Friday, January 30, 2009

Off on Vacation!!

Sunshine, here we come!!

We are sooo ready to be out of the snow and cold and visit family in the Tucson, AZ area for a couple weeks. This last week has been hellacious! First we had the flood in our basement (post from earlier this week). I've had to train a replacement at work and DH had to work overtime several days.


And then, in addition to all the other preparation for the trip, we had our car serviced (scheduled maintenance, new car mats and back brakes relined). Came to $532. We paid for it once, but we got charged THREE times. Two debits hit our checking account and one charge hit our credit card. The bank has reversed one of the debits, and we are jumping through all sorts of paperwork hoops to get the credit card charge reversed. We'll get it, but I'd rather have that money now (for vacation) rather than the weeks it will likely take them. Grrrrrrrrr..........


So while on vacation I've got my camera and will take pictures, but I doubt I'll be posting anything until I get back. In the meantime, I'd like to share a picture with you. It's a beautiful needlepoint picture of two birds sitting in a bower of roses. It is a vintage piece that I bought at an antique show at an expo a couple years ago. The dealer had reframed it and gave us a great deal on it. The red, green and black are my living room colors (and NO, the wall is not white or gray - it's actually a warm light brown). Enjoy!

See you in a couple weeks!

Cathy
Sunday, January 25, 2009

Good News and Bad News

First, the good news. The new issue of CQMagOnline is out and it is, IMHO, the best issue ever! If you haven't read it yet, what are you waiting for? Check it out!

The bad news: We had another flood at our home. The first time in August (see account here), we caught it quickly and the damage was limited to fixing a pipe and replacing one panel of drywall. Unfortunately, this time I started a load of laundry in the washer (only 5 years old) and we left to take DD and DSIL out to lunch at Red Lobster. We were gone about an hour, and when we came back, half the basement was under 3 inches of water. It seems that the washing machine (bad sensor?) never turned the water off when it was done filling, and it overflowed and ran for that hour. The drain in the laundry room didn't handle it well, and ..... OMG what a mess!

So, we've filed an insurance claim and the disaster clean-up people were out. The water has been sucked up and the carpets torn back. About a half dozen huge fans are running down here, as well as a de-humidifier. They are deafening, and it's so breeeeeezy in here!!

It appears the only damage was to carpets (which may be saved) and some walls - which they won't know the extent of for a few days. Just depends on how far up the water wicked. My studio was OK, but I did have to move some things and one bookcase is in question.... The newly-remodeled bathroom was flooded, but the flooring is tile, so the only question is the state of the lower cabinets and the lower wall area. The office area, where I'm sitting at the computer now, just has a damp wall and carpet. DH's electronics "laBORatory" has wet carpets, but no supplies or equipment involved. And the furnace room was wet and the drain there seemed non-functioning as well.

So, tomorrow we're staying home. We'll get the rooter people out here to clean these drains, call the repairman for the washing machine, meet with the disaster company estimator and the insurance adjustor to work on estimates and claims. Can't get to my CQ stitching and piecing unless I crawl under my folding work table to get to that area of my studio. And yes, I'll probably do that!

Cathy

Secret Sister Revealed & Mail Goodies

On the Crazy Quilt International (Yahoo) group, we've had secret sisters for the past year. This month was the Great Reveal. My secret sister is none other than Carol Lindberg, an incredible CQ'er and seamstress as well as a doll expert. Her blog, Carol Sews , is one of my favorites. Carol has been so generous (almost TOO generous; she's a tough act to follow!), reliable, sweet and very crafty (as in sly, LOL) this year. It was wonderful to be the recipient of her lovely gifts. Her gifts were thoughtful, well-timed, and beautiful. Once she sent me a pieced table runner with fabric for the remaining prairie points and coordinating "goodies" to finish it!

