baggie filled with seed beads, pearls, crystal beads, charms, coins with holes, ribbon, silk flower and leaf, and colored buttons.

Last, but certainly not least, Don's space within the room...

You didn't think that after rearranging all this room for me that I would leave him out, did you? No way! Not after all his help yesterday anyways. This is "his" chair. Having been born with CP, we quickly discovered that the recliner would not withstand his use of lifting himself up with his upper body and arms so before any damage was done we replaced the recliner with this chair for his use. He loves its sturdy arms and finds getting up out of it so much easier. We have two matching ottomans that complete the living room suite but Don and I prefer them in our bedroom as the space seems too closed in with them in here. {Although, I miss having them to curl my feet up upon... I now have the recliner...}

The beautiful picture on the wall above is one that I have from years of selling Home Interior and Gifts. It was a hostess purchase and I was instantly drawn to its French country style and of course, I wanted the matching figurine! The candle within the wine glass was created by my dear daughter, Amber, when she was in the 6th grade of school. I can remember when it was created like it was yesterday as she had forgotten that they would be creating them in Arts and Crafts that day and needed to telephone me at home to please bring me a container. Un-prepared, I grabbed the first thing that I thought she could utilize and took it to school for her. She was the envy of all her friends when this candle was created and who knew years later that candles within wineglasses and beverage containers would become so popular? I've treasured it for years because my little girl is not so little anymore with a family of her own. I pray that one day little Miss Alexxis will bless her with something that means just as much to her as this candle means to me. And the barn star.... I loved them from the first moment I saw them, but lack of room to display one lead me to purchasing this smaller one. I love it, though, regardless of its size.

Well, that is it, the tour is over but please stay tuned to reading my blog there's more creative endeavors of one sort or another to come, I promise.

The opposide of our living room....

After working on my sewing and stitching area, I desired to rearrange our living room to add some balance to the two rooms that function more as one. Some of the changes are the use of the adjustable bookcase that I discoved a few years ago on clearance at Office Depot for $13 each. Needless to say, I purchased both of them as that was what was available. We utilize one within the kitchen and an shelf that wasn't needed added to this piece so that I put one set of three shelves in front of another so that it would wide enough to hold our electronics. My stationery case, address book, calenday, an a box of label resides on the bottom shelf keeping them handy for snail mail correspondance. The loveseat, endstands, and chairs were simply moved from one wall to the opposite wall requiring little effort to rearrange. {Hey, I can say that as Don moved them, LOL!} I like how the window is now open and the rearrangement provides more of a balance and unified appearance to the room. Do you see that blank wall space above the electical appliances --- perhaps one day I'll fill it with my desired appliqued wallhanging that I've yet to create.

The lovely Jelly Cabinet...

provides me room to store my fabrics. I do not have a large collection YET as I recently began purchasing fabric after receiving my sewing machine as a Christmas present this past year from my wonderful fiance, Don. I love how the fabrics are stored nicely within it and are within easy reach when I desire to utilize them. Thankfully, our kitchen table is large enough to comfortably cut them using my Fiskar's cutting mat and rotary cutter set --- which I've stored behind the tablecloth up against the wall of my sewing table. Out of sight, but not out of mind.

The fabrics on the top shelf left side are the fabrics I chose for creating my first quilt. Alexxis quilt that I began is stored there and I am considering adding one more row of blocks to balance the width with the height. On the right is the stack of fabrics I recently purchased for creating me a crazy quilt throw for use within the studio and began me on my journey exploring more and more. I hope to one day be comfortable enough creating blocks and stitching them to get started on that project. I'm certain that I'll be adding to the pile as I discover fabics that I desire to add. One lesson I learned is that for CQ'ing I don't necessarily need to purchase a half or full yard of fabric --- a 1/4th or an 1/8th will be plenty! On the bottom and housed within a photo box is scraps that I've kept for creating CQ blocks and learning purposes. There's probably enough there to create a matching scissor holder for my CQ journal and possibly a pillow, hence the 18" pillow form.

How I organized the TV stand for stitching....

The small cabinet on the left of the stand has one shelf and was deep enough to hold my Artbin floss containers, notes I've printed off and desire to add to my CQ'ing journal, while the bottom shelf holds a several DMC floss kits and the Bow Stitch container that holds my Perle cotton threads. The drawer along the bottom of the stand holds two of my Container Store clear acrylic divided jewelry containers for holdin embellishments. Several bead containers store nicely along beside it.

The opening originally had an adjustable shelf that I removed to provide enough space to add several books. I keep my The Magic of Crazy Quilting book, several of the JoAnn's guide books, and my CQ'ing journal handy here beside an additional embellishment container and my sewing basket on top. The stand adapted itself beautifully for my purposes, don't ya think?

My stitching area....

I used an old TV stand that has been in my possession for many, many years to hold my sewing basket and stitching supplies. The tabletop is the perfect height for its placement under the window. I added the 3 wick candle, a bear I recently "patched" up, a few sprigs of antique looking roses, and my Ott light to assist me with stitching at night. The throw on my recliner is a purchase from Marshall's and will provide me something to snuggle within. Hopefully, I wont stitch directly to it, LOL!

The west wall....

This one of the windows in our home that is original to the when Don's father built our home. We've often thought of replacing it with a bay or bow window but somehow have never ventured into accomplishing it. Maybe one day, when we add in a fence from the house out to the carport and do some landscaping, but currently it doesn't feature a view worthy of such an endeavor. Perhaps, one day...

The computer amoire, ah, what can I say... I have a love/hate relationship with this piece of furniture. It was another thrifty purchase that I just had to have, I was drawn to it's shabby chic existance and labored hours upon hours struggling to paint it. I do love it, however, its large size often becomes a challenge on where to place it within the room. I believe I've found it's placement, at least in an area that I can live with. One thing I now love is the fact that I can glance out the front window of the room while on the computer and enjoy nature while being inside.

I originally intended to add wallpaper or fabric to the door panels and a painted rope trim but somehow never made the time to follow through. A wallpaper border recently purchased at Goodwill for 50 cents, helped to decorate it up a bit turning it from "plain jane" to adding some warmth to it.

