Saturday, December 29, 2012

Crazy Quilt Journal Project 2013 Block 1 Progress

In December, I decided to participate in the Crazy Quilt Journal Project 2013. What is it?  As described on their blog, "The Crazy Quilt Journal Project 2013 is about promoting the art of crazy quilting and expanding the participant’s individual artistic creativity and technical knowledge." It is a commitment to complete a block a month, and hopefully, assemble a quilt from those blocks.  (For some wonderful inspiration, I encourage you to take a look at the CQJP 2012 blog.)

It took me a few days to decide if I wanted to add another commitment to my busy life next year.  In the end, an excuse with deadlines to create a crazy quilt block every month sounded like a good idea to me!  *Grins*

In the rules I discovered the project should not include something we are already working on, so my monthly themed blocks would not qualify.  I have always loved landscape quilts and thought 6-inch blocks would make for pretty quick work.  Right?!  Well, I planned my first block and realized that might not be the case.
CQJP Block 2 prior to stitching.

To save time, I decided to assemble two blocks the same day.  This way, when I finished one, the other would be ready.  I had pretty clear ideas for one block, and the other, I knew would be more challenging.  Guess which one I decided to work on first?  The trickier of the two for me, of course.  
Winter landscape prior to stitching.

I was hoping to complete my first block before posting photos here.  However, as I have been putting as much of my free time as I could into it for the past week and a half, and it is not even half complete, I gave in to the temptation to share my progress so far.  

My "plans" for the block are a simple sketch on a yellow sticky note.  I wanted to put a house along the horizon and I wanted it to look realistic.  A cross stitch leaflet I have came to mind, so I found it and discovered the perfect house to add to the block.  The leaflet is from the Stoney Creek Collection and it is called Country Living Book 130.  (I tried to find a copy on-line to link to, but I failed.  Sorry!)  The house I chose was taken from the pattern entitled, "Cozy Winter Twilight."  This is only a small portion of the original pattern.  I LOVE Stoney Creek cross stitch patterns because the shading is simply gorgeous.  Of course, that same shading takes me forever to stitch...
Before removing the cross-stitch canvas.
I learned a few important things about cross stitching onto a crazy quilt block.  First, I learned it is a REALLY bad idea to put an intensive pattern across a seam.  (Putting a needle through that many layers of fabric again and again is hard on the fingers.  I could have tried a thimble, I suppose, but I never claimed I was smart - lol!)  I thought that would be my biggest challenge.  However, when it came time to remove the mesh I put down to guide my stitches, I was in for a disturbing surprise - my second lesson.  Instead of pulling out, the threads snapped.  Careful use of a needle and a LOT of time allowed me to remove the layer beneath the tree.  Then, I had to use a pair of sharp scissors to VERY carefully trim the coarse threads all the way around the house.  At one point, I nearly cut the thread used to back-stitch the design.  In the end, I suppose I salvaged the block.  But it was certainly a stressful hour or so, wondering if I had just wasted the past week of stitching.
After removing the cross stitch canvas.
Next, I began stitching a tree in the lower-right-hand corner.  You may recognize this silver birch tree from the stitching I did on Mardeen's block in my first round robin.  For Christmas, my wonderful husband gave me my very own copy of Diana Lampe's and Jane Fisk's Embroidery for all Seasons!  I will be making very good use of that book with my landscape themed blocks this year, I am sure! 
CQJP Block 1 partially complete.
I am anxious to complete the tree and move on to the next section.  I just need to figure out exactly what that will be first!

Thanks for stopping by again!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Glasses case for my niece

I began this glasses case some time ago, in hopes of completing it as a birthday gift for my niece.  Her birthday was in November.  In November, I was also training for my first half-marathon.  (Due to a stress fracture in my foot the week prior to the race, my first half-marathon will have to take place in 2013.)  And, I was participating in NaNoWriMo. (Although I completed 50,000 words in 30 days, my story is not done and needs A LOT of work!)
Front panel before embellishing
Front panel after embellishing.
Back panel before embellishing.
Back panel after embellishing.
So, I ended up finishing this gift - literally - just in time for Christmas (at 1 o'clock in the afternoon of December 24th.)
Back, after assembly.
Front, after assembly.

