Monday, 30 June 2008

Caught up with June

At last I've caught up with June and just in time it seems as July comes in tomorrow! Why I though there was still a week left I don't know but its led to a busy few days and here's the results. When we were in Tuscany last year I was fascinated by the old doors and windows so when the "PC, Paint and Stitch" swap came up in the Surface Design group I thought I could use one of my photos. I printed the photo onto tissue paper, machine stitched around the design and painted highlights on the bricks and window panes with Luminart paint and french knotted the flowers.

I actually made TWO June arches for the Textilechallenge group, the first one being ..... well I'll post that one in July as I made it for the wrong recipient. My June partner was Carole in New Zealand and she likes 'garden' themes. As my first arch was not garden themed I set to and made a new one for Carole. Again I've used one of my photos (at last I'm beginning to use them!). This time the photo is from our outing to Littlethorpe Manor. The walled garden is divided into quarters, each quarter having its own seasonal planting and statue. I believe the photo I've used is from the Winter section, a mother holding a child , but I've taken liberties and given her a flowery bower.

The fabric I used is Evolon, a close cousin of Lutradur and feels like suede and is very soft to handle. I'd painted some last month and put it away knowing it would 'come in handy'.
I printed the photo onto the painted fabric expecting it to blend in which it did. However it blended a bit too much so I machined round the outline and a few of the leaves and the stone she's sat on. I didn't think the stone stood out and I stitched a few straight stitches to indicate grain of the stone. The flowers were made by burning out flower shapes from organza and the stems are machine wrapped cords. I liked the arch when I'd finished and although its gone into the post now I really wanted to keep it.

My June CQ Journal Quilt is also finished - meet 'Purple Haze' by Jimi Hendrix!! Not a very good photo I'm afraid. It took a lot longer to make than I anticipated and stitching the beads on was quite hard on the old fingers. The background is paper fabric made from strips of purple scrapbook papers. I then squiggled fme all over in different threads. After that I placed a purple chiffon square over the whole thing and squiggled more fme after which it got the heat gun treatment. Finally after a hazy hodge podge of beads and the edges bound with ribbon its finished. Now for July's which will be .....

I knew exactly what I was going to do for my July CQ JP but then Simon came in singing an old Stones song and it brough back memories and is pulling me - guess I'll make a start on that.
I meant to upload this photo of the arch and atc I received from Jan Lewis. last time but couldn't find where I'd stored the photo. This is Jan's June arch to me and it has a background of paper with a sheer fabric over the top, burned back, beaded, fme and hand stitches. The photo doesn't do Jan's arch justice it looks much nicer in real life. I got another couple of cards this morning but I haven't had time to scan or take a photo of them yet so more of those later.

As I'm going to Warwick for a few days in July I think I'd better get a move on with my swaps etc - well I already have the arch finished so that's one down.

Friday, 27 June 2008

What happened to June?

I was sure there was another week left to go in June so I was caught napping when I realised the date. My 'Delphinium' card is in response to the ArtsntheMail 'Yo-Yo challenge' The background is handpainted Evolon. It has a lovely feel to it a bit like suede and can be dyed, painted, burned in the same was as Lutradur. I painted this wet so the colours would run and was quite pleased with it. The yo-yo's are cotton and I've coloured them with Inktense pencils and run a damp brush over the colour to take out the pencil lines and smudge the colour. Seed beads and french knots in the centre with a bit of running stitch up one side.

Had a busy couple of days cleaning and cooking and generally getting things back to normal. One highlight of the week was meeting Jennifer one of the ladies I swap with privately. She was on her way to Galashields and as they were staying overnight close to where I live called in for a coffee. We had a very pleasant morning talking about sewing and various swaps and methods we use. However all goods things come to an end and too soon her husband was outside waiting to continue their journey to see their daughter and new baby.

Talking about new babies my friend's daughter had a little boy this morning, Oliver - Welcome Oliver can't wait to see you.

The postman has been very kind to me again this selection is from Brigitte in France and her 'Le Petit Prince' , Ingrid and her orphan block remnant from a Kimono wallhanging

These final two are - from Cindy a card with serged seams from the inside of jeans. I like this one its very textural and a creative way of using up the overlocked/serged seams on old trousers. The final two are "The Velvet Rabbin" from Cindy and In the Garden from Paula. I've just realised I haven't uploaded my June Arch from Jan Lewis so I'll have to do that tomorrow.

Mum is home for the weekend, tired but happy and I'll go over to see her tomorrow in the meantime I need to get on with the rest of this months challenges etc.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

100 Stitches and Gardens

This is the first full day I've had without worrying too much about Mum. I know she's in good hands and now she's got the first lot of treatment over is much more relaxed about the whole thing.

