Thursday, December 27, 2007

Thinking 'bout the New Year

This isn't the best of pictures but you can still see all the details in this community project quilt. This quilt hangs at the Arvon Historical Society and was made to depict the local landmarks, the flora and the fauna.

Alot of fabric painting & ink drawing was done on this quilt & even a few of the local gentleman contributed blocks. This quilt is a true story quilt.

I saw this CQ stitch sheet somewhere in my travels on the web but I can't remember where. Has anyone seen this before or know of a source?

I've spent the last couple days perusing the blogs and Flicker sites of the TIF Challengers. It's been quite fun (& awe inspiring) seeing different mediums and ideas of all the creative minds out there. One site I really enjoyed was Vivians . Her nature photography and the work she creates is stunning! I will try to link to others posts as I find things. If you haven't done so, do use some kind of Blog Reader as Sharon suggested. The initial time spent setting it up is well worth it and it is great to have your favorite sites pop up when they get updated. You will definately spend less time surfing and more time creating. Which I admittedly have't done lately!

Christmas was peaceful. We watched movies, ate too much and took the dogs for a good walk. Santa brought me a Shakespeare "Ugly Stick" (icefishing pole), a weather book, Cold Dark Sky by Karl Bohnak and a very sweetly sentimented Christmas card with a lottery ticket inside. The drawing is scheduled, of all days, on my birthday. A new printer is in the works too, a combo Christmas/birthday gift. I have all kinds of ideas in my head for it!

The end of the year is always bittersweet for me, the old year closes and I start the new one being another year older. It's always a time for conscious change and improvement, not resolutions or swearing off, but a time for me to reflect and re-evaluate. What do I want to do in this New Year... how do I want to live... what can I do to be a better person... what have I done so far that just doesn't work anymore? The answers are so different than last years but then, so are some of the questions.

Till the next time...

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Holiday Blessings To All !!!!

Merry Christmas from our house to yours !!!

May your fires burn bright and your hearts be filled with all the joy and promise of the Christmas season.... " For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a saviour which is Christ our Lord".

Here is wishing the best of everything for you and yours in the coming New Year !!!!

Sincerely, Jane

Oopps.... Back Side Only

I thought I had taken a pic of this completed but it wasn't in the camera. This is 1/2 of what was Roxys ornament before it got wrapped & given. The other side had a picture of her camp outlined in flowers and vines. I am working on 1 more ornament which will hang on our own tree.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

And while the sewing machine was out...

I had gotten this fabric pack several months back from Allison Aller and pulled it out today. Its a fun little packet with fabric, pattern, trims, buttons, floss, and stitch info. All in my favorite colors to boot. I had mentioned yesterday that I rarely used patterns so I decided to do this block with the pattern she supplied so I could compare the 2 ways of doing it. The technique for this pattern was more of a paper piece method than the flip and stitch I generally use.

Here is the pattern I traced onto the muslin. As in paper piecing, I had to put the fabric on the reverse side and sew on this side with the lines. Its alot harder than it would seem to be and if you aren't careful you can short yourself and become confused with the mirroring of the image. I got myself in a few jams along the way.

Here is the end result of the 8" finished block. The red triangle in the top left corner was a place I shorted myself in the blue/green square. Well in CQ, no problem. Again in the mirroring of the image I got turned around and put the red dragon brocade and the purple top corner opposite of how I wanted it which put the red next to the orange. It was very hard to get the dragon motif lined up when I couldn't see it from the other side. The line between these 2 pieces I have more straight than the angle the pattern called for too but I could hardly rip this out as it is very fine silk. I think it came out striking with the fabric Allie chose and I am sure that the embellishments she included will just set it off. I really wanted Allie to see that I finally did it instead of keeping it in a basket! My sister was the recipient of the other packet and it will be neat to see what she does with hers. (Thats a gauntlet threw out there, sis!)

I have a really bad habit of hoarding scraps. Not miniscule scraps but any 2-3" piece (which may be miniscule to some) will not see the trash. I have several baskets that I use and I am quite organized with it. But today the scraps left over from this block found themselves directly sewn up into a wonky block that can be squared up and used in another project. I already see some weird visions in this block. I tilt my head to the left and it looks like a tent, I tilt my head to the right, it looks like a birdhouse. Yeah, maybe I am losing it. LOL , but I'll bet you'll try to see what I see !!

