Monday, February 26, 2007

PLOS .. Too Conservative I Think!

I have been working on my Personal Library of Stitches class for a couple of days. I have no problem with the stitches, but cannot seem to find the right balance of colors..ughh

Friday, February 23, 2007

PLOS..Playing Today

This morning I took a piece of the felt that I painted yesterday and began to just play with stitches... straight stitches, running stitch, chain stitch, herringbone stitch and fly stitch. A few beads and a butterfly charm. What I have learned is that my color contrast needs to be stronger. I really enjoy working with the felt.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Personal Library of Stitches

I spent most of the day going through the lesson plan, highlighting, trying to define my goals in my journal (something I haven't done in many years...eek! I don't remember it being so hard! grin) and finally preparing and beginning my sampler. These particular stitches are not ones that I have used, however I have used a variation of the feather stitch many times. It is one of my favorites. I'm sure my decisions will evolve as I go along, but my plan at this point is to explore stitches using a nearly monochromatic color scheme with each sampler.
After I put my things away this afternoon, I went into my work room, painted 2 squares of felt and cut several 7x5" rectangles of unbleached muslin. These I will use to experiment wildly..grin The large samplers I would like to stitch in a more traditional way.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

My First Art Trading Cards

Got a little sidetracked yesterday from my quilt. I got an email from my old Fabric Follies blog (that continues to get more traffic than the new one!) asking if I would like to trade ATC's. Of course I just couldn't resist. So... these are the first ATC's I've made. They still need to have the edging put on them, but once that is done they are off to Indiana.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Sunday Childhood Memories

This picture was taken when I was 3 years old. My aunts Audine and Lorraine were older and were my favorite playmates. This was taken at my maternal grandmother's house in Lorenzo, TX... a small group of buildings on the hot plains of Texas near Lubbock. Mom, Dad, my brother (2 years old) and I were visiting. I don't remember much about the house or what was going on, but I do remember the big tree on the other side of the driveway that held that miracle of miracles... a swing! That feel of my tummy sinking and the wind blowing my hair was the most wonderful thing this side of ice cream. What I didn't realize was that there was a red ant bed right under that swing... but I found out when I fell out of the swing! It took only a minute or so for them to let it be known that they truly disapproved of the intrusion and destruction of their home. A few hugs, kisses, a little soda mixed with water and put on all the red spots and soon all was well again.

A few years ago, Mom, Lorraine, Martha and I went looking for that house again. It, of course, is no longer there. But amazingly...the tree was still there. I didn't get out to look for the ant bed... grin.. once was quite enough..grin

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Did You Know...??

that today is Champion Crab Racing Day? I didn't either. And did you know that February is National Blah Buster Month, National Grapefruit Month, Return Carts to the Supermarket Month and International Twit Award Month. Just think of all the holidays we are missing!

It seems there is some obscure holiday associated with every day of the year. Bizarre American Holidays is a site I came across a while back that lists them all.... By the way... I was born on National Chocolate Chip Day...WooHoo!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Pro Aging?

I saw a commercial on tv last night. It was thought provoking to say the least. Dove soap products has launched a campaign trying to bring a little reason back into the idea of personal beauty and the beauty of aging. No 12 year old models that look like they've been starved for a month to fit into the skin tight designer jeans...looking for all the world like cocaine junkies. No 99 pound pregnant youngster showing her tummy (naked, I might add). So many ads...not to mention total nudity that is seen in prime time movies, sit coms, dramas every night of the week... showing men and women supposedly naked in the shower with all the curves close up. But not this commercial...

It has been banned in it's complete form... the ad I saw had equipment... people..whatever... standing in the way of the models in this ad. At the end of the ad the audience was told that to see the complete ad you must go online. It's here. Why is that? Yes...they were nude. But no more nude than the youngsters posing in the showers for other soap commercials. Nothing was shown that was not shown in the shower commercials or body lotion commercials or the women's shaving products commercials. No titillating views of any kind, any where. Why was this commercial banned? The women were between 50 and 65. All sizes, shapes and colors. Tastefully filmed and wonderfully affirming.

There is a discussion board re: this ad. In reading through some of the comments on the board, I was struck by one woman's thoughts on the fact that as one grows older she becomes "invisible". Suddenly there is nothing pertinent to her on the ads except 12 to 27 year olds.. no clothes except in the specialty stores. Thought provoking...

