Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Motivation Ü

OK.  I have "it" now Ü I have motivation to start getting my needlework UFO's finished. 
It's tough having that hanging over my head.  I think after Jordan was here and she's such a fireball, I decided to quit studying the stuff and just start finishing the pieces.  What a great feeling this is Ü
Since my last post... I have tried to be SO busy!! 
I jumped into that "I Do" rug, fixed the ribbon and now my tree is almost finished Ü  I even got a little bit of the background started. YAY!!!  I'm giving myself a June-ish deadline on this one...  Y'all better keep me honest!!!  LOL

I realized I am on a tight schedule from now till the end of May and I don't have a second to waste so I'd better get on it.  As I was having my pity party for not completing very much in the past 5-6 months, I decided to block the punch needle designs that I did this past year sans framing or other finishing...  as it turns out, I've been a busy cowgirl after all!!!  Woo Hoo!!!  I did all of these Punch Needle patterns this past year.  In fact, the witch on the right end, I thought I had lost.  What happened was I hid it from myself while cleaning up one day and I forgot where I put it.  The last time I saw it was when I was visiting Ashley in Switzerland.  I figured since I didn't remember seeing it after that trip that I must have lost it on the plane or something... St. Anthony came through though -- lucky me  ^i^

I've been playing around with my punch needles-- using the various brands and studying the fine differences between them.  I've also been doing a few 6-strand projects.  Pushing the needle with 6 strands is a little tougher on the hands.  I find I need to take more breaks with the 6 strands than with the 3.  The larger projects are definitely fun to do and depending on which needle you use, they can look a little clumsier and I like that rough look a lot Ü   

I made some cross-stitch samplers for my 3 daughters a while back too--  I had posted pictures of Ashley's and Jordan's samplers but not Lauren's.  I finally got hers framed earlier this month and wouldn't you know... I don't think I took a picture of it framed ;-O!!  I DO LOVE how they all turned out though!!!  I'll have to ask Lauren to send me a picture of her sampler framed.  I'll post the photo when I get it.  Now to make one for ME!!  Ü

Till next time,
Blessings to all,
Debra <3

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Progess is S L O W . . . Ü

I have been really busy with company and traveling these past few weeks.  I love having people visit and us journeying off-- besides making beautiful memories, or traveling to some of my favorite places, it makes me clean my house!!  Lord knows, I need me some "house-cleaning" time!!  LOL

In fact, I took pictures of my clean house so my one daughter could see that it actually happens that I don't have rug worms, needles and thread all laying about.  She's the "minimalist" of the family and has completely empty drawers and cabinets at her house.  Who actually "lives" like that?!  It's like going to a showroom where the cabinetry are fixtures so there's nothing in them ;-O hahahaha!!!  Just kidding Dootie... I LOVE YOUR HOUSE!!!  Ü

Anywho, with all the company and traveling, that makes for less needlework time with one exception...  When Jordan (minimalist daughter) came to visit, we had a week of nothing but needlework time-- OH YEAH!!! Ü

I only got a little bit completed but I worked on a lot.
I made these table runners for Christmas gifts to my family in December but hadn't quilted them yet so they were on the top of the list.  I got 3 out of the 5 quilted and bound that week.  They are now with their owners and out of my hair.  I'll post a picture of the other two when they are completed.
The lighting is bad on these and didn't really capture the colors very well ;-(
They are really pretty cute!!

At the end of March, I got to attend the Virginia Rugfest in Mechanicsville, VA.  It was fun and the displayed rugs were total "eye candy" Ü
I took a few photos of the ones I liked.  I was drawn to the primitive style of them Ü  Enjoy!!

A little background information on this sampler rug...  It's inspired by a Dear Jane quilt but it's a RUG!!!  My "Yahookers" rug group members took this project on.  Rug Hooking Magazine even did an article on the group Ü  They signed on to do it and complete by a certain date.  The design of the blocks and the border was strictly up to the hooker as well as the color-way.  So far, from the completed rugs I have seen, they are all different and BEAUTIFUL!!! Ü  Such creativity in that group.  This rug is gorgeous!!!!

I loved the stone wall on this one Ü

My prim faves...

I LOVE anything Karen Kahle!!!  Ü

These handbags are fantastic!!  I NEED to make one of these for me!!!  Ü

Last one...

As for my hooking...

I'm still at the same place on my "I Do" rug but I love how it's looking so far Ü  I've gone out of my box for the color-way-- I hope you like it too Ü
I accidently hooked a place on it in green that was supposed to be tan so I'll need to do some "reverse hooking" on this one before I proceed any further ;-(
I'll keep posting my progress on this one as I go...

While Jordan was here we had some quilting fun!!!  This is her "Jelly Roll".  She combined all the fabrics herself from pieces she had purchased individually.  I LOVE her color sense!!  
  Her Jelly Roll became this "Jelly Roll 1600" quilt-- this was so much fun to do!!!