I took the scraps from yesterdays blocks and sewed them up into some small oblong squares to have for more needlebooks when the mood strikes. But it looks like I have a few blocks on hand for awhile and I can put the dustcover on the sewing machine for a bit.

PS. The "song block" from a few posts back was not saying for me and definately not keeping me interested. It can sit for awhile.

Till the next time...

Monday, December 17, 2007

New Block and a Case of the Lazy's

I spent a considerable amount of time in this chair yesterday. Doing a few stitches on another ornament, watching football and reading a book about kayaking. It felt good to cozy up and do a bunch of nothing.

The week passed quick since I'd last posted and I did good sticking with the plan I made to get some "hot" spots around the house cleaned up and loose ends of life organized. I still have my list of things for the holidays yet but for the most part, done. I'm not that far out of touch that I am not doing anything. But we are not going to Detroit for Christmas and decided early on that a simple holiday with no commitments spent in our new house was what we both wanted. I will miss my family but at the same time I really need to experience this holiday in a different way; with new meanings, new traditions, and a new understanding of what Christmas is to me.

The only thing semi planned in most of my CQ blocks are the colors, not the pattern. I love to see the mood come out, the fabrics buddy up, and the subconscious story that the block tells. I sewed this "boxy" square today (it didn't feel boxy when I did it) using colors that to me looked like the winter woods, the northern lights and cold water. I felt the need to do a block indicative of whats around me right now and just maybe there are a few things I need to square up too. I'll pick threads tomorrow.

The class update is that I go for a back exam & textbook pickup on Wed. More good news is that MichiganWorks, part of the unemployment commission will be picking up the tab for my class and supplies because I qualify under the "displaced worker" act. This is turning into one of those things that was meant to be!

Speaking of cold water, here is the Huron River at Eriks Bridge, making its way towards the "Big Lake". We trekked a few of the roads today and enjoyed the heatwave, 27 degrees. The sky was a crystal robins egg blue and the snow shadows were all lavender.

Till the next time...

PS... Hi to Tophat & Cathy!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Remembering Grammas

This is one of the ornaments I'm making. This is a photo of my great- grandmother and my grandmother. My great grandma, Pearl (Mimi), was born in 1884; my grandma, Helen Ruth, was born in 1902. I was fortunate enough to know both of these grandmas and have many memories of both. Mimi lived in Mannington WV. She married my great-grandad who was a widow 20 years her senior, and took on his children as well as having 4 of her own. Both grannys have been gone for a long time now but I often wonder what they'd think of the times we are living in.

This is the backside. The photo half was done with Printed Treasures. (I wish I could do more image work but my printer is a dud for this.) I had to find a way to use the scraps leftover from my scrap project. What a redundant bit of recycling this is turning to be, scraps from scraps, but it is fun and fast. I am making round and triangular ones too. I am thinking to do the block stitching in this same manner on the quiltlet from a few posts ago. It may be a good way to finally use those Carole Samples templates. These are being talked about once again on a few lists and blogs and I have yet to get into mine.

I decided to commit myself to the Take It Further Challenge that Sharon B from a Minute Ago is kicking off for 2008. (see sidebar) I thought it would be a great way to keep focused and have a bit of structure with something. There are many forms of medium acceptable and that is very appealing.

It was a cold, dark, snowy day. We are heading towards the shortest day of the year and then we'll gain little bits back to the good weather once again. That's the positive thought that helps me deal with winter. But just when I think the sun can slip no further into the southern horizon, it does and will continue to do so till Dec 22.

Here is a one of the deer that we have affectionately named "Fatty". We estimate her to have been born last year. She is becoming tame to the point where we can go outside and she stays put. She is the first to feed and the last to go. The woods are quiet now and all the wildlife is settling into the snow season. We can account for all "our" deer and have even picked up a few hungry stragglers. We've not heard the wolves for a good 2 weeks. Hopefully they've went off to a different locale.

Till the next time...

