Thursday, January 29, 2009

Lisa Call

I loooooove the look of this artist's basement work space :)

She is in the middle of constructing a new one which you can see at

Lisa gave away a bunch of her scraps to a friend who turned them into a quilt and sent her a picture. What do I love about that ...... she did the quilting with the dog feed up and basically straight rows of stitching:) Woohoo :)

Sorry people but most quilting instructions say to quilt with the dog feed down (my machine won't do that at the moment) or else there will be serious horrors on the back side. Also most quilts I've seen seem to be heavily and swirly stitched so straight is refreshing to my eyes.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Machine embroidery

Not something that I have done much of other than using the straight stitch, zig-zag and satin stitch. 

I've decided it's about time to get "with it" so to speak and at least become conversant with the stitches on my machine.  I'm using my Scottie Dog seasonal wall hanging series for the experiment.   

The summer block now has faggot stitch along all the rays of sunshine. "Scottie" is attached but needs a collar, and I just have to decide if I want to do grass.

"How many times around the block ?" that I posted about before is going to represent spring and will be next in line for stitching some of the grassy/flower areas.

Winter is in the middle of being sewn together and I have not started autumn yet.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Happy birthday KJ

Just so my other daughters can join in the fun daughter #3 celebrated her 16th birthday last Friday. We went out for Chinese and ate this cake ALL weekend :) Saturday we tried out her main birthday present "Jillian Michaels' Fitness Ultimatum 2009". Be warned you DO get a workout so start out slowly !!!!!

Learning something new

You're never too old to learn something new.

At the Thread Society we are having a discussion and an experiment about wax paper which got me looking a today's foggy weather conditions in a new way. You look at your yard through wax paper and portray the emotionand colors in a fabric project. Personally I am out of wax paper but the fog was a good substitute :) I really need to build up my supply of muted fabric colors. Some tulle would also be useful.

Things are getting lively at the Lady of Steeles Hand Embroidery group. We are in the middle of a block project and are waiting for the entries from Baghdad (sp?) to get Stateside. In the meantime some of our ladies are trying to "bribe" the hostess into handing over everything :) All of us think that the block from Anna in Italy is fabulous :) This project seems to have unintentionally caused an upswing in the chat about redwork.

Butterfly on "sunflower" mini wall hanging

This is supposed to be for a mini quilt exchange but I'm thinking about taking it in another direction which will make it larger than the required 11"x11" maximum.

I finished the basic idea yesterday and am mulling over adding some 3 dimensional embellishments.

I would like to add some loops round the edge, thread everything onto bamboo rods and do something textiley from the bottom bamboo rod. I have some green ones in my basement so I'll try it out and see what it looks like.

The back

I really like the back. Simple, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. :)

"Spring" fabric postcard exchange

Sunday night I got a spurt of creativity for a postcard exchange I am participating in at Learning FA.
My son ended up assisting me. I was ironing things onto the background and he strolled over to the ironing board to see what I was up to. He started playing with the leaves I was cutting out and suggested adding in twigs to the main branch. He has a good eye for detail I think.
Now I just have to mull over what stitching I want to do before adding on the backs. I might also add more leaves and flowers.

Safe Harbour

I finished one of my cross stitch projects over the week-end. It's from the Silhouettes series by Heritage Stitchcraft and is titled "Safe Harbour". My mother sent me the kit years ago. Now I just have to get it framed.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Embroidered heart quilt block

I was supposed to go to a lecture at our local family history society this morning but the meeting got cancelled, so this is what I did instead :) It took me about 3 hours.
The block is 61/2" unfinished and is an experiment for my daughter's Irish Chain quilt. I used 2 strands of DMC floss #550 which is a really nice dark purple. The pattern came from designed by Patrice Trnka Adams in 3 sizes with a small sample size which makes it 4 :)
I have just enough of the lavender print fabric left to try out some other designs before making a final decision.
Two added bonuses. The weather was so good today I sat on the back step to stitch the left side of the block and if I do enough experimental blocks I will end up with a wall hanging :)
Quote for today.
"Every job is a self-portrait of the person who did it. Autograph your work with quality."
Mmmmm. I'll have to work on that :)
Have a fabulous week-end. I am taking a few days away from the computer to birthday party with my daughter and some other assorted stuff.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Life is always opening ....

