Sunday, February 27, 2011

2000 Years Ago

2000 Years Ago Top

2000 years ago I started this project, um, I mean back in December of 2005. It just seems like 2000 years ago. Shepherd's Bush designed a series of eight ornaments that were released in the annual JCS Ornament issues. Knowing that they were going to be doing eight, I ordered eight ornament cuts of the recommended fabric, 32ct Dark Espresso by R&R (back in the days when a lot of shops offered ornament cuts of fabric). Of course, each ornament also featured a sterling silver charm from Shepherd's Bush, so each year I made sure to order the new one.

Of course, stitching this was a two year long project, since I started them after the first few had been released. The last ornament was released in 2007, I believe. Shepherd's Bush has since released all eight of these designs in two leaflets (four ornaments in each).

In Spring of 2008, I decided I wanted to finish these into a wallhanging, so that the entire series could be showcased together. I've since seen my friend Ava's finish of these and her's are framed and so gorgeous - I almost regret not framing them. But, anyway, I think this post was the last time I posted (or worked on) this piece. Back at Christmas, I decided to pull this out and work on it a bit more, with the hopes of having it hanging for the season. No such luck, but this weekend I decided I really needed to get this done. And in less than two hours, it was finished.

You can see the top four ornaments in the photo above, and below and the last four.

2000 Years Ago Bottom

I decided to teach myself how to make Prairie Points, and I am so thrilled with how they finish off the bottom of the piece. I may have even squealed when I saw how they looked.

2000 Years Ago Prairie Points

And here's the whole thing.

2000 Years Ago 022611

I am so happy with how it turned out and it will be beautiful hanging during the holiday season this year! So, that's one more thing off of my to do list. I can now turn my sewing machine over to working on my Batiks BOM from 2007 that needs another six blocks.

As for stitching this week, there wasn't a lot of it. I had a migraine for three days, so only minimal progress was made on Valentine Rose. I've started filling in the mortar between the bricks though.

AOTH 022611

I'm taking a break from Valentine Rose in order to work on the pre-stitching for a Stacy Nash workshop I'll be taking in March. I managed a good little start on it yesterday, after finishing my wallhanging, and I'll be continuing to work on it this evening.

I am grateful for Eric proposing six years ago.

Monday, February 21, 2011

One Day at a Time

AOTH 022011

Not a lot of stitching going on lately. Despite the time I've had to stitch, it's been difficult to focus for any stretch of time. But, I am making some progress on my Valentine Rose house, nonetheless. The bricks are done, the roof is on, and the windows are mostly outlined. And don't you just love those little eyelet stitches in the roof? So fun to do.

AOTH Roof 022011

I love that Alma includes a specialty stitch here or there to add to the texture and interest on a piece. So fun. I'm looking forward to the basket and the flowers for just that reason.

Last night, after taking these photos, I did get the rest of my window outlined and the door. I've started filling in those windows and should have them completed shortly. I have to tell you that working on this piece is so much fun, especially because last night I was stitching on it while watching Who Do You Think You Are. If you haven't seen that show yet, you need to. I love genealogy, and since these Anniversary of the Heart pieces really get you thinking about your family and significant dates, etc. it just hits home when you see that show. With the help of my dad, I've decided who I'm going to honor with this block, so I'm looking forward to putting those final touches in when the time comes. But in the meantime, more windows!

I'm also enjoying seeing all the new Market releases. I'm anxious to see the last of the Anniversaries of the Heart series from BBD, which is due out after Market. I'm also very curious about the new incarnation of the Loose Feathers pieces too. But, in the meantime I'm just loving their new book they've released and can you believe how many Reward of Merit pieces they released too? I especially love Wild Lilies. Such creative women. But I'm having fun seeing all the reports come in from Market today.

And thank you to those of you who have asked about Othello and sent along your prayers and good wishes for his recovery. He has been home for a week, after having been very sick. He had to stay at the vet another few days after the first time we brought him home, so I'm glad to have had him home for good this time. He seems to be doing rather well, and his follow up visit with the vet this morning confirms that.


This is his "I refuse to look at you" pose. I think he does it rather well, don't you? Since he's been home, he's been needing a lot of attention (and I have also needed a lot of Othello attention), so it makes it difficult to stitch. But, I'm not complaining one bit.

I am grateful for both of my guys being home.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Variations on a Theme

ATS 021311

Thanks for all the compliments on the quilt. I'm so glad to finally have it finished. And I've pulled out the next WIP that needs some attention at the sewing machine. I did manage to cut fabric for it on Saturday, but that's as far as I got.