Establishing a sewing and stitching area....

Yesterday, I spend my entire day establishing a sewing and stitching area within our home. This entailed cleaning, re-arranging furniture, experimenting with what worked where, and a frustration but now that it is finished both Don and I are pleased and happy with what we accomplished. Somehow, our feels comfy and cozy once again. Isn't it amazing how that occurs? We didn't purchase anything new, other than a cable line and a couple couplers so that we could move the gigantic amoire that holds my computer. The table that I set up for utilizing for my sewing machine, paper arts, journal writing came from our kitchen because I switched it for the dry sink we recently purchased from Dennis and Sheila. The tablecloth and napkins were a recent Goodwill find and a steal at $2. I scattered the napkins about for use as doilies throughout the room. The wall niche was a pass-through window that Don's mother used when they lived in our home and after the addition was added. This room became their dining room until the kitchen was enlarged via remodel a few years later. It was one of the aspects of our home that I couldn't quite part with when we remodeled our kitchen so I simply painted the drywall on this side of the room. Wanna come exploring with me? I'd love to show you what we've done simply through decorating....

Blanket Fan stitch...

This photograph is of the second blanket fan stitch that I've sewn on this block. My first was created using two strands of yellow DMC floss on the green print block near the appliqued lace heart. It turned out okay but I quickly decided that I should make my stitches longer so the fans are a bit bigger and display themselves more prominently. On this attempt, I use purple perle cotton size 5 and created them bigger. I worked until I became a bit sleepy and decided to stop for the night. I intend to extend it around the outer edge of the entire block of lilac colored satin. This one was a easier to do than the first as I learned to start at the edge of where I desired the fan to begin vs. in the center as I attempted previously using the floss on the other piece.

Also, do you see the ripples in my fabric pieces? Those are the results of machine stitching. I did a bit of research by reading more in The Magic of Crazy Quilting book and learned that the fabric needs to be guilded and held taunt in front of and behind the needle. No easy feat for a begining seastress, LOL! I concluded that on my next CQ block creation that I will hand baste my stitches to see if I can elimate that and practice more using the sewing machine with scraps of fabrics.

Another lesson in learning was no matter pretty all the trims and accent pieces look on the quilt block, save those embellishments for end of embellishing the block. I really had to watch my threads ensuring that the were no tangles or catching upon them as I stitched. Ah, the lessons I learned by doing! Thankfully, I'm documenting them within my CQ stitching journal as I continue to work; those notes will be wonderful little reminders as I continue to learn and explore. {smiles}

Catching Up...

I've been busy... working on my CQ, establishing a sewing and stitching area within our home so computer time has been a bit limited. This photo is an update showing the recently added stitches to my CQ journal cover. I experimented with the buttonhole and blanket stitches and even learned how to do a blanket stitched fan! I'm still learning, getting a little braver about learning directly upon my quilt
block, and loving the process. I figured if I didn't like the way a stitch was turning out, I should also learn how to undo whatever it is I've done and this is the result. I decided that I love it with all its little imperfections and like my paper arts it will be exciting one day to look back and see how I've grown and how far I've came during the process.

This is the buttonole stitched using an off-white perle cotton size 5. As this block is a small block and also forms the border of the block it was a little difficult to sew through all the layers and to keep the spacing even, although I felt that I was improving as I worked.

I like how the off-white provides a unifying look to this piece of the block. It balances with the lace heart applique in the lower corner and pulls the white background out a bit more in the siggie. Deciding I like it, I next stitched a herringbone stitch using it on another block directly over a pink herringbone stitch I'd previously added.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Rainy Days and Mondays....

Hello! Are you thinking thoughts of Spring? I am. I'm even a bit excited as we woke up to rain today... that means it's warming up, the ugliness of winter's remenants will soon be behind us as things once again turn green, flowers begin to grow, to bloom, and blossom. I'll have to schedule in some walking in my future days so I can lose some of my winter weight and explore more signs of Spring! My thoughts have been on gardening, although other than purchasing a few seed packets that is about as far as I've gotten. I'd love to add a pereanial bed to our yard this year.

After a late, but goodnight's sleep, I awoke filled with energy. That's a good thing, as it has been a very busy morning. I previous mentioned conversing with the CQ for Newbies group about setting up and hostessing a mingle. There seems to be quite an interest in participating in one so I've answered several emails, been conversing with the group's moderator, Lesa, regarding it, and she gave me the green-light go ahead! So, I'll be working on establishing the guidelines of the mingle, posting my expectations of the mingle for its success, and what I feel would make for a good squishie bag. I decided to limit the number of participants to only 10 as I will be responsible for making sure everyone participating receives something in the event anyone for one reason or another is unable to fulfill their obligation. I'll be concentrating and establish the details and posting to the group by the week's end. Lesa has so graciously agree to help me by reviewing my thoughts and ideas just to certain that everything is clear and concise, allowing little room for error.

After a few emails back and forth, I headed out the door for my chiropractor appointment. Gary was glad to hear that I made it through the week without the necessity of an additional adjustment. Not to mention how happy I am about it! I do have a bit of agrevation in my upper back that we couldn't adjust today so I'll see him again this week on Thursday morning. Ahh well, those morning appointments get me up and moving.... nothing wrong with that.

Speaking of moving, LOL, I'm off to shut down the computer, install the coaxial coupler to the computer so I increase the internet cable and move the amoire over a bit into the corner. I want to get my sewing/stitching area set up so I'm outta here! What ever is on your agenda today, I hope it makes your heart sing! Ta. Ta.

Before I over-extend myself...

I think it is best that I create myself a To Do List. The remainder of my March Calendar is clear. So, here's what is on my upcoming agenda:

Finish re-arranging the living room and organize my sewing/CQ'ing supplies.
Continue working on my CQ Journal cover --- as time allows. Practice stitching new stitches everyday.

Keep up with the two groups I'm currently involved with: OFP and CQ for Newbies.
Easter Sunday - April 8th {Have Alexxis' Easter purchased}
Deco swap begins April 16th. My deco is created; I can embellish it further before or after its return.
April 22nd - Mary's {my sister} Finish up something for her I've halfway through with.
April 28th - Alexxis 1st Birthday - gifts are purchased.
In The Garden ATC swap - receive date of May 1st.

