Sunday, July 29, 2007

Everyone is reading Harry Potter

Everyone at my house is reading Harry Potter right now. We are sharing the new book while my daughter reads her way through the series from the beginning. As you can see from the photo, the humans are not the only ones who are interested in what happens in the book. Holly is very intently staring at the book over my daughter's shoulder. Maybe she knows that there are cats in the story.

I did some stitching last week but not very much. I worked on my monochrome piece for the Sumptuous Stitches class. It is coming along fairly well -- I like the pulled satin stitch but I am not sure about the random stitches in the top section of the background and need to work on the center more. I will see if I can make more progress this week. Lesson 3 deals with embellishment -- I will have to see what I can come up with.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Flower, Fruit and Vegetable share

I bought a copy of Photoshop Elements the other day to play with. Above you can see the results applied to a photo of my latest flower, fruit and vegetable share. There are pie cherries, blueberries, peaches, yellow beats, green peppers, dill, cucumber, basil, spring onions, zucchini, eggplant and lettuce.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Today is my 15th wedding anniversary. My husband is on a business trip to California. He has a late flight back so I hope he beats the thunder storms. It rained on our wedding day too -- we got married in southern Virginia at the Chamberlain Hotel on Fort Monroe. We had everything planned to be married in the gazebo with the reception in the hotel. We ended up getting married on the porch and the USS Enterprise came into port with all of the sailors in their dress whites on deck, saluting the flag at Fort Monroe during the ceremony.

I bought him a digital camcorder as an anniversary present -- now he can be a true karate Dad and videotape the kids fights and kata. I tried installing video editing software on my laptop and found out that I need to upgrade to Vista to make it work. I got the upgrade but decided that tonight is not the night to upgrade my operating system.

I did find a cool link on another blog you can create your own name or phrase at spell with flickr.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Catching up

I am caught up with my Take a Stitch Samples -- Sheaf stitch variations and Arrowhead in scraps of metallic ribbon and perle cotton left over from previous projects. I think that the small experiments came out pretty well and the metallic colors really jazz up the stitching.
I have also been working on concepts for Sumptuous Surfaces. I tried to follow Sharon's advice and develop the sketch of the book and coffee cup but I have not come up with satisfactory sketch. If I am still not there tomorrow night, I will start stitching the plain one. This one includes a stitching map. There is more movement in it but I am not satisfied with the size or the shape of the coffee cup. I drew another one that is 4 x 6 but I am not happy with the use of space. I posted the other one on the Flikr group.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Bobbin Lace Book Worm

Yesterday I went to a bobbin lace class at the Fiber and Folk Festival in Crysal Lake. Sylvie Nugyen is a very good teacher. We made bookworms and I came home and finished mine. You can see it in the picture. I am not sure if I will start another lace project very soon but I enjoyed learning how to make bobbin lace and the bookworm is cute. I looked at all of the vendor booths and did a little bit of shopping but not too much.
On the way home I bought the new Harry Potter book for my son. He is busy reading. My daughter decided to start reading the books from the beginning. She is more than half way through the first one.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Sumptuous Surfaces

I have been thinking about a design for the first piece in the Sumptuous Surfaces class. I have brainstormed ideas, looked at pictures, studied the landscape and thought about different things that have meaning to me. Since I signed up for this course to experiment with using different fibers, objects and stitches to develop complex textures and surfaces, I finally decided that I needed to find a fairly simple design. My favorite is based on my favorite coffee cup

I developed 3 sketches:

I think that I like this one the best. I have ideas for stitches and threads to u
se on
it as well. The monochrome, neutral colors that I pulled from my stash should work well.
Before I started sketching, I brainstormed a mind map with cup of coffee at the center and came up with quite a few words and associations:
Cup of Coffee:
Morning -- wake up! rise and shine! fresh start, peaceful moment on my own, start the day with a cup; friendship -- neighborhood coffee, church coffee hour, lets get together for coffee; warm/comforting -- wrap my hands around cup when cold, comforting smell, soothing taste, Mike making me coffee makes me feel cared for; many types of cups -- delicate porcelain, Grammy Baugh's demitasse cups, substantial mug; Percolator/drip coffee maker -- grumbles and gurgles; Grinder -- whirr/whirr; Diner waitress -- "can I refill your cup, hon?"; coffee with newspaper or crossword puzzle on Sunday morning; coffee in the car on the way to work; Mom and Dad drinking coffee; Starbucks everywhere

Monday, July 16, 2007


We were on vacation this past week so there have been no posts and not much stitching or reading but there has been some knitting. Here is my progress on m first sock. I used a koigu yarn and am using a pattern from one of Sally Mellville's books. I am ready to turn the heel and start on the foot.