On the stitching side of the house, I haven't been very productive there either. It was a rough week and so not a lot of desire to stitch. But, I did work on ATS last Sunday, as is the usual schedule. I came pretty close to finishing the sun, so on Monday I decided to continue on. I think Sunday through Wednesday I worked on ATS. Tuesday night I only accomplished half of that crown. Sad! But, I was glad this one got some extended attention. I'll need to get back to that Peacock-colored bird next time. I do love that heart though, and I'm glad I had that to share today.

Thursday night there was no stitching, due to unforseen circumstances. But Friday I decided to pick up Valentine Rose (Anniversaries of the Heart) and spend some more time on that border.

AOTH 021311

By yesterday afternoon, I think I'd made pretty good progress. I decided to take a photo before I lost my light and had to drag out the lightbox. So, it does look as if I am stitching a fireplace rather than a house. I rectified that quickly though, and have all the bricks done on the lower half of the house now. And I have a confession to make, I love stitching bricks. I really do. There is something so soothing to me about stitching bricks. And I needed mindless and soothing this weekend, for sure. (Remember those Rhodes Stitch bricks on Midi Mystery I? So much fun!!) And bricks with variegated thread - awesome. Anyway, so I've been enjoying my bricks.

I will probably spend some more time this week on Valentine Rose, I need something rather uncomplicated, so I don't dare pull out Mystery9 (especially since I have re-stitching to do and possibly more unstitching).

Hope you all have a lovely Valentine's Day, and always remember to be your own sweetheart too - it's good for the soul.


I am grateful for snuggles from my Valentine miracle and a husband who continually shows me how much he loves me.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

My Valentines

Indulgence Center

Way back in February of 2003 (not so long after I started quilting) I bought a kit for a Valentine's Day Table Topper. It had this fabulous "chocolate box" fabric for the center panel that I just fell in love with. Simple construction for the top too, really. It was a good beginner piece. In fact, I think I finished the top over a weekend.

It's funny, I have such a vivid recollection of some of those early quilting days. I was living in my little one bedroom apartment and I had a basic sewing machine (my first) that sat on a rolling computer desk. I would roll the desk (sewing table) into the living room from the bedroom where it lived, and park it in front of the tv so that I could sew and listen to a movie at the same time. I sat up my ironing board next to me, and my cutting mat was set up on the kitchen counter. I would pop in a movie and just sew and sew...sometimes well into the night. Anyway, this was one of those early quilts that I have such a clear memory of making in my little apartment.

Indulgence Border

It wasn't until much much later that I decided I really needed to quilt this piece. I had a lot of problems trying to quilt it myself, but I finally got the quilting the end of 2009. I wasn't thrilled with my quilting, but it was quilted and I was happy with that. (I'd actually quilted the border twice because I was so unhappy with it the first time, so I ripped it out). I quilted a scattering of hearts in the center panel and just some in the ditch quilting on the border.

And after the quilting was finally languished again. I had it folded up in my quilt bag in the closet until January of this year. I decided it was finally time for this piece to be done in time for Valentine's Day. All I had left to do was sew down the binding and make a label. I dove in one night when I didn't feel like stitching and I started handsewing my binding. I did about half a side and then called it a night. This past weekend, Eric and I went to Austin (since the roads had cleared) for a GPS Photo Hunt. It was a lot of fun and I'll have photos up on the other blog soon. But, I wanted a project to work on in the car, since I had several hours to kill, so I brought my quilt with me to work on the binding. I figured that would be easy since it didn't require counting or anything. I got all the binding sewn down on three sides on the drive there, and on the drive back I managed to get that last half a side finished. I'm still lacking a label, but I'll get to that soon. It looks pretty on my dining room table and I'm happy to finally have it finished.


I named this quilt "Indulgence" because that was the name of the chocolate box fabric in the center. I thought it was appropriate.

Meanwhile, on the stitching front, the night before we left for Austin I finished up this little beauty.

Be Mine Stocking

I had started this back in August and really did nothing more on it than start a few green leaves. After finishing Snow Garden I decided to pick this back up because I wanted to work on something simple before diving into another big WIP. And with just a few nights of stitching, this was done! This is the last of the February Stockings I had left to stitch and I'm happy it was finished before Valentine's Day. This is "Be Mine" from the Blackbird Designs Love is in the Air stocking booklet. I stitched it with the recommended threads and fabric - GAST on 30ct St. Valentine's Blend by R&R.

Two more WIPs crossed off the list! I love that. I've been working on ATS a bit too and I'm so close to moving onto the bottom half of page 1. I'll share a photo of my progress soon.

