Friday, February 29, 2008

Just call me Hunca Munca

The best laid plans.....once again I did not achieve my goals this week. We are too busy each evening working on the house and my stitching and quilting has suffered. I had promised a few friends to share a photo of my progress (well lack of it at the moment) on my Beatrix Potter sampler. I had set a goal to have two more motifs sewn but it has remained at the start of one as I have set this aside just for a while. We feel like the two bad mice ~ Tom Thumb and Hunca Munca ~ as we seem to be making more of a mess than anything. Why is it that things get worse before they get better when you are decorating???

My quilt group is coming again this coming Wednesday and I waited until late to work on the next border. I just did not have enough inspiration. Here is a sneak peek at the border. I am still busy sewing the blocks now that I know what I want to do. I will show you the results and the story behind this border next week.

This is the reason that I put my sampler aside. I am hand quilting this quilt. I really like the old~fashioned look to this one. It has a number of Civil War reproduction fabrics in it. I am packing it up to take to Cranberry Cottage this weekend. I hope to get a good deal of it done.

Have a wonderful and creative weekend!

Elly ~ Sorry I never got around to calling you yet. We are so busy that this week has flown by. Can you bring your agenda to the quilt evening?

Friday, February 22, 2008

Nothing like the feel of bobbin lace.....

As promised yesterday, here is the bobbin lace that was lurking under that mass of pins.....

This piece was made very quickly. I only worked on it for 3 evenings and it was finished. I want to make various widths of lace and think that I will need about 4 pieces total for the pinkeep. I am off to search for the second pattern. I want to make a wider strip of lace this time.

I love the feel of the bobbin lace when you take it off the cushion. I am enjoying making these strips with a specific purpose of them being sewn onto the pinkeep.

I have been honored with a couple of awards lately from two bloggers who I enjoy reading and being in contact with. I am honored that they have passed these awards on to me.

First, Suzann over at From The Porch Swing gave me the You Make My Day award. I know Suzann through one of my Yahoo lists and she started blogging too. It is fun to be able to keep up with each other through our blogs. Thanks for thinking of me with this award Suzann.

I would like to pass this one on to:
Carolien who is becoming not only an online blogging friend but also a real life friend. I love visiting with her and wonder if I talk her ears off???

Nancy who I also know through my Yahoo list and started blogging. I have had fun talking with her a couple of times on Skype. She is a fun and wonderful lady with an eye for making beautiful stitching.

Nancy who happens to be a very special lady. Why? Well, she is my mother. I am giving her this award because she always swore she would never start stitching but what did she do? She started stitching! And it looks like many of us can be envious as she is really quick too. You can see her first project on her blog but her second is well underway as she emailed me a photo already.

This second award, the Excellent bloggers award was given to my by Vee over at The Broken Needle. Vee is also in my Yahoo list and she does some beautiful handwork. If you have not seen her blog, you should go over and take a look.

I am going to pass this award to Becky at Sweet Cottage Dreams. Becky has been so creative lately and makes not only beautiful tote bags but also the most amazing cloth dolls. She and Doogs are always there to share wonderful tales (tails) of their lives. Thanks for all you share Becky and woof to Doogs!

Elly ~ I don't think we will wait until I have a UFO done or it will be some time before you can come over to have a cup of tea and chat. I will call you next week with my agenda in hand. I am still cleaning up and sorting the UFOs. Oh my! There are so many!

I wish you all a creative and inspired weekend!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Cleaning and sorting between making lace

Sometimes it takes a mishap to get us started on a chore we have put off. Mine was sorting through my UFOs in my quilt studio. I wanted to get something from a shelf in the room and knocked over a rack full of UFOs. Well, that was what I needed to get started. I am sorting them out today into three stacks ~ those which the patchwork is not finished, those needing sandwiched and hand quilted, and those in the middle of hand quilting.

My banister in our hallway is becoming a temporary quilt rack while I sort. Here are the first 12 of my UFOs hanging out. This is what happens when you teach. You don't get the projects finished as you have to move along to the next idea to have it ready. I have some quilts which are partially complete as they were samples to show during lessons. I also have quilts I was doing just for myself but never got completed as I needed to devote attention to lesson quilts or group projects.

