Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Pansies and Shabby Chic Placemats





My favorite time of the year, planting time. I have been pacing myself this year since I have a new and different garden. I have garden beds this year and rock landscape so no weeds! Or easily managed weeds I should say. I want to plant things that look great together and like a cozy cottage garden. One of our local nurseries had an open house last weekend and I had a great time (even though I smelled too much and got terrible hayfever, from which one I don't know yet- probably something I bought) anyway they had a great selection of beauty. My daughter and I participated in a herb growing and cooking class that was all about eating great food made with herbs! I haven't had that much fun in a long time. We had watermelon, onion, and feta cheese salad - with a few other ingredients to top it off and it was wonderful! A great artichoke dip and my other favorite was a thick tomato slice, cheese and a large basil leaf. Wonderful. I bought lots of pansies, alyssum, a columbine and some herbs to plant. There is another open house this weekend and I will be attending to see what they've got. I will probably haunt the nurseries this year just because, like libraries, they are one of my favorite places to be. I also tried quilting again, more like patchwork. I thought I would do a shabby chic look and make some placemats with frayed edges and such. Well I definitely need to preshrink my fabric first and hem the placemats, but I loved how the frayed flower turned out. Think I will try them again with the improvements and see how they turn out. I need to figure out how to fray my seams, I love that look. Washing didn't do much.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

French Country Colors



Very excited with this new quilted needlecase. I am starting to become inspired by brighter colors (i am definitely a pastel girl by nature). These colors just make me happy though and I want to try more. There are so many neat color combinations out there and fat quarters galore to choose from. I got my Beatrix Potter fabric yesterday and have been inspired by sheep. I love sheep and used to have a few of my own, funny experience. They are funny characters, and so was I since I didn't have too much experience with them. Anyway I have always loved sheep, especially the lambs. I think I will do an embroidery set for kids featuring lambs and sheep and a few flowers here and there - my other favorite. My local flower nursery is starting to get all kinds of neat things in and I have to discipline myself to stay away and not go everyday since we have to buy things to eat, fuel that is priced like gold, and other necessities too... Last weekend I did get a few flowers (just had to) and a really neat wrought iron basket that I want to fill with flowers. There is a class to learn how to fill it up to where it looks really beautiful.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Spring weather hiking and creek painting




We went out for a bit on Sunday even though it was much colder, no shorts - got the turtle necks out again. We found a new ghost town we haven't been to. Really neat old rock structures that still have a few walls intact. A small creek was running and I found a quiet spot in the willows near a little waterfall to sit down and paint. The sun was warm and the trees protected me from the wind. Lots of rocks, but no sign of rattlesnakes yet. We were out by a bird conservation area too and there were lots of geese, egrets, ducks and others that I couldn't see but I heard them. Really neat black crane type birds too, lots of them. A little family of geese that liked the quiet canal along the road rather than the busy marshland area. I'd never seen goslings except in storybooks so I was very excited with this discovery. My needlework is coming along and for those of you who visited my web site for the online Needlework Show my "Moonlight Garden" is almost finished and will be released fairly soon!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Lake Painting, Alchemist, Garden Cart Embroidery and such



I painted a lot at the lake last weekend. I love the sounds of the water and the warm sun. My daughter wanted me to sketch and paint her playing in the water. Immediately I think I can't do it, but she goes out there and I begin. I begin to draw and it looks like nothing, not even close to her. Pretty soon my sketchy marks take a shape that starts to resemble her and I have more confidence in myself. In black and white it still doesn't resemble her much, but after I add the paint and it brings life to her skin, clothes, hair, and surroundings I was surprised with it - so was she I think. Funny. I have also been busy with my new set of embroidery patterns. They are very fun and will be quick to embroider. I love working on the quilting fabric, much more interesting than muslin. I am very excited to sew this together in a wall quilt. My walls are much too white right now. I have ideas of painting my walls here and there. Not a mural - too much for me, but little flowers here and there. What would I do without flowers? BOOK LIST OF LATE -- have you read "Water for Elephants" by Sara Gruen or "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho or "French Women Don't Get Fat"? All three are wonderful in their own ways. I love elephants and Sara's book is wonderful. Also if you like elephants - they paint- and you can see for yourself on "You Tube" . I learned about this in my drawing class. We watched it and it was amazing. If you search "elephant painting" on You Tube you should find it. Really neat. The Alchemist is wonderful for spirit and French Women is just fun for learning how French women enjoy life. That is why I read it. I want to enjoy life all the time and I discovered wonderful things about chocolate - my son and I love chocolate.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Garden Embroidery and Quilting



I've been inspired to begin a new set of embroidery patterns. A lot of whimsy, smaller in scale, following my garden theme, but a few more in another wall quilt. I am excited about the colors I've picked and fabrics I am going to use. Those bali fabrics with leaves and other nature images in them are fantastic. I am going to mix one I have with some florals to see what I come up with. I am still going to stay safe and use squares as I did in my daughter's quilt I finished. A heart pattern came out of the dark squares I used, which I didn't plan - just happened. Serendipity, love when that happens. I am pleased with how it turned out and it adds so much color to her room. I'd like to make more pillows for her room. No sewing last weekend, we went to the lake and spent lazy days by the water. Was wonderful on Saturday, but nearly were blown away on Sunday. Enjoyed it anyway and the wind helps to clear the mind and get the ideas flowing. I am almost finished with my drawing class. I think it has helped me to move into new directions and I feel good about that. I do enjoy drawing and painting on a small scale and usually outside, but there is nothing quite like working with textiles for me. I love fabric, threads, and all the colors they come in. I love to be surrounded by color.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Purple Tulip Wall Quilt


I finally finished all three tulip embroidery patterns and made them into a wall quilt for my bedroom. I liked how it turned out, but again I learned a lot from this project. I didn't measure my fabric for the embroideries beforehand so one was off and my block was off to so I had to add fabric (on the middle block). Did you notice before I told you :) I'm getting good at improvising if nothing else I guess! I am very excited though, these patterns will be distributed by Pattern Peddlers in the near future. Getting them ready to send. I am working on another set of five that I will use in a wall quilt too. My walls should be very colorful in the next coming weeks.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Zig Zag Quilt Pillow Adventure




I decided to sew last weekend and finish the quilt wall hanging for my daughters room and make a matching pillow. I am not an experienced quilter, I can do simple 9 -patch and log cabin - straight seams. Well I decided to try my hand at triangles, good grief. I almost hated quilting for a while. I learned a lot from this little project and think I like quilting again because I did get it to turn out, but not without a struggle. My pillow isn't perfect in any way, but it has its charm and the colors are fun and my daughter was happy, so I was too. It has given me a litle more confidence and lessons in measurement :) I think I will make another similar one next weekend and see how it goes. Working with all these fun fabrics is really fantastic, I love decorating my house with quilts and pillows and other warm, cozy things. I have a great collection of quilts from my grandmother and step-mother. They've inspired me to keep the tradition going. Lots of talent came before me.

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