Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Pink Bat of Happiness - June CQJP 2014

"A picture of a bat (fu 蝠) can be a visual pun for "good fortune" or happiness (fu 福) because both characters are pronounced fu. Often the bat is shown flying upside down because the character (dao 倒) for "upside-down" and the character (dao 到) meaning "to have arrived" are both pronounced dao.  Therefore, if a person were to say "the bat is flying upside down" a listener could just as easily hear this as "happiness has arrived" which, of course, has a very auspicious connotation."  Here you can see my stylized pink bat of happiness flying upside down into this recently completed block. 
The symbol of the upside down flying bat is found on doorways during the Chinese New Year festival. I used DMC's rayon thread to embroider the bat...that brought me no happiness.  I watered, waxed and fought with that thread every inch of the way.  The thread has a lovely sheen but really, no thread should be that difficult to work with. The Pekinese stitch was used to outline the bat's wings.
 DMC's satin thread was used for the "auspicious clouds" drifting across the face of the moon.
If you would like to leave a comment and I hope you do, please click on the post title, Pink Bat of Happiness - June CQJP 2014 and the Comment dialogue box will open.  Thank you and Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Migraines Are A Pain

Migraines are a real pain.  This last one kicked my ass twelve ways to Sunday.  I'm back in the Studio and trying to play catch-up. Here are a few photos of the block I started before the migraine takeover.
 I transferred the tree to the weaver cloth and chose the threads.
 The tree is done now.

I need to get started with embellishing the seams.  Thank you for being patient and checking in.

If you would like to leave a comment and I hope you do, please click on the post title, Migraines Are A Pain and the Comment dialogue box will open.  Thank you and Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Garden Stroll - May CQJP2014

My dad would often stroll through the garden fussing with this or that potted plant, adjusting his orchids, attending to the rose bushes or just weeding.  I'll grant you he did not look like this hand embroidered Oriental gentleman, in fact he did not look like this at all-but he was Chinese.  I took artistic license to a whole new level with this one.

The trees, in keeping with the Oriental theme were outlined in the Pekinese Stitch and filled in with the Pekin Knot
The great many leaves are satin stitched and the gentleman is done in long/short stitches using DMC variegated cotton thread.  His belt is done in DMC Rayon thread.  The flowers, I used hand-dyed silk thread.  The interesting thing about this block, is that I felt that I should not go "crazy" with embellies, as the main figure is masculine.  Every stitch along the way was carefully considered, eight out of ten were rejected as my brain kept saying "this is a male dominated block."
If you would like to leave a comment and I hope you do, please click on the post title, Garden Stroll - May CQJP 2014 and the Comment dialogue box will open.  Thank you and Enjoy!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Butterfly World

Dorie and I spent yesterday afternoon at Butterfly World.  It was her first time visiting the park and my fourth or fifth visit...I don't remember exactly.  The day was lovely, the company fun and interesting. After a forty-five minute Butterfly Gardening Workshop, we stepped into the glorious, colorful world of the Paradise Adventure Aviary, a tropical rain forest where almost 20,000 butterflies are on live display.
Every week, almost three thousand butterflies are released into the Aviary to maintain this butterfly heaven. They glide and flutter by, alighting on leaves, flowers, this Idea Leuconoe, also known as Tree Nymphs, Paper Kites and Rice Paper butterflies. They are native to Malaysia. I think this one likes my dress.

The average life span of butterflies is 20-40 days and much of that depends on weather, food supplies and predators but those are not concerns the butterflies of Paradise Adventure Aviary have to worry about. I do not know the names of all the butterflies, like this one, for instance...
This one I believe is the Emerald Swallowtail...
Here's the Graphium Agamemnon, also know as the Green-spotted Triangle, Tailed Green Jay. It's native to India, Sri Lanka, Southeast Asia and Australia.
And then there is this flower...incredibly beautiful!
There are a lot more pictures to post of yesterday's escapade with the butterflies, so stay tuned.  If you would like to leave a comment and I hope you do, please click on the post title, Butterfly World and the Comment dialogue box will open.  Thank you and Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Dragon in April - CQJP 2014

I think I bought this paperback, Traditional Chinese Designs Iron On Transfer Patterns about 20 years ago. Paid the princely sum of $3.95 for it. For many days after my purchase, as I thumbed through the patterns, I imagined all the wonderful embroidered pictures I would stitch. However, the book soon got swallowed up in my library and was all but forgotten - until the Dragon in April, CQJP2014!

