Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Falloween 1

Good Morning!!

Aren't these BEAUTIFUL flowers and perfect for an October Falloween Post?!  My friend Linnea grows Dahlia's and competes in Dahlia shows with her beautiful flowers.  These particular flowers weren't hers, they were grown by a friend of hers, but she shared the photo on Facebook and I had to borrow it Ü  I LOVE them!!!  I don't have much of a green thumb...  I enjoy everyone else's efforts though and all I can about these is WOW!!!

I love it when my brain engages-- I feel like I'm finally making some progress.
I credit my friends Ü  They inspire me sooooo much!!

Last night we got together to work on our Dear Jane blocks.  I'm up to three-- woo hoo!!
I finished my third in the wee hours, but it's done.  I'm not sure I like my fabric choice for this one though.  I changed the center piece to a dark stripe but I still might have to re-do.  My hand-piecing is coming back though and my new needles were a huge help!! 

I  made some sandpaper boards for last too.  The fabric doesn't shift on the sandpaper and that helps to make your template tracing more accurate.
I bought canvas boards from Jo-Ann's in the art section then I went to Lowe's and got a package of extra-fine sheets of sandpaper and an adhesive spray from 3M. 
I took everything outside and sprayed the back of the sandpaper with the adhesive spray then centered the paper on the front side of the canvas board.  They worked perfectly and are really lightweight, so they won't add much when you take it along to your classes or retreats. One thing I still intend to do with them though is paint the edges with an acrylic paint so if the edges get soiled from handling, they will be easy to wipe off.
I know my table cover is boring, but I learned a lesson on Friday when Wendy came over and we worked on our blocks.  I initially had a cloth down to protect my kitchen table, but it was distracting and it made me crazy to have that backdrop and then try to really see what I was doing.  I felt like my eyes were going buggy!!

So, I decided I needed something neutral and still protective.  While at Jo-Ann's, I picked up a piece of the padded plastic (only white was available), and it worked out perfectly.  Last night I think everyone could see their fabric choices for their blocks so much clearer without all the noise in the background. 
I had so much fun with everyone here!!  (I forgot to take a picture of last night ;-/...)
This week I need to pick out my next three blocks Ü

Sunday was my monthly Rug Hooking Guild meeting--
Stacy got on a "felting" thing over the summer and as you can see, she's still going strong!!  This is a box of Santa's and Gnome's.  She puts so much detail in these adorable little people.  Two months ago she was doing small circus animals.  I LOVE THEM ALL!!!
Here are a few photos from around the room...
I loved the blend of blues and greens on this rug.
Helen's flowers reminded me of "Hullabaloo".  Remember that TV show?  I'm dating myself ;-/  LOL
This was a lightweight frame this girl's husband made for her out of pvc pipe.  Clever Ü
This girl had a "folder" she made out of zip-lock quart size bags and a placemat.  Each bag held a different color of worms and it was a great organizer Ü
She had sewn a wide ribbon on each edge of the placemat so she could pull it up together and tie it in a bow.  I may have to make one of these for me!!
I LOVED the colors in this rug!!!  That starburst pattern was really speaking to me...
This owl was AWESOME!!!  She was doing the edge around the owl's face and the feathers on the body in Proddy syle.  This was the highlight of my afternoon Ü  I NEED to do this!!!!

Be back in a few!!
Stay safe and stay tuned--  I'll be asking a very important question in my next blog...

Debra <3

Monday, October 15, 2012

These last few days...

October is breast cancer awareness month.  This is part of a larger wall-hanging (Q 202 With Faith) I did for breast cancer a few years ago.  Please support and pray for all affected.  One day there WILL be a cure Ü

I joined a year-long swap with my online rug hooking group.  It was a seasonal swap so we didn't need to make 12 mats-- thank goodness.  We only had to make 4  Ü
I decided that all of mine would feature the same tree but with different seasonal birds on them.  I liked having a theme to work with and it made my decision easier when it came time to come up with a new design for the next mat to swap.

This was my winter swap--   R 197 Winter Bird

This was my spring swap-- R  198 Cherry Blossom

This was my summer swap-- R 199 Summer Crow

And this is the Fall mat (8" X8") I just finished and mailed off this last week-- R 200 Night Owl.  I have to say, this one was my favorite of the four I did. 

