Monthly Archives: June 2008

Nope…

I haven’t fallen off the face of the planet. It was just a very, very busy week. I am still hoping, on this last day of June, to finish one more goal I set. I want to finish all the kloster blocks on A Quilter’s Garden by Emie Bishop, so I can move on to the eyelets and cross-stitching. I am…SO CLOSE. I will take a photo as soon as my camera comes home from Cleveland. DH seems to think architecting is more important than pictures of ecru on ercu stitching. 🙂 Since he brings home a good portion of our bacon by practicing his profession, who am I to argue???

In other news…lol… we will be moving at the end of the month and while I am looking forward to more space and a dedicated studio, I am not looking forward to moving. I’ve spent quite a number of hours in the last few days starting to sort (yes, again), organize and pack my needlework/art supplies. I do have a couple of photos of the chaos which ensued from my good efforts:

Chaos One

These are my kit boxes..labeled by designer.

And this was taken while I was sorting threads:

Chaos II

See if you can find the phone, label machine and, hardest of all, the bed. The bed which my mother plans on occupying tomorrow night. Yikes!

And, last but not least:

Chaos III

Somewhere underneath all the thread and baskets is a comfy rocker. Also to be used by mom tomorrow night. Double yikes!!! Mom, if you’re reading this, I promise it looks better now…really!

So…that’s my life right at this moment. Always a bit of a challenge, but still good. I’ll be updating as I can over the next month and still hope to get lots of stitching done.

Hope everyone is enjoying pretty weather on this summer’s day.

Blessings,

Julie

Warning! Enabling alert…

…warning! Run fast, run very fast. Or…if you’re a needlepoint enthusiast with a hankering for cute designs and bright color…stick around. You’ll be glad you did.

Those of you who live in Minneapolis and who are going to the Needlework Guild of Minnesota’s annual retreat in August, know our theme for the retreat is ‘Mermaids’. What a perfect idea, especially in my little world. Why? Because I am huge fan of women in fish clothing. I know it’s a little strange. And I can’t even tell you exactly why I like this particular manifestation of mythology so much. It’s something about the shimmery, iridescent scales, long hair crowned with a flowering seaweed ring (um…does seaweed flower?), strategically placed shells (or not :-). So yes, I confess, I’m fifty years old and I like mermaids. When I got through my heart surgery I even bought myself Jim Shore’s beautiful cast resin mermaid….

Uh-oh…I sense myself bouncing down another bunny trail. Focus, Julie, focus.

Okay, back to the topic at hand. Mermaids. So there I was the other day, unsuspecting, securely on the wagon, innocently perusing new needlework blogs and what do I happen on but this:

Yep…you guessed it, I’m a goner. The wagon is no more than a cloud of dust on the distant horizon. But can you see my vision? A fine scissor case for retreat…people ohhhing and ahhing over my shoulder, thousands of dollars being offered as I auction off my antideluvian (well…sorta), somewhat Atlantian bling…formation of a ‘Save the Mermaid’ foundation…perhaps even a push to rebuild Atlantis…ahhh, the beauty of it all.

And the best news is, this gorgeous piece (and attendant fantasies) can be yours, too! This is a painted canvas called Neptune’s Daughter by Happy Heart Designs. It (she) is only one of many canvases available from this gifted designer. So please, if you like what you’re seeing, enjoy looking at this wonderful site full of color and fun. (there is another mermaid design, too! Talk about an embarrassment of riches.)

Tish (the designer and owner) is very helpful and I sense she has the heart of a true stitching sister…passionate about her art and a great enabler to boot! She also has a blog that’s fun and great reading. It is called Stitching Hands and Happy Hearts and you can find it bookmarked on my sidebar.

( I will say I am not affiliated in any way with Happy Heart Designs, nor did anyone pay me vast amounts of legal tender to write this entry. I just really like Tish’s work and her wonderful service!)

So, enjoy! I have a feeling that a few of you might be running right beside me as we try to catch up to that ‘ole wagon. Don’t worry, we’ll hop right back on…at least until the next time :-).

Blessings,

Julie

C’est Finis!

…or something like that. It just sounds so much better than I’m done!!!! But, I’M DONE with Santa Fe Square by Gay Ann Rogers!!!!!! I worked on it from June 5th through the 23rd, so it was fairly quick stitch. I started it several years ago at class but I only had about forty stitches in the thing and then left it to languish. Well…it languisheth no more. 🙂 I had hoped to have it done on Sunday but I guess I bounced down too many bunny trails.

