Monday, January 30, 2012

Canine Couture

Really, I am a cat person. But I have owned and loved many dogs in my life.  Currently, though,  Bruce and I live only with our furson (feline) Boomer these days.

My daughter Megan and her hubby Ron, however, have two female cats and two male dogs. On weekends, they love to take their dogs Chip and Charlie out to dog parks to let them run and play.

This year, after Christmas, Megan asked me if I would make “the boys” some fleece coats for the anticipated (but still to arrive) annual frigid winter temperatures. Meg gave me their measurements, and we shopped for a pattern and fleece. Yesterday, Sunday, they came over for a “fitting”.

Charlie (lab and border collie mix) and Chip (shepherd and ?? mix)

Charlie has silky fur and and dignified demeanor

Chip is as wacky (look at those ears!) and playful as he looks

Chip models his coat, below.  Somewhere along the way, the measurements must have been wrong, because Chip’s coat needs to be shortened from neck to tail. There will be a red belt that will go around him and meet (with Velcro hook and loop tape) under his chest.  The part under he neck is just pinned, too; we needed to see where that Velcro placement would be.

Charlie’s fit him better, but we still need to do all the velcro placements and add the belt.

DH Bruce and DSIL Ron just humored us, but Ron did admit that the dogs do need something to keep them warm outside.

So, a few little tweaks to the coats this afternoon and the granddogs will have their coats. And then I will begin my CQJP February block and color-washing some laces.  Stay tuned!

Cathy maroon

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Fabric Postcards

Over at Crazy Quilting International, we are having our first swap of the year, and the subject is postcards. The only time I have ever done a postcard was in a Helen Gibb class back in 2009 at the CQ retreat in Omaha.   Here is that card from almost 3 years ago.

While the thought of experimenting with other methods of constructing a postcard (like crazy quilting) did occur to me, I thought I would stick to a tried-and-true formula for me.  I love the feminine look with a printed silk image  as a focal point, with lots of lace, ribbon and flowers.

So these are the two that I came up with, below.

I really tried not to foof up this one (above) too much, but that was the best I could do, LOL.  There are some vintage elements in it, like the meandering pink and blue trim (purchased at Piecemakers in So. Cal. years ago), the two little flowers above it, and the center leaf thingy above that.  The rose and trim above the silkie print is my own golden dyed lace of course, and that is layered over some vintage lace.  The leaf that you can barely see in the lower right was actually cut from a 7” piece of a three-figure-per-yard fabric I bought several years ago in Denver. Yep, I only bought 7” - they would only cut it along complete motifs, and I could not afford 14”, LOL. 

This one is my favorite!

All the laces on this one are vintage.  So are the vintage millinery flowers along the silkie print left upper side and the millinery leaf “fan” she is holding in her hand.

I will put these in sleeves and mail them in envelopes instead of as postcards.  Actually, I only signed up to swap one postcard, but I want to give Debbie the hostess (I doubt if she reads my blog, LOL) her choice of one first as a giftie.  :-)  Anyway, I forgot to take a picture of the backs, but they are covered in a coordinating cotton.  In the center layer is a piece Tyvek that I bonded to the front and back, then zig-zagged over the edges.

Now, back to the sewing machine!  I have been making fleece jackets for my two grand-dogs. They are coming over for a fitting tomorrow courtesy of my DD Megan and DSIL Ron; the dogs Chip and Charlie have yet to learn how to drive.

Cathy maroon

CQMagOnline January 2012 is out!

The oldest online CQ Magazine, CQMagOnline, has just published Vol. 11, Issue #1. Woo-hoo!  You can check it out here:

I am doubly excited because not only is Cathy`s Crazy by Design a sponsor of the issue, but I have an article in it.  This issue it is The Inspiration Corner, Focus: Hearts.  I hope to have more of these articles on varying subjects as catalysts to spark ideas and creativity in others.   Exploring themes has always been one of the things I like best, so why not share?

I have been busy creating postcards for our Crazy Quilting International Postcard Swap.  All I have left to do is bind one with a zig-zag stitch. But that means changing the thread in my sewing machine, so lazybones here decided to come blog instead, LOL.

May your weekend be wonderful!
Cathy maroon

Friday, January 20, 2012

CQ Journal Project and 123 TAST!