I believe I can hostess a mingle of some sort on CQ for Newbies! Before mid-April looks best.

I need to get my butt over to my mom's to help her with some Spring cleaning. This month looks best for that. I'll need time for spending with Don, Alexxis, and a Girl's Night Out with friends. Who knows maybe I'll get my stamp cabinet organized yet; the next three weeks look promising!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Weekend Update...

Here is a not so good pic of the garden clotches we purchased at Oakland Nursery a while back. I assure you the eggs are a pretty shade of robin egg blue! It is really hard to capture them in the kitchen, especially on the glass table top. It is always a challenge determining where to safely display things within our home with Chaos, our dog, and Alexxis, the grandbaby, who is growing by leaps and bounds, and visiting often but I wouldn't really desire it any other way! I tried to insert one of my favorite bird figurines into the large clotch, however, it wouldn't fit so I placed the large nest with eggs in it for now. Later I'll gather up a bird figurine from the studio to replace it with. Anyways, it adds a perfect touch of Spring to our kitchen decor and the eggs go well with the chicken/rooster decor.

Gary arrived with some additional cable line for me late Saturday evening. however, we had to make a trip out to Radio Shack earlier today to purchase some coaxial couplers to join the two together. Now I will be able to finish working and rearranging the living room early this upcoming week. I promise to take an updated photograph of what I get established for a sewing and stitching area. I'm certain I'll be happy and more comfortable with whatever I come up with.

Unable to sleep last night, I got up and worked more on my CQ into the wee hours of the morning. It is coming along nicely and I am continuing to learn little lessons along the way. Like how to shift the fabric around within my hands while sewing along the seams, how the tension of each stitch changes the appearance, and how to sucessfully use my non-dominant hand to guide the thread and floss as I work. I attempted several new stitches, without practicing on adia cloth and working directly on my crazy quilt without too much stress. Although, attempting to create a fan out using a blanket stitch created a few problems which resulted in my taking out the stitches and starting over again. I finally figured out that I needed to start at one edge vs. in the center of the design and it began to come together sucessfully. Besides adding the blanket fan, I layered a herringbone stitch in another color for contrast over an existing herringbone stitch. I like how it looks and I tried my first chevron stitch before switching back to using the blanket stitch around the remaining section of the block. As I stitched I believe I came up with an idea on how I desire to line it, creating the slipcover to slide my stitching journal within so that I can replace it with a new journal as I begin filling them up. This will allow me to keep whatever journal I'm currently working in within this slipcover and beautifully displayed out in the open. Anyways, I'll photograph it again soon to share, as I worked I began getting sleepy so early in the morning, I returned to bed for a few hours of sleep before waking again and starting my day.

Don and I puttered around the house, cleaning once again, finishing up a few loads of laundry. Isn't it amazing how much there is do and keep up with in a home? And, to think there are only two of us! It seems I'm always cleaning, organizing, re-arranging something lately. I couldn't imagine a larger family living living under one roof although I've been there and done that and never really put much thought into it, I just did it, and never had the time for all the creative pursuits I do now, LOL! Around mid-day, I began cooking us up a wonderful dinner of baked pork chops, homemade scalloped pototoes, and green beans to enjoy in the evening.

We ventured over to the fairgrounds to attend The Rolling Acres Craft show before heading out to the mall to purchase the coulers. There were quite a bit of vendor's there, having filled both the Coleseum and another building. Lots of handmade items from wood, tole painting, fabrics, and country home decor. We purchased a few smaller items, a handcarved wood swan to add to the overhead shelf in my kitchen, another skeleton key to add to my collection, and a couple of flicker silicon covered lightbulbs. I have some small electric candle lamps and shades packed away somewhere that I'd one day dig out and display once again. I resisted the urge to purchase a nice medium sized 3 shelfed wooden bookcase. As I sit here and type, I wonder why, LOL! It was a steal at the $35.00 price tag. Then it hits me, that we had we had payments due and they have to come first. Darn it! Oh well, we'll make due with what we have and somehow it will all work itself out in the end. I often wonder what life would be like if money wasn't such a factor. Would I be happier? I know I'd be a lot busier, LOL! as I'd certainly have more to take of... maybe simplicity is bliss! Lord knows my mind can conjour up more than my hands are capable of doing. {smile}

Saturday, March 17, 2007

I often wonder....

What would life be like without...running into a snag? I am unable to move my computer amoire off the north wall and into the northwest corner of the room due to my internet cable cord being approx. 6' too short. Don telephoned Gary, our electrician, and he will be by after work early this evening. I have faith that he'll be able to hook me up!

While waiting, I sorted and straightened my fabrics in the jelly cabinet, added my recent cardmaking cards to my stationery box, and dusted. I believe I may have also came up with another option and a solution for having things close at hand. I'm thinking instead of the bookcases, maybe I'll take a small TV stand that has a side cabinet, a drawer, and a tabletop and utilize it for my CQing. Books can be added to the bottom drawer, the side cabinet could hold my embellishment cases, and my sewing basket would easily fit inside. I can utilize the bookcase shelves to hold the electronics for the TV and simply switch these two things out. For one, the tv cart is smaller, will take up less space, and for another, it solves the "not enough space' that we face now with the electronical components of the VCR, DVD, and Surround Sound.

I placed the small table in front of the south window where I'm storing my sewing machine underneath. Chaos likes to sit in front of this window, looking out, but his barking at anything that moves outside can be a bit nerve-wracking. Hopefully, this will help break him from some that. I'd leave the sewing machine on top, however, I'm a bit afraid that there could be the possibility of returning home one day to a broken window and a hurt dog. Anyways, this will work for now. Spring is on its way and Chaos can spend his day's outside running, romping, and playing --- Yeah!

Don is working all day today. I promised him a dinner consisting of salmon patties, fried potatoes, and sweet peas as he ran an errand for me today by taking the Gothic Arch swap package to the P.O. I believe this evening I'm going to work more on my stitching after I finish embellishing up my deco for another deco swap this afternoon. I try to capture some new photographs to add soon. I'd like to show you my garden cloche decorations, the paper flowers and coffee filter book I created at the previous weekend retreat, and my rearranged room.

