Tuesday, April 23, 2019

This Little Piggy...

Is finally done!


This is the fourth piggy bank coin purse I've stitched. One for each granddaughter. 😊

Here's the complete set:


The background colors were not necessarily chosen according to the girl's preferences. More like those were the colors I had enough of from Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe. The plan is to present these at the end of the school year with a bit of mad money in each one. By the way, there's another give away going on over at the VMSS. You could win a gorgeous set of pinks from light to dark if you sign up as a follower. πŸ˜€

Now I have to come up with new stitching projects. (Aw darn!) Actually, the next gingerbread house to embroider has come from Joy. I also picked up an orphan stamped pillowcase from an Etsy shop to stitch. It's just a matter of selecting colors and getting started.

There have been a couple of extraordinary events behind the scenes of The Magpie's Nest lately. The first one wasn't so good. This happened to my studio chair.


Just to clarify, we didn't take it apart on purpose, it broke. Then Hubby took it apart further to see if he could repair it for me. I've tried to find a replacement chair in the past but never came up with something that fit the space I have or my small frame. So I've been using a cushion to compensate for the flattened upholstery and carried on. Fortunately, Hubby was able to weld the bits back together and I'm good to go once more. Or at least as good as I ever was. πŸ˜‰

And speaking of being able to go, these are my new wheels!


Sorry about the fence being in the way. This is a 2017 Chevy Bolt EV. Yes, an electric car! It seems ideal for me since I cannot go to a gas station without serious side effects. My husband had the job of keeping my old Saturn Ion fueled up. Not any more! Now I can plug this one into the outlet on the exterior of the garage front and it'll be ready for the next short trip I make around town. Short trips are all I do anymore anyway. Too much exposure to the exhaust fumes on a freeway will also have a debilitating effect on my system. Although this newer vehicle may be safer for longer trips than the old Saturn, more air-tight as it were. Still, it's not like I have much of anywhere to go where I can safely get out of the car. The other blessing in finding this car was that the interior seemed neutral, already off-gassed and not impregnated with anyone's cologne or "air fresheners." It's outfitted with all the newest electronics however. I'm being dragged, kicking and screaming all the way, into the 21st century. Can't say I'm entirely comfortable with them yet although I do see the advantage of the back-up camera. I'm sure I'll adapt after I've spent more time in the car.
😊

Monday, April 15, 2019

Scrap Happy in April

Scrap Happy Day- on the 15th of every month - is hosted by Kate in Australia and Gun in Sweden. It began as a way to use up some of the fabric scraps from their quilting endeavors. Now we're delighted to see how folks are using up scraps from other crafting activities. 😊

I'm still not up to sewing many blocks for quilts but I have managed to get a couple of scrappy stick blocks pieced over the last couple of weeks. Some of the "sticks" are 1.5" x 6.5" strips made of scraps I've sewn as leaders and enders.


These were not assembled in one sitting. I've sewn a seam here and there inbetween the little bit of sewing I do in conjunction with my embroidery preparations. The shoulder is feeling significantly better these days but is far from being completely healed. Now is the time I have to be very careful not to overdo things. Knowing that Scrap Happy Day was coming up I looked around for something else I could do with scraps of one sort or another...

Last month I showed my Year in Stitches embroidery sampler. There's been additional stitching on it since then but not necessarily with scraps of embroidery floss. This is primarily a place where I play with the hand dyed floss I get from the Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe.


For Scrap Happy Day I decided to look for something to do with the cotton embroidery floss leftover from the many needlepoint kits I've stitched the last few years. I'd seen this little heart pattern from Mary Corbet on her website and decided to use it as a starting point.


I found a scrap of quilting cotton to use for the ground cloth and then opened the box of leftover floss.


Instead of stitching the spirals Mary drew I chose to indulge in my new-found love of buttonhole wheels.


Then I filled in around them with teeny tiny fly stitches to make leaves. Which was kind of silly given how small the stitches had to be. I'm working in a four inch hoop here.


Having completed the heart I was faced with what to do next. I recently discovered the Facebook group All About Smalls courtesy of Margaret at thecraftycreek. I've spent a lot of time drooling over the goodies others have made/are making there. What is it about little, palm size treasures that makes them so appealing?! The upshot is that I want to make my heart into something that qualifies as a small. I'm still not sure exactly how I'm going to do that but the first next step is to seed stitch/quilt around the heart with a single strand of rayon floss.


This provides some wonderful mindless stitching. And that rayon floss is something from someone else's stash - more leftovers. πŸ˜€If you're a regular visitor you would be safe in assuming I have a lot of batting scraps laying around. This little project won't make a noticeable dent but it feels good to be putting a bit of it to good use.

Here are the links to see what others are doing with their scrap materials. Enjoy!

