Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Eve

One year ends and the new one begins.  

This year ended with one transition -- my mother died at the end of November.  She suffered from Alzheimer's disease and has not known who I was in at least a decade.  I really lost my mother long ago but her death is still very final.  
The new year will bring other transitions, my son is a senior in high school.  He plans to go to away to college in the fall.  My daughter will be sixteen in the fall and able to drive herself places.  My carpool and taxi service days will be over.    

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Winter Roses

Rose Hips and Melting Snow

 Today was a cold, damp day.  It was warm enough for the snow to start melting but cold enough to still feel like winter.  Tomorrow, the temperature is supposed to drop, making it clear that the weather was just trying to fool us into thinking that spring was coming.

What is coming is a new year -- 2011 is just around the corner.  All over the internet, people are making plans for the year to come and posting new challenges, goals, and resolutions.  I am not ready for that yet -- I am savoring the end of this year.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas 2010

It was a white Christmas Eve in Chicago on Friday.  After watching the Joffrey Ballet Nutcracker, we walked up Michigan Avenue and visited the Lions in front of the Art Institute of Chicago.  This year the traditional green wreaths have been replaced with new wreaths that are made up of 2,011 cranberry colored, solar powered spheres.  They looked very cool in the snow.  

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Charity project and a UFO

I finished the sugar cookie for Lake County ANG.  It will be finished to look like a three dimensional cookies and donated to the ANG Seminar auction.

Now I need to work more on Lynn Tomlinson's Cabin in the Woods, it has been a UFO for a long time and it is now my challenge piece for the Lake County ANG.

Another trip to the botanic garden

I went to the Chicago Botanic Garden this afternoon to see the Fine Art of Fiber exhibit and to take some pictures.  I enjoyed the exhibit and was able to take pictures of the changing leaves and interesting seeds.  Here are some of my favorites:

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Fall color and some stitching progress

I have been stitching and have made some more progress on my sampler.  I realized that I did not have enough thread to finish the sampler and ordered more.  That way I can start mixing the dye lots early in the piece.  It is fun to see the patterns emerge as I stitch.  I also like the effect of the back stitch areas.

Yesterday, I went to an estate sale for a woman who had been part of several of the needlework guilds in the area.  I bought a few things including the Plimoth Plantation Sweete Bag and the accompanying Accesories.  This piece is from The Examplarery and is an adaptation from a sampler that is in the collections at Plimoth Plantation.  I started on the scissors sheath.  It looks like it will be fairly quick to stitch and fun to finish.  I love the attention to detail in the design, the order of the colors are different on the sides of the scissor sheath and there are different designs for the front and back of the sweete bag.

The weather has continued to be nice so I took advantage of it and went to one of the nearby forest preserves this afternoon.  I took my camera instead of the dogs and took some pictures of the changing leaves and the end of season seed pods.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

October at the Chicago Botanic Garden

Sunday afternoon, it was warm enough to be outside, it was not raining, and I did not have to drive anyone anywhere so I took some time to go wander around the Chicago Botanic Garden with my camera.  In addition to the obligatory fall pumpkins, gourds and colored leaves, there were some beautiful flowers, squirrels and birds.

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

I picked up a recording of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn from the Fremont Public Library and started listening to it in my car this morning.  I haven't read this book in almost 30 years, and I remember details from this book better than I remember things in the book I finished yesterday or the newspaper I read this morning.  They are odd details, like going to the store to buy a paper collar or the story of the blue baby that survives because it is born in a hospital.  I don't remember reading this book more than once, I also don't remember it as being a particular favorite but these details have stuck with me.  

It could be because I was a girl who loved the library and wanted to read through all of the books in alphabetical order.  It could be that I was Francie's age when I read the book.  It could also be that Betty Smith was very good at describing the details that make a place or shape a life.  The soup bone with scraps of meat attached to it that with some tired vegetables makes a rich and nourishing soup flecked with meat, the bowl of nasturtiums on the librarian's desk, or the immaculate linen and threadbare tuxedo jacket on Johnny Nolan.

