Thursday, May 28, 2015

Key and Lock Quilt Blocks

I'm taking a little break from Crazy Quilt Blocks.  I need to piece more blocks and have not been able to make the time to focus on that step in the process.

We had a short trip on The Crazy Train again. That has evened out, but I needed what I call mindless stitching to keep my mind and hands occupied so this is what I have been doing.

My daughter accessorizes her wall decor with old keys and locks.  When thumbing through an issue of Quilts and More, I noticed a quilt on the cover made of blocks with keys appliqued on each one.  Originally, that was the process I was going to use. Then, that thought developed into blocks with keys and locks embroidered on each one.

In my version, each block is 6 x 12.  I have patterned fabric with keys and locks on it and some other fabrics that compliment it.  My design will incorporate a mixture of those fabrics and the embroidered blocks.  All stitching is in the stem stitch using 2 threads of floss.

I have to tell you that I don't know what I am doing because I have never made a quilt before, but  I am confident that when it comes time to put it all together, it will all come together nicely.  It will be about the size of a twin size so she can use it in the living room as a throw.

One thing that I have learned is that I really like using 6 strand floss as opposed to pearle cotton. I have been gifted a HUGE amount of flosses from a very good blog friend and THANK Beth so much for the gift.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Peonies and Bleeding Heart

Star White posted a picture of her peony.  That brought back to me a memory of MY peonies.  When I was young, my mom had a lot of them but I never really paid attention to any special attention she gave them.  When we bought this house, there were a lot of them on the property.  The first year, we noticed ants on them.  I see an ant and out comes the ant killer.  Then I read an article that talked about how ants help the peonies to bloom by eating off the peony sap on the blooms.  Well I know now that the theory is a myth, but it's funny to think back about it.

My husband is a Belgian that thinks he has a green thumb and all plant knowledge automatically comes to him by right of heredity.  When he moved those peony, they never bloomed.  That was long before the internet so for me, a trip to the library was in order.  A wonderful gardening book informed me that we had planted them too deep, so out they came again.  Now they are firmly and permanently planted in the pond area where they are very happy.  And I am happy to say they are thriving and full of buds.

Every plant in my garden has a story.  This is the bleeding heart planted in the front of the house in front of the deck a few years ago. One of my daughter's friends gave her a start of it about 10 years ago.  It did OK, but never really took off.  When she moved to an apartment she brought it to me and put it right where it is now.  I probably would have put it in the pond area, but just left it.  After about 2 years, man did it take off!!  It thrives there and encroaches on the small path that is along the deck.  Terry cusses it all the time because it gets to big, but in a word...tough, I'm NOT moving it.  But we are re-landscaping the pond area and I'm going to try to get a start going back there.

Finally, here is a picture of a female Oriole that blesses our feeders.  She and her mate come often.  He is the most vibrantly colored male I have ever seen, but I haven't seen him lately to catch a picture.  They spend some time by the pond too.  After their brood hatches, we won't see them at the feeders anymore, unless it's to grab a bite of suet.  But I do plant birdseed in an area of the back yard and I often see them there so I suppose there is something back there they like to eat, or maybe just the bugs.

My gardens aren't picture worthy yet, but hopefully our weather will allow me to weed and mulch soon.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

What Do You Do When You Can't Sleep?

Living with a person that has a mental illness that they won't acknowledge...won't take meds...and generally does not think clearly because of it is difficult.

It's like being on a roller coaster ride.  That's him in the front seat....I'm like Lucy at the end.

Anyway, that's not what this post is really about.  I've just realized that my blog is really a big part of my journaling and I find a serenity in posting.

The dogs usually wake me up at around 2 AM to go outside.  I'm not sure if they really need to GO, or if they know there is a critter in the back yard that needs a good scare.  (Probably the black cat that lives next door).  Of course Tyson comes to MY side of the bed and puts his head on the mattress and stares me awake.  Every once in a while he breathes hard and dog boogies land on my face.That WAKES ME UP!  Back to bed I go, laying there listening to the frog that loves to sit on the window sill and croak; listening to the trains howl their horns as they pass through every intersection in the town.  No lie, at night there is another train almost immediately after one passes.  We live about one mile from the railroad yards.  Then there are the kids across the street that come and go at all hours with their 4 wheel drive jacked up, exhaust tricked out truck. I'm  going to look into that because I am told drug dealers come and go like that because they deliver drugs...the buyers don't come to their house anymore.  He comes back pretty quickly so I suspect if that is what is going on, they are meeting at the local Walmart one mile in the other direction from the train tracks.

So anyway, that is what keeps me awake while my mind races to remember all kinds of things and wonder how to do all kinds of things. I'm currently working on embroidering quilt blocks that have a pretty elaborate pattern.  VERY NEW TO ME. So I am keeping it simple and stem stitching the outline only.  On dark brown fabric. My method of transferring the pattern by tracing with white chalk pencil didn't work too well. So since I couldn't sleep, it seemed like an internet search was in order.  I read an awful lot of posts about different processes.

This is what I chose. Print the pattern using my printer. Place the pattern over a piece of  transfer paper that is sold in the art department (not the waxy stuff that can be used in sewing). TA DA...pattern transferred perfectly.

I am so glad someone invented the internet. Information found, but I still couldn't go back to sleep.  As soon as I got in bed and got comfortable....there was Tyson staring at me again......