"Life is always opening new and unexpected things for us. There is no monotony in living to him who walks with open and perceptive eyes."
Phillips Brooks

So having just tried to assist my darling daughter with her science (basic geometry) homework and making a hash of it I think my brain needs to catch up with what my eyes were reading :) Any other mothers out there feel like their brains went to mush as soon as they started having babies?

I am currently putting an Irish Chain quilt top together. Hopefully I can do all the math for that properly !!! I want to do some embroidery in the middle section so I am spending some time researching different styles.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I hold to a .....

"I hold to a doctrine, to which I owe not much, but all the more I ever had, namely that with ordinary talent, and extraordinary perseverance, all things are attainable."
Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Well what do you know !!!!

I was in the middle of doing some additions to my blog when the thing blinked out on me. It's been doing that on and off thing most of today.

Wonder if Washington DC has been sucking up all the power for the ceremonies being held there today :)

So I was scrolling down my side bar and what do you know it just hit me that most of the colors in the pictures are red, yellow and green. I swear it was NOT intentional but there you go. AND my just finished embroidery project has the same color scheme. Mmmmmmm.

One of the gifts I sent for Christmas

Oops. I was doing some editing and realised this photograph has been sitting in the draft section for a while.

Anyway it's one of the Christmas gifts I sent to my parents. A small cross-stitch and beaded glove done on perforated paper. It was a bear to sew but I love the ornament so it was well worth the effort

Embroidery block - done

So I've done as much as is going to happen and the block is now in the mail. I would like to do another version of it on linen and take it further with regard to flowers and different stitches.

If instead of ....

"If instead of a gem, or even a flower, we should cast the gift of a loving thought into the heart of a friend, that would be giving as the angels give."
George MacDonald

Monday, January 19, 2009

The marvelous richness ...

"The marvelous richness of human experience would lose something of rewarding joy if there were no limitations to overcome. The hilltop hour would not be half so wonderful if there were no dark valleys to traverse."
Helen Keller

In memorium
Greg Cafferty 23 May 1986 - 8 January 2009. One of my cousins who was buried on Saturday near my brother. (The cemetery is situated on a hill.)

He was born with Muscular Dystrophy and spent most of his life confined to a wheelchair. He inspired all he came in contact with and lived his short life more fully and with more joy than many twice his age.

Hand Embroidery exchange

I am getting back to hand embroidery after many years of not doing it. Don't know why I did that because it is something I love to do.
I have joined Lady of Steeles Hand Embroidery on Yahoo and it is a fabulous group. The ladies are so kind and genereous with their time and talents.
They are in the middle of a block exchange and a few days ago I decided to give it a try. My block is very basic and uses a pattern I adapted from their files :) It took me two evenings to stitch it up. Now I am contemplating adding some small flowers at the top of the heart.

Applique flower

I'm experimenting with different types of batting at the moment to see which ones I really want to use for my applique wall hangings and smalls.

I left high loft behind years ago and want to move away from synthetics. For this little project I used Warm & Natural Needled Cotton. I really like it and am also tempted to use it as a backing by itself.

Next picture show my experiment on the back :)

Now the back side

I played with my colored pencils just to see how they would work with the fabric and batting.

Valentines Exchange

I'm participating in a number of postcard Valentine exchanges. This is one of the cards I made last week.

Fabric Postcard exchanges

Look what I got in the mail on Friday and Saturday :) Some exchanges from Postcard Pizzazz members.
Chris - Let It Snow exchange - Penguins
Leah - Snowpeople exchange - Glittery snowmen
Ildika - All About Me exchange
Sandra - Let It Snow exchange - house in snow
Cynthia - 1to1 exchange - Pretty Kitty
Thanks ladies they are all fabulous :)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Homeless Teen Quilts Project

Check out Debra's Design Studio at to see what she is doing for some homeless students in the Willis Independent School District in Texas. 

What a wonderful thing to do and to be involved with.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Make no small plans ....

