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Monday, January 26, 2015

How do you Finish the Pear?

Well, that's that. I have had this done for about 10 days but needed to do the finishing. I have to say that I like it, flaws, bumps and all.  And truly Stitchers we have some bumps. Now in the interest of full disclosure I will point out all the flaws in my Pear Number One.
  • Remember early on I switched from Linen to Aida? No major issue there for me until it came time to do the finishing.  Since this is a resurrected type of needlework for me I am living with a bit of a learning curve, a learn as you go, again. 
  • I really liked doing the cross-stitch. Really. I really liked collecting all the Prim threads. I have bobbinated the threads and placed them in neat little rows in their containers. What a wonderful and mindless activity to think and ponder all sorts of things.
  • You know I like things in neat little rows, in neat little containers. All the gadgets and widgets need to be accounted for, yes? Have I ever told the story of my first 'official' paycheck? Of course I was thrilled. We actually received paper paychecks then, signed by the hospital administrator. I was official. Anyway, the mind wanders. While all my class mates and co-workers were planning on their new clothes, new cars etc. I was making lists of all the storage containers I would need to outfit my kitchen, and all the specialty baking pans that would be required.  My cupboards were going to be neat, clean, containers all in a row. Since that time label makers have become available. I won't even tell you how thrilled I am with those, I have two.  I know.  What can I say?
  • I used some felted wool on the back of the pear, it was too stretchy. A wool craft felt would have been much more stable. Did you notice this is the second issue with flimsy felt in the last two weeks?
  • On Pear #2 I am going to leave my turning opening on the bottom of the pear, not the top. I fussed and fidgeted to get the top rounded but it has quirks. We'll just call that personality. 
  • Aida is not so good on a rounded seam. No wonder everyone prefers linen for something like this. Aida doesn't like to be round, it wants to lay square. Aida would be good to use for straight edge hanging pieces or even framed pieces though I doubt I would spend the big $ to frame an Aida piece after this experience. 
  • I used a lightweight fusible interfacing on the back of the piece. That worked out fine. I did a wee little bit of stuffing to puff it out a bit. Then I pressed the whole piece on both sides using a press cloth. I steamed and steamed. 
  • Next time I will put a bit of sand or sawdust in the bottom to fill it out. A weighted Pear is a Pear with a purpose. A Pear that sits nicely without complaint is a Pear with dignity.   
  • The stem and leaf are cut from felted wool scraps. I have some different ideas there too but I need to work it out in my head. Next Pear. 
  • PS, I think I am going to make another one, this pattern, in linen. I know, I know, just bear with me. Wait till I show you what came in the mail. The Santas and Samplers Blog has been a very strong influence on me. But then again, if it involves a needle I am already there.

Finishing a pear ONE METHOD HERE BY MARLY.

****Absolutely nothing to do with Sewtopia but I though you might enjoy this video, I don't remember early Motherhood being quite this contentious but I was probably just clueless. Check it out here! 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Week-End, Crafting a Clove Studded Pear, The Winter Mantle

"What 's a week-end?" as spoken by Lady Grantham has a much more acerbic tone than when I say it. Not that the end of the week is profoundly different than any other day of the week in character but a hold over from the work world still shadows my being. We had a little dusting of snow the other day and one yesterday but according to the overly excited weather news media we are going to get pounded. I'll wait to see, of course, predictions have been less than accurate this Winter.

 I cloved up a pear yesterday. I ran out and the back is a little skimpy. This is one juicy little pear I will tell you, juicy. The drying may take a while.

It has taken me a while to come up with the Winter mantel decor. While doing the studio purge I found an old (I mean probably 60 year old collection) of little birds that Husband's Granny used in a dining room decoration that I remember well. She had a thorn tree branch in a crock, painted Winter white and had all these sweet little birds perched all over it. The tree is long gone but I bagged up those birds when I cleaned out the house. Many of them were in bad shape and needed to go go their reward. Then by accident I found a bag hanging on a hook in my storage room and lo and behold, a bag of birds. New birds, still in their little cellophane wrappers! A plan was hatched.

Birds in the branches, that was the plan. Keeping the antique butter churn, pewter and iron I confiscated the branch from a dining room installation, popped in some of the birds and viola'.  
 I need to work on getting a full length photo with a different camera but it is sort of cute. Because of a severe deer over-population here (they were on my front porch yesterday morning, A few of the brighter ones must have thought that the wreaths hanging on the from porch with their little silver twinkle pieces were food, I know, something needs to change) I cannot feed my birds anymore. The deer literally destroy everything in their path. It is a large herd. Sometimes they all come through and I can count 30+ at a time tromping through my back yard. So my birds are content to hang out on the family room mantle.

Not the same but it will do for now. Despite the efforts to reduce the size of the deer herd it is really difficult when others feed them and my property is the interstate between the food and the forest. Dear son, who is a hunter, came again yesterday, hunting paraphernalia and all, but couldn't do it. The darn things follow him around like dogs. They walk right up to you. Really.  Then they they look at you with those pleading eyes and there goes all the intent.