I'll leave you with a photo (via the Instagram app on my phone that I'm addicted to) of Othello curled up on my lap last week during the ice/snow storm. I adopted Othello many years ago right before Valentine's Day, so he's always been my "Valentine Kitty". Othello has been at the emergency vet (and now regular vet) since Saturday night. We're hoping to bring him home today, but he's been a very sick guy.

Cuddled Up On A Quilt

I am grateful for my boy coming home today!

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Snow Garden


My neck of the woods was hit by an ice/snow storm earlier in the week. I woke up Tuesday morning to this. Luckily, I was able to work from home and stay toasty in my house. Wednesday morning was a very different story. The roads were still iced over, so no going into work, but I woke up to rolling blackouts. Fun! We had power for about 10-15 minutes at a time and then it would be out for 45 minutes to an hour. Good times. And it made for an interesting work day, making project calls on my cell phone and taking notes with pen & paper.

The evening of that first snow day though, I settled in under a quilt and finished up Snow Garden. I wanted to have this one finished by the end of January too, but I missed it by a day. I guess I just needed the right weather conditions to facilitate a finish!

Throughout the time I stitched on this, I kept thinking about how I wanted to personalize it. What would represent snowy January to me? I decided to dedicate this block to new beginnings. I love January for its calmness and its quiet. The world looks fresh and new after all the excitement of Christmas. And when I think of the "anniversaries of the heart" that I want to celebrate with this piece, it all comes down to one beginning - when my life started over in 2002. So, I dedicated this block to the beginning of my new life, and put Hamlet, Romeo and Othello's initials in there as well as my initials (my maiden name).

Snow Garden with Compass 020211

Back at the beginning I bought myself a charm bracelet and one charm to put on it - a compass - to celebrate the new direction my life was taking and the new adventure I was embarking upon. Look how far that charm bracelet has come now! It primarily holds charms from my travels with Eric, but there are a few others from the heart.

So, this block is for me and my January...for starting over with three boys.

AOTH 020211

Snow Garden (Anniversaries of the Heart #1)
Blackbird Designs
Weeks and GAST on 40 count Vintage Examplar
Finished 2/1/11

I'm really pleased with how my Snow Garden turned out - just a touch of color. I did have to stitch my year over one, because try as I might I couldn't get it to fit over two. I just added an extra snowflake though and called it good! I'm looking forward to starting Valentine Garden (I'm stitching this all on one piece of fabric). It will be fun to stitch all those reds after the pale colors of Snow Garden. I've enlisted the help of Eric and my dad (my genealogy experts) to help me with the February personalization. So far I have a couple of ideas.

And, I thought I'd share another lovely gift I received over the holidays. Gloria stitched BBD's Waiting for the Harvest for me. Isn't it gorgeous? I love that rich chocolatey thread she used.

BBD Gloria Top

Look at that pretty trim too.

BBD from Gloria

February is going to be full of more fun WIPs I'll be stitching on, so I'll be sure to update you soon on those. Until then, stay warm!


I am grateful for new beginnings.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Holly Jolly

Holly Wool Biscornu 012911

Each year my guild has an annual Christmas ornament designed by one of the members of the guild. Way back in 2008, when I first joined the guild, this piece was taught over a couple of meetings. I got as far as stitching the borders for the front and back of the piece. And then it languished (as a lot of things do in my stitching basket). I think I may have been intimidated by the wool appliqué. At the beginning of this year, I decided that I really wanted to get some ornaments finished so that I would have more lovely things to hang on my tree of handmade ornaments. I decided to pick this one up first since it was already started.

On Friday of last week, I pulled it back out, read my instructions and carefully appliquéd and embroidered the holly leaves and berries. Not so difficult after all. And that Weeks wool is just gorgeous. I think I need to use it again!! This was designed by the very talented Laurie, who also made those BBD ornaments I showed you recently.

On Saturday, I begain assembling the ornament into a biscornu. I also needed to make my own cording for it. I am really a beginner when it comes to making cording, but with Eric's help I got it done. Unfortunately, I had to take the biscornu apart once and restitch it because I'd gotten off on my counting somehow and my points weren't centered. But, the second time worked perfectly.

Holly Wool Biscornu 013011

Holly Wool Appliqué Biscornu
Tudor Rose Sampler Guild Annual Ornament 2008
Designed and taught by Laurie
DMC and Weeks with Weeks Wool
Begun September 2, 2008 Finished January 29, 2011

This is the tiniest little thing and is so so cute (it's probably about the size of a silver dollar). I am so glad I finally decided to pick it back up and finish it.

Holly Wool Biscornu Side 013011

That makes finish #2 from the WIP basket! I'm on a roll!

I am grateful for the talent of the guild members and trimming my tree one piece at a time!