Saturday, November 23, 2013

A Trip Down Memory Lane

Well hello there! That’s me back in 1956. Age 10. Occasion – the first dress I made by myself. It won the district Singer Sewing contest and went to regional. We couldn’t afford the trip to regional so I had to have a photo of me wearing the dress accompany it to St. Paul/Minneapolis.
My mother who was an excellent seamstress decided it would be better to have someone else start me on my sewing journey. I made little fashion doll (fore-runner to the Barbies of today) clothes on my working toy sewing machine but now I was going to learn to use a real honest to goodness sewing machine. So she enrolled me at the local Singer Sewing center. I was allowed to pick out my fabric and my pattern. It was not the easiest pattern but my mother never discouraged me she just let me forge ahead. Typical of my mother really, she decided to learn to knit in her 70’s and when she picked out the pattern she wanted to do her senior center instructor tried to discourage her. But she was determined and she succeeded much to the instructor’s amazement! That’s just the way she rolled.

So off I went to the class. The ladies teaching were knowledgeable but when I started to cut out the pieces they decided to have a gossip feast in the corner of the room. Well when they finally checked on me they were horrified to see I was cutting off the hem. I was following the fold line rather than the bottom, an honest mistake for a 10 year old I think. Well there wasn’t enough room to scoot the piece over so they just had me use a bias binding to turn the hem up. They had a bit of explaining to do when it came to the judging part. But at least they owned up to it!
Sleeve detail with trim and covered button

I still have the dress, and I am always amazed at the detail in it, from covered buttons on the sleeves, to handmade binding trim around the sleeve and the sleeve tabs, to turned under seam edges (we didn’t have sergers back then!), it looks like a lot of work.
Seam edge turned under and sewn

Even the gathering was protected from raveling 

Sweet little button detail echoing the fabric design
I still have the handwritten critique that I received and the prize which was a zippered case with three Singer scissors. The case is a bit ratty and I’m not sure I have all three scissors but it’s still a treasure to me.

What prompted this trip down memory lane?

Well I was watching Karen in one of her Simply Stitch videos and she had made a printed copy of some of her fabric work and was incorporating it in her paperwork cutouts. I had my little pin pricked fashion illustration dress in mind and the light bulb went on. I could do something like that with my first dress and so now I have another idea to work on to put in my ledger. Oh the ideas just keep coming!

Close Up of the Fabric

Be back soon!

Happy stitching


Thursday, November 21, 2013

I Love Needle Piercing!

Okay how many of you when you read that thought of body piercing and thought no way, not Rose!?

Ha ha, you’re right I’m not doing body piercing no way, no how but I am piercing paper. And I really enjoy it even though I’m not really, really good at it yet like my instructor is. Yes I’m taking another online class (well it really isn’t a class, no particular assignments, we’re just flies on the wall watching how she works). The she? Well it’s Karen Ruane of Contemporary Embroidery. I’ve taken a couple of other classes from her and I love her work and her way of teaching.
She does a lot of embroidery and paper piercing among other things and gives us plenty of eye candy almost on a daily basis. If you visit her blog you’ll see what I mean.

So here’s my projects so far:

Geometry Flash Card Triangle

  • I’ve been thinking about seeds and seed pods a lot lately. I’m not sure if it is the season or what but it did start when I was making the geometry flash card with triangles. It just seemed like the one with the seed stitch had all these little seeds trying to escape the triangle only to fall back down because of the enclosure.
Seed Pod Rough Sketch

So I went on a search for seeds being released from their pods and one thing led to another. I wound up with a sketch of sorts.

I started transferring it to my acrylic paper with needle piercing and went a little overboard. Not exactly thinking ahead here. I did manage to do some cutout sections for which I embroidered some white cloth with white thread. The embroidery has been attached and some French knots added to the paper. There’s more work to be done on this piece but I find that I need to let it rest and then when I start again I am happier with what has been done.
Seed Pod Progress

  • Watching Karen work gave me another idea for working with a fashion illustration I did when I was in college. I’m trying to find the book source for the original dress but I know I took it and scaled it down a few times and then traced the sketches as dresses dancing down a line and then tried to color them and give them pattern and texture.
    Dress Illustration
    I’ve always wanted to do something with this illustration and now I am inspired to work with it on paper as a needle pierced piece. At the same time I remembered my first dress I ever made (I was 10 years old), I thought that would be great fabric to photograph and then add as inserts into the paper design. Oh the little red thing laying in the photo I'll tell you about that later in my tips and tricks!

