Monday, September 7, 2009

More Fall Flowers

This is a wild flower I came across while on the trail. I have never seen it before. Any ideas???? I would love to know what it is. It stands 3 foot tall and has a varigated head of pink blooms.
This is a pot of annuals that I put together last spring. I love the performance of vinca which blooms strong spring to first frost. Mixed with sun coleus it puts on quite a show in pots on the deck.

Does anything look any happier than a sunflower? Especially in the fall when it is going strong. I know they aren't every one's favorite but I cannnot go a season without this favorite flower in my gardens.

Fall Flowers

Caryopteris - I purchased this plant/perennial/shrub a few years ago and have loved it's performance every fall. It has beautiful blue blooms (I love blue flowers of any kind!!!) on chartrues green foliage. I have also since divided it and started sprouts in two other beds with great results.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Last Blue Block Going Home

On the CQ for Newbies website I joined in my first round robin which started last March. For the past six months, 6 ladies in the SLATE blue group have circulated blocks all pieced in blue fabrics. Embellishments had to all be in the blue tones. This is the last block for me to work on and then home it goes to Marianne in New Jersey. I think her block turned out really nice and can't wait to see mine.

On this block I first added the flower trim with 5 buttons in the center of the block below the bird. I tried to add some stitching detail to the bird applique with stem stitch and buillon stitiches. I then did a silk ribbon flower spray tied with a bow in the upper left of this photo. It just still needed something else. (Or I just wasn't ready to quit.)

So I put together the dragonfly using fabric for the wings, outlined with chenile fiber and then beaded. This round robin was a great experience, one I will definitely try again.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Progress on Baby Boy Quilt

We are anxiously awaiting the arrival of the newest member to the family - our first grandchild. We now know that its a baby boy and the quilt has been started. Daughter selected a 9 patch design and together we selected fabrics. I'm happy to say that daughter is showing some interest for the first time in putting a quilt together. It is coming together and hope to have it all hand quilted well before baby's arrival in December. More photos to follow as this project progresses.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

An Abundant Harvest

What a wonderful gardening year we are having in Missouri. Corn and green beans are in the freezer. We are now enjoying potatoes, melons, peppers, cukes,, and tomatoes.
We have been on the search for the ultimate spaghetti sauce recipe, even having cooking contests at our house. I must admit DH has out done me so far. I am a blessed woman. He not only puts out the biggest garden in the area but he also cans it also. Of course I help when I'm able, meaning not trail riding, shopping, etc. It is all alot of work but so worth it when we have garden produce to enjoy all winter long.
If you have a great (and easy) spaghetti sauce recipe to share I would love to give it a try!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Remember Poodle Skirts?

My craft and sewing projects vary greatly. These are a couple of my latest projects. We are having a 50's theme dance at work this Saturday and I began to think, "Wouldn't it be great if we all wore poodle skirts." I went to two rental places and just was not happy with what I found. So I decided it wouldn't be hard to make them. Well, they aren't hard to make but the cutting out and embellishing takes longer than putting them together. Four skirts are now complete and I have 3 more cut out. It will be an extra busy week but they will be completed before Saturday.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Day on the Trail

What an enjoyable day I had riding with friends. One day on the trail and life's stress dissolves away. If I could only figure out how to stretch a 24 hour day. I am finding I just don't have enough time in one day to do all that I would like to get accomplished these days. Riding, gardening, stitching and must fit at least some sleep in there some where.

My trusty steed "Looker" was great. She is my tried and true experienced trail mare that really allows me to sit back and take in all of nature while she watches the trail ahead.

Monday, May 25, 2009

I'm Back - Stitching, Gardening, Horse back riding; Life is Good!