Gold beads, gold thread and lots of red and green in this block. My beloved ribbed spider web stitch, cast-on stitches and trapunto dragon.  Long/short stitches for the red carnation an iron-on transfer from the long forgotten paperback.  

Herringbone stitch, lazy daisy and I satin stitched the leaves.
If I can keep up with this pace, I'll have May and June done in April.  Won't that be great!

If you would like to leave a comment and I hope you do, please click on the post title, Dragon in April - CQJP 2014 and the Comment dialogue box will open.  Thank you and Enjoy!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Thinking of You...

How does one react when one hears that a friend is battling cancer?  My first thought is to do something...not certain what I should be doing though.

So I made a card.  I sought some help with the layout and dropped in at Mojo Monday as I'm finding it difficult to focus with all the memories running rampant in my mind. The paper is from, you guessed it, Graphic45. I hand wrote the sentiment.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Study in Green

As I'm on the topic of changing gears, I thought I would experiment a bit with thread painting.
Thread painting as defined by the Queen of thread painting, Nancy Prince is "free-motion machine embroidery, a unique way of embellishing your quilts by "painting" the image on your quilt top...The  quilt is your canvas and the thread is your paint."
In a previous post dated June 7, 2011, titled Layer Upon Layer Upon...I stated that the more layers you have, the more dimension and depth your piece will have."  So, I thought why not create the first layer with paint.  I then painted PFD (prepared for dyeing) a tightly woven, white fabric with Pebeo, Setacolor Transparent paints.
Once dried, it was heat set with a hot iron and I pulled a few of the threads I intend to use in this exercise.  I'm thinking the piece is going to be both free motion machine embroidered and hand embroidered.

While pulling the threads for the piece, I thought it would be a good idea if I practiced a little before attempting the main act...

and so now I present my Study in Green, not the main act. In this trial run I used Superior Thread, Nature Colors, Trilobal Polyester and King Tut, also by Superior.
After hooping the fabric, threading the machine with the darkest green first, lowered the feed dogs, adjusted the tension, forgot to change the bobbin case, I placed the hoop under the open-toe darning foot of my Janome 6260 and off I went.  It takes concentration and a light touch on the hoop to move it at just the right speed.  There were lots of thread changes as I needed to see how the colors worked together...or not. The tension is not quite right but that is probably due to the fact that I did not change the bobbin case, which in my Janome, can be removed.
Here's my separate bobbin case just for thread painting. I'm allowed to play with the tiny screw (Phillips head screw) in the designated thread painting bobbin case! By turning the screw, one quarter turn at a time, I can adjust the bobbin thread tension.
I'm glad I did the trial run. I will have to do another with the adjusted bobbin case and see if there is any improvement.

If you would like to leave a comment and I hope you do, please click on the post title...Study in Green and the Comment dialogue box will open.  Thank you and Enjoy!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Changing Gears A Bit...

I needed to change gears in my brain a little, so I created this large, vintage tag.  I used paper from my favorite paper crafting company Graphic45 and fun findings from Tim Holtz.  

I don't remember where I got the ornate cylinder but I inserted a used,vintage, postage stamp into it. Come to think of it, I don't remember where I got the postage stamp.  Love the film strip and the Imagine metal tag!
The key I believe is also from Tim Holtz. I made the paper rosettes using scraps left over from other paper crafting projects.  There are two pull-out tags for journaling.

It's lovely to change gears...

If you would like to leave a comment and I hope you do, please click on the post title...Changing Gears A Bit and the Comment dialogue box will open.  Thank you and Enjoy!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Dragon in April

In planning my blocks for April I chose this dragon print for the center of the light colored block. This block incorporates some of the fabric used in the prior light block (see Post titled, Crazy Quilt Journal Project 2014-March Block). I'm hoping to achieve a sense of unity and a smooth flow from one block to another.

As I work my way through the design process, I would often lay my threads, ribbons, lace, trim on the chosen fabrics to see how well they play together. Sometimes it works well, at other times, they shout "don't you even go there, lady!" At that point, I remove the offending detail and try another until I'm satisfied and/or happy that it might work. 

