Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. The presents are wrapped and ready to go to my son's home tomorrow where we will be celebrating. My DIL and DD have been taking turns celebrating Christmas Day over the last few years. We all help by bringing part of the dinner. This year I am taking garlic mashed potatoes and a large dish of scalloped potatoes (my favorite). Better for the kids and easier on me. I am posting a pic of a wall hanging I made probably 12-15 years ago. It hangs on the wall in my family room except this year I did not put it up so just took a pic to share with you. This was a fun project.

Hope Santa is winging his way to you with lots of goodies for under your tree.

See you in a couple of days.



Monday, December 22, 2008

The jewelery factory is still going on over here. Have to do something when we are snowed in. I have decided that I have far too many clothes so am trying to not even look in the stores. Try and wear what I have but use the new jewelery I have made to give my things a new look. I am pleased with what I have made.

Yesterday morning when I went downstairs I looked at the thermometer out the kitchen window and it was 9 degrees below zero. I believe it went up to a high of 6 above all day. This morning it was 3 below but is to start a warm up later this week. Tomorrow is another snow storm with snow then sleet coming in throughout the day. The pantry is stocked so will just sit it out. Florida is looking mighty good about now. They are also having a cold spell with temps in the 60's. I will take that. I have added a few pics of the new pieces I made. This is the end of my jewelery making.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

My daughter came over today and brought all her jewelery stuff and we played for the afternoon. Last week at her house I had made myself the necklace with the little birds on a branch and we put a pearl in the nest. I liked the way it turned out so today I made one for a friend, another type for her daughter and a little bracelet for the little grandaughter. We had to guess at her size so put a chain that can be adjusted and hope it will work. They will wend their way to Kansas on Monday. Probably won't make Christmas but they are not really Christmas gifts. Just a good friend who lost her Mother 2 weeks ago, her daughter lost her husband over a year ago . Just a little friendly hug to let her know I care..

Friday, December 19, 2008

Thought I would spend a little more time on punchneedle after reading the comments. First the Dancing Needle is available thru Pamela Gurney's site in Australia: As far as I know she is the only one who makes this large needle. Now at the same time she does say it can also be used in making rugs so if there are some rug makers out there maybe they have a needle that would also do the ribbon. I would think the fineness of the tip would be the important part as a large tip would punch too much space and the ribbon wouldn't hold.

She has published at least 4 books because I have 3 and not the one with the pansies on the cover. I believe that is her latest book. The one before that is Dancing Needles and that is where she talks about the large needle and gives directions on how to make flowers. I am going to order a needle to be shipped when I get back to Florida and I will keep you posted on how I get along.

Mary the loops on the basket on the left are loopier (?) and that gives the impression you liked. Is loopiness a word? You adjust the length of the stitch on the needle to get the length of loop that you want and the thread used also makes a difference.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I was looking thru my fabric storage area to-day for my punchneedle stuff. I thought I would take it back to Florida and do some butterflies for the new quilt. I came across a few that I had made to use in future projects. I have added a few pics. I am going to order the large dancing needle one from Pamela Gurney in Australia that uses 7 and 13mm silk ribbon for flowers. Think that will come in handy. I have made silk ribbon flowers on some baskets with the larger of the 3 needles that comes with mine but will only take 2 and maybe 4mm ribbon. It is a lot of fun if anyone is interested.

I am waving to my friend Barb here who was my sewing buddy in Florida until she up and left me for South Carolina. Now we have a long distance relationship - no all day shopping trips but sure can talk on the phone - eh Barb?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Hello from snowy Chicago. Harv and I had our 6 month dental appts. this afternoon and they were calling for a snow storm coming in later this afternoon so I thought we would be finished and home before it hit. Well think again. In the morning we had a call from their office informing us that our dentist had had a fall on the ice and was injured. Did we still want to come for the cleaning? We said yes and off we went. I went first then looked out the window and the van was covered. It was snowing heavy. JoAnnes fabrics is in the parking lot next door so I ran over there while Harv was being done. In a half an hour I could hardly drive back for the visibility was so bad. Couldn't leave the man so made it back but was sure glad he was driving home. Went about 10-15 miles per hour and it was hair raising. This snow was just covering the ice storm of the other day so was treacherous. Traffic reports coming in at rush hour are 3-4 hour commutes from downtown to the outer suburbs. Horrible. When we got home Harv snapped a picture of our neighbour's house across the street. Actually looks very pretty with the snow from inside our warm house with a hot cup of tea in my hand.

