27 February 2015

More Feather Stitched Seams

2015.02.27FeatherStitch27
I've been stitching more feather stitches on the Brown bell pull.  I really need to come up with a name for this project rather than just referring to it by the main color!  For this variation, on the feather stitch, I lengthened some of the "feathers" and added some little woven spider-web flowers in a variegated pearl cotton. 

2015.02.27FeatherStitch26
This was a feather stitch variation that I don't believe I have ever attempted before.  It did take me a couple of tries to get it worked out.  It has a great graphic quality to it.  

2015.02.27FeatherStitch25

This one is a variation of the maidenhair feather stitch that I did with Valerie's Joyful Embellishments challenge.  More leaves and some little bead flowers at the ends of the stems. 

2015.02.27FeatherStitch24
This looks like a pretty plain feather stitch, dressed up with buttons, beads and some SRE leaves.  But it actually was one of the more difficult feather stitches as it joggles back and forth the opposite of how feather stitch is usually done.  To my eyes, it ended up looking like a messy feather stitch.  I think it would have turned out better if the stitches had been smaller and the angles as little greater, but I knew I wanted to use some small mother of pearl buttons with this and this was the scale that worked best.  

2015.02.27FeatherStitch23
This was another curvy feather stitch, but this time with bullion stitch flowers, french knots and SRE leaves.  It is one of my favorite seams so far... I think it's the addition of the bullion's! 

2015.02.27BrownGreenprojectWIP

So the bell pull is about 1/3 completed.  I'm working my way across and hunting for seam ideas as I go that complements what is already there, but taking care not to duplicate any seams.  I'm loving how it is turning out.  As is so often the case, the photographs don't do justice to how lovely this piece is looking!  

I'm beginning to wish that I had done my CQJP blocks in these colors as I am really loving the combination of brown/taupe fabrics with the green stitching on them! 

21 February 2015

February Round Robin Blocks

2015.02.21SteamPunkDYBforLiz01
February's round robin blocks are finished and in the mail to the next participants!  Liz's Steampunk block was lovely and the camera has a difficult time picking up the rich muted colors of dusty rose and mossy/olive greens.  

2015.02.21SteamPunkDYBforLiz02
It took me a while to find my way with this block, but once I discovered the escutcheon and key amongst the box of gears and other steampunk bits, it came together quickly.  

2015.02.21SteamPunkDYBforLiz05
Among my trims was some lovely mossy wire mesh ribbon with a bit of coppery thread through the center.  Perfect for a couched seam treatment!  I also had a lovely coppery gold fine braid that worked well with it!   

2015.02.21SteamPunkDYBforLiz06
Down in the lower right corner, I stitched a ribbon rose.  It came out a bit bigger and a little closer to the corner than I would have liked, but it fills the corner nicely.  I accented it with some vintage pearls.  

2015.02.21SteamPunkDYBforLiz07
The little key was the perfect touch with the escutcheon plate!  The little cast on flowers in blue match the blue that Lonna used on her block for Liz.  I like being able to pull some colors through from block to block to help them coordinate with one another. 

2015.02.21SteamPunkDYBforLiz03
Here's a look at the bottom of the block.

2015.02.21SteamPunkDYBforLiz04

In the lower left corner, I added a nice gear trail with some gold and coppery beads.  I'm happy with the way this block turned out and hope that Liz is as well! 

2015.02.11MiniDYBforDarlene

I also finished my block for Darlene in the Mini DYB round robin.  Darlene made several small ornament shapes in fans and stockings.  I chose the Holly stocking ~ being rather partial to Holly, since that is my sister's name!  This little stocking is only about 3 1/2" high and about 2 inches wide at the widest part!  I look forward to seeing how Darlene puts them together! 

18 February 2015

Discovering the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge

2015.02.11RMANWR06
For a while now, I've been following a wildlife photography group here along the Front Range of Colorado.  Some of the fabulous photographers there alerted me to the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge.  I had seen the signs for it and remember when they cleaned up what used to be a huge weapons arsenal on the northeast side of Denver, but I had never been there.  