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

10 Peeves & Photo Check

I have only had a chance to work with some CQ ornaments on Sunday while we were watching the Lions get whooped. I usually take something with me to stitch while we are watching the game. The old guys think it is a hoot to see me stitching at the tavern.

I finally had an interview today (I am thinking lightening has a better chance to strike me) for the first time in the 3 months that I've been looking. I am holding my breath for the outcome and for the sake of "luck" I will not expound now. Just wish me luck, Please!!!!!!!

The following photo was on the news wire a couple weeks back. It is supposedly "Sasquatch". Actually it is me having hissys and burying my PC into the woods after trying to upload photos to Blogspot! I will hold on awhile longer but I am looking at alternatives.

My blog is not known for rants but this one is for my "peeves" !!!

1) Uploading pics to Blogspot (ya think?)
2) Companies that have computerized customer service, (ie..push 3 for English)
3) People who hold grudges
4) Tailgaters
5) Being skipped over at a restaurant for people who came in after
6) Paying more than $3 a gallon for gas
7) Stepping in water with my socks on
8) Webring participants that don't host a logo
9) Telephone solicitors
10) Running out of bobbin thread

Friday, November 30, 2007

New Bird Sighting and Nanook

We were visited today by a pair of Pine Grosbeaks in the kitchen window feeder. I had to check the Audubon book as I had never seen them before. The bird book says that although they are uncommon, they are quite tame (similarly tame like the Chickadees that we have flocks of) and that they are known to start nesting in January. They are drawn by the cedar trees and obviously like a good sunflower seed meal. There is always something new to see here in the forest.

I was only able to get a pic of one, the other directly on the feeder was to the outside.

And here is my "Nanook of the North" husband using his snowblower for the first time. His eyelashes and mustache were totally encrusted with ice when he was done. It was hysterical!!! We are getting a good blast of the white stuff and it is not supposed to let up for a day or two. 10 degrees is the temp here at 1:30 so this is probably the days high. The woodstove is keeping it nice and toasty and believe it or not, we have not had to use the furnace yet.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Latest Quilting Arts & Etc...

I changed the format of the blog around a little bit so please be sure to look at the links section as I put some of my favorite tutorial sites there as well as some pattern sites. I hope you enjoy it.
The latest Quilting Arts came yesterday. It was chock full of good reading and loads of inspiration. I really enjoyed this issue.

Monday I dumped out the " big tub" of the fancy scraps.

No rhyme or reason, I just started cutting 7"x 2" strips.

I dread the cutting as I have to do the floor thing on my knees.

Here are the piles stacking up.

OK... now what?? I flipped and sewed them to a lightweight interfacing.

Somehow fans got into the equation.

This is the top after I stitched it together last night.

It was interesting setting in these fan corners. I had never attempted anything like this. Although the points don't line up, they blend in. As long as the main blocks aligned , I was happy.

From the back... the seams are bulky but ironing does make them lay down better. I am thinking this will be a table topper or couch back throw. I have a yellow fringe to finish the edges with... but I am not sure yet what other kind of stitching to do to it.

This is the last bag of "church cloth" I am recycling at the moment. I have been working on a large bag of alter cloths and vestments that an old coworker gave me quite some time ago. Her church bought new and the lady knew about my love of sewing and brought the old stuff to me. The first time I looked in the bag I couldn't believe it! The silks, satins, and brocades were nothing like what I was used to and the colors were my colors. I have been slowly cutting it up and removing some of the embroidered motifs and fringes for use on other items. There are whole banner pieces yet that I just can't bring myself to cut up at all.

The Christmas cards I was making are done. A couple gift cards and lotto tickets and I am all set. Of course I will have to find something for Dan but I don't know what yet.

The sky was really clear this week before the snows came. Its one of the neat things about living here... sitting on the couch and still seeing the clouds like this.

Have a great week, everybody!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

From the Inside Looking Out...

The view from my kitchen window looking towards the road... 5 more days and we will all be free to enjoy our uninhibtated romps and rendevous outside.

And here are the forlorn looks of the "pups" who have had their wings clipped due to hunting season. They look to say, " If the red scarves aren't bad enough, must you take our pictures to show our agony over this whole "grounding" thing ???
I removed Tangs pic because a friend brought it to my attention that his dog tag was giving out all my personal info. Ever since I saw that creepy movie where the photo developer guy saw everything in these peoples house and could therefore terrorize them, I try to be careful of stuff like that. That one definitely slipped by me.