When last we spoke I was working on corners. Four of them. Upon finishing my last waffle stitch, it was time to fill in the rectangle between each corner. Once finished, these rectangles looked like this:

And like this:

And now the entire piece finished and ready for the framer:

I really enjoyed working on Santa Fe Square…the different stitches, the colors, the variety of threads. As was mentioned in a previous post this is a gift, but I plan to stitch this piece again this year in a different colorway for me.

Now it’s on to A Quilter’s Garden by Emie Bishop. My goal for this month is to finish the kloster block outline.

Thanks for looking. Have a wonderful day!

Blessings,

Julie

“If you always do what interests you…

…at least one person is pleased.” Katharine Hepburn’s words, not mine. But there are a lot of similar sayings out there…remember, ‘do what you love, the money will follow? I’ve been thinking a lot about this over the past few years of my life.

Don’t get me wrong, I like my job, I do it well, I am…oh, we’re back to this again…I am comfortable. But as people change, as lifestyles change, as attitudes change, it is becoming less and less satisfying to spend my energies on something so ephemeral.

I believe it is this search for what is solid and meaningful in life that has made me a woman of faith…because through faith I find hope for something beyond the clutter. I believe that’s also why I stitch. When I put needle to linen or canvas, I am creating something that will, in all likelihood, outlast me. It’s also a mute statement of my values: The value I place on handwork in this day of transitory pursuits, the gift of time in a world filled with busy work, my desire to excel in my chosen fields of endeavor, my love of color and texture and even the beauty I find in quiet, solitary pursuits (um…I suppose I should also confess my less than admirable desire to avoid housework must be included in this list). In some small way, my needle and thread form a part of the portrait of my life.

Stitching has helped me through painful days and hours. It has helped to pass the best of times and the worst of times (with a nod to Charles Dickens). It has brought me friendships so dear I can’t begin to imagine life without each one who is bound to my heart with stitches of gold. It has lent a certain luminous beauty to the walls of our home. It has taught me more about the great joy of giving. I can’t number the hours I’ve spent stitching for others. The minutes pass in pleasant thoughts and memories of dear ones near and far. I pray, laugh and sometimes even cry as my needle shares a part of me that will soon pass to another.

One day I hope to leave the ‘comfortable’ realm of my career and instead, trust that love, hard work and a lot of prayer will form a foundation as I teach others this marvelous art form. Yes, that’s my goal…to teach, to create and to teach some more. I hope I might even find a way to make a small living without having to find a patron. 🙂

A dream? Yes. But that’s okay…Dreams can form the foundation for tomorrow’s reality, right?

I have so much more to share that is directly related to my stitching (for a hint see 2008 finishes :-)) but WordPress isn’t cooperating. I can’t upload photos at this time so tomorrow will have to be soon enough.

In the meanwhile…happy stitching!

Blessings,

Julie

Four squares…

….squared twice then halved. No…that’s not it. One square, squared twice…? Nope, that’s not it either. Oh well, math was never my strongest subject. What is this all about you may, legitimately I might add, be asking yourself? It’s about my progress on Santa Fe Square by Gay Ann Rogers.

Yes I’ve started on the middle section. More specifically I am working on the corner squares. Logically enough, there are four of them. I have finished two. These little gems are pretty time consuming, starting with a border of padded Gobelin, followed by a border of cross over two using six strands of floss. That means the thread has to be plied and every stitch has to be laid. But I love the look–almost braided. Then yet another border of cross over one and finally…the pinnacle…a waffle stitch using 3 different threads and requiring 52 passes of the needle to complete. This is why I only have two done. But I have to tell you, these corners are SO cool. Talk about TEXTURE!

You don’t have to take my word for it. Here are a couple photos of my progress through yesterday.

close up one

close up two

Overall progress through 6/17

See? Cool!

I am having a wonderful time with this. So wonderful, in fact, I plan to stitch it again in a different colorway for our home. The incarnation I’m working on right now is destined to be a gift. And I’m pretty certain I want one of my own. I’m thinking jewel tones for the next one. Deep blues and greens…hints of red and gold. What do you think?

It’s something to mull over anyway, since this project is drawing to a close. I have two corners left to do, then the middle panels on each side, then I will be done. I am hoping to finish the corners today and the rest of it by the end of the weekend. I even have the frame picked out. 🙂

For those of you who have the chance to stitch one of Gay Ann’s Designs…the instructions and the diagrams are great!