Life has been really fun and really busy lately so my blog has been rather neglected. Last post was late April, just before I left for a great trip with my daughter and son in law. Their lives are currently in transition as they have made the decision to relocate from Scotland to the USA. I am one happy mom! Anxious to have them living closer - at least on US soil.
As I traveled I did take along baggies that included the above blocks with thread, ribbon, trim, and beads to keep me busy on flights and time in airports as well as relaxation in the hotels. I found a great embellishment supply store in France and stocked up with more beads, buttons and trim. In London, Notting Hill found lace to include in future blocks. Overall it was a wonderful trip with some "great finds" along the way.
These two blocks will be mailed away tomorrow to be included in wall quilts that will be auctioned at the Omaha CQ retreat as a fundraiser for cancer research. I am happy to do my part to support this effort as my life, like so many others, has been affected by cancer.
Next project already underway is a block to be included in a wall quilt for my niece's wedding June 20th. Wedding colors are beautiful-taupe & salmon. This will be a beautiful quilt and wedding I'm sure.
This three day weekend was very busy and enjoyable . I worked in all of my favorite things. A day of trail riding on Sat., gardening on Sun. and BBQ with family today. And in between time to stitch and finish up these two blocks. It went by way too fast but it really was a great week end and alot was accomplished.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Gardening Inspiration

Today was a wonderful, relaxing and productive day in the flower beds. Isn't it amazing how time slips away while digging in the dirt, tending to perennials and weeding beds? My day flew by! How happy I was to gather my first bouquet of lilacs; after the frosts this Spring, I wasn't sure we would have lilacs. The bushes have only about 1/3 the normal blossoms which makes me cherish them all the more. I was afraid I wouldn't have any. The wisteria was definitely nipped. No blossoms popping out yet but also no leaves. I love wisteria blooms; they are so unusual and to me they smell like root beer! Crazy I know!

I was happy to find the first bleeding heart bloom surrounded by blue anenomes. And hiding behind them the mouse ears hosta I planted last fall is just pushing its leaves through the ground. I love Spring time and how theraputic it is to spend an afternoon working in the gardens.
Now to work a little crazy quilting in this evening to top off my day.

Monday, April 13, 2009

It Doesn't Get Any Cuter Than This!

What a fun day I had at work today....if you can call it work. We had the great opportunity to visit a miniature horse farm during foaling season. In the photo I am holding a two month old foal who loved the attention it was getting from the group. The top photo is of the newest baby, only two days old. It was really a great day at work. I love my job!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Good To Be Home Again

Had a great week in sunny Florida but it is always so good to come home again. Most of the week was spent inside a hotel conference room sharpening our coaching skills and learning new approaches. We did include some time for fun and I was happy to feel the sand on my bare feet as we walked along the ocean at Cocoa Beach. The fresh seafood was wonderful and I couldn't get enough. Upon returning home I found that 5 days makes quite a difference in the development of puppies. Now 2-1/2 weeks old, they are walking about on shaky legs, eyes opened and trying to bite and play with each other. They are even cuter! DH wants to keep one and has his eye on the only male. I'm not sure we need another dog. I did get a little stitching in during travels this week. Was glad to have my mind occupied during the plane ride down to Florida as it got rather bumpy at times. Had to really concentrate to get the needle in the right place!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Progress on Monochromatic block

This weekend we again experienced a very dreary, rainy Saturday. I stayed in all day and as I surrounded myself with needles, threads, and beads I nested and enjoyed my day. Progress this weekend was the addition of a fan, beading and a tea dyed flower in the center. I found the idea for the fan on Ira's blog. Hope she doesn't mind that I tried to replicate her great stitching. The lace panel in the center is so pretty I do not want to cover it up but have tried to just enhance it with pearl beads. I love the way my blocks just continue to evolve. I suppose some go into their projects with a plan. Not me.
I will be traveling this next week, attending a conference in Orlando. Hoping to soak up some Florida sunshine. I will pack some threaded needles and a little sewing bag to pass my time while traveling. I have been stranded in too many airports waiting on flights not to travel prepared with a good book and some stitching to work on.

A Spring Bouquet

March weather in Missouri can be very unpredictable. Yesterday brought a dusting of snow which we were thankful it wasn't more than a dusting. With fruit trees blooming along with Spring bulbs and shrubs in full splendor we were afraid what we would find this morning. Overall, they fared well. I cut a nice assortment for a Spring bouquet and loved the fragrance that permeated from the blue hyacinth. I always look forward to Spring in the Ozarks and the promise of rebirth as everything comes to life.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Favorite Way to Spend a Rainy Week end

Spent some time this weekend working on my first blue color study block designed by Wanda from Illinois. In this round robin (my first to participate in)we are to complete one design or motif on a patch with stitching and embellishments along two seams. The trim that appears to be pink in this photo is actually a light blue with silver tones. I tried my hand combining stitching and beading, getting some great ideas from Nancy Eha's book "Bead Creative Like Crazy." Great resource book!