Easing into the weekend...

On Thursday, I found myself being comforted by an overnight visit with yours truly, little Miss Alexxis. It has been quite a while since I have been able to have any quality time with her due to my upper back and neck. I've so missed her! She arrived full of smiles and ever so bubbly, cranky but precious, although not without a good reason. At 10 1/2 months old, she's cut her first molar! Which I managed to capture with my digital cam but haven't managed to transfer them to the computer just yet. We had a wonderfully long visit, laughing and playing. One of her new games is Peek-a-Boo with a twist; since learning to crawl, it is a game to find some piece of furniture in which to crawl to and hide behind or beside, then peek at you. When I'd say "peeka-boo", her entire spirit seemed to light up and grammy was greeted with a lot of smiles and giggles! We played with her car, in the tub, had a "tickle time" and she now even attempts to tickle me back, LOL! Pictures of "Miss Adorable" soon, I promise. After returning, Alexxis over to Daddy's care at her Grandma Nancy's on Friday evening, I spent the rest of my evening enjoying the effects of a few Advil and resting up.

I woke up feeling fresh and well-rested today, a bit stiff and sore, but it seems to be easing up as I got moving cleaning the kitchen and bathroom. Don helped me move the small kitchen table back into my living room and I slid the drysink into its old place within the kitchen before sweeping and mopping the hardwood floors. Next on my agenda is to attempt to clean and re-arrange half of my living room, organize all my sewing supplies, and establish a place for me to work on my crazy quilts. Rearranging has been an ongoing theme lately as we made room for the new to use dresser and hutch in Alexxis's room, removed the previous chest located there into an alcove in the hallway which freed up an adjustable bookcase that currently driving me nuts in our bedroom.

I'm considering moving it into the living room sliding it against the north wall, placing my small round table in front of it allowing room to remove some of my books and supplies with a recliner placed next to it but out of the way of the bookcase. Who really knows, I may just ditch the small round table and relocate it elsewhere. I often wish our living room was about 8' wider, until I consider all the additional space I'd have to clean, LOL! Somehow, it will all work itself out, I certain. Well, I'm off of here to experiment..... wish me the best! {smiles}

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Today has been a quiet day....

spent my morning browsing online, blog-hopping.... before getting up and going. I cleaned the kitchen up, washed the variety of drinking glasses, and cooked up some sloppy joes for our lunch and dinnner.

This afternoon, I worked more on my CQ while watching an afternoon movie. I love how this is beginning to turn out... it becomes more and more beautiful to me with every stitch and embellishment that I add. I added a herringbone stitch in pink floss around the blue paisly print, sewed on a applique to the purple paisley print before deciding to embellish it more using a satin stitch and a lazy daisy with green floss. I found a deep purple ribbon flower that simply shouted, "Add me" to the upper right corner of the square before finally moving on to tacking on a beautiful pink ribbon trim around my center image. I've six more blocks to embellish in some way; not that all of them need to be embellished... I believe I'll check out Sharon's blog for some stitches that go great together and pair a few of them up or practice learning them, LOL!


was a gorgeous day here in Ohio with partly cloudy skies and temps in the 70's --- a far cry from the less than half inch mix of sleet, snow, and ice that greeted us this morning. As restless natives itching with spring fever, Don and I decided to take a road trip to Columbus to do a bit of shopping. While I was in the process of getting myself ready, my dad called with good news --- our Jeep is done! and he was returning it to us. Both Don and I were so elated! We missed that darn thing, so it was no big surprise that we'd want to drive it. We gathered up the stereo face plate, some CD's, made a quick stop for gasoline and we were on our way!

Our first stop was at Target where I was so relieved to find some appropriate goodies for Miss Alexxis's Easter basket; I'd been wondering what I would do for her when Target's Dollar Spot came to the rescue. I purchase a 3 spindle spooled wall rack, a beautiful blue half-circle shelf, two approx. 6" photo fames, a wooden rabbit pull toy, a pair bunny barrettes, and a soft lamb keychain and little blue vinyl purse. Another purchase was a new bathing suit for yours truly --- my first "tankini".

Our second stop was at Schottenstein's Value City where I found a beautiful pair of summer sandles, Don a new pair of tennis shoes, a nice spring skirt, a couple of T's, and a pair of summer sandles and two matching but similar outfits for Alexxis. These will be put back for her first birthday that will be coming up on April 28th! I cannot believe it has been a year already, but hey! everyday with her has been a day to celebrate and one filled with love! After making our purchases, we started to head out the door when I made a detour for the restroom. Upon returning and exiting the store, I saw Don looking pretty frantic, talking on our cell phone and scouring the parking lot. He asked me, "Do you see our Jeep?" to which I replied, "No." then paused a moment before adding, "because we parked over here." We had somehow gotten turned around in the store and exited out one of the side doors and our Jeep was parked around front, LOL! The look of panic on his face was priceless!

Our next stop was made on our way home.... after traveling I-71 N to St. Rt. 36/37W, where Don decided to stop at The Cracker Barrel for dinner. I have to say our dinner was yummy! We both decided on the day's special consisting of baked chicken, broccoli, and cheese with side orders of their hashbrown casserole and green beans. It was very delish although I ate too much, preferring not to have to bring home a take out box nor desiring to shove my plate away. Deciding to walk off some of our meal, we made a stop at Oakland Nursery. I believe I've mentioned before how that store; it is amazing no matter what time of the year we visit it. I had been kicking myself for not purchasing a few different size garden cloches ever since our last visit on Christmas Eve, so I wasn't about to make the same mistake twice! Needless to say, two garden cloches later, two bird nests, and a assortment of color eggs we bade our goodbyes and headed home. All in all, it was a wonderful way to spend the day! {smiles}

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Creative Dabbling....

