Monday, July 22, 2013

CQI Winter/Christmas DYB RR - Barbara's Bare Blocks

Last week, I received Barbara's beautiful Winter/Christmas blocks for our Crazy Quilting International Round Robin.

 The fabrics are simply gorgeous!  As the first to receive Barbara's blocks, I had my choice of the bunch.  I also had my choice between a winter or a Christmas theme.  (I'll keep that decision a secret for now.)

After a LOT of contemplation, I chose to work on this block.  Last night, I made the first embellishments.  I do hope I do the block justice!

When I am done, I will be sure to post the picture.  I will even include a picture of the diagram I made to plan out the block.  (This may be the first time I actually stick to that plan - time will tell!) 

Thanks so much for stopping by!


Sunday, July 14, 2013

CQI Winter/Christmas DYB RR - My Bare Blocks

Winter/Christmas DYB Round Robin Bare Blocks
 It has been about a year since my first round robin with the Crazy Quilting International Yahoo! group, and I have been itching to join another.

When a Winter/Christmas Do Your Block (DYB) Round Robin (RR) opened up, I simply had to sign up!  With a DYB RR, there are 6 participants.  Each one pieces 6 6-inch blocks.  We will mail ours out on Monday, the 15th.

The first person to receive the blocks will pick one to embellish, the second person will select from the remaining five blocks, etc.  When the blocks make it back home, 5 will be embellished and one will remain for me to stitch.

Once again, I used my favorite crazy quilting book by J. Marsha Michler, and tried something new - painting with acrylic paint (not fabric paint) using stencils. (I have pictures, but they are on my laptop that does not want to work properly.  That is probably for the best, as my husband is waiting patiently for the use of this computer!)

This should be a very fun round robin.  I can barely wait!

Have a wonderful week!

First CQ Messenger Bag Post 11

Progress on front flap panel on July 12, 2013.

Please excuse the shadow from the wrist-band on my camera in the photo above!  On Thursday, I finished the stems on the three gathered ribbon flowers and tied them with a bow.  I also put a spider on the web.

Close-up of Gathered Ribbon Flowers
I added a little more length at the bottom of each stem prior to adding the bow where the three stems met.
Spider Close-up
Next, I practiced stitching a spider based upon a sketch in J. Marsha Michler's book The Magic of Crazy Quilting: A Complete Resource for Embellished Quilting.  I showed my sample spider  to my hubby (because he is brutally honest with me) and he thought it was, "Really cool!" 
Spider Web Close-Up
He did fear the silver metallic floss might not show up on the web, but I proved his fear was unfounded.  I only wish the photo could demonstrate how much this not-so-little spider shimmers in the light!

Today, I did not manage to stitch.  However, I did finally finish piecing my 6 blocks for the CQI RR that begins on Monday.  (Procrastinate?  Who? Me?!)  With luck, I will have access to my hubby's computer long enough to post the pictures tomorrow.  (Er... today?  I guess midnight slipped past without my notice!)

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, July 12, 2013

First CQ Messenger Bag Post 10

I have managed to find a few moments to stitch this past couple of weeks, so I thought I would share my progress.

Front Flap Panel as of July 11, 2013
I believe my last post had a picture of the words, "Faith, Hope & Love" stem-stitched with a variegated EdMar floss.

Faith, Hope & Love section completed.
As you can see, I added heart-shaped buttons and seed beads to fill the area. 

I also added blue silk ribbon lazy daisy stitches to the green stems along the pink ribbon seam below.  Three small pearl beads topped these blue flowers.

Tall button flowers.
Next, I added straight stitches with purplish ribbon to create flowers along the green vine on the lower-right.  A shiny black bead worked perfect as the center.

Three tall stems (stem-stitched) with lazy-daisy leaves were topped with white button flowers.  (Butterflies or bees will visit them soon.)

Gathered ribbon flowers in progress.
Using a combination of 7mm and 4mm silk ribbon, I created 3 gathered flowers.  I hope to find time to finish adding their leaves today.  They may be tied with a bow.  Or, if I am really ambitious, they may be stand in a vase. 

On a more personal note, I found myself wondering why I am not grumpy this morning.  There are several reasons I could feel incredibly frustrated.  Instead, I feel at peace and thankful.

First, I have been battling health issues since the end of April.  After spending way too much money on tests, we know a lot of things that are not wrong (for which I am thankful).  The only certainty is that dairy and I have permanently parted ways.  Yesterday, I got to begin a FODMAP diet.  This is generally used to help people that suffer from IBS.  However, as the body can sometimes react to components in these foods similarly to the way it reacts to lactose, the hope is that there may be another dietary component contributing.

There is a lot of irony to be found here.  I spent the beginning of my summer making strawberry honey jam and blueberry honey jam to avoid refined sugars.  Honey and apples (also used in the jam) are on the list of foods to avoid.  And, I spent 3 days last weekend putting up 20-lbs. of peaches, which are also on my Do Not Eat List.  My eldest will have no competition with his jam from me!

I was thankful coffee is on the list of things I can drink (I think I missed coffee more than cheese!)  However, I only like my coffee with creamer.  And, even dairy-free creamers include casein, a milk derivative and/or soy.  Sigh...  At least pumpkin - my absolute favorite - is allowed!  And my Cinderella pumpkin blossoms have not been knocked off by the moles this year!

