Monday, January 31, 2011

Celebrity Pet Buttons

My dear friend Gerry K (Olderrose) has completed a series of button paintings of friends’ pets.  My dear furson Boomer is among those featured (along with Pat Winter’s Angell and Nicki Lee’s Brat).  Do check them out.   Gerry is over-the-moon talented in CQ, and painting... and just about everything she does.   I am so lucky to count her among my dearest friends, and look forward to visiting her in just three weeks!

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By the way, I see that I am approaching 300 posts, and that means a celebration!  As I am off in Arizona next week vacationing, I will be thinking up something fun and easy in the way of a drawing.

In the meantime, here`s a vintage Valentine image for you...

Cathy maroon

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Learning the Computer

Boomer is not spoiled or anything....
Where’s the mouse?

Cathy maroon

Saturday, January 29, 2011

This CQ is For the Birds!

Actually, this CQ is for Nicki Lee, as it’s her block I stitched on.   The theme of this round robin is For the Birds, and it was absolutely delightful to stitch on this block!   Nicki Lee had already pieced this 6” block with the charming silkie print of a pair of birds on a branch of apple blossoms. I couldn’t resist!

First I framed the print with some of the rayon venice lace that I dye with potassium permanganate.   I added beads to the lace swirls, then echoed the swirls in the upper left floral motif.   In addition, I felt we needed a nest of babies waiting for food, so it next up was recreating another tree branch with flowers, leaves and a fiber nest of three chirping baby birds.

The colors on this block are so happy, and I am sure I was smiling along with every stitch!

BTW, watch for new listings of dyed lace in my Etsy shop over the few days!  Have a great weekend!
Cathy maroon

Monday, January 24, 2011


I just finished working on Betty’s block for our CQI Steampunk Round Robin.  Steampunk, if you aren’t familiar with it, is like Victorian Punk.  Or Gothic Victorian.  Think Jules Verne (gadgets and gizmos) meets the Gibson Girls (at Halloween?).  What if Sherlock Holmes had a computer (ornately brass plated, of course)?  Or if Teddy Roosevelt had a time machine?  Anyway, if you Google it (my standard recommendation, LOL), you begin to get the idea.

As I was the first stitcher on this block, I had the freedom to choose where to work.  There are three other stitchers after me before it returns to Betty, so I needed to do about 25% of the block.

I got to raid Bruce’s stash of hardware for the, um, Stuff.  :-)  Of course, I used my own black laces and trims, a silver button, a portion of a silver earring, silver beads, a jet black earring part, and a small clock face which I purchased from Alpha Stamps.  Love their stuff!

I wanted to do some embroidery, so I did an elaborate seam treatment. This pulled the greens over to that area of the block as well as repeating the black and silver.

Most of the hardware is attached with clear thread.  It is actually pretty lightweight; no heavier than adding brass charms.  The silver earring (the crescent portion) was the heaviest piece.  Silver button on top of that is the real thing, too, not plastic.

I sure have had some fun this month with crazy quilting, from Victorian Tea Time to Autumn Jungle to Steampunk. Next up ... Birds!! Nicki Lee’s blocks are gorgeous, and I think I have finally selected the one I would love to embellish. And when that’s done, I just repeat the entire process for next month!

And I finally went to the doctor today after suffering for three weeks with this cold or flu or sinus infection or whatever.  Well, two out of three, it turns out (not the flu).  Antibiotics, cough medicine, and I’ll be back on my voice in no time!

Cathy maroon

Saturday, January 22, 2011

My Dyeing Day

I was going to make all sorts of cracks about dyeing (vs dying), but let’s just pretend I did (insert polite laugh here) and move on.  :-)

My dyeing day was actually just an afternoon of dyeing laces with potassium permanganate.  It’s time to restock my Etsy shop with these “Golden Laces" and prepare some to sell at the CQ Adventure vendor evening.  I also hope to overdye some of them with a light color wash as I did here.

The potassium permanganate (PP) turns the rayon laces a lovely golden color.  When dried and then ironed, the sheen is stunning.

Not all rayons are created equal, however, and each one will take the dyes differently.  Another factor in the final color is the length of the soak in the PP.  That collar that turned out darker below was soaked longer.  It is almost bronze-y (is that a word?) when dried and ironed.

I also did some cottons and “mystery” laces (fiber content unknown), with varying degrees of success.  Synthetics don’t take the dye at all.  I had one “rayon” that, no matter how long it was soaked, would not take much of the PP.  It took just enough to see a difference in the before and after, and have a nice luster when ironed.

The cottons take the PP just like a tea dye.  Shades of brown, but not nearly as interesting or elegant as the potassium permanganate laces.

I hope to begin listing these in my Etsy shop next week, so keep an eye out.  If you see something you’d be interested in beforehand, feel free to contact me.