I need to make myself a tutorial, as I have altered the original pattern.  It had been a while since I last assembled a case with a button latch, and I forgot to add the button hole when I should have.  Also, the button I used was quite large.  I needed to make the interfacing on the button flap smaller.  The seams were too bulky to fit beneath the presser foot on my sewing machine, so I had to create a make-shift button hole.  I also placed the hole higher than I would have liked.  Next time, I hope to do better.  In spite of my mistakes, my niece LOVED her gift.  It has her favorite colors: blue, purple and yellow.

Oh, I have decided to participate in the Crazy Quilting Journal Project 2013 (CQJP 2013) this year.  The first photos should be posted on their blog on January 1st.  I hope to have my first 6" block completed soon, to share with you.  I thought the 6" blocks would go pretty fast.  Then I planned my first design... I should know myself better by now!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Halloween Glasses Case

I am looking forward to giving my blog (and my CQ projects) more attention!  In a previous post, I was looking forward to creating my first seam treatment inspired solely by my own imagination.
I am very happy with the broomstick seam treatment!
The broom handles were made using brown floss and a buttonhole stitch.  At the base of each handle, I made three small lazy daisy stitches with a yellow floss to create mop heads.  Next, I cinched the tops of the mops by carefully bringing brown floss out from beneath the yellow stitches, near the handle.  I wrapped the brown around the yellow twice, gently bunching the yellow stitches together.  Then, I pulled the needle through the back again, hiding the stitch beneath the gathered yellow lazy daisies.

In the end, the two Halloween panels looked like this:
I had so much fun working on this project!  Of course, the glow-in-the-dark fabrics and embroidery floss may have had something to do with that.  *grins*

The delicate way the silver spiderweb turned out in the upper-left corner is one of my favorite parts.
Front panel
Back panel
This glasses case was a gift to myself.  Although, now that it is December, I am thinking I should make one a little more versatile - lol!

I wish you all a wonderful day.


Sunday, December 9, 2012

My First Round Robin Post #7

I received the fourth and final block from my first Crazy Quilting International Round Robin on October 29th.  Unfortunately, I knew November was going to be insanely crazy.  (I participated in NaNoWriMo 2012 - and actually completed the challenge this year!  I will save that for another post...)  My hopes of completing my final block between October 15th and 30th did not quite pan out.  With life being, well, life and the holidays and everything else, we were all running a bit behind; so, no one has been held up by my delay.

In my opinion, the block is absolutely lovely.  Crystal, Hazel and Mardeen did beautiful work on this gorgeous jewel toned block.  This is how it looked when it reached my home.  (Click on the photo to view a larger image.)

Shannon's block after Crystal, Hazel and Mardeen
I am not sure how many days I sat and stared at the block, trying to figure out what to do and where.  This block was a great challenge for me.  I find printed fabrics particularly difficult to embellish, and three of the four spaces remaining were prints.  I also spent hours and hours perusing photos of other crazy quilted blocks to see how I should embellish seams partially covered with other embellishments. 

I began working in the lower green corner.  Originally, I planned to put in a seam of flowers, but they would have been upside down.  So, I opted to put in a gold spider web.  I purchased the perfect blue faceted beads to make the spider.  Unfortunately, he did not show up on the green fabric, so I took him out and used orange beads (similar in color to the orange in the upper printed section.)

Next, I added two Swarovski crystal butterfly beads.  I put one next to a curly golden swirl near the top.  The second went in the black section near the bottom (beneath the blue flower) and I added a golden flight path for him.

Then I moved on to the center section and couched gold metallic floss around the golden edges on the blue flower.  This took some time, but I loved the end result! 

Lower-right section
Once more, I found myself at a loss as to what I would do next.  I decided to move to the seam in the lower-right corner.  I wanted to use colors and shapes already used within the block.  I used a green pearl 8 cotton floss to make an open cretan stitch.  This provided me with stems along the printed fabric and the pink fabric.  Next, I imitated the blue and yellow flower in printed fabric near the center of the top of the block.  The flowers in the pink fabric were made with a yellow center and metallic blue petals.  The flowers in the printed section were made with blue and yellow pearl 8 cotton. 

Center Flower  (The pretty beads were here when I received the block.)

Imitating the center flower, in the dark part of the lower printed fabric, I added a blue bullion flower with bright pink beads in the center and green leaves.

