Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Pat's Peace Sign...Part 2

It's been busy around here!

First I spent a couple of hours with Pat's Peace Sign this morning...

Getting the actual peace symbol on there early on seemed important...I want the rest of the block to support it, not overwhelm it.

These little rudbeckia flowers will form the "scaffolding", which will be filled in by smaller, more detailed flowers and leaves.
I still need to get that wreath more even in width, but the flowers going on will help me do that.

Most of my time yesterday was spent in the kitchen, making of all things, ketchup. I just had to try it, with all those tomatoes we have. Very labor intensive stuff, is ketchup! Cooking it down and down and down....we finally finished it up quite late.

We're going to try out the extra on some home grown roasted potatoes tonight...we'll have fresh from the garden fava beans and corn as well...and how about some just harvested carrots in a carrot raisin salad?

I'm still working with the flowers, too.
I tried and tried to get a better Star of David but those angles and straight lines just defeated me. So I made a mandala inspired by the six pointed star......

Best wishes for Rosh Hashanah!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Pat's Peace Sign...Part 1

This is the t-shirt Pat was wearing that inspired her to suggest the Floral Peace Sign project. She thought it would look good in 3 D flowers, and that was all I needed to hear to get my motor running.....
So I just had to get to work on Pat's block today. Inspiration has struck and the iron is hot!

As a backdrop I am using a print from last spring's March Take It Further project, fused to some green silk that Pat herself dyed and gave to me a few years ago.
The block is 12" square, asymmetrical at first glance.

After a few hours of work, there is a little more balance.
Of course, this is all just "background" for the 3 D flowers Pat wants.
Progress will be posted!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Floral Symbols

After creating the peace sign out of flowers, I got to thinking about what other symbols could be depicted with this approach. I do want to enjoy those blooms during their last weeks, and creating images from them is a way to "preserve" them for the winter.

This Star of David is not quite straight and true, and I think I will redo it. But I like the idea of the frame being formed...the center could be filled with a portrait of a loved one...especially a Jewish loved one! ;-)

India and her spiritual traditions have a very special place in my heart, so I had to make an "Om" symbol. I would love to try adding 3 D flowers over the base of this after it's been printed onto silk.

There is other preserving to do these days besides the flowers, though. The pears are coming ripe and Robert's tomatoes are yielding a truly bumper crop. So it is back to the canning kettle for me and Barbie....

Thursday, September 25, 2008


My dear friend Pat Garner and I are going to do a swap this year at Point Bonita....she is going to make me a new quilt for my bed, and I am going to do an embellished flower picture for her.
This is the design she wants, so I did a warm-up.....

This is going to be so much fun!..... ;-)

Sunday, September 14, 2008


This was a fun little commission project that will be given as a gift at a baby shower.
Little Brooke should be arriving mid-October.....

I wanted to create something of quality but also fairly quickly, and this is what I came up with...

I have created an entire alphabet of flower letters that I can resize and print up as the need dictates. These letters here are approximately 2 1/2" square, on cotton sateen. I have put fusible web on the backs of them and am about to iron the onto the linen.

This shows the 505 spray I used to baste the drapery lining--a thick, loosely woven flannel of cotton--onto the back. I decided to do some more machine quilting, as I really did enjoy the look of that center circle on the White Tote.

I machine-buttonholed around the edges of my letters, then machine quilted around them, and finally added some hand embroidery.

For a speedy finish, I used the "envelope" approach, sewing the back to the front right sides together, leaving an opening, and then turning it right side out.

After it was turned, pressed, and the gap sewn shut, then I added the border. Kind of backwards, I know, but this worked fine for me. I machine-buttonholed the trim on the inside of the border, and whipstitched it closed on the outside.

This little item measures 5 1/4" X 19 1/2".

I do love working with those letters, and have been wondering for quite awhile now if others would too...enough to buy them on a CD from me. Would you mind giving me a little feedback to help me decide whether to make them available? I think I would come up with numbers, too, and put on some mandala floral designs on the CD for good measure. $20.00 includes postage....what do you think?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Canning With Barbie..OT from CQ!

It's not just tomatoes....all our corn is coming ripe at the same time now too!
So we have made two giant batches of corn relish in the last day...here is the recipe:

Corn Relish (for canning)
Yields 5 to 6 pints

22 to 25 medium size ears of corn (enough to make 10 cups of kernels)
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 1/4 cups chopped celery
3/4 cup chopped onions
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 1/2 cups distilled white vinegar
2 cups water
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon celery seed
2 1/2 tablespoons mustard seed
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

1. Cook ears of corn in boiling salted water for 3 to 5 minutes. Plunge into cold water. Drain corn. Cut kernels from cob with knife. Kernels should measure 10 cups. Combine corn with remaining ingredients in large pot and simmer 15 minutes.

2. Immediately pack into clean, hot pint jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace; seal. Process in boiling water bath for 15 minutes.
The only problem is I whacked my back carrying the full-to-the-brim canning kettle from the stove to the counter yesterday, and can only stand at a 45 degree angle today. I simply cannot stand up straight without being pointedly reminded that all is not well in my sacroiliac.

But no matter, we carry on, and I had some help from Barbie, as you can see.

This is the first of several bags of harvest from Robert's garden.

Actually, she did a good job running things in the kitchen while I was hobbling about.

Well o.k., I helped a little.

And always remember, it is never too late to play with dolls!

