Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A rose by any other name...

Over at the Hand Embroidery Group we've been talking about starting some challenges. I've been thinking about starting a weekly(update*now monthly) rose challenge to push myself to learn different ways to embroider roses. I don't know about you but I never tire of roses and I figure the more the merrier! I've also noticed that the more you learn the more creative you can be. So each week(month) I am going to learn and share a different rose, and try out different variations. I'm not sure how long I'm going to do this for. I thought it would be fun and give me a bigger tool box of roses to create. Anyone is welcome to join me. I can't wait to see what I create and also anyone else who would like to do it too. I'm calling it "A rose by any other name" because they all look just as sweet!

White on White CQ Block: Seams

Last night I worked on my White on white block for my Encrusted CQ class. I still want to add more to the seams but I think I need to wait until the adding beads stage to really finish them. I really enjoy actually doing the embroidery, it's so relaxing! I love the scalloping seams! I did the top one using part of my thimble as a guide and the bottom one with a spool of thread and the chain stitch. On the bottom seam I added french knots with cotton chenille and they are cute fuzzy little dots you just want to run your fingers over. I'm thinking of adding silk ribbon petals around them to give nice texture contrast. I'll either do straight stitch petals or lazy daisy petals.
Click on the photos to see closer!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Seam Treatment

I've been frozen all week, unable to work on my blocks I made for my Encrusted CQ online class. Today I just wanted to do something, but I didn't know what so I figured this seam looked like a good one. I did the blanket stitch along the edge alternating longer and shorter arms. Then on the opposite side I made a straight stitch down the row, then going back up made slanted straight stitches on both sides of that. Then I went though again and added pistol stitches in a fine thread in between the straight stitches. I'm still not finished with this seam though. I want to add beads of some sort and maybe some lazy daisies on the blanket stitch side too, or maybe I'll just add beads in flower form on the short and a crystal on the tall. Not sure what I'm going to do though. I have no clue as to what else I'll do anywhere else either! None of the stitches are very even either, but I figure I'm not a machine, and I don't have any templates. You can click on the photos to see closer.

Sampler Stitches

Today I messed around with another stitch. This time the chevron stitch. It's really difficult to keep the stitches even! I marked dots and I still couldn't get it even!
Come Jan. I'm going to start doing the "Take a stitch Tuesdays" with Sharon B. I think it will help me to improve if I take weekly time to work on stitches and make a sampler of all the things I can think to do with a stitch. It should be fun too.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Windsong Jewels

Here are my 6 six inch blocks for the 'Windsong Jewels' DYB RR (Do Your Block Round Robin) that I am in over at CQI. I'm excited to be a part of this RR. It is also my very first RR!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Have A Heart Swap

Here is the heart I received from the Have A Heart Swap over at the Hand Embroidery Yahoo Group! It is from Gayle! Isn't it stunning? In person it just sparkles and shines, and her use of texture is awesome! I love it, it is just an absolute treasure to own! When I opened the package and saw it all I could say was "oh wow" and stare at it soaking in all the details! Click Here to see the heart I made for the swap that Gayle received!

Hand Spun Silk Thread

Jessica W. surprised me by adding this beautiful thread to her ornament swap package. I was already thrilled when I saw it and then I read the note she sent and found that she hand spun this beautiful silk thread herself! WOW! What a wonderful treat! It's got such a wonderful texture. I can't wait to use it, and I think the white one will go perfect on my white on white block! Thank you, Jessica!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

CQ Heart for my Sister: Finished

Click on the photo to see it closer. I dyed the 2nd leaf today and just finished the rest of the embellishing. The heart is finished and now ready to be mounted. I have a frame for it but it has to have no glass. I really love this heart too, I love the colors and fabrics and design of it. I like the 2 leaves too because it kind of looks like a hug! Also here is a photo of my sister. Isn't she beautiful? She will be 15 on 11 November, and this heart is for her birthday. I know she is going to love it.

Monday, October 23, 2006

White on White CQ Block

Today I wanted to try a third 8 inch block and I've been wanting to try white on white, so that's what I made. It was a lot easier for me this time. Things went a lot more smoothly, and I was able to add more lace! It's got lots of texture too. I really love this block! Hey Lillian! You recognize that bit of lace up at the top?! Thank you!
Here is another photo of my second block, I hope you all can see the colors of it better.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Second CQ Block

Today I pieced together my second 8 inch block. I wanted a more antique feel. It reminds me of the old west. I used the middle faux leather for inspiration of the colors of the block. It's tough but not like leather, more near a suede type feel. Also I used a piece of black velveteen, a shiny brown material and the rest are silks, I just love how Dupioni silk looks. I had a better time piecing this block though than the last one. I guess having a better idea of what you are doing helps! LOL
The only thing that's giving me trouble with this block is the accuracy of the photo you are seeing. I just couldn't get the colors and textures to look right. This is as close as I could get. The lightest piece is a little darker it's really a black gold Dupioni silk, and at the bottom is a black brown Dupioni silk, in all the photos it looks purplish!

