Thursday, December 29, 2011

If At First ...

Okay so you’ve probably heard the saying “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again”. So I think that’s where I’m at with blogging. I really want to blog on a regular basis not just occasionally, but I seem to be trying and trying. So here we go again!

Wow over two months have gone by since I last posted! And now it’s almost Christmas is past! Well I have been busy. Still unpacking and hunting for things. When will I learn to label my boxes better? Knowing me probably never! Ha!

I’ve decided to add my Works In Progress (WIP’s) to the blog so you can see what I’m working on and what lies behind a finished project. 

Oh speaking of finished projects my plans for 52 old unfinished ones went astray but I did manage to do the butterflies on a dish towel. I went back to it because I needed some dish towels. 
                                                    This became a warm up exercise for my fingers before working on other projects. Plus I tested out something my art instructor told me a long time ago. “A broken line is more interesting than a solid one.” The butterfly on the left is solid stitching and the one on the right has some broken lines. Do you find it more interesting? I’m not sure if it holds true for embroidery.

Another side benefit of doing these butterflies is while working on them I made a decision for another project. I had done the shashiko embroidery in a class taught by the kit designer Sylvia Pippin in Hawaii. The kit called for appliqué butterflies using some hand marbled fabric supplied in the kit. I started working on them but was not thrilled with the fabric colors so then I tried using some of my own hand marbled fabrics (I have a lot of these from classes I taught). They weren’t suiting me either so I stopped working on the project.
I contemplated doing them as embroidery but couldn’t decide. Then I started working on the dishtowel, the more I worked on it the stronger I felt to do embroidered butterflies on the shashiko piece. Now I just need to decide whether to make them fantasy ones or closer to true colors! Follow me and see what transpires!

I’m trying to stitch 1 to 2 hours every morning before my day gets busy. I also am now watching my grandson four days a week from 8 to 5 so I may need to find another time slot. But he’s worth it! Oh the pleasures of being a Tutu (grandmother)! Here he is wearing a hat made by Tutu Rose (that’s me of course!).

Happy stitching!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Starting Over Again

Okay let’s try this again. I started out claiming 2011 to be a year of new beginnings and truly it has been! So much so that I’ve let my blogging slip way too long so let’s give it a new beginning also.
A dozen things that have transpired so far:

  1. I retired from my full time job with the County of  Hawaii. How sweet it is!
  2. We (myself, my husband, and my son) spent the month of June packing, running garage sales, shipping a container load of stuff, and dumping more stuff. It was rough but we made it.
  3. With the help of my daughter and her husband I started shopping for houses online. They would go look at ones we found, take pictures, and offer their opinions. Finding a house took longer than expected but we finally purchased one and moved in on August 19. Funny thing is we bought the very first house I had looked at back in March or April.
  4. We said goodbye to everyone and boarded the flight that would begin our journey from Hawaii to Texas. It was a difficult flight and I may blog more about that one day. (Difficult is putting it mildly). And of course my husband and I were in tears as we left our beloved island.
  5. We moved in on our daughter and husband just as they were doing some remodeling on their home and preparing for the arrival of their first child. Probably another post coming on that too!
  6. After moving into our home we began fixing things up, trying to get ourselves organized (still working on that!), unpacking, and shopping for major appliances and furniture. We had no car (trying to shop for that too!) so we had to rely on others for all of our traveling needs.
  7. Finally bought a car with the help of our good friend Willie (my daughter’s father-in-law) who drove us around to car dealers, lots, and spent even more time looking online. Got my wish car – a PT Cruiser with sunroof. 

    Went to the hospital to welcome the birth of our first grandson! Welcome Jaden Kaleo Howe! Mama Rose loves you! So does Papa K!
  9. Signed up for an online embroidery class before retiring thinking I would be all settled in before it started. That didn’t happen so I’m way behind with the assignments but I am determined to do them.
  10. Signed up for another online class. This one for encrusted crazy quilting with the same instructor. I love her work! This is only the second week of a six week course and I’m keeping up with it. I’ll definitely be blogging about those two projects.
  11. Did not get any of my UFO’s completed as planned even though I did carry handwork with me on this journey. Did start some more works though and actually completed a few of them. 
  12. Started getting back into the hang of cooking and baking. Love doing it. Well except for the cleanup maybe!

Well that’s my dozen for now. Some things may have been forgotten. Here are the items I did finish:
Birds to go in my grandson’s nursery using a pattern we found on Spool. Check my daughter’s blog out to see pictures of them and the wonderful decorating job she did.
A ruffled nursing cover-up for my daughter using a pattern from RuffledBegonia on Etsy.

Here’s some pictures to tease you about my current WIP’s (works in progress) which I will be posting about shortly!

