Friday, March 31, 2006

A few more stitches...


LOL - you will be very bored by the time I have finished this block. But I guess this constant up-date is more for me than you. I want to keep some sort of a pictorial record of my progress...


I decided that the bullion roses looked a bit lost so I decided to add some leaves using a fine fishback stitch. The stitch is really easy but it looks more of a satin stitch on my work than fishback - but the leaves look reasonable so I am not going to re-do them. I have added some curling tendrils to give it a more 'attached' look- now roses don't look like they are free floating. I am still to add a tenderil down at the other end to even it up abit.

To the ric rac I have stitched some softly coloured variegated perle cotton and I have added some predominately mauve beads with one deeper coloured bead to add a little interest as they follow the ric rac curves.


And by sheer accident I have solved what I am going to do with the empy space on the bottom of the cornflower blue section. As I was picking out the darker coloured beads for the ric rac I dropped the packet they were in which was a sort of a 'soup mix' of all different hues and shapes and sizes of blue beads. I actually dropped them onto the block and most of them fell over that section - as I went to pick them up I saw there was a self made bead trail across the bottom of the piece. BINGO!!!! Now that was really exciting to see. Another piece of the jigsaw fallen into place - literally!!!


I have enjoyed doing these extra bits as they have fired my imagination and slowly I can see the embellishment taking place. I have decided that I will make a cushion from this piece and because I am largely a practical person this has given me a goal - and end result- to work towards.

Unfortunately '6x4 lives' has fallen off the stitching line as today is the last day of March and the weekend is not going to have much 'stitching allowance'. And I would imagine after Monday stitching will be the last thing in my thoughts and actions for a few days...

Thursday, March 30, 2006

A little explanation...

On Tuesday I was offered a permanet part time job in a local bookstore - infact it is the store which I used to 'haunt' before I became employed in a bookshop myself. I have been looking for part time work since starting last July and this position sounded perfect... But they wanted someone ASAP - there lay the problem

Yesterday I went and met with the couple who own the store and we hit it off really well -after a lengthy chat we came to the business end when everyone lays their cards on the table... I then told them about my impending op - expecting the job offer to vanish infront of me. Instead, they said that they would wait until after my op, for me to commence the position with them. I was struck speechless - which if you knew me - that is some feat. I felt like I had won the lottery - only better!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now just to get this op out the way...

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

More additions...


I have made a little more progress on my block... I have added the ric rac to the cornflower blue section, some half wheels with beads to the multi colored section, french knots onto the lace section, sequins and french knots to the chain stitch and the some bullion roses and beads to the floral section... The bullion roses are my first attempt so are a little rustic - I kinda got the hang of them by about the third flower - it is all in the way you hold your MOUTH!!!!!!

I seem to have lost momentum with this block but I am determined to complete it... The french knots to the lace section don't thrill me and I have some beads to add there which I hope will lift it... I have removed the other lace for the moment but will add it towards the end... The peacock green section at the back of the block has me stumped I have been through my bits and bobs and I may have something, but it would be a complete departure from the floral theme - plus it would have the eye romping off 'the path' and trespassing on the grass... Hmmm...

I have also received J's daughter M's block- this has only had one section done so I am looking at a great expanse of block... I have read M's log book and apparently cats, butterflies and the colour purple are the orders of the day... I am looking forward to putting my new found skills into practise...Busy, busy,busy...

The next couple of days are going to be interesting - I have some decisions to make... More about that later...


Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Op shop...

A find yesterday... Made a quick and unexpected visit to the op shop and found all this - there was actually a stack of it but it was about 10 minutes to closing time and I didn't have time to pull it all out. This was what was on top of the box. Most of it apart from the floral in the top corner was furnishing fabric there was also a swatch of colour samples... I made sure that all of it would be reasonably easy to sew. Best of all it was only $5.00. The whole lot were quite large pieces so I can see a lot of CQ blocks 'happening' from here - well, that is the plan anyway... :-))

Saturday, March 18, 2006

The latest gossip...