KateGun, TittiHelΓ©neEva, Nanette, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan
Karen, Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancy, Alys, 
Kerry, Claire, Jean, JohannaJoanne, Jon, HayleyDawn, Gwen, 
Connie, Bekki and Pauline 


Sunday, April 7, 2019

First SAL in April

Yup, we'll have two check-ins this month! We post our progress every three weeks in this Stitch Along. We also work on our own separate projects rather than all doing the same thing. My designated SAL project is sort of on a hiatus as I wait for the release of the next pattern to embroider. I've completed my secret stitching project but I can't show it to you yet just in case the intended recipient comes to visit my blog. I've added some bits to my Year in Stitches sampler. This is what it's currently looking like:


I have no idea what it looked like the last time you may have seen it. Mostly this is a place to practice or try out new stitches.

Since I completed the secret stitching I've returned to a Sublime Stitching pillow cover I started over a year ago.

 
It's just back stitching so far. Nice mindless work for those occasions when my brain is broken. Sad to say, there have been several days like that lately.


I might get adventurous and decorate the pot in the middle of the cover. Maybe do some buttonhole stitching for those scallops under each fox. I'm using Sublime Stitching floss for this project too, not the hand dyed floss I've been using everywhere else.


More of these green lines have been covered since this photo was taken. At this point I'm not sure I'll stick to the color suggestions printed on the cover. The best part of this project is that once all the stitching is done I can wash it and pop a pillow form inside and it's done. πŸ˜€I enjoy stitching but not finishing.

There's all sorts of needlework being done by the members of this SAL. Participants live all over the world. You will be inspired by what you see as you make the tour. We'll be checkin in again on 28 April.

Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, Jess, Constanze, Debbierose, Christina, 
Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Helen, Linda, Heidi, JackieSunny, 
Hayley, Megan, Catherine, Deborah, Connie, Clare, Mary Margaret, 
Renee, Jenny, Carmela, Jocelyn, Sharon

Saturday, March 30, 2019

BJP for Bee, Myself & I

It's time for a Bee, Myself & I post. This was created by Granny Maud's Girl for the purpose of working on a project strictly to please oneself. I sort of ran out of personal projects recently. However, one of the things that has been on my mind since the new year began was a bead journal project of some kind. The official BJP group has been moved to a Facebook page and there seem to be fewer participants these days. Or they could be like me and just have a hard time remembering to post their progress. Or maybe they're on Instagram - which I'm not. Ya gotta draw the line somewhere!

In any event, I've recently made some decisions about how I'm going to approach my BJP for this year. The general idea is to choose a format and stick with it throughout the year, making one bead embroidered piece each month. They can stand alone or become part of a larger whole down the road. I've made stand-alone pieces in the past.

2010

2011

2014

This year I've decided to do a small block each month and then assemble them into a wall hanging, hopefully early next year (but don't hold me to it!). The plan is to cut a 4.5" square of quilter's cotton, back it with a piece of muslin, and then embroider up to a three inch circle onto it. The other component of the Bead Journal Project is to work intuitively, choosing your beads and bead paths as they occur to you.

I've set up foundations for January, February, and March but have only put the focal elements in place so far. Since I begin each day, and therefore each new year, by journaling in a spiral bound notebook I chose to begin with buttons with text on them for January.


I thought it would be fun to use the other cloth-covered button Tialys sent me for February since I used the first one on an ATC in February.


And for March I'm starting with a pair of lovebirds in honor of the 35th wedding anniversary Hubby and I just had. The foundation fabric is meant to be a coral color, which I'm given to understand is the traditional gift for a 35th wedding anniversary. I tried my jade green prints first - the contemporary gift suggestion - but didn't like the way the birds looked on them.


I have some ideas about what beads I want to use on each piece, I just haven't gotten to that point with any of them yet. As I said, secret stitching. πŸ˜‰


Saturday, March 23, 2019

Stitchin' Mojo

My shoulder still doesn't feel equal to rotary cutting or much piecing but I have been doing quite a bit of embroidery lately. Yes, in addition to the gingerbread house! 😊

I have just finished a dish towel. It began with a border design I ironed on from a booklet of patterns. Mind you, this was begun months ago and progressed very slowly until this past week.


The small flowers on either side of the central motifs were merely line drawings. I'm pretty proud of myself for embellishing them the way I did.


At fist I wasn't sure about those satin stitched centers in the little dark blue flowers. It looked very heavy until I had the idea to add the lazy daisy stitches to create more detail. Then I had to do something to the purple flowers above them to give them an equal amount of detail!

After I had the flowers on each side stitched I was stumped about how to handle the central flower.


Eventually it occurred to me that I'd get a nice heavy line by using four strands of floss and split stitches. All the rest of the work up to that point had been done with three strands of floss.


I added a couple of extra lines of stitching in the flower head to break up all that white space. The leaves were looking pretty nekkid by then too so I put vein lines in the larger ones. I also went back over the heart and whipped the backstitches in the same color I'd used originally. That really smoothed out those curves.

About the only thing I'd consider doing further would be some shading or something to strengthen the blue ribbon. At this point I doubt I'll bother however.



The question now is, what will fall under my needle next?