The last couple weeks have been a flurry of activity, having spent a week in California, then arriving home (with the Great Stash Acquisitions) to sort and fondle them. And cut, dye, and attempt to begin listing them in my Etsy.  (And all my Valentine packs sold out this week!)  And to all this, we have been tending grandkids and I have been stitching and hanging with my friends (to help Lee move and to plan our CQI Retreat with Bev). More on that later.

So, FINALLY, here are my TAST (Take a Stitch Tuesday) stitches for Weeks 1, 2 and 3.  They are no great shakes, believe me. But I have done them on my first CQJP block, which is now finished. To prove it, here are my pictures.

Completed Block 1 
Fly stitch is not my best stitch by a long shot, but here I have used it, as I usually do, as just little V’s in gold Kreinik (see picture below). Then I did some fly stitch leaves. I can probably count on one hand the number of times I have ever done fly stitch leaves, so for me this was a stretch (don’t laugh).  You will notice on the picture above that as you go upper left to lower right on the fly stitch leaf seam, each one gets incrementally better. Another thousand or so, and I should have it down!  ;-)

Outline stitch (wrapped) scallops with fly stitch leaves
I also included some fly stitch lace, so I did three variations of the Fly Stitch.   Week 2 was the Buttonhole stitch, and the pink metallic Kreinik seam below is my first example.  (Can you tell that I like Kreinik metallic threads?)

In the first picture of the full block, you can see I also did the half wheel buttonhole seam treatment (with a nasty thread that shed a lot and was loosey goosey).  Those are not technical terms, LOL.  I should (and may) rip it out and do it over. I also did a reverse buttonhole motif on the green and added a bead to its center. Three examples.

The Feather Stitch is the Week 3 challenge, and I did a basic seam and added silk ribbon roses. It is one of my fall-back seam treatments, and I consider it cheating.  But it finished off the block with the color that I needed there.  I will do another feather stitch variation as I begin block #2 this weekend.  :-)

Now, I just need to figure out where I need to load my pictures and do all the linky things that are the bane of my existence!!

Have a great weekend!
Cathy maroon

Needlebook for a Friend

While staying at Susie’s house in California last week, Gerry and I were asked by Susie to stitch on a needle book she had pieced for herself. The fabric was a striped silk which was taken from a wonderful blouse that Susie had found at a thrift store.

Gerry started.  Here is her lovely work on the front.

My part was next. In taking the back, I tried to harmonize with Gerry’s work, yet “do my own thing”.

We all think it turned out nicely!  What do you think?

I got to babysit my granddaughter London today for the first time in a couple weeks. It was nice to get my “baby fix”, although at almost 2 ½ (next month), she is quite the toddler. And definitely a two-year-old. Ninety-five percent of the time, she is an angel. The other five percent is filling her imperative role as a toddler; to get her way.   But at least I can still make her laugh!

Eating an “orange” (a clementine)
Grammy, you’re so funny! (I was making fish faces)

See Food!  (seafood)

I have finished my January block for CQJP and the TAST weeks 1 and 2 stitches.  I will show those tomorrow.

Cathy maroon

Saturday, January 14, 2012

California Dreamin'

Last week, Susie Wolfe invited Gerry K and I to spend the week with her at her home in Southern California.  We had been planning this for awhile, and we all agreed that it was better than Christmas!! To add to my excitement, SoCal is where I was born and raised, so it was doubly delightful to see some of my old “haunts”.

As Gerry K related in her post we had ABSOLUTELY the best time. Susie was the most gracious hostess, providing us yummy soups for dinner, all the breakfast fixins, chauffeur service (LOL), and her lovely, generous self. Oh, and she had the cutest dog named Smoky, who kindly put up with us, too.

Susie and Smoky
Susie kept her pink Christmas tree up so that we could see it. She is making a pink, cream and mint green tree skirt (with silver accents) for her CQJournal Project for 2012, so the hunt for those colors were her Shopping Mission.

Gerry’s Shopping Mission was Anything Gold, and she was also on the lookout for velvet ribbons and any special treasure, of course.  :-)

Our first full day, Saturday, was spent in the Los Angeles Fabric District. In six hours, we barely scratched the surface of the shops and their offerings, yet were able to find fantastic deals on beautiful things. We spent some serious coin.  :-)

Susie and Gerry loved Berger Beads (as do many other people I know), but not being a major bead person myself, I found their dusty boxes and lackluster displays boring.  Blasphemy!  I know, I know. But I am the lace person. And fabrics. And linens. But I digress...

