Thursday, April 25, 2019

Spring Cleaning

There is something about Spring--growing grass, buds and flowers on trees, tulips and Spring blooms making their way through packed dirt--that awakens the 'tidy-up' bug in me. I like organized stuff, but I'm not always the best at keeping things that way. 

I really like to work on stitching and hand work in the evening while watching TV or listening to a book. Since most of my stitchery projects are small, or they are small parts of a bigger series, I tend to flit from one project to the next a lot. For example, I'm already working on my Christmas card ornaments for this year.

Since they're fairly detailed, I decided early on that I'd be in good shape for next holiday season if I did one each week, so I don't get tired of them or stressed over it if I saved it up and did them all in one lump. I started in January--way ahead of schedule! (Yay me!)

I usually focus my energy on one main project - like the Hummingbird cross stitch piece I recently finished - and give myself little breaks with something small like this colorful set of small stitchery pieces that are in their earliest stages. This may become models to show you that border technique I keep jawing about.

Brightly colored embroidery on a hoop

All those in-process projects became a stack of messy-ness on the sofa next to where I usually sit. On Saturday, I started in on a Spring Cleaning snit, threw a bunch of old stuff away, clearing space for new stuff (magazines, mostly) I wanted to keep, minimizing that ugly pile.

Then I found this lovely handmade  basket (Patty F., do you recognize this?) that really needed to serve a special purpose.

basket full of small projects

Now this basket full of little packets of stitchy goodness sits neatly on the floor right next to my evening sewing spot. It's actually much more fun to pull out a little packet of stitchy-good-ness and start in with my evening's selected project!

When I get the tidy-bug, I sure can milk it!

A Spring Cleaning Special for you!

Most of my sewing storage is in the basement, so while I was filling up my Special Stitchy Basket, I made several trips up and down the stairs, and this box of Your Nest Organizers, still leftover from what I brought with me to Quilt Market and Festival last fall, caught my attention.

No worries, still plenty of Your Nest Organizers at the warehouse in all seven colors, but these few, are all that are left here in my basement. I'd really rather give you one last chance to SAVE some money on these well-traveled Nests than SPEND the money to ship them back to the warehouse! So, EVERYbody wins!

With Mother's Day right around the corner and my Spring Cleaning bug, this seems like such a nice fit with the whole Spring Tidy-Up concept. However, I only have five of the available seven colors in stock in my basement available for this promotion.

Your Nest Organizers

Here's the Spring Cleaning Special

From now until April 29th and while supplies last (the supplies in my basement, that is). You can order Your Nest Organizers in these colors:

Raven, Cardinal, Bluebird, Hummingbird, and Flamingo

 at $18.95 each and pay $0 to ship them.

(Sorry, US orders only)

Your Nest Organizers

The free shipping special ends at Midnight (east coast time) on April 29th, 2019.

To get this offer, click the button below to make your color selection.

You have to use this special link, otherwise, if you use another link shipping will be added to your purchase.

Happy Spring Cleaning and Happy Stitching!

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Game of Stones

Without getting into too much detail, Dave had some medical tests two weeks ago that resulted in his getting Pancreatitis. Painful and potentially dangerous stuff, putting him in the hospital for about a week for observation and to move slowly from no food intake to liquid-only diet to a strict non-fat diet until his gallbladder is removed (the test confirmed that he has gall stones that are too big to be removed without removing the entire gallbladder) later this year.

This all made my last couple weeks a 'little bit' stressful. Things are much better now and everything is getting back to a routine, but I found myself in the position to learn very quickly what foods are included in a low-fat diet. Actually this is going to be a good exercise for both Dave and me. And, of course, there's always a way to clever-up some mini-bagels, jam, and fruit, right?

Low Fat breakfast, bagel, jam, and banana

(I'm not sure Dave appreciated my efforts to create this low-fat 'Happy Meal!')

In between back-and-forth trips to the hospital to check up on Dave's progress, I managed to steal away some time to finish up a couple of near-complete projects. This hummingbird cross stitch quilt that was started earlier this year is complete.

This has been a detailed step-by-step process: Cross stitch the main image, add the border in one piece with my sneaky applique technique, layer and machine quilt the borders, quilt the center with seed stitches by hand, embellish the border seam with four different blue perle cotton colors, then bind.

Hummingbird Cross stitch quilt wall hanging

Hummingbird cross stitch wall hanging close up border embellishments

The photos in full sunshine, don't effectively convey the varied texture and dimension all these steps added to this wall-hanging piece.

It's going to go in the Genesee Valley Quilt Fest show later next month. So if you're in the area, you will be able to get up close and personal there.

Hummingbird cross sittch wall hanging quilt

This table topper (approximately 40" across) featuring four 8" blocks from The FLOCK is also complete. Last time I mentioned it here, I think it still needed a bit of quilting and the binding. All that is done now.

I am hoping to include this pattern as a bonus pattern for FLOCK members soon, but, understandably, the pattern is off to a somewhat slow start. . soon is as best I can promise right now.