It took me quite a while to figure out how to finish framing the center section of the block.  In the end, I used a fly stitch to create seams along the top section.  On the printed fabric, I made pink flowers (matching the shade of fabric in the lower-left corner of the block) with colonial knots and straight stitches.  In the pink section, I used purple floss.  The flowers on the shorter stems were the same as the pink flowers below.  For the taller flowers, I used lazy daisy stitches in place of the straight stitches, but still used a colonial knot for the center of each flower.  Leaves were added to the stems of the taller flowers.

To the right of the center piece, I made my first feathered chain stitch with a green rayon floss.  This created a vine of leaves.  Using a pink rayon floss and lazy daisy stitches, I added flowers between the leaves on the black fabric.

Shannon's block after Crystal, Hazel, Mardeen and Renee.
My final additions were the purple metallic butterfly and the blue pearl 8 cotton butterfly in the printed fabric at the top of the block.  A golden flight path helped embellish that top seam, as well.

I wish you all a wonderful day!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

My First Round Robin Post #6

Crystal's block when I received it.
Crystal's block after my additions.
 It will be mailed out a week late, but I finally finished my work on Crystal's beautiful block!  (Click on photos for a larger view.  I apologize, the colors are not true on the first photo.)

The first step was determining how many seams and how many sections I should embellish.  I counted 7 seams and 5 sections remaining. I needed to leave half of these for Shannon, the final person to work on Crystal's block.  (Her work is absolutely amazing!)
I had just purchased a purple flower trim for another project; however, it looked so perfect along the purple seam that I knew that was where I had to begin.  Pink beads were the finishing touch.  (Confession: Trims make me nervous.  I have not used them often, and hoped this one would look okay.  It was actually fun to stitch!)
Gathered Silk Ribbon Roses
Next, I made my first attempt at gathered silk ribbon roses.  I had a few lengths of 4mm and 7mm pink and cream ribbons from a sampler I bought a few years ago.  The colors complimented the colors of the block.  I found a green floss similar to the green patch of the block, and used that for the stem.  For my very first attempt, I was quite pleased with the little bouquet "tied" together with a bow.

It took me nearly a week to decide what to do next.  I had several ideas for the purple patches of the block, but ideas for framing the little cherubs kept flitting through my mind.  In the end, the idea of a frame won.

The picture measured 3-inches by 4-inches.  So, I decided to make stem-stitched rosettes half an inch apart.  (My doodle cloth came in very handy here.  I tested out different colors and different centers until I finally had a plan.) 

First, I couched down a pink metallic floss (DMC Jewel Effects E316).  Next, for the center of each flower, I used a single strand of DMC 762 to attach a Mill Hill Petite Glass Bead (#42010). 

Twenty-eight flowers did not seem too overwhelming... until I began.  I fell in love with the silky, delicate look of DMC rayon flosses #30818 (a pale pink) and # 30211 (a light purple) that complemented the colors of this block beautifully.  However, as I tore the first rosette out for the the third time, I was reminded of a comment I had read on another blog once.  Someone said they found the trick to using rayon floss, was to never use rayon floss.  Thankfully, by the third rosette, I finally found a way to progress without the floss knotting up.  Every time I put the needle through the fabric, I double-checked the back side to make sure I had not caught the thread in the back, and that everything was pulling through evenly.  Two to three rosettes per hour may seem slow; but it was a lot faster than making two to three attempts per rose - like those first two rosettes.

On my doodle cloth, the rosettes looked lovely with tiny green leaves.  However, once I completed the rosettes on the actual block, I worried the additional green simply did not fit.  Everyone in the house agreed.  So, I left the frame with the alternating pink and purple rosettes.

The purple flower trim and the frame embellished 4 of the 7 remaining seams.  This left Shannon only 3 seams to treat and one of those was tiny.  So, I opted to fill only 2 of the 5 sections of the block, and felt I should probably claim one of the smaller sections, so Shannon would have some room to work.  I had a lot of ideas for the small pink section.  However, one of the remaining seams happened to run along that section, so I felt compelled to work on the yellow-print next to the frame I had just completed.  (Confession: I find printed fabrics really tricky to embellish.) 