I think I have the photo dilemma solved. If I save my pics to the most outside part of a file they load... the further the program has to go in, the longer it takes, and I time out on the upload. Again, we'll see.
Dan is cooking today and I am up in the "room of creations" scratching my head, tracing on fusibles and plying my head.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Some pics from yesterday

I am able to get a few loaded but ran into a problem again. My ISP is either dialing my power back or it could be a program that my husband had me download for him for one of his sports shows. I think it has some shareware issues and I may be un-installing it. Maybe it is still Blogger,we'll see. I use a dinasaurean system anyway so when it doesn't work, it reeeaaallllyyy doesn't work, if you know what I mean. I enjoy blogging, but it when it comes to the photos (which make or break a blog) it takes so dang long to do it, that I lose some of my gumption for wanting to post.

Here is an idea of the fabric cards I'm stitching up. Its a good way to use up the bits and pieces that I have kept... now I know why I kept them.

There is more to this one than meets the eye... for now, it is secret.

I am finding little patterns everywhere and I am mixing and matching; taking part of one pattern and using it with another.

Here is some of my progress on the Blue & Black block... I find that if if I don't particularly like the color scheme or the subject, my stitching shows it. I guess there is still a niche that I am hoping to find where I can do both CQ and regular quilting together. Could be that on top of my grey hair and falling face, I am also losing eyesight. Without glasses I can not see a thing close and am sure I may need bifocals with my next pair. This photo reads chocolate brown, not black- how weird.

Till the next time.... hope everyone is enjoying their weekend!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Quiet Days at Home for Thanksgiving Weekend

Sorry, I tried numerous times to upload photos, but none today folks. Everyone and their uncle from around the globe must be trying to put their turkey photos to Blogger today.... so text only.

Thanksgiving we had planned on going to town for buffet and watch the Lions game, but since we found out Wednesday that we could get it through national broadcasting we decided to stay home. The game was terrible but the food was good. We cooked a 1/2 turkey and the side dishes we like and enjoyed the peacefulness of the fire, the snow, and the fur family. I called my mom and dad and spent time reflecting on all my blessings which are many. Grace, forgiveness, and joy being paramount.
Many of the hunters have went home to their wives. One more week and gun season is over.Amen! We seem to be missing 1 of "our" deer but we will see who comes to the feed when its all said and done.
Christmas is going to be a different one this year. I doubt I will get home to see the family and I really don't have the money this year as I have in the past. The adage, "You can't buy health" rings truer as the years go by and no one I gift for needs any thing more than just that. My desire to defy the consumerism bloat for my own spiritual self is one of the reasons why we moved up here. So instead of heading to the stores today , I headed to my stash and made up some Christmas cards. These cards are one of a kind, personal to the recipient, not to be duplicated, works of my hands and heart. You don't have to wear them, accessorize with them or display them. You don't have to return them, they don't need batteries, no strings attached. How could a gift get any better than that? No obligation, no guilt, no hassle, just sincerity's of the Christmas blessing, the real one, from our house to yours. My nephews love their "gift cards" for games and CDs and I will make sure they get those, but that's it, that's where I am at this year. I best get cracking with my list and my cutting.
Maybe photos tomorrow, Blogger ??

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Something for my sister & Timtex not Tyvek

Thought I would get alittle more practice by making my sis a needlebook to send with her birthday card. The size is roughly 3.5 x 4.5. This is the front.

This is the back. It looks worse here than in reality but being a tad shy of square, my sis will surely understand it. LOL

I had inadvertanty stated in one of my posts that I used Tyvek for making a fabric postcard. I meant Timtex. Tyvek is an insulated protective paper used on exterior walls in home construction.

I threw this crazy block on my Q-Snap frame and will start at the stitching tonight. This is the "Sky Blue and Black" song block I have been putting off.

The Christmas decorating is mostly done. Since its just us 2, we decided to forgo the tree indoors but did do lots of lights and garland both in and out. One tree is left to do outdoors and that one will be done for the birds with peanut butter pinecones, seed bells, etc. I have mended my moose(s) and reconciled the loses of my previous post. "It is what it is", one of my most favorite sayings.