One final project for now is a scribble of mine that I have pierced into paper and stitched with white thread. I’ve done the cutout and now need to decide on how to back them. I have two ideas. One came from just accidentally laying the cutout on top of my notebook which gave me an idea for some type of stained glass effect. The other again just happened when I laid the cutout over the top of my seed pod sketch. Now to decide.

Overlay of notebook
Overlay of seed pod sketch
I have a lot more work to do including a special order for a button bracelet and quilt squares that need to be done soon so I’d better get busy.

Be back later!

Happy stitching or piercing!


Monday, November 4, 2013

September, October, Where Did You Go?

So I was going to blog in October about how September just came and went. Now it’s already November so September and October have both appeared and vanished for another year.
My original intent was to blog about the past revisited. It started with a  request from my daughter to make a costume for my grandson. He had been invited to a woodland themed birthday party and she wanted a gnome outfit for him.
Ok I can do that after all when she was little I made her a Pilgrim outfit, a butterfly and a Snow White costume. The Pilgrim outfit I had a pattern to guide me, the butterfly was made from a craft magazine pattern and the Snow White was just my own creation using what I had at hand. When she was a butterfly I realized I didn’t have anything for her brother who was still at the crawling stage. Then I spied and old ugly green sheet (think 70’s) and whipped up a caterpillar outfit for him. When she was Snow White I made him into a Prince Charming again at the last minute.
Oh Tutu I don't think so! Gnome prototype
So I finally got around to tackling the gnome. I had a rough idea in my head for this but I had to make a few prototypes first. I discovered he did not want anything around his mouth so the mustache I had planned was out. My daughter was a little dubious about how I was constructing the beard because I used a piece of stiff interfacing just to get the length and width. The hat I made was droopy and she wanted a pointy hat. So I made an insert of the stiff interfacing to make the hat stand up. The beard was made from an unused mop. I cut some strings from the mop and sewed/glued them to some twill ribbon. One end of the ribbon was sewn to the  hat and the other end snapped onto the other side of the hat. The hat was made from fleece so it had some stretch to it.
Mama and her little gnome
Then came the shoes which I had not planned to do but was requested the morning of the party. So back to the drawing board. They almost didn’t happen. We wanted them to slip over his regular shoes so I traced around the sole of the shoe and then came up with a way to encase the shoe with felt. I intended to put some wire to make the toe ends curl up but we wound up just pinning them with safety pins. The belt was made from some leftover vinyl I had and a buckle was made from the stiff interfacing.Everything else was store bought. I thought it came out pretty good for a last minute project. I’m still working on perfecting the shoe pattern. I’ll share it when I’m done.
The reason I was so late in posting this is I was trying to find the photos I had of my young children in their costumes. No luck so far so you’ll just have to settle for a picture of my grandson in his appearance as a little gnome.
The gnome in the garden

All photos courtesy of my daughter. For more on this project see her blog Little Girl Dancing!

Happy Stitching!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

What Am I Working On You Ask?

Okay so you didn’t ask but I’m going to share anyway…

So I said I’d post updates on my healthy eating habits. I’m still down 10+ pounds but I haven’t been being good so I’ve just been maintaining. I know, I know I’ll get back on track, you’ll see.

Now for some project updates:
SummerSewing Club
I’m still stitching away on this project. I’m caught up with the weekly embroidery and have started sewing some of the hexies (hexagons) together in rows. I think sewing the rows together will be a little tricky.
 Here’s the latest embroideries:

Picnic Basket
A sweet little picnic basket with a woven handle. I added a blanket to the basket so we can spread it out on the ground.

Shaved Ice

For the icee one I went for a shaved ice look with a fine French knot packed in nice and tight like the old-timers make for shaved ice in Hawaii. The ice is very finely shaved and packed well not chunky and loose like. My flavors, watermelon, lime and coconut. Yum, yum, you can’t see it but there’s a scoop of ice cream in the bottom of the cone.

Coconut Drink

Then we received a pattern for a coconut drink. I decided to try and make the coconut more coconut looking and put a striped straw with a fancy umbrella.

Lime Popsicle

Next up was an ice cream bar which I turned into a popsicle so I could share with a friend. Lime of course.

And finally a radio so we can have some music while enjoying the summer breeze. I went with a silver gray radio with black to represent the speakers and yellow in the dial area to show that it was turned on. I made the music notes colorful but I think music is colorful and I added a few more notes than the pattern had. I wasn’t sure I like this one but once it was done I rather like it.

I also started and finished embroidering a stitch-a-long that was published by FeelingStitchy. The pattern was supplied by Megan of Studio M.M.E.