Now that I no longer teach, there are less projects being added to this stack but I really want to work through each of them now in 2008. I must admit that I will never get to them all as this is only part of them. I will do my best to reduce that stack dramatically! I have to continue to work on my medallion quilt throughout this year which means I can only work on these items in between.

Can you keep reminding me that I promised myself to get as many as possible done this year? Thanks!

Do you remember my lace pinkeep? I started the bobbin lace strips for the lace side. I had our monthly lace evening with my friends and started on the first one. At the moment it is not visible through all the pins as you can see.

I have to tie off the ends and leave it 'rest' a little while on the cushion before removing the pins. I will show you the results tomorrow...

I don't remember ever being so spoiled as this year by my online stitching friends. I received these goodies in the mail from Britt in Germany. She bought me some chocolate hearts, some Zweigart antique white Belfast linen and this adorable little pinkeep she made herself.

It is sitting out on my coffee table at the moment so I can enjoy looking at it! Thanks Britt!

I was touched to receive this pretty handmade bookmark in the mail from my good friend Barbara for my birthday too. She has been dealing with a very sick husband and still took the time to send me this. You are a dear Barbara and I keep Wayne in my thoughts and prayers!

I hope to get a bit of time later to stop by your blogs. I am behind on my visits with all of you this week. I can't wait to see what you are up to. I am sorry I have not been by to visit lately but you are all dear to me and never far from my thoughts.

Friday, February 15, 2008

More gifts of friendship's love.....

A second blog entry is needed today as I forgot to share photos of the items I made for Judy for our Valentine swap. I had fun putting together her gifts!

I sent her one of the 1880s heart shaped pincushions which I made, a beaded fob with a heart and key charm, some red Jobelan fabric and Anges pattern, heart pins and buttons and Dutch chocolate in three flavors ~ dark, milk and butterscotch.

Close~up of Judy's fob...

Gifts of friendship's love

This has been a special week for me. I had my birthday this week which meant receiving some fun gifts in the mail from online friends and we had a Valentine's Day swap with a special group of stitching friends.

My swap partner was Judy. I got her package in the mail about three weeks ahead of the day but we had all agreed to wait and open them on Valentine's Day. She had wrapped them so sweetly that I wish I had taken them out of the box and set them like this on display for those three weeks. I got a tin of Mrs. Field's chocoates and these presents. Aren't they pretty?

But open them I did.....

I received these sweet needlefelt lollipops with a special needlefelt tag card. I have placed them in my Valentine's Day tree and they look so adorable.

She also gave me these adorable little red handled scissors with a handmade fob with needlefelt beads. How cute is that! Thank you so much Judy for my wonderful treasures!

My friend Margaret in Spain made me this beautiful red and white pinkeep. I just love samplers and this is so pretty!

The fabric for the backing is a red and white toile. It is just beautiful.

Margaret also sent me two red threads from Spain and three differents ribbons. I will easily find projects to use these for. I received two metallic threads from my friend Hazel in England. Christine in Canada sent me an autumn packet of two quilt fabrics, an acorn button and hand dyed silk ribbon. My mother, who is now becoming a cross stitcher (go mother!), sent me a series of Olde Willow Stitchery hand dyed threads. Thank you all for being such sweet friends and the wonderful and thoughtful gifts!

I can share this gift with you as Carolien is at this moment on her way here probably bicycling in the sunshine. I made her a beaded fob. It is using red beads and a flower and butterfly charm. If you look at her blog, she has pretty photos of her garden at the moment. I was inspired to make this the day I met her for the first time last month. She invited me to join her and her daughter for lunch. Well, Fleur is the sweetest little girl! Carolien and Andre told me they call her their butterfly. Needless to say, I had to create this fob especially for her. I am also giving her some embroidery scissors and two heart buttons for Valentine's Day. I hope she likes them.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

A Valentine penny rug tutorial

This is my Valentine's Day gift to all of you. I want to dedicate this to my online friends at HomespunHolidays. I hope everyone will enjoy trying to make this penny rug. The first person to make the penny rug from my tutorial and send a photo to me will receive a little gift from me. Have fun!