I intend to stay home the next couple of days and work on my butterfly quilt squares. Drawing them up on the muslin. Cheers.

Monday, December 15, 2008

We had a good trip home to Chicago on Sunday except for the weather. It started sleeting rain Sun pm and the temps. dropped to 6 above zero this morning. Our driveway is a sheet of frozen snow. Welcome to winter in the north.

I spent the day with my daughter putting together some jewellery for Christmas presents. I had found some great findings at JoAnnes in Florida on clearance and shipped them up to her so today we played. I made a couple of necklaces and she made some bracelets for teacher gifts. I didn't have time to take pics as I left it all at her house until we finish. She had her husband's Christmas party to take the 3 boys to and had to leave around 4. I told her she was lucky they still have a party. They used to be very popular with companies for the children but most have given them up.

I do have a pic to add. Today in the stack of mail was one of Jo from New Zealand's post cards. It is beautiful. It has a very NZ Maori look to it. Whether Jo meant that or it is just my interpretation of it but it is very nice. Her stitching is so gorgeous. So even. Unfortunately you will see a little discoloration where I think it met up with Chicago's weather. Who knows if the postman dropped it or what - but still gorgeous. I have one hanging in my sewing room in Florida on my board and now have one for my board here. Lucky me - Santa came early.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Flea market find

We are leaving for Chicago in the morning and I was out doing last minute errands like mailing cards at the post office, returning library books, etc. and decided to run to the flea market for a fast look. The flea market is usually my Sunday morning stroll and I haven't been there on a Sat. for quite awhile. Well something must have told me to go and I stopped at the booth of the gal I bought the old rocking chair from a couple of weeks back.

Don't think I was posting then so must take a pic when I get back and show you this lovely old rocker. At our flea market we have 4 inside buildings and then there are a few outside open sided ones then there are the vendors who just sell out in the field. The booth of the gal in question is called the English Rose and yes she is very English. Pretty blond gal with a knockout accent. Well we said hi and I turned around to look at her furniture across the aisle and what did I spy but a large black conservatory. It is only 19" square but on legs with a shelf and then the glassed in area with doors plus a fancy top to it. She had just bought it in this morning and it must have been pre-ordained. I asked her how much and she said a ridiculous amount beause I have seen these go for way up in the hundreds in stores. I said sold but how do I get it home. At the peak it must be 7 feet tall. She offered to have her friend bring it to me in a truck when we return from Chicago. Well that sealed the deal. I can't wait now to get back and get this out in my new sunroom and start decorating. We had mostly white wicker but with all the glass with white trim and the beige walls it looks bland so I need to do some decorating to lift the color level. I could just picture this in one corner where I used to put a birdcage.

Now the birdcage stand will probably hold a plant in another area. If I had not gone I am sure it would have been gone and I never even would have seen it. Some things are just meant to be. This is my kind of decorating. I love flea markets, secondhand stores. It is all in the hunt. To just go in a furniture store and buy it all brand new is no fun for me.

I took the camera and snapped a couple of photos of my new rocker. My husband said it really doesn't look like our Florida stuff but I said looking at it makes me happy. I love antiques. Dont'y ou think this is a pretty old chair? It is in excellent condition and I just loved the small nailheads on the top slat. The caning is the original.
Will see you all from Chicago.

See what you think:

Thursday, December 11, 2008


One of the things I love about living in Florida is the abundance of orchids - cheap. Now if you are a collector and want a special orchid you will pay top dollar but for gals like me who keep them for a few months then put them outside to fend for themselves all summer I go for the flea market bargains and there are plenty of them.I usually buy them for $3. - $5.00 each. Sometimes 2 for $5.00.

