Wednesday, August 26, 2009

In my post of 2 days ago I mentioned that I might have a relatively cq free winter. That is until MaryAnne of
blogspot asked me where was the Piecemakers quilt. I had packed it away before I was having my eye surgery and all the company coming down. I brought out the box and laid the 12 outside blocks out on my island. I have done some work on each of them. I rarely do one block at a time. I have a better visual if I do a bit her and a bit there.

I took some pics to show you a few - one is complete and the other 3 are works in progress. I have a little quandry here and would like some feedback on what you think - good or bad. I am so used to working with dyed motifs, etc. that I thought I would be in for a dyeing bash but the background colors on these blocks are fairly dark and when I laid the plain white on them I think I will like some of them left white. I have one example where I just layed out a white flower. It should be picture 2. There is more stitching to be done on 3 of them. Picture 3 the pink cherries are just sitting there and I have to do stitching around the black edges once I decide what I like there. On picture 4 this is the one where I used a collar. Once I had it sewn down I wasn't sure I liked it so I put some dyed rick rack around the collar and now like it better. I did a beaded motif and thought it looked like it needed something in the middle. Went to the button box and there was a pack of 3 buttons I had bought years ago thiking to make a jacket. The color is perfect and it gives a little dimension,

Please give me your views and MA I am still not sure if it will go with me or not. Depends how much junk I will have to take to work on it. I intend to take the 4 triangles because I have decided to just bead all the seams on them. My beads always travel along with the silk ribbon.

Pictures 2 and 3 came out sideways but were taken exactly like 1 and 4. Is there a gremlin who decides which way is up?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Today I have some pics of more things in my house that make me happy. We re-did the downstairs bathroom to make it more accessible for Harv. We removed the vanity cabinet and put in a
pedestal sink and new toilet. It is a fairly large room for a main floor bathroom. I decided to wallpaper it and went for a black and beige toile with a small print. I remember the day the paper hanger came to put it up and he was an older gentleman with an accent. I don't think from the look he gave me that he liked my choice but the funny thing is as he started and over the time it took he grunted and talked to himself. I kept going over to the door to see if he was talking to me but he ignored me so finally I gave up.
He was a little strange but I have to say he did a wonderful job matching everything.

I was a little worried about my choice when I saw it papered (I always doubt myself until I am used to it). Once I had shelves up.
found a corner tall storage shelf and put up pictures I was happy with it. I still laugh when I think of that funny day.

I just took some pics of the one wall where I have some pictures and old pieces of silver on the wall. The two small pictures I picked up in Canada and the artist is a gal called Wanda Lee from Halifx. Nova Scotia. My favorite picture is the middle one that is a French print. I probably found it at the flea market or antique show and took it and had it framed. I love the look of her coaxing the children into the bath - usually you can't get them out. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Monday, August 24, 2009

First I must say that a few people thought this was our home and backyard where the anniversery party was held. This is my daughter's yard and she has 2 acres for the kids and dog to run so guess who ends up having all the parties.
My wonderful daughter planned this along with help from her 2 brothers and their two wives. We have 6 great kids and spouses.

Summer is almost over and our grandkids return to school various days this week. Florida is beckoning and we will be leaving here Oct. 10. If all goes well. This summer has been nothing but a round of doctor, dentist, eye doctor visits and we are both tired of them. Harv. was at the dermatologist this morning and I have been there 2-3 times this summer. Beware of the sun and what it does to you as you age. Hopefully Florida will not have too many Dr. visits this year.

I am already sorting and packing my hobby stuff. I am determined to not take too much down this year. I have my Brazilian Embroidery pieces either half started or laying there waiting. My new punchneedle book is beckoning and in that vein I have a gripe.
I picked a online company in Michigan to place an order for a coule of punchneedle pieces and the one in my book they had on sale plus they had the colors for it. Well I decided it would be worthwhile to order it already printed on the fabric then to have to trace it myself. Well I placed the order for the piece itself, plus all the threads to go with it from Weeks Dye Works and another couple of pieces. Well two weeks passed and this morning I went to my PayPal to make sure I had sent it and I had. she received it then credited my account for the amount of the piece I wanted. She sent a refund back to Pay Pal. She said it was mailed Fri. Priority and sure enough it came in today. Can anyone give me a good reason why she would say the pattern is no longer available but send me the threads I ordered to go with it. Would you not think the thing to do would be to email and ask if I still wanted the threads? I just think this is bad merchandising and would not place another order thru this gal. Luckily I have the book with the pattern in it and I can copy it onto fabric but what if I did not have the book? Tough luck to me I guess. Well that is the end of my rant.

