Wednesday, November 13, 2019

swap happy . . .

It's said that it's better to give than to receive, and believe me, I'm all about that. But if you've ever been in a swap with Janet of Rogue Quilter fame, you know it's awesome to receive, too!  Janet and I did a little swap between our birthdays (mine is early in October and hers is later in November). I stitched up a mug rug for her and she stitched up one of her marvelous pin cushions for me. We both stayed in our comfort zones!
Along with this beautiful pin cushion (which reminds me of swirling snow), she sent a ton of lovely goodies, including some of her fabulous soaps, a lovely set of Temecula note cards, a note pad (I use the heck out of note pads in the Nook when I'm trying to figure out dimensions or measurements), Orange & Cinnamon Spice tea that's just lovely and smells like this holiday season, patchwork pins (because who can have enough of these?!), and a bag of raspberry flavored, chocolate dusted almonds.  YUM!
See what I mean??

Janet's mug rug was my secret stitching over the past couple of weeks . . .
I love this sweet Kathy Schmitz pattern!  It paired nicely with the patchwork, too.
And of course, I padded my envelope.  It tickles me how similarly we think when gifting each other! She's a precious friend. 

Monday was Veteran's Day.  I shared this pic (along with a couple of others) on social media . . .
Look at the tiny waistline!  This is March, 1985, right after I graduated from boot camp.  Just a baby. Of course, I didn't think so at the time!

I had off on Veteran's Day, but Todd didn't, so I took advantage of the alone time and walked through the woods.  This is one of my all-time favorite trees on the camp's property . . .
Todd believes it's close to (if not older than) 200 years old.  It's a massive oak.  I found a sprouted acorn under it.
I'm taking it to Joc for her to plant in her yard!  A walk deeper into the woods shows how green the trees still are were. (The bitter cold snap we had on Monday night took care of that!) 
The beech trees stay green longer than most everything.  And after they change, they stay on the limbs until spring!
It was a pretty afternoon for a leisurely hike.  I love that I live where I do and have access to God's creation like I do!  The afternoon netted me a good handful of great acorn caps for some more woolies.  
These have a lot of character!  They're all dried out and ready to craft!

Monday night I put stitching away and pulled out the makings for cream cheese mints:
Joc needs them for a baby shower she's hosting tomorrow evening.  The things we do for love!

But last night I was able to pull out the stitching again.  Making very good progress on my pumpkin . . . 
I'm very pleased with it!  I just need to finish stitching the leaves in the acorn panel and do the pumpkin outline and then it's done.  Still not sure how I'm going to use it (the pattern intends it as a pillow, and I didn't want a pillow), but I'll figure something out, eventually. ;)

Have a great day -- make good choices!


Sunday, November 10, 2019

excessive stitches . . .

I've got a couple of different hand-work projects in progress right now.  Because I can't focus on just ONE thing.  No, I have to have THREE things (or more) going on simultaneously. LOL!

In yesterday's post I talked about a dream quilt (literally, a quilt I designed in my dreams).  I (day)dreamed up another little piece ... a hexie mat.  I'd done one years ago for my mom (the pattern for it was in a magazine, but I don't remember which one--I blogged about here in 2012!) . . .
But I ran across some really cute teapot embroideries that I thought would be darling in a similar setting. They were from an older pattern called a Catnip Tea Party by Betty Alderman.  
It was a freebie I recently found on the AQS blog.  I printed out the templates and then reduced them by 70% so they'd fit in my hexies!
I'm trying something a little different with the hexie templates for this project (if you look closely at the hexie templates in blue, you might be able to figure it out) and I'll share more on that if my idea works out.
Anyway, I'm working away, stitching my hexie pieces together. 
Not sure what colors I'm going to use on the embroidery, yet -- maybe by Monday (I'm off for Veteran's Day), I'll be ready to start stitching on those.

I've also made some progress on my pumpkin . . .
I love this piece! (Though I haven't decided how I'm going to finish it out.) I'm waiting on a variegated floss I ordered to stitch up the leaves in the center which are unstitched. I want all of the center finished before I stitch the pumpkin outline, the leaf and stem.

Sometimes you just need to stitch Christmas stuff . . . 
I love these felt poinsettia pins!  These have been a go-to Christmas hostess gift for several years!  They are fairly straight forward and easy -- and you can keep them simple or glitz them up.  The pattern and tutorial can be found on the lil fish studios blog. I've shared them before, but it's worth repeating. Good stuff!

If you follow Mary Corbet of Needle 'n Thread on Instagram, you'll know she's been stitching up the most glorious snowflake embroideries!  I asked her about those and she told me they'd be available sometime around Thanksgiving.  I can't wait!

Linking up to Kathy's Quilts and her slow Sunday stitching post.  Happy Sunday!