"Make no small plans they have no magic to stir men's souls."
Spencer W. Kimball

Friday, January 16, 2009

Antique Sampler - 1861

This is the oldest sampler in my collection of family textiles. It was made by my g-grandmother's older sister in 1861.

Ann McKellar was born on the Isle of Bute, Scotland in 1849 so she was about 12 years old when she made the sampler. Her father was one of the local grocers.

Stitching the alphabet and numbers was fairly common at the time. Ann also included the initials of her sisters. The house is probably a representation of the front of their home in Rothesay, being at that time 18 Castlehill Street. The birds on the fir trees look like Robins. The outside border pattern can still be seen in samplers to this day. My own one is similar but in a different set of colors :)

Most of the sampler is done in cross-stitch except for two of the the alphabets and the walls of the house.

The main colors used are red, royal blue and 3 shades of green with accents in brown, salmon, cream and dark turqoise. It was stitched on a fairly open weave cream (now tan) linen. Unfortunately there is some damage. It was removed from it's frame at some point and attached to a board to preserve the integrity of the piece.

I'm not sure why the sampler came down to us because Ann did marry in 1872 and had 5 children (that I know of). She lived to be a fairly decent age. My assumption is that she gave the sampler to her parents.It ended up at my g-grandmother's house where it hung beside the fireplace in the dining room. I remember seeing it there when I visited my great-aunts.

My mother being the only niece and closest relative geographically became guardian to her last remaining aunt in later years and custodian of the house. After my g-aunt died in 1996 the sampler and some other antique textiles came to me.

Antique Sampler - 1861 close-up

A close -up of the bottom corner showing 2 robins on a fir tree under a rose.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Quilting in Layers

Winter is finally coming to middle Tennessee. Not the snow that up north is getting but it is turning cold enough that school is cancelled tomorrow and since Monday is Martin Luther King Day that gives the kids a loooong weekend :)

My sewing room has two outside walls, a couple of windows and is situated over our unheated garage so at the moment it is somewhat chilly in there. This afternoon I went "quilting in layers" :) I felt somewhat silly wearing three layers, my jacket and a scarf but whatever it takes. I would have worn gloves as well but that would have seriously impacted cutting fabric :)

One of my current projects - a challenge for The Thread Society has been coming along slowly since Friday. Tried 3 different designs. One was abandoned and another turned into a double sided wall hanging.  I'm doing applique but cannot show it yet.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Sunshine is delicious ....

"Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces up, snow is exhilarating; there is no such thing as bad weather, just different kinds of good weather."
John Ruskin

I will probably get some cyber snowballs from up north for posting that quote. Have a fabulous day wherever you are :)

The last of my Christmas gifts arrived :)

Whoo-hoo the last of my Christmas presents has arrived. 

I had to go to a special education parent meeting this morning and since I was on that side of town decided to drop in on my LNS to find out if my order had arrived. It had ...... today, so I am now the happy recipient of one of Ink Circles newest designs "Cirque des Carreaux". It is 6 pages long and I will probably do the 28ct. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Snow man wall hanging thus far

As of today I have completed 5 of the 10 snowpeople for the wall-hanging I want to make for Christmas. #6 is half way done.

Snowman wall hanging

" Snowman with Christmas Lights." Finished today.

Snow man wall hanging.

"Snowman with top hat." Finished today.

Rose Splendor

This is the cross stitch project I started over the week-end.

BOM deluge

The beginning of the year brings about a deluge of Block of the Month (BOM) suggestions. 

I've never participated in any of them before however ......... after a lot of looking and thinking I've decided to try the Gail Pan design "A Christmas Wish." 

It incorporates embroidery and quilting and looks beautiful. As I mentioned in a previous post I like projects with a delicate feel to them and this one has IT :)

I've added the link to my side bar if you are interested in doing the same one.

Miracles seem to rest.....

"Miracles seem to rest, not so much upon faces or voices or healing power coming suddenly near to us from afar off, but upon our perceptions being made finer so that for a moment our eyes can see and our ears can hear that which is about us always."
Willa Cather

My nephew is serving a Spanish speaking mission for our church in San Diego. He is continually amazed at the miracles he sees daily as people around him come to Christ and change their lives to be in harmony with Heavenly Father's purpose for them. 

