Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Happyscape Campaign and Stitching Q&A

Happyscape Campaign '08, originally uploaded by wardi.

Don't forget to vote in the Softie Awards! This is Carina's Happyscape.

It's my favorite in that category, "Embroidered to Death".

I saw this stitching Q&A today at Emily's blog. I like reading questionnaires on blogs, so here's my contribution. Feel free to grab them and answer them too!

1. How do you hold your fabric? In a cheap plastic hoop. Years ago when I cross stitched on aida or hardanger cloth, I never used a hoop.

2. Floss licker? Yes!

3. How do you thread your needle?
Trim neat ends and lick and thread. If the floss doesn't go through easily, I try threading the other way through the needle or I also lick the needle. Is it gross to do all that licking? I lose my needle threaders if I try to use those instead... Did you ever notice that the damp end of the thread secures really easily in the back under the stitching when you are starting a new length of floss?

4. What needle do you like best? Super long sharp needles. I think the ones I go to first are called chenille needles. I'm still using up the piles of supplies from my grandma, so I'm not sure.

5. Are you a needle loser?
Yes.... I had to quit stitching when my children were babies because I couldn't be sure I always got all my supplies up out of reach.

6. What fabric do you prefer to stitch on? Hmm.. I dont like gauzy lightweight fabric and t-shirts are a special challenge...

7. Bobbins or floss bags?
Big bin of floss organized by color.

8. Are you a scissors collector? Sort of. I like to get my kids new scissors for school every year and then I use their old small ones with my projects.

9. Do you do your own framing, and if so, do you lace or pin? I haven't framed a stitching project in many years... I think stitching projects are meant to be handled, so I like making towels, pillows, napkins, sachets, stuff like that...

10. Are you a floss floozy? Hmmm... maybe

11. Silk? Some day!

12. Railroader? I would be if I wasn't a chain stitching obsessive.

13. Are you a pattern or designer snob? Not really. I think it is important to credit designers and pattern makers when displaying photos of stitching on the internet.

14. Do you get antsy when you give someone a stitched gift? Yes! I worry that they will not understand and value the handmade nature. Then I worry that they will think it is "too much" or will feel obligated to like it. Then I wish I would have made another version to keep for myself.... Swapping with other stitchers is much less stressful.

15. Have you reached S.A.B.L.E.? ( SABLE = Stash Accumulation Beyond Life Expectancy) Yes.. sadly.. yes... I inherited my grandmothers SABLE too, so it's really bad.

16. Do you wash your projects?
Yes! DMC floss washes up great and I secure my ends really well in the back. Thank goodness, right? Because I have to lick my thread to get it in the needle.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Revisiting Thread Crochet

I'm on a short hiatus from embroidery now that my swap is finished. I'm waiting for some fabric to arrive in the mail so I can finish my recent quilt. In the meantime, I thought I'd do a little bit of thread crochet.
Thread Crochet Granny Square Coasters

From a pattern in one of my Japanese craft books. These are his and hers coasters. Didn't you know? Thread crochet with scalloped edges becomes manly if you use dark blue!

The book is isbn452904100x . HERE is the YesAsia listing.

I did the pink one last night while watching one of those "Asia Extreme" films they show late on Sunday nights on the Sundance Channel. Those movies always have really shocking horror imagery, although the stories are sometimes pretty goofy. I don't like to watch horror films in the theater because it is too intense for me. On television with a little project in my hands, I can take a more academic approach and they aren't so disturbing. This one was called "Cinderella", but um.. it wasn't a fairy tale... I do get disgusted and turn the channel when they get really sickening, but I can't help myself and I go back because I want to see how the situation "resolves".

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Quilt Top Finished!

Quilt Top

I love and adore this one! The pattern was incredibly easy, but I think it looks fantastic. Most of the fabrics are Tina Givens' Zazu for Free Spirit.

Here is the whole layout. I took a very blurry picture...

I left it on the bed yesterday and when my husband came home and saw it all laid out he said he hoped this was our new bed quilt because it looks so fresh and cheerful in our room. Unfortunately, it's not big enough, but we can use it as a topper for awhile. I think the angular cuts down play the florals. My dear husband says he is comfortable enough with his manhood to enjoy pink and blue florals here and there in the house.