Read Deb R's thoughts on this at Red Shoe Ramblings...

What do you think?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Crocheted Footies & 'Possums

It's cold again..ughh Last night I couldn't get my feet warm, so I crocheted me some footies from some left over Wool Ease yarn. The basic pattern is actually a sock pattern and I just left off the top of the sock. I didn't add any embellishment because I wanted to be able to slip on my house slippers when we go onto the back porch. They are quite warm, but I do want to learn to knit socks soon. I have put off buying the knitting needles necessary for socks... if I get them I will be obsessed with learning how and I have enough projects going ... and the stitching classes will begin within the week.

I had to laugh when I popped over to Sharon's blog. What does she have up but a pic of a possum. And what a cutie pie. He looks almost nothing like the one we are trying to bribe into staying in our back yard. We think ours has moved in under the shop and comes out every night to feed on the seeds the birds drop every day. Ours in America are solitary little guys and everything we have read says they don't stay long in any one place. I think this one is an immature youngster, so he will probably move on as he reaches maturity. This picture is not the one we are trying to bribe...grin This one was around last summer and didn't seem to mind having his photo taken at all.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Textured Images

Last year I took my camera out into the backyard and began taking pictures of tree bark, knot holes, leaves and acorns on the ground, tea bags, coffee grounds ...anything with texture. Colors weren't the main concern...just the textures. The idea was to get enough pictures that I could pull them up in my photo software, crop and then use my different effects if I wanted colors. This the inside of a large flower pot on the back porch.

This is the cropped image pulling up the glass and leaves on the inside of the pot. Nothing has been done except the crop.

This one has had the negative filter applied.

The idea behind this is to have textural images that can be printed onto fabric and used in whatever project I am working on at the time.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Personal Library of Stitches

I have received the list of supplies needed for Sharon B's online class "Personal Library of Stitches"! The class is offered through I can't say how much I have looked forward to this class.

In looking back to see when I first came across Sharon's blog and decided to take part in the "Bags of Fun" challenge, I have to laugh... that challenge was the beginning of this That was in August of 2005. I've learned a lot since that first blog entry...but must say that I am still a lurker...grin

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Blue Basket Weave Stitch Afghan Finished

The blue afghan is finished. I find that I like this one better than any I have made because of the size (smaller) and the feel. The basket weave stitch has always been the warmest that I have found, but it always seemed a little stiff...perhaps that was the yarn I was using. This one, with the pattern laid in from the top to the bottom, is softer and drapes better. I wanted to put a larger white border around it, but alas... I was too frugal when I bought the yarn. So I opted for a crab stitch border that makes a wonderful cording around it.
Now I must find another evening project...grin

Cedar Waxwings and Robins Come to Visit

We spent some time yesterday searching through the field guide to find out what kind of bird has arrived that fills the top of the bois d'arc tree a couple of times a day now. They are such a pretty bird. We assume they are on their way back north and have stopped to visit and sip from the bird bath in the back yard. I had to sneak around the back door to get the photo and with my hand shaking a bit, it is a little grainy.
There is also a big flock of Robins that arrived several days ago and covered the front yard. They come up to the trees in back, but spend more time on the ground in the meadow. These are the first Robins we have seen since we moved here, so it pleases me that they are here.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Memories From Childhood for Pat

Pat Winter, a wonderful stitcher and beautiful person, has a blog called Gatherings. She has posted a bit about herself as a child and wishes to know about the childhood memories of others of us out in blogland... I think it's a great idea... so here we go...

Mom and Dad divorced in 1953 (or thereabouts) and as a result, my brother and I spent a lot of time with our grandparents. Mom's parents had 15 children (two younger than my brother and I) and Dad's parents had 11 children...the youngest of them only about 5 or 6 years older than us. We never lacked for anyone to play with...grin The fact that I was the only girl around most of the time dictated that if I wanted to play, it would be with the guys. Baseball was the number one game, followed by marbles and cowboys and Indians.

We spent a couple of years with fraternal grandparents living in the country in South Central Oklahoma. Larry and I would wander around the two ponds, always accompanied by the Husky mix dog that Grandpa loved and named Sandy (who could sniff out a snake in a heartbeat). After one particularly bad storm, one of the tall trees at the edge of the pond had broken off about 4 feet above the ground and fell over. With the trunk still slightly attached and the top laying on the ground, it made a perfect "horse"! We made a bee-line back to the barn for some "tow sacks", slung them over the highest part we could reach and tied them on with binder twine. We had to climb up the trunk and then walk the tree down to where we had put the saddle. It was well worth the effort because once ensconced in the saddle the tree would give a bit and if you rocked back and forth the "horse" would go up and down... What a delight!