I had no idea where this sampler would end up when I started creating it. I stitched on muslin and using a variety of floss and perle threads. I basically was desiring to simply continue practicing some new stitches: a chain, running stitch, a bullion knot and a bullion rose, a fern stitch, lazy daisy, french knots, and some satin stitching. Who knows one day I may actually add it to something but for now it has served it purpose --- helping me to practice!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

A Great Link for Embroidery and Hand Sewing

Today I did a Google search on "hand embroidery" and stumbled across the

Heritage Shoppe website This website is an excellent tool for anyone desiring to learn how to embroider and is a wealth of information! As I am new to embroidery, I felt that an entire new world had just opened up for me. I read, made some notes, printed off section four on samplers and even stitched up my first one using some muslin fabric!

The top line is an even basting or running stitch created using A&E Signature Pixelles Size 30 trilobal Polyester thread in the Tropical Brights color with a size 10 Sharps needle. I simply used what I had on hand attempting to focus on small, short stitches creating 16-20 stitches per inch. I believe working from right to left may have affected my stitching and I couldn't for the life of me maintain a straight line on the fabric, LOL! I did , however, improve upon that as I practiced. {smiles} The second stitched line is Uneven Basting stitch, again I attempted to focus on creating 16-20 stitches per inch using two strands of DMC floss in an embroidery needle. the third stitch is another line of the uneven basting, just for practice and I notice that my poor posture assisted with an upward line. I corrected my posture after taking a small break to stretch and wall about before resuming. The forth stitch is a Picking stitch, also called a half back stitch and was created using embroidery needle and thread. This Herringbone stitch was one my favorites and I actually worked left to right creating it using #5 Perle cotton. It isn't perfect but as I worked I could see what I should be doing, how my spacing was wide in places and narrower in others so I tried to improve upon it in the next Chevron stitch. I wondered if maybe a faint line using a ruler and pencil would help me to improve upon it on my samplers only. I do believe it would help. And last, but certainly not least, is the Breton stitch. this is a fun stitch and I believe that I'd like to use these Herringbone and related stitches on my CQ. I am getting excited about creating another block --- this one with no specific purpose in mind other than to actually practice my stitching! I believe I may even attempt to embroider up some of clothes just for a fun decorative effect, of course, after I continue to practice a bit more.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Today was a bit of mix...

of activity and rest all rolled into one. I had a chiropractor appointment this morning, we ate breakfast out, stopped to pay our telephone bill, a quick stop into our Dollar Tree store, and we headed over to my parents to discuss the Jeep with Dad some more. We returned home, picked up just a bit, played with Chaos, and took a nap. It seems neither Don or I can keep up lately.... or the recent resting I've been doing has become a habit, LOL! I woke to the telephone ringing and shortly afterwards Amber and I were our shopping for shoes. Don was a sweetheart and cooked us up a nice spaghetti dinner while I was gone and before he headed in to work this evening. Feeling a little guilty... wanting something to do but nothing too strengthous, I worked on my Crazy Quilt!

Here is what I've done so far:
I had to add the classic spider web and spider, so I started off with it first. Next, I added the buttonhole stitch around the blue satin, sewed on some pink trim, added some bead trim and the pink ruffle on the right is actually a very pretty ribbon that I scrunch up with a basting stitch and tucked here and there along the seam. I'm excited to practice some new to me stitches on some adia cloth or muslin before actually working more on my actual journal cover. So far, I'm loving this and am excited to keep creating upon it and working on even more!

I'm back at home....

after having had a wonderful time while away this past weekend. We arrived at the motel shortly after 3 p.m., checked in, settled in our rooms, and in the conference room. This photograph was during that process and is mild compared to how the room looked 12 hours later, LOL! From left to right is Jackie, Michelle, Christine, me, and Deb.

In the evening on Friday, we made a run into Joann's to catch their 50% scrapbook supply sale to purchase items none of us really needed, LOL! But how could we resist? I purchased a pad of Basic Grey Motifa which I quickly set out to using on a coffee filter book that I started by have yet to finish before I turned my attention to creating my cards. Friday night was a very late night. Christine and I were actually were granted a prize for being the last two standing as we didn't retire until 4:30 a.m.

We woke up at 9 a.m. on Saturday, snacked on a continential breakfast by the pool before starting back in again and another long day and night. Near midnight on Saturday, I could not hang anymore, so I packed up and loaded up my supplies and retired only to discover sleep escaped me until somewhere around 3 a.m. when I feel asleep in front of the TV.

I didn't manage to work on my crazy quilt --- although I did try my hand at the fabric heat transfers. That worked great although my images were quite a bit lighter and I remembered Pat's tutorial saying to copy them about two times darker. Now I know why... although I still enjoyed creating and I will use them. Nothing ventured, nothing gained and I bet I won't forget that one again, LOL! All in all, I think we all enjoyed ourselves even if the time seemed to fly right on by.

Christine dropped me off shortly around 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, I was so happy to be home! It's nice to go away for away.... but it is pure heaven to come home! to be surrounded by your own things, welcomed by the people who love and miss you. Needless to say, after settling in, getting some lunch, I needed a nap, LOL! I woke to the telephone ringing when Sheila invited Don and I over for dinner and of course, I accepted --- I was too tired to cook! We did, however, make an early night of it and returned home early. It wasn't long afterwards that I was in my pj's and in bed.

I also received some good news while I was gone... during a telephone call to Don while he was working the store on Saturday, my dad came in and spoke with me on the phone while Don finished up with a customer. He got our Jeep Cherokee running!!! Putting in a new head and replacing gaskets, cleaning cylinders, and whatever else he did --- it worked!!!! We haven't actually picked it up yet as Dad is tuning it up completely and doing some additional things to it but we will have it back soon!

Friday, March 09, 2007


My bags are packed and I'm almost ready to go! I just have a few last minute things to grab --- cell phone and charger, cam and battery charger, my curling iron.... and something to absorb some heat while experimenting with the fabric heat transfers. I remembered the last one late last night while in bed attempting to fall asleep. I believe a quick stop into Lowe's for a large ceramic tile will do the trick! I'm excited and ready to get rolling... My friend, Christine will be picking me up around 12:30 - 1 o'clock.

