Monthly Archives: March 2007

In My Backyard…

I love spring. I even love rainy days, like the last few have been, because everything becomes so beautiful and green. I just wanted to share a scene from my backyard. This picture was taken just a couple of minutes ago:

A visitor

I cropped the photo and I hope you can see my surprise visitor as he rested under the willow tree.

I’ll be back later. Hope everyone is having a wonderful Saturday.

Blessings,

Julie

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I’m home :-)

Good morning,

It is a gray, wet day here, but the grass is greening beautifully. I am back from my adventure and hope to post more later. Because I have to lay kind of low this weekend, I am looking forward to stitching…and perhaps even finishing the Round Robin (the church. I will also spend a good part of it catching up on the wonderful sites I read. The people in this community have amazing talents!

And now I want to leave you with a funny. This may be one of the those jokes that’s only funny to me, as a heart patient, but I hope you enjoy.  I will post more later.

Smile!

Many blessings,

Julie

A Funny

The Little…er…Gray Church in the Dale

-I would sooner live in a cottage and wonder at everything than live in a castle and wonder at nothing. -Joan Winmill Brown-

 Well, thanks to my bout with insomnia (I lost :-)) last night I temporarily took over my husband’s occupation and became an architect. I built my church one satin stitch brick at a time and as of press time 🙂 I have only four left to do. And given the time they took, I’m grateful!

Each brick is done with two strands of overdyed cotton floss, which means every stitch has to be laid in order for the strands not to twist and ruin the light reflection on the fiber.

Time consuming? Yes. But worth every minute when it comes to the look of the finished piece. Thank heavens for my Tekobari (here’s a photo) . This is only one of a multitude of ‘laying tools’ on the market. A laying tool is any implement, even a collar stay, which can be used to help straighten and smooth fibers. I prefer the the tekobari because the slim, tapered tip allows me wonderful control and the square grip means it doesn’t go rolling off my frame.

So, without further ado, this was last night’s progress on Elizabeth’s Designs Old Stone Church:

Old Stone Church

I hope to be able to finish the bricks tonight before I go to bed.

I will be away for a few days so I hope everyone has a wonderful, productive and very ‘stitchy’ rest of the week. No frogs allowed!

Blessings,

Julie

Glorious Color!

Kaffee Fassett is one of my FAVORITE artists and authors. This man is a serious genius where color is concerned. Working in media as diverse as ceramic, paint, yarn and fabric, he has been and continues to be one of the most prolific designers of our time.

Glorious Color is about…what else? Color. Focusing primarly on yarn and its applications to knitting and needlepoint, this book goes far beyond a project guide and is at its best when used as an inspiring springboard for the imagination.

glorious-color.JPG

If you ever wanted insight into the creative process or to see artistic adaptation at its best, this is a book you should spend time enjoying. Your inner artist will thank you. 🙂
In addition, for those of you interested in knitting or needlepoint, there are all sorts of ideas and fun projects. Everything from needlepoint mosaic to a knitted great coat worthy of Romeo and Juliet.

I love this book and this author….ENJOY!

Blessings,

Julie

An update on the ‘Hood

It is a lovely day here in the north country. All those piles of snow are no more and the ice has gone out on the lake. Isn’t spring a season of miracles??? It is…glorious! I will shoot a few photos one day soon, so you can see the transformation of not only my deck, but my whole back yard. I am excited because this summer I am going plant a container garden and hope for the best. I plan to put in some vegetables and some flowers. I don’t have a particularly green thumb, but someone special to me is a master gardener and I hope to emulate the example. 🙂

On the stitching front I promised a photograph of Judy’s neighborhood. I am plugging along on the Village Church for her small town Minnesota scene. The primary pattern I’m using is Elizabeth’s Designs ‘Old Stone Church‘.

Old Stone Church-Elizabeth’s Designs

I am just starting the satin stitch blocks that outline the building. I’m hoping to finish those up tonight. The trees in the background are rice stitch and each one of them takes about an hour to do, but the look is so cool…very textural.

And then…bad Julie…I went to my LNS (local needlework shop) to pick up a skein of Watercolours. I picked up three. But before I got out of there this jumped into my bag:

Dragonfly Hand Painted Canvas with threads

This is a hand painted canvas and the threads I picked are all silks or silk blends (with wool). The color saturation in these fibers is INCREDIBLE! The red is for the eyes and, while you can’t see it, there’s a little glitz in the skein so the eyes should sparkle. The colors at the top left that look black are the most beautiful shades of royal blue and royal purple. I jazzed up the green a little and have a skein of variagated yellow silk I’m going to use for the flower buds.