The picture I am going to show you is one I bought and spent the grand sum of $12.00 for it but it was a large pot with an orchid and a lovely bromeliad in it. the bromeliad had 2 flowers on it and along the sides of these tiny little purple violets have proceeded to open to my amazement. I bought this one late Oct. or early Nov. and it is still flowering. the orchid flowers last for 2-3 months at least.

I have taken a few home to Chicago and given them to my green thumb daughter who has managed to have them re-bloom which amazes me. She does have a large sunroom which is very sunny by day and cold at night . A good environment which orchids do well in.

I have a little bird ornament hanging on one of the branches in case you wonder what it is.

No sewing today. Started knitting a pair of crazy patch mitts last night and will pic them when I am finished with one. I used to do a lot of knitting then fell off the knit wagon and onto other things. It felt good to do a little again. I can't really do much on the buterfly quilt until I get back at the end of the year. I want to bring back a lot of black lace, trims, etc. that I will use on it.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Here I am for the second go round with the pics. This sure is a learning curve for me. The little lantern in the top picture I bought at Marshall Fields in Chicago at their very first Paris flea market. Their buyers went to Paris and returned with crates full of stuff then they turned one of their floors into a Paris flea market. It was great fun and I bought quite a few things. I had a friend with me and I remember her and I struggling to the train station loaded down with heavy shopping bags. This was an actual lantern with the house and street number on a plate on the front of it. I use it as a little conservatory. I have a maidenhair fern and an African violet in there. Not really christmas but thought you might find it interesting.
The bottom rack of the bakers rack is a little village ala Martha Stewart. She did an article in her Christmas issue a few years back showcasing these little antique houses and churches. I have always loved these. Probably from the 40-50s era. I bought mine at various flea markets and antique stores.

I have been decking the halls around here with some Christmas cheer that I will share with you. The Christmas stocking I had seen in a shop called The Past Basket in Geneva, IL and fell in love with it except didn't love the price. I went home and voila came up with my own pattern. I made 5 of these in different colorways for myself and at least another 10 for my gals and my sister's DD & DILs. I have 2 in Chicago and brought 3 down to Florida. With 2 houses I now do a bit in each as we return home every year for Christmas for about 2 weeks. Not long enough to go all out but too long not to do something. The first pic (I hope) will be the sock. this is for Allie and Barb B. When hanging this one up I noticed that I had burnt the edges of the overlapping organdy pieces. I have yet to do it with silk leaves or roses but I guess I was ahead of the game back then. Probably made these 7-8 years ago at least.

The next pics are of various areas of our great room. I did a little Martha Stewart copy with the little village scene on the 3rd. shelf of the bakers rack. I have always loved these little old houses, churches, etc. from the 40-50s era. I picked these pieces up at the local flea markets or antique shops. The Nativity scene in the middle back was actually a Christmas swap present at our ladies group luncheon. Brought it home and saw that it fit perfectly in with this scene. Was made for me. Well I will go now and try to download all the pics. Keep my fingers crossed.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Allie asked in a comment why I was marking the new quilt square on the thin film before putting it onto muslin. First I have always machine pieced and usually start with the 5 sided block nd then go from there. Well at this point I am tired of spending more time trying to figure how and what to do so I decided to pick a project where I could follow directions for a change. Hence the butterfly quilt. It is shown at the in the calender section. It is the 2009 calender. I have been impressed with their calenders and every time one has been CQ I have bought it.

It is a large size with 14" monthly blocks plus the center motifs with triangle cq corners and various sashings and blocks. I decided to cut it down to 10" blocks and worked out reducing the center block and triangles accordingly. When I realized I was doing a block roughly the actual size of the calender picture I took the easy way out of drawing up the squares. I placed this very thin fabric over each embellished block and roughly drew the block on it. I will now transfer these markings to muslin using my light box when I return this weekend to Chicago. I could not have done that straight to the muslin. Now the blocks will not end up the exact way I have drawn them. For one thing being reduced from 14" to 10" made for some very small pieces and I find it difficult to embellish very small pieces. Also I will want to add some concave and convex curves ( as per Judith Baker Montano's teaching in class) as I start to piece but it gave me an easy start. I guess I would just have to say I am being brain lazy Allie.