Yesterday, I finished packing and did a bit of shopping for some last minute items. I purchased me a new walking athletic wear pant, shirt, and jacket which, of course, required hemming of both the legs of the pants and the sleeves of the jacket. Par for my course since I'm only 5'1" and the petite line usually sells out of the large size first. A quick stop over to my mom's for pinning them and I was able to stitch those up using a zig-zag stitch once I returned home. Comfort is the theme for Saturday!

I, also stopped at Office Depot and had some vintage cards, postcards, and photographs colored copied. They were completed when I stopped back after running errands so my day today is freed up more. I'm heading to my chiro appt. very soon and will be off and running soon. I hope everyone's weekend is as enjoyable as mine promises to be and I'll try to remember to take lots of pictures to share once I return home.... until then, ta-ta! {smiles and waves} "See ya on Sunday or Monday!"

Thursday, March 08, 2007

I sort of .....

fell out after my hair appointment yesterday afternoon and rested from the recent flurry of activity. I am almost set and ready to pack up and go on Friday although I have yet to purchase another tote, finish packing my supplies, and my clothes and personal items. I intent to remedy that today with a quick trip to WalMart and once I return home begin working on finish packing, laundry, and cleaning. Sheessshhh, just typing that makes me tired, LOL! Some time for some R&R will be well appreciated!!! I am especially looking forward to some time in the jacuzzi. Tomorrow at 10 a.m. I have a chiro appt. and we will be heading out around 12:30-1:00 p.m. One more sleep..........

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Today is going to be another busy day....

Rita telephone me yesterday and set up an hair color, highlight, and cut for me at 2 p.m. today. I jokingly told her I was worried that she was on vacation, not that she doesn't deserve one, just that it didn't fit into my schedule at the moment and she laughed, saying she can understand my concerns.

Yesterday, I worked on getting the my supplies that I'd "baggied" up brought into the house and condensed down the lace and trims into one 3/4 full quart size baggie. Various fibers and yarns were cut into managable lengths and then wound around bobbins and put in my new organizers for this weekend's retreat. I emptied my XXL tote, removed some items that had fallen out when my embellishment case opened up, and then vacuamed out all the little pieces of paper and whatever else has been gathering within it in the last several years; not to mention some remanants of sawdust from the studio remodel. I also created a new pile of supplies to be returned to the studio and then, packed up the card making supplies and added the paper supplies back in. I designated two of the plastic lock top organizers for paper supplies while another one has ink pads, embossing powders, and Anna Griffith wood mounted stamps. I utilited all the little pockets for adhesives and a variety of supplies that would fit into them and not take up so much room inside of the tote. I ended up with 3 of the large plastic lidded and removable totes inside along with my perle cotton holder and two of the Artbin acrylic cases containing my embroidery flosses, silk ribbons, and fabric embellishments. The other two embellishment cases fit into my Embellishment bag along with two 6" lengths of bead storage. I have my tool kit to sort through as of yet, however, most of what is in it will probably be going along with me. I know I said I was intending to "travel light" but unfortunately, that isn't going to happen --- in order for me to take along some of my supplies I need another tote. I was considering using an overnight bag, which I'd need to purchase when Christine mention this morning that she has several that I may be able to borrow. So, mainly it is a matter of when either I can reach her to pick it up or she can get that to me. If time becomes too much of a problem, I'll probably just break down and purchase an inexpensive overnight bag. Lord knows there have been times we could have used one. See what happens when make fun of friends, LOL!

Other than the sorting, condensing, and packing, I managed to get one quilt block finished. I took a photograph of it shortly before midnight last night. It can be seen in the post below. I'd love to start several more while I have the knack for it but I'm uncertain if I'll find the time before I go.

My evening plans, after I return from my hair appointment, is to clean house and get some laundry washed, dried, and ready to be packed up. I need to create another list for personal items that I'll need to take along with me and begin gathering those up. As I list and think about all these things, I wondered, "Who's idea was this?" LOL! But I am certain that it will be a wonderful time spent with some amazing friends. I'll try to update again tomorrow before I leave... {smiles}

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

My First Crazy Quilt Block!

Isn't it pretty? It is fairly large, 9"x14". I decided to create the Crazy Quilt Journal cover first and the journal I decided to cover has a spiral binding. Of course, I could have created my own but why re-invent the wheel? The object is to learn crazy quilting not practice my bookbinding skills, LOL! I originally cut my muslin 10"x15" onto which I laid out my fabric as I worked; then, proceeded to turn an tuck adding a very thin border before trimming the back side. Once this piece is embellished, the left side will cover the backside of the journal while the right side will cover the front. I will have to create some satin insert panels and sew them on to the reverse side for the journal to slide into.

I will say that creating this piece was a challenge! Not so much in assembling the crazy quilting, but fighting with my sewing machine. My thread kept breaking, I fiddled with the tension, my stitches were to short and had to be lengthened, two broken needles and various setting adjustments later, I finally got it sewing correctly when I was about 6-8 seams from having this piece completed.... Go figure!

I made a couple of mistakes along the way. Okay, maybe not really mistakes as they both can be dealt with.... Let's call them "lessons learned", that is a much better term and a bit more truthful. Can you find them?

The first is with the first piece of fabric that I stitched, just to the left of the photo transfer. I didn't leave enough fabric so when I folded it over to make my second seam, I fell just a bit short. No biggie, embroidery and embellishments will easily cover it.

The second mistake, see the pink thread? That is the thread that was on my sewing machine when I began and it kept breaking. After a few breaks and adjustments, I put on an ecru cotton quilting thread; it seemed to work a bit better. Of course, I could have used the seam ripper and ripped them out; but I liked the way the pink provides a nice contrast, especially against the deep purple satin. It is my little reminder to use something vibrant here --- hmmm, maybe some bright green? Anyways, I'm loving it and am hopeful that I can do this justice with my feeble embroidery attempts, LOL! Ahhhh... well, there's only one way to learn and that is by jumping in and attempting it. I suppose it is like anything else that I've ever taught myself to do, the more you do it, the better you get at it! Wish me luck!

Weekend Wonderings...