Well…I am off to work after which I plan to go for a walk. Then…I intend to engage in some serious needle-play. I hope everyone has a great day and finds time for some peaceful stitches.

By the way, this is my 100th post. Thanks so much for continuing to share my world, each of you is a gift!

Blessings,

Julie

Two victories…

…in a single day. First of all, I USED MY SEWING MACHINE. Okay, so I know there are several inquisitive types out there scratching their heads and wondering why I’m acting like I just won the Nobel Prize for needlework (which I believe with all my heart, mind and soul should exist in this universe…:-)) all because I used a commonplace electronic gizmo.

Lemme ‘splain. One of my goals is to free myself of counted ground gridlock. Now I love counted…needlepoint, cross-stitch….virtually any kind. And the more varied the stitches, the better I like it. I’m even somewhat good at it. In other words, I am ‘comfortable’. But lately comfortable is starting to grate. I’ve been longing for crazy quilt squares with wonderful surface stitchery, for landscapes created in free-form machine stitchery, for cool silk paper masks and abstracts…let’s call it a mid-life crisis.

So about a year and a half ago I put the chicken before the egg in a totally backwards, but somehow glorious way. I bought a Baby Lock Crafter’s Choice machine. It’s beautiful. It does everything. It has the feed dogs that drop. I love it. It is the very best sculpture in my studio/den/guest room.

Therein lies the problem: It’s not supposed to be a sculpture. I spend what, for me, was a lot of money on this gorgeous machine that I”M TOTALLY AFRAID OF. Now mind you, I have weathered more episodes at North Cardiology than anyone I know…so I don’t scare easily. But this little white machine has me shaking in my shoes and so it gathers dust.

But if I’m going to do any of those FABULOUS things lurking in my middle-aged psyche I have got to wipe off the dust, grit my teeth and practice. So today I am proud of myself and why? All because I managed to sew a not-so-straight zig-zag around a piece of fabric. I will share photos later so y’all can laugh. But that’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

The other thing I did? I listed more stash for sale and altered prices on a few things. I have, conservatively speaking, 1500 leaflets.  Given I probably have fewer years ahead than behind, both logic and common-sense prevail upon me to stash bust, at least a little. So there are now more patterns listed on my Stash For Sale page. Enjoy perusing the new additions and if you have questions please feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me.

More later…

Blessings,

Julie

Good morning, let’s try again…

…to post the the outer borders from Santa Fe Square.

Santa Fe Square Outer Borders-close up

This is as good a close up as I could get with my little camera. The colors are a tad washed out, but you can see the marvelous array of texture and hue. I did change the color on the border just inside the satin stitch that frames the piece. Gay Ann called for doing a padded gobelin stitch in the same neutral pearl (perle) cotton, but I wanted something that would tie all the colors used together, so I did it in the overdye which will also be used in the midsection of the square (Watercolours-Fiesta). I really like how it came out.

Here is my overall progress:

Santa Fe Square, progress through 6/15/08

As you can see, I started (barely) on the middle section. I will concentrate next on the four corner squares. If I can remain focused, I hope to have a finish by month end.

Well…I’m off to work shortly. Hope you have a grand day!

Blessings,

Julie

The Santa Fe Outer Borders…

…are done. All I’m going to do tonight before bed is post my progress photos from the weekend. But the textures are cool, no? It is on to filling in the middle motifs this week.

Well…actually, I’m not…going to post photos, that is. WordPress isn’t cooperating tonight. So, I will post photos tomorrow.

I shared some wonderful time with stitching sisters today. A small group of us got together, stitched for much of the afternoon, then went out for dinner. It was very nice and these ladies are the best! (Read that…none of you who were here are slimy scumbags or whatever it was I said this afternoon. For the record. I WAS REFERRING TO CRUELLA’S HENCHMEN!)

Everyone who was here and who is a part of the 2008 Sisterhood Challenge is making progress on their planned stitching for the year. I have now created a page (found in the sidebar) where everyone’s goals are listed. This should be helpful since most of us have forgotten what we’d decided to do. 🙂

I hope everyone had a wonderful day that included friendship, family and stitches.

Blessings,

Julie

A personal post…

…of gratitude mixed with a bit of sadness. Please understand you will glimpse a few of my deeply held beliefs in the words that follow. If something in that idea bothers you, please simply stop reading and take no offense. This is a blog of my life and passions…my beliefs are one of those passions. For everyone who stops by, thank you for sharing my world.