It turns out that I drive very near it on my way to and from work, so last week, I decided to stop on my way home after my last night of work that week.  I like to try and stay up that day so I can be more functional for the rest of my days off, but I always need something to keep me active and interested in order to do so!   It was a beautiful warm mid-winter day with interesting clouds and some blue sky away from the hazy mountains.  The view across some of the ponds was lovely.  I sat here and watched two coyotes hunting in a field behind me and saw my first Northern Harrier hawk!  

2015.02.11RMANWR07
The drive through the refuge is about 9 miles long and takes one past many ponds filled with a nice variety of waterfowl.  

2015.02.11RMANWR02
On the west end, a bit of open prairie looks back towards downtown Denver.

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There is a large variety of wildlife from the small critters like cottontail rabbits;

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lots of prairie dogs;

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a herd of enormous buffalo, lots of deer, both white tail and mule deer, and an ever changing variety of birds!  

2015.02.18RockyMtnArsenalNWR
I enjoyed it so much that I decided to repeat the drive on my way home this week.  The bit of snow that Denver had this past week caused it to look much different! 

2015.02.18Deer
The deer were very active and I saw at least four herds of mule deer and one of white tail deer.

2015.02.18MuleDeer
This doe has a lovely face!  They have tagged a few animals in each herd to track their movements.  

2015.02.18HoodedMerganzers
Driving past one of the lakes, I had to stop and do some birdwatching.  How wonderful to see these fun Hooded Merganzers!  I had never seen them before, so quite a treat! 

2015.02.18Bunny
But the biggest joy of my morning was to watch the cottontails!  This one thought she was hiding from me while enjoying the early morning sunshine.  

2015.02.18BunnyDance01
Nearby, I watched this pair of cottontails leaping and dancing around one another!  They went on and on for the longest time, till at last they went their separate ways.  I so wish that my camera had been able to do video as it was something to watch them bouncing way up into the air, under and over one another! 

2015.02.18BunnyDance02
Such leaps!

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And flying snow...

2015.02.18BunnyDance03
While it looked like a wonderful dance of fun, I suspect that it was actually more of a territorial dispute!  Witnessing this was definitely was the highlight of my week so far! 

What a delight to discover this large natural area so close to Denver and just a few short minutes off my usual path home!  It has been a wonderful way to unwind from the stresses of work before I head home for the rest of the week!

14 February 2015

Happy Valentine's Day!

2015.02.14Valentine

While today we celebrate romantic love on this day, historically, the feast day of St Valentine was to celebrate and remember the saint who was  martyred for his love of Jesus by the Emperor Claudius.  As you celebrate today, remember these things:

We love because He (God) first loved us.  
1 John 4:19 (Good News for Modern Man - New English Translation)

This is what love is: it is not that we have loved God, 
but that he loved us 
and sent his Son to be the means by which our sins are forgiven. 
1John 4:10 (Good News for Modern Man - New English Translation)

My commandment is this: love one another, just as I love you.
John 15:12 (Good News for Modern Man - New English Translation)

2015.02.14Heart05
Today I want to share the lovely round robin blocks that came home to me from the Heart's Round Robin last year.  This heart is by Thalia Holt.  I love the beautiful embroidery and all the background embellishments that she added in the white areas!  As I finish my blocks for this project, I will continue here lovely little flower motif through several of them! 

2015.02.14Heart04
This lovely heart was stitched by Renee Younger.  I just love what she did with the little heart beads!  She also did some lovely background motifs that I'll use on some of  my blocks.

2015.02.14Heart03
Kathy Semone was the stitcher of this lovely block!  Great scalloped buttonhole seam on the heart!  It's one I've added to my book of seams!  

2015.02.14Heart02
Alexandra henry stitched this lovely block!  I love her seams, especially in the white area! And that tatted lace around the heart! 

2015.02.14Heart01
This lovely block comes from Barbara Warner!  Loving the little ribbon flowers and the stitched white heart on the bottom left!  

Can't wait to get my blocks finished for this round robin so I can put this wall hanging together!  Maybe by next Valentine's Day! 