It took me a while to figure out what to add.  I remembered Crystal liked bullion roses.  Mardeen made a lovely bouquet of bullion roses, so I wanted to try something a little different.  I decided to try a flower made with bullion loops.  I used a variegated yellow floss to make 5 bullion loops (each loop had 30 wraps around the needle.)  Yellow seed beads filled the center.  Next, I used a soft green floss to make a stem-stitched stem and a couple of leaves.  The stem followed a curve of green on the fabric, as did each of the leaves.

I hope Crystal likes it!

Thank you for visiting,

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Halloween Crazy Quilted Glasses Case Progress

Panel of Halloween Glasses Case
My Halloween crazy quilted glasses case is coming along nicely!  It is my hope to have it finished this week. 

There was an ironic moment this morning, when I stepped outside to take pictures to share with you (the lighting on the patio is so much better than the lighting in the house.)  I opened the door to the patio and startled a black cat; he stared at me for a moment and then dashed off.  It still makes me chuckle.  Really, what are the odds of stepping outside to photograph a Halloween themed block and finding a black cat?

(Not so) Spooky Tree
 The spooky tree (which, sadly, is not all that spooky) was made with DMC 801 size 5 perle cotton.  I went by memory to replicate the tree I made on my sister's glasses case using the Easy, Breezy Trees tutorial from Shaw K L Designs Blog.

I LOVE the way the black and orange beaded seam looks.  That being said, if I ever decide to embellish a seam with beads again, it will be a SHORT seam.  I secure every bead with a single strand of floss by looping it through the bead three times.  Then, I make three tiny knots on the back before moving on to the next bead.  I am also alternating between a needle threaded with orange floss, and one with black floss; so, I have to be careful not to catch the thread I am not using while securing each bead.  I think about 10 more beads ought to finish this seam up.

My first beaded spider.
The spider consists of two pearl beads and white straight stitches for the legs.

My broom
For the broom, the handle was chain stitched with 2 strands of DMC 801 embroidery floss.  Long lazy daisy stitches using 1 strand each of DMC 743 and 745 made the bristles of the broom.  A couple loops of DMC 801 tied the bristles to the broomstick.  (This case will be for me.  I told my husband, "I'm a witch, so I need my broom!"  His reply?  "Yep."  I love that man.)

My next seam is going to be fun - if it turns out the way I see it in my head, anyway.  It will be a seam treatment created by my own imagination, so I am excited to give it a try!

Thanks so much for stopping by,

Thursday, September 20, 2012

My First Round Robin Post #5

It is time for a happy dance!  Crystal's block arrived in the mail today.  She made such a romantic block with the loveliest shades of yellows, purples, greens and pinks.  The stitching at the top was done by Hazel and the stitching in the lower-left corner was done by Mardeen. 

Crystal's block after Hazel and Mardeen

Unfortunately, my photo does not do this block justice.  It fails to capture the sparkles from the beads, the metallic flosses and the silvery shimmer of the bow.  The stitches on this block are exquisite.

Ideas for embellishing are rolling through my mind already!

Have a fantastic day,

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Crazy Quilt Day 37

March Naked Block
Yesterday, I kept myself quite busy!  It was time to make my next crazy quilt block.  As there will be 3 blocks per row, and January and February were already finished, I decided to work on March next.

While I was at it, I decided to piece the blocks for a couple more glasses cases I planned to make.  It is safe to say, I will not be lacking items to stitch while unwinding in the evening!

In addition to future gift items I am not posting (as I am not sure if the recipients check my blog or not), I made the following items.

Halloween Glasses Case Panels
October is nearly here, and I could really use a new case for my glasses.  So, this will be for me.  The eyes on the right actually glow in the dark.  Oh!  I also found DMC glow-in-the-dark embroidery floss at Jo-Ann Fabric this weekend.  This will be a fun one!

Black and White Glasses Case Panels

I also plan to make a crazy quilt purse at some point in the future.  I am toying with the idea of using black and white fabrics, so decided to  make a glasses case first.  Whether the embellishments will also be only black and white has yet to be determined.  I think I am leaning toward color with the embellishments.

Blue and purple panels for my niece.
This one will be for my niece.  (I do not think she knows about my blog, so it should be safe to post pictures here.)  Her favorite colors are blue and purple.  I found a few adorable embellishments for this one.  Of all the projects I have, this is the one I am longing to work on.  Having two boys, girly projects are a rare treat.