  These birds don't eat much!
The wood on this mantle is one large piece of oak. I give it a nice coat of bees wax several times per year to keep the wood from drying. 
The clove studded tangerine is living there too.

Friday, January 23, 2015

From My Window.....

The Magpie, Claude Monet

I am working on cleaning and organizing the Studio of Sewtopia today. Always a frustration for me since I want, need, require a larger space or a different plan. 

I look out my window and see a large piece of property where I would build my dream studio, when my proverbial ship comes in!  Much like the painting, it is a quiet and contemplative view.  Instead I came up with alternative storage for "QUIPS "...Quilts In Progress Sister. They are big, flat, seal snugly and well priced at Costco right now. These four heavy duty plastic boxes will now keep all my pieces for my QUIPS safely stored and available. For $19.95 I have solved an old problem. No hiding in drawers, no messy blocks to re-press because their storage container was too small. I work on several projects at a time and this is the best way for me to organize them.

A work in progress.

  • I am grateful for this sewing space, really I am. I have sewn in closets, (That was really fun actually) dining rooms and many unusual spots. Having a dedicated space is a joy.
  • I think that the opportunity to work on projects you love is a wonderful gift. My non-sewing friends don't understand the dedication and passion, I keep trying to convert them, I should just let it go. 
One week ago I passed on a pile , 80 some, red squares that I had cut years ago. Oh the things you find when you are doing the purge and clean! So our dear Rose took those little orphan squares and look what she did! Isn't this just a classic quilt? The borders were left over from last years Cutting Bee.
A little close up. Rose popped in some plaid blocks to fill out the pattern and add a little pizazz! The Ladies of the Cloth are having another Cutting Bee next week. This time we are cutting 5 inch squares, our own little charm packs :) This is a great way to use up that stash fabric and get a great variety of fabrics for your service quilts as well.
  • You will  proud of me when you see how much fabric I am taking to the  Cutting Bee.  It is time to move this fabric along and we have a great use for all of it. Getting an early start on these  service quilts is the best way in my opinion to get lots done and not have the whole deadline pressure thing in October. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Bloggers Supporting Other Bloggers

If you have been reading blogs for any time you are likely aware of "LINK PARTIES." These allow smaller blogs to add links to their blog on another blog. I discovered Cedar Hill Farmhouse a few months ago and always look forward to her posts and the three other ladies who publish The Scoop once a week. The ideas and photography are wonderful. For example, this week Anita explored elements of Swedish design. When I saw this little building my wee brain is screaming ...Sewing studio, sewing studio. I can see it built on the edge of my woods. What do you think?   source

Our Terri has started another quilting project. A relative beginner, she is fearless in choosing her designs. At her stage of quilting development I was still trying to cut a good square!

Her fabrics and colors for this little table runner are right on. She remarked that she needed some practice matching points but we all do, with every quilt I think. Can't wait to see this one at completion. Yea Terri!
  • The blogs are an absolute wealth of information. There s something for everyone, just look.
  • What I find is that I must limit my computer time. Another subject in great discussion. With so many outlets for creative expression from blogs, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest etc. One could while away the entire day and accomplish nothing. I have set my limits and am pretty good at maintaining my discipline. I need one hour in the am to check email, banking stuff etc. Then I check Bloglovin, Facebook etc. All during this I capture ideas for my own blog. There are millions. I normally write in the evening while watching TV or doing laundry. Snippets of time can provide a cumulative time to accomplish many tasks. I have learned to use my snippets wisely.
  • A beginning quilter does well to find a support group like our Ladies of the Cloth. The wealth of help and information in a friendly group has a value that is difficult to measure. 
  • Still dreaming of the perfect studio space. 


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Wooly Wednesday, the Finished Needle Book

It's done. It's not like it is supposed to be. Oh well. It's done.