And the culmination of it all came in the form of this BEAUTIFUL needlebook she made for me.
I actually needed a new needlebook badly (the one I use is one I threw together about 8 years ago, and besides being tired of it, it's falling apart!). This is light-years above what I had. Those roses are perfectly executed, and her note was such a lovely treasure. I will keep these forever!

And look at that! Carol even sent some new embroidery scissors. Who can't use those, LOL!?!? See how the lovely lace holds the scissors in place? Carol, thank you so much!!

And talk about a good mail day, as well as Carol's needlebook, one of my stash orders arrived! Here are the goodies I got:

Now I can get started packing up my projects for vacation!
Cathy

Shopping at the Antique Mall

My car had to go in for scheduled servicing, so DH & I decided to spend Saturday afternoon browsing one of the local antique malls. We would've gone to more places, but the car was done sooner than expected, plus it was pouring rain. :-)

I always like to look for things that can be used in CQ, naturally, like lace, fabric, hankies, buttons and jewelry. But I am also on the lookout for interesting books, paperweights (which I collect), bottles, cookie jars (also collect those) and, well, anything that strikes my fancy. You know what I mean, I'm sure!Treasures found: an old Vogart pattern envelope with patterns (there were several of these but I only bought one), some old crocheted doily parts, silk-covered buttons, a lavender-colored tiny jar, a vintage spool, a hankie, and a porcelain planter featuring a little girl and the Eiffel Tower.
Isn't she precious??


I can't wait to try dyeing these buttons!

I plan to wrap trims or laces around the spool to add a vintage touch to my studio. The hankie and rose doilies will probably begin appearing in my work soon. I'm a sucker for roses!

Cathy
Saturday, January 24, 2009

Construction Complete!

As you can see, the transformation of this blog from a standard template to a "work of art" (at least in my humble opinion) is complete! A dear friend in Canada, Heather, worked with me to create the signature. THEN she surprised me with the blog header. Isn't that sweet? I love it!! Thank you Heather! And thanks again, Judy, for your help with the borders and teaching me a "wee bit" as you would say, about HTML codes and how this process works! As my DH would say, "You're STYLIN' now!". LOL
Cathy

Round Robin Blocks

My finished block for our Crazily Cream Round Robin in CQ International arrived home this week. Although I pieced it, all the lovely stitching was done by Rita, Cobi, Jo and Gerry. It's breathtaking. I'm going to back and bind it and probably attach lace along the bottom.


And while I'm on the subject of blocks, here is the one I just finished piecing for my latest RR, Hearts II (there are three Hearts RR's going at the same time because everyone is in the mood for romance. LOL)

Those are NOT reds in there - they are just hot pinks - but I can't get the camera or my photo program to "see" them properly. Gerry made the Queen of Hearts silkie for me with my girl image and her vintage card image! All the lace is vintage (and only laying there, I still have to stitch them down). Then this will be on its way in a couple days!!
Cathy
Thursday, January 22, 2009

Wild Apron

One of my co-workers at Wheeler Farm where I work part-time asked me to make her a half apron. She is in charge of the boutiques we have there on a monthly basis and she needed an apron with large pockets where she could stash paper, pens, notes, business cards, tape, etc.

This is what I came up with:


It's just pinned up on my design board here, so it looks wide. In real use, it would wrap around the sides a bit, but I wanted to show the pockets. The skirt is not gathered and I didn't use a pattern. I had these three great coordinating fabrics and just decided that if Erin didn't like it, I'd make her a different one and I'd keep this one. But she LOVED it!

Above is the pocket detail. These were Home Dec fabrics I used; the cottons are excellent in quality and a bit heavier, making them perfect for aprons. We have a Home Fabrics store nearby, and they sell these cottons for $2.50 per yard. Needless to say, I stocked up!
Tuesday, January 20, 2009

UNDER CONSTRUCTION

Please excuse the "mess" while my dear friend Judy and I are experimenting with different borders and things.........
Sunday, January 18, 2009

Just Some Old CQ Eye Candy

This is an 8" block that I did several years ago. I believe it was for a contest where some of the materials were provided - in this case, the silk print images, the pre-made ribbon pansies, the lace and some beads and fibers. It rather reminds me of this Valentine-y time of year, so I thought I'd post it. Even though there are things I'd add or change now, I've always liked this piece. In fact, it's one of my favorites!


