Office Curtains

One of the items on my list from the last post is almost ready to be crossed off!

Sadly, purple just does not photograph well. The colors of the fabrics I used are lavender and dark purple:

20140414-210523.jpg

I cut the material into 5×15″ strips.

20140414-210630.jpg

My office has two windows, of two different widths. The bigger window is 63″ wide and the smaller one is 50.5″ wide. I wanted the curtains to have a lot of body to them so I made the length of my strips almost double the width of each window.

20140414-210844.jpg

Once I had the main part of the curtain valances done, I had to decide how I wanted to make the pocket for the curtain rod. Instead of going the easy way of folding the top over, I cut strips of fabric at 2.5″x5″ and sewed them together, alternating the colors the same as the main part. I attached the pockets to the top of the curtains.

20140414-211133.jpg

A couple more seams finished the valance off. Then I realized I still needed to buy curtain rods. We bought those Saturday night while we were out.
THEN I realized…the previous curtain rods which we had taken down a few years ago had been a different size. So I had to make new holes.

And of course, I’m working with wood paneling instead of drywall!

Once that was done, I carefully inserted the curtain rod into valance and then hung it up. Oh my goodness! I did it! I was doing a little dance I was so happy!

20140414-211905.jpg

Now I just need to finish the last couple seams on the second one. As you can see in the picture, the walls are not painted yet, they are still the gray my hubby picked when this was his computer cave. I’m still wavering on what color(s) I want for the walls and trim.

Dreams and Where They Lead

I think I’ve mentioned before, I love writing. But I don’t do it often enough. I’ll go months without writing more than what I put on this blog and a little on Facebook.  And then I’ll have a vivid dream. So vivid that I recall quite a few details when I wake. Some of the dreams have been repeats, with more details becoming clearer each time.

 

A few days ago, I told  my hubby and my mom about the dream I had the previous night. I have this particular dream at least once a year, sometimes more. The reply from both of them was “Write it!”.

.

So, I am.  Mom and hubby both seem happy that I’m writing again. Hubby’s goal is that it is published, turned into a movie, then we become millionaires. My goal is to just get it finished and edited, then I’ll think future lol.  This isn’t my first novel, I have a couple others that I’ve written that are sitting there, staring at me, waiting to be edited. I hate editing by the way.

.

I’m also still working on some embroidery, but I can’t show the current project as it’s a gift for someone. The first April CQJP block has been posted on the CQJP2014 site, so I need to still get the post together for that.  And then put together some more bare blocks to work with for more CQJP blocks.

.

Lets see, why don’t I make a WIP/To-Do list!

*Make up CQJP bare blocks. Embroider them as needed for each month.

*Finish 7 more embroidered blocks for ‘secret project’.

*Make curtains for office windows.

*Paint my office.

*Continue working on story.

*Get my Turning Twenty Again quilts quilted then the binding done.

*Figure out a different project for HSTs (instead of curtains).

*Sew together the 4 large blocks from my personal pattern and get it bordered. Put together a written pattern.

*Learn paper-piecing.

*Create/design some wall-hangings for my office.

*Create/design other artwork for my office.

 

I think that is enough for now. As you can see, I have plans for my office. Right now it’s a gray color which, when it was my hubby’s computer room, was perfect for him. But I’m not a fan of gray and I want to make it more cheerful. I have a pretty color picked out that’ll let me keep the current trim color (which is more silver), I just need to go and get the paint and start painting. I may have some time off work in the summer though so that may be my time to paint.

 

Anyway, I just wanted to give you an update on what’s going on. I hope that you are all enjoying the spring weather that finally arrived (for those of you who live in areas that had a long cold winter).

 

Do you have a WIP/To-Do list? How many items are on yours? Do you add more each month? How often do you finish what’s on the list?   I think I add a lot more than I finish!