The fabric you see pinned to this block temporarily is a sheer gray fabric with silver butterflies on it. I found this at JoAnnes and ironed on the thin knit type of interfacing to give it enough body. I have placed one in each of the 5 sided pieces. They are not the same each time. There were 4-5 different butterflies. Now the question is do I use them? as when ironing on the interfacing my ironing board was covered in sparkle and when cutting more sparkles appeared on my cutting table. I wonder if this will be a problem long term. Will my butterflies fade away? I was thinking of spraying the pieces with some kind of fixative but do not know what to use so will put that question out on the list and see what great minds can come up with.

I will definitely make this my own by changing embellishments, etc. but at least when I can't think I can look and get ideas. The middle butterfly on mine will not be red. I am sticking with a black, gray, white, mauve color scheme with other little bits of color thrown in and think I will make fabric for the butterfly on my babylock embellisher machine. Time will tell. That will probably be the last thing I do so will pick up my color from what the blocks end up. As we all know, our plans change as we proceed.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Something a little prettier to lo0k at then Bauer today. Back at least 7-8 years ago I attended Martha Pullen's Market in dowtown Orlando. Judith & Kathryn were in from Australia and were selling at the market. I bought many things including 2 kits. The small one I made early on but this one got put away and forgot about. Well it was on my list of unfinished projects to start working on and I brought it to Florida with me and finally did finish it. I am going to our Garden Club Christmas luncheon tomorrow and am going to wear it.

Judith & Kathryn are the ones who make the beautiful prints to be beaded and embellished with silk ribbon, etc. They have published a few books also. I do have a couple of them and they are great eye candy.

A little bit about this kit - it came with the picture of the gal and the pansies already machine embroidered. There were actually two identical pics to a kit. You were to embroider and bead the one then attach the other to the back. I could not see wasting such a beautiful piece on the back that would never be seen. Instead I backed it with felt. The one problem with the kit and may be why I left it for so long was all the beads had been put into 1 plastic bag. Now there were 4-5 differnt shades of delicas, various shades of very small seed beads and before I could start I had to sit for a couple of afternoons in good light and divide all the beads by color. I will never do that again. On the next one I will just use my own beads or buy similar colors. I hope by now they are not doing this in their kits.
A little funny story that goes with this is I spent quite a bit of time talking to them and asked where they were going next. Well they were not only going to Chicago but to Sharon Gerraghty's Studio in Arlington Heights right where I lived. I of course was in Florida for the winter. They were there to give classes that I would loved to have taken. Sharon and I have been friends for years and we still get together with our smocking group for a picnic every June at my house. Some of us have been together for 20-25 years. Unfortunately Sharon closed her Studio a year or two ago. She had gorgeous heirloom sewing stuff. One day I will post some of my earlier smocking and heirlom sewing things on here. It is a small world.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Well the pic of Bauer did not come through so I will try again here:

Well another day has passed but I did get started on a new project. I ordered the Piecemakers 2009 calender back in the summer and liked the look of the featured butterfly quilt. I have started cutting out blocks but am making them to a smaller scale. I am reducing the month blocks from 14" to 10" blocks and that meant that I could not use any of their dimensions for the center and triangles or borders, etc. I have reduced the centre diamond proportionately. I have a large roll of pattern fibre fabric in the cupboard so I am cutting all the sample pieces and drawing on it then will transfer same to the muslin. I pulled a lot of fabrics before I left chicago and Karen south helped me greatly by pulling colors for me in the packets that I purchased from her. She has some great fabrics. I bought some thin grey fabric with silver butterflies on it at JoAnnes and I am incorporating a butterfly in each block. the only trouble is they are a glitter type and I am finding myself co vered in glitter. Hope it won't disappear over time. I think I may need to spray some kind of a fixative over each little piece before I add them. I will put out a call for help on our sites and see if anyone has a suggestion. I have pizza in the oven so too late to take pics. I will take some tomorrow of what I am doing and will try and let you follow me on this journey.

