2010 in Retrospect

It's always amazing to go back at the end of the year and look through all the photos that show what I've done and where I've been. Each year I take more and more photos and it gets harder to choose what to share!

2010 Stitching, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

To start off the look back for 2010, I thought I'd share a mosaic of the stitching that I've done primarily for myself. As you'll see, it's quite a contrast with the stitching I've done on Round Robins over the year!

2010 Round Robin Stitching
The Round Robins for 2010 involved lots of color! They forced me to work in a much brighter palette than falls within my comfort zone, but each one ended up being wonderful to work on! While 2011 will also include some round robins, I hope to focus a bit more on my own work this year.

2010 Best Landscapes
Between April and November, I made 9 trips between Flagstaff and my folks home in Colorado! It was lovely to see the desert southwest through the seasons as well as the mountains of Colorado. I was blessed on several occasions to be in the right spot at the right time for some fabulous photographs.

Flowers and Leaves 2010
Along the way, I've loved taking photographs of the flowers and fauna of my surroundings, whether that be the bulbs blooming in winter in my home or the amazing wildflowers to be found, each in their own season, no matter where one travels. Often, these end up being my very favorite photos!

But as I look back through the year, I have two ultimate favorites. They aren't the photos of grand landscapes of or delicate flowers or even of beautiful stitching, but rather they are the cherished photos of my family.

My Mom and Dad
My Mom and Dad, taken this past spring in the back yard of their new home. My Dad has advanced Alzheimer's and my Mom has been taking care of him at home this past year. I love this photograph, which caught them on a day when my Dad was alert and aware!

Kids Thksgvng 2010
This photo of my kids was taken at Thanksgiving. From left to right, my oldest, Jonathan and his girlfriend Becca, Jessie, Stephen and his fiance Amanda, my youngest son, Zach. (my foster son Gary was with his family, so isn't in the picture) It was so wonderful to have all the family around the table, to sit and laugh and have a wonderful day together along with my folks, my sister and her husband as well as Amanda's Mom. Even taking pictures, the kids were laughing and teasing (mostly about me, taking hundreds of photos!) and it was such a happy day! One to live in the memory for a long time.

So 2010 is leaving us, with lots of memories behind and photographs to help remember the year by. 2011 is almost on the doorstep. Like Bilbo Baggins, I think about the road to come.

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.

Still round the corner there may wait
A new road or a secret gate;
And though I oft have passed them by,
A day will come at last when I
Shall take the hidden paths that run
West of the Moon, East of the Sun.
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

I wish each of you a wonderful journey through the coming year, filled with blessings and joy and beautiful surprises. I wish you the warm love of family and friends to sustain you along the way!
Peace be to you my friends!


Pansy Block for Alice

Pansy Block for Alice, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

Outside the snow is falling steadily. Inside, I've been dreaming of spring as I stitch on this lovely pansy block for Alice. This finishes up the Pansy DYB round robin for me. I loved the soft lavender in this block, but the block also held quite a challenge! The challenge was how to balance the brilliance of the grassy green, yellow and orangey pink butterfly fabric with the soft tones of the rest of the block. To help with that, I dyed a butterfly in similar colors to bring them into the opposite side of the block. Another challenge on this block was that Alice had specified the top of the block, which to me went counter to the pansy silkie in the center as well as the butterfly fabric. In the long run, I ended up almost working on the diagonal so that it could actually be used this direction (which lines up with Alice's direction) or with the row of SRE pansies at the top if that ends up working better.

Sweet Pansies
This little row of silk ribbon embroidered pansies is my favorite part of the block! May have to make something similar for me!

Detail Alice's Pansy Block
The butterfly was sitting out all by itself and needed something to ground him, so I added a bunch of green sprigs with little yellow bead flowers, again, trying to pull some color through the block.

Can't wait for my set of Pansy blocks to arrive home! I've really enjoyed this round robin!


A Palette of Blue & Green

Blue & Green Palette, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

The colors I've been drawn to lately are shades of blue and green in combination with one another. It's such a happy, light hearted color scheme. Little bits of fabric, threads and scrapbooking materials have been coming together in these colors and I couldn't resist taking a photo of some of them!

My creation
1. Pocket Prayer, 2. may 5/31, 3. Then, I'll sail the seas, 4. Seahorse 1-2 copy, 5. Bible Bag Stitching, 6. Float: detail, 7. pale aqua and green, 8. green/white, 9. Detail side 2

(Thanks to my Flickr friends for the majority of these pictures! )

There is an increasing trend in my Flickr Favorites to these colors too as well as in my own stitching! As much as I love stitching in creams and green, adding a burst of blue just makes it sing! As I think about projects I want to complete in the coming year, I anticipate more and more blue showing up!


