Monday, November 30, 2015

CQI UTS RR #2 - Annette's Block Completed!

This weekend, I finished embellishing one of 
Annette's beautiful mermaid blocks! 

Above is a photo of the block before embellishment.

I chose this block because the dark blue triangle in the upper-left corner looked like the perfect place to add a dolphin.

You see, after I saw the gorgeous under-the-sea themed quilt Gina made and shared at Quilts and Cakes, I began toying with the idea of learning how to embroider a dolphin. 
I mentioned the idea to Gina and she encouraged me to give it a try.
I also mentioned the idea to Mary Anne at Magpie's Mumblings. She had the great idea of using Gerry Krueger's method to create a felt applique (which I tried) and perhaps even add some stuffing to the dolphin (which I hope to try next time.)

So, I searched "how to draw a dolphin" and chose this tutorial.

He's not perfect, but not bad for a first attempt.

A satin stitched jelly and several small fish also adorn the block.

You would not guess it took nearly four hours to stem-stitch the mermaid's hair, would you?! I loved the texture that the hair and the metallic green fly stitches added to the mermaid's tail added.

The green vines with pink flowers in the photo below were shared with my last Take a Stitch Tuesday (TAST) post.  The vines were created by tracing some of the stem-like shapes from 
(I am not affiliated with the templates; however, 
I am having so much fun with them that the first set of templates is already on my Christmas wish list.)

This block was SO much fun to stitch!

I loved working with these colors, too. The fabrics were fantastic.

Below is a photo of the 3 embellished blocks together.

The turtle block, embellished by Kathy Semone.
 The middle block, embellished by Barbara Nicki Lee Seavey.
And the block I embellished.

I do hope Annette likes her block!

I am linking this post with the Monday Stitchery Link Party #34 at Super Mom - No Cape! I do hope you will visit to see what the free embroidery pattern is and what others are up to. If you have a blog and do any hand stitching, I encourage you to join the party.

Thank you for stopping by!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Exciting News + TAST Stitches 19 & 20

Last Monday, I was absolutely thrilled to receive a set of Sharon B.'s new crazy quilt templates to review! (I am not affiliated with the templates.)

I have only had a bit of time to play with them so far, but I am having fun!

The first time I used the templates, I created under-the-sea vegetation with the barred chain stitch on Annette's block for the Crazy Quilting International Under the Sea Round Robin. 

I traced several of the stem-like templates so they covered the seam and curved around in ways that I liked. Then I stitched them with green size 8 perle cotton. 

TAST Stitch 19: Bullion Knot

Three bullion knots were added to the end of each vine using pink size 8 perle cotton. Two pistil stitches were placed between the bullion knot petals.

Sea stars are probably my most common use of bullion knots.

These roses were one of my favorite motifs created with bullion knots.

I struggled with this stitch until I read Sharon B.'s tutorial in 2014 and realized I needed a milliner's needle. 

TAST Stitch 20: Butterfly Chain

I used red metallic thread and the butterfly chain stitch to couch a white glittery ribbon onto a Christmas themed block. The red and white reminds me of candy canes and peppermint.

So far, this is the only way I have used this stitch. The photo above is part of the pincushion I made for my mother-in-law in 2014.

In the future, I plan to add a kite to a block and use the butterfly chain stitch for the tail. It reminds me of the cloth strips my mom taught me to tie to the tail of my kite when I was a little girl.

TAST stands for Take a Stitch Tuesday. It is a personal stitching challenge offered by Sharon B. on Facebook and on her blog, You may read more about it here. If you follow the TAST Facebook group, you know there are some incredibly inspiring examples of these stitches being shared. Anyone may join at any time during the challenge. Thank you, Sharon, for offering TAST!

Later this week, I will share the 2nd seam I created using Sharon's new crazy quilting templates. 

Thank you for stopping by!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Exciting Outgoing Mail

Today, I finally finished the mermaid block I worked on as part of the free Intermediate Crazy Quilt Course (ICQC #102) I took from Kathy Shaw.

The last time I shared this piece, I was debating between making it into a fabric postcard or a mug rug. I decided on a mug rug, but then I had the only bead on the mug rug I made for myself last year fall off and opted to make a postcard instead.

This was the 3rd fabric postcard I made.
The first had a "state" theme for a swap with the CQ for Newbies Yahoo! Group. We mailed our postcards in an envelope to our swap hostess and she mailed them out to the recipients for us. We did not write on those postcards.

It took a bit of courage to write my message and the address on this one! Then there was the big question: How do I mail it?! An on-line friend puts the stamp on hers, has it hand-canceled and then mails it in a clear envelope. I asked at our post office. It costs a bit extra to mail it in a clear envelope. My post office said the stamp needed to be on the outside of the envelope and that they would have to be stamped by hand as they should not go through the machine. It was a learning experience for me! This postcard is off to a sweet friend.