My order from Pat Winter's arrived in yesterday's mail. Not only was that perfect timing, I cannot even begin to describe the beauty of either the hand dye silk ribbon or her fabric transfers. They are breath-taking! She enclosed a few additioinal fabric transfers for me and a wonderful little business card with her personal info... well, everything except and email addy where she can be reached, LOL! So, I decided that this weekend I will create her a special little "Thank You" card and a handwritten letter while at the retreat this weekend and send it off on Monday. I have found her website to be a wonderful source of information and such a welcoming place to visit.

My mind is still whirling with possibilities and all the preparations and planning for this weekend retreat. I cannot believe it is Tuesday already! I have a mental list of things that need done before I leave early Friday afternoon.
  • I'd love to get my hair done before going and have called Rita, without any success of reaching her. I hope she isn't away on a vacation, not that she doesn't deserve one, it simply doesn't fit into my schedule, LOL! I'll try again several times today.
  • I have to finish packing up my tote bags... which I've given some more thought to condensing down even more since I did make it out into the studio on Saturday. I realized that I won't need to take entire skeins of fibers and chenille yarn, so I'll trim those down and make due.
  • I've yet to pack my clothes and personal items I'll need. The Comfort Inn we're staying at has a pool and a hot tub which I intend to take full advantage of at least twice while there.
Not to mention, check writing for bill paying and cleaning the house. I believe I'll get some of that completed today. I just keep plugging away...although I have yet to make the actual CQ blocks that I will begin embellishing this weekend. Hopefully, I will have them to share with you soon.

Organizing threads and flosses

While away on Sunday, my dad had telephoned and left us a message regarding additional parts and pieces he would needing to continue working on our Jeep Cherokee repairs. He and one of my four brothers managed to get the motor turned over and liked the way it sounded and the oil return, so they will continue to work on it. I really cannot tell you what all they have done to the motor to date, but they have put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into trying to save it. We are remaining hopeful that the new radiator, head, and head gaskets will eventually solve a lot of the problems and save the motor. Dad doesn't think at this point that the underside of the engine was damaged when everything went to hell in a handbasket. Hopefully, he's right. Another compression check revealed a lower than normal compression, so he has decided to clean the pistons and the rings. We pray we will get very lucky and won't have to look for another engine and all this time, money, and effort isn't in vain. So far, it looks promising still.

On Monday, we dropped off some more money to him, after my chiropractor appt. While he talked with Don about the Jeep, mom and I visited together. I really need to try to make it over there more once my back gets straightened out and help her spring clean their home. I don't like her trying to do it as it tires her out so much and at her age there are things she simply doesn't need to be doing like climbing up and down on a ladder to wash walls, etc. She showed me a pillow she recently sewed up a new cover for and a crocheted one she is working on now. I should take her over one of the patterns and fabrics that I purchased to make some summer outfits for Alexxis for her to work on whenever the mood strikes her. They'd make perfect heirlooms for Amber to cherish and treasure until Alexxis is older. I also thought that when I get my fabric washed for the CQ for the studio, I may have her help me create some blocks and leave them there for her to embellish. Wouldn't that be wonderful? Once completed, I could curl up in my studio with that CQ and be reminded of those that she created. {smile}

Early in the afternoon, we made a quick trip to JoAnn's for me to purchase an embroidery floss storage container. Originally, I wasn't going to purchase any additional ones, but decided after Sunday's purchases that I probably should. I choose the ArtBin ones as they are clear acrylic vs. the opaque, I just prefer those..... and they go better with the Container Store ones that I use to store all my embellishments in already. I also picked up a Fade Away pen in two different brands, I want to try using some of my rubberstamps with them stamping on to fabric and embroidering them afterwards. I believe they'd be nice short projects that I could add to a CQ later on or for decorating almost any home decor item. Shortly afterwards, we returned home to eat a light lunch and I began winding the embroidery flosses that I purchased on Sunday onto plastic floss bobbins. Thank godness that I had picked up the bobbin winder or I'd still be sitting there! ROFLOL! And I definately picked up more than I needed on Sunday, so I decided to utilize the Stitch Bow™ Floss Holders and Storage Case for my Perle Cotton fibers. It was near midnight when I finished as I only took short potty breaks for me and the dog, and just an opportunity or two to stand, stretch, and walk about a bit. It made for a long day but it is all over now.... and I didn't make any new messes to have to worry about cleaning up before I leave on Friday, LOL!

Sunday Adventures

I had a great day on Sunday! Early in the day, Don and I took a trip to Polaris Parkway and made a quick stop into Michael's. I searched for silk embroidery thread since I knew JoAnn's no longer carried it, and discovered that they have very little of it either. I only managed to find an Anna Griffith kit titled the Old Paris Palette Two that contained 10 yds of a variety of colors in 4mm ribbon, four yards in 7mm, and a variety of floss for an additional 14 yds, and a beautiful hand charm. I also checked out their storage solution options before finally deciding to purchase DMC's Stitch Bow™ Organizing and Storage System. I decided on two packages of the Floss Holders, picked up the DMC labels for the color numbers, and a storage case. along with two additional packaged kits of DMC floss. I also purchased a Susan Bates 4" lipped hoop and a 6" spring style hoop there. and a new pair of embroidery scissors. I have a pair but haven't used them in so long, I couldn't tell you how sharp that they'd be. I believe all of those will come in handy for some pieces I desire to embroidery or embellish before starting on new CQ blocks. We'll see....

At JoAnn's, I purchased a 1/2 yd. of heavy white bridal satin and two 1/4 yd. of a blue and a deep purple. I found another silk in a beautiful blue with silver sparkles and got a 1/4 yd. of it as well. While browsing, I found a 30% sign on sewing boxes and discovered one that I liked before moving on to selecting more embroidering floss. Let's just say I practically grabbed one or two of almost every color they had, LOL! After paying for my purchases, Don decided he'd like to stop for dinner at the Texas Roadhouse before we drove over to Sheila and Dennis's, so we enjoyed a nice, quiet dinner and a drive from Polaris to Galion afterwards.