 She likes "Modern" quilting and I've always been more of a "Traditional" quilter but she's tugging at me and I'm strongly leaning to the dark (Modern) side Ü.
I love mixing and matching these bold prints together!!!  I bought this bunch of fabric while she was here and I'm excited to see what comes out of it Ü

Punch Needle
I'm almost done with this large project-- it measures 5 3/4" X 9".  I think I'll go back to some smaller Punch Needle projects Ü  This has taken me forever to do.  I think maybe because I'm doing it with 6 strands might be the reason.  It's way more tedious getting the 6 strands of floss punched through as opposed to 3 strands or fewer.  I only have the grass to do now and wa la... it's finito!!!
My last bit o' news is...
This week I treated myself to a dyeing class from Karen Rose, a beautiful wool dyer in my rug guild (Colonial Rug Hookers of Northern Virginia).  There were 10 of us in the class and we all did a different type of dyeing with a 1/2 yard of wool.  At the end of the all day session, we cut the wool into 10 pieces and traded with one another so everyone had a piece of everyone's dyed wool.  
It was a GREAT class and I learned so much.  Karen is an amazing teacher and a gracious hostess to boot!!  Here are some pictures of the dyeing in process, some finished samples of our wool.  

This was my piece Ü  I loved all of the movement and texture in this piece--

 These are the pieces I came home with--

Karen presoaks her wool in these extra large white detergent buckets.  They are the perfect container for yards of wool and today I went to Home Depot to find some big white buckets of my own so I can get started here at home Ü  They are 5 gallon buckets and I can't wait to get started.  The only thing holding me back now is...  I need some dye.  

Till next time-- Ciao baby!!!

Debra <3

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Innocence Lost

I will try to keep my blog to my handwork tales but for now, real life is taking over my needlework life…

Today was the day.  Today was the day I learned an ugly truth. 
I’m not talking about my innocence.  I’m talking about my daughter Lauren and her innocence lost.  To witness it and hear it is brutal beyond measure. 

Yesterday she learned her best friend’s husband had been killed while serving in Afghanistan. 
As much as we try to shield our children from the horrors of the world there are some that get past us. 
The strange thing is, when did it change from us protecting them to them protecting us?  It happened under my nose and it seems I totally missed it.

I still see my girls as my “little girls”.  I guess they will forever be frozen in time that way for me even though they are all three adults now with families and loves all their own.  They have lost friends through accidents at home, in the car, school, etc., but never in war.  War is the grown-up place to go.

My kids have been surrounded by war for a long time.  Their dad (my husband) was a career Air Force officer as well as other family members.  My girls’ families are directly affected by it because Lauren’s husband Juan, is an active-duty Army officer (Capt.) and has served a tour in Iraq, returning a year ago.  Jordan’s sister-in-law, Alison (Maj. USA), and two brothers-in-law, Jeremiah (Maj. USMC) and Tim (Maj. USA) all active-duty, with all being deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan multiple times.  They also have classmates serving since 9-11.  I’m proud beyond words of their choice to serve their country and all that goes with it.  They are doing it because our country was attacked and they believe in fighting for the ideals our country stands for and to be clear, they do it out of CHOICE, to keep and make our freedoms better…  NOT because they’ll "get a college education out of it" and NOT because "they are too poor to do anything else". 

People have been dying in wars since the beginning of time.  Sadly, it goes with the territory.  My heart always goes out to any family that loses a son, a daughter, a husband/wife, brother/sister, friend, a dad or a mother while serving our country.  We’ve been fortunate in that it’s rarely been someone close to us. 
Yesterday that changed and now for my “innocent” daughter, her world has changed forever too just like the life of her best friend, Susan. 
This isn’t something I can kiss and make go away.  I can’t cover it with a band-aid or drink it away with a glass of water.  This is the kind of hurt that comes from a place thankfully most of us will never have to connect with, relate to, or acknowledge that there even is such a place. 
I don't’ have the words to comfort her pain or that of her best friend.  There just aren’t any.  God has to speak to them for me because he’s the only one fluent in the language of this kind of compassion and grief.

So, when I spoke to Lauren today to see if she was doing ok, that’s when I realized she had changed.  It was the first time she had a crisis and she didn’t call to ask me what to do.  She called to tell me what happened, was comforting to me, and she was going about the motions to do her part in helping to support her friend. 
She understands in a very personal way now that our soldiers don’t always come back to us.  Sometimes they go back to God.

Although she’s still and will always be my little girl, I see she accepts and understands what she needs to do to hold things together and stand up,  being the strong place for Susan and her children to go.  And even though I know there isn’t such a place to cushion this kind of fall, the point is, if there were one, Susan would know Lauren is by her side, supporting her in any way she’s needed, not as my “innocent” child but as my little girl with a woman’s heart.

Rest in peace Bruce Kevin Clark.
You are dearly missed.

I tried to stay on point so forgive me if I rambled a bit…

Debra <3

I know Susan and her girls are the primary reason for my blog today but I have sent her a personal message and didn't want to disclose that message here.  Please understand this was my release for a ramification of what happened as I witnessed it. 
And also, please if you will, offer a prayer for Susan and their daughters, that God wraps his arms around them and comforts them as only he can.  I thank you all in advance.  ^i^