I pin like my life depended on it. The different weights of the fabrics used in piecing crazy quilt blocks tend to slip, slid, pull and twist as they move under the machine's needle.  Pinning helps to stabilize the fabrics. I just have to remember to get the pin out before the needle hits it.
The block is now ready to be embroidered but before I do so, I like to have an idea of where I'm going and perhaps the stitches I might use.  
An exact layout is drawn with possible stitch ideas.
If you would like to leave a comment and I hope you do, please click on the post title...Dragon in April and the Comment dialogue box will open.  Thank you and Enjoy!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Crazy Quilt Journal Project 2014 - March's Block

This was a busy week for me. I got all our tax paperwork organized, copied and dropped the entire package in the mail to the accountant. I was on a roll... so I closed all the old files (2011, 2012 and 2013) boxed, labeled and stored those. Then proceeded to open new files, cleaned out the filing cabinet and shredded what needed to be shredded. Glad that's over with!
Then, I finished my March block for CQJP2014. I did have to make some changes to the original design, nothing major, but the evolution of ideas is quite interesting to follow. I know that not every idea will make it's way onto a particular block and so keeping a sketch pad nearby is a good way for me to record my thoughts and ideas. Bless the person who invented the eraser!
Each block is a third of the envisioned tumbling block which I believe traditionally, is made up of a dark colored, a light colored and a medium colored block. I've pinned the blocks together (see below) to see what it will look like and I like what I see.
Well, one done, twelve to go! In other words, I've thirty-three of these suckers, oops, blocks, to finish so unto the dragon of April. Stay tuned...

If you would like to leave a comment and I hope you do, please click on the post title...Crazy Quilt Journal Project 2014 - March's Block and the Comment dialogue box will open.  Thank you and Enjoy!

Friday, March 7, 2014

So I Changed My Mind!

So... I had a plan! It was not etched in stone but sketched on paper.  Erasers are wonderful things but I decided not to use them, as I would like to keep a record of alternative ideas that come along while I work the block.

This is a close up of the changes made to the original design.
So the block, which is not yet completed, looks like this. Note the two heart instead of the three along the center right seam as oppose to the middle seam as in the original drawing.  And what with the pink, I haven't used it anywhere in the block...yet!
Stay tuned... I'm sure there will be more changes to come.

If you would like to leave a comment and I hope you do, please click on the post title...So I Changed My Mind! and the Comment dialogue box will open.  Thank you and Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Pencil & Paper

March block for the CQJP2014 in the planning stages.  I thought that this time round I will employ the assistance of pencil & paper to get my thoughts together before I start to stitch.

Stay tuned to see how the block progresses.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Sea Stars

There is way too much happening in the Studio these days. That's not bad but I need to get items off my work station, keep up with my various challenges and replenish my stocks.

So here is one fresh off the work station!
In 1993, I did my first ribbed spider stitch for a needlepoint class I was taking. I love the stitch and this piece has seven of those little beauties.

As far as it's possible, I make most of my charms, filler flowers, dye my own fabrics etc. In the last few months I've used up quite a bit and now must top-up.  I hope to do most of that this week.  I've already started on the filler flowers and have gathered my beads for beading my cabochons and charm making...but I digress.

I used EdMar's Rayon threads to make the Sea Stars f/k/a Starfish. Silk velvet for the brain coral and silk carrier rod for the sea fan. Fresh water pearls can be found in the nooks and folds, tucked up against each other and along side french knots. I find the feather stitch perfect for sea weed and the cheesecloth over silver painted cotton creates that ethereal effect.

This is the back of the purse and it too has pearls tucked in.

If you would like to leave a comment and I hope you do, please click on the post title...Sea Stars
 and the Comment dialogue box will open.  Thank you and Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Crazy Quilt Journal Project 2014 - February's Block

I love this block! It's not that I don't love January's but the black is so dramatic.  The leaves are hand- dyed silk ribbon, the twirled ribbon roses were done using Special Effects hand-dyed, sparkle, ruffley ribbon.  Seed beads in the center stabilize each rose.

I tried my hand at the Shisha stitch with a small, round mirror. It took four attempts to get it to point were it looked right! This is good but not elaborate enough. I know the mirror going to appear in another block down the road so I have to start playing with stitches to see how elaborate it can get.
The Victorian fringe stitch is one of my favorite stitches.  
The vine was done in a stem stitch using a hand-dyed pearl cotton, the Featherstitch, both single and double clings to the vine, here I used the rayon thread, EdMar's Glory and the flowers were made with Mokuba ribbon.
There's more eye candy at

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Crazy Quilt Journal Project 2014 - February's Block and the Comment dialogue box will open.  Thank you and Enjoy!