Saturday, November 09, 2019

dreaming quilts . . .

I've been having very vivid dreams over the last several weeks. I think partly because finally, after four or five years of shoulder pain and then surgery recovery, I'm finally able to sleep through the night, pain free!

Whatever the reason, these dreams are ones that I remember when I wake up in the morning ... even days later. Which is unusual for me!  I've dreamed up a lot of stitchery/quilty projects, too.  One of which I felt compelled to act upon!

Last Thursday, I dreamed I created a quilt designed to hold an applique center or panel.  It was red, green and gold, and the center was a huge 'snow buddies' kind of scene.  Like applique or embroidery, maybe.  So when I got up Friday morning, I hopped over to the laptop, pulled up my EQ, and got busy . . .
With the exception of the (blank) center, that's pretty much exactly what I dreamed.

So it's pretty simple and basic and I recognized that it was definitely a piece designed to showcase the center.  So I got online to find something to either recreate with applique, or a panel.
I found this, which was really cute, and so I changed the outside colors to kind of match it. 
But when I tried to search for the panel to purchase, it wasn't to be found.  Bummer.

So then I decided to google search for an appropriate blue panel.  And found this Hoffman digital panel:
And it was perfect.
And it should arrive any day now.  I paired it with batiks from the Icicle collection by Kathy Engle for Island Batiks. 

It pays to follow your dreams! 


Tuesday, November 05, 2019

acorn tutorial time . . .

These little fellows were just so much fun to make ... and to me they were especially endearing, knowing that their little caps came from our own trees!  They whip up really quickly and easily, so if my instructions are tough to follow, it's me, not them!

First, round up some caps!  We have a number of different types of acorn-bearing oaks in the camp, so I was able to find some different looking styles and sizes!  
We've been really wet over the past several weeks, so after I picked up all the caps I wanted, I put them on a tray in the oven at about 200 degrees for several hours.  They were nice and dry after that!   Then I was able to sit down and get busy! I used a variety of wool colors--because variety is the spice of life--but feel free to stick to more traditional colors/patterns if you desire.

Cut your wool in a circle (about 1.75" diameter). I didn't even trace it; I just held the circle to the wool and cut around it.

Using a sturdy thread or floss, knotted at the end (but with an inch or so of floss to work with on the tail end), stitch a running stitch around the edge of the circle (about 1/8"). 

End your stitching on the same side you began it.  This makes it easier to pull the circle closed.

Pull the ends of your thread together, slightly pulling the opening together (this will help you find the center/base of the acorn). Put a healthy dollop of hot glue (about pea-sized) into the opening, directly on the wool base. This will help you to shape the acorn and will also give the base some weight.

Take a pinch of polyester fiber fill and stuff it into the opening onto the hot glue.  Use your discretion.  If your cap is a bit bigger, your acorn can probably handle a tad more fiber fill.  But remember, you're putting it in over hot glue -- so it's better to start on the 'less' side of fiber fill and add more if you want to.

Pull the ends tight to close the opening and tie it off. You can snip off your ends, or do what I did and stuff them down into the acorn using the tools in the next step.

Using a stiletto or the pointy end of junkie scissors, stuff the excess thread and any fiber fill into the cinched opening. At this same time, work the hot glue in the wool into an acorn shape with your fingers.  This step is not pictured because I couldn't actually do what I was talking about and take a photo at the same time.  LOL!

Place a generous dollop of hot glue at the top of the acorn, over the opening , and cover with the acorn cap.
Set it straight on or make it jaunty!  Personality counts!

Finally, make a GAZILLION more!  Because they're so stinkin' addictive!!!

Happy Fall, y'all!


Sunday, November 03, 2019

a stitch in time . . .

I've really been caught up in hand embroidery of late.  Not sure what has me so enthralled, but I *like* it!  I thought I'd share a few finishes and progress.

I finished the stitching on this little secret project . . .
I'll fill you in later.  Hahaha!

I started and finished this acorn . . .
Stitched by me; pattern from Kathy Schmitz, One Stitch at a Time Embroidery Club
I love this cosmos variegated floss; it's so soft and pretty! I'm not sure exactly what I'm going to do with this stitchery, but I'll figure out something.

The tea-dying was fabulous on my pumpkin piece. It's subtly mottled (so subtle you can hardly tell), and it's just perfect with the colors of floss I've chosen for stitching . . .
Stitched by me; pattern from Meg Hawkey, Crabapple Hill Studios
This is probably how I'll spend my slow stitching time today -- getting a good bit of stitching in with my extra hour! ;)

While I waited for the dye to take and then dry, I quickly traced out and stitched up this little honey:
Stitched by me; pattern from The Needle Crafter
I used a Valdani hand dyed variegated floss on this one. It was so cute in the hoop, I decided to finish it that way and now it's hanging in the RV! Can you tell I have a thing for acorns? Heh.