Thank you for stopping by!


Monday, September 17, 2012

Crazy Quilt Days 35 and 36

It took longer than I had hoped, but the January block for my first crazy quilt is finally finished!

After using two strands of white to finish the tassels, it was time to finish up the house scene in the lower-right corner.

I used two strands of DMC 3024 to make a sidewalk leading away from the house.  Next, I combined one strand each of DMC 640 and 642 to make the tree.  The trunk was made with small chain stitches.  Straight stitches were used for the bare branches.  The last step was adding Mill Hill Petite Glass Beads (#42010) with a single strand of DMC 762.  The tiny, clear beads made delicate, shimmering snowflakes.

The final touch was the addition of snowflake buttons (Favorite Findings Snow Reflections) to cover the corners of the rick rack border in the center.

Now, I just need to decide which block to work on next.  Oh... and I need to piece blocks for a couple more birthday gifts.  Should be fun!

Have a wonderful week!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Crazy Quilt Day 34

I am so happy I found time for stitching this week!  Yesterday, I managed to make some progress on my January block.  With any luck, this block will be completed by Monday, and I will be able to begin the 4th of 12 blocks.
First, I added a couple of windows to the house using DMC 3078.  I want the majority of the block to really focus on blue, white and silver, so I chose a pale shade of yellow that would not overpower the other colors.  I outlined the windows with DMC 823, the same dark shade of blue used to stitch around the roof.  A lighter shade of blue, DMC 334, was used to make a front door.  And a French knot of DMC 823 made a doorknob. 

I still have a couple of ideas rattling around in my mind about the next step in this section.  So, I decided to mull them over while adding the tassels to the scarves spelling out JANUARY.  First, I made silver snowflakes to cross the A's.
In my opinion, the end result has been worth the time of adding the tassels.  Only three more letters to go!

On a side note, I have been taking my photos on our patio table because the lighting outside is so much better.  This requires walking past sunflowers my boys planted with me last spring.  Let me just say, the bees LOVE those sunflowers.  And they are not tiny bees, by any means.  These fellows are big, and the buzz of their wings has startled me on more than one occasion, as it is so loud.  There were about five of these big guys buzzing less than two feet behind me while I took my photos this morning.  (I suppose I could say my day began with a buzz...)

Thank you for stopping by! 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

My First Round Robin Post #4

I was eager to work on Hazel's block the first moment I saw its picture.  And the work Mardeen did on the block was absolutely gorgeous.  Every time I looked at it, I admired another detail I had missed.

Hazel's block after Mardeen's work.
There were SO many ideas in my mind for this block.  I expected it to be an easy one to embellish.  It began that way, but then I struggled and felt more like a novice than I have felt to date.

Many of my ideas were so involved, I feared they would overpower the frog prince, so I decided to try to keep it a bit more simple.  I planned to cross-stitch a frog on the small gray triangle, add a flower border and a dragonfly to the light green triangle, and add a silk ribbon butterfly to the red above the frog.

I made the frog using the Baby Afghan Safari cross-stitch pattern I used to make my oldest son's baby blanket.  I added a pale yellow butterfly (similar to the shade of fabric to the right of the frog) to fill up the gray section.

Next, I used DMC 895 (a dark green similar to the fabric above the gray section) to make stems and leaves and DMC 4077 (a variegated yellow pulling colors from the frog) to make the yellow flowers.  Yellow glass seed beads (size 11/0) added a pretty sparkle.  

The read patch looked challenging to me.  I wanted to embellish the seam between it and the blue block below, without pulling the eye away from the frog's crown.  So, I used DMC 666 (the closest red I could find) to make a chain-stitch along the seam.  The silk ribbon butterfly followed a pattern for an Australian Beak Butterfly from The Silk Ribbon Embroidery Bible: The Essential Illustrated Reference to Designs and Techniques.
At this point, I requested advice from a friend.

Next, I added the dragonfly to the green block.  Then, I panicked. Both butterflies and the dragonfly were flying in the same direction.  I also feared there was too much yellow.  In addition, I hoped to add an orange dragonfly, but I feared it would stand out too much with all of the softer colors.  So, I conspired with my friend, Crystal.  (I love her work, you can see why at Crystal's Crafty Adventures.)  I shared a few photos, my concerns, my ideas, and requested her opinion.