Until then,

Happy stitching!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

I've Been Busy

French Knot Closeup
Pin It
Bird's Eye View
The beginning owl doodle
Well kind of busy. I did get my owl embroidery and my Bird’s Eye View done. Like I said in my last post I can sit and stitch for hours. I get lost and love what is happening with the thread and the stitches. The more I thought about this the more I realized how often I’ve heard sayings that revolve around “Do what you love …” theme. And I’ve been convinced for a long time now that most of us discover what we love to do in our childhood. The only problem is we forget, get bogged down in other things, listen to the voices of well meaning family and friends and turn our backs on the “what we love”. This is true for me. I learned to embroider at a very early age (7) from a lady(my mother) who also had a love for it starting at a very early age. I moved out on my own in the late 60’s to San Francisco no less – that’s right - home of the hippies! I did not pick up my needle and thread at that time. Too bad! I did do some work in the early 70’s for my youngest brother and I still have a shirt I made and embroidered for him. It still looks pretty good; too bad I don’t fit into it. I have memories of things I worked on as a child and as a young girl. A few of these items are still with me today. While going through my stash of unfinished items I was surprised to see how many revolved around embroidery. And I am so happy to be back in the groove again!
Owl on Vintage Fabric

Faux Lava Rocks on "Lava Fabric"

One of the items I came across had nothing to do with embroidery. Here is some muslin I painted with a textured paint that was called lava. My original intent was to make some beads that looked like lava but were lightweight.

They kind of worked and I’m not sure where I was thinking of using them maybe on my woven necklace. But looking at that fabric gave me an idea. So now it has become my inspiration fabric. I’m not sure if I will actually use it but I decided to try my idea on regular fabric first. 

Here’s the first of a series of work I plan to do. I will probably sell both the readymade and the patterns once I have a few worked up. I think they are coming out quite nicely.
Big Island Hawaiian Petroglyph #1

And I discovered another piece of the painted fabric I didn’t remember I had. Haha!
However I’m so far behind on my 52 projects that I think I better start doing more work and less thinking.
Bone Rings and Button Blanks

Okay I’m off and running on another idea to accommodate my needle habit which I like to carry with me to work and other places. I was looking for some bone rings (well now they’re made of plastic) that I’m sure I had (that’s how I discovered my other piece of painted fabric!). I finally found them after muttering under my breath several times “I guess I have to go to town because I really want to make this – today”. In amongst them I found a button blank (part of a button that didn’t get to actually be a button) that would work just as well as the bone ring I was looking for. Now I’ve got another recycle, reuse, repurpose item! Just love it when that happens! And I know I have a lot of them somewhere but I’ve found enough to get me started. So now I’m off to my sewing machine to make it so I can take it with me tomorrow. You’ll just have to wait to see what I’m doing.

Happy stitching!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Just Checking In:

Single Needle Candy in Box
So I worked like mad to get some more of my Needle Candies ready for the store. I finished a dozen just in time to take them to the quilt guild meeting. One of the regular members lives near the store and has some of her goods for sale there. She is more than willing to drop items off for me saving me the postal expense. Don’t they look all sweet in their packages!

Needle Candies Package
You’ll notice I’ve added some more items to my 52 Week Challenge slide show. I keep running across UFO’s to add to the group. Still not up to 52 yet. If you take a peek at them you will see that there is quite a range of activity there. And it is for sure that some of them will take a lot of work to complete.

One of the items in that group is a hoop with some denim fabric (from a pair of my daughter’s jeans) in it and a little embroidered heart. I wasn’t happy with the heart but wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with it. Then one day it hit me, just fill the heart with white buttons, add a few more buttons off to the side and finish! So that’s just what I did. The back is covered with a dark blue felt. I was looking for some way to cover the back of the hoop but haven’t found anything to use. I don’t want it showing from the front and everything I’ve tried so far is a little too wide. I think I may look for some narrow rickrack but otherwise I’m chalking it up as done.
Denim in hoop with button heart

That put me in the mood for working on some embroidery. I’ve been itching to do some for awhile now. Finally settled on the doodle owl I had printed on some vintage fabric. The owl was beginning to fade so I needed to get started on it. It is looking good. Finished embroidering the owl, added some detail embroidery to a few of the original flowers on the fabric and it is now ready for finishing. Expect to see it finished soon!

Hoop Wall Art Owl Embroidery
Doing those French knots on that piece encouraged me to go ahead and add French knots to my colorful doodle piece. So now I’m working on it too! I had been considering doing the knots in the remaining white spaces on this piece but I was intimidated by my mother-in-laws (Eunice Rowe Balaz) work. My mother was an expert embroiderer but my mother-in-law was a master embroiderer. I’ve always been amazed at her French knots and the masses of knots that she used. It’s been a long time since I attempted them but I think I’m doing okay!

I’ve slowly drifted back to embroidery and now realize that it is something I really enjoy doing and can sit for hours and work at it. Just wish it was something I could do on the bus but the needles are too sharp and I already poke myself enough without using them while being jostled around on the bus!

One of the other things I hope to get accomplished soon is a slide show of all of the quilts I’ve made. There are a few that I don’t have photos of and a few that are very poor quality photos but I think it’s good to have a file (in this case a slide show) to remind myself of what I have made and to share them with others.