Grandma always kept chickens. There was a tiny little house that she used as the "brood" house... this was where she would put the hen that was setting on the brood of eggs until the eggs hatched. Of course, this little house was only used once a year or so... so for the rest of the year it was unoccupied. One summer, Larry and I decided we needed our own house... We spent all one day cleaning that little house...using buckets with hot water and sweeping what seemed like for days... Then we asked if we could use a broken hutch for our cabinets (we had found it somewhere in the barn). Permission was granted, so we lugged, pulled and carried the hutch from the barn to our new house. Bear in mind that this was only the top part of the hutch and one side was broken, so we hunted until we found some bricks to use to prop up the broken side. Now we need beds (they could also be used for sofas). Back to the barn for "tow sacks" we call them burlap bags..grin We stuffed them with hay from the barn, tied them up with binder twine and brought them back to "our house". Ok...we have sofas and cabinets...we need dishes. Back to the house...Grandma collected the cups, saucers, glasses etc. that came in the boxes of oats. We were given a few of the old chipped things she had around and back we went with our treasures... Oops...we need a table! Somewhere we came up with an old orange crate of some kind... I talked Grandma out of a piece of cloth (probably an old cup towel) ... and we were good to go! Back to the house for cold biscuits...nothing to go with it but sliced onions (believe it or not, it was good!) , cups of water and we were set.

I can't remember how long we used our house...but putting that little house together was wayyy too much fun. It's a memory I will always treasure. Maybe next time I will tell about using the "syrup buckets" for life preservers when we went swimming...grin

Friday, February 09, 2007

Decaf Tea and Me

I'm still having a problem with the pulsing bounding at the base of my throat and into my right ear. It seems to come and go... has a mind of it's own. DH has been doing some searching on the net and lots of things point to caffeine... so being the kind of caring guy that he is, I am now on a 2 cup of 1/2 caff coffee regime for that first cup in the morning ...
While shopping yesterday, I found some decaf tea that will be the rest of the day regime...
I think one of the reasons I always look for Celestial Seasonings is the artwork on the boxes. The little sayings of wisdom... All those Victorian things just makes me a sucker for their stuff...grin

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Of Books, Bobcats and Daffodils

I'm not really a slow reader, Patty...grin The books on the sidebar seem to sit there forever before they are changed. That's because recently I have been so busy (have no idea doing what!) that by the time we hit the sack I can hardly read more than a few paragraphs before the page blurs to disappearing letters and I have to put it down.

We have one blooming daffodil. (This pic is from last year.) What a joy... I love that fresh, vibrant yellow announcing that spring is around the corner. The wren began peeping into the holes in the ends of the clothesline poles this morning... nesting will begin soon.

Our bobcat showed up yesterday in the middle of the afternoon. Came streaking across the road and disappeared behind the neighbors house. A couple of minutes later he came sauntering back, sat down on the side of the road with one of our squirrels in his mouth. Realizing that this is nature's way does not lessen the distress very much. I'm ready for him to move on down creek....

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

PC Back From the Shop

Well, once again Windows was reloaded. DH and I had to share his pc for a day...what a laugh that was. He told me I was like a little kid watching someone else
But it's back now ... hopefully all fixed. However, I did find another icon on my users page again... We are hoping it's a Microsoft thing... Terry (our pc guy) is calling to find out and will be calling me back in a bit. So last evening and this morning has been one of re-installing all the programs...ughh... Then trying to find everything in the backup program and bringing it back to useable..

The Disappearing Cat

How could a person describe a cat? I think it would take a thesaurus to come up with the words.. intelligent, inscrutable,independent... When DSL came over one day and wanted to build a picture frame of a certain size and width and depth, he told us about his brother's cat. It seems this cat would wander in through the door and within a few seconds...disappear. His brother was asked about it, he told them the story...unbelievable. So the camera came out and pictures... is what was happening...

Monday, February 05, 2007

In Need of Green

The sun is shining this morning... Yahoo says it's 37 degrees. Yesterday it warmed up into the high 50's and we actually got to hot tub for 30 minutes or so. Even so, I think it's time for some green around here. The best part of winter and the bare trees is that one can watch the birds consistently as they wander through the branches and flit here and there. But now I'm ready for the foliage.