May we each notice and give thanks for the miracles in our lives, be they large or small, that help us to draw closer to our Savior and to God.

Gunn Torild

My husband's paternal grandparents were originally from Norway and I've been looking for a site from there to add to my favorites. 

Today I found Gunn Torild. I love her work and she has some fabulous links to other Scandinavian sewers and designers. I like the delicacy of most of the finished pieces, which is the direction I am heading toward with mine.

I learned a tiny amount of Norwegian when I had a pen-pal from there and I have a dictionary so it will be fun for me to try and read her blog :)

I've been having problems today trying to upload pictures of my weekend activities to my blog. Hopefully that can get taken care of shortly. The router has been iffy and my photos are at my other computer.

Monday, January 12, 2009

My friend, if I could give......

"My friend, if I could give you one thing, I would wish for you the ability to see yourself as others see you. Then you would realize what a truly special person you are."

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Commit your works ....

"Commit your works to the Lord and your plans will be established."
Proverbs 16:3

Love Proverbs. It's one of my favorite books in the Old Testament. This particular quote is written on a rock that I found in one of my boxes today. It is now sitting in my sewing room. It used to sit on a shelf by our front door but I like to rotate through my inspirational quotes collection so there is something else there at the moment.

We have been doing a lot of clearing out of closets this week and our local drop off point became the recipient of a van full of household items, electronics and games. Now we just have to tackle the books !!!!! I am not looking forward to that. We gave away a huge number last year but you wouldn't know it by looking around our rooms. :)

I got a spurt of creative energy this week and so far have about finished the top section of my "Scrappy Stars and Stripes" wall hanging, made 3 quilt tops for Project Stork and a plethora of fabric postcards. Now I am going to slow the pace down a bit over the rest of the weekend by doing some cross-stitch, watch the Titans v Ravens game and going to church.

Friday, January 9, 2009

I will be still ....

"I will be still, and let the earth be still with me. And in all that stillness we will find the Peace of God, for it is within my heart."

Unfortunately I do not know who to attribute that quote too. 

Quilters Show and Tell

Thanks for all the comments that were sent to me about my wall hanging. They are all much appreciated.

I forgot to post the link.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

I am now in Australia..

sort of :) 

One of my wall hangings is now being featured on Quilters Show and Tell. I am so excited I can hardly contain myself !!!!!

A word is not a crystal ....

"A word is not a crystal, transparent and unchanged; it is the skin of a living thought, and may vary greatly in color and content according to the circumstances and the time in which it is used."
Oliver Wendell Holmes

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

When our eyes see our hands ......

"When our eyes see our hands doing the work of our hearts, the circle of Creation is completed inside us, the doors of our souls fly open and love steps forth to heal everything in sight."
Micheal Bridge

Scrappy Stars and Stripes - a change

So now there is a definate (sp?) stripe across the middle which might get some writing put on it :) I used some of the dark blue night sky fabric. I also added another border using a tone on tone white that picks up the multi colored dot pattern.
Now I need to rummage round in my large pieces of fabric for a backing. Unfortunately the piece I would like to use (constellations) is bright pink which does not exactly work with the front. Might give it a try anyway just for fun :)
I've also been playing with my thin white fabric that is useless for quilting (been there, done that, never again). I found out today that it does make great prairie points so I might go iron up a storm and make different sizes to experiment with on some of my orphan blocks.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

In the attitude of silence....

"In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in a clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness."
Mahatma Gandhi

Scrappy Stars and Stripes up close

This is just to give a better idea of the colors.

Scrappy Stars and Stripes

The plan was to make some blocks for an exchange but ........... that did not happen. Instead I ended up making a scrappy quilt top for a wall hanging measuring about 33"x25". Listened to the Fiesta Bowl and my husband rooting for OSU at the same time :)

I rummaged around in my fat quarter box (everything is organised in clear gallon bags by color) and came up with some already cut 61/2" white tone on tone squares and 5 different fabrics. The red, dark blue and white all have stars on them, the multi colored spot I added to give more interest and the pale blue is tone on tone floral.

