Spring Inchies 6 - 10

Spring Inchies 30Mar10, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

There are so many things I love about spring! I'm loving adding them square by square to this project!

Spring Inchies 6 & 7

Inchie 6 is an apple blossom. There are few things that give me more joy in spring than seeing apple trees in bloom! I also love that first flush of green on the trees, so that is Inchie 7.

Spring Inchies 8 & 9

Inchie 8 is a purple and white crocus just bursting into bloom! Inchie 9 is a little blue butterfly. It is always a delight to see them flitting about on a lovely spring day!

Spring Inchie 10

Lilacs have been one of my very favorite flowers and are also my very favorite scent. I treasure the little bit of lilac perfume I have left and hope that someone starts manufacturing it again in the near future. It gives me a lift like no other fragrance!


San Xavier del Bac

San Xavier Mission, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

My son the Marine and his girlfriend were here this week visiting. While I worked, they took in the sights around Flagstaff. Then we headed south to Tucson for some warmth and relaxation for a few days. In addition to enjoying the desert, we also visited the Mission San Xavier del Bac south of Tucson.

So often, I think of the western U.S. as being so new and young, but again and again I find myself confronted with the early presence of the Spanish, who left their names and missions carved in the rocks at places like El Morro National Monument in the 1600‘s and now here in this magnificent church in the desert of southern Arizona, and who left a lasting influence on the native peoples of the regions who had been here for thousands of years before. It reminds me that history needs to consider not just the most recent conquerors, but all the peoples who have resided there through the ages.

The beginnings of San Xavier date back to the 1600’s when a Jesuit priest first visited the O’odham people and began building a mission here. Completed in 1792, it’s white towers and domes glisten brightly in the sun. It was easy to understand why it is often called the White Dove of the Desert.

The approach to the Mission is across a large gravel plaza. From here the church is stunning with it’s two white towers and the central piece in deep relief. One tower is unfinished, though the reason is not known. There is ongoing restoration work taking place and at the moment, the west side has been complete and shines brilliant white against a beautiful blue sky while the east side bears the stains of the passage of time.

Tower of San Xavier Mission
The completed tower soars heavenward, with bells in the tower and a cross on the dome.

At San Xavier Mission
Adobe walls surround the church and it’s gardens and enclose the Mortuary Chapel.

West Facade of San Xavier Mission
This is the view of the church from the Mortuary Chapel. While I know many photographers love the time of day when the setting or rising sun make the church glow in shades of pink and peach, I love the pristine quality of pure white against the deep blue sky.

Ironwork at San Xavier Mission
Even the ironwork has a simple beauty against the white plaster.

Front of San Xavier Mission
The relief of the front facade stands out in the late afternoon light. On the large curls on either side, there are a mouse (on the left) and a cat (on the right). A myth that has risen is that when the cat catches the mouse, the world will end. Another myth is that there will be peace between the O’odham people and the Spanish until the cat pounces on the mouse.

Door Handle at San Xavier Mission
Throughout the church, there are many depictions of plants and animals, including snakes such as the rattler door handles on the front doors.

Inside San Xavier Mission
Inside the church, one is greeted by the scalloped backs of pews marching forward to an astonishing altar piece. Every wall is covered with paintings. There are many repeating themes such as the rope, representing the Franciscans and the rope that holds their garments around their waist and the shell, which depicts pilgrimage.

Figure at San Xavier
Numerous niches hold painted figures depicting various saints. I found myself wishing I knew who was being represented and why. I loved the face on this one. He seemed so sweetly innocent and somehow hopeful.

Angel and Figure at San Xavier
There are angels and cherubs everywhere, some blond haired and blue eyed, others dark skinned and dark eyed. On either side of the altar, these large angels decorate the columns of the dome.

Rosette Ceiling at San Xavier
The paintings on the inside of the dome are lovely and delicate and lit by lovely windows.

Altar area at San Xavier
The central panel in the altar piece is intricate and filled with symbolism. The central figure on top of the highest arch is Father God, with his left hand on the world and his right hand raised in blessing. Below him in the top niche is a depiction of the Virgin Mary as the Immaculate Conception. Beneath her, robed in white is St. Francis Xavier, one of the first Jesuits, in whose honor the church was built. Below and in front of him is the crucified Christ.