Front of Pirate Hummingbird Print
Back of Pirate Hummingbird Print
If you visit the blog and see the pattern you will notice that mine has a different orientation. This is because I decided to print the design on some fabric that was prepared for printing (I found a roll of it in my stash when I was looking for something else). I cut off a piece 8.5 by 11 inches. I wasn’t paying too much attention to what I was doing and printed it so the design filled the piece. Second I didn’t adjust the intensity of the lines so it printed quite dark. Not wanting to have to try and cover the heavy dark lines I turned the piece over and noticed that the back was better, so my hummingbird faces the opposite direction. You can see in the photos the difference (sorry for the wrinkled state). I plan to turn this piece into a pillow that will go with my hummingbird chair once I cover the chair with hummingbird fabric. That project is still in the planning stage.

Stitch Along Reginald the Pirate Hummingbird

A neighbor asked a while back if I knew how to crochet and would I be able to finish a doily a friend's mother's mother had started and not finished before she died. Sure I said although I hadn't crocheted with fine thread for quite some time. It just needed one more large motif and then the joining motifs and the edging. Luckily she also had the directions for the pattern. I finished it and gave it to her the other day. She was thrilled. So that was my good deed for the month and another to add to my 1000gifts.
Being able to use my skills to bring happiness to a friend.
Crochet doily finished

Well that’s about where I’m at for now. I did finally start writing directions as to how I do my fabric yoyo’s for a friend who wants to do a vest similar to mine. This will also come in handy as I plan to offer kits for my button/yoyo flowers in the near future.

I’m behind on sewing some blocks together for the quilt guild I attend so I guess I’d better get on that next. Pieces are cut for them just need to clear the clutter from around the sewing machine. You know how that goes – lol!

Summer fun!

Happy Stitching!


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Did I Say I Was On A Diet?

Lamb Stir Fry
Does this look like a diet?

Scrambled Eggs with Veggies

Tuna Salad

Well I’m not but I am trying to flush fat from my system and get healthier at the same time. Sensible eating, light exercise (chasing after my grandson and swimming) enhanced by a little help from the Fat Flush Plan

I've used this plan before quite successfully, unfortunately I didn't stick with it or I wouldn't have to start over again. 
The lamb Stir Fry is 4 portions, the Scramble Eggs with Veggies and the Tuna Salad are single portions. Yes that's right I ate the whole thing!

Week two is over and I’m down 10 lbs. Yea! I’ll be posting updates as I go along.

Now for some project updates:
Summer Sewing Club
We received our pattern a little early and it was a sweet sunhat! Okay I had to dress it up. First I thought of making it a red hat with purple flowers but I finally decided on a Hawaiian lahala hat with a hat lei of fuschia and yellow flowers.
Sunhat with Flowers
Oh yes and I made my hexagons, now I have to start stitching them together. I think I’ll sit outside to do this and enjoy the summer weather.

Summer fun!

Happy Stitching!


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Oh No! Not Again?

 Hmm, I’m thinking I need to stop getting on the internet, Facebook, Pinterest, Flickr, and blogs. Oh the blogs! Okay I went and started yet another project. I really would like to force myself to finish something before I can start a new something but there’s too much eye candy and too much fabric and thread tempting me.
So I’m cruising the web and come across a Summer Stitching group, well I can stitch all year long but this one just caught my eye. I must confess that I really wanted to see what the setup was and how it operated. And well the creator was offering the “class” at a discount so there you go.
The creator is Mollie at Wild Olive and the “class” is really booked as a “club”. I’ve seen Mollies work around for some time and love her cute little faces on everything. Just couldn’t resist them. We’re making hexagon blocks (something I’ve never done) with hand embroidery (something I’ve done since forever) on some of them.
It’s a summer theme and each week we get a new embroidery design to work and turn into a block. I’m keeping up (kinda , sorta– need to prepare some more of non-embroidered ones). Here are the first three embroidered ones.

Embroidered "Cat" Sunglasses
I couldn’t resist turning the sunglasses into a fifties style with cat eyes. 

Embroidered Intense Sun

For the sun I did more than just an outline stitch, I thought since the summer sun is so intense it needed some pumping up so I did a satin stitch with a ring of French knots inside and added some French knots to the ends of the rays. I think this is my favorite so far. 

But then there’s the swimsuit. Haha just couldn’t get the song “she wore an itsy, bitsy yellow polka dot bikini” out of my mind.
Embroidered Polka Dot Swimsuit
Okay well it’s not really a bikini and the polka dots are lime green rather than yellow you you get the point.

