A blog about my interests, which include fabric landscapes and various and assorted other artsy pursuits and sometimes known to contain mumblings of a random nature.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Fodder for Creativity

I spent much of today piecing some 'littles' ready for adding some embroidery.  These will be crazy quilted postcards when they grow up.

Since I took this picture, I've pieced some more blue and some green ones and there are pink, yellow and ivory ones in the plans.  I may wish I hadn't started so many, but they should work up fairly quickly.  

Right now they look rather scruffy, but I promise they will be MUCH better once I'm done.  

Today's quote.... "You can never do a kindness too soon for you never know how soon it will be too late"

Thursday, April 28, 2016

More 'Grandma-Makes'

I thought I'd play with making a couple of baby things today and these are what I came up with...

It's a nice warm baby blanket,
all cuddly and soft.
Made from a piece of minky and a 
piece of flannelette.  
Pretty simple!

And even simpler -
two 10" squares of leftover flannelette
and some ribbons from my stash.
Makes a little toy for a baby.
Easy peasy!

Your quote for today... "There is nothing wrong with having nothing to say, as long as you don't insist on saying it"  (found in my mother's collection).

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Just a little change of pace....

Before I get started on my next crazy quilt project(s) I thought I might make a few 'expected grandbaby things', so here's a pile of receiving blankets, just waiting for a nice wash to be ready for September...

You might guess from seeing these that
the new wee one will be a boy.  
And you would be right!

Another of the pieces found in my mother's collection (author unknown)....

 Give me one friend, just one, who meets
The needs of all my varying moods;
Be we in noisy city streets
Or in dear Nature's solitudes.

One who can let the world go by,
And suffer not a minutes pang
Who'd dare to shock propriety
With me and never care a hang.

One who can share my grief or mirth,
And know my days to praise or curse
And rate me just for what I'm worth
And find me still - Oh, not so worse!

Give me one friend, for peace or war,
And I shall hold myself well blest,
And richly compensated for
The cussedness of all the rest.  

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A pillow recap

As promised, here's a re-run of all the pillow covers....






Because this post is mainly pictures, perhaps you might enjoy this poem, also found among my mother's papers...


Pray don't find fault with the man who limps,
Or stumbles along the road,
Unless you have worn the shoes he wears
Or struggled beneath his load.
There may be tacks in his shoes that hurt
Though hidden away from view,
Or the burden he bears, placed on your back
Might cause you to stumble too.

Don't sneer at the man who's down today
Unless you have felt the blow
That causes his fall, or felt the same
That only the fallen know.
You may be strong, but still the blows
That were his, if dealt to you
In the selfsame way at the selfsame time
Might cause you to stagger too.

Don't be too harsh with the man who sins
Or pelt him with words or stones,
Unless you are sure, yea doubly sure
That you have not sins of your own.
For you know, perhaps, if the tempter's voice
Should whisper as soft to you,
As I did to him when he went astray
'Twould cause you to falter too.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Tah Dah!!

It's done, It's done!!
(and even more miraculously, it's been
sewn up, ready to put onto the pillow).

But it won't be today - it's snowing!!

Here are some closeups....

You can click to embiggen the pictures if you'd like.

That should finish my series
of pillow covers (unless I decide
to do one for Halloween!).

Perhaps tomorrow I will roust out pictures of the 
entire series so you can see them all together.

Another little tidbit found in my mother's collection...

If you plant for a year - plant grain.
If you plant for a century - plant trees.
If you plant for eternity - plant ideas.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Fore - and - Aft

First I will show you a couple new areas I've completed on the pillow top...

Here you can see that I've added two little seam treatments - one is between the grass and the sand - a row of whipped running stitch; some lazy daisies, straight stitches & tiny little beads.  The second seam moves to the right, close to the water....two rows of running stitch, woven on top with matching thread.

The 'fore' and 'aft' portion of this post concerns the heart I did on the pillow.  I was never 100% happy with it and felt that it blended too much with the background.  Here's a photo of it....

It was an element I wanted to stand out more...
to make it look different from the areas that
surrounded it.

SO - I changed it somewhat...

I think the addition of the row of pink beads certainly helped (and, even better, I had exactly the right amount!).  In hindsight I wish I had appliqued the heart in a contrasting fabric (perhaps lace).  I still could have done that, however I didn't want to have to remove the silk ribbon flowers.  Silk ribbon is precious and I don't like wasting it!

So, now what do you think?
Is it better?

Another quote from my mother's collection...  "Don't keep the milk of human kindness too long in cold storage.  It is apt to decline in quality"

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The light is gone.....