06 February 2015

Stitching Seams

2015.02.06FeatherStitch22
Though the Joyful Embellishments group on Facebook has moved beyond feather stitching now, I've decided to continue with it on this piece.  There are still 16 more seams to fill with my favorite feather stitches!  For these last seams, I'm using stitches from my stitch idea book that I've been keeping now for several years.  This is one that I love and have used a couple of other times.  It's a triple feather with lazy daisies, straight stitch and beads.  

2015.02.06FeatherStitch21

Sometimes, the simplest of seams can be the most elegant!  I love this straight feather stitch with lazy daisies and beads.  

2015.02.04AutumnPiece
For February, the Joyful Embellishments group has moved on to Herringbone Stitch, another of my favorites.  At the CQI retreat last year, I won a kit of autumn themed threads and fabric that included this already pieced block.  It's large enough to make a table centerpiece mat and the kit included enough silk squares to finish the outer edge in prairie points!  Once I opened it up, I wasn't sure quite how to approach embellishing it, as the patches are quite large for the most part.  Then I realized it has 19 seams ~ almost perfect for a month of Joyful Embellishment seams!  In the centers of the largest pieces, I'll add some autumn themed motifs eventually. 

2015.02.04Herringbone01
Herringbone Stitch #1 was a simple herringbone with beads and lazy daisies.

2015.02.04Herringbone02
Herringbone Stitch #2 was a simple herringbone with the addition of some straight stitches and beads. 

2015.02.04Herringbone03
Herringbone Stitch #3 was a double herringbone in different threads and the addition of beads.  I used a medium Kreinik metallic braid for the fancy thread and a Valdani pearl cotton #12 for the other.  Since I did the pearl cotton over the top of the heavy braid, I needed to couch it where it crossed to make it lay nicely.  

2015.02.06Herringbone04
Herringbone #4 turns into heart shapes with the addition of some fly stitches!  I think I need to add some beads to this seam in order to complete it.  It looks a bit unfinished to me. 

2015.02.06Herringbone05
Herringbone Stitch #5 adds beads and pistil stitch.  I've used many variations of this over the years I've been crazy quilting! 

This coming week, I can get back to my CQJP and round robin blocks as the projects I've been working on (a couple of things for the Summer edition of Crazy Quilt Quarterly Magazine) are finally complete! 


01 February 2015

Catching Up & the 3/5 Art Challenge

2015.02.01FeatherStitch19
I finally had a chance to catch up on the Joyful Embellishment's seams.  This is Stitch #18, a straight feather stitch with colonial knots in silk ribbon and ribbon stitch leaves.  I love the way the 7mm silk ribbon came out looking like loose blossom buds in the colonial stitch!  Definitely one I'll need to try again! 

2015.02.01FeatherStitch20
Stitch 20 is a simple feather stitch with lazy daisies, beads and ribbon stitch 7 mm silk ribbon leaves.

2015.02.01FeatherStitchBellPull
   Now that it is February, we'll be working on a new stitch. I'm trying to decide if I want to do the new stitch on this same piece or if I want to do them on something different.  I'm thinking that I'd like to keep this piece all feather stitched and I have many more feather stitch ideas sketched out in my seam book that I could use!  

2015.01.30GreatHornedOwl01
When I arrived home from work Friday morning, the owl was napping in the neighbor's tree next to my backyard!  He stayed there nearly the entire day.  Owls can't fly after a heavy meal, so they nap it off, so I am thinking that he must have eaten well that morning!  I suspect that the owls have another nest in the neighbor's tree this year and can't wait to see!  Unfortunately, a large pine tree has been gradually growing in my view of the nesting site, so it will be a little harder to see the owlets this year. 
Day1
On Facebook, I was nominated to participate in the 3/5 Art Challenge by Allie Aller and Jeannette Sinclare.  The idea is to share 3 pieces of artwork every day for five days and to nominate someone else to participate every day.  

I chose some of my favorites ~ though not necessarily my best work, but rather things that speak to me somehow.

For Day 1, I shared the lovely peach colored Pansy block that I stitched in a round robin for Carolyn.  Normally, I'm not much of a fan of those "orangey" colors, as you know... but I had the perfect ribbon to go on this block, so it's the one I chose to stitch.  It's still on of my favorite things that I've ever stitched.