That said my finishing is pretty simple. First I steam pressed the heck out of it. The wool side. The wool was rumply and lumpy. Using a press cloth it steamed up pretty good.
Then I stitched the Onsaberg fabric lining to the wool/batting piece, right side together.
Using my Kai dressmakers shears I was able to get a cut that I felt was better than the first trim with a rotary cutter. I trimmed off the corners, turned the piece right side out by cutting a little slit in the lining where the pin cushion would cover it in the final cover.
Little slit, about 3 inches.
I had a couple pennies left over from another project so I stitched one over the slit with smoke colored invisible thread, left a little opening, stuffed it with cotton stuffing, sewed over the hole and Voila' a pincushion seen in the above photo in blue and black. Another left over penny round was attached with the same smoke colored invisible thread and a V formation was applied to create a pocket for my embroidery scissors. I attach the scissor with the clip on telescoping fob. On the right of the photo you will see a button, this one backs the button on the back that secures the tab closure.
This is the back of the book where one can see the stitching from the penny rounds.
On the left side of the open book is a piece of red wool stitched into two little pockets to hold two different sizes of tapestry needles. To the right you can see evidence of the two plastic zippered bags are showing.
I had no idea of what I was going to do here so in conjunction with the printed page of directions that I did have I came up with this. I had a square of heavily felted wool in a dark charcoal gray. I placed the bags on the fabric, marked the hole placement with a little pen mark. Then I cut three strips, less than 1/2 inch wide by 6 inches. I divided them in half and stitched them down to the book in the three marked places. Bags in place and secure after a simple knot.
  • If I ever do anything like this again I will change just about everything.
  • Anytime I have made an item with a lining I attach all the inner pockets etc. Before I join the front to the back and the lining. This was entirely different.
  • Not all wool is good for something like this. My primary discontent is the large piece of herringbone wool/? that is used for the back and part of the front flap. I needs to be heavily felted like the fabric I used for the ties. The flimsy/whimsy stuff in the kit is just not firm enough.
  • I will use this for my Pear Project, just the right size and portable. I can tie my little hoop to one of the plastic envelope ties or I may just tack another one in there somewhere for that purpose. 
  • It still looks lumpy in the photo's but I don't think it is that bad. I re-pressed the wool after the final stitching and had a little more shrinkage. I see a wee bit of the lining poking out. Next time much more pressing of the wools before applying the lining. Toodles! 
Fiddling with the Little Things, quick, fun and functional. Fits my criteria for a project. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Instead of the Tuesday Tea Items, Pottery

Have I mentioned that is is cold and dreary here? I have been doing the January clean and purge (well not really that much purge, more rearrange) and since this is Tuesday I thought I would share some of the pottery collection. This large crock is a soup tureen, from the Scenery Hill Pa. pottery, Westerwald. It weighs a ton. I am so fond of crockery. I would fill the house if I could. In 2006 I commissioned this piece from one of my favorite potters. Lots of clay in this one I must say. I move it around now and then, sometimes it sits on the floor in a safe corner. Sometimes it sits on the bottom shelf of the china closet, like a weight! It has never held soup, it did hide a few small Christmas Gifts in Plain Sight one year. I felt so darn clever! Beautifully done the blue paint Colonial Feather decorations are clear and bright against the blue/gray background. 

These candle holders were made by my Father, in 1981 as a Christmas gift. I put stickers on everything so that I can keep the date with the piece.  Not a wood worker per se these were a great accomplishment for him.
the Ladle for the tureen, weight about 2 pounds!

Betty Jane shared this quilt last week at The Ladies of the Cloth. That focus fabric looks like millifiore to me. I don't recall the name of this block but it is a half-square triangle with one half a solid fabric and the other half the three strips of blue and one of red. Where they join they create the red square. 
I think the three blues give amazing dimension to the piece. Betty Jane can take just about any fabric and turn out a beauty. She leans toward Jewel tones frequently. I am impressed. Again. I was very productive this week, I stuck a couple hundred cloves in a tangerine! Are you impressed? 

Monday, January 19, 2015

I just want to say on this semi-dreary Monday morning, I am about tired of this cold, ice and snow. Just needed to go on the record about that. To perk up my senses (don't laugh) I decided to make some pomanders. I made this on Saturday from a Clementine. I used an entire container of Cloves for this little bugger and had to run to the store to get more for the pear. I have plans. It will involve a lot of cloves, does anyone sell them by the bucket?

The Patient Pear. Waiting for her dressing. I had to use a wooden skewer on the Clementine because the skin was so think, bloody fingers I tell you, bloody fingers. The things I do for my projects!

Box number one DMC, bobbinated. These are primary colors and pastels mostly. I did find a couple bobbins tucked in bags from other projects, unmarked, sloppy wind. I put them on the right side there until I can match the colors to a number. Or maybe not, probably more trouble than its worth.

 Happy Dance, Happy Dance. These are the "Prim" colors recommended by the designers of the  Primitive Stitchers Society.   I pooped out around 1 am on Saturday and will work on it today if I get time. I will likely need another box. With regular activities, the RV show was in town and visitors I had a busy weekend but accomplished nothing at the machine. So let me show you a couple things that other people did and presented at the Ladies of the Cloth last Tuesday.

  Isn't this a beauty? Mary Jane was working on this already made quilt. It was a gift to her son that needed to be re-bound, love the pattern and the colors. No wonder he wanted it re-bound.

 And our Betty Jane is always, I mean always working her little fingers to the bone! This is black, gray and white 10 inch (approx) squares with the circles cut from string strips. Can you stand it? Too cute, very Sputnik or Planetarium inspired!

  • Organizing the studio and its contents is taking much longer than I expected. It is my fault. One because I have so much stuff (notice I didn't say too much stuff!) and two because I was sick for about 10 days. This bug takes the wind from your sails ladies. Kaput!
  • I enjoy doing little crafts again. I used to do this stuff all the time then got away from it when quilting took over. Now that I think about it a lot of other activities took a second seat to quilting. One of my goals for 2015, note I didn't say resolution, is to be a little more diverse in my activities.  
  • Today would have been my Mother's birthday, she was 96 when she passed last year. I miss her. Happy Birthday Mum.