Saturday, October 21, 2006


Today me and my wonderful hubby went to Atlanta to the Fabric.com warehouse sale! We got an awesome deal on silk!!! We picked through the remnant table that was priced $12 a pound for the silk. I got a whole bunch! AND I found 1 yard of a color that I had gotten a swatch of and used in my sister's CQ heart (upper left of the heart) that I tried to order but it wasn't available anymore!!! YEAY! It's called chocolate rose! And it's as yummy as the name! It's the one on the top of all the fabrics. We had a lot of fun! When we got home we measured it all out and averaged the price per yard and it came out to be $3.14 a yard!!! Tell me where can you get so many colors of Dupioni silk for $3.14 a yard! They said they will be having another warehouse sale in April!

Friday, October 20, 2006

First CQ Block

Here is a better photo of what the block for the Encrusted CQ class looks like. I just took this photo, the velvets look better than in the scan I had taken. I also just finished some foundations for more blocks. I made two more 8 inchers, six 6 inchers, and three 7 inchers! That way they are just waiting to be made into blocks.
I have a question, are you supposed to add a seam allowance to the square? Like for a 6 inch block would you make a 61/4 in square and piece it to that size and then sew around the edge to 6 inch? Or do you just make 6 inch, 6 inches and add extra fabric around? OR do they really shrink and a 6 inch block is really a 5 something inch finished block.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

My First CQ Block

After a lot of hard work, I finished piecing my first CQ block for the Encrusted CQ class I'm taking online with Sharron B. It is an 8 inch block. 11 pieces total. I have never before pieced one and I had a tough time because I didn't know what I was doing! It turned out great though and I love it! I just hope piecing gets easier when you know what you are doing. First I agonized over what colors to use, then picking fabrics then what order to put them in, and how to put them down with thinking of the over all composition. Then I had to pick more fabrics because I wasted because I didn't know how to piece efficiently. Oh and I snipped the muslin in the back while I was trimming seams too! LOL Okay now I'm laughing, it is funny! Oh and I had a sewing machine jam too! LOL And this scan doesn't do it justice! LOL The velvets look freaky in this scan but they are really pretty, they are green and a nice golden brown. Also you see that lace at the top? I added that after I was done! It looks like it sewed in though huh!? I love that lace! I got it from Pat Winter's Etsy shop.

CQ Heart for my Sister: progress

I added some pretty green seed beads to the leaf, if you click on the photo you can see closer. I also attached the butterflies and sewed the folded roses together and added a amethyst seed bead to the middle of each. I still need to dye the 2nd leaf and add the seed beads to it. Then I'll attach the roses. The flower beads and leaf beads and pearls around are a trial. I think I like them there. The flower beads and pearls bring that color from the upper left corner down. Also I did those in 3's around the 2 roses to bring balance. I think it helps.
Off to dye the leaf!

Me and my Sister

Here is a picture of me and my sister! Also my dear friend Christina. We were going around to the different antiquey shops and I was finding china and she was interested in these vintage hats, she would buy a few and then we all went to a tea shop wearing Joyce's vintage hats. It was a lot of fun. I don't get to see her very often so when I do we make the most of it. This was 2 years ago. The bottom photo is the day before when we all went to a tea shop and I ordered 'The Queen's Tea' so we could all feast! We had a lot of fun.

CQ Heart for my Sister: testing layout

Here's my latest trial, what do y'all think? I think I like the second leaf, with the 2 roses and the bead. Don't worry I plan to dye the 2nd leaf too! Oh and I'm thinking of adding green seed beads to the empty slots on the leaf lace. I'm trying to do 2's because this is my sister, and I want it to have special meaning. The only thing is working with 2's makes it more difficult to find balance and flow.
Thank you to everyone who is giving me their valuable opinions! I really appreciate the honest feedback.
And please, if you have some feedback, I'd love to know. It won't hurt my feelings in the least. I promise to consider it. Anything helps my creative process, and helps me decide what I'm going to do.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

CQ Heart for my Sister: Monogram

I just finished the satin stitching on the 'J' and I love it!!! Now to mess around with the embellishments again! I made a scan tonight and I think it looks very real and close to what it looks like in person! Wow, I'm going to try scanning things more often.
I printed out a few copies of the heart so I can try drawing a few idea's out. I just read that idea in Sharon B's first lesson from the Encrusted CQ class that started today.