So…I guess you could say this little guy just reached out and forced me into taking it home. Sigh…………..

Tonight I’m going to do laundry and I’m hoping to have some time at my needlework frame as I have to get Judy’s neighborhood mailed sometime soon and the end of this week is going to be a total bust stitching-wise.

On a more positive note, you all need to check out Kali’s Creations (see sidebar). She has FINISHED…yes, FINISHED the brand new Jim Wurth ornament that I pictured here last week. It’s wonderful. I am…so in awe.

Well, for now laundry calls and I have to get dinner started. I hope everyone is having a good monday.

Blessings,

Julie

Words for each of us who create and relate

–Whether we are poets or parents or teachers or artists or gardeners, we must start where we are and use what we have. In the process of creation and relationship, what seems mundane and trivial may show itself to be holy, precious, part of a pattern

-Luci Shaw–

I love this quote…because I don’t believe gifts of time, talent and empathy are ever wasted. I DO believe that within each of us resides an artist…whether in paints, threads, flowers or knowing when a caring gesture is most needed, then following through.

We all have a starting place and we all have something to share.

But why share? Because beauty, however it is expressed in community, is a thread that binds us together and gives hope.

I consider it an honor to call many of you friends…and your gifts of beauty, time and care are blessings to me each day of my life. Thank you for sharing with me!

It’s been a very busy and unfotunately non-stitching week, but I will post an update to ‘the neightborhood’ after my evening’s work tonight. I also have a new book to post for Recommended Reading.

But in the meanwhile, I hope every one of you has had a wonderful weekend filled with those things that are precious to you.

Blessings,

Julie

Spending Spree SBQ And Free to a Good Home

First of all, thank you for the wonderful comments and birthday wishes!!!! You guys are just the best!

Second, last week’s SBQ (Stitching Blogger’s Question):

If you had $500 to spend on stitching-related items, what would you buy?

My, oh my, oh my…how to answer? There are many designers and projects I love out there. But I still have so only so many hours in a day. What I would do with my $500 is first get registered for the American Needlepoint Guild Master Needle Artist Program (something which I plan to do anyway.) The cost for this program is $200. Then I would register for either the ANG National Seminar or the EGA National Seminar and put the remaining $300 toward learning something new.

And last, but not least, due to a subscription glitch, I have duplicate copies of Sampler and Antique Needlework Quarterly Magazine for Winter 2006 and Spring 2007 (the new one with the cool Quaker motif picture frame). If you would like them, please leave a comment or drop me an email with your mailing address and I’ll send it (or them) out.

More later….

Blessings,

Julie

Mmmmm….Spring!

I know a bank where the wild thyme blows–where oxlips and the nodding violet grows–William Shakespeare

Yes, my spirit is tuning itself to spring. I love these days when I can feel the first softening of the breeze, see the first greens of the season and even wake to the sound of Canadian Geese honking out on our lake. (Okay-Okay…my husband would have me tell you that these two had their little feathery butts frozen to the ice, but it didn’t fit in with the mood I’m trying to build :-))

I love spring and in fact, I tried to stitch ‘Spring’ yesterday. I pulled out the Pine Mountain Spring Tie On and went to work. 10 ct. Tula, cotton floss…easy, right? To make a long story short, I mis-positioned the piece and in the process of frogging (see previous post) I CUT the Tula. Not in one place but in TWO. I have news for you. Tula unravels very well! 😦

I need a new Spring pillow. I need to start over. Sigh. After more than thirty years of doing needlework in some form, why is it this still happens?????

Now, in MUCH MORE wonderful news, I have a birthday coming up tomorrow and with my birthday came a wonderful gift and of course, a little bit of stash acquistion.

First and best, Carol, a friend, a wonderful and inspiring stitcher and blog writer extraordinaire made my day with the most wonderful surprise. She made me a scissor fob. It’s by Glory Bee and is perfect in every detail, down to both of our initials on the back and the silver flower charm. I have to share it here:

Glory Bee Scissor Fob from Carol

and here:Glory Bee Scissor fob/Gingher collectable scissors

It is just perfect and I love it. Thank you, Carol!