Pansy Block for Arlene

Pansy Block for Arlene, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

Slowly but surely, I am getting caught up on round robin blocks. This one is for Arlene in the Pansy DYB Round Robin. In addition to lots of silk ribbon embroidery pansies, I added a bit of the dyed lace I made last week. The dark colors make for a rich look to the block! Here's hoping that Arlene likes it!


A Merry Christmas!

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas! May this season bring you much joy and peace!


A New Keyboard!

New Keyboard!, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

My Christmas gift arrived! It's a new electronic keyboard! I've played piano since I was young, but for the past 6 years, I've been living in apartments where there is little space for a piano and truthfully, it would be too loud for the neighbors. Not to mention how difficult it is to move a baby grand! Thankfully, dear friends in Colorado have been storing my "real" piano for me all this time. But oh, how I've missed playing!

Christmas Carol Books
After receiving the keyboard, I made a trip to the storage locker to find my music. There are three boxes full. I was only able to get to one box without a major re-organization effort. How wonderful that it contained my favorite Christmas music as well as a small selection of the music books I most often played from! I also found a folder containing these old Christmas music books from my childhood! I was so pleased to find that even after not playing for 6 years, my fingers quickly fell into the old patterns! I'll never be a concert pianist, or even be able to accompany a choir, but there is something about being able to lose oneself in making music. It's a wonderful relief valve for all the emotion that otherwise stays bottled up inside, both good and bad.

Christmas Peace
My bit of Christmas stitching is complete! It seemed unbalanced so I added a dove bead to it. It's just a calm little bit of stitching, a bit of Christmas Peace.

The paperwhites are blooming! I tried a new variety this year called Bethlehem. The smell is gentler somehow than Ziva, which is the variety I've usually grown. These are supposed to be a little shorter, but so far, I can't tell the difference. How I love having fresh blooms in the midst of winter!


Stitching ADD

I've been stitching on several projects. Usually no more than a couple hours at a time. In addition, I've been working on a number of round robin projects that I had gotten behind on. All this busy-ness! I think I have Stitching Attention Deficit Disorder! Can't seem to spend enough time on any one thing in order to get it finished! At times it feels like I've got a million projects in the works and not one of them near completion. It's just SADD! (sorry! I couldn't resist!)

Corner Stitching
This project is one of the cloths that I started for Jude's Spirit Cloth class. I've been stitching swirls here and there as the whim takes me. I love the textures of these "spirit cloth" pieces and how the layers can intertwine with one another.

Green Stitching
Another piece from the Spirit Cloth Class is this one. It started off in shades of white, but then I laid some green silk gauze over the surface and added a fussy cut applique of some leaves in one corner. I envision this one being covered with lots of vines and leaves as well as some mossy textures when it's complete. And maybe a few white flowers as well.

Velvet Hearts on Patchwork
I love doing these little whip stitched patchwork squares! Can't seem to get enough of them! Some of these are being turned into little pocket prayers while the long one will be a mini-Valentine wall hanging.

Red and Black progress
I've been stitching a little more on the red & black bag as well. I find these colors so hard to work with and I get tired of them quickly, so it's progressing quite slowly. The red lace is particularly bright despite the fact that I tried to tea dye it to take the edge off. When that didn't work, I even tried bleaching it, but it has to be the most colorfast piece of red that I've ever worked with as nothing made any change to it what so ever!

I guess the advantage of having so many projects in the works is that I can always find something to work on!


Lace Dyeing Fun!

For the first time in a long time, I have a week at home! While I miss heading to Colorado to see the family, I'm enjoying some other pursuits instead! At the CQI retreat in September, one of the things I really enjoyed was learning how to dye lace using alcohol inks. Since I already had quite a few for scrapbooking as well as an assortment of white venice type lace, I thought I'd have fun with it and see if I couldn't make some of these lace pieces more usable for crazy quilting.

Shades of purple
Using inexpensive paintbrushes and watercolor pans for the ink makes it so much easier to do these! I love how the colors blend into one another. Using four colors of green helped add interest to the foliage.

Autumn colors
I even strayed into territory I'm not always comfortable with... using shades of yellow and orange, in order to create some autumn themed lace.

Shades of blue, purple and green
But it's these blue and green laces that are my favorite!

Lace Dying Fun!
As you can tell, I ended up straying from my usual palette of pale subdued colors into a much brighter place! It has been cold and drippy outside, with little sunshine, so working with these bright colors was a lift to my spirits!



Finishing, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

Finishing a project always seems like the hardest part to me. There is a bag of stitched works sitting next to my chair that just need those last finishing touches. I am forever at a loss of how to do that. But this little piece seems to be coming together just fine. It just needs some final stitching around the edge and the snowflake attached to the bottom and it will be done! The gold star on top came from my sister, who had extra after a scrapbooking project! I love the effect of all the snowflakes and snow flurries!

The snowflake was one I made last year for a winter/Christmas round robin and never used, because it was a little uneven. It seems the perfect embellishment for this piece!