I am not sure, but it is a bit magical while driving on the Illinois Tollway to hear something that reminds me of being 14.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Rose ATC

I finished and mailed my rose artist trading card last week.  It is now on its way to its new home in New Zealand.  I used some wool felt picked up at a quilting show, DMC color variations stranded cotton and Mill Hill beads to make my rose.  I modeled it on some of the wild roses that I have seen.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Cherries for Cherie finished

I finished a small crewel piece the other day.  Barbara Jackson of Tristan Brooks Designs taught this small piece for the Lake Michigan Sampler Guild.  I enjoyed stitching it, although it took a while to fill in the sheep with all those French knots.

Barbara finished hers as a small case that could be folded in half.  I am thinking about making mine into a small pouch instead.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Late summer means tomatoes

On the last Sunday in August, Sandhill Organics lets share holders pick their own tomatoes.  Walking the fields and picking out my own fruit reminds me of all of the weekends we spent picking fruit in the orchards and vineyards around our home in Tempe, Arizona, when I was a child.  It is also an opportunity to spend some time on the farm that provides my produce year after year.  This year, I went by myself and brought back a bushel of heirloom tomatoes and large red slicers.

In addition to fruit and vegetables, there are more animals on the farm than there have been in the past.  I spent some time watching the chickens.  It always amazes me how many different colors and types of feathers there are on the different types of domestic chickens.  I watched the pigs too.  It was a hot day and this pig looked like it was having a wonderful time trying to keep cool.

We have been eating tomato salad, home made salsa, and BLTs for the past week and a half and no one is bored.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Stitching Progress

I have continued to work on a small project and a large project every day.  I finished a small project that has been languishing in my sewing basket for a long time this week.  Finished actually means finishing the stitching and finishing the stitched pieces into a block shape that I can either make into an ornament or use as a pincushion.

 I have also made some progress on my Permin sampler in a week.  I have stitched more than a thread each day as you can see.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Monet ATC and other stitching

My Monet ATC is now on its way to its new owner.  I based it on his Parliament paintings and I think it conveys the general idea of his work.

I decided to take Gay Ann Rogers challenge to stitch at least 12 stitches a day on a project.  I picked a large project, the Museum Celle Sampler 1826 by Permin of Copenhagen, a small project, Frightfully Fun by the Trilogy, and I have been stitching one thread's worth of stitches on each per day.  I finished Frightfully Fun on Sunday.

I took a progress picture of the Museum Celle Sampler on Saturday, I will continue to document my progress week by week.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Three new Temari

I finished three Temari balls today.  They are for the EGA Correspondence Course.  I am actually done with them in time to send them in for evaluation.  In the back is Fourth of July, to the right is Quaker Ladies and in front is a bound star.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Pictures from the National Botanic Garden

Last week I was in Washington DC and I took the time to go over to the National Botanic Garden with my new camera.  I am particularly proud of this butterfly on the orange zinnia.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Fiber Weekend

I spent quite a bit of this weekend at the Midwest Fiber and Folk Fair.  It helped that the fair has moved to the Lake County Fairgrounds which have moved to a new location which is very close to my house.

Saturday, I took two classes from Franklin Habit on lace knitting.  Between Franklin and studying Diane Thornton's video on Left Handed Knitting, I think I have finally mastered making flat lace fabric with all of the decreases and increases slanting the right direction.  On Sunday morning, I volunteered as a greeter and I finished wrapping all but one of my Temari balls.  I also went shopping and bought beautiful yarn, wooden tools, and yarn bowls.

The fibers in the bowl at the top are from Knitting Notions, Wolf Creek Wools, Socks that Rock, and Mountain Colors.  They are a combination of sock and lace weight yarns in wool and silk combinations. This beautiful yarn bowl is full of sock yarn from Happy Hands Yarn and Fiber.  It is part of a package of 24 colorways in a Toe Candy Sock Kit.  They looked like a lot of fun to knit and wear.  I have to decide whether I want two socks that match or two different socks -- two different ones might be fun.  The lovely bowl was from The Fold's booth.