I loved Crystal's idea of combining yellow and orange; so, I made a couple of butterflies using one strand of yellow and one strand of orange floss, in addition to adding the orange dragonfly.  Then, I found a shade of green similar to that of the fabric to stitch in the flight patterns for each insect.

On the red block, I wanted to add some blue and add something to the seam; however, I really did not want to compete with the frog's crown.  So, I ended up making a few small blue and green flowers.  Next, I added a smaller, white butterfly.  In red, I stitched in the flight patterns.

I hope Hazel likes the additions to her block.  I mail it on tomorrow and look forward to seeing how Shannon and Crystal bring the rest of the block to life.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Warrior Dash 2012

The final obstacle on the course.

In a few of the goals I have posted, I mentioned training for the Warrior Dash.  The Oregon Warrior Dash was held last weekend, September 8th and 9th.  It is a 5K run (3.1 miles) with several obstacles along the way.  It looked challenging and I heard it was fun; so, I decided to give it a try.  I ran with 3 of my favorite people, and had a blast!

Let me just say, I am not an athlete.  In school, I was always thrilled to have a friend chosen as a team captain in PE, because it meant I would not be one of the last 3 students chosen.  I saw a t-shirt at an Under Armour outlet store that read, "I don't jog, I run."  Well, I am the opposite.  I don't run, I jog - if you want to call it that!

We heard the course had a lot of hills.  I guess I was picturing something like the Portland Shamrock Run (in previous years, they changed the course this year), running up Broadway - a slow steep slope.  Um, nope.  This was a course of fine, loose dirt and steep, steep hills.

Jogging up one hill, someone behind me commented to their friend, "Remind me why we are doing this."  The same thought was running through my mind, but I was not about voice it out loud.  Shortly after, we reached the 0.5 mile sign.  (Sad, right?!)

The first obstacle was crossing "logs" in water.  Large plastic squares were roped together to form our "logs."  We carefully stepped down the muddy bank of the water.  Our third step in, we realized the mud beneath us was uneven.  It dropped more than a foot in depth.  Strangers behind me, grabbed my shirt to catch their balance.  Some apologized, others just raced forward.  Pulling yourself up onto the log and crossing over was not tricky in itself.  The hard part was having so many people trying to cross at once, as it made the logs roll backwards.  Some kind souls held the ropes from the other side, to hold it steady for those crossing.  My sister-in-law was almost over the second log when a team counted to three and all tried to climb on at once.  She felt the log begin to roll back.  Not wanting to climb up again, she dove forward and went under water, face first.  It was awesome.  We all had muddy streaks drying upon our faces as we trudged forward.

I will be honest, I am horribly afraid of heights.  On our way to the race, I remembered trips my sister and I made to the playground about six blocks from our home when we were children.  I would climb up the big dome bars, and then freeze, terrified I would fall, until some kind dad climbed up and walked me through the steps of reaching the ground below.  "Put your foot here, now grab on here..."  Well, you get the idea.  So, I was nervous about the tall obstacles.

We reached the wall and I reminded myself it was mind over matter.  There were knotted ropes hanging over a wall of wood.  Small strips of wood were interspersed along the wall - our footholds - or toeholds?  They seemed way too narrow for my slippery, muddy shoes.  I took a look, gulped, and grabbed the rope next to my son (Monkey - my 15-year-old ran was within our group.)  The second knot in the rope was too high for me to reach.  I stepped back down, looked at the other ropes and moved over to use the one Monkey had climbed.  I could reach that knot.  My descent attracted the attention of a volunteer.  He approached and told me to use my legs, not my arms.  I commented, "And pretend I'm not afraid of heights!"  He told me it was a 3-foot wall.  I replied, "Built on another 3-foot wall."  (In reality, I imagine it was at least 8-feet tall.)  For me, the creepy part was feeling my body swing back away from the wall as I pushed up to the next knot in the rope.  I have no upper body strength, so I did not want to lose what little bit of footing I had.  The rope ended at the top, and the board along the top was too wide to feel I could really get a good hold of it. I took a deep breath and prepared to swing one leg up and over, praying I would not lose my grip.  Imagine my surprise, as the volunteer's head popped up on the backside of the wall.  He had climbed up to guide me down.  He instructed me to swing my leg over, find the wooden rung below, get my balance and bring my other foot down.  Mind you, I knew those were the next steps to take, but my inner-child grinned.  I climbed down the ladder of wooden rungs on the other side and met my group with a grin.  "It was just like being on the playground again!" I laughed.