In the close-up below, you can see the fantastic gold-and-jewel trim I used. That was a great find on some old dress at the thrift store. I also used some of that same trim on my 2008 CQI Purse (here). The lace and dragonfly were dyed lightly with potassium permanganate, I crocheted the pansy, and the big purple pansy bead was a gift from my friend Andrea.

The pansy in this corner was embroidered with a single strand of Eterna silk. The painted pansy button was a gift from someone, don't remember who.

More Cream Work

I forgot that I hadn't posted the recent work I did on my friend Gerry's round robin block. This is for our "Crazily Cream" round robin in Crazy Quilting International. As I was the last person in the rotation for Gerry's block, there was only a little area in the lower left corner for me. That's pretty typical when you get a lot of crazy stitchers working together, LOL!! So, I crocheted a basket of cotton crochet thread, then wove it with some brown fiber to give it a more, well, woven look and give it some visual weight to offset the other darker areas in the block. To that I added a bouquet of Fargo roses, gold vines, a couple rosette stitches, and some bugle and seed bead flowers.

The sequin/button motif I also added, plus the little lace flowers above it, the gold fly-stitch seam to the left, and some rachelette woven into the lace below. Wherever I could find a few centimeters, LOL!!
The lace butterfly in the upper right had some pale chain stitching on the wings already. I added more gold chain stitching, plus outlined the butterfly in a gold backstitch to emphasize it more without adding any visual weight. And some pearls for the antennae. That lovely bead ribbon above the butterfly was done by Cobi. The finished block is below.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Harvest Challenge

Last fall I entered a pillow into Evening Star Designs' "Harvest Challenge" contest. As I worked on the pillow, I posted some detail photos here and here . Once the deadline was past, I shared some pictures of my pillow here. Here's a shot of the entire pillow.


Yesterday, owner Carolyn Cibik announced the winners. Although I did not win first place, I was given an Award of Distinction (along with two other women). The first place winner was Janine Franc, with an incredibly beautiful cushion. That woman can STITCH!!

I am both humbled yet pleased with the results! Does that make sense? Please go visit their Harvest Challenge Gallery and enjoy the beautiful, colorful eye candy. I think it's wonderful when there are venues and contests in which we crazy quilters can show our work! Evening Star Designs put together a kit of fabrics, trims, threads and beads we had to use (some of) and they were a dream - of the highest quality and value. I would enter another of their contests again in a heartbeat.

After you've looked at the entries, please enter your vote for the Customer's Choice Award. But I warn you - you'll have a difficult time choosing!! :-)

Crazily Cream Block

Here are some pictures of work I did on a "Crazily Cream" block for Jo in NZ. Her beautiful cream block came with lots of lace already on, and she requested colors of cream through to light brown with gold accents and no white. Some incredible work had already been done by Rita and Cobi. My contributions were modest by comparison. It was hard to get in stitching mode again after the Holidays.

Originally I'd stitched a winged horse with Eterna silk thread where the ribbon flowers on the right are. But it was not satisfactory, so I frogged it (rip-it, rip-it). To cover the tiny holes in the silk left by my needle, I meandered a chain stitch all over the patch and then covered it with silk ribbon flowers and beads. I also added some gold trim and embellishment to the lace above it. And a button trail, which is also pictured below.

Many of the buttons in the button trail are vintage, but not all. My favorite part of working on this was bringing out the "butterflies" in the lace trim pictured above (with metallic threads and pearl sticks.

Here is the entire block, to date. Next it goes to Gerry, who is going to bead a calla lily motif. That should be spectacular!