I also have a few of Di van Nierkirk's books and for Christmas 2 years ago someone ordered the printed pieces to go with the books from her in SA plus the DVD for the first one. They are mainly silk ribbon. I have started it and need to finish those. Therefore I think my cq life will stay in Chicago and Florida will be an embroidery year. The last couple of years I have shipped 3-4 cartons down via UPS and then ship them back and one of them was the Embellisher and I am ashamed to say I didn't use it once so it will stay home this year. I do intend to get it out and make a few pieces of fabric to take with me for swaps, etc.
I think Pat (God bless her) will be doing the puzzle pieces again.

I am including 3 pictures that were my first BE attempts. There is a shop about 1 hour north of us in Florida and they have an open house on Tues. & thurs. afternoons and for $5.00 you sit and stitch and a gal is there to help you all you need. Her name is Peggy and she is great. They have a little contest and encouraged me to enter my first piece which is called Verena. I found an old frame at the flea market and framed her and never thought she would win.
My first ribbon because I never enter fairs, etc. I was shocked.
The first and second ones are a basket of flowers and it too is in a flea market frame and because it had the rounded old glass I left the glass on which I did not do with Verena. Verena hangs in Florida and the basket in my front hallway in Chicago.

It will be interesting to see if I can go all winter without my CQ.
Do they have an AA group for CQ addicts?

Friday, August 21, 2009

We used to have a wonderful gal in our smocking guild who was from Australia. Her name is Lynn Weekes. Lynn's husband was transferred to the Chicago area by one of the oil companies. Lynn had a smocking and heirloom sewing store in Australia. I met her when she joined our smocking guild and taught at my friend Sharon's
studio. Lynn was the absolute best seamstress I have ever met. She produced a line of patterns for children that were absolutely perfect. I had given up buying patterns made by gals in their homes until I met Lynn. Her instructions and fit were perfect. She wouldn't have it any other way. Well being in the business in Australia she knew many of the good Australian teachers in silk ribbon, embroidery and all the things you see in Inspirations and Australian Smocking magazines.

She had many of them come to Chicago if they were in the states and we were able to take some wonderful classes. They would stay with Lynn while they were in the area. Well all good things come to an end. Lynn's husband retired and they moved back to Australia about
3 years ago. Sharon closed her studio after many years and there is nothing like it in our area anymore.

I have posted one of the projects I made. The class was taught by Lee Lockheed. She bought the pansy buttons from Australia. They were hand made and painted in Oz and were probably as expensive for the 2 as the fabric and ribbon altogether. I have it sitting on a chair in my living room.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Here are the rest of the pics.

This is our beautiful cake.

This is the longest I have gone without posting but have a couple of good reasons. One I had the cataracts removed from both eyes, one 2 weeks ago and the other yesterday. In between I was getting ready for company and celebrating our 50th. wedding anniversery.

We were married 50 years ago Aug. 15, 1959 in Toronto at The Church of St. Davids, Anglican church. We had a small wedding just ourselves and the maid of honor and bestman plus one usher. We have had a wonderful life and I now wonder where did the time go. Most of our Canadian family came down and we had people in all our homes plus put some up at a local motel. Friday night my son had a dinner for all the relatives then the actual party was held at my daughter's home. I owe a big Thank You to my 3 great kids.

I am going to post just a few pics and hope this does not bore you all. I am in the final stages of my pink wallhanging so will be able to show that in the next few days.

I really need a course in blogging. I don't know how to do the pictures individually and write under them so I will just have to go ahead and show them. The first 2 are of Harv. and I. The third is of us and our 3 children. The fourth is our children and their spouses. The last picture is Harv and I, my Maid of Honour and by BIL Bill who was our usher. Our Best Man passed away a few years ago. Well I obviously pu this one in twice so just ignor the first one. Didn't I say I need help. Is there a Dummies book for bloggers?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I mentioned in a previous post about taking a 3 day retreat with Ellie Sienkiewizc that was held in The Keys , Florida. Sometime after the retreat Ellie put out a request for people to make blocks for a quilt she was going to put together of various applique blocks and auction it off on ebay for cancer research. If I remember right she supplied one of her background fabrics and the pink fabric had to be used in it somewhere for breast cancer. I am certainly no great applique sewer but did want to contribute and you dedicated the block to either someone you knew who passed away from cancer or who was a survivor of cancer. My oldest sister had breast cancer 26 years ago and underwent a full mastectomy with removal of all the lymph nodes. Well 10 years ago I was found to have early stage BC but I underwent just a lumpectomy and 35 days of radiation. Times and methods sure have changed. With this in mind I made a block and dedicated it to my sister who survived and myself.

Well I made a block and sent it in and wasn't sure if it would even be used.
It was used and they received enough blocks that they auctioned 3 quilts.
The one my block was in was the biggest winner as it made over $6,000.00 dollars. I can't remember all the figures but another went for over $3,000.00 and the third near that. A hefty sum of money was made by Ellie's gals and was used for breast cancer research.