We went to the garden centre this morning to buy plants for the front garden, hanging baskets and something for the border at the back. It cost a disgusting amount of money but the plants look lovely, still lots of bare ground though. I just hope they bush out a bit and fill in the spaces. My poppies have bloomed again, the first one I photographed ended up in the compost bin blown to bits by the wind and rain.

I've also managed to catch up with the last three days of the "100 Stitches" challenge Day 8 should really be a button but I didn't have one in the colour I wanted so I used a large sequine/bead type thing. Its a bit big but looks fine on the block.

Day 9 is this braided border, its wrapped herringbone stitch, well half a herringbone stitch, straight stitches and chain stitch.

Day 10 is buttonhole stitch in the shape of a half wheel with chain and straight stitches, very much like day 9 just in a different order. There are small beads at the end of the straight stitches in this one. I only put the beads on one side as there wasn't a lot of space between the other side and the seam treatment on the next border.

I know these stitches were originally intended to be done on a crazy quilt background but I didn't have one, just a lot of orphan log cabin blocks so I'm doing them on those.

I have three challenges to finish before the month is out, the CQ JP - I only have the border to sew on. It took me quite a while to find a colour I was happy with but I'll finish this one on time.

The second one is the Arch challenge on Textilechallenge group - I've got the arch finished and quilted but changed my mind as to how I am going to embellish it so it'll be near the end of the month before its finished. Can't give you a photo yet as I want it to be a surprise. The third challenge is a yo-yo challenge fabric postcard for ArtsntheMail group which I haven't started yet. I know I had a Clover thingymyjig to make yo-yos but I've put it somewhere safe. Guess I'll have to do them the old fashioned way.

I'm just waiting for Keith to come in from work and then I'm off to bed with my ipod, don't know what I'd do without it. I'm a poor sleeper, my mind is far too active at night so I listen to books on my ipod and I drop off to sleep. Naturally I miss a lot of the book and have to rewind it in the morning but hey it gets me off to sleep, despite Keith's snoring!!

Friday, 20 June 2008

June Block Lotto

I've been meaning to upload the photo of my baskets for the June Block Lotto for almost a week and kept forgetting. The remit was to make baskets from black, white and a bright colour fabric and these are mine. I was very tempted to put flowers in the basket but that wasn't in the instructions so thought I'd better not do it but my fingers itched to embellish them.

Yesterday this beauty was still in bud but this morning it was in full bloom. Such a beauty but the wind today has been quite strong and kept blowing her petals around, I wonder how long she'll last. I think of the flower as a 'she' because she's so showy. I bought the plant last year when we went to Thornton Hall and kept some of the seed pods. This year I have at least 20 plants, I moved some into the garden at the back of the house but they aren't doing as well as this one. Next year I'll probably be begging people to take them off me.

Tried to catch up with some housework today but didn't get a lot done. I get to watch my QA DVD's though andnow I've only got one left to view.

We're off to a garden party tomorrow afternoon to meet the other people going on the U3A holiday in Warwick next month, it should be fun. Then on Sunday we're off to Littlethorpe Manor which I believe is opening its garden to the public for the first time under the NGS umbrella.

Thursday, 19 June 2008


I managed to get quite a bit of work done over the last few days as dh is on nightshift and number 2 son has pulled a muscle in his back. Keith has been tired this week and gone off to bed almost straight after breakfast, Sy has been given some strong painkillers that have kept him asleep too. With two-thirds of the household sleeping during the day I've not been able to make a noise - no vaccuming, nothing that was going to wake them. Bliss I've been able to sew to my hearts content.

The first of the two challenges I've completed is the June TIF based on a fabric story. I was wondering what to do for this challenge when I came across the background fabric for the piece above. It had once been my dh's best shirt butafter a while the collar and cuffs became frayed so I turned it into my son's school painting smock. When my son moved into his own home the paint smock came to life crumpled, dirty and covered in paint splots. I asked for it "but its ancient, almost prehistoric" said my son, nevertheless I took it as I liked the paint splots and had something in mind for it. Naturally I forgot all about it until I came across it the other day.

Along with the resurrection of the shirt came my son's prehistoric comment. I looked at the fabric for a bit and thought I saw a primordial forest. So I added a bit more paint, some torn pieces of green sheer fabric, gold painted paper straws, and pelmet vilene fossils plus an insect in amber and some handstitching. My prehistoric/primordial shirt will become the front cover of a photo albumn telling different type of story.