It has been a full on few days...

Thursday - M & D returned home so there was all that catching up to do - photos to look at and gossip to exchange. They both had a wonderful time with lots of stories to tell. They even managed to stay awake all day as to try and help their body clocks to adjust by going to bed at the right time. It was really good to have them home again. Miss Yookie was as predicted giving them the cold shoulder and it took a piece of fish from the fish and chip shop to 'smooth over the waters' so to speak. We had fish and chips from M & D's favorite shop for lunch and Miss Yookie only lasted a few minutes when she knew what was on offer for lunch. I really don't know who was bluffing who though...

Friday - Unexpected shift change at work means that I was there all day instead of 1/2 day...

Saturday - P took me to a wonderful embroidery and needlework shop quite near us called Bustle and Bows. As I said this morning I felt like I had died and gone to heaven - it is a truly beautiful shop that is just perfect to accommodate for my new found CQ passion. The bits I bought are at the top of the page. I can see I shall go there again soon... It may be a little more expensive - but the customer service is just great, so helpful and patient with someone like myself. One of the other customers even commented on my block which I thought was lovely... The sun definitely shone brighter this morning. P and I finished up the morning with a coffee and cake - what a nice way to spend a Saturday morning...

When P and I got home we decided to attack the bookcase we have in our hall. We have a problem in so much as we have far too many books for the amount of space we have. So today we had a culling. We both decided to keep only the books we haven't read or that are favorites. What it amounted to have a very large pile in the middle of the floor. Then begun the task of putting the remainder back into the shelves. We did as humanly possible put 99% of them into alphabetical order by authors name. At this writing we have managed to get the largest majority back into the shelves with only the kids books to go. Mind you this is only one bookshelf and the novels and non fiction - not any other books or magazines else - that is still to come. I have made a promise to myself come the end of the year the house will have had an entire 'spring clean' from top to toe. There won't be anything that won't be accounted for, no corner which won't have been peered into, nor cupboard that won't have seen the light of day. But of course with all this tidying up and one tends to makes messes in other areas - but I have the rest of the year to get it just right!!!!!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

M & D are home...


As we speak, M & D are home... After six weeks of wandering aound Paris, Spain, London and Poland on their belated honeymoon - they are Aussie side again. It was a wonderfully romantic way of celebrating their first anniversary together and I know they have only been away for 6 weeks but I have missed them. Not that we live in one and other pockets so to speak but I think knowing they were so far away played a big part in it. If I sound like an overprotective mother I am not, but this time (2nd) they went away I felt quite odd about them going. Perhaps if I had to be honest, a lot has happened in the world since they went away last time and I was a little concerned. But they are home again - travel weary I expect- looking forward to their own bed and those little comforts that make up home. I can imagine that there is one four footed creature who will be purrrfectedly happy to see them. Yookie (sp may be off here) is a bit of a sook and dislikes being babysat - ask P and I - we know only too well about her antics!!!! Now when they get home it will either be to an ecstatic reunion or the ' Well, your home are you? See if I care!' accompained by a tail up - glance over a departing shoulder, coolest of looks... Those of you who are cat owners can probably relate to that one. Mind you from all accounts she has been treated like a princess by the friends they have had housesitting. M & D may well have to put up with a snub or two for a few days until things return to 'Yookie normal'.