We arrived at Sheila and Dennis's shortly after 6 p.m., spent some time catching up, having coffee, and enjoying one another's companied. We decided the four of us would love to do a few day trips with one another this coming summer and discussed places we'd love to visit and things we'd like to do. While there, Don paid Dennis for a dry sink that Sheila decided she wanted to get rid of and I discovered why she is desiring to get rid of all these wonderful wood furniture pieces that Dennis creates. Dennis is going to be working on a oak hutch for her complete with plate shelves, glass doors, and interior lighting! She is also desiring to add the two leaves back into her dining room table, and put in a breakfast bar between the kitchen and dining room where the wall is already open. She went on and on telling Dennis that he has to come back down and see our home since I painted the kitchen and we've laid the hardwood flooring in the living room, she really loved it. To hear her talk you'd think our home was a spread right of BH&G's featured showcase, LOL! It made me feel good that she found our home so warm and inviting. She loves my decorating style, although, it is somewhat similar yet different from her own. We also discovered that we both have a love of antique furniture although neither of us have very many pieces within our homes. Maybe we'll have to rectify that this summer with some visits to some antique malls and shops.

Anyways, before we knew it was 8 o'clock and time to make our way back home to settle in for the night. After getting Chaos outside, the new dry sink inside, it wasn't very long afterwards we were in our jammies and settled in for an early night of rest.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Fabric choices and other ramblings...

As I thought about creating my first quilt block and the purpose for it, I stumbled across the idea of creating a block for a journal cover using the theme of "The Secret Garden". I liked how the garden was waiting to one day be re-discovered, worked, and tended to. I reminded me of discovering CQ'ing and the research that I've been doing to cultivate the creation of my own first block.

After selecting the theme, I remembered an old garden themed calendar that I recently discovered at Goodwill was filled with a wide variety of wonderful garden pictures. So, I cut up small squares of the fabric I'm desiring to use and browsed through the book comparing the fabrics to one picture after another, mainly looking for some additional fabric choices and colors to add. I discovered that deep purple looks wonderful with these, as did a deep dusty mauve, and whites and off-white warm vanillas. As I sat turning page after page, comparing colors and such, I stumbled across this photograph. I love that stone bridge, the sweet watercolor effect of the photograph, {I lightened this digitally just a bit and lost some of that quality while doing so} and the contrast of light and dark.

Today, I plan to take the book and my fabric swatches along with me to JoAnn's to purchase some additional supplies. I'm desiring some satins. White and off white's for fabric transfers, a deep purple and some teal green and blues like those shown in the picture. Hopefully, I will find something to inspire me further. I've quite a bit of the fabrics shown above so creating matching set of a book cover, scissor and needle case, and even, a stash box and/or a matching pillow wouldn't be a problem should I decide to continue with this while learning. I also like this idea as I can slow down on purchasing a lot of supplies, use up most of those that I sorted through yesterday, while I work on building my threads, fibers, and floss collection as I work on mastering some stitches. Although, I wonder about how soon it will be before I tire of the color scheme, LOL!

I also need some sort of an organization system for storing my threads, flosses, needles and trims for storing and traveling this weekend. So I think I'll pick up something to assist me with that. It will certainly make any continued shopping for supplies easier and hopefully prevent me from purchasing some repeat supplies--- a good reason to start keeping a CQ journal and I may end up with six or seven travel bags yet! {vbg}

Weekend Wildness

I am not sure what I did to deserve these but I am not complaining in anyway whatsoever! On Thursday, Don surprised me with a dozen red roses and on Friday, another dozen of white ones! Aren't these beautiful? The filled vase is now on my kitchen counter and I cannot resist the urge to stop and smell the roses every time I walk by.

On Friday evening, I was away cropping from 6 p.m. until the wee hours in the morning! I didn't make it home until a bit after 5:30 a.m. Saturday
morning. Deb, Jackie and Christine are certainly die-hard paper artists. Deb and Jackie both work third shift, so they are used to these crazy hours. This "morning" girl's butt was dragging yesterday, after only 4 hours of sleep. Let's just say that I made it a very early night when turning in last night, LOL!

I didn't get a lot accomplished Friday night; my mind was reeling with all the possibilities of CQ'ing so I complete a stamp index of the unmounted I had with me and then created three altered microscope slides which are waiting to be soldered.

Christine was telling me that I have to see a crazy quilt that she has in her possession. It was a gift to her from her mother who managed to purchase a late 1800's crazy quilt somewhere for only $1.oo. I couldn't believe what I was hearing - she's kidding me right? I definately will have to make it out to her home to see this and trust me, I'll be taking my camera along so that I can share photographs taken of it. I'm certain she wouldn't mind, or maybe she'll share it on her own blog, if she's still blogging, and I can link to it.

Any ole' how, as my friend Sheila would say, I spent some time yesterday afternoon reviewing how to transfer photos, clipart, and vintage images from Pat's website and making notes of what I will need to have to try my hand it. Shortly afterwards, I made my way out to the studio to gently caress my myrid of supplies as I sorted through them, separating what I currently
own for CQ use, and prepared those supplies to take with me on my upcoming weekend retreat. As I am still healing from an early December car accident which I sustained a mild case of whiplash, I am welcoming the thoughts of packing fabric, lace, charms, beads, and a variety of other supplies simply because I am hoping that they will be so much more lightweight. {That is vs. paper crafting supplies and rubber stamps. You can remind me I said that after I return, LOL!} I sat and laughed Friday as I watched Christine, Deb, and Jackie pack up their supplies to take along. Deb's container count totalled seven, Christine's totalled six, and Jackie's I'm not sure about. I gently teased them saying, "Do you realize that it is only one weekend?" then proceeded to inform Christine of needing room for me and my bags, LOL!

After doing a bit more research, I am hopeful that I will make a decision on what I want to create my first block to embellish. So that I can assemble it and maybe a few more before I leave on Friday. I gotten this crazy notion in my head that I should create my first block with a pre-intended purpose for its use. So, I'm considering creating either a scissors or needle case, or starting a journal cover for all these CQ notes, ideas, and inspirations I've been discovering and collecting. I also loved a supply box that I saw somewhere... it was a cigar box that the lid had been created CQ style and was used to hold supplies. If anyone knows what I'm talking about, I'd love to post a link to it.