Ok-- not the SAME exact tree, as the first tree is a Cherry Blossom tree (I live in the DC area), and the last tree is an oak tree, but the trunks are same Ü  I want to do them all over again but together in a long piece. 

I received adorable mats in return--




Fall--  I'm still waiting to receive it but will post it when it 's here!!  Ü

On Friday, I finally started my Dear Jane blocks.  If you are unaware of this exquisite quilt (Dear Jane quilt by Brenda Papadakis), the blocks in the quilt are 4 1/2" finished blocks.  There are 225 blocks to this quilt-- very tedious to do but amazing to see!!!  The outer border 'Pies" are about 6' long maybe-- I haven't measured one of those yet.  For the past two January's, I've said that would be one of my New Year Resolutions-- to start a Dear Jane something.  Another January is almost here and guess what???  I still had not started it ;-/  So, I mentioned it to my Quilt Guild, Hayfield Country Quilters and a few showed interest.  YAY!!!
Wendy came over on Friday morning and we selected three blocks to start-- an easy block, an applique`block, and a challenging block.  
I didn't say "quilt" earlier because, to start, I'm thinking maybe just a table runner (how many bed quilts do I really need?????) LOL!!  Also, neither Wendy or I know how many blocks we want to make, so blocks it is.
Of the three blocks we decided on, I finished one while she was here (the green block) and another (the pink block) that afternoon.

What I learned about myself is that I am SOOOO out of practice for hand piecing ;-(  I haven't hand-pieced a block in years!!  I've been rug hooking and doing punch needle for the last two years almost exclusively and just the small little bit of piecing that I did on Friday sure let me know how rusty I am...

I didn't have the right needles, I put a hole in my finger from where  the eye of the needle rested while I made my stitches, and I couldn't find a thimble to save myself.  I did have good thread though Ü  Woo Hoo!!!
I will probably re-make the green block and pay more attention to my seam allowance or my cutting... 

Another note about Dear Jane-- last year my online rug group did Dear Jane rugs!!!  I didn't get around to doing that one either... (read slug).  I have always loved these blocks though and I hope to make a small showing of my appreciation in one form or another.

Along with my hooking and my piecing, I'm in the middle of punching a new design...  I posted a picture of the back a few days ago with a plea for help Ü.  I had drawn the design off a while back and was just getting to punching it.  I decided I didn't really want an owl on it and threw it out to the world to see what suggestions would come up.
A bird was the overall winner and it's punched in!!  I've got the background to go and then fini Ü

 This summer I joined another needlework group "Nelly's Needlers", which is a service organization that supports Woodlawn Plantation. George Washington gave the property to Nelly Custis Lewis, his step-granddaughter, who was an avid stitcher.  The "Nelly's" as they are called, make and sell needlework and operate a Tea Room, with all profits going to the preservation of the Woodlawn home.

Since I live in the DC area, I wanted to take advantage of the historical handwork societies that surround me.  It's a wonderful group of ladies and I'm excited to be a member of the group Ü

I brought home a cross-stitch ornament to stitch and donate-- it's a beast!!!  It has soooo many color changes after every few stitches...  it's driving me nuts!!!  I think I need to find another way to donate my time to this group-- this ornament has taken me forever to do and I'm only 1/2 way done!!
I think the wreath will only measure not quite 3 inches across-- it's tiny!!  Am I insane??  (yes.)

Back to Dear Jane--

Today I'm on block 3...

Until next time...

HapPy StiTchIng!!!
Debra <3

Monday, October 8, 2012

Just a quick one--

I am trying to get a large Punch Needle project finished and I'm at a stall.

I drew this design a while back and at the time I wanted to put an owl on it.  Now I'm thinking I want to have a bird instead.

Owl or Bird?

Please help me out and share your feedback to me either on here (comment box below). 

Or, because I know sometimes it's hard to leave a comment on here for some of you because of the security thing, you can also email me your preference from my website page--  just click on the "contact" link. .

Thank you tons!!!

Debra  <3

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Summer's End

How was your summer?  Seems like it came and went for me Ü
And, it's Indian Summer now... and this is my favorite time of the year.  Right when the air gets crisp and the days are clear, and you might need a sweater or a light neck scarf to take the chill off... the leaves start to turn, you get the soup recipes out... 

