Wednesday, May 27, 2015

May Smalls SAL

It's that time again! Time for the Smalls SAL check in. If you'd like to stitch something small and join the fun each month, pop on over to Heather's blog, Stitching Lotus.

Here's my Small for this month:

I know, I know. You're probably thinking to yourself "ANOTHER CLUNY??"
Yes, it's "Sight" and measures 1.5x1.5 inches.  It's a kit from Bobbie Schoonmaker's Micro-Stitchery. With any luck, I'll make it into a footstool.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

I Work as Little as Possible

That's the motto of NAME - National Association of Miniature Enthusiasts (click here to find out more).

Our local chapter/club, Metro Mini Makers hosted a show a few weeks ago. My BFF, Barb, and I went to the show and were immediately smitten by the small stuff. I purchased a sewing box that required some gluing and assembly:

 It's kind of cute, isn't it?

Here are some of the displays we saw -

A lovely house with a wrap around front porch

A Fairy Garden

A display of rugs and pictures stitched on 28 Ct linens

And a beautiful water garden

Hmmmm… there a miniature room I need to design coming in my future??? Watch this space….

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Portrait Painting on Porcelain

One thing I don't do much of any more is painting on porcelain. Stitching has caught my attention…but I still plan to go back to painting, as well, some day.

I thought you might enjoy seeing how the portrait takes shape. Each one is a challenge. I can push an eyeball around for an hour before I get it "just right" ;0)

I use dry, crushed mineral paints and mix them with an oil, called an open medium. This means the paints don't dry, they stay open or wet, until the porcelain tile is fired in my kiln - from 1380 degrees up to 1517 degrees F.

I make an outline of the portrait I want to paint using a fine-pointed stencil and graphite paper. Once the outline is on the tile, the first step is painted. Once fired, here's what it looks like.

First Fire:

Looks kind of spooky, doesn't it?  The graphite lines fire out, leaving the paint. It's important to smooth the paint so you don't see any harsh lines. Even the smallest one draws your eye and it looks, well, bad.
(The design you see around this portrait are holding spots for raised paste, enamel and gold work that I wanted to do - this would consist of three steps/firings - once the portrait is complete).

Second fire:
You can see how I've built up the colors, giving her more depth and life. Adding the pupils takes away the spookiness, doesn't it?

Third fire:

Again, I've built up the colors, enhancing her features.

Fourth fire:
This shows the final fire for this portrait. I painted this at a seminar. Depending on the subject, some portraits can take up to 7 or 8 fires to complete.

If you have any questions, don't hesitate. I hope you found this interesting.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

We Will Never Forget

This is the start of Memorial Day Weekend here in the USA. My father was in the Navy in WWII, a gunner.  My step-father served proudly in the Air Force for 27 years, retiring as a Lt. Colonel. Both were amazing men.

This past week, "The Eyes of Freedom - Lima Company Memorial" visited our hometown, Davenport, IA. In a nutshell, it honors the twenty-two Marines and Navy Corpsman of Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 25th Regiment, who perished while serving their country in Iraq between May and August of 2005. My husband and I went to see the exhibit. It was a very moving experience.

The semi truck that carries the exhibit around the country is painted with the portraits of the men who died.

The exhibit consists of life size portraits painted by Anita Miller, and Ohio artist. The portraits are so life-like, the eyes look right at you. There's also a video that tells the story of Lima Company and how the exhibit came to be. The Marine flag was on display as we walked in and each visitor was asked to sign the flag. We had a difficult time finding a free spot - there had to be thousands of names! Isn't that wonderful? The flag was left with the community as a "Thank you" for bringing the exhibit to our area.

The portraits - I swear, each and every one looked like they could start talking at any moment. The tribute of the boots, helmets and lighted candles by each man was very emotional for both of us, though we didn't know any of these fine young men personally.

It reminded me of when we visited the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C. years ago. There were people everywhere, but you could have heard a pin drop.

If you have a minute, please visit the Eyes of Freedom website here. You won't regret it.

"There is no greater love than this: than one lay down his life for his friends."

Monday, May 18, 2015

Vintage Embroidery Monday and Stitchery Link Party

My mother started to do needlepoint when she was about 70 years old. Here is a pillow I inherited from her. I remember being with Mom when she spotted the canvas in a tiny needlepoint shop in Bloomington, IL. She was so excited and laughed so hard when she read the saying. Now, it makes me smile and fills me with warmth and love, thinking of her.