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

April CQJP 2015 Block

I have been moving right along stitching these blocks. Stitching while watching TV and any other time I might be sitting in the living room has become a habit. On Mother's Day, my daughter commented that everyone was on their phones "but mom is stitching away".  That observation made me happy because I really try to limit the time I live in cyber world.

Now, my blocks are in pause.  When I began the project, I only pieced 4 blocks.  I was running behind and wanted to start the embroidery.

So now I need to find something else to embroider until I get the blocks pieced. It's a habit now that I don't want to break.

I have learned which needle works best with each floss.  Sounds funny to read it, but as a beginner it's an accomplishment.

Since I re-made my stencils, I am better at marking the fabric using stencils.

I like to stitch embellishing the pattern of the fabric.

I like to stitch motifs.

I wish I had a stencil for letters.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Boscoe Is The Best Frog Catcher

 Yesterday was a gloriously beautiful day.  Perfect sun, 85 degrees, perfect.  Terry has been tweaking the pond.  We relined it last year.  He has decided to put in a couple of little "areas" where the water is more shallow and "he" will plant water plants where the fish can hide.  We always put in new water lily, water iris and other floating plants. This year we will try yet again to plant permanent water plants.

A Little Background:  Last year we had to fence the pond area again.  I always liked it fenced.  It gives it a more park like feel.  A few years ago Terry took the fence down to make it easier to mow.  BUT, along came Boscoe who loves to fish,  and EAT fish, raw and alive.  He's a good fisherdog.  So last summer Terry relented and fenced the pond area again. (See me smiling ear to ear?)

So, we were working in the pond area draining and cleaning the pond and Boscoe, who cannot be separated from Terry, was looking so sad at the gate that Terry let him in the "park".  He sniffed around for a while.  When I gave him a drink from the hose, I guess he decided that the green stinky water in the pond looked more inviting, because in he went.

Wow! There's critters swimming in here!

Almost got one!  It's a frog!                                 Nope!  Got away!!

A little while later Boscoe found the deep end. Yup, he can swim.  Yup, even after I gave him a bath he still STUNK...not his coat....his BREATH.  Crest to the rescue.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Are You A Snob?


Yes, you ARE.  About SOMETHING!

I am.
Not socially.
Not about people.
I truly believe we are all equal.

And sometimes you can be a snob and your opinion changes.  You know about what? A lot of things.

Like when I started making jewelry, waaaaay back in the 70's.  I loved that hippy jewelry trend and did a lot of macrame'.  Lots of jewelry and plant hangers.  I loved to knot.  Then the 80's moved in and big clunky jewelry was trendy.  Off I went to the bead store to stock up on what I needed to make what was in style.

About 15 years ago I started noticing tiny beaded jewelry. Really pretty, but really, seed beads?  Nope, that's not my idea of jewelry. The best I could do was to admire Trade Beads.  Then I found Robin Atkins and became enamored with bead embroidery.  I dropped my aversion to tiny beads and jumped on the seed bead band wagon. I soaked up Sheri Serafini, Jami Cloud Eakin and so many others.  I studied their techniques and created some great stuff.

But my love of Crazy Quilt kept hounding me.

Years ago, from high school through my daughter's youth, I embroidered.  I did a LOT of satin stitching and crewel. I was never attracted to outline stitching motifs.  I was a snob. When I went back to work, embroidery  got shoved to the back of my mind. Then came computers.  Yep, I actually worked on one of the first computer's invented clicking through DOS. As technology advanced and windows became bigger and better, artists started posting pictures of their work.  I poured through Flicker, following the posts of those Crazy Stitchers. I started collecting books on Crazy Quilting and realized that I was no longer a snob about back stitching! Thanks to Kathy Shaw and her generously sharing her knowledge and time, and the encouragement from some of my blog friends, I stitched my first block and embellished seams.

I'm  wracking my brain to think of something else I might be a snob about, but can't think of a thing.

What about you?  Can you think of anything that puts you in the snob category?

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A Little This and That

This is my youngest grandson.
I love this picture.

It is not a pose.
He was caught at a thoughtful moment.

He is growing into the most astounding man.

Most times you don't know what kids are thinking.  But if you open your mind they let you know in many subtle ways just how wonderful they are.

And THIS is what you ALWAYS see.

Ky having a great time.  This is his prom picture. Not the traditional tux, but none the less his selection was not a surprise. He was just a few votes shy of being chosen Prom King.

Yes, he is missing a front tooth. You'd be glad that I didn't post the pic of him after a hockey puck hit him square in the mouth knocking out the tooth without breaking the root.  He is wallowing in the glory of the injury received during a parking lot hockey game (goaly with no mask!!).   Did not want to have a dentist replace the original, but will get a new tooth when he is ready.

This thumbs up is his Signature Pose!

We have finally gotten some warm weather.  We had a beautiful weekend and Terry did a little work in the pond area.  I did something or other outside...mostly cleaning up the winter mess the dogs did.  No, not dookey!  I keep that clear.  But they are just too playful and I don't even know where they get the stuff they find to tear up.

There are a lot of things on my To Do list.

Painting the siding.
Cleaning and refinishing the front deck.
LOTS of weeding to do.
Seeds to plant.
And we are adding a deck to the pond area for a glider we
got last year.

If I can force the issue, we'll be leaning Terry's 3 stall "workshop/junk collection/ mess.

Here is what the dogs are doing on a rainy day.

I'll be stitching, when I should be what else is new!