I spent yesterday cleaning - well partially... Let me explain I am a Virgo, but please don't hold that against me. Since I have begun my latest passion of CQ parts of the house have gone to pieces. Now while I can live in a chaotic state while I am creating - it wears thin when I am not... I don't possess a sewing room or nook or even a cupboard which makes it worse so I have bits all over the place but mainly in the lounge room. And at the rate those bits were 'growing' you would have thought I was feeding them - no comment here from anywhere!!!! I digress - so yesterday I started by 'just moving one little pile' which lead to another little pile and so the story goes... By yesterday afternoon I was cursing about the mess I had made... But at least I have a 'tidied' shambles as opposed to an untidy shambles. Strangely all that sorting helped me in some sort of way 'clear a path' about my block for sharonb's classes... I think that I know what I want to do on it but am a little afraid just to 'let it rip so to speak'... I am sure I have a split personality in regards to my crafting... One side of me like to do little tiny stitches well executed and dainty - the other side wants to have bold swirls and curls that leap off the (what ever I am doing) saying 'Look at me!!!!!' I tussle with this conflict of interests all the time... But at least my block is 'speaking' to me again so now that I have tidied it all up - I am going to pull it all out again... But isn't that just what Life is about...

Monday, March 13, 2006

A little bit more...


...but not much... I have added some more of G's lace to the top right and some yellow arrow stitching to the peacock green chain stitch on the floral seam. I have also 'tweaked' the agapanthus flowers on the blue section but I seem to have hit a slump with this block. I think that it is because I seem to want to put the 'cart in front of the horse' by starting with the buttons and bits and working outwards. I am trying to contain myself and do it in the correct order of things... I can see where sharonb is leading by starting and progressing in a logical order rather than my haphazard 'bumble bee' way of doing things by flitting from one bit to another. I understand that there is a the logical progression of 'building up' the block but I am itching to sew on 'some bits'. It seems that I gather my inspiration from these bits as they 'build form' in front of me. Now what might that suggest about my personality. LOL - That I might like to get to the 'good stuff' rather than lay proper foundations???? Me - Never!!!!!

Friday, March 10, 2006

AGAPANTHUS - Agapanthus orientalis...


Another update on my block... The dawn of realization hit me somewhere between my last posting and this entry. This 'bolt of enlightenment' illuminated my mind for a just fleeting nano second. 'Yes,' you say, 'and...'

I realized that this block will not be finished by the time the classes have completed... 'Oh, is that all...' you say.

You see somewhere in my mind I thought that I had to have this ready to 'hand in' on some yet to be announced date. Ready for inspection and to be marked... Did I really think that? LOL - I think I might be in need some serious therapy - my late 1950's/60's school years have a lot to answer for... Perhaps I didn't consciously think that - but somewhere in my subconscious I believe I did - and I think it started to take the fun out of why I am doing this class.


I felt like I was falling behind and that troubled me. Yes, I have fallen behind in a sense that I haven't done ALL the seam treatments and ALL the motif embellishments , but through my 'playing around' with what I have done I have learnt heaps. Some of it I have removed and some I have retained. What have I learnt??? That a line of chain stitch along a seam 'moves' the eye quicker than the words 'huntsman sider' does. But I have also learnt to do reverse chain stitch - so there is the bonus. I have learnt to look and look again.

I dug out a of stitching book I have had for years - Embroidered Garden Flowers - Diana Lampe - ISBN 1 86351 0435 1. This book has always been a favorite of mine as I have often 'wandered' in her embroidered gardens - mind you - never done anything from it, but up until now 'the wandering' had been fine. I flicked through it and came across the AGAPANTHUS and thought they would look 'just the thing' on the cornflower blue area. So I took up my needle and began -the flower heads were a blend of two DMC single threads 340, 341 and the stems and leaves were 3346 - whilst they weren't hard to do they took some doing. More going a round in a continuious circle using a fly stitch with a long tail - the stems and leaves were done in whipped stem stitch. Whilst they aren't the best executed flowers in the world the sense of accomplishment I felt was well worth it. They aren't finished as there is a white one to go up behind the blue ones - I have created the white flower with a blended DMC white and 341 thread.

I looked at the block as a whole and saw lots of stop/start traffic areas - but having read sharonb's fourth lesson I can already see possibliities of 'untangling' the snarls and get them flowing... As this - at this point- will be a stand alone block I have made the descision not to give it a 'right side up' - maybe it will evolve - but I wanted people when they looked at it to naturally turn it around discovering bits as they go...