Have a wonderful weekend!  I’m off to stitch!
Cathy maroon

Friday, January 21, 2011

Tea Time Wall Hanging - SOLD !!

Woo-hoo!!!!!!!  And when I got home from an unusual afternoon at work (because I usually only work mornings), I saw that the Ebay auction for the Tea Time Wall-hanging I had donated to CQI had ended.  This 20 x 26” piece brought in $228.49!!!!!!!!!!!!   All 100% of the proceeds will be donated to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.  I am so thrilled!!  (can you tell from all my exclamation points?)

What a day!  I also lost 2.2 pounds at my Weight Watchers weigh-in, and NOT because I have been sick for two weeks.  I still ate, ya know.  I love food!  I just stayed on plan...
Cathy maroon

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Autumn Jungle Finished

OK, so I guess you all are not so fond of bold, bright colors and a little craziness?  Or did I say something to offend you?   The response to my last post was totally underwhelming, LOL!  C’mon my friends, if you don`t care for it, that’s understandable - you can say that!  Just say SOMETHING!  I like to know I am not talking to myself.  At least, not online.   Around the house in the middle of the day doesn’t count...   :-)

Seriously, everyone has different tastes.  And in round robins, we take the challenges that come our way and s-t-r-e-t-c-h.    Sometimes a block is very traditional, and basic embroidery and the usual treatments just roll off the needle.  Other times, you (or at least I) have to dig down deep in your bag o’ tricks.   I happened to love the colors of this block.  The busy-ness was a challenge.  Hopefully I created a more sedate background on which to tell a little story of a sun shining on all sorts of silly fantasy flowers in the Autumn Jungle.  It is, at least, cohesive and color balanced.  It’s also bold and likely to bring on a migraine wacky.  For better or worse, here’s the finished block.  

I had originally planned more stuff along the vine, but just decided to cool it and leave the center a bit open.  BTW, don’t you love those curly red beads (there are three on the block)?  I can’t remember where I got them, but they have such potential!  

Cathy maroon

Monday, January 17, 2011

It’s a Jungle In Here!

A jungle in where?  My head?  Well, yes, but that’s not what I was referring to.

My current stitching project is actually a 6” block belonging to Lorrie R in our CQI Autumn Round Robin.  This is the naked block.  I love, love, love the colors in this block.  It is an incredibly busy block to start with, which is going to be a major challenge.  CQ by itself, even on plain fabrics, can tend to be busy, so I will actually need to tame this a bit before I start.

Therefore, I thought this might be a good piece to use to show you some of my thought processes as I work on a block.  This piece says “jungle” to me.  I know it’s supposed to be an autumn piece, but we’ll just have to compromise and call it Autumn in the Jungle, OK??

One of the color principals I learned in interior design was that you don’t want to have two (or three or more) colors fighting each other in equal measures.  One color must be dominant, and the other 2-3 colors should take lesser roles in the show.  We are not going into color theory or percentages here.  I’m not an art teacher or student, even.  Just suffice it to say that for my purposes, I selected green to be the dominant color. Red and yellow will be the supporting cast.  How, then, to “tweak” the colors?

Well, I first decided to take this block as a whole, instead of treating every patch as a single item to be stitched or “CQ’ed on”.  And since this will be my jungle, and we usually want to work from background to foreground, I knew I needed to lay a bit more of the green jungle down.  The first step for me was that the lower left two patches with the plaid and the orange leaf had to, um, be tamed!

To do that, I added some green lace along the seam, effectively covering some of the riot of color there.  And then, after auditioning lots of things, I decided that a loud foreground “flower” was going to cover most of the plaid.   In the meantime, I added green silk ribbon leaves to the lower left and right areas, and did some stitching in the upper right to cover some of that yellow with greenery.

That red flower is just pinned on for placement purposes for now.  Don’t you think those paisleys were just screaming to be beaded???  At this point, I have also added a trailing green vine, made from ribbon floss.  Are you familiar with ribbon floss?  Well, rather than me explain it to you, check out Sharon Boggon’s post on it here.  

So now, we have a jungle-y background that “reads" mostly green.  The red flower will be the natural focal point, so it will get some sort of special treatment, as yet undecided.  The yellow sun (and the button with “rays” in its center) is the where the eyes stop next, then on to the beaded paisleys near the bottom.  The vine helps your eye move around the block, although there are all sorts of button, bead and other flowers planned to cover it up.  But it’s a connector.  

Instead of fighting with the fabric by adding more CQ busy-ness right from the start and “making do” with the disparate elements, we have worked WITH the fabric and colors.  We used green to restore some visual harmony and give the eye more resting places.  The best available motifs and parts are still there for us to take advantage of.  We have a green base, with several repeating and relatively balanced spots of red and yellow.  Oh, one more thing.  The stitcher who worked on another one of these blocks before me included purple in her colors.  Purple.  I love it!  I will add bits of purple here and there to repeat those elements, as eventually all six blocks in the round robin have to play together nicely in a wall hanging!