....not only is the light gone, but there wasn't a single stitch added to my pillow today.  I spent the afternoon writing an article for a future issue of 'Crazy Quilt Quarterly' along with working on editing Kathy Shaw's next book ('Crazy Quilting - Volume 2 - Ribbon Embellishments') which will soon be available.

 And, because no blog post is complete without
a picture, how about this....

In your happy moments, Praise God
In your difficult moments, Seek God
In your quiet moments, Worship God
In your painful moments, Trust God
Every moment? Thank God

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Blue skies, smiling on me

There has been a little more progress on the pillow cover.  What you see in the photo today isn't complete, because I've added to it since I took the picture.

Here's another of the poems found in my mother's things (this one attributed to Mary Eversley).....

Those who love gardens seem to have
Such simple needs -
Good earth, fair wind, and sun and rain
Tools, plants and seeds.

Those who love houses seem to find
The joy that springs
From chintz, and oak, and pots and pans
And homely things.

Those who love life need only ask
The sky above,
A roof, a bed and daily bread,
And lasting love.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Teeny Tiny Bit

I've done a teeny tiny little wee bit of work on my cushion cover and unfortunately I wasn't able to get a photo until the light was pretty much gone, so please excuse the quality of these photos...

Both of these seams are in the sky section.  There is a lot more stitching yet to go in the sky, so you'll have to stay tuned to see what happens next.  Actually, I'll have to stay tuned too, because I haven't a clue what I'll do next either!!

Here's another of the pieces I found within my mother's collection...

I'd like to be a could-be
If I could not be an are,
For a could-be is a may-be
With some chance of touching par.
I'd rather be a has-been
Than a might-have-been, by far.
For a might-have-been has never been
But a has-been was an are.

Monday, April 18, 2016

I like my mailman!

I must admit our mailman is a grump - he snarls his way through his day and most of us try to avoid him like the plague.  However, when he brings such delights to my mailbox as he did last week, how can I not have a teeny bit of love in my heart for him.

First of all - he brought a wonderful mysterious-looking box in the mail with the return address attributed to Vicki Boster.  Oh happy day!!  I already knew what might be in there, but I didn't know just how beautiful it truly is!!  Vicki is renowned for creating the most incredible birds' nests with much of the proceeds going to charity.  I have admired her work from afar for a very long time so imagine my astonishment and delight to now be the proud caretaker for my very own nest!  

 Look at how prettily it was packaged!
There's a gorgeous tag AND the tissue was stamped with 
little nests filled with eggs.  So pretty!

 Vicki has given me permission to
share one of her pictures from her 
Etsy shop to show you what my
pretty nest looks like...

Her photo is SO much better than mine could ever be,
so thank you Vicki for allowing me to use it.

Do you see the teeny little eggs nestled in the nest?  And all the wondrous fibers and yarns and details that she includes?

Thank you Vicki!  

Last week the mailman also brought another parcel to my mailbox. Tonia of All Thingz Sewn'  wanted to re-home her collection of 'Tilda' books and chose me to be their caregiver.  I was more than delighted to do so!  I have long admired the Tilda dolls and have wanted to make one...or more ;) ....  and now, thanks to Tonia, I can!  

If you're not familiar with 'Tilda' dolls,
just do-a-google and you'll find tons
of examples!

Thank you so much Tonia!!

Alas, I have no pictures to show you of any progress on the pillow cover.  The weather turned beautiful over the weekend and I didn't get any stitching done.  Having a picnic in the park with our grandson sort of took precedence.  How could that be?

Today I have another quote I found in the papers my mother had... 
"All of us are always going to do better tomorrow and we would too, if only we started today."

Friday, April 15, 2016

A little bit more

Today there was a couple more areas completed on my pillow...

I wanted to include the word 'summer' somewhere, and after much thought over both using the word and also trying to fill that space to the left of the beach sign, I decided that maybe a heart might just be the answer.  I love summer the bestest - so a heart seemed fitting.  Ribbon roses, gold metallic thread and a teeny little butterfly button completed the section.  

That left a little bit of 'grass' so I added the star-shaped sequins topped with black star beads on the seam and then the butterfly charm and his flight path was added.
 this quote would be fitting to share today.... "We cannot control the tongues of other people, but we can watch our own"  and there's also this one:  "To rule one's self is the first duty of every man"

Thursday, April 14, 2016


There was limited time for stitching today, so all I accomplished was this little cross stitched sign, pointing the way to the beach.