The 2nd fabric postcard I made also went into the mail today. This was created for a swap in the Crazy Quilting International group that meets on Facebook and on Yahoo!  

I planned to mail it last week, but I could not bring myself to write on the back. I guess I was not alone... My husband saw me writing a note to the recipient and told me he didn't know how I could mark on it. He felt I should just mail it blank and address the envelope. 

I am quite excited to have both projects mailed out and on their way to their new homes. I had so much fun with them that I am working on another one. Later this week, I will share my progress and details about the fun mail I received in the mail last Monday! (I'm still squealing with delight!)

This post is linked with the Monday Stitchery Link Party #33 at Super Mom - No Cape!

More exciting news: Those of you that have expressed interest in Kathy Shaw's crazy quilting classes might like to know that she has released her book, Crazy Quilting Volume 1: Beyond the Basics. It is available on now. The Kindle version is free to those with subscriptions to Kindle and Amazon Prime members may borrow it for free. The paperback version is also available for purchase. (Disclaimers: I am not affiliated with the book. I admire Kathy and all of the time she has dedicated to teaching others the art of crazy quilting. If you do make a purchase from Amazon through my blog, I do earn a small credit.)

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Christmas is in My Heart Blog Hop - My Day to Share!

I would love to thank Marian at Seams To Be Sew
for organizing the 
Christmas is in My Heart Blog Hop.

The Fat Quarter Shop has generously sponsored the hop
by offering a $25.00 gift certificate each day. 

If you are new to my blog, welcome!
My name is Renee and today I have two projects to share with you.

One of my passions is crazy quilting.  
This year, I am participating in a crazy quilted 
Holiday Fabric Postcard Swap through Crazy Quilting International 
(an on-line group on both Yahoo and Facebook.)
I had so much fun piecing, embroidering and beading this postcard that I may have to make a couple more!
I do hope the recipient likes it.

My second project warms my heart. 
To me, Christmas is all about family.

Every year, we host a Christmas brunch at our house. 
Later in the day, we head over to my in-law's home for dinner. 
On Christmas morning, my boys only open their stockings before their grandparents arrive. While they were still with us, 
the boys' great-grandparents joined us, too.
I am so thankful for the warm memories with them.

One year, the roads were too icy for our guests to join us for brunch. 
I tried to cheer my boys up by pointing out they would not have to wait until 8 or 9 to open their gifts. 
I guess we did something right. Neither of them cared about opening their presents without their grandparents being there. Luckily the roads cleared enough for our Christmas dinner! 
I am thankful our boys know Jesus is the reason for the season and time with their family is cherished.

In 2013, I made my first crazy quilted Christmas stocking and claimed it for myself. My youngest son surprised me by asking me if he could have it last year. I offered to make one for him instead.

So, I pieced and embellished a stocking featuring scenes 
from fabric I have had for years that I believe is 
from a line called "Christmas is for Families".

I truly enjoyed adding details to this stocking I thought my son would enjoy.

I am happy to say, my son likes it.

Above is the front. Below is the back.

I do hope you will stop by the other blogs presenting today.
Leave a comment on each one and enter to win 
a $25 gift certificate from the Fat Quarter Shop!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
If you have a Christmas tradition, I would love to hear about it!

Thank you for stopping by!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

A Sweet Surprise and a Few Notes of Interest

How often does someone knock on your door, unexpected, with a gift for you just because they saw it and you immediately came to their mind? If your answer is not often, so was mine - until earlier this week.

A friend and her daughter stopped by to give me this darling tea towel. 

Just look at the delicate embroidery! If you look closely (clicking on the photo will enlarge the image), you may be able to tell that the green fabric is sheer.  I cannot even begin to explain how tiny the stitches are. I feel completely spoiled!

My friend pointed out that she had not seen anything like these pink sections in the stitching I have shared. Although I have learned a lot in the past 3 years, I am still a beginner in SO many aspects of embroidery. I have seen things like this on other works, but have no clue what they are called or how to make them. I assume these and this section in the photo below are a form of stump work? (I would love to know!)

It is just lovely!

On another note... I opted to give up my WIP Wednesday posts. I figured a recap near the end of the month might have more to share. 

These next few weeks I should have some fun finishes to show you! I am participating in a Christmas crazy quilt fabric postcard swap and with a Christmas blog hop. 