I will post a picture of my attempt. It was a bluebird sitting near a nest of eggs surrounded with a pink heart. Now I look at it the bird looks like it has a pointed head. I can't believe I would have sent it out that way so hope it was just the way I took the picture. There were some gorgeous blocks in
the quilts and I can't believe I haven't any pictures of the finished quilts. I would have thought I would have saved at least mine but all I have found is the simple square. I wasn't on the computer that much then.

There are so many people out there doing auctions for BC. Vickie Brown of Ribbonsmyth and her bras and all the gals that contribute to that. Also the quilts they do every year that are donated to women's hospitals and clinics.
Hopefully looking at these in a clinic or hospital will take their mind off their troubles even for a few minutes. Keep up the good work gals and if you are ever asked to contribute don't feel like you are not good enough because that is how I felt when Ellie asked and now I am glad I did do it.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

I owe an apology to the the author of the book on punchneedle that I wrote about yesterday. I should have read everything. She said "Generally you will need one skein of each color floss". I want to make the Indian Blanket Flowers pillow shown on the back cover to the right and I did order the Weeks Dye works threads as I found them on sale on line. This will be a good Florida project. I have to start taking small projects with me and not huge boxes of fabrics, etc. that I have done in the past. I intend to take Di Van Niekerks pieces that I have started and never finished. All good intentions. It is going to be high 90's here today so August is coming in like July. Take care and stay cool anyway you can if it is hot in your area.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

I first became interested in punchneedle when I saw some books from Australia and I found a place in Michigan I could order the Cameo punchneedle from. I placed an order and then proceeded to just play around with it. I made small motifs that I used in swaps and in my own crazy quilting. About 3 years ago I went to the Minnesota quilters show in St. Cloud, MN and there was a gal selling punchneedle pictures printed on weavers cloth which is the tightly woven fabric that is what is commonly used. I purchased 2 pictures and did finish the one which I intend to put into a bag one of these days. It was a lot of fun. I have a couple of the Australian books and did order their large punchneedle made for silk ribbon flowers. I haven't really spent a lot of time with it. My first couple of attempts were failures. Previously I have added silk ribbon into little bouquets along with the thread but no larger then 4mm.This new needle allows you to use 7 to 13mm.
I was in JoAnnes last week and happened to see this book and was taken with it right away because I felt there were things in here that I would actually do and use. While checking on the computer today I found that my original piece was one of this gals even though it is not shown in this book. There are quite a few companies that sell her printed pictures. Just google French Fantasy Designs and you will find lots of them.

I took some pics of both the front and the back of the book to give you an idea of what is in there. Also a pic of my finished piece yet to be used.

For each pattern in the book she gives you the colors with three floss choices - Weeks Dye Works, The Gentle Art and DMC. The first two are overdyed but the DMC colors are for the regular floss. I did use the regular floss on my first piece and tried to variegate it by mixing strands of say 2 or 3 single greens together,etc. The Weeks Dye Works runs around $2.00 a skein, The gentle Art I don't know but the DMC in the US is so much cheaper - maybe .29 cents on sale sometimes 4/1.00. The only problem with the patterns that I can see is she does not tell you how many skeins you need of each color. With DMC it is readily available so you can just go buy more. If you had to order Weeks Dye works and have it shipped it would be expensive to have to go back for more.

Allie from mentioned in a recent post that on flower #10 in her new quilt that she did the flowers with french knots but would have been much faster with punchneedle and she plans on doing one in the future. Will be watching for it.

If anyone has any questions I will be happy to answer them if I can. I am not an expert but have made things. Just email me.
One thing I forgot to mention is that she said if you want to make a pillow or a picture with a different background she suggests many types of fancy fabrics that you can iron the weavers cloth to with lightweight fusible web.
You do work from the back on punchneedle so your pattern would be on the weavers cloth and you would punch right through both fabrics. She does suggest you try it on a piece of fabric first to make sure it will hold it.
After I did the pic above I ironed interfacing on the back to hold all the loops tight or you can coat it with fabric glue.
Susan there is your thistle again on the back cover far left. They are showing up all over.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Today I am posting just one pic. It is a watercolor that my husband just finished. He took up water colors a few years back and is having fun with it. He takes lessons every Fri. morning in the summer at the Arl. Hts. senior centre. His instructor is a fella named Jack and he is 84 years old.

You don't have to be a senior to take any lessons they have. Harv says in his class there are quite a few younger people. He also takes his paints to Florida and paints pics that he takes of scenes he likes. I think he is doing well.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Third day after surgery and yesterday he said I could take the protective shade off my eye but have to wear it at night so you don't rub your eye or hit it with a sheet, etc. Everything outside looks brighter and clearer. It will be after both are done that I should see the difference. Drove to the library this morning and wore the sunglasses they give you to protect the eye from glare and had no trouble.