Pop on over to Super Mom - No Cape! and check out other stitching from other bloggers. I love being part of this Link Party! So many inspiring things shared by so many talented people.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Decorative Thimble Exchange and RHN Clarification

I wanted to share the delightful package from my Decorative Thimble Exchange partner, Glenda. Glenda lives in New Zealand - and she spoiled me rotten!! I felt like a little girl on Christmas morning! Tea, chocolates, an ornament of New Zealand, beautiful sewing-themed fabric (in BLUE - my favorite color), lovely handmade ornaments and the thimble from North Elmham, St. Mary's Church.
Look at this darling teeny-tiny box that contained my thimble. It sports a cross stitch of a wee Palace guard - the same pattern that was on Prince George's vest.
 Glenda made these ornaments using dry air clay - aren't the amazing???
 The package was wrapped in the fabric and tied with this blue ribbon - complete with a horse (yes, she knew I love horses)...
 Here's what I sent Glenda - the Marie Antoinette sewing tin with a fleur de lis pin cushion and a thimble that has the Iowa state bird (gold finch) and state flower (wild rose).
 Some cross stitch kits I love -
I had a blast hosting this exchange - I hope to do another one next year.

Now - I need to clarify something from my previous post on gold work. I took the class/seminar from RHN here in the USA - not at RHN in the UK. I provided the link to RHN so you could see the wonderful work they do and the classes, seminars, etc., they provide. My apologies for the confusion.
It still was a dream come true…..

Monday, May 11, 2015

Vintage Embroidery Monday and Stitchery Link Party

Several years ago, I had the experience of a lifetime - at least, for me. I took two seminars from The Royal House of Needlework.  The first was a beginner course that covered all sorts of different stitches and some beading. The class was scheduled to take all day. Another participant, Nancy, and I finished before lunch and the instructor asked if we would like to do something else. Our eyes lit up, we looked at each other and said in unison: "Goldwork!"

Our instructor looked a little - shall we say - reluctant. She left the room and came back with two kits from the beginning gold work class - that was it - I was hooked.

Here is the project from the class. It was a bit difficult to photograph, since it's behind glass - but I think you can see it pretty well.

I've started another gold work project - it's currently in my UFO stack in my closet. One of these days, I'll get it out and finish it.

Pop on over to see other Vintage Embroidery Monday and Stitchery Link Party creations at Super Mom - No Cape!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Traveling Pattern - Interested?

Jamie from Cricket-bug Corner was the lucky lady who received the Shakespeare's Peddler traveling pattern, "Count Your Blessings".

Would you like to be the next lucky Sister Stitcher to stitch this up? If so, trot on over to Jamies blog here and let her know of your interest. It was a fun, fast and pretty pattern to make.

Better hurry - she's drawing the name Tuesday! Good luck!!

Friday, May 8, 2015

My First Needlepoint Purse - Kinda…..

I'm so very excited - I just finished making my first needlepoint purse/bag! I used the Lion canvas I finished earlier this year and featured it on the front -

The flap closure is part of a belt I no longer can wear - yes, it's too small for me - HA!

Here's the inside - a suede leopard material - complete with a label I had made:

And here's the side - again, the handle is from the same belt I grew out of (COUGH!). At least I'm still able to use it ;0)

I did the rivets - which weren't difficult at all - wo-HOO!! I'm going to design other bags - can hardly wait!!

But - now - back to Ronin's Christmas stocking….

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

HO! HO! HO! - The Clock is Ticking…..

Calling all Elves!  Calling all Elves!!

Please don't forget to sign up for the Christmas in July Exchange. (See my post from May 1st).

The signup closes end of day tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A Give Away from Cenefas de Flores and Surprise Mail

My sweet friend, Pilar, is celebrating her Sixth Bolgaversary and having a give away.
Pop on over to her blog, Flower Borders - and say "Hello".  She's an amazing stitcher, a gifted cook and chef.
Good luck!!

I received the loveliest surprise in the mail from June. June was the lucky recipient of the Friends Swapaway hosted by Stitching Sister Kaye and myself. We each stitched seven gifts - each gift represented one letter in the word "Friends" - so June received 14 items.  June sent a marvelous package full of things I ADORE to thank me - which she didn't have to do - June, you are such a sweet friend!

A lovely card and a little stitched pillow/pin cushion

Sweet cards, a notebook, French vanilla sachet, a bookmark and coaster - all in my favorite color - blue!

And laces, trims, gorgeous pearl head pins and buttons and beads
again - all in blue!