This is the second challenge of the week - TAST 'Take a Stitch Tuesday' on the Stitchinfingers site. It was the second week and the challenge was 'Buttonhole' stitch. I really enjoyed doing this and it is only because week 3 stitch has now been published (chain stitch) that I stopped stitching.
My Orphan Block swap cards for the Surface Design group were made from a much larger piece I'd made for a cushion. Originally I had 16 blocks left from a baby quilt I made. I had intended to make a much largerquilt but but ran out of time. I used four of the 16 leftovers and turned them into a cushion cover and appliqued large flowers in the centre of each block. Howeverver I never got round to actually making it. It is this orphan cushion block that I've turned into my orphan block swaps.
My private swap group theme for June was "Childrens Books". My cards were going to be Rupert the Bear but Christine got there before me. So I had to rethink and finally decided on Frances Hodgson Burnett's "The Secret Garden". I wanted the flowers to appear a bit shabby, hidden, awaiting someone to bring them to life. This week I received from QA 3 workshops on DVD and Leslie Rego's workshop on Floral Wonders had just the approach I wanted. I do hope the recipients like them.
These are two of the cards I've received in the last few days the first is from Jennifer and its her card for the Childrens book swap. Hers card is Anna Sewell's "Black Beauty" and I think it captures the essence of the book beautifully.

The second card is from Kim Montagnese and is her orphan block. I love the bright fabrics she has used and the use of stamped images just adds to the fun of the card.

Monday, 16 June 2008

More goodies from the postman

Not sure what's happened to the days recently, I've been pottering and getting nothing done I'm sure I'll see the benefit one day.

This little beauty from Carol Rowland landed on my doormat yesterday I just love the tiny tassel. Its in response to the Textile Challenge group 'handstitch lottery atc'. My atc from Carol is chevron stitch.
I have got some sewing done, but not much finished Day 7 of the 100 Stitches challenge, 7 down 93 to go. I'm enjoying this as it takes me back to my sewing roots.
This one is feather stitch, actually there are three rows of feather stitch here on top of one another. French knots and bullion knots are also in there somewhere. The thread is a fine rayon one I got from Stef Francis boy is it difficult to sew with it kept unravelling and twisting up on itself but I tamed it.
I've also been putting the finishing touches to my May CQ Journal Page, more about that in the week when its completed.
The postman also brought me 4 workshop DVD's from Quilting Arts . I ordered Judy Coates Perez "Mixed media painted fabric" but got an email today from QA telling me its been wrongly labeled and they are sending me the correct one but to keep this one which is fabric painting whole quilts. Well I'm always happy to get two for the price of one. Not played the DVD's yet but will as soon as I stop pottering and get down to some serious viewing. Tomorrow maybe.

Saturday, 14 June 2008

More of the same

Not sure what I did but I lost this picture for the last posting again this is day 3 - french knots, straight stitch and chain to create flower bunches. Day 4 was fun - Herringbone stitch whipped then beads added to the centre.
Day 5 - bullions, fly, straight and chain stitch with beads.

Day 6 - motif I drew the flower and filled in the petals with satin stitch the centre was outlined in back stitch and filled in with stab stitch. Stalk, running stitch, leaves cretan stitch.

I'm not really into crazy patchwork but loved the seam treatment so much I wanted to have a go. I found some log cabin blocks left over from a baby quilt that I was going to make into a wall hanging. I've decided to used these for the 100 stitches challenge then when I've finished I'll turn it into a wall hanging, it should be pretty. The blocks are lilac and cream so most of my stitching will be monochromatic or receding colours (greens, blues and violets). At least that's what I think now it may change when I get further into the challenge.

More Stitching

I've been happily stitching after my 9:00pm curfew (time I join dh and leave the machine to cool down) along with the others who have joined the "100 Stitches" group on Stitchinfingers and these pics are some of the work I've done so far. The original 100 Stitch challenge was set by Sharron Boggon in 2006 and enjoyed my many. Each day Sharron would publish a 'seam treatment' and off the stitchers would go in their own interpretation of Sharron's work. This challenge is a re-run but over 200 days to give us oldies a fighting chance of keeping up.

Day 1 - Straight stitch, cross stitch and beading.

Day 2 - detached chain stitch and beads.

Day 3 - I got a bit carried away and did three seam treatments, the first is buttonhole stitch, chain stitch, straight stitch and cross stitch with beads.

Day 3 again this time chain stitch and straight stitches between the chains done in two colours with beads in the centre.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

More group activities

As if I don't have enought to do I joined the 100 Stitches in 200 days challenge part of the StitchinFingers group on Ning. The original challenge was set by Sharon Boggon and it was 100 stitches in 100 days but today they are a bit kinder and give us 200 days to do them. The challenge hasn't been going very long for anyone who would like to join in just go to StitchinFingers and add your name. If you are into crazy quilting this would be an ideal venue for you. Day 1 - straight stitch, cross stitch and beading.

Day 2 - chain stitch and beads. This is my 'chain stitch' atc for Ati one of the swaps on the Textilechallenge group here we are allocated a partner and a stitch. This is the second atc I did for Ati the first one had beading on as well but as I gave it a final press with the iron all the beads melted and yes I did put a silcone cloth between the iron and the atc but I had it turned up high.
My Journal Page for Diane for the 'Month/Year' swap - my year was 1968. This was the year that the Beatles album "Yellow Submarine" was released and when Joe Cocker's song "I'll get by with a little help from my friends". My family know to their peril that I love the gravelly sound of Joe Cocker's voice but this song is the least of my favourites.

