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i am a creative person. mother to a daughter who is an active young woman and a constant blessing in my life. i hope that you enjoy your visit here and that you will return often.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

TAST week 31~34 and the 15 minute challenge as well as Photo Art Friday


this image began in my garden with a macro of a kale plant . . .
the fish was a fabulous freebie from Deviant Scrap.
i'm becoming a little more relaxed within my photoshop elements program but it seems to take enormous amounts of time to complete anything. i'm sure that's because i don't read quite enough and choose to randomly experiment most of the time. it is loads of fun though~!!~

spontaneously linking up with photo art friday this week.

Photo Art Friday

i have another group of photos/practice stitches from the TAST challenge hosted by sharon b at pintangle. remember that i'm quite late getting the TAST work posted and the stitching was done several weeks ago but it's been a great way to practice some stitches that i'm familiar with, learn some new stitches and keep me going on the christmas stockings that i hope to be 'hanging by the chimney with care' this upcoming holiday season . . . can you believe it's already late september~!?!

week 31~ algerian eye stitch:
i used a gold colored silk thread (24 wt) and placed this stitch on my wonderful daughter's stocking. i've once again positioned the stitch within a lace piece that has been sewn onto the stocking. i like the way that this area is beginning to look. each new stitch adding another layer of complexity to the area.

this is also true of an area within my own stocking that i have added a bit of vintage antique lace collar to. . .
week 32~cast on stitch: i've used a white pearl cotton (sz 12) and this has created a white on white effect, adding a raised textural quality to a section of the collar.

i've include a before (right) and after (left) shot for comparison.

once i figured it out i had an easy time with it and decided to also practice/use it within a fabric postcard that i was working on at the time for my mom's birthday.

i think that this stitch is really pretty and potentially quite versatile. i will definitely be using it again.
week 33~pekinese stitch:
now you are going to think that i'm using the same photo as in week 31 because i once again added onto that bit of lace that is part of wonderful daughter's stocking. if you look closely you will see a subtle addition. i used a heavy white cotton as the back stitched portion of the pekinese stitch and 3 strands of metallic red thread for the woven/looped part of the stitch. i worked this stitch with the stocking upside down so that the "line" created by the red metallic stitches was not interfering with the previously placed  buttonhole wheel stitch (week 24).
i practiced this one first and used several different threads/colors within the practices to get a feel for what i could do with it.
a mid weight single strand of orange cotton
spacing the two components of the stitch differently

a mid weight single strand of purple cotton
once again altering the spacing within the stitch


a mid weight single strand of red cotton
this time keeping the components of the stitch equal

in the end i used two strands of a variegated "rainbow tweed". a mixed fiber (44% cotton, 39% wool, 17% acrylic) thread with a distinct wool like character varying the two parts of the stitch only slightly.
this stitch was placed on my stocking. you'll notice that i hid the beginning part (looks like a pitch fork) of the stitch behind a bit of lace. i thought it a bit awkward and not at all like the rest of the stitches.
i will probably build off of this area with other stitches yet to come . . .
i continue to meet my daily goals with Kate for the fifteen minute challenge  (despite my not linking up as frequently as i should) and have worked on numerous projects while doing so.
thank you Kate~!!~
one of those projects has been a christmas stocking that i made and embellished for another community fundraiser. it won't go up for auction until mid october and hopefully someone will see it as a great way to get a jump on their holiday buying. it's just short of 20 inches long and i'm wondering what sorts of surprises i should fill it with . . .
recent gifts include:
  • a trip out of town (included time with the wonderful daughter, a movie and dinner) to celebrate wonderful husbands birthday
  • time to play in my photoshop program
  • lots of generously shared juicy ripe pears 

Friday, September 21, 2012

prayer flags

did you know that Mother Teresa had this message written on cards that she handed out to those she came in contact with who were seeking answers to questions and sometimes feeling conflicted in their faith? she referred to them as "business cards".
i've been reading about her and finding that she was quite an amazing woman~! so strong. so focused. so faithful.

i occasionally find a quilt or a piece of a quilt that is advertised for sale as a "cutter" that i think i may be able to work with. this particular piece was purchased quite a while back just as you see it here (minus those grey outlines in the lower right hand corner). it's quite thin in places, the top has  worn through to the batting here and there and within the batting there is the occasional tiny brown  cotton seed. it has some seams that are damaged and the  maker didn't seem to mind that many of the seams didn't match up just right.
for whatever reason it had the one square removed from the lower left hand corner when i purchased it. old pieces like this one whisper stories of their previous lives and invite me to love them. 
invitation excepted~! 

when i acquire these types of pieces i think about  the limited time, energy and resources that were available to the quilter who created them.
if he/she were to see what i create from his/her work would that maker feel that the newly created piece continues to whisper it's own history while at the same time carrying on a new purpose? i hope so.
my thoughts focus on what my own skills and materials should bring to this history and how i can carefully morph the work into something greater than the sum of it's parts.
i consider whether i am showing the proper respect with the choices that i am making.
those first cuts are always a little bit stressful as i think about what my responsibilities are towards the original maker, the worn textile itself and my own creative vision.

notice the two separate smaller squares that have been outlined in grey in the above photo. those two squares have become my second set of prayer flags.

this one is for a friend who will be moving along to a new life in a new community soon. i will miss her and i'm wishing her all the best as she moves forward in her own personal journey.
i liked the way that the arcs formed of triangles within the blocks from the old quilt looked like wee banners when set on point within the prayer flags.                