CQ Heart for my Sister: trial and error

The other night I had a horrible time with this heart for my sister, Joyce. I wanted to do some pretty folded roses and a button trail but nothing was working right and it would always be way too overboard, in frustration I again laid out what I thought would look good and was telling my hubby that the middle is empty if I do that and I need something there like an image or a monogram and then it hit me! Just do a monogram! So I looked through my favorite book for inspiration. I'm going to fill in the thick area's with the stain stitch too. I found this 'J' and traced it with tracing paper and pinned the paper down and worked the stem stitch with 1 strand DMC floss. Then I laid out the embellishments again to see how I may do it and took this photo. This isn't the final of what I'm going to do but at least I now have an idea that I'm happy with. Do you all think your eye flows over the heart well? Do you have any suggestions for improvement? I've been debating with myself about maybe adding a trail for the flight path of the butterflies up top. I'm not sure if it would help or just detract from the 'sisters'. I really love this heart and I don't want to mess it up! I want my sister to have an heirloom!

Monday, October 16, 2006

My Favorite Spot

This is my favorite spot to snuggle up in my house. I like to have my quiet time there, read my Bible and spend time with God. I also like to curl up with a novel and read there too. Madie will jump up and curl up by my legs or in my lap, and China lays on the floor right next to me. When I am elsewhere in the house Madie will take over my spot! It's her favorite spot too! Click Here to see Madie and China in their favorite spot!

What's your favorite spot?

Random Acts of Kindness Received

Aren't these tatted bugs gorgeous!?! I received a little card in the mail from Charlene and inside were these wonderful tatted bugs! I just LOVE them! They feel so soft, and delicate, and the color is wonderful! The little caterpillar even has bead eyes! You can click on the photo to see closer. I love dragonflies, and this one is just so sweet! I know Charlene doesn't like a lot of attention drawn to her but I just HAD to share the gorgeous work she did! Charlene are they made of silk???
Charlene says they are made of Finca cotton! They are so very soft! I love them. Thank you Charlene!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Reclaimed Fabric

Click on the photos to see closer. Well last night I tried out making some Tambour Lace and this heart is what I did. It's basically like thread crochet but with tulle in between. It's hard for me since it is so tiny and it slips easy! Also I couldn't draw out a design to follow on the tulle! I didn't have the hoop on a stand either but in my hand. I think I may like just embroidering on some tulle better than fiddling with a hook. I feel more in control with a needle. And that way I could sandwich the tulle with some solvey that has a design on it.
Here is some of the fabric I reclaimed! I love the unusual texture of the last photo! Although I think the remnant bins at JoAnn's and WalMart are better deals! Can you believe the price of thrift stores? Because of the high prices I just bought the ones I couldn't live without! LOL In fact after I left there I went straight to JoAnn's and got like 5 gorgeous remnants as well (which includes some silks and a plain green brocade too).

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Lillian's Heart: Finished!

I finished Lillian's Heart and sent it to her last week but I wanted to wait until she got it to post the final photo so that she would be a little surprised! I love this heart! I love the colors, the vines, the scrolling 'L', the roses, the Swarovski crystals, and everything!
Click Here to see previous progress on the heart.

Random Acts of Kindness Received

I'm so excited! Today I received a package in the mail and inside I found these 2 tiny crochet hooks to try making Tambour lace with, and 2 tambour lace doilies! And it's from Elizabet! Thank you Elizabet!!! I can't wait to try out making some tambour lace! And the doilies are so delicate, I could use them as display or in some CQ! I don't know which because they are so pretty, they would look good with my antique china, but then they would look good in CQ too! Oh the dilemma of pretty doilies! I'm curious as to what you all would do?
Display or CQ?
That is the question!
Click on the photos to see closer.

Sampler Stitches

Click on the photos to see them closer.

New stitches I tried are:
  1. The Herringbone Stitch
  2. The Double Herringbone Stitch
  3. Palestrina Stitch
  4. Pekinese Stitch
  5. Rope Stitch

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Viola, sampler, and flower

I thought I would take a better close up of the viola on my CQ heart since the previous post's was so dark.
It's made out of 4mm silk ribbon in loop stitches, 2 for the top, and 3 for the bottom (stitching the middle loop last), and then adding 3 amber seed beads to the middle.
Then I was inspired to try some stitches I hadn't tried yet. So I got out a piece of muslin, and black floss and with 2 strands I stitched the feather stitch a few different ways. I also tried out the fly stitch and then messed around with the french knot and colonial knot. I've been doing the colonial knot backwards!!! But I now know how to do it the forwards way. I have to say that The Embroiderer's Handbook is awesome for learning! I haven't seen a colonial knot explanation in a book that I could understand before, but I could get this one! It has lots of photos of the steps.
Last is a cute pink petunia from out in our back garden. We didn't plant it but the seeds fell into this pot and started growing. The original is long dead and was in a hanging basket. I just love it when plants reseed themselves! They are little gifts! Bonus plants! Thank you Lord God! I really appreciate the extra flowers!