There is nothing quite as barren as a naked tree.

I will miss the openness of the shop deck this year as that is where I could stand and take close up pictures of the birds... like this nuthatch I caught last year. They have to be one of my favorites. They are so funny...walking upside down the length of the trunk and then hopping into the feeder for a seed.... then hopping back onto the trunk and walking (right side up this time) back up the tree to wherever they decide is absolutely the best spot to stop and eat it.

The daffodils are budding and will be blooming soon... as will the apricot tree.
Renewal... a good thing.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Evening Crochet Project & "Birds on a Limb"

I did get a little work done on the "Birds on a Limb" wall hanging yesterday before I took to the workroom to work on the Split Rail Fence Quilt. The embroidery around the birds is simple back stitch. There will be another round using a darker thread to bring them a bit more forward into the foreground and emphasize the beaks a bit more. The leaves are bonded on for now, but will be completed with a blanket stitch. For a larger pic, click on pic and it will take you to my Flickr site.

Another project in the works... for the quiet evening of watching television with DH... crochet in a basketweave stitch using Bernat Camouflage in Blue Frost and Natural. I find it very interesting that the Natural is much softer and has a more pleasing hand than the multi-hued Blue Frost. This one is being crocheted along the length instead of end to end and has a much softer drape than the last one I did. Using this pattern, I crocheted one side to the half size mark, then turned it over and using the beginning chain, started again to work the other side in the opposite direction. The joining is invisible, but the basket weaves are going in the other direction. This is quite pretty. I like it....

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Split Rail Fence Quilt

I did not work on this yesterday since I got all involved in the embroidery on the wall hanging posted about yesterday. This is the edging fabric I bought and I will be working on it today. I can hardly wait to get it put together. The floral edging will be a soft outline for the linear pattern of the quilt. There is a tiny thought tiptoeing around the back of my mind re: using this quilt top to embroider along the seams following Sharon B's "Take a Stitch Tuesdays" ..(that now has a web-ring of it's own)... but I think that may be reserved for a later project as I really would like to finish this quilt...grin I found a stack of UFO's as I was going through my workroom (where reorganization is not completed yet!) and I don't want this quilt to be added to the stack.
P.S... I know I said yesterday that this quilt would be followed in Fabric Follies Two...but I couldn't resist..grin

Friday, February 02, 2007

Thread Holder Pin Cushion and Birds on a Branch Wall Hanging

About 40 years ago, my mom gave me a thread holder pin cushion for Christmas. I kept it for years and it is only gone now because the tornado of Wichita Falls, TX in 1979 sent it on it's way to someone else in Kansas. Yesterday DH took a deep breath, held it and went with me to JoAnn's to get the fabric for the edgings for my rail fence quilt. While we were there, I saw these packets of 12 small spools of different colored threads and thought.. ahaa! Needless to say, one found it's way into my basket. Guess what I did yesterday afternoon...

It came in really handy as I worked on this... These are the blocks that were too small when I finished the Split Rail Fence quilt top, so I trimmed them to size and put them together to make this wall hanging. The idea for the birds on a limb came from post on a blog that I can't remember the name of right now... but I will give her credit when I can find it again...hmmm There is embroidery work to do and the leaves still need to be appliqued onto the tree branch...
The Split Rail Fence work will be followed on the Fabric Follies Two blog..

Snow! Snow! Snow!

It's still snowing this morning. The thermometer on our back porch shows just below 40 degrees F., but all the weather info says it's around 28 degrees F. I believe the weather. Cold out there.
This picture was taken yesterday evening around 5pm or so. The snow was still barely floating to the ground. I knew I had better hurry to capture it because it would be gone in an hour or so... hahh! This morning it's still here and more is falling ever so softly. The birds and squirrels don't seem to mind at all and minded even less when I snapped them chowing down this morning.
As we sat there this morning watching the squirrels, chickadees, juncos, nuthatches, wrens, titmice, woodpeckers, cardinals, purple finches and yellow finches ... I have to admit to being amazed. We have been here 3 years now and when we moved in there was not a bird anywhere. All these trees and not a sound of a bird. DH has made such a difference... all the days of feeding and watering, buying pizza pans to audition as feeders, stealing my frying pans to use as feeders, building squirrel feeders. I think I'll keep him...