Here’s the background fabrics I’m using ,I’ll probably bind it with a sandy fabric. I might do a small border with some deep red. The rose flower fabric is fussy cut so that I have flower(s) in the center of each hexagon.
The blue is for my swimming pool which I am very much enjoying this summer and the green is for the shade of my trees.

Summer fun!

Happy Stitching!


Friday, May 10, 2013

Wait A Minute! What Happened to April?

It came and went before I got anything posted. I did have something written out but never got around to posting it. So much for my posting on a weekly basis or at least a more regular one.
Here’s what I wrote in April on the 15th to be exact. You’ll see why I mention the date in a minute.

A Day of Finishing.

Yesterday (April 14th) was a day for finishing. This is a rarity for me as I tend to be a starter not a finisher. Not because I don’t want to finish; not because I’m really lazy; and not because I’m stuck. I just get sidetracked by something else and start another project. Occasionally it’s because I’m out of or can’t find something for the task (and while I’m looking for it I find something else that captures my attention). Sometimes it’s a request from a family member or friend. So I have a lot of starts and very few finishes.

Spring wreath with Butterflies

What I finished yesterday (April 14th)
A spring wreath to delight my grandson (stopped for a few days due to shortage of yarn, the a few more days as I wanted to add butterflies so I had to find a pattern, decide on colors etc.). I saw this on Pinterest and couldn't resist. He likes it – they were studying butterflies in preschool at the time.

March Quilt Block Jar of Strawberries

April Quilt Block

Quilt Block for quilt guild. OK I was 2 blocks behind on this. I’m not the best stitcher and my machine has been giving me trouble not to mention a dull blade in my rotary cutter and not having the right fabric. But I finished the two and did the next one due in May too.

May Quilt Block
Taxes. Well I started them and filed them at the stroke of midnight! Hey I normally file on the 15th!
Also went to church
grocery shopped
cleaned the pool
and took my first swim of the season. 
Wish all of my days were as productive!

Happy Stitching!


Thursday, March 7, 2013

Ideas and Solutions

Small Embroidery Single Strand

Recently I started working on small embroidered pendants. At the same time I’m testing out working with just one strand of floss. I’ve been wanting to try my hand at needle or thread. When I read some of the writings from these types of artists they said they used only one strand at a time. Hmmm. I’ve used two strands a lot but never one. Last year I took an online class where we were encouraged to use all six strands at once. I had never done that either. So from one extreme to another. I wanted to try something small to see if I liked using just one strand (didn’t really like using all six). I do! So I think I’ll try a kit next and then venture out on my own.

While checking out other artists I came across one on Facebook who was using a Handi-Wipe to protect her work. She said it was to protect the fabric from the hoop. She made it twice as long as the width of the hoop plus some extra, the width was wide enough to fit in the hoop with a little extra. After placing it on top of her fabric and then into the hoop she cut out the middle of just the Handi-Wipe so the fabric where she wanted to do her stitching was exposed. When she put her work aside she laid the extra length over the hoop to protect her work. I thought this was interesting.

Finished Pendant
When I started working on my pendants I was marking the outline of the part that the embroidery would cover on my fabric. After assembling a few of them and seeing how close my embroidery was coming to the edge (and sometimes even being covered) I realized the problem was I was using the inside insert rather than the top frame. The top piece had a rim around it which of course covered up the edge of the fabric. Solution: use the inside of the rim of the top piece for marking the area available for embroidery.

Pendant Frame and Insert

My next concern was marking this area. I didn’t want to risk having some of the marking showing when I was finished. I knew I could mark it lightly on the back and then do a running stitch around it and follow that stitching on the front and then remove it when I was finished. But that was extra work and I wanted to streamline my process. And then the light bulb went on!
How about using the Handi-Wipe and cut the center out to fit the inside of the frame? Perfect! I might try using some nonwoven sew-in interfacing next and see how that works.
Love finding solutions to problems and faster and better ways to do things!

Happy Stitching!


Sunday, March 3, 2013

What Happened?

Wow it’s March already! Well we’ve been sick at our household. Not much fun. But I thought I’d better pop in here and let you know I have accomplished some work.

For Christmas I made a pair of fingerless gloves for a friend. Oops forgot to take a picture She also received a scarf. The gloves were crochet, the scarf was knitted. Both techniques I haven’t done for a while so it was fun picking up the hook and needles again, especially the needles.