Have y'all been to the movies lately? Today we took the kids to see "The Forbidden Kingdom" with Jackie Chan and Jet Li. It was great fun. I do like martial arts movies and I think they do not qualify as typical action movies. This one lacked the poetic beauty of Hero or Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, but it was fun for all of us.

I also saw "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" one day this week when my kids were in school. I thought it was very funny. The other 4 people in the theater on a weekday morning and I were laughing quite a lot.

Last night we got to the DVD of "Atonement" that has been waiting for us for awhile. I had low expectations even though it was nominated for an Oscar. My husband and I both liked it and we didn't think it was nearly as darkly themed as "No Country for Old Men" or "There Will Be Blood". Once upon a time hubby and I saw about four movies a week in the theater.. sadly those days are over and we have to wait until the films come out on DVD and we can shoo our kids upstairs to watch them.

Oh yeah and how about tax scofflaw Wesley Snipes? What an idiot. Nobody likes paying taxes, but we all have to pay, unless we've established some sort of unconventional, off-the-grid, barter-for-services lifestyle.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Circus Embroidery

Months ago, my mom gave me a pile of some vintage stuff that I'm only now getting organized. I have to share this adorable vintage circus embroidery panel. I think this was stitched up by my mom when I was a child, but I really don't know. Maybe she'll read this and clarify.
Edited: I got this message from my mom:

No I didn't Susie! It's even better because my mother did when I was little!! She would be almost 90 now and how she would have loved knowing that her handwork is getting that kind of notoriety!!

Circus Panel Vintage Embroidery

It's all done on muslin and the edges are still raw.

Clown and Duck Embroidery
Circus Clown Embroidery
I always liked the circus when I was a child.
Circus Dog Embroidery
Circus Elephant Embroidery
In fact, I think I need to rent Dumbo and watch it with the kids very soon.
Circus Bear Embroidery
Circus Doggie Embroidery
Circus Monkey Embroidery
Circus Donkey Embroidery
The craftiness in my family goes way back!
As you can see, I'm not too concerned with ironing....

Sunday, April 20, 2008

New Quilt and Camping

Quilt in progress

I'm working on a new quilt. I got these fabrics at the big Chicago International Quilt Festival last weekend. The fabrics were from this vendor:
2008 Chicago Quilt Show
It's for Quilting, Etc. from Rockford, IL. I'm making the quilt on the right, but I put in my own pink and yellow floral for the large yellow in the half square triangle blocks in the photo. The quilt will be graphic, casual and funky. I hope to send it out for quilting so that I'll actually be able to use it as a blanket.

And in other news, I did go camping with the Boy Scouts and it was fun. The boys and dads were really great, but I was pleased that my friend's son was feeling better, so I wasn't the only woman. We went to Devil's Lake State Park in Wisconsin, near the Wisconsin Dells. The weather was perfect too, although it was pretty muddy in most places. I've decided that people who enjoy camping and nature hiking are my kind of people. Sports, shopping, and fitness folks are harder for me to relate to, so Scouting is the perfect activity for our family. Unfortunately, the showers at the campground weren't turned on yet and I forgot my hairbrush, so by the last day, Karen and I were emphasizing our "inner beauty". Not that anyone cared. Next month the camp out is a biking thing where they cycle to the locations and camp overnight. We are definitely not doing that one.

My husband had a great time alone with our daughter. They went to the movies and their favorite Italian restaurant for tomato soup. He took her to the beach at Lake Michigan for a long afternoon walk. We both agree that it is fun to have time alone with the kids separately.

Friday, April 18, 2008


I didn't feel it though....


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Tea Towel Tour 3

My group is all finished stitching for round 3 of our Tea Towel Tour at Craftster. Check out the gallery HERE. The thread is well over 100 pages long now, so if you click on the tab that says "show images only" you can see the stitching and skip the chit-chat.

Here's my fantastic towel. I sent it out blank except for the bias trim. My partners all used just a little bit of red on their motifs and that really unifies the whole thing.
Tea Towel Tour 3 towel

This geisha is by AlwaysInspired. Her name is O-Ren because AlwaysInspired was watching Kill Bill when she stitched her.
Geisha Embroidery

Here is an overheated saucepot embroidery by KittyKill. This is an Aunt Martha pattern packet that I also have and love.
Saucepot Embroidery

GatsbyGirl designed these heart flower applique flowers herself. They are ironed on with fuseable web and then the border is chain stitched.
Applique Embroidery

Fruitloops did this fleeing pear and happy cherry embroidery. She found these patterns at Hoop Love on Flickr.
Fruit Embroidery

Lovebirds by Amyracinrose in a tea towel swap on Craftster. These birds are a Sublime Stitching pattern and I think they are in the new CraftPad.
Lovebird Embroidery

Thanks to all my partners and our fearless organizer, Rectangel!