I've been stitching too...more on that tomorrow. ;-)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Happy Birthday Qwen!

"Q" is for Qwen!

This little pistol, my niece Qwen Allison, was born on September 12, 2001. She brought so much joy into our lives that sad, sad week.
She still does. She is a pip at 7 and will be a major force to be reckoned with at 17. (Here she is busting a move to some rap music...)

Happy Birthday, QWEN!!!!!

Thursday, September 11, 2008


My Uncle Hal painted this while watching TV that day, the tears streaming down his face.

It is good to heal, but we will never, ever forget......

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The White Tote...Finished!

I added a little more embroidery to the front this morning before finishing up this project.

The flowers along the left side in the big white patch are the same as the flowers in the above right. The tote front needed this balance.

For the back I chose some lovely natural linen.

This was also the fabric for the straps. The lining is green cotton lame, but you can't really see that.

And here it is, finished. I wish the circle was a bit more perfect....but this IS handmade, so that's o.k. When this tote is actually being used, it won't be an issue.
Overall, I would say that doing that close quilting on a patch (the circle) before piecing it in was a success, and I will use that concept again. I also like this tote's shape, and the ease of its construction. My home-printed white floral fabric was fun to use as well...all in all, making this was a very pleasant experience.

Now I need to take a few days off and attend to the tomatoes. Lots of tomatoes.
Salsa, anyone?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

White Tote Front...Embellishment Finished

This project was all about texture, repetition, and rhythm. Because the color scheme was limited to white, beige, and green (with a fleck of yellow and a half a fleck of red), this gave me the chance to emphasize these other design elements.
Crazy quilting gives us so much scope for pushing on different aspects of design; it's one reason I love it so much.

There were lots and lots more French knots.

I appliqued this gorgeous lace motif to act as a seam treatment. Talk about getting a lot of "bang for my buck"! This took no time at all to sew on, gave me the texture and made the transition between patches that I wanted, and repeated the lace 3D flower element that is on the tote farther up.

Embroidered rick rack is another way to get plenty of detail with minimal sewing. Here it is repeating the scalloped edge that the lace and chainstitching provides all over this tote front. The more saturated green gives the circle some punch too, along with that line of 4 mm silk ribbon.

When the tote is assembled and finished, that "neckline" will be symmetrical and the circle won't look lopsided at the top the way it does now.

This has been a balm to do after the Burner Bag! I'll sew it up tomorrow....

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Stitching and Pitching

I haven't gotten too much work done on the white tote this week-end, but I do have a few detail shots....

Threading this lace flower helps it stand out a bit.

Pulling a large needle through many layers of fabric-that's a substantial seam allowance under there--is aided by my trusty pliers. The trick is not to pull too hard and bunch up that fabric with tight stitches.

This cotton yarn used in a backstitch will define that curve nicely. I always like to use the element of "line" with my embellishments to help get things moving "around the block".

The reason I haven't gotten much stitching done this week-end is that Robert and I took a quick trip down to Los Angeles to take in a Dodger game with R's dad.
I married into baseball and really do enjoy it....and the game turned out to be really fun!

The game was all about our new hero, Manny Ramirez, whose hitting has shot the Dodgers to the top of their division. Here he is rounding the bases after a three-run homer.

The crowd was on its feet and yelling every time he came up to the plate. It was great!

I love the little communities that form in the stands for the duration of a game...watching and hearing the funny things the fans do...enjoying the game being played really well (after my history of sitting through countless torturous Little League games).... but best of all was seeing these two guys having a fine afternoon together....

Go Dodgers!!!!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The White Tote

For very action there is an equal and opposite reaction....and after that Burner Bag, I needed to work with lace and softness in the worst way.
Plus, I wanted another go at making a tote with a lightly simplified block lay-out and also a smaller size.

So here is my design...

The numbers are the piecing order.

I had to ramp up the color of my stenciled flower once I ironed it. The oil pastels just kind of faded after being heat set. Also, my email friend Anna VanDemark wrote to me with a link about the drawbacks of using oil pastels on fabric. Mostly the issues are archival. You can read it here. And do check out Anna's website!

Anyway, I used Dye-Na-Flo thickened with clear aloe gel to paint more color onto my stenciled image, and then quilted the heck out of it before piecing it into my tote.

I can stand quilting in small doses! I loved using that Wonderfil thread I got in Houston last year. Great, great stuff.

Finished, this should be around 15" tall by 17" wide. I am truly enjoying working with these gentle supplies after my brief foray into the urban jungle!

Monday, September 1, 2008

The Burner Bag...Finished

Pretty crazy....

I was glad to get this done!
The fringe didn't work so I left it off. And to answer Judy S's question, yes, that is multicolored ribbon in the extreme upper right, just done with a herringbone stitch (and a giant needle).

I decided to create a follow-up tote that refines the shape of this one a little bit, as well as simplifies the block piecing. Fabrics and colors will be in the green and white range, embroidery more delicate. But I still want to experiment, so I am trying stenciling for the first time.

Oil pastels, stencil, and stencil brushes gave me....

...this! It will go where the "Burner Girl" went on the last one, front and center. I'll try quilting it before I piece it in, too--another experiment.

Thanks for your very kind (and diplomatic) comments re the Burner Bag.
It's good for me now to get my head back out of town, so to speak, and into the garden again!

Plants are getting floppy but still blooming...

The taller flowers dominate this time of summer....

...unless they grow down over the wall instead....