So tomorrow, for better or for worse, I will show you the finished block! Remember your sunglasses!

Cathy maroon

Saturday, January 15, 2011

TEA TIME! Wall-hanging on Ebay & RR Block Done

It’s too bad that with all the stitching I’ve been doing lately on tea-themed things, that I don’t like tea, LOL.   (I’ve explained THAT before a couple times).  But I love the ritual and accoutrements, and the genteelness of it all.

So, first of all, my Tea Time wallhanging is listed for auction on Ebay.  It has been donated to Crazy Quilting International (the online presence of the International Crazy Quilters Association) to raise funds for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.  All proceeds from its (hopeful) sale, along with those from three other quilts listedby CQI, will be donated to Charity.

Check out my quilt on Ebay here.  OMG,  in creating this link, I just checked it out, and it already has 7 bids on it!!!!!!!!  Woo-hoo!!!!!!!

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Yesterday I worked on Ritva’s block for the Tea Time II DYB (Do Your Own Block) Round Robin that I’m participating in at Crazy Quilting International.  

The design of the bunny in teacups is not mine; I adapted it from the pattern by the ever-so-talented Bumpkin.  Check out her cute Etsy shoppe, too!

I felted a chocolate-covered strawberry to match the one printed on the fabric, repeated the floral vine pattern on the left, added some trim, stitching, lace and other goodies.  I wanted to keep it light and light-hearted in feel.  Did I succeed?  Regardless, it sure was fun!
Cathy maroon

Friday, January 14, 2011

Tea Time Finished!

It has been awhile (over ten days) since I blogged because I’ve been “down for the count” with a nasty viral bug that has hit.  My DGD London gave it to me (if Grammy here could just refrain from kissing her all the time, I might not have succumbed!)   It seems to get a bit better, then the air quality in the Salt Lake Valley goes to hell in a handbasket.  Every year, the valley suffers through temperature inversions, where the warmer air aloft traps (like a blanket) the colder air down in the valley.  All the yuck and muck from auto exhausts and fireplaces get trapped too, until you cannot see the mountains.  Really.  And if you want to know how close the mountains are, check out my first January post!  Breathing that air is not healthy, so we try to stay indoors until the next storm blows it through.

Anyway, my flu ebbs and flows with the clean and dirty air.  Finally lost my voice totally on Wednesday and took most of the week off work.

But when I feel well enough, I’ve been stitching.  As you may remember, the top of Tea Time was finished.  I’ve now added the sashing, backing, a bit of quilting, a beaded bottom edging, a pleated rod pocket, and a label.  IT IS DONE!

Tea Time - Finished!

Upper Right, when resurrected from UFO pile

Upper Right, complete

Upper Left, when resurrected from UFO pile

Upper Left, complete

 After most of the piecing fixes were done

Complete top before finish work

This will go to Crazy Quilting International to be auctioned off on Ebay.  Proceeds will go to Breast Cancer Research.

I also have an old wool quilt top (see post here) from my UFO pile that I’ve donated to CQI for auction. In this case, the proceeds will go to the scholarship fund of the ICQA (International Crazy Quilters Association).  And that, I believe, knocks off two of my UFO’s for 2011!  One more to go, but then I have 11 1/2 months left, LOL.

I’ll have more stitching to show you in a day or two.  Take care!

Cathy maroon

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

For the Birds

One of the round robins I am starting this month is one called “For the Birds”.  It’s another one of those DYB’s (Do Your own Block) where every participant does an entire 6” block for the other persons. Here are my six blocks.

The other ladies in the round robin have pieced some amazing blocks and I can hardly wait to start stitching!
Cathy maroon

Monday, January 3, 2011

Tea Time Progress - Top is Done!

This weekend I finished up the stitching on the Tea Time wallhanging that I’ll be donating to Crazy Quilting International.  We will be listing several wallhangings and quilts to auction off on Ebay.  Proceeds will go to the scholarship fund of the newly-formed ICQA, International Crazy Quilt Association.

This is the finished TOP.  I still have to back and bind it, and quilt it in some fashion.  Haven’t been thinking about that too hard up until today...   Right now it measures 20” across and 17” high.  That will change, of course, with a border/binding.

In the upper right, I added some freshwater pearls to the crocheted motif and bead flowers to complete the seam treatment.  I also beaded around the teapot  with blue seed beads.

The big teapot got some organza steam, the seams were stitched, and the meandering ribbon got spiffed up a bit.