A quote, from my mother's collection - "Hang on! Hang on until you get to the end of your rope, then tie a knot in the end and keep on hanging on"

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Fixes x 2

Yesterday I said there were a couple of areas on my pillow cover that I wasn't happy with.  You can see the fix for the first area in this picture (unfortunately I didn't take a 'before' picture)...

It's hard to take a picture of metallic thread, but trust me - the 'waves' in the water were stitched with silver metallic that gives a good effect overall.

Here is the 'before' picture of the second area I
was referring to...

The yellow stitches you see at the bottom signify my seam line.  Normally I keep my stitching inside that line somewhat so that nothing interferes with the actual seam.  This time I decided I wanted the embroidery to extend right to the marked border line - a fact I managed to totally overlook when I stitched this area.  Well, what to do?  I could either frog the entire area and start over, OR I could simply add to it, which is what I've done...

You should be able to click on the pictures to
embiggen them.

Here's another of the poems I found in Mom's book.  In my quest to discover who the author might be, the only reference that came up was that this poem was penned by Vida V. Young and was published in 'The Canadian Statesman' newspaper, dated Oct. 11, 1934.  This makes complete sense because that's the time period my mother was in the tuberculosis hospital.


I meant to make a friendly call
And let the neighbours know
We welcomed them into our town
And kindly interest show.
I meant to do it right away
But put it off somehow,
Till months had quickly passed away.
The house is empty now.

I had a friend, a dear, dear friend
So many miles away;
I used the little gifts she sent
And loved her more each day.
I meant to write and tell her so
Just put it off you know
And that is why this quiet eve
My heart is aching so.

Your friend still lives?
Then send that friend
A loving word today;
Perchance 'twill bring a soul fresh hope,
Dark clouds may drive away.
'Twill take a little time, 'tis true,
But other work can wait,
For sad the heart whose tender words
Are penned, alas, too late.

I meant to see a dear young girl
Whose friends were far away,
And warn her that the path she took
Would lead her feet astray.
The task was hard, and louth was I
Such warnings to begin,
And now the one I meant to win
Has reached the depths of sin.

So many things I meant to do
Through blinding tears I see -
The warning word, the loving deed,
The note of sympathy.
The things you mean to do, do now;
Oh, do not let them wait
Unless from out your quivering lips,
You breathe the words "Too Late!"

Monday, April 11, 2016

One step forward, two steps back

Over the weekend I finished the vine section on my pillow cover. 

The flowers on the vine are simply heart-shaped
beads with the addition of straight stitches
and small beads.  The leaves are bullion stitches, 
done with variegated thread, surrounded by 
lazy-daisy stitches.

I also added a little school of fish.

I added some 'waves' in the water closest to the land, but hated the look, so frogged those.  I will show you tomorrow what I did instead.  This afternoon I stitched a floral section on the lower right and when I removed the tissue paper pattern I hate that too.  I very stupidly forgot that it should be on the level with the bottom of the posts the seagull is perched on.  So....there's more rippit-ing in my future!

Unless I can add more flowers.


Today I have another poem I found in my mother's papers, unfortunately I don't know the author.  I do know it wasn't my mother.  


It's hard to make the climb alone,
To take the upward trend, 
If no one understands you,
No sympathetic friend.

The cup of fame is hollow
Though it be burnished bright,
Unless one sees reflected
A face within it's light.

If someone loves to listen,
To weep when you weep too,
And shares your own ambition
In harmony with you.

If someone takes an interest
And soul goes forth with soul,
The struggle seems so different
More worthwhile than the goal.

The heart leaps high with courage,
New plans with visions blend,
You would not dare to disappoint
The hopes of one true friend.

Friday, April 08, 2016

Ten pounds lighter!

Aha - and I'll just bet you're dying to know my secret aren't you?  I'm happy to share my diet with you, because it's painless and it really does work.  Don't we all like that sort of diet?  There's a minimal amount of exercise involved with this one too, so that makes it even better.  Right??'s a little bit of progress on my pillow cover...

I know this is a very odd angle to be taking a photo, but I wanted to share with you how I made the vine.  First I drew the outline onto my fabric (white gel pen worked well for this).  Then I used pearl cotton and a running chain stitch to embroider the design.  I wanted the vine to appear thicker than just the chain stitch so I found some crochet thread in my stash and used that to whip the chain stitches, adding an element of depth to the design.  Now I will add some flowers and I'll show you that next time.

Now back to the diet!
(There are a number of steps you have to go through)...