Painting and Figures
In the west transept, there is a reclining figure of St Francis Xavier. Here, people pin milagros (charms depicting parts of the body representing prayers for miracles), photographs of loved ones, rosaries, etc. Taking a picture of it seemed tactless to me, so I set my camera sights to show the intricate artwork and figures on the walls above. Angels and cherubs are every where as well as various Saints depicted in the niches.

Ceiling at San Xavier
Walking back through the church, the ceiling comes into focus, its arches and domes supported once again by angels, though painted this time.

St Francis at San Xavier Mission
Upon exiting through a side door, tiles depicting St. Francis Assisi preaching to the birds are in view, framed perfectly by the curving trunk and branches of a mesquite tree. Such a serene view!

Angel at San Xavier Mission
We spent only a couple of hours here, though I could have spent much more time. It is a lovely surprise, a treasure in the desert and well worth taking the time to see.


Sea Glass Inspiration

Sea Glass Palette
Inspiration for a new project comes in so many different ways. I love the look of old aqua glass bottles and the pale blue tones of sea glass. Last week, I stopped at the bead store where I buy the little bone bird and bunny fetish beads. On a clearance rack, I discovered some strands of cylindrical jade beads in an aqua shade, not unlike the shades of sea glass that I love, so I brought home a strand, though I didn't have a project in mind.

Sea Glass Beads
A few days later, I stopped at Michael's for some embroidery floss and took a meander through the bead aisle. Imagine my delight to find strings of small chips of sea glass in bead form! A look at the tubed beads brought the discovery of some delightful iridescent beads with an aqua undertone. Then there were the Venetian style glass beads with aqua tones.

Sea Glass Threads
After purchasing this lovely assortment of beads, I came home and went through my stash and pulled out all the pale aqua/sea glass colored items, including a few more aqua beads, embroidery threads and ribbon. To top it off, I added a few pearly accents.

Seeing a whole grouping of supplies together like this gets my creative juices flowing! Since I have such a large list of projects to finish up, this sea glass project may take a while to come together, but for now, I am happy looking at these supplies and dreaming about what they might become!


My Stitching Corner

My Stitching Corner, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.
This is the corner of my living room where I sit and stitch. The boxes on the shelves are filled with color sorted embellishments, beads, lace, embroidery thread and ribbon. From this spot, I have a nice view out the window to my left and should I chose, I can easily watch a movie from this spot as well. The binoculars on the table are ever ready to spot a passing bird! I must admit that it gets a bit more chaotic than this when I'm deep in the throes of a project! I love how light and cheery it is at this time of the year!

Inchies 3, 4 & 5
Inchies 4 and 5 are complete!

Inchie 4 Clover
There is something so innocent and childlike about clover blossoms. Maybe it is remembering spring and summer days spent gathering blossoms, pulling them apart to suck out the teensy sweet drops of nectar! Or the hours spent with my friends hunting for 4 leaf clovers in the grass. I never found any that I remember, though I had friends who seemed to have a gift for spotting them!

Inchie 5 Forsythia
Seeing the first bright blooms of the forsythia in the early days of spring always gives me such a lift! Such a joyful sight after a long bleak winter!

Spring Inchie Sampler WIP
Here is the whole sampler so far. It's really not that crooked, but I had it draped across the back of my chair! I didn't want to take the time to retake the picture as I'm eagerly awaiting the arrival of my son the Marine and his girlfriend!


Spring Inchies

Old Inchie Palette, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

Inspired by the delightful spring inchies that Dawn is creating for the 39 Squares Stitch Along project, I decided to try my hand at some as well. I started off thinking I would use my favorite greens and taupe as I really love these muted shades.

Inchies with old palette
After the first two inchies were stitched, I realized that they weren't evoking spring as I had hoped. The colors were just too dusty. While I kept the one shade of sage green, I removed all the taupe stitching.

New Spring Palette
A search through the thread box for brighter "spring" greens resulted in the above palette. In the end, I only used 5 of the colors.

Spring Inchies
Much better! The whole piece looks so much more cheerful and hopeful!

Spring Inchies #3
So far, I've stitched all the borders for the squares (40!) and completed three of the blocks. Sun and rain and a little bluebird on the wing! I'm a bit behind the rest of the group, but hope to stitch a couple of these a day!