This was the crocheted rose motif I added last month.... “before"

This is the “after”.  I stitched along its border, secured the ribbon, gave it a pearl center and added some neighboring embellishment.

A silk ribbon flower cluster in the lower left

Gold trim and ribbon roses for the teacup

The blue floral motifs were added to cover up some of the busy print.
A mother-of-pearl button serves as a plate in the place setting

As part of my commitment this year to reduce, reuse, recycle (de-clutter, use up, make do, upcycle, etc. etc), I did not go out and buy the perfect fabric to back and bind it.  Instead I will use some burgundy moire that I have, and it will be fine.  Maybe not THE BOMB, but certainly adequate.

And speaking of making do, I planned a trip to JoAnn’s yesterday.  I ran out of white thread, and it was the last day of their 50% off thread sale.  I really didn’t want to go because of all the temptations to buy stuff I really don’t need.  But I went, and when I checked out, the only things I had in my shopping bag, besides 4 rolls of white thread, was a red polka-dot cotton remnant (half yard for $1.25).  It was not a planned purchase, but is a great blender fabric for some cute red farm animal fabric I have to make London an outfit out of this year.  Plus it could go in Valentine things, too.  Yes, I am justifying it (LOL), but it was only ONE thing!  I passed up at least a half dozen fabrics that the old Cathy would have bought, not to mention some yarn (also on sale).  Must finish the afghan I am working on first.  

And the clean-out of our library begins next week.  I told DH we need to empty the big bookcase, because it is coming down to my studio to replace the smallish, tilt-y one my fabrics are on now.  This will give me room to place more stuff - like the fabrics in that rolling bin I want to get rid of.  What doesn’t fit into existing studio storage goes into the pile for the next Stash Dash at the CQI Retreat in September.

So many projects, so little time!
Cathy maroon

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

On New Year’s Day, Bruce and I decided to go for a walk.  That was a BIG decision, let me tell you, because the temperature outside was 17 degrees (Farenheit; about -8 Celcius).   Where do you go walking when all the streets are iced over?  To Wheeler Farm, of course!  All we had to do was cross the main street (4-5 houses away) and we were there.  We bundled up in our warm clothes, sweaters, coats, scarves, hats and mittens. Honestly, we were never cold!  (well, except cheeks maybe)...

Come join us from the comfort of your warm chair and cozy room, won’t you??

These are the two duck ponds as the Farm.  The foreground one is mostly frozen.  The one in the back is about half frozen.  You can make out the ducks and geese congregated there.

Little Cottonwood Creek, which becomes a flooding torrent in the spring, is just a lazy little half-frozen suggestion of a creek in January.  

Some old wagon wheels strung with Christmas Lights. Every December we have our Festival of Lights, where we give wagon rides around the farm backwoods, lit with lights (only certain areas; there is no electricity to most of it!)

Look at the beautiful, clear blue sky!!  It was truly breathtaking (and that wasn’t just the temperature!).  This is the “Lightning Tree”, so named because it has been struck by lightening twice.  It’s a very old Box Elder tree, and we don’t know how much longer it will survive disease-free.  The little playhouse there used to belong to the Wheeler kids, and now serves the farm visitors.

Here is another shot of Little Cottonwood Creek from one of the bridges, looking north.

This is the exact same view of the creek, taken last June 8 when we were experiencing some unprecedented flooding from quick snow-melting runoff.

This is looking east toward the Wasatch Mountains from one of the wagon roads.  By the way, we do NOT give wagon rides when snow and ice are present on the roads like this.

And here is the same view, just a few yards up the same road.  I couldn’t believe, as I was looking at these pictures, how the mountains just seem to LEAP forward!!

The animals were snug in their pens, yet enjoying the sunshine.

 I love how this old cottonwood tree looks with a winter coat!

This old tractor stands proud and silent.

And this old outhouse stands.... well, it just stands!  It’s a fun spot for a photo op!

So I snapped a picture of Nanook of the North  Bruce.

And he snapped a picture of The Abominable Snowwoman me.

And here is the Ice House (replica built decades ago after the original burned down), which was used in the old days for storing the ice they cut from the ponds.  The Wheelers had a dairy, and besides milk and eggs (etc.), they sold ice for 10 cents a block.  Some years (this was in the early 1920’s to mid-1930’s) they made as much as $2,000 selling ice!   

I thought it was interesting that we had strung it with modern light “icicles”.  You can see the REAL icicles hanging there as well!

Well, I hope you enjoyed this little tour.  I have been getting a lot of stitching done.  Tomorrow I will show you the completed Tea Party wallhanging.  I should clarify that... the TOP is done with the embellishment.  Now I just need to back and bind it.  Regardless of how much of that I get accomplished today, I’ll show you tomorrow what it looks like.

Until then, stay warm!  
Cathy maroon