A favorite oil painting was the piece of cantaloupe.  More orange.  But it sings so beautifully in the light!

Another orange favorite is my big ginger cat, Thomas and his little brindled orange/black companion, Mollie.  I captured them in watercolor one day as they sat looking out the sliding glass door.

The flower is from a shrub on the north rim of the Grand Canyon.  I have no idea what it is, but the feathery stamens captured the light so beautifully! 
Day2
Day 2 - The painting of the old white barns was one I worked on for a long time.  I'm still not completely happy with the barns, but it's a scene that I just loved.  The evening spring sun catching the tops of the grass and the newly sprouted corn in the field of deep brown soil.  Just magical.  

Changing seasons, the watercolor of the gnarled tree was done at a friend's house on Cape Cod during super-storm Nemo a couple of years ago.  Our dear group of friends got snowed in, with no power for three days!  Fun memories! 

The blue and white stitched piece is another favorite of mine.  I had been learning from Jude about cloth weaving and applied some of my crazy quilting embroidery ideas to it.  I call it "Gentle Blue Dreams" and it hangs in my bedroom.  

The photo on the lower right is of the old Spanish mission church, San Xavier del Bec, south of Tucson.  It's a beautiful old building and the fresh whitewash caught the sun so beautifully against that clear blue sky! 
Day3
Day 3 - I shared block 4 of my cream/white crazy quilt.  Finishing this quilt was a real milestone for me and it now hangs on the wall in my living room.  

Barns are one of my favorite things in the rural landscape and when I started oil painting they became a frequent favorite subject.  I used to drive past this old farm with the sagging roof on my way to clinicals when I was in nursing school.  In the spring, with the fresh green grass and the trees just budding into leaf and some new spring blossoms, it was a magical scene!  This is one of my very favorite paintings that I've done.

The little watercolor of some patchwork sewing was done while working on my Bunny Forest purse.  I sold this to a friend, whose mother is a wonderful quilter.  For me, this is such a typical glimpse of me at work! 

The photo at the bottom was taken in Sequoia as the setting sun shone through the forest of enormous sequoia and more normal sized sugar pines.  I love the way the light is bouncing across the wildflower meadow.  
Day4
Day 4 - Back to more orange!  It's truly strange to me how much I dislike orange, yet it creeps into my work again and again!  

The oak leaf watercolor was done after my mother brought me home a fist-full of beautifully hued oak leaves and said that I should try painting them.  So I did!  

The sunset painting was from a photo I took while I lived in Iowa.  I often drove the back roads when I needed a break from studying.  On St. Patrick's Day, I sat at the corner of a field and watched the sun set.  Later I translated it into a small oil painting that now hangs on a friend's wall.  Someday, I'd like to re-paint this scene in a much larger format.  

Of course you've seen the crazy quilt block recently as it is my CQJP 2015 January block! I really am having fun with the bright colors! 
Day5
Day 5 - It was hard to narrow down to the last few things I wanted to share as I could have shared SO much more! 

The seaside floral photo was taken on my trip to Great Britain in 2012 at Tintagel, legendary seat of King Arthur.  It was a magical place in so many ways.  The hillsides were carpeted with a lush tapestry of wildflowers.  It was an afternoon that lives so brightly in my memories! 

The watercolor was done of my living room in the brief time in the afternoon when the sun shone in.  Most of the day, the apartment was fairly dim due to being against a hillside, but during that brief hour in mid-afternoon, it was beautifully lit!  

The large photo is of one side of my Bunny Forest purse.  I learned the tiny 9 patch stitching from Jude Hill and added the decorative kantha stitching to give it texture and interest.  The trees were all made from various scraps of velvet, corduroy and upholstery fabrics that I had.  It's such a wonderful tactile piece and I still use it daily!  Someday, I hope to complete a small quilt in a similar fashion. 

2015.02.01HyacinthGlass
On the kitchen windowsill, there are several jars of hyacinth bulbs being forced into bloom!  They've been putting out roots and growing down in the crawl space until now.  When I first pulled them out, the leaves were mostly white, but with exposure to light, the chlorophyll is starting to turn them green! Having these precious blooms in the depths of winter is something that makes my soul sing! 


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