Hearts and Flowers

Working on Gerry's encrusted block was such a delight! Her colors, shades of mauvy pink, were right in my comfort zone and I loved her theme of "Queen of Hearts" and the lovely Victorian era images she used on her silkies for the blocks! Gerry stated that she loved fancy seams and to add jewels and hearts to the block as well as crowns.

Lisa's work on Gerry's K's block
Upon digging through my scrapbooking supplies, I was able to find a couple of crown charms as well as a few little gold toned hearts. A little alcohol ink added some color and once I figured out how to hold the crowns on without glue (a little gold embroidery thread to couch them down worked well!), I was off and running. I keep a little sketchbook of seam treatments that I like and used one of them for the large seam at the lower center of the block. I don't have lots of "jewels" as they don't suit my style, but I did add lots of pearls! The heart charms were added with little bows.

Silkie framed in flowers
For the silkie, I framed it in a wreath of flowers. There is a large spider web rose at the upper left, lots of little filler roses of and various flower beads in shades of pink. I also made lots of little ribbon flowers using 3 shades of ruffled 1/4" ribbon I had using instructions from Candace Kling's book, "The Artful Ribbon".

This ended up being the most encrusted block I have ever done and I hope Gerry loves it as much as I do!


A Gift for Mary

Gift Bag, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

This past week, my friend Mary (whom I've known for over 40 years!) stayed with me for a few days while she took a class here in town. What a wonderful gift it is to have a friend with whom, no matter how much time has passed since we last saw each other, we are able to pick up right where we left off as though no time at all has passed! I wanted to send her off with a little something, a small token for our years of friendship.

Gift for Mary
The little gift bag was made using fabric from my stash. Using a Tilda pattern from the book "Sew Pretty Homestyle", I made the fabric rose adorning it.

CQ Floral Art piece
Inside the bag, I placed a crazy quilted postcard, inspired by the quote,

Friends are Flowers in the Garden of Life

The rich tones of deep brown and spring greens gave birth to a colorful garden of flowers. I'm certain that Mary's garden is lush with many wonderful friends and I know that my life also is deeply enriched by her friendship!

Mary ~ Thank you so much for your visit! It was a treasure!

Mary and her husband Winston have a youth camp in the mountains of southern Colorado called Sonlight. What a marvelous ministry they have, sharing the love of God and the beauty of creation with kids!


A Little More Winter

Outside the snow is melting quickly and though it is still many feet deep in some places, the ground shows through under the trees! I'm so glad to see it! There is still a bit more winter to come, but at last there are hints that spring is coming!

Inside, I've been stitching away on Margreet's Winter/Christmas DYB blocks. She asked for a winter/ice theme, so everyone has worked in shades of blue and white with a bit of grey and irridescence. For my block, I tatted a snowflake and embellished it with beads. Margreet sent along the silver gem charm to add.

Margreet's  Winter/Christmas DYB by Lisa
Here is a complete picture of the block I worked on.

Margreet's Winter/Christmas DYB Joint Block
This is the joint block that everyone worked on together.

Margreet's Winter/Christmas DYB Blocks
As I am the last person to work on Margreet's blocks, I had lots of inspiration! The participants in this round robin were, from left to right: Rose Anne, Margreet (who will get to finish the last block!), the joint block, Rita, Karrin and me. What a gorgeous set of crazy quilt blocks! I can't wait to see what Margreet does on the last block and how she puts them all together!


Little Joys!

Ritva choose lovely rich colors for her round robin blocks. They remind me of wonderful old tapestries and "old master" floral paintings. It was a joy to work on and I hope that Ritva likes what I've done!

Spring Vignette
With spring coming and the snow finally melting, the little old shelf has been updated with a spring theme The expression on the bunny's face makes me smile every time I see it!

Leafy Ball
At Michael's, I found this leafy green ornament in their spring decor.

Too much Cute!
One of my favorite blogs, Moline (Germany)(also see her Flickr photos), often features these little Shleich animals in sweet vignettes. How delighted I was to find that I could order them online from Agape Bears! Such sweet little critters! Opening the box made me feel like a little girl again!

Sheep on the shelf
I also ordered a family of sheep. Such silly little things to get excited over, but they do make my heart sing!

p.s. If you look back through the blog, you may notice that all the old comments have disappeared. The comment service that I had been using was discontinued and I felt that the replacement service had some privacy issues, so I have returned to Blogger's default comments for the time being. I did archive the old comments and hope to restore them when they come up with a simple way to do so!