Phew, I was afraid I wouldn't get that posted before I left town to go on our first camp out with the Boy Scouts. I'm a bit apprehensive (so is my son and that's why I'm going) because it's still pretty cold out and I really don't know all the other volunteer dads. One mom friend of mine is also accompanying her son, but he's been in poor health so my fear is that they'll stay home. I'm not too excited being the only woman camping with a bunch of men and boys, although they are all very nice people. Since I'm not a leader, I think we adult tag-alongs can do our own thing during the day when the boys are rock climbing and stuff, but I don't know if I'll have my own car. Add to that the fact that it is supposed to be rainy this weekend. I'm pretty sure there is a shower at this campground, but I wish my husband didn't have a prior commitment and could go with us. I'm planning to hang in and enjoy it! I do love camping!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Gnome Embroidery

I did a disgruntled gnome for my last tea towel in my swap on Craftster. Actually it was a colorful apron for Always Inspired. He's not disgruntled for any particular reason. He's just a gnome and that's how they roll.
Gnome Embroidery

I wanted to use unusual and bright colors for this one. It occurred to me that I have never seen a red and white mushroom like the ones you always see on fabrics. Is it that they don't grow like that in my region?

Mushroom Embroidery

This is a pattern by Andrea Zuill also known as BadBird. Click HERE to download it for yourself.

(edited to add: The magic of google showed me tons of photos of the famous red with white dots mushroom. I'll probably have to search really hard to find a blue one with purple dots.)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

And the winner is....


Thanks to everyone who came out of hiding to comment on my blog! My daughter doesn't want me to mention her, but she picked the winning name at random out of one of our applique pouches.

My camera is loaded with photos from the Chicago International Quilt festival. It was terrific as usual, but it felt like I didn't give myself enough time to experience it fully. I didn't get through all the booths this year, alas. Did you see my flickr photoset from last year? I bought a set of five one yard cuts to do a cool geometric quilt. The fabrics were from a booth for a shop that is located near me in Rockford, IL: It's For Quilting, Etc. llc. They don't have a website, but their fabric offerings were very youthful and modern.

Okay, so tonight I have to edit all those photos I took.

BaileyGirl5, I'll send your items to you as soon as possible!

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Movie

My son came home from school the other day a little bit freaked out. He's in fifth grade and that day was the day of The Movie. You remember the one.. the day the boys go into one room and the girls go into another and the teachers do their best to stifle the nervous laughter. The son of one of my friends didn't want to talk about it, but just told her, "It was really graphic".

My son was a little bit more open. The most disturbing thing they saw was actually seeing the transformation from boy to man. My husband gets nervous even talking about this stuff with me, so I was the one who had the "talk" with my son. Not the talk that includes any discussion about mechanics and girls, the other one about puberty. They sent him home from school with a pamphlet and a free sample of Old Spice deodorant. He's been wearing deodorant since he turned 9 and two of the 11-year old boys we know have already shaved. My son thinks it's hilarious that The Movie was sponsored by Old Spice.

I told him, that girls change too, but he really didn't want to know anything about that and I didn't want to tell him. This all reminds me of the family trip we took once to the Art Institute of Chicago. I was trying to get my children interested in all the artwork and not surprisingly, my son was totally fascinated by all the nudes. He was only about 7-years old. I tried to pry my son away from staring at one beautiful Renaissance painting of the Three Fates, by getting him to go into a different gallery and look around and see what artwork in that new room was most interesting. "I want to stay in this room. This painting is really interesting."

This is sort of related. Check out THIS POST from my archive. Be sure to click on the "Click here" link to see the naughty bits.

Thanks for all your comments about my ring episode and my giveaway.
BaileyGirl5 said...

I hate that sick feeling when you realize you've lost something. I know this sounds weird but I always say a prayer that my eyes will be drawn to my missing object. Lo and behold, I always find it!