Happy Father’s Day to the men in my life who are wonderful fathers. My father-in-law, Ray, my brother Tim, my brothers-in-law Ed and Bob, my cousin Bob, our great friends Derek and David and to all the fathers out there who consider their walk with their children a high and holy calling. (In this I also include my husband Dan, because, although he never got the chance to be a biological father, he has the heart of a dad.)

Today is a bittersweet day for me. I had a wonderful dad…or should say I have, because I feel as though he’s looking over my shoulder as I write this. You see he went home to be with his Lord last August at the age of 81. He left quickly, a massive heart attack on the shores of his beloved Crystal Lake. I know it is what he would have chosen, indeed did choose, for his homegoing. I know he has taken to his next great adventure with enthusiasm and his characteristic verve. I can only imagine the wonders he is seeing, the most joyous of which is to be in the presence of the Lord he loved and honored for most of his long life. I believe, with all my heart, I will have a grand reunion with him one day and I’m pretty certain he’s going to make it his task for eternity to assure that everyone in the Heavenly city is properly introduced. (I do worry a bit that he might start talking politics…or telling fish stories:-)

But although I know he is enjoying the greatest wonders of his life, I miss him terribly. I wasn’t even close to being ready to walk this path without him and if it were my wishes that governed such things he would be here with Tim and Mom and I today. Instead, I honor his memory. I want to say a very public thank you to a man who…as I wrote above…considered, considers fatherhood a high and holy calling.

Thank you, Daddy: For the love (sometimes tough), for the teaching, for the listening, for the laughter and most especially, for the gift of your time. I love you. I miss you.

(This shows his personality very well :-))

And to all the fathers in my life…thank you for touching lives as you have. You are indeed lights on high hills.

Blessings,

Julie

–My son (and daughter :-)), observe the commandment of your father, and do not forsake the teaching of your mother; bind them continually on your heart, tie them around your neck. When you walk about, they will guide you; when you sleep they will watch over you; and when awake, they will talk to you. For the commandment is a lamp, and the teaching is light… — Proverbs 6: 20-23

Just a quick post…

…on a busy Saturday. I am off to work shortly and then have a graduation reception to attend. My niece just finished high school. I’m glad to be able to share some of this special day with her. She rocks….she also stitches. 🙂 Well, anyway, I think she’s inherited the interest gene…she’s often too busy these days to think of needle and thread. I do remember those days. I learned needlework young from my grandmother, but didn’t really pick it up again until after college. That’s when I was introduced to counted work. That’s another story for another day.

What I want to share with you today is very exciting for those of us who love both needlework and community. Sharon B. from In A Minute Ago has established a needlework forum called Stitchin’ Fingers. This is group of men and women from all over the world who are sharing their gifts, talents, questions and answers in this cyber-world location. It is a wonderful place to learn, to network, to grow in your art and to be challenged. There are small groups for practicing and learning everything from crazy quilting to scrumbling (is that a word? What it is is free form knitting and crochet) and even a soon-to-start sampler stitch along which I have joined. What a great way to practice and perfect new stitches!

My only fear is I will end up spending too much time on this infernal (and wonderful) box and too little time actually stitching!

So pop on over when you get the chance. Sharon is a wonderful teacher. I’ve taken two of her on-line classes offered through Joggles and they are excellent. She has extended this gift of organization and teaching to encompass a world-wide community with the creation of Stitchin’ Fingers. It is well worth the your time to visit. You will find great eye candy and inspiration as well as plenty of room to grown and to share.

I have also put a link in my sidebar. I cannot, for the life of me, figure out how to get those buttons to show up…so I’ll stick with boring links. I guess I am somewhat cyber-challenged. Sigh…

In other news: I’ve updated my library listing yet again. This will be an ongoing project, since I seem to add more books weekly. In fact, I may have to move out of my den/studio/spare room just to have room for all these wonderful tomes. They are…a treasure. As I write this, I realize I need to post some more recommended readings. There are so many good books out there covering just about every realm of needlework.

I have also been stitching. I finished up the Tied Scotch Stitch border on Santa Fe Square and started the next one which is a modified cross. A photo will be forthcoming. After this, there are two more outer borders, then I get to start filling in the middle. Am I going to make my end of the month deadline? I sure hope so!

Well, I need to run. Hope everyone has a grand weekend.

Blessings,

Julie

PS:  It’s both Flag Day (here in the US) and National Knit in Public Day (personally I think any needlework in public is acceptable) so SHOW YOUR COLORS!