Happy stitching!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Three weeks and counting:

Oh my, it’s the end of January and I feel like I am behind already. I should have at least thee things completed and a start on finishing my fourth. OK here’s my second item. From the before photo you might be wondering what’s to finish since they are already packaged but if you look at the one in the middle you’ll see the difference.
Needle Nabbers Photo

I have these little flowers for sale in my online shop and also at a local quilt store, Kilauea Kreations, that is popular with the tourists. Well the owner of the store mentioned to me that people were finding them to be a little on the tipsy side. Now we don’t want that to happen, do we! She showed me how she had glued a piece of round cardboard to my sample and it was stabilized.

Completed needle nabbers photo
Well I couldn’t settle for a piece of raw cardboard so I had to put my thinking cap on. I found some wood circles, painted them to match the flowerpot but that still wasn’t good enough for me. So I decided to crochet some little doilies to top the wood circles. That solved the stability problem. Now however I ran out of the paint I was using and found that none of the local stores were going to carry that brand of spray paint so I was back to thinking again. I did find some of the paint while on vacation in Texas on clearance so I purchased what the store had left and stored it with my son. I knew I wasn’t suppose to carry it on the plane back home. So I still needed a temporary solution. I considered sending the wood circles to my son, have him paint them and then send them back to me. But I really didn’t want to wait and they were earmark as a need to complete project. So then I decided to try painting them to match the doilies and flower colors. That worked! So these are ready and will be going out as gifts soon.

Unfinished white button bracelet photo
Finished white button bracelet photo
Next I decided to finish one of my crocheted cuffs with buttons. That went quick although I did have to “scrounge” through my buttons to find some more creamy white ones that would work. Going through my buttons is always a tempting process that often gets me sidetracked onto another project. I resisted this time though and was able to finish the cuff.

Now on to my next project. I received a phone call from the same quilt store requesting that I send them some more of my Needle Candies as they had sold out of them and all they had left was the sample. Wow! Then I realized that I had some already started from 2010 so they would work in perfectly. However as I was working on them (I need to make a dozen) I attempted to make a change to the little holders that I made from fabric. The stiffener I used dulled the fabric somewhat and I wanted to try and brighten them up a bit. I also wanted to add a little protection to them so I brushed them with some gloss medium and shellac. But I put too much on and they became cloudy instead of bright and shiny. So now I had to make some more from scratch. This time I’ll use a smaller brush and just do one as a test. Yes, I did all twelve the first time! I’m still working on these but hope to have them finished and in the mail to the store by Tuesday at the latest.
Needle Candies started photo

You’ll notice I’ve added a slide show to show some of the UFO projects I’ve located while trying to clean and organize my crafting space. Not up to 52 yet but getting close. And actually I could list some that are now grouped together as individual projects. I decided to group some of them because I was stumped on how to do the next step so as I work on those I’ll let you know what had me stumped and hopefully how I solved the problem and moved on.

Happy stitching!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

2011 A Year of Finishing, A Year of New Beginnings

recycling with glade freshener bottles This is really nothing new for me but a friend on Etsy who blogs as Fabric Fascinations issued a challenge to all of us starters who don’t always finish. The challenge - each week finish something we’ve already started. She encourages us to photo it in progress and then completed. Posting to our blog or flickr account or facebook will help up with accountability and encouragement.

I’m going to give it a go. I’ve tried this on my own before and had mild success for awhile. I thought maybe putting myself out there with others might be the trick. If it works I’ll have at least 52 completed projects. They can be anything that has a beginning and an end. Most of mine I think will be items either for my shop, myself, or for others. Some will take longer than others to accomplish but I hope to post at least once a week. Some weeks may only be in progress items and some weeks my have multiple finishes. But the goal is to finish the year with 52 items that were started prior to 2011 and completed in 2011.

Do I have 52 uncompleted items you ask? Oh yeah and then some! I’m not sure if I can round up all 52 projects immediately but I know they are there. It would be kind of interesting though to post all 52 in the state they are at now and then move them to a completed section as they get finished. We’ll see. Hmmmmmm - could that be a project?

One added bonus to this is I will need to post at least once a week to my blog and keep it active. Not like 2010 where it wilted in July! And yes I still have more hints and tips to post.

One final note for today it might be interesting to see how the 1st half of the year compares to the second half as I plan to retire from my full time job the 1st of July.

And I do know that I’m getting a late start on this. The above was actually written out on our way back from a nice vacation in Texas. One item I thought I would complete was stuck in my suitcase that was delayed. Another item I considered I remembered that I needed to find the scraps of fabric I was going to use as the binding and even if I did find them my sewing machine was still in the shop for servicing. And on it goes. I know excuses, excuses! But I did remember these sweet vases I had started and never finished so they are my first item (three of them, can that count for three items?). They were hand crocheted around the empty glade bottles. I just needed to finish the ends, starch the ruffles at the top and make the flowers. They will be listed in my Etsy shop soon. I love to recycle items. These bottles have been in my stash for awhile but it was just recently that I got the idea to crochet around them. crochet mini vases with yoyo button flowers

And so we begin 2011 the year of finishings and of new beginnings!

Happy stitching!