A few notes that may be of interest:

  • The Christmas is in My Heart Blog Hop hosted by Marian at Seams to be Sew begins tomorrow. The Fat Quarter Shop is sponsoring the hop and is generously providing a giveaway each day of the hop!
  • Kathy Shaw has announced some changes with her free crazy quilt classes. You may read more about those changes at Shawkl Designs.
  • Kathy also has a new book coming out! Pre-orders are available at a discounted price through the end of November. Learn more about it here. (I am not affiliated with the book, but I am excited about it!)
  • Sharon B. at Pintangle has a second set of templates that are now available! If you are interested or curious, you can check them out here. (Again, I am not affiliated with these templates. However, I have heard loads of good things about the first set.)
  • Registration for Crazy Quilt Journal Project (CQJP) 2016 will be open from Friday, November 13th - Sunday, December 20th. You may learn more about CQJP 2016 here. (You may want to see what participants have been creating this year at the CQJP 2015 blog.)
If you decide to participate in CQJP 2016, please let me know! I will be joining the fun and am determined to finish on time next year. (I have a tendency to let projects for me to slip aside so I can focus on gifts for others... That being said, my completed blocks from CQJP 2013 will be finished into projects soon. And, almost all of my CQJP 2014 blocks have been embellished and most have been made into purses or totes. For CQJP 2016 I plan to make a real crazy quilt, just for me!)

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

TAST Stitches 17 & 18

TAST Stitch 17: Crossed Buttonhole Stitch

I really wanted to find a way to add the crossed buttonhole stitch to a Christmas stocking I am working on, but failed to think of a way to do so. Instead, I used this stitch to tack a ribbon down and added small flowers to dress it up.

This seam uses white glittery ribbon and size 8 perle cotton in green and pink. Stitches used were: crossed buttonhole stitch, straight stitch, detached chain stitch and French knots.

Imagine my delight when Anneliese shared her examples with the TAST Facebook group using crossed buttonhole stitches and upside down wheatear stitches to create trees. (I just LOVE embroidered trees and hers were fantastic!) I had to give her crossed buttonhole trees a try. My first attempt was the tree on the far left. I think my technique improved a bit as I went along. I do so love being inspired by creative thinkers!

For my trees, I threaded a needle with a strand of white and a strand of green DMC floss because I wanted the them to have a snowy look. What a fun way to try out a new stitch!

TAST Stitch 18: Half Chevron Stitch

In the future, I plan to use waste canvas with the half chevron stitch. This seam intersects with one I had already added beads to and they would have interfered with the waste canvas, so I did not use it this time. This was a fun stitch to try, but I found it difficult to make even stitches freehand. 

This seam was created using white size 12 perle cotton for the half chevron stitches (basic seam) , size 12 pink perle cotton and 2 open detached chain stitches (hearts), light green size 8 perle cotton for straight stitches and detached chain stitches (stems and leaves), and light pink size 8 perle cotton detached chain stitches and French knots (flower petals and centers.)

Sorry for the photo quality. My camera really does not like to focus on white and light pink stitches. This was the best of over 30 shots taken in totally different lighting situations.

TAST stands for Take a Stitch Tuesday. It is a personal stitching challenge offered by Sharon B. on Facebook and on her blog, You may read more about it here. Last week the crossed buttonhole stitch was introduced and this week the half chevron stitch was introduced. If you follow the TAST Facebook group, you know there are some incredibly inspiring examples of these stitches being shared. Thank you, Sharon, for offering TAST!

Oh! Before I forget... Many of you know that Sharon B. created a set of crazy quilting templates a while back. You will be happy to know she will soon be releasing a second set of templates. If you missed her post about them, you may check it out here. (Please note: I am not affiliated with these templates. However, I have only heard positive comments about the first set from members of the on-line crazy quilting groups I belong to.)

Thank you for stopping by!

Monday, November 9, 2015

HAED Twilight Duel Progress Update #3 November 2015

The picture to the left shows my progress on the HAED Twilight Duel chart from August 30th - October 2nd. The chart is based on original artwork by Ruth Thompson

This is how it looked after 2 months. (August 30th - October 30th.)

As of November 8th, I had completed 5,841 of 147,600 stitches. It is not as far along as I hoped to be, but other projects have demanded my attention this month.

(Note: I rotated this photo so it accurately reflects the lower-left corner of the original artwork. The others are shown as they are on page one of the chart. There is a photo of Ruth Thompson's Twilight Duel on the sidebar to the right.)

My goal by November 8th: 7,100
Actual: 5,841 stitches (1,259 stitches behind schedule)
The chart is 3.96% complete. (Up 1.44% from last month.)
Page 1 is 74.43% complete. (Up 27.07% from last month.)

I will share pictures here again on December 8th (the 2nd Monday of the month.) Although, if I finish page 1 before then, you might see an update a little bit sooner.

I am linking up with the Monday Stitchery Link Party at Super Mom - No Cape! again this week. It is a great place to visit for a free embroidery pattern and to find links to more eye candy. This week's embroidery pattern is the words "Seasons Greetings" in a fun font. If you do any hand stitching and have a blog, I encourage you to join the fun!

Thanks for stopping by!