Also, after much ripping out and starting over, I got my sea cell shawl started. I am adapting a scarf pattern from Interweave Knitter's magazine. When I counted correctly doubling the width of the scarf worked and you can see the lace effect and some of the color changes.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Ready for class

After participating in Sharon B's Take A Stitch Tuesday challenge, I decided to sign up for her on-line class Sumptuous Surfaces offered through Joggles. I have been collecting materials for the past week. You can see them in the picture.

I have collected different neutral colors in threads and ribbons made of cotton, linen, rayon, and silk. There are some seed beads, bugles and some natural stone beads. I think that they will be fun to play with. I should get the first class lesson tomorrow.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Bullion Stitch - Take a Stitch Tuesday

I experimented with the bullion stitch this week making a conventional picture with different flowers and a flying insect. Before I started the picture on the right, I looked through back issues of Inspirations magazine to get ideas. Most of the flowers are stitched using gumnuts petals, the bug has rayon wings and a purple cotton overdyed body. After some practice, my skill with the bullions improved and I think that most of them look pretty good. My son pointed out that although the flowers are fairly realistic, he has never seen a purple bee. It is stitched on a piece of overdyed cotton -- I bought a bag of pieces packaged for crazy quilters and then forgot about it. I will probably use them for finishing cross stitch pieces but I could use them to make crazy quilt blocks using some of my TAST experiments with flowers as focal points.

I also experimented with adding bullions to the free embroidery piece that I started last week. The cream is silk and the green is a DMC linen thread. The additional stitches add some textural interest and more color to the piece. I am starting to like it a bit more than I did before. It is interesting -- I described this piece last week as a mess but someone saw it in the TAST Flikr group and added a comment to indicate that they really liked it.
In addition to stitching, I finished reading The Peoples Act of Love by James Meek and started reading The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards. I also watched The Big Sleep this afternoon -- I love watching Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall together. I have been entertaining the cats by winding yarn into balls and I successfully started my first sock. Maybe later this week, I will be able to post a progress picture.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Fruit and Flower Shares start . . .

I finished a 4th of July project today it is a Silver Needle Secret Needle Night kit. Yesterday, we had a fairly quiet, family oriented day. We had 4th of July food -- hamburgers, hot dogs, macaroni salad, potato salad and strawberries. Then we went and joined the neighbors to watch the fireworks. Our dogs stayed home and protected the house.

Today the fruit and flower shares started so in addition to vegetables, I picked up a bouquet of flowers and fruit. The vegetables selections included beets, Japanese turnips, cippoline onions, garlic, lettuce, cilantro, parsley, arugula and broccoli. The fruit includes organic blueberries, sweet cherries and black raspberries. I cheated and didn't keep the beet and turnip greens because I still have kale from last week and we will be on vacation part of next week but the newsletter had a delicious recipe for beet greens in a coconut curry sauce with pasta that I may have to try next time.

The flowers, as always, are beautiful and I enjoy having them in the house. We have flowers in our garden, but we grow random perennials and do not have much of a cutting garden. I love all the different colors of sunflowers that we get throughout the summer, you can see a deep red one on the right side of the arrangement.

As I have been shuttling kids to karate and back, I have been reading. I finished Sara Gruen's book Water for Elephants yesterday. It was very good -- she presents the main character in his 20s and 90s and presents both well.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Take A Stitch Tuesday

A quick post of my Take a Stitch Tuesday samples. First a grid based doodle using left over perle cotton. The picture is a bit crooked but the stitching is not. I used several different combinations of half chevron to form a border -- filled in with wheat ear and then experimented with different stitch sizes. I had to quit when I ran out of thread.
I also experimented with using this stitch for free embroidery on a piece of Silkweaver solo. The fabric color really does not come across well in the photograph -- it is more red. I used some random pieces of Gentle Arts Sampler threads with different ply to stitch with -- the shape is outlined in split stitch and filled with half chevrons and french knots. The idea is a rock or a piece of coral but I think it needs some more work to develop into anything other than a mess.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

A reading weekend . . .

Not much stitching this weekend but a lot of reading. I finally finished Memoirs of Hadrian this weekend. Yourcenar writes beautifully in French and the book was beautifully translated into English but this is not a quick read. I read through most of the discussion from the Book Group List. Unlike most of the readers on that list, I found Yourcenar grounded in the tradition of old French heroic literature with Racine rather than writing a novel about ideas and philosophy or starting the modern historical novel/non-fiction biography. The difference could be that I studied French Literature in college rather than philosophy.

I went on to read Elizabeth Bowen's book The House in Paris and Ayn Rand's Anthem. The House in Paris does a good job of portraying the events through a child's eyes as Henrietta observes the adults and Leopold in the beginning and end of the book. I am not sure that it does as well with the adult characters in the middle. I need to think about it some more. Anthem seemed to me to fit in with 1984 and Animal Farm or even with C.S. Lewis's science fiction as a modern day retelling of the story of Adam and Eve. Maybe now I will be motivated enough to finish Team of Rivals.