I have this wintry sampler traced out, ready and waiting in the wings . . .
Ready to be stitched by me; pattern from Kathy Schmitz, Snow Sampler
But I can't decide which floss to use for it! I'm kind of leaning towards the Cosmos variegated with the blues and purples, but I really liked the dark teal Kathy used in her sample design.  She's doing a stitch-along right now with it, in redwork!

And while I was perusing Kathy's website, I went ahead and signed up for her One Stitch at a Time monthly embroidery club.  My first pattern arrived on November 1 and look at what it was:
Kathy Schmitz, Tea for Two
How appropriate, right?!?!? Right up my tea-loving alley! Please note: this is a picture of Kathy's stitching, not mine!! (Credit where credit is due.)

And before I head out (will share the acorn tutorial Monday or Tuesday), I *have* to share pics of the grands!  We spent Halloween at my folks' house with the grandgirls . . .
And the California crew celebrated June's October 31 birthday with a reptile petting zoo coming to their house! Yikes!  Check out that SNAKE (it's real, not a fake prop) . . .
June (center) had a blast . . . sweet seven years old!  Love my grands!

Linking up today's post to Kathy's Quilts slow stitching post!


Wednesday, October 30, 2019

happy busy . . .

This is going to be another photo-heavy post; I've had lots going on!  We can only carry over 40 hours of vacation time into the new year, and I realized here it was late in October, and I had over 80 hours--I needed to burn some time!  And since we get two weeks over the Christmas holiday, I don't need it for then.  So I took Monday and Tuesday and enjoyed another five day weekend.  Bliss!

I did so much I'm going to have to split it over a couple of posts.  Don't laugh. Sunday was our Fall Festival at church, and the Merkel family joined us for the festivities . . . 
It was a fun afternoon, and thankfully, the rain cleared out (though the grey skies didn't) and we stayed dry!  And speaking of grands, I know the kids get SO much candy this week, but I wanted to do something fun for grandkids near and far, so I made these cute little spooky 'hand' treats!
Aren't those fun?  Just a little bit of trick and a little bit of treat.  And they whipped up real quick! ♥

Sunday evening, checking my facebook before bed, I saw someone had posted a photo of wool acorns that they'd made.  Don't you know that the first thing I did when I woke up on Monday, was to gather acorn caps and get the wool and the hot glue gun out?
These things are so cute and so addictive!  I'll do a tutorial post later, because they're so easy and fun!

I also made two kinds of biscotti on Monday.  
Double Chocolate Biscotti and my ol' standby favorite, Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti. Yummy! And since I was making two different kinds, I only baked half of the dough from each. That means there's prepared dough for another dozen of each in my freezer.  That makes me smile!

I thought I was finished with autumn stitcheries, and even got a winter/Christmas stitchery traced out (more on that one later, too), but realized I'm not ready to be done with Autumn.  So I traced out this sweet Crabapple Hill Studio's design . . .
I love Meg's designs; she's another of my favorites!  But I wasn't happy with the white linen.  It was too . . . bright.  So I decided (of course, after I'd traced the pattern) to tea dye it.
I pulled it out this morning, rinsed it, let it soak in white vinegar (to set the dye) and rinsed it again.  It should be dry when I get home, but from what I saw with it wet, it's a much more fitting color!

Yesterday was originally supposed to be the sunniest, warmest day of the week and Todd and I were going to fun around on the pontoon.  Unfortunately the weather didn't cooperate with its forecast, but we decided to go ahead and go out. It was still foggy at noon!
Since it was a work day, all the barge-shipping industries were busy . . . 
Tug boats coming and going! I love the barge with the coal on it.  Coal is a big industry in Alabama. We were fishing around the banks near them, so we saw lots of activity! And I caught a nice stripe!
We were in new-to-us territory, too.  I spotted this old lighthouse that was fascinating . . .
We also spotted two clipper like ships, scooting down the river.  I mean they were booking!  
Earlier in September two replicas of Columbus's ships (the Nina and the Pinta) were in Guntersville, but I don't think these were them.  They were cool to watch, though.  I wish we could have gotten closer, but as I said, they were moving pretty fast.  It would have been cool to watch them go through the lock at the dam! I went back and looked at the schedule -- it could have been them traveling from Chattanooga to their next destination in Rogersville, Alabama.  That route would make sense.  So would their speed!

As Todd fished (and I read and stitched) our way back to the marina, we spotted some wildlife doing it's own fishing on the banks:
Isn't he cute?!  We saw four or five of these bandits fishing on the banks!

The grey skies made for a glorious setting for geese flying in formation . . . 
And for a colorful setting of the sun . . . 
I love watching the sun set over the water.  It may be my favorite thing!

Who am I kidding?  I have loads of favorites!