I am still trying to figure out how to get my photos where I want them and again I have not succeeded! On the monochromatic block above the beading and stitching doesn't show up in the pictures as well when tone on tone but I am really loving the results. Jewel tones have held my interest up to this point but I am on to something new that really appeals to me. I love it!

This block will be submitted to go into an effort to raise funds for cancer research. My father would have been 82 this week on his birthday but due to cancer his life ended early at age 59. Hate is a strong word that I try not to use often but I do hate cancer!

Even though the weekend weather was not good, it did give me the perfect opportunity to spend some time doing what I love to do......stitching.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Experimenting with Monochromatic and Coffe/Tea Dyeing

As I look over my creations I see that I naturally lean towards the jewel tones in most all I do. The stitching on these rich colors just seems to pop. As I looked through my stash I found several pieces that would work well in a beige on beige monochromatic block and decided to give it a try. The different textures and patterns adds plenty of interest without loud color combinations. I then chose some trims and lace and tried my hand at dyeing with coffee and tea. I am very pleased with the results. It is so much fun to experiment with things we have around the house to create pieces for our blocks that couldn't be found and purchased in stores. And it saves me a trip to town.
Today I awoke to a dreary, rainy day and I'm happy. It gives me permission to stay in and stitch to my hearts content. Sounds like a perfect day off to me!

Friday, March 20, 2009

New Arrivals At the Rays

Look what arrived at our house on St. Patty's Day. Our girl Marilyn chose to deliver in the back of the barn under a stage. My husband and son had to do a belly crawl to take her food and water and to see the pups. She finally came to the house and allowed her puppies to be moved. What Ithought was going to be really ugly pups have turned out to be pretty darn cute!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Welcome signs of Spring

I have had my eye on the Lenten Rose (Helleborus) for some time and this past summer planted my first. While it prefers a shady location which I have little of in my gardens, I tucked it beneath a rather large forsythia where I could keep an eye on it from my kitchen window. Now one of the first bloomers in my garden and withstanding the fluctuations in temperatures very well. It is touted as blooming up to 5 months and is resistent to heat, cold, drought and wildlife will leave it alone. Sounds like the perfect specimen!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Amazing CQ

You can imagine my joy and amazement when I walked into church on Sunday morning and one of our ladies is showing this CQ that she has had stored away for years. She moved to Missouri from Colorado years ago. She had found this unfinished quilt in the attic of a home that they had bought in Colorado from an 80 year old lady. The fabrics are mostly silks, brocades, velvets and other fancy types. The colors are beautiful. The stitching is most all a variation of the feather stitch but so perfect that everyone at church was sure that it was machine done. It has some breakdown of patches along a fold line. Part of the muslin backing is from a feed sack labeled wheat flour from Bushnell, Illinois. On this particular Sunday I really didn't want to get out in the cold and go to church. What a blessing I found awaiting me when I walked in the door. Thank you Lord for those small, unexpected blessing along the way.

Joyce, the quilt owner sent it home with me to research her options. She would like to have it restored, bound and backed so that she can display it in her home.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Blue Block study

I have taken a hiatus from crafting but it is over. At the moment I have at least three projects in the works including this blue block study with the CQ for Newbies group. What a group it is. Very active and very fun. I am finding I'm doing alot more reading on the internet about stitching than actual stitching. This will be my first round robin to participate in and I'm excited. Had a great week of getting ready. While I had some blue in my stash, not near enough so off to the Goodwill store and I hit the jackpot! Not only found some great blue fabrics but the perfect beads I have been searching for my CQ necklace project. Than came dyeing of lace, ribbon and trims to go on my block and others to come. What fun! Wish my photos were better! I will keep you posted with pics as progress continues. Happy Stitching! BJR

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Hand Dyeing is Fun!