Another point of my procrastination is this.... and I wonder why as I feel so much better after I do it. My hair is getting so grey that I look bald in spots when the color grows out. Between my hair and the failing elasticity in my face, my looks are starting to change for the first time in my life. Its scary!!!

But as long as my little snow dog doesn't run when she sees me, its OK.

Till the next time....

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Updated Edit

Here is my most favorite Christmas moose from the front..............

Here is what he looks like in the back after the rodents got him .... I am so gol darn disgusted with this I could spit!!! I threw out several things and and from what I kept, this is the worst one for repair. I will mend all tonight so I can put this behind me.

I also must make the dogs some big orange bandannas tonight. Hunting season begins day after tomorrow and already the woods and roads here in the neighborhood are full of "drunken yahoos". I am sure we have ticked off a few hunters by building our home here but they had the same opportunity as we did to buy this property 12 years ago, if they wanted it. I can feel our first year living through this will be interesting & even though my husband is a hunter (more to be in the woods than kill something), I don't like knowing that some strange idiots are possibly creeping around my house and seeing my dogs for game. I will be counting the days now till this is over on Dec 1.

Tomorrow will be better, its gotta be...

Wwwaaahhhhh.... I am Gunning for Varmints Now!

I have no pics today but had to share what todays discovery was! My Christmas things have been stored in the rafters of the garage at the insistence of my husband. Well, we go to get the boxes down today and behold, they are full of dried corn! Pounds of it that he has been using for deer feed! Some of my most special stuffed Christmas Moose and Snowmen???? Shredded to bits. What was not totally destroyed will have to be mended and sanitized. (Needless to say, my husband immediately left the premises !!!) I have just been helped along into paring down my Christmas things and I am not happy to have been put in this position. Do you beleive that this same man said something to me about storing my seasonal clothes up there ????
No mouse or squirrel is safe around here now and had best run for their lives!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Needle Book Finished, Fall Block, and SNOW

If you read these posts, you are probably tired of this. Well me too! I finally finished it off using the "pillow case" method (sew right sides together and turn inside out) by leaving a slit at the spine area. I sewed tabs there so I could attatch the felt pages. I cut and inserted cardboard for the front and back covers, stitched on the button and tassel and then turned the hem of the tabs and sewed the "felt" pages between.

This is the inside...... I'm pleased as this was my first attempt at any kind of book. I had sewn simple covers for paperbacks and textbooks but nothing with any insertions or hard cover. I was going to do pockets front and back, but invisioned them being crooked and that would have ruined it all for me ... I am learning how to avoid disappointment by not pushing a good thing.... its taken me 48 years to learn that lesson. LOL

This is my Fall STS block that was my personal challenge vs being in the swap.( I couldn't have kept the deadline on this).

I made it into a card by fusing it to Tyvek (along with coordinating fabrics inside and back.) I used Pigma pens on a piece of heavy linen for the greeting inside and stitched it down. Simple floss tied the back and front together. For the zigzagged edge work I did not shorten my stitch length as I should have. Now I know better for the next time. (This is it lying open and flat).

I must include a couple of nature pics. My husband found this guy in the corn bag in the garage. He is no worse for wear and still eating corn, but at the feeder. Less complicated for him there, don't ya think? (My nephews name is Jay and the bird and the boy have much in common as far as the activity and noise goes).

This is the snow that fell last night. A good 4" here and thankfully not the 8-12" they had predicted. It is a wet snow and clinging to the trees. Its very pretty and I felt that "Christmas/holiday feeling" when I got up.

We went into town for a couple errands this morn. On Friday I was at St Vincents and saw what I thought was a featherweight sewing table. Until I measured it I could not be sure as those tables were made for different Singer machines. I measured mine and thought I would check it today but as you can only guess.... GONE. It was only $5 compared to the $100 on Ebay. I should have got it when I saw it but did not want to HEAR my husband if it turned out to be a bad purchase. Even $5 would not have been worth that. (Another thing I have learned in these 48 years, LOL).

Hmmmmm..... what to start from my list now ???