Once I cut some 21/2" strips I started piecing together randomly to see what I could come up with.

Scrappy Stars and Stripes

The block completed. I liked it and made 6 of them but when I put them together I wasn't feeling happy about the result.
I've been reading a lot recently about scrappy quilts so I decided to experiment and start cutting away just to see what would happen.

Scrappy Stars and Stripes - cutting the block

I cut about 21/2'' into the white square, rotated the right section and sewed them together. Played around with the resulting 6 blocks but did not like how it was looking.

Scrappy Stars and Stripes - cutting the block again

Now two of the blocks are sewn together to make a larger block. Thus far no overlapping seams.

Scrappy Stars and Stripes the top

So this is how last night's experiment looked when I went to bed. I don't like the obvious seam line across the middle so I'm thinking I might add some yellow stars. So far I'm undecided about which yellow to use from my fat quarters.

Monday, January 5, 2009

The courage to imagine .....

"The courage to imagine the otherwise is our greatest resource, adding color and suspense to all our life."
Daniel Boorstin

Sunday, January 4, 2009


"Intuition will tell the thinking mind where to look next."
Jonas Salk

Just for fun :)

What can I say - I like playing with fabric and watching how the light hits :)

Part of the back

A close up

My favorite finish of 2008

Who knew that teaching a class a number of years ago about applique would have me use some of my left over blocks to make a wall hanging in a couple of my favorite colors :) I have not named it yet.

Really Retro - before adding yoyo's

Really Retro - the start off point

Really Retro - thinking about re-titling

Mystery postcard challenge

We have been sent these to make something with.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Teacher .....

"The teacher, if indeed wise, does not bid you to enter the house of their wisdom, but leads you to the threshold of your own mind."
Kahlil Gibran

I've been trolling around in my own mind the past few days, not always a good thing to do :) In this instance I have been trying to get past a few days of serious sinus congestion and migraines. Took about three days for the decongestant to kick in properly. Couldn't do very much of anything but think vaguely about "stuff" related to family, friends, self and life in general. 

Got some good thinking in about some of the projects I would like to attempt this year and a little bit of photography done. 

Friday evening I had a burst of energy so put together the middle section of the Irish Chain "soft" challenge I am participating in. It needs some oomph, but that will come with time.

Today I had a few spurts of energy so I did the top of the mystery fabric postcard challenge. I was in a celtic type mood and felt inclined to do some cross-stitch based on the colors sent to me.

There's a few other fabric on-line challenges that look interesting but I haven't made up my mind yet if I want to participate or not. A couple of them would certainly stretch my imagination and abilities.

Friday, January 2, 2009

The ideals that have .......

"The ideals that have lighted my way, and time after time have given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been kindness, beauty and truth."
Albert Einstein

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Travelling and a New Year Tradition

So our darling daughters (1&2) are now at the airport waiting for their flight to Dallas. From there they will head to Salt Lake City. It's been wonderful having them home for Christmas. They both did well in their end of semester exams and are looking forward to the fast approaching new set of classes. We are really proud of our girls and all that they have managed to accomplish in their lives thus far.

DD#3 and I have a ceremony that we do every new years day. We carefully take down the old calendar, store it away with all our other ones and with joy hang up our new one. After breakfast we proceed to fill in family birthdays and anniversaries. Later today we will fill in all the school holidays etc. We started this when she was very young, learning to read and showing a significant talent for organising and remembering dates. The first important date on the calendar ......... her birthday :) It's this month, she will be 16, wants to learn to sew a quilt and drive our van. She has an IEP. The quilt should be doable. The last time she tried to drive the van my husband white knuckled :)

Friendship is a living thing.....

"Friendship is a living thing that lasts as long as it is nourished with kindness, sympathy and understanding."

I have the distinct privilage of associating, on a variety of e-lists and locally, with a number of very talented ladies and gentlemen. Each has graciously shared their talent and knowledge and thus enriched my life and the lives of many others. I am excited about walking through 2009 with all of them and having the opportunity to learn more and also share what little I know.

Happy New Year everyone. May you be granted peace and joy in your lives and greater abundance in your talents :)