What a treat!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Vintage Embroidery Monday and Stitchery Link Party

Here it is - MONDAY - and time for the Vintage Embroidery Monday and Stitchery Link Party hosted by Super Mon - No Cape!.

I'm on a mission to complete as many of the tapestries I can find from the Lady and the Unicorn series, inspired by the Cluny Tapestries. In case you missed my earlier post that featured "Smell", the tapestries  tell the story of the lady and the unicorn. Each represent the five senses: Smell, Taste, Sight, Sound and Touch. There's a sixth called "To My One Desire"because of the words woven into it.

Here is "Sound".  It's from a Dimensions kit and measures 16x20 inches.

"The lady plays a portitive organ  on top of a table covered with an Oriental rug. Her maidservant stands to the opposite side and operates the bellows. The lion and unicorn once again frame the scene holding up the pennants. Just as on all the other tapestries, the unicorn is to the lady's left and the lion to her right - a common denominator to all the tapestries." - Wikipedia

Sunday, May 3, 2015

One Photo, One Story #5 - "Love's Messenger"

Love's Messenger
Watercolor by Marie Spartalli Stillman
32 x 26 inches

I love the paintings influenced by the Pre-Raphaelite and Italian Renaissance eras. This painting, "Love's Messenger", is a watercolor painted by Marie Spartalli Stillman in 1885. It now hangs in the Delaware Art Museum. I have a reproduction of it hanging in our home. I absolutely love it.

You can find out more about the painting here and more about Marie Spartalli Stillman here.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

One Photo, One Story #4 - Ronin & Christmas In July Swap

My darling grandson is fast becoming more, shall we say, animated. 6 1/2 months old, he is starting to beat things - his chest, the couch, whatever - and makes these happy squeals as he flails his arms.

Unfortunately, he got ahold of his new straw hat.  Need I say more?

Don't forget! The Christmas in July Swap is now open - worldwide. Please let me know if you'd like to participate - see my previous post for details. The sign up closes May 7th.

Friday, May 1, 2015

One Photo, One Story - #3 - Emma & Christmas in July Swap Open!

Our little teacup Schnauzer, Emma, is a whopping five pounds. She's full of personality. If you look up the word "adorable" in the dictionary, you'll see her picture (not really ;0)).

I knitted this sweater for her - there are ruffles on the top back (that goes across her caboose) and faux pearls sewn around the neckline…because every little girl needs a black dress and pearls. (Yes, I love our pups!!).

Tomorrow, another photo, another story.

Don't forget! The Christmas in July Swap is now open - worldwide. Please let me know if you'd like to participate - see my previous post fore details. The sign up closes May 7th.

Christmas in July Swap Opens Today - HO! HO! HO!

Once again, I'm teaming up with the lovely Cheryll from Gone Stitchin' for a Christmas in July Swap.

Christmas in July will consist of swapping 3 (three) handmade items with a SECRET partner... sshhh.
Yes ~ a secret... at Christmas (in July)... well I never....
Cheryll composed a list from which to choose the items.
I think it's varied enough for everyone to find something.
Remember it can be ANY 3 items from the list... but they have to be ON the list. What you do with them is up to YOU... but ALL 3 must be handmade and NOT purchased!
For example... a candle mat with holly on it... OR... a mouse on a bag... OR... an angel tree ornie... you get the idea I'm sure...

C...  Candy Cane OR Candle OR Christ (nativity)
H...  Holly OR Heart OR Helpers (Elves)
R...  Reindeer
I...    Inspirational word/s
S...  Santa OR Stocking OR Snow Flake/s
T...  Tree OR Three wise men
M... Mouse OR Mistletoe OR Mrs.Claus
A...  Angel OR Acorn
S...  Snowman OR Star

All 3 (three) gifts MUST be mailed ON JULY 10th ...
however for those mailing across the oceans...allow more time by mailing ON JULY 5th.
Gifts should remain unopened UNTIL JULY 25th... this will test us I'm sure

Please just put a return address on the outside...with NO NAME showing... keeping us guessing until the very end... but remember to put your name & email address inside.

Registration Opens... MAY 1st . ...
by leaving a comment on this Christmas in July blog May post ONLY. 
Registration Closes on... MAY 07  

This swap is  open to everyone world-wide... & you must be prepared to send across the oceans, if needed.
There will have a link up party on July 26th so we can show off our gifts.
THIS SHOULD BE FUN don't you think?

In 2014 we had 10 elves…..
In 2015 we had…..????