Gerry generously shared her pushcart with us, and we managed to fill it up every day with our purchases. (Imagine that!)

At the Rose Bowl Flea Market on Sunday, Susie knew all THE places we would love, and guided us there. The first stop was the linens lady. The pile on the tarp in front of me was $1 per piece.  Other prices were more (and some less). It was a blast digging through it.

But by far my favorite place was the Lace Lady, where we were all so busy that we didn’t get a picture. It was delightful to meet Dawn, and I am thrilled to have a wonderful new contact and supplier. And I am sure she was thrilled to exchange her lace for all the green stuff ($$) I left behind, LOL.

It was 80 degrees that day, and we stopped for some liquid refreshment. Here is Susie with some lovely gardens in the background.

And here the red flowers in the background accent Gerry’s red outfit.  We were all smiles!

On Monday Susie took us to M&L Fabrics.  Gerry showed some pictures of the main room on her blog. There were rows and rows of “regular” fabrics. But I wanted to show you one of the nearly dozen walls (or aisles) of fancy fabrics. A Crazy Quilter’s dream!

And the trim shop nearby yielded both Susie and Gerry lots of gold. And silver, too.

Again, it was another bright, clear, warm and sunny day in Southern California. I had forgotten how much I love (and miss) palm trees.

Tuesday was our day for the San Fernando Flea Market.  Again, Susie knew all the right vendors. This fabulous fabric and trim booth was one of our very favorites.  Between this shop, M&L fabrics, and all my lace acquisitions, I had to mail two large boxes of goodies home (in addition to stuffing my suitcase and carry-on).  You will eventually be seeing some of these lovely fabrics in my Etsy shop.

This booth (below) was a highlight. We dug through tables full of appliques.  Gerry mentioned on her blog that they were $1 each, but that is incorrect.  They were 50c each (2/$1).  When I was done there, my arms were overflowing, and I paid $15.00.  Talk about gold in California . . .

Below, Susie is wearing a hat that she found at this fantastic booth at the Rose Bowl.  The owner of the booth made mostly girls dresses, with little hats, purses and headbands to coordinate. But she also had some delightful women’s hats, and while I was buying spring outfits for my granddaughters, Susie was being practical and bought this darling hat!

We spent Wednesday visiting Thrift shops and scoring some great deals on half-price silk garments, other fancy fabrics and trims.  Susie also found a cute cup and saucer to make a pincushion in.  Here we are, below, butting up and sharing our thrifting finds.

The most hilarious find was this belt buckle that Susie found and bestowed upon Gerry:

It was such a great week, and the three of us had a marvelous time.  It meant so much to spend such a perfect week with dear friends.  I love you, Susie and Gerry!!

Cathy maroon

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Ready to go with CQJP and TAST

I know a lot of you ladies are participating in Sharon Boggon`s TAST (Take a Stitch Tuesday)  as well as the CQJP (Crazy Quilt Journal Project).  Like many of you, I am combining the two.   I have shown pictures of this needlepoint piece in the past, as well as my piecing in progress.   The piecing is done, and this is what it looks like now.

The blocks are just ironed and pinned on, and I am still shuffling them around. Again, the greens are not nearly as bright in life; I amped up the exposure on the picture so you could differentiate between the various blacks.  I had to do some tweaking to what will eventually be the finished block size (7.5 inches square) because the salvageable area of the needlepoint (it’s vintage) was an inch smaller than I had originally planned for.

I may still do some rearranging of the blocks, but I am not sure it will matter once the blocks are stitched on.  These blocks will be given seam treatments only, in the bright colors of the needlepoint, so that the blocks (hopefully) frame and complement the flowers, not compete with it.

Now I am off to gather threads. And I am leaving for a week’s vacation on Friday, so if I don`t blog during that time, you will know why. I plan to take one or two of these blocks along, plus my red/black/green journal cover and a red and white UFO from the past (see picture).

I promise to bring back lots of fun pictures of friends, shopping, thrifting and all sorts of good things!!


Cathy maroon