I don't know why I didn't say it before, but that is exactly what I did. I'd torn apart an area I was sure it would be and I got on my knees and prayed to God that the stone would reveal itself. Only shortly afterward it did in a completely different part of the house. You can believe what you want, but I believe the prayer worked. My mother-in-law once lost her diamond in a gravel parking lot at her church. It was found and returned 3 weeks later.

Finally, because this post needs a picture. Here's the tattoo embroidery I did for KittyKill in our Tea Towel Tour on Craftster.
Tattoo Embroidery

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Foods Package

My felt foods package arrived from across the ocean! Thanks Kiiss!
I love love love miniature felt craft, so this little package is just perfect. She even sent each thing in it's own plastic case!
Felt Food package

Felt Dessert
Mmmm... rick-rack chocolate drizzle and felt whipped cream dollop!

Felt Food Sushi
Can you see the tiny perfection of this sushi? This package is really for my daughter to set up her tea parties and she really loves sushi so she is excited about this!

Crochet Cookie
Finally a little crochet chocolate sandwich cookie. So cute!

This was for a swap on Craftster. Are there crafty people out there that don't know about Craftster? It is the nicest, easiest to use forum. I'm still waiting for my Ravelry invite, so I don't know about them. Etsy forums are wildly erratic and too often devolve into crazy ranting for my taste.

Moderators at Craftster keep things friendly, encouraging and focused on crafting. It's divided up into boards according to the craft medium. I'm not so into clothing and papercraft, so I don't really pay attention to those boards, but quilting, crochet, and embroidery are my thing. Projects run the entire range of traditional to offbeat and contemporary, beginner to skillful and artistic. People are mostly open about sharing links to patterns and techniques. I like the swapping over there because they have very good guidelines and deadlines. When you swap it's like getting into a craftalong with other people who are working on the same thing and that makes it even more fun.

Flickr is another of my favorite communities. I find the group chatting to be more difficult, but there is no better place to indulge in glorious photographs.

That's all for now! I have my last tea-towel to stitch today! She's getting a cute gnome pattern that is a freebie from BadBird.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


I neglected the blog in the last week. We were away in Minneapolis for a family wedding that was lots of fun. I had a terrible scare when I looked down at my hand and the diamond had popped out of my wedding ring. This happened only once before about 12 years ago. My sister-in-law saved the day this time when she found it on the kitchen floor. I was already having discussions with my husband about homeowners insurance and in my mind I was weighing our need for new hearing aids for my husband against my having a diamond wedding ring. The hearing aids were winning....

Note to everyone! Get your rings appraised and onto your insurance policy! I'm going to do this with the jeweler that does the repair. I remained almost too calm when it happened. My husband barely flinched when I told him I lost my diamond but when I said, "You might want to help me look because this thing is worth several thousand dollars", he jumped up and started pulling apart the sofa cushions. I was exaggerating the value, but it got him moving! I have a way of completely internalizing my stress, because after this happened I had a terrible migraine for the rest of the day. Many thanks to Jodi for finding the tiny little jewel for us!

Last month was my one year blogiversary and I've never done a giveaway, so now is the time!

I have 2 applique pouches and a little red riding hood hair clip for some lucky person who leaves me a comment on this post by Friday at 8:00 pm Chicagoland time!

These appliqued items pouches are super cute, and handmade by me!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Random things

Nobody tagged me that I know about, but here are some random things about me. I'll let you decide if they qualify as "weird":

1) I routinely fall asleep in action movies, particularly during the "exciting" sequences.

2) As a teenager, my dream car was a station wagon. I always thought that sports cars and sedans were impractical. This has not changed, although now I'd like a fuel-efficient minivan.

3) I have giant feet and hands. I wear men's sized gloves, socks, and shoes.

4) I "watch" (actually "craft-to") Oprah and The View every morning. The View is goofy and Oprah has a lot of "Well, Duh" moments, but I watch anyway.

5) I didn't realize how much I enjoy quiet solitude until my children entered grade school and I had long hours alone in my house.

6) I have terrible listening skills. I can't remember names until I see them written down and I must doodle to pay attention in classes. Conversations are different. I remember those, but there are more visual and social cues in a conversation.

7) I blog actively and embrace the internet, but I am a lone holdout against cell phone ownership.

8) I have always hated writing. Can you tell? I do, however, like chatty correspondence and explaining things, so blogging is fun.

If you read this, have a blog and haven't done the list of weird or random things, consider yourself tagged!