and this next one is mine to keep as a reminder of our friendship. i will see (as well as hear) it and be faithful in my prayers for her.
the bell sewn to the bottom of the flags ring when caught by the breeze.
i enjoy the gentle auditory reminder even if i don't happen to be able to actually see the flag.
if you would like more information about prayer flags as well as a chance to see many more it's worth a visit to The Prayer Flag Project Blog.

you probably also noticed a larger grey outline in that previously mentioned photo . . . those were the cutting lines i used for an additional project: a doll quilt.
this is something that i try to do from each of the cutter pieces that i acquire. doll quilts are a favorite of mine and often the other newly made pieces go to another home. the doll quilt stays with me and becomes part of my growing collection. it's a fun way for me to remember and pay respect towards those (and their beautiful work) who have come before me.

i've just barely begun to work on the repairs that are needed for this smaller quilt. it's going to be a time consuming project and for an example of some of the mending being done you can click on the photos of the prayer flags above.
i'm excited about how i think that it's going to work out. i'll be posting more about the doll quilt in a future post.

recent gifts include:
  • sunrises full of intense colors
  • fly traps (~!!~)
  • fabulous finds at the thrift store
  • bright red geranium blossoms

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

a shift in seasons

although the shift is still slight it's been feeling a bit cooler around here. crisp mornings growing into warm sunny days which then fade into cool evenings containing the slowing chirps of crickets. the shorter days reveal flowers fading as they uncover their finished summer's work of creating seeds. i almost mourn to see my favorite season pass into autumn but i must confess to feeling the need to rest more myself. this year i intend to embrace these changes as they happen . . .
please tell me what beauty you are seeing as your world changes around you.

i'm managing to get around to visiting other blogs a bit more often which is fun and always inspirational. i've even entered a giveaway for a sweet felt cushion created by Cathy at Big Lake Quilter. there are actually three to choose from and they are so very cute~!!~ i think that this giveaway ends on friday so if you happen to be interested in winning don't wait too long.

i have been keeping up with my 15 minutes of sewing time for each day as well as the TAST challenge (just barely) but have failed miserably on the sketchbook challenge.

i'm way behind on the showing of lots of creative bits and pieces but for today i've chosen the two most recent postcards that i've made.

this one is for my daughter. i was so busy with so many different things this year that i failed to make her a birthday postcard. i've promised to make her one for each month of the coming year instead and this is her september card.

this card was made for my mom's birthday. i used a printed felt background and highlighted various areas with stitches, beads and charms. i love the phone calls that i get when the cards arrive in their mail boxes~!
recent gifts include:
  • frequent visits from my daughter
  • enjoying a novel in the afternoon sun
  • picking tomatoes and preserving them for winter days yet to come
  • listening to the birds as they flock noisily in to peck the seeds from the middle of sunflowers planted especially for them
  • seeing a cottontail jump across my path on an early morning walk ~ hippity hoppity and into the sagebrush

Monday, September 3, 2012

Happy Labor Day 2012

i hope that this day is finding you in a peaceful place and that you are able to settle both your body and mind from all of the busyness of the summer.

i also want to share with you my newest little gem of a quilt. this one was a team effort. the top was made by Kathie at Inspired by Antique Quilts and then it was finished up (hand quilting~!!~) by Lori of Humble Quilts.
i was the lucky buyer over on the AAQI website. not much feels better than finding a quilt that you love, supporting the AAQI in their efforts to treat and cure Alzheimer's Disease AND snagging it before it's gone.
with that in mind i wanted to alert you to the fact that AAQI has already begun their grand auction affair for this month. these auctions are always during the first ten days of the month and there are some special quilts set aside and presented during this time. even if you really don't plan on buying i urge you to hop over there and see them. it's like a mini quilting show right at your fingertips.

so i've shown you the close-up for this little quilt but i would also like to share with you it's current display area.
this is a shot of part of the front porch as you go into my home. i've decorated it especially for this brief relaxing time of the year when long hot summer days begin to shorten and cool. soon the snow will be flying and the holidays will be upon us with all of their hustle and bustle. i think that these shorter days are a reminder that we should enjoy life and relax a bit. so take a seat. savor some time on the front porch, drink a tall cool beverage and calm your mind and body. 

btw: if you're the type to want a bit of reading material while you're out there on the front porch you should check this out:

and hey, if you happen to relax for a smidge too long and miss the auction you can always go to the AAQI site and see what quilts they have for sale (while they last). there is a constantly changing bonanza of small quilts to delight. something is sure to capture your heart. trust me. if you see something you like, don't hesitate. i happen to know from experience: they sometimes can and do get snapped right up. of course if your a bit too slow you can always shop for another.
;- )
whatever you do, don't think for a second that you can't make a difference by participating in some way because the AAQI is here to prove that a difference can be made and they can show you every detail of that difference as they see it currently. take a look at how things are stacking up against this disease from the AAQI standpoint~!~it's truly amazing what can happen when people work together to create a change~!!~
recent gifts include:
  • being the lucky buyer of this cute little quilt (it measures just barely over 7 x 11 inches)
  • being able to help spread the goodness that AAQI is working toward with a cure for Alzheimer's
  • long dreamy sessions on my front porch with the hummingbirds for company and a needle in my hand
  • being able to figure out and embed my very first video link~!!~