It has been quite a week. All though down most of the week with a bug, inspiration would hit and I did get a few things created. I have heard many describe their ribbons & lace as hand dyed pieces and often wondered what exactly is involved. Could it be as simple as dyeing Easter eggs I thought? Spent some time on line gathering information and viewing others work, then gathered together some bits and pieces. Since I didn't have real dye nor felt up to a trip to town I checked out the cupboards and found of all things a jar of beets that so far husband hadn't touched. What didn't take the beet juice to my satisfaction I painted in with red food coloring. I had a fun time and am pleased with the resulted. I see a Valentine in the making.
The top photos are my work in progress. This block was created during class this last November with Judith Baker Montano. I decided to try some new stitches (knotted buttonhole with beads) along with some old stitches. Many years ago (35 maybe, could it be?) I took a Brazilian Embroidery class with my sister in law Bonnie. Beautiful, detailed stitches using wonderful threads. I began filling in a section of the block with buillon stitches in a fan shape and then moved into flowers and buds. It was an inspiring afternoon home all day with the dog.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Girls Day Out

What a great day of laughs over a leisurely lunch and shopping. The day got off to a bumpy start-keys locked in the car -but once that was resolved off to meet two very good friends. We had been planning this day for quite some time but holidays then an anniversary away and on and on seemed to always delay us. We had a great lunch at SpringCreek tea room complete with flea market for shopping.

We each found some great things we just had to have.... raspberry jalopeno spread, a crocheted wrap (beautiful!) and my find.... this decorative cone shaped hanger. It was de ja vu for me. I had just looked at a website this past week and admired this but wasn't sure where or what I'd use it for. Well, just couldn't pass it up today and guess what-it looks great in my bathroom. Perfect colors and just the right spot. Don't you love it when that happens?

On my way home was sad to see that one of my favorite shoppes is closing its doors. Today everything in the store was 50% off so just had to stop in for a look. Couldn't resist the monogrammed linens and great little linen bags. Love the motifs which may be gift bags or may just show up in a CQ block sometime soon.

So now just resting and relaxing and debating which project I should be working on. I think it is time to finish the block begun this fall at the Victorian stitchery retreat. It is going to make a great throw pillow. Stay tuned....

Missouri Weather

From Spring like weather to ice, sleet and snow. We have had it all this week. The cardinals mixed with woodpecker and sparrows were fighting to get on the feeder one morning this week. So cold and hungry, they didn't even move while I took aim and snapped some photos. We fared well compared to our neighbors to the South and East. Still many thousands without power.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Project Complete!

I have enjoyed working on this block and will be anxious to see
the finished piece with all blocks brought together. As I have stitched I have
thought about our friend Dee, remembering her sweet smile and quiet spirit. She
will be missed and will not be forgotten.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Hello again! I have been absent from blogging for awhile but I have returned. Playing catch up after taking time off during the holidays has been rough. Then took a long week end to celebrate my 29th wedding anniversary which was January 19th. We had a great get away to a cabin in the woods in Northern Arkansas. Beautiful country and a very relaxing and refreshing time. No TV for three days-yes, we did have electricity and running water. A great chance to do a little stitching. This project is almost complete. Just a few finishing touches. As always, I just began and the project just evolved along the way. So many ideas-if I had more time I would probably do a second block with ideas that came to me along the way with this one. Wanted to include a dutch motif and did find some windmill buttons on ebay. On the way home from Arkansas browsed a flea market and found a container with some great buttons so had to include some in my block.

My smaller pendant project became a total disaster. Very disappointing. I had my stitching completed and glued it to the bead only to have the fabric soak up the glue and ruin the ribbon embroidery and even some of the stitching. Live and learn-right? I do plan to give it a second try and find a better choice of adhesive.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Stitchin In the New Year

Two projects currently in the works. Am I the only CQ'er who seems to have more than one thing going at a time? I move from one to the other as inspiration comes to me.
The small project (the piece measures 2"x3") will cover a bead and become a necklace when completed. For more information and instruction see Pat Winter's article in CQ magazine Vol. 7, Issue 4. Thanks Pat for the inspiration and great idea.
The larger block is being made to go into a memory quilt for our friend Dee who lost her battle with cancer this last summer. Thanks to all who answered my plea for sites with Dutch motif. Dee is from the Netherlands and traveled to the States to attend the Crazy Quilt retreats in Omaha.
Stitching daily has been great but it is back to work tomorrow after 12 days off which may slow my progress. I so look forward to more leisurely days when I can stitch to my heart's content.