You will need three shades of (wool) felt for your hearts, two sheets of white or cream (wool) felt for your background, threads to match and a set of cookie cutters in a heart shape.

You could draw hearts or if you have a single heart cookie cutter simply increase or decrease the size for the three.

Trace the heart shape with a pencil. You will need six of each size of heart.

Start sewing a blanket stitch around the smallest heart to attach it to the medium sized heart.

Now blanket stitch the medium heart to the large sized heart.

Repeat for all six sets of hearts.

Place your sets in a circle on a piece of white felt and pin in place. Now again using a blanket stitch, attach all six hearts to the white felt.

Once they are sewn to the white felt, trim the white felt to about 1/4 inch to 3/8 inch from the outer edge of the hearts.

Trim a second piece of white felt to the same size.

Trim away the middle of the white felt once again following the outline of your hearts.

By blanket stitching the edges of the felt, you will no longer see the stitches used to attach the hearts to the top white felt. First, blanket stitch the outer edge of the two pieces of white felt.

Now continue the blanket stitching on the inner edge.

For a good link to see how to create the blanket stitch, click here.

Your heart penny rug candle mat is now ready to use. I liked the idea of having a candle mat with the middle cut out. It is an easy project to make and I look forward to seeing yours finished.

"I don't understand why Cupid was chosen to represent Valentine's Day. When I think about romance, the last thing on my mind is a short, chubby toddler coming at me with a weapon."
~~ Author Unknown ~~

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Birthday cupcakes

It is my birthday today so I am showing you the cupcake pincushion I made for a giveaway back when it was my blog's birthday. I am working on a tutorial which I hope to share with you as a Valentine's Day gift. If you read my other blog, we are very busy painting our living room so I don't have it quite ready yet. Please join me on Thursday for this tutorial. I will be revealing a giveaway that has to do with the tutorial...

Do you have a heart shaped cookie cutter? Dig it out for the ready. You will need an assortment of (wool) felt in reds and pinks. You will also need two sheets of white or cream felt and threads to match all. I hope you will join in on the fun!

Edit ~ The tutorial is not to make this cupcake pincushion but a penny rug candle mat which I am going to give a slight twist to...

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Center medallion blocks

There have been requests from those who read my blog regularly to see the medallion quilts that the ladies in my quilt group are making also. They will be a step behind me each month but they have graciously agreed to allow me to put their photos on the blog. Two of the ladies did not have their blocks ready and you will see those next time. I hope you enjoy this glimpse into their own special versions of this quilt project and leave them a comment if you would like...

Bep ~ These are really Bep's colors and fabric textures. She created a large Twisted Log Cabin to show how life spirals back and forth for her right now.

Joke ~ This is a photo printed on fabric of a birdhouse that her daughter handmade as a gift for her. It is hanging in their vacation home which has a very special place to her from her childhood. Her birdhouse is occupied every year by a little feathered family and if you enlarge the photo, you will see a mother bird coming to check her nest.

Elly ~ This block is Elly's own design! She created a combination of a star and tree block. The star symbolizes her lonely times in life while the tree in front of it is a symbol of her stranding strong through life's ups and downs. This is a really powerful block I think. I hope you don't change it Elly as I think it is perfect!

Saskia ~ She used the Lone Star for her center block for a number of reasons. One being her connection to Texas where her aunt lives. It was during a visit there that Saskia started her passion for quilting.

Mieke ~ Her block is a symbol of the hope of harmony in her life. She has choosen a block that has a ring around the block showing her strive for harmony.

Nell ~ Nell is creating two smaller sized medallions which will be turned into pillows. This is the first of the two which is a symbol for her home and garden.

Nell ~ Her second block is for her garden which is an amazing haven for birds.

Enny ~ Enny choose a block that creates a circle idea around a star. This block symbolizes how she feels the need for coziness and security in life.

Miep ~ Her star block is a symbol for how she feels spiritually in life now. She loves angels and looking at the stars.

Hanneke ~ Her block choice is a butterfly. She feels this is a symbol of her freedom and being able to spread her wings.

I hope I did justice in telling a little of these stories for this wonderful group of ladies. I had to remember the stories shared last night and shorten them for you to read about. I am anticipating some beautiful additions made to the blocks in the coming month.