I do have one pic to add today. My daughter sent me one of our big old boy Bauer mentioned in the post below. Here he is:

Friday, December 5, 2008

No sewing being done around here today. We have had our original lanaii on the back of the house turned into a glassed in sunroom, Well this week the very last thing to be done was to have the floor painted. We had a company who the builder recommended do the finish. It is just painted on the concrete then a speckled finish is sprayed over it and a final coat to protect it was put on. This was supposed to have been done last Friday but they didn't show up until Mon. Then they said the original concrete needed to be roughed up, washed with acid and then power washed. Well that happened and the man came Tues. to paint. Well he and my husband discussed the condition of the roughed up floor and they both decided the paint underneath would just lift and we would have a mess. Well that man spent all day with a very small tool bending over and removing all the old concrete paint. I bet he is still not able to straighten up. Well now comes Wed. and someone comes late in the day and puts down a prime coat.
Thurs. again late in the day another man comes wih the floor paint and does it. Well finally this morning another 2 show up and spray paint the sprinkles and do the final clear sealer over that. Hallelujah we are done. What should have been 1 or at least 2 days was stretched over a long week. Now we have to wait 48 hours before we can put any furniture out there and all the windows need to be washed and cleaned but the city has to come and inspect the final building before you can remove the window stickers. Hopefully by Tues next week we shall have a room we can use. We better use it fast because we are flying home next sunday for christmas. My main reason for telling this story is the oil based chemicals they used went right throgh the doors and windows and our house smelt terrible. We had front windows and ceiling fans going 24 hours but I had a bit of a headache yesterday then this morning woke up wih a full blown migraine. I have been taking pills all day and fumbling around. Hopefully it will be gone by tomorrow. When you feel that bad you can't even leave the house to do something. I spent a lot of time just outside to get the fresh air. Will take some pics of the new room and post when it is finally finished. It is about 400 sqare feet with glass all around so I intend to make a sewing corner and sit and sew out there.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Today instead of showing you some of my work I am going to brag on my daughter. She is the mother of 3 boys ranging in age from 6 to 13 and 1 very large dog. She has begun felting and haunts the resale shops for old sweaters. Last year she made some neat purses as gifts for teachers, friends, etc. Last night she sent me these pics of Christmas stockings she made for the whole family including Bauer (the very large dog). He is a golden lab with some hound mix and has very long legs. He is loveable and was a rescue dog after her 12 year old golden retriever died a couple of years ago.
The pics (if I can get them all thru) are of her fireplace with the stockings hanging then individual pics of the stockings. I think she did a good job. I told her she is turning into her mother.
Well I didn't get them all thru but enough that you get the idea.
I spent the better paft of the day in our small antique town of Mount Dora where we spend the winter. I hit a few of my favorite stores, had a quick lunch at a local bakery awaiting the opening at 1 pm of the Orlando Weavers Christmas sale held Dec. 4-7. It is not just weavers but all kinds of handiwork. I have gone for the last few years and always come away with some great handmade christmas gifts. I spoke to one of the gals and I think I will join this group in January. Looks like a nice bunch of gals doing lots of things that I like to do. The only disapointment was I thought there would be a lot more felted items and there were just a few this year.
Will just have to felt my own flowers if I want any. Get out that embellisher and get going. It is still in the box I shipped it down in in Oct.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

This is the Christmas stocking I have been working on in the evenings this past week. It was one of my stash of unfinished projects. It was a kit from Vickie Brown of Ribbonsmyth in 2003. Someone just recently finished her and posted it and that gave me the incentive to do the same.

Here is a pic of work in progress.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Next comes 5 year old Luke who was a cowboy on Halloween and fell in love with cowboy boots. Still wears them although a bigger size. Boys grow .
I don't know why Luke showed up in the coner but surely I will get better at this.
I did 17 people and had a great time with it. Hopefully they willkeep them and hang them every year. Sure Mom.

I thought today I would share with you some fun things I made for my family last Christmas. We had pics of all the family taken at a birthday party the previous summer. We cropped the faces (the We is usually my hubby) and then printed them and added to the paper people I made for each person. I personalized them according to their interests. The first set is of my grandaughter Jenny who was 12 at the time and into cheerleading.