I also bought some beautiful wooden tools including a sock darning egg and a nostepinne.  My mother had a lot of sewing tools, some of them may have come from her grandmother.  They included tools for pressing things including a sleeve board, a point presser, a tailer's ham and a clapper.  I missed them the other day when I was trying to alter the sleeves on a karate gi to fit my daughter but I don't do enough sewing or alterations to collect my own set of pressing tools.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Back from vacation

We are back from our vacation to Greenville, SC.  The kids competed at the USA NKF National Karate Tournament, my husband spent his first year as a Judge.  I took pictures with my new Nikon camera and explored Greenville and some of the surrounding area.

Specifically, I visited the Biltmore Estate with its huge house, beautiful gardens and winery.  After the tour of the house, I wandered in the gardens until I thought I would melt and then went and tasted wine.  Down in the wine cellar, it was very cool.  I bought a rose, a dry Reisling, and a very good Tempranillo to take back.   I also went to Ashville where I visited the Grove Park Inn, and Thomas Wolfe's house.  The Grover Park Inn was in the middle of an exterior rennovation so no pictures there but you can see Thomas Wolfe's house below.  I also wandered around Asheville and visited three yarn stores, three book stores and saw many quilts.  My main purchase was an autographed copy of Erica Wilson's Embroidery Book and the wine I brought home from the Biltmore.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Copper River Canyon progress

I have been listening to Charlaine Harris' Southern Vampire mystery series and watching movies while working on Copper River Canyon.  This design by Mary K. Campbell was offered as a cyberclass through Cyberpointers.  I loved the idea of combining beading, blackwork and surface mapping techniques in order to produce a piece of needlework.  I also loved the copper colors in the piece.

Today, I finished beading my river.  I think it is a bit wider in parts than it should be but that will be fine.  Randomly applying the beads to the canvass was a meditative act that went fairly quickly when I sat down to work on it.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Fishy Fishy

I finished the small project from the Lake Michigan Sampler Guild meeting on Sunday -- it is Fishy Fishy by La D Da.   It was fun to stitch the small design with Belle Soie Silk on Weeks Dye Works linen.  It was easy to finish as a small ort box lid using glue and binder clips.  

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Name tag and trip to Scarlet Letter

I finished my name tag for the Lake Michigan Sampler Guild last night.  The threads are a combination of Olde Willow linen, Vicki Clayton silk, and Crescent Colors cotton floss.  I adapted a Guild Anniversary Pincushion design for the name tag.  Today, I went to the open house at The Scarlet Letter near Sullivan, Wisconsin.  It was a nice day for a drive despite all of the dire weather forecasts and I was able to admire samplers and hooked rugs and shop for as long as I wanted.  I came home with two sampler kits and a chart and copies of Amy Mitten's Autopsy of the Montenegrin Stitch and the new book about Sweet Bags by Jacqui Carey.  I also had an opportunity to admire the multicolored alpacas before I left.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Artists Trading Cards

I finished some ATCs today for exchanges.  First, Spring Flowers -- a little late for the April Stitching Fingers ATC Exchange based on Landscapes.  AT the beginning of April I had Japanese dwarf Iris, Hyacinths, Daffodils and Tulips blooming in my garden.  Stitched in soysilk on hand dyed fabric.

The second is Undersea Life for May.  This time I am not behind.  A small school of fish swim along with a sea urchin, some rocks, a shell and some sea weed.  Stitched in soy silk with found objects and agate beads.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Lake County ANG Year Long Project -- restarted

I decided a couple of weeks ago that I really did not like the color scheme for my Year Long ANG project so I went to North Shore Needleworks and picked out new threads.  You can see the green and burgundy color scheme here:

I started out with the Laid Filling Stitches -- the next four photographs show the results:

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Spring Flowers

The snow melted and the first of the spring flowers are blooming in the garden -- dwarf Japanese Iris.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Take a Stitch Tuesday 2 Week 1

I am a bit late with my TAST 2 Week 1 sample.  I tried to use Diamond Stitch on my evenweave sampler but I could not get the stitches to lay correctly on a grid.  After looking at some of the stitched samples on the web, I decided that a free embroidery piece was called for.  The sample is stitched in Crescent Colors floss on a piece of hand dyed fabric and includes French knots and bullion stitches in addition to Diamond Stitch.