Susan Elliott of was talking about Berlin work on her site. I bought 3 of Elizabeth Bradley's kits while in England over various times and have done them for my living room. They are considered needlepoint done with wool on needlepoint canvas but the Berlin stitch is actually cross stitch. I will post the 2 pillows and the bellpull I have made. I am also including the off white background one I did using the same pattern and it is in our home in Florida. Hanging right inside the door. The little pug is another one I needlepointed so through him in here also.

If you are not familiar with Susan's blog do yourself a favor and go there. She does such beautiful work and her writing is worth reading the blog for never mind the different needlework she does so well. Every time she posts something I think nothing could be better then comes the next post and you are just blown away.
I apologize for the first three pictures. I took them and posted before looking at them and now I see they are all blurry. The last two were from my files and were clear. We may have to get our camera checked as at the birthday party a lot of pics came out blurred the same way. Or maybe it is just the cameraman or lady?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I should have posted this one yesterday because it was our daughter's oldest boy's birthday party on Sat. He was 14. It was a smaller family group then usual because my son & family had a daughter at camp and they had to drive up to Wisconsin and see a show the girls had worked on so wouldn't be home until late Sat. night.
We still had 18 there so was still good. If you noticed the unusual birthday cakes it was a stack of cookies with the 14 candle on top plus ice cream then for the adults there was an ice cream cake - brownie turtle and sure was good.
I took a few pics of Kyle (who needs a haircut but is stalling his Mom until the last minute before school starts).I also took a few pics of her backyard and water garden . She sure has a green thumb. I told her Grandpa Butler would be smiling down from Heaven and saying "thats my girl". He was a gardener and people used to drive just to see Mr. Butler's garden. He was an englishman so had the English type flower beds.

Monday, August 3, 2009

I spent the last coupler of days working outside and doing anything heavy in the house. I laid mulch all around the front flower beds and brick walk and it loks nice. Just finishes it off. I also did all the washing - anything that stood still got thrown in the washer. I had my cataract surgery this noon and the one thing they stress is not to lift anything heavy (like bags of mulch) push anything heavy or bend over to pick up things. Hence I was doing everything I could think of before. Probably going overboard.

The surgery is very easy. They gave me a 5mg diazapam when I first got there then later she sqirted a liquid under my tongue and said swallow and this will make you sleepy. I was a little drowsy but could hear everything they said. I was wide awake once I went into the operating room and it couldn't have been more then 10 minutes, done and out. Got dressed and Harv drove us home. I had tea and some fruit bread then didn't know what to do with myself. I have a plastic patch/cup covering the eye so really can't tell if there is any difference.. I sat down to watch tv and fell asleep for an hour so I guess the meds were working.Have to keep this on until I see him tomorrow then I only need to wear it to bed. The worst thing is the drops. 3 different bottles used at different times. 2 used 4 times a day and 1 used only morning and night. Harv actually made me up a chart on the computer and it really helps. You have to wait 5 minutes before putting in another drop. I just tick it off on the paper as I do it. I can see where this might be very difficult for an elderly patient trying to keep them all straight. I get the left eye done in 2 weeks. Will let you know if I see better after this right one gets going.

I thought I would post occasionally some of the things in my house that make me happy. Todays is a solid brass valet I bought at a garage sale. I was passing by with my daughter a number of years ago and she said stop and lets look. We did and he had this stand and I asked what he wanted for it then asked if he would take a check. He said no so I looked and had about 22.00. He went into the house and asked the son who owned it. He had lost his job and was going thru a divorce. He told me he paid over 200.00 for it but the Dad said 20 is better then nothing and they took it. The father wasn;t very happy having him home again as he said he had been a trader and made huge money but just blew it all and he had no pity for him.

I have it in my bathroom and the crocheted top on it was made by Harv's mom and is all irish crochet with the raised roses. She wore it until it was too small on her then gave it to me. I wore it for a few years until I couldn't wear it anymore either. I thought this was the perfect home for it.
The two pictures were painted on glass and I loved the flowers. I put ribbon to hang them then placed them here until I had time but decided I liked the look of them like that so there they stay.
The small pair of pics are by a Canadian artist named Marilyn Simantle of Burnaby, British Columbia. I bought them somewhere in Canada on one of our many trips back home.
The jacuzzi looks inviting but unfortunately my husband in the wheelchair cannot use it and I do not by myself. Once when Jenny was about 3-4 she wanted to go in so over she came with her bathing suit and I got mine on and started to fill it up but once the jets came on she got scared and wouldn't get in it even when they were turned off.