Another Christmas present was a pair of extra-long fingerless gloves for my daughter. I crocheted that too! Again I didn’t take a picture. Plus they came out too small for her so I have to redo. She did get a boot cuff that fit. Oh and also a knitted cowl. I’ve made a few more of thoseMy daughter said hers also came in handy when she was sick she used it to keep her chest warm.

I also made a hat for my grandson and a crayon roll up. 

Crayon Rollup

He also got a dapper outfit (well a onsie) from his tutu.
Polka Dots and Stripes
I’ve been testing out a new embroidery project, scribbles and such in pendants. I’ll be posting photos soon and also have a new tip to share (maybe tomorrow).

Tiny Violets
And I’ve started working on another Crazy Quilt for the CQ2013 Journal Project. I’ve constructed all of the blocks first, all 12 of them. Now to get the first three embroidered and embellished before the end of March. I’m using my “Oh look, she colored everything yellow” project for this so all my blocks are black, yellow, and white. I’m liking it so far. I think I will practice a different family of stitches on each block as I need practice in that area.

Finally I’m still trying to sort and organize my “stuff”.

Happy Stitching!


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Prunes and Threads

Repurposing Plus
Prune Container
Today I’m giving you two ideas, one is for storage and the other is for controlling those threads.
I use prunes a lot – well I eat two a day. I used to buy them in the smaller tube container but then switched to the larger pack that is just a plastic bag. Well now I’ve switched back to the tube packaging for a while. Why?
Storage containers

I discovered I could remove the plastic label and the container is the perfect size to hold my pencils, brushes, pens, etc. So after throwing several away in the recycle bin I have found a use for them and I need more.

Next up came from my embroidery projects. First if you read this post you know I’ve been working on organizing and storing my floss. Well the little labels sold to be used on the floss bobbins do not stick to the plastic ones very well. While I was working on a project I put the selected colors on a binder ring. By the time I had finished the project the labels were everywhere but on the bobbin where they should be. After researching on the internet for a solution I decided to use a fine black sharpie pen and write the number on the bobbin. Make sure you use a pen that is waterproof and smear proof. You might want to test your pen out first on a few bobbins before doing all of them. Okay that was just an aside to what I really wanted to share.

Floss Bobbin with sets looped in hole
When I start to work on a project – small or large- I cut off a length of floss, separate the strands and then group them by the number of strands I plan to embroider with, 2 – 3- 4 etc.  If I’m not sure how many strands I will be using I will put all six back together. I then tie a single overhand knot at the bottom of each set. Now I’m ready to embroider. But wait! I am only using one set at a time. What to do with the rest? I was using a carbone ring to hold them but sometimes the colors are so close that I had a hard time distinguishing them. Looking at my thread bobbins it dawned on me, they all have a hole in the top of them for putting them on an organizing ring. Well I store mine in boxes so I don’t really use the hole. Yup you guessed it! I take the extra sets and loop them through the hole. Perfect! 
Thread sets ready for storage

And when I’m done and still have sets left I keep them looped in the hole and wrap them around the bobbin top to bottom. Nice and tidy.

Happy Stitching!


Sunday, January 13, 2013


Tangled Floss

Remember this?  I have been working on organizing my floss and came across several skeins that had become quite tangled. As I sat working out the knots and tangles I was reminded of another time I spent untangling. I was sitting in my Dad’s living room with a large skein of yarn that had become impossibly tangled. I needed it for a project I was working on and didn’t have money to buy a new skein. So I worked and worked at it all the while my dad was sitting nearby reading the newspaper and watching me. Finally after several hours I was done and now had a nice round ball of yarn ready to be used.

My Dad just looked at me and shook his head “You must have a lot of patience.” he said “If it was me I would have thrown the whole lot away after five minutes and bought some new yarn.” Well that wasn’t an option for me at that time, but I am a pretty patient person in most areas of my life. However if circumstances had been different I may well have done just that.

As I was thinking about that I thought how our lives sometimes become so tangled through bad decisions we make or even how we react to circumstances beyond our control. Some of us became so messed up and tangled that even our closest friends and family were ready to throw us away as a lost cause, beyond hope, of no value.

But thanks be to God He sees the tangled mess and says I can work this out if you’ll just let Me. And with His help slowly the tangles come out. I was so deep in sin about to give up and end it all when He heard my cry and saved my life. He’s still working on my tangles and knots.

Even when He runs into a big knot His love and grace keeps working at it until the knot is loosened and the tangle is freed. Some of us are so tangled it may take our lifetime to get it all straightened out, but as long as we rest in His hands we have the assurance that He will continue until we are perfect in Him.

Happy to be His!