We went on to pull ourselves over barricades, to crawl and sometimes roll under barbed wire.  I walked up the hills, and jogged down them.  We went through tires, and a web of elastic.  Just before we reached the cargo nets, I heard my husband yell my name.  He and Mutt (my 12-year-old, he chose the nickname because he does not like me to use my nickname for him in public) had been waiting for us for over an hour.  That would be my fault.  I kept encouraging my wonderful group of warriors to go on ahead, but they patiently waited for me at each obstacle.  At one point, I seriously wanted to sing the song "Just Put One Foot in Front of the Other" from the Christmas classic, "Santa Claus is Coming to Town."  I was just too winded to pull it off. *grins*

Descending the cargo net.

According to my husband, who can judge heights far better than I, the cargo net wall was at least 25 feet tall.  After making it over the rope wall, this would be cake. I had to chuckle as I got to the top.  The young man next to me reached the top and asked, "Now what do I do?"  He probably was not expecting an actual answer, but I repeated my helpful volunteer's directions from the rope wall.

The end was the most fun.  We went through a mud pit.  I found myself wishing I had a pit of mud like that to play in when I was a kid.  It would have been a HOOT!  As it was, I somehow managed to make my way through the thick muck without losing a shoe.

After the mud pit and the mud slide.  (Anyone want a hug?)

Then, I went down a mud slide.  Umm... next year, I will remember to see where the ruts lead from my beginning point.  Had I noticed the diagonal path left by the person in front of me, I would have moved.  Instead, I found myself yelling a warning to the young man to my left that I was heading his way.  At the bottom, I apologized for landing on his cape.  Oops!

With a big gulp, and mental, "I can do this!" I ran and leaped across the two rows of flames to reach the finish line.

The muddy pond we were able to rinse of in never looked so inviting.  Although, I must admit, I hesitated after a guy in the middle of the pond yelled, "If anyone plans to pee in the water, do it over here!  I'm freezing!"  Everyone laughed, as we cleaned ourselves in the filthy water.

It looks like I have a year to work on my endurance and practice running up some steep hills so the course is a little easier in 2013!


Crazy Quilt Days 32 and 33

Oh, Dear Blog, I have missed you so!  It has been a busy, busy couple of months trying to cram projects and activities into the end of our summer break and prepare my boys for another year of school.

My goal has been to complete my 1st crazy quilt within one year.  Thankfully, I was ahead of schedule when I began the January block, as I am now falling behind.  I should be working on my 4th block right now...  This one has been a bit challenging for me.  (And finding time to stitch has been tricky!)

I have decided to keep "January" as scarves.  I just need to add the little fringes to each end, and perhaps add a snowflake in the middle of the A's to cross them.

And, as you can see, I finally finished the snowman!  I may have liked him better without the buttons, but I let my family vote and I was overruled.  I was worried that I would have a hard time fitting in his face with the hat; but that was not too difficult.  Although, I did have a challenge with his French knots.  The mouth was overpowering his eyes.  I pulled everything out twice.  In the end, I used two strands of black (DMC 310) for his eyes, and one strand for his mouth.  This kept the mouth from overpowering his face.  The mittens look a bit large; but, I figure, mittens hanging off of sticks on a real snowman would look big too.  I am not sure how much I like his hat, but that is my family's favorite part.  (Last May, I purchased the buttons at Acorns and Threads in Portland (on Scholl's Ferry Road).  Unfortunately, I did not make notes of the names so I could share them here.)

The next challenge - the part I would do differently - was the house in the lower-right corner.  I cut out 4 separate pieces.  In the future, I would make it two.  Prior to stitching the pieces in place, all of the corners actually met up.  This week, I get to see if I can add a decent looking window and door to the house.  I will also attempt a little path from the door to an edge of the block.  I still need to decide if I want a leafless tree to the left of the house or an evergreen.  We shall see!

So, January is only a few steps away from completion: the scarves, the house area, and the addition of snowflake buttons to hide the section where the rickrack overlaps.  If I am lucky, it will be done by the end of the week!

Thanks for stopping by.