Seasonal Stitching

Seasonal Stitching, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

After cutting pieces for another project, I had a little pile of torn off selvage edges. Some of them were beautifully frayed and so on a whim, I wove them together and basted them to a scrap of cotton. They sat there for the longest time. It seemed a rather silly bit of cloth, but intriguing, none the less. After seeing Jude's blocks of satin stitched bars, I wanted to try it and suddenly, stitching a tree on this bit seemed just the thing to do.

Around the tree I added lots of big snowflakes.

Snow Flurries
And now I'm filling in the background with flurries of snow. I have no idea yet where this is headed or what exactly it will become, but I find I can just stitch without thinking too much and right now, that's a good thing. It's peaceful and relaxing to just play around without so much direction now and then.

Giver of Feathers
Here is the giver of my Sunday morning feather. There is a mated pair that nests nearby along with several of their offspring. They are wonderful neighbors to have!


Pondering the Season of Advent

Vintage Deer, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

Somehow, the first Sunday of Advent slipped past without much notice on my part. How grateful I am to have some time today on this second Sunday of Advent to focus on this season of anticipation. This evening, two candles are lit, one for Hope, one for Peace. I sit in the quiet, pondering the immensities of God and his ways.

Tiny Trees
I recently had the opportunity to view a DVD titled "The Star of Bethlehem". There is a companion website, which supplements the DVD: http://www.bethlehemstar.net/ It is a fascinating look at one of the mysteries of Christmas! It reminded me what a true wonder it is to anticipate the anniversary of the physical presence of God on earth. Advent is a season to remember that the maker and orchestrator of all things known and unknown came to us in a form we could relate to in order to help us to know him better ~ amazing! To know that God who set the stars in the sky and named them all, cared enough about this tiny planet of insignificant beings to send his son to us so that we could develop a personal relationship with him ~ it boggles the imagination.

In this context, the simple decorations of pine trees and woodland creatures on my Christmas shelf seems so small in the larger scheme of things. I find myself wondering how they relate at all to the true celebrations of the season.

Dove Feather
This morning, when I walked outside after a difficult night at work, I realized that despite the unfathomable greatness of God, he relates to us on the smallest level. I had spent the night coping with extremes from the fullness of joy over a healthy new life to the grief and sadness over another little life that was far too short. Finding this small feather, a discard from one of the doves that lives in the trees outside my apartment, was a gift of God’s peace, which lifted my troubled heart and calmed my ruffled spirits.


Tis the Season!

Little Trees, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

Time for a little Christmas decorating! The weekend after Thanksgiving was always when I got all the decorations out. The past few years that tradition has fallen by the wayside due to all the travel back and forth to see the family and my ever changing work schedule. This year, though Thanksgiving weekend is past, it isn't long gone and I've gotten the boxes out of storage and started decorating yesterday!

Christmas Candles
Each year, the same elements get put together in a slightly different fashion. Once upon a time, I decorated mostly with red, but these last few years, the red items languish in the bottom of the bin while shades of green and white take the stage. I find this natural palette soothing and peaceful.

China Cabinet 2010
The top of the china cabinet is one of my favorite places to decorate. The mirror is there year round, though the rest of the decor changes with the seasons. The little faux tree comes out each Christmas, this year decorated with tiny green and white ornaments and little glass drops that add a bit of sparkle.

Sweet Feathery Bird
A new addition to the ornaments is a set of tiny white glass birds with feathered tails. So sweet!

Angel with Garland
Angels grace the top of the bookcases.

Shepherds and sheep
The top of the cubby-hole shelf displays my growing collection of sheep as well as a shepherd and my beloved "Peace on Earth" figure from Willow Tree.

Golden Bird Wreath
In the entry way, I've hung my crazy quilted Christmas banner as well as this twiggy wreath with golden birds.

Woodland St Nick
A woodland themed St. Nick stands on the entry table. There are still a few things to put out and I'm sure that things will get tweaked here and there over the next few weeks!


Home from Thanksgiving!

Kids Thksgvng 2010, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

Hope that everyone had a blessed Thanksgiving! I had a lovely trip home! For the first time in many years, all the family was together around the table with the exception of my "foster" son, who spent the day with his family. How wonderful to have everyone together!

dsc_2622 Boni
My son the Marine and his girlfriend announced their engagement! No wedding date as of yet, but we're anticipating a summer wedding! This photo is from this year's Marine Ball in Denver.

Frosty Grasses 1
The ride home was lovely as there had been light snow all across Colorado and New Mexico. Near Las Vegas, NM, the frost was heavy on the grasses and I had to stop and take some photos!

Frosty Grasses 2

Frosty Sunflower Seedheads

Frosty Grasses 4

Frosty Grasses 3
The color in some of the grasses underneath the frost was amazing. So brilliant!