The piece of white lace (yes, G - a piece of yours) will be dyed to blend in and not be so stark but it will act as 'a path' and lead to a button or bead trail which will cross from the cornflower blue section into the floral section and over the chain stitch therefore avoiding an 'intersection' of seams and hopefully creating more of a 'roundabout'. Well, that is the plan to date -but then again you know what happens to the best laid plans. So I guess getting back to my opening line - I can see that this block may be a 'work in progress' for many weeks to come with me adding and subtracting until I get the mix 'just right'. My angel block is hovering just on the outskirts of my brain and so I have begun the 'hunting and gathering' process for that...

Meanwhile the house looks like a multi coloured bomb has exploded... Not having 'a room of one's own' I tend to have bits all over the house. The next house a sewing room for me is a must!!!!!!

Only six more sleeps until M & D are home...

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Briar roses...

Well, here are my efforts that took me into the wee small hours - not a lot to show for it- except my sleep depraved eyes. I sat yesterday looking at my block and my block looking back at me. We both knew - my block and I - that if I didn't make a start - it would be unlikely that I would. So my block said to me - "Let's just get on with it!!!!!!" And so I did...
A glimmer of an idea grew... I remembered that I had some flower threads in a couple of kits I had so I went on a mission and unearthed them. Between the three kits I had quite a selection of the colours that toned with my block. Flower threads are lovely and soft and I have enjoyed working with them before. I wondered how best I could utilize the threads and thought that they would lend themselves quite nicely to outline stitch roses - which as the name suggests is just outline stitch going around in a circle. While mine aren't the best example you can get the idea what they should look like. Like when making up a CQ block - you have to travel in the same direction otherwise you can get yourself in a bit of a pickle. At first the roses sat above the seam line like birds on a fence and so I thought about what I could use to connect the flowers - leaves just didn't do it for me - believe me I tried- so I fell back on the tried and true feather stitch - now I am a fussy Virgo - and go to great pains to make things nice and neat. This time I wanted the feather stitch to ramble and be a little untidy and not stay within the boundaries of the tan/gold section. As you can see I have managed to connect the flowers and ramble just a wee bit - I am going to extend the 'rambling' - over the seam line- into the floral section, the red section below and perhaps into the multi coloured section at the other end. I already have bought a couple of buttons and some other bits to go into this section so the rambling should 'travel' the eye just nicely to them. As I stitched kept getting the words 'briar roses' - so much for my tree block!!!! I have a feeling with what I thought I was going to have is not what I will end up with. But in saying that I am positive that the block will undergo many changes before it is completed. I do feel a little better this morning having made a start.
I perceive part of my difficulty is that it is a strong block and not pretty, therefore I am needing some strong stitch elements so that they doesn't get lost in the fabrics - I think the flower threads helped start this process - however I won't be using just flower threads - but they were a great way to start 'the ball rolling' so to speak...

Monday, March 06, 2006

A pause...

... in the proceedings. For some reason which I can't fathom I seemed to have hit a wall with my (sharonb's) class block... Today I sat and stitched for an hour - at the end I pulled it all out... I am happy enough with the block itself but I can't seem to find a starting point. Perhaps I have been 'wandering' the paths too long - joking here!!!! But tomorrow is another day...

Another date for my op has been posted this time it is the 3rd of April - but we will see...

Saturday, March 04, 2006

11th hour long gone...


This is what I finished up with as my contribution for Feb '6x4 lives'. I am quite chuffed as I tackled some things I have never done before. I thought I would combine '6x4' with practising bits for my block for sharonb's on line classes. At the moment I have folded it into the required shape as I am unsure what I am going to do with these at the end of the 12 months when '6x4 lives' finishes - and I wanted some extra fabric to play with should I decide to make these into something else. Now onto the BIG block (gulp)!!!! Working on this small block is one thing - it seems like a 'hankerchief garden' compared to my large block which looks like the botanical gardens...