Four block bird table topper, bonus pattern for the FLOCK

The first couple days at the hospital meant a lot of sitting and waiting for test results and doctor visits and updates. I was glad to have my Erica Michaels alphabet project, and the letter "F" and all necessary threads and tools ready to go in a project pouch. 

alphabet letter F stitich pattern from Erica Michaels

I started this block during hospital visiting times, and completed the 'foxy' F block just a couple days ago. 'G' and its featured Goose are up next.

alphabet letter E and F sttich pattern from Erica Michaels

I am continuing to incorporate the stitching/border technique I'm developing for stitchy/quilty combination stuff.

I keep promising more how-to details, and they will come, but this isn't the week. The process has lots of steps, but I really like the end result. Hey, if you've spent the time on the stitching, what's a few extra steps to make a dramatic finish, right?

More to come on this, I promise!

alphabet letter F sttich pattern from Erica Michaels, close up of border treatment

And then, of course, I'm a "Game of Thrones" follower - read the books, watched the series from the start.

These socks with the Seven Kingdoms' sigils, a gift from a friend, put me in the appropriate attitude for the first episode of the final season.

Game or thrones socks

Happy Stitching! And Happy Easter!


Thursday, April 4, 2019

It's Show Time!

A quick one-day trip to Lancaster, PA with some girlfriends this weekend brought all kinds of inspiration!

The AQS Quilt Week show had plenty to see, and lots of vendors with enticing goodies. For the most part, I kept my wallet in check - pretty unusual for me, but it's tax month and I need a new set of brakes on my car, so those things can really put a damper on spending.

Quilt Week sign Lancaster

Still and all, there was plenty to catch my interest at the show. People sometimes call me crazy when they see the small pieces I have used in my quilts ("99 Bottles," from the cover of ScrapTherapy, Scraps Plus One, for example!) This quilt, made by Angela Petrocelli, is just covered with teeny tiny flying geese! I wonder if Angela gets 'grief' from her quilty friends for her itty-bitty quilty tastes! *Wink!*

Quilt Show example

Quilt show example with tiny flying geese and my hand for perspective

It was nice to see an example of cross stitch worked into some of the show quilts - this one called 'Halo Star' by Annabelle Dollins has some cross stitch cornerstones and borders. (Detail, then full quilt below)

quilt show example with cross stitched border

Quilt show example with cross stitched border, full view

Featured Artist: Bethanne Nemesh

The show had an entire section dedicated to the exquisite work of local quilter Bethanne Nemesh. Perhaps I was drawn to them because she uses a lot of bird imagery in her quilts, or perhaps because the level of detail is inspiring. For whatever reason, I was blown away by her work on display, including this centerpiece bench entitled "Sitting Pretty" The detail in the quilting and the couched threads and yarns is just 'wow!'

Quilted bench with peacock

Close up of quilted bench

Bethanne's beaded piping is a signature technique that appears in many of her pieces, both along the binding (as shown) or incorporated in various parts of the quilt. It adds elegant texture to some already awe-inspiring work.

Beaded piping example on quilt binding

The Rogue Show

We discovered that a separate quilt show was going on simultaneously with the AQS show over the weekend. This one (The Lancaster Quilt Show) was at a nearby hotel. We hopped in the car after lunch with plenty of time left to shop and look. Here is a birds eye view of part of the vendor area at this secondary show.

Lancaster quilt show over look

Always nice to see Your Nest Organizers 'in the wild!' This short stack was all that was left in the Bee Happy Quilting Booth (Union City, PA)

Your Nest Organizers at quilt show booth

Also nice to meet people you previously only know online. The charming Ms. Rachel Rossi had a booth at the 'rogue' show and we got to meet in person in her booth.

Joan Ford and Rachel Rossi photo

Projects Moving Along

During the trip, we took some time in the evening to do some social sewing in our hotel lobby/lounge area. I finished the seed stitching in the background for my hummingbird project. But now, I've decided to keep going with a little more embellishment along the border edge. Right now, I'm adding a simple chain stitch in dark blue perle cotton, but there is more to come! This may be the project that never gets done. But I certainly am enjoying the journey!

Cross stitched hummingbird with seed stitch background complete

Cross stitched hummingbird quilt with chain stitch embellishment

To break things up a bit, I started and finished this little needle book inspired by a pattern in the March 2019 issue of Cross Stitcher Magazine. My mom used to call the dragonflies that criss-crossed the surface of the pond sewing needles. So this little case is very appropriate and handy. It's great to hold my tapestry needles, and it is small enough to fit nicely into my project bags for stitching on the go.

dragonfly needle case, cross stitched

dragonfly needle case, cross stitched

And that table runner I started a couple weeks ago, which features four of the blocks from The FLOCK collection is moving right along as well. I'm working on the machine quilting in between other 'distractions.' Eventually, I suspect I'll make this up into a bonus pattern for FLOCK members. Are you a member yet? Wanna give it a try? More info on The FLOCK here.

machine quilting on table topper with bird quilt blocks

Happy Stitching!