To top that off, I woke up this morning to discover my laptop will not work.  With luck, my wonderful hubby will be able to work a miracle with it this weekend.  In the meantime, I am thankful he has a functioning PC. 

Normally, I use GIMP to crop my photos and type in my blog name.  His PC does not have GIMP installed.  So, I took a look at Picasa and learned it does the same things in a fraction of the time!

In the end, a positive attitude is really a choice.  And today, it is not even I choice I feel I have to work at, in spite of the obstacles tossed in my path.

OH!  I also found the coolest shimmery denim fabric yesterday.  It will be a PERFECT addition to the blocks I began assembling for the CQI Winter/Christmas DYB Round Robin that begins on Monday!  Now, I am off to finish piecing those blocks.  I hope to have photos posted later today.

I wish you all a fantastic weekend!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Laugh at Myself Moment

One of my favorite sayings is, "It is a good thing laughter is good for the soul, because I give myself reasons to laugh at myself daily."

A few days ago, I saw something moving in our compost outside.  Two little mice peeked out at me.  They were in a little nest they created beneath a potato plant that decided to take root and grow.

Seeing me scared them and they scurried out of sight.

I immediately ran inside and called for my boys as I grabbed my camera and raced outside to wait for one to peek out again.  My eldest later admitted he did not expect me to be so excited about finding mice in our yard. 

Fast forward two days.  I took our shredded paper out to dump into the compost.  Knowing the mice were there, I stood a good distance back and dumped the paper in.  I grabbed the shovel and carefully began turning grass clippings over to hold the paper down.  I began at the outer edge of the compost, as I wanted to the mice to have plenty of time to make a hasty getaway.  After 3 escaped from the back of the compost area, I figured I was good to go.  I lifted a shovel-full of grass closer to their home and flipped it.  As I began turning the next shovel-full, blades of grass exploded toward me and a 4th mouse skittered away.  As those initial blades of grass spewed forth, I screamed.  LOUD.  Boy was I glad I waited until 9:30 a.m. - I would have been mortified to scream like that at 7.  (Maybe the neighbors didn't hear me?  My boys were inside and they did not...) 

I took a step back and had a good laugh at myself.  Such a big scream, inspired by such a tiny creature - that I am obviously not afraid of!  LOL! 

I shared my folly with my hubby, and he noted that I always feel compelled to tell him when I do something goofy.  (Thankfully, this is a trait he finds adorable. I even asked him if screaming at a mouse gave merit to his claim that I have a memory like an elephant, as they are supposed to be afraid of mice...)  I just figure, if I can get a good laugh at myself, why not share the laughter?!  Thus, the creation of LAM Moments (Laugh at Myself Moments.)  You know, those moments when you cannot find your glasses, because you are wearing them and looking right through those lenses? 

Feel free to laugh at - er, I mean WITH - me!  Or, if you've had a chuckle at your own expense, feel free to share.  (I'll know I'm not alone - lol!)


Monday, July 1, 2013

CQJP 2013 April Block Finally Completed!

Crazy Quilt Journal Project 2013 April Block Completed
It is 3 months behind schedule, but I finally completed my April block for CQJP 2013! 

You may recall that I originally labeled this bare block as Block 5.  At that time, it looked like this:
CQJP 2013 Block 5 before embellishing
I am still working on Block 4 - the one with the lightning fabric.  My "brilliant" idea definitely slowed me down.  On the bright side, I no longer want to toss the block and begin again.  The needle painting might just work out after all.  But, back to the April block...
This may look familiar!  I had so much fun working on the snowball I made for Donna in MT, that I decided to add some of those features to this block.

The swan pattern is from DMC Collection: Mini Motif Designs: Exclusive Creation by Mary Bartley Stockett.  

The cattails and lily pads were made using directions from Joan Gordon's Silk Ribbon Embroidery Bible.  (Although I used floss instead of ribbon, the sheep were made by referring to the same book.)
I wanted the seam-line with the brown beads to also resemble cattails.  However, I made them a bit too small.  My hope of adding two beads to each did not look right at all.  I think it turned out okay...

The addition of the sun, a few sheep on the hill, and some birds off in the distance helped complete the top.

However, the block was certainly bottom-heavy at this point.  Luckily, I found a few tree buttons hidden in my stash.  They helped even things out a bit.
Now, I am off to finally complete my Daring Bakers' June Challenge that should have been posted on my second blog, He Might Like It, on June 27th...   After that, I hope to complete my chores in time to work on my CQJP 2013 Block 4 and to begin piecing 6 blocks for my first Do Your Block Round Robin (it has a winter/Christmas theme and is with some amazing stitchers, so I can barely wait for it to begin!)
CQJP 2013 Block 4 - Before Embellishing
For those of you in the USA, I hope you have an amazing 4th of July.  Do you have special traditions for the 4th, or will you be making any fun red, white & blue treats?  If so, I'd love to hear about them!  (I made red, white & blue pancakes this weekend - they were dairy-free and sweetened with honey - the recipe will be posted at within the next day or two.)