Now for a teaser - this is a segment of my latest CQ Journal Page for the 2008 Challenge. I'm not going to ask you to "Guess that Tune" as I think it'll be too easy. It's a paper quilting background, free (scribble I mean) fme in several threads, beads and burned back chiffon. Hazy enough for you......

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Felting course with Jeanette Appleton

Boy has it been difficult to get onto Yahoo recently I've had to go the long way round via Google but I've finally got there. Guess they must have been doing some housekeeping.

Really enjoyed the last two days doing the Felt and Stitch course with Jeanette Appleton and this small piece is one of the pieces I actually managed to finish. Her technique is easy and best of all you don't need lots of rolling!! When in the past (long past) I've made felt my arms and back have ached for ages afterwards. Jeanette is a lovely lady who freely gave us her expertise despite having a headcold. The only draggy thing was the Art Centre when asked for a requirements list said there wasn't one but a kit would be available. Not correct, there was a list of requirements but luckily Jeanette had brought along enough spares to no one had to just sit and watch.

Best of all though was the socialising that went on within the group.
I've named this Autumn and the colours are brighter in real life. The piece is about 5" x 8" and made from merino tops with a bit of handstitching.
More felting, this time needle felting - my Art Deco flower card from Annie. Annie will be dropping out of our small private swap group due to other pressures. Sorry to hear you're leaving Annie and I shall treasure your cards even more. Hope the pressures are to great.

The postman brought two great journal pages yesterday. The first is from Diane Welte and represents the the date February 1964. Top of the Pops in February 1963 (and for several weeks more) was "I want to Hold your Hand" by the Beatles. I have to apologise to Diane my JP will be late due to the fact that I miss understood the date thing and also did February 64 "I want to hold your hand" Great minds....... I need to start all over again now as my date is October 1968 sorry Diane I'll start it today.

This mini quilt JP is from Ellen Kuzemchak and at first I thought it was machine embroidered but no on closer inspection it's fme'd. I love this mini quilt Ellen thank you so much.

Red hot outside today I only spent 5 minutes outside and had to come in as the sun was giving me a headache. Still its wonderful to see it again. I've put a meal in the slow cooker which we'll probably eat al fresco tonight and once Keith has finished washing the car we might go and see if there's any "Pick your own" strawberries ready.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

May CQJP challenge piece

I've been busy over the past few days trying to finish my May Journal Page for the CQ 2008 challenge and this is it - Nights in White Satin by the Moody Blues. I made a start on this twice before I was happy with what I'd done. My drawing skills aren't well developed and my lady looked as though she had a badly swollen leg, no neck and her head sort of drooped onto her chest. It took a couple of dry runs until I got this version and I think it's as good as it's going to get.
I wanted to emphasise the 'white satin' and 'nights' hence the nudey lady wrapped in white satin (actually its more like cream as it was all I could find). There is a possibility that I might add the odd letter here and there but for not at leasts its finished.

This is my nudey lady wrapped in white satin.

Postman called today and left me two fabric postcards one from Christine for the June swap "childrens books". Christine has choosen Peter Rabbit which is the same one I had decided to do so now I'll have to have a rethink. Guess the trick is to get yours out first. Lovely card though lots of handmade paper, lots of texture.
Cindy's card is the last of my "Art Decp Flower" swaps and she's chosen a flower full of art deco shapes. I love the Art Deco period as actually it has so many styles that you could just about do anything and it would fit in somewhere.
Some of the jobs to finish in June include:
5 postcard swap, 4 challenges, 1 arch, 6 quilt lotto blocks and a baby floor quilt for a present. In addition I have some jeans to take up for Keith before he trips over them and does himself an injury.

A challenge for Keith and Sy was to put my Chilean Potato tree back up against the kitchen wall. It had blown down in the winds and due to the rain and winds they were unable to put it back up again until this weekend. They lassoed the tree and while Keith held it up with my clothes prop Sy dashed up to the bathroom and pulled the rope upwards until they could anchor it off. Unfortunately I've lost about half of the branches but I'm sure it'll recover. My clothes prop has a definite bend in it now.

No word from James Cook yet as to a start date for Mum's radiotherapy, Keith's back is showing signs of the injection wearing off I just hope putting the tree back up didn't do any damage.

I'm off the Art Centre on Friday for a two day felt and stitch course with Jeanette Appleton and am really looking forward to it. Maybe I'll use the felt for one of my June projects. Off now to make a start on my June CQJP I'm not going to say what song will be but I've bought lots of purple.......