1.  Get up from your chair.
2. Walk into the bedroom.
3. Open closet door (you can repeat this step up to five times)
4.  Bend over and touch your toes
Or...if unable to reach them...
bend down as far as you can.
5.  Pick up a large plastic tote.
6. Tug and pull (good for the abs)
until tote is free of closet.
7.  You may, or may not, need to rest before
8.  Pick up tote and return to sewing room.
9.  Dump tote (and the yarn it contains) onto floor.
10.  From a seated position, bend down and pick
up a ball of yarn.
11. Place yarn into one of two piles labeled 
'Keep' and 'Discard'
12.  Repeat as often as necessary.
13.  Reverse above steps to return 'keep' pile to
14. Discard remaining,  using method of your choice.
(see?  I told you - 10 lbs - it's a cinch!)

Now, there, wasn't that easy?

Instead of a quote, how about this...

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Answers to burning questions

I didn't get any stitching done on the pillow cover yesterday so decided I would answer some questions that have arisen over yesterday's post.

First of all, Val asked how I attach things like shells and such to my crazy quilts (sorry I can't answer you directly Val, but you are a 'no reply' so I have to respond here).  I try to sew everything down to my pieces and use nylon beading thread as much as possible...or you can use dental floss if you feel it won't show too much.  I avoid glue as much as possible simply because it tends to yellow and let go over time.  If I do use glue, I use E6000.  The real shells I used on this piece had little holes already drilled in them so they were easy to stitch down....if the item I'm using doesn't have a hole I try to drill them myself.  Anything to avoid using glue!  If you simply can't get a hole into an item, perhaps you can try just looping threads around it in order to hold it in place.  In that case I try to use a colour of thread that blends as closely as possible so that it doesn't show too much.  Another little hint as well - I try to knot my thread after stitching on pretty much every element, just to be sure that if something does let go in years to come, the entire lot won't follow suite.  

Secondly, Boud asked if the embroidery frame she could see in the picture was the one I made myself.  Yes, it is and I absolutely love it.  It's made from PVC pipe using the free instructions from Kathy Shaw found HERE.  I love that it makes my work hands free - always did hate juggling embroidery frames along with my needle and thread!  Here's a picture (albeit not a very good one - it's dull and yucky here again today)....

There are several different ways you can orient this frame, depending on the project you're working on.  I'm sure there are better pictures available on Kathy's site, so have a look there.

Today I must make this little fellow happy...

He's sadly carrying his own tail and looks so sad.  Poor thing - I must put him out of his misery.  Who knows, maybe he might even be treated to some 'pretties'.

Edited to add:  The bunny measures about 8" tall 

Today your quote is from H.S. Fritsch...

Age is a quality of mind.
If you have left your dreams behind,
If hope is cold,
If you no longer look ahead,
If your ambitions fires are dead -
Then you are old.

But if from life you take the best,
And if in life you keep the jest,
If love you hold,
No matter how the years go by,
No matter how the birthdays fly
You are not old.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Another bit of progress

Sorry about the poor quality photo - it's dull and yucky (and snowy) here again today.  There's not a lot that has changed on this, with the exception of the drift of shells and beads and the addition of a teeny tiny little white sailboat on the horizon (an earring in a previous life). 

Today the quote, found among my mothers things, is this....."Remember when you are up against an apparent impossibility, you may be on the edge of the most wonderful discovery you have ever made"

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Further progress

As you can see, there have been a few more additions to the pillow cover.  There are two sailboats, along with a fence with flowers (all done using cross stitch on waste canvas).  I also added a pretty trim along one of the water seams (thank you Pam!!). 

I thought this poem, written by my mother, dated 1941 (while she was in the tuberculosis hospital)  rather fits the theme of my pillow cover...

White caps set on a stormy lake
Beneath a sky of grey,
A sea gull stirred by the moving wind
Sails smoothly across the bay.
A sailboat set by a cool green shore
Rocks heavily in the breeze
And the bright red hues of autumn leaves
Are showing in the trees.
While here I lie on a bed so dull
But in my heart a ray.
I dream of the day when my love and I
In our ship of dreams will sway.
I know the ship may sometimes toss
As the waters roughly roll,
But I'll feel secure, with the one I love,
And hold within my soul. 

Monday, April 04, 2016

Seagulls and mumblings

Over the weekend I completed another little area on my summer pillow cover.  See?...

In case you are wondering - the perspective is 'off' between the sandcastle and the seagulls on purpose.  I'm hoping to give a sense of depth to the scene by changing the scale of the gulls to appear in the foreground.  At least such is the plan!

I will leave you with another poem, written by my mother, circa 1970....

When April ends the winter
With the snow banks high and long
There's nothing more encouraging
Than the lilting robin song

I certainly thought of this one when we awoke to all that snow this morning - and apparently more to come.