This is the soup I made yesterday-- it was sooooo yummy last night and even better as leftovers for tonight's supper Ü

I know it's been a while since I posted...  shame on me ;-/   
Geez!!!  I haven't posted since MAY and now it's OCTOBER!!!!!

I've had a ton of company and have been traveling as well and those are the biggest reasons why I've "been away" from you.  Ü

I had so many things I wanted and needed to work on and now the summer's gone and I didn't really accomplish all that I planned-- I hope y'all did better Ü

Lately though, I have been back to stitching and hooking A LOT --I'm on a mission to make up for lost time Ü

I managed to "finish" a few projects that just needed that final touch.  I finished hooking my "I Do" rug.  The photo doesn't show it "complete" but the hooking is DONE Ü  Only the binding left to do and now I think I've decided to call it something else.  I also decided not to hook the words "I Do" on it and instead hooked another phrase.  The photo looks over-exposed (Read, I NEED a new camera!!) I hope y'all like it Ü

BTW, any ideas for a new name on this one?  I'm stumped (as usual!!) Ü 
I'm going to need names for a lot of my new projects so please get your thinking caps on.

I went to "Fiberfest" in West Virginia with Susan Feller in August.  (She had great advice for me on my "I Do" rug Ü  I love how it turned out!!)
The drive out there was SO beautiful!!  Totally sunny and you could see the ridge of the Shenandoah Mountains off to the east as we drove...  then, as we got closer there was a clear brook along the road too.  It was prettier than a post card and I didn't take a picture.  Can you believe it?????  I ALWAYS take pictures!!!!

I had such a great time that day reconnecting with friends I hadn't seen in a while and getting in some valuable hooking time.
While roaming the room and seeing what the other hookers were up to, I came across Keri Sue and her spiral chair pad.  I thought it was a fun way to use up odd worms and would fit in with just about any decor.  I have a TON of worms in bags and this looks like the perfect project to put them into Ü

This was Keri Sue's bowl of worms-- I see lots of creativity brewing in there!!  Ü

I have done a little bit of cross-stitching too...

This is a tiny sampler I did for dear friends from the UK.  They have a farm there and Penny shows horses drawing a carriage.  She and her husband Ray dress up in period clothing and go through a challenge course.  The horses and riders are graded on every aspect of the course and how they navigate through.  I would love to see them compete one day!!  This sampler is added to my "need to frame" pile...

This cross-stitch design I did with my daughter Jordan.  It's a design from Kathy Schmitz and we each made one.  Jordan's colors are gorgeous (deep blue with almost a neon pink thread-- looks SO cool!!!) and she's a little over 1/2 way done with hers.  I worked on this exclusively from May until about mid-June and I love love love how it looks!!!  The whole bird is stitched with the motifs left undone-- I really like the concept of reverse intent Ü
This is really a huge design, I want to say maybe 15" or 16 " across and it was a beast to stitch...  I won't lie.  LOL
I'm going to add a pretty piece of fabric to one side of it and then off the to framer's it goes!!

I've also completed a couple of other punch needle projects Ü  Ive decided to bind these like I do my rugs.  It's a different look and I like it Ü  It does take forever to do, especially on the larger projects but the look of it bound, really tailors it and I feel makes it even more versatile with so many different home decors, be it primitive, modern, traditional, etc.  It's cool!!

As you can see, the one with the watering can on it has been around a while without finishing or a name ;-(

I have the hardest time "naming" my pieces...   I need names for these three projects-- the acorns, the watercan, and the little basket with the owl.  I put a call out on my Facebook page for the one with the house on it and I got a few good ones to choose from.  I finally settled on "Hills Prairie Home". My mother grew up on a farm in Hills Prairie, Texas.  I saw the field where the farmhouse was once and it was so beautiful...

Please feel free to share anything you think of Ü

I did my Friendship's Offering rug as a punch needle also.  I did this one with 6 strands of floss as well as the one above with the house on it.  They're both pretty big pieces and they feel so heavy and wonderful... like super heavy mats.  I LOVE THEM!!!

I'll post more pictures when they're ready Ü

Until next time,
keep your needles threaded up-- you never know when you'll get a few minutes to stitch!!

Debra <3