Monday, October 09, 2006

CQ Heart: Center

Today I printed out a image from my Victoria Rose Cottage CD on some 'June Tailor Quick Fuse iron-on inkjet fabric sheets' and cut it out, ironed it on and then embellished! I made a 13mm ivory folded rose with a pink glass bead in the middle to resemble the rose in the image. Also I made a gathered rosette out of some 7mm variegated silk ribbon. Then I made a viola out of 4mm hand-dyed silk ribbon I made last night, I had made another purple in my trial and error of the color match batch for the bow. Waste not, want not! I made 2 loops up top and 3 loops for the bottom, then I stitched 3 amber seed beads in the middle. Then I took 2 shades of 2mm green silk ribbon and ribbon stitched in leaves where I liked, and going up the sides of the image as well.
I also added some gold metallic thread to the hummingbird's beak so you can see it better. He's so cute!
I think this heart is finished. The only thing that's keeping me from saying 'done' is the upper right corner. I don't really like the solid ribbon going across where the bow is and then I feel the flower beads need a little more too. But I'm not sure what I'm going to do. I think I will wait and see what I get in the mail from Carolyn Cibik since I ordered beads from her close out sale.
Click Here to see the naked heart.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

CQ Heart: second corner

Here is the work I did on the heart today. I've taken a break from my sister's CQ heart and have been working on this one. I put a lace trim and little pearls and then glass bead flowers and leaves. The 4mm ribbon bow I hand dyed to match the maroon piece of fabric. It was my first time dying silk ribbon! It took me awhile to get the color, because I'm not familiar with how the dye colors turn out yet. I'm thinking of adding a strand of metallic gold floss to the hummingbirds beak though because the black just fades into the shadows and he looks like a beak-less hummingbird! I think a stitch of metallic gold would be like a highlight and help him out. I'm still not sure what I'm going to do in the middle though!!! If you've got any idea's let me know. I was thinking of a garden scene or a bouquet of flowers. Hummm...what if I printed out a floral image on fabric and appliqued it where the 3 pieces meet and then embellish around that? I like that idea! I'll look though my CD from Victoria Rose Cottage tomorrow. I just got some printer fabric sheets and transfer sheets from WalMart to try out too.
Click Here to see my progress.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Silk Ribbon Embroidered Hummingbird

Here's my experimental hummingbird. I wanted to have a reflective throat so I used a red sequin. First I made a straight stitch in green 4mm then I stitched the sequin on cupped side up, then I stitched another straight stitch overlapping the previous one and covering half the sequin. Then I made a french knot for the head and covered it with a straight stitch. For the wings I used the 4mm and did 2 ribbon stitches pierced near the edge instead of the middle. The tail I used 2mm in a matching green and made 3 ribbon stitches. You could do the tail in 4mm as well but I thought it looked nice in 2mm. Last I stitched the beak in a straight stitch with 2 strands black floss, although you can barely see it in this photo!
Click Here to see my progress on the heart.

Friday, October 06, 2006

First CQ seam treatment

Today I stitched this seam treatment from JBM's book Floral Stitches. I also added some green seed beads to it as well. It's the chain stitch with french knots. The color is hard to see but it picks up the pink from the lightest piece and brings it over. I'm wanting to stitch a tiny hummingbird but I have no idea how I'd go about doing that! I'm thinking of using 1 red sequin for it's throat, that's how small I want it. But I think I'd need to doodle how I'd want to do it and play on a scrap before attempting to stitch it on the heart. If anyone has any ideas let me know.
Click Here to see my progress.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Easy Low Calorie Tiramisu

This recipe is originally from Kraft, but I adapted it to be reduced calorie by changing a few of the ingredients. So if you want the original recipe Click Here

I'm going to tell how to make 1 and you can multiply to make however many you need. It's a very adaptable recipe.

You'll need per serving:
  1. 6 reduced fat vanilla wafers - Coarsely crush the vanilla wafers and place in serving cup
  2. 2 to 3 Tbs coffee - drizzle over crushed wafers so that they are saturated (I prefer making a real cup of coffee for this recipe but you can use instant coffee too. 1 cup of coffee will make about 4 servings)
  3. 1 sugar-free Jello vanilla pudding cup - top with contents of pudding cup
  4. 1 or 2 Tbs sugar-free Cool Whip - top with Cool Whip
  5. Cocoa powder - place a little cocoa powder in a mesh strainer and lightly tap to sprinkle the cocoa powder over the tiramisu
Now repeat until you have as many servings as you would like.