And for stash I received…sort of in time for my birthday…my newest Jim Wurth Dodecagon-Hearts and Flowers. This is not my favorite of the bunch, but it did come with a lot of yummy fibers and is stitched on black canvas. I guess I’m still partial to last month’s Monrovia! I’m very jealous because Kimberly
has finished Monrovia already! Actually, she’s finished all four of them so far. What an inspiration! Here’s a peek at the new one:

jim-wurth-hearts-and-flowers.JPG

Then something a little different for me. I have a lovely new–well, newer anway–sewing machine and wanted a good project to try it out. I found a Block of the Month quilt from Honeysuckle Cottage called Leanne’s House. It combines surface embroidery and quilting and doesn’t look too intimidating. This was my gift to myself for living 49 years. I got my first installment on Friday.

leannes-house-block-of-the-month.JPG

I just love the colors in this piece. It will go VERY well in our bedroom.

I will be stitching this week Northstar Neighborhood Round Robin. I have Judy’s neighborhood now, which she’s entitled “Small Town-Minnesota”. She specifically requested a Village Church and so my primary source for a pattern this month will be the brand spanking new Elizabeth’s Designs Old Stone Church. I love most of Betsy’s work and this pattern is no exception. A lot of fun stitches and not too large. In fact, I will have to fill in at the edges of the block a bit, but that shouldn’t be a problem.

Old Stone Church-Elizabeth’s Designs

I am not going to take a picture of my stitching today–as it’s just a blob of green and a blob of gray. But I will post a progress picture tomorrow evening.

Well, this has been kind of a rambling, picture-filled post, but it was a fun mail day Friday and still pretty guilt free. And, despite my ruined pillow, it has still been a lovely few days.

I hope everyone has had a wonderful, productive and frog-less weekend!

Blessings,

Julie


Grapes, grapes and more grapes, but no sour grapes!

I LOVE grapes. I adore grapes. And, well, it’s a good thing. Because you HAVE to LOVE grapes if you want to work on the Bordeaux Sampler by Sampler Cove. The aforementioned grapes are all rhodes stitches and are so much fun to do. In fact, the whole durned thing is fun to do. Some specialty stitches combined with a little over one and the ubiquitous cross means it doesn’t get boring. The Vicki Clayton silks are wonderful to use and Diane has selected gorgeous colors! (Taro Leaf, Malt and Diane’s Rouge). To top it off, 36 Ct. Edinborough Linen is just about my favorite. So this was bound to be a success.

Thank you to Carol for allowing me to be a shirt tail participant in this SAL!

Here is my progress photo for the last few days:

Bordeaux Sampler by Sampler Cove

I am a slow stitcher, but this goes suprisingly fast. It’s a terrific project if anyone is interested.

Gulp. Now I have to admit to a little stash aquisition, but very little and well…I bought it from a friend. Several years ago in Sampler and Antique Needlework Quarterly, Merry Cox published a Lady’s Sewing Roll project and she made the kit (all fabrics, fibers, everything for finishing and the scrim ruler and laying tool) available for a limited time. I love this project and I’ve always kicked myself for not ordering the finishing kit. Well, as it turns out, my friend Vicki didn’t think she’d ever do it and so I um…acquired it from her in exchange for an equitable amount of legal tender.

Lady’s Sewing Roll Kit by Merry Cox

The project uses Thread Gatherer silks, 35 count linen and silk finishing material. Isn’t it gorgeous? I have to make the time to do this one! Thank you, Vicki!

Next up in rotation, the Indigo Rose Folding Cross Needlebook (Guild project) and my current addition to Judy’s Neighborhood Round Robin.

And now it’s time for me to hit the hay. I hope all your stitches have been happy ones!

Blessings,

Julie

Recommended Reading

Each week I will share a book from my needlework library that I’ve enjoyed. Some of them focus on technique, others on the history of the art and some are best enjoyed simply for the inspiration they provide. All relate in some way to the needlearts.

First up: ‘The Embroiderer’s Story’ by Thomisina Beck. The Embroiderer’s Story by Thomisina Beck

This wonderful book is a history of needlework from the Renaissance to the present day. It is not a collection of techniques so much as a compilation of needlework down through the centuries. Works come to life, illuminated by the context of the era in which they were created.
The Embroiderer’s story is very well researched and the illustrations/photos, many of them in color, are fabulous.

What I love when I read portions of The Embroiderer’s Story is the connection I feel with women (and men) throughout history. I also love the inspiration that can be found on each page. Inspiration to teach others (to preserve for future generations the gift of handwork) and inspiration to expand my own boundaries with new techniques and new uses for already mastered techniques.

In my opinion, this is a pattern source book at its finest and wonderful reading.My edition was published by David & Charles and has a copyright date of 1999.

Enjoy!

Blessings,

Julie