Catfish Creek – Covered Bridge

Wednesday I searched for some good patterns online so I could do another embroidery project. I found several that I want to do, but the first one that I chose is a covered bridge pattern from Needlecrafter.com.

The pattern called to me so I grabbed some blue fabric, gave it a backing of muslin, then traced the design onto the fabric using my handy FriXion pen and the dining room window as my light box.

20140328-210224.jpg

I started it Wednesday evening. Stitched a little more Thursday evening. Then finished it up early this afternoon. I made only a few minor changes to the pattern itself, adding or removing a few lines. But I added a few details as well.

20140328-210413.jpg

Mom and I were joking a little last night about what details to add. She said to add a cat fishing in the river. I decided to add the fishing pole and cat but the cat is walking away from the pole.

20140328-210541.jpg

The cat is from the Doodle Stitching motif book. The fishing pole I drew from looking at a picture of a fishing pole online. Same with the tackle box.

20140328-210659.jpg

I added green grass amid the rocks along the river. It seemed to make them stand out more in my opinion.

And, since we have a cat that just finished fishing…I had to put a name on the covered bridge. Catfish Creek.

20140328-210901.jpg

This was a fun one to work on! And fast.

Tonight I did a little work on a project for Sew Crazy but I don’t want to show it yet before Gwyn (store owner) gets to see it.

I also have my next embroidery project picked out but I want to verify the source of the pattern before I show that. A clue: cat dots.

Visualize – An Embroidery Experiment

Last night, an idea popped in my head. Could I make an embroidered crazy square…with one piece of fabric? Using seam treatments to make the different sections?

So, I had to try! I ran down to the Wife Cave and started flinging the fabric around until I found a light color that would show my working lines easily.

First step once I had the fabric ready and attached to a backing, was to draw my lines on the fabric. (edit to add: I used a FriXion pen, which easily irons off when you are done).  Plus I felt the word Visualize fit perfectly with this block because since it is one fabric, you need to visualize the sections using the embroidery.

Bare block:

20140325-233312.jpg

Of course, this idea really grabbed hold and I was up until 3am working on it. I didn’t finish because I had to force myself to go to bed (8am alarm comes early when you stay up that late).

This evening, I finished it up. Just over 24 hours since the idea popped.

Finished block:

20140325-233509.jpg

Several of the seam treatments I used were new to me. I will add the details under each of the next few pictures. The next few pictures the block looks like a different color due to different lighting.

Up close:

20140325-233628.jpg
Cross stitch seam (maroon-ish) and Eskimo laced edging (pink and blue).

20140325-233741.jpg
Cretan stitch (yellow) and German knotted blanket stitch (orange).

20140325-233840.jpg
Stem stitched flowers and vines.

20140325-233935.jpg
The multi-color seam is …well the name eludes me at the moment. I’ll edit and add the name in when I can double-check it. Edit: it is the wheatear stitch.

20140325-234105.jpg
This picture turned the wrong way on my phone again. This section shows the word Visualize done in stem stitch. A seam treated with lazy daisy flowers. Green stem stitch vines and a wavy line also in stem stitch.

20140325-234238.jpg
A heavy chain stitch in pink and a buttonhole fan in blue.

20140325-234340.jpg
Maiden hair stitch in variegated purples. Scalloped buttonhole in greens and blues. And a spiderweb in silver with a brown spider hanging out resting on a scallop.

What do you think of my experiment? Can you “visualize” the crazy square?

CQJP2014 – March Block #2

I originally was not sure if I was going to do a second block for March. The idea was percolating in my mind but I had several other projects shoving around for space as well, some of which I did work on. Then as the fabric was flying around one night, several pieces of fabric just happened to fall together on the table and I said ‘That’s it!”.   The colors just worked. And they screamed to me, you MUST MAKE ME NOW. So…I did! The colors made me think of spring, and flowers, and warm weather. I would really love to have spring weather now.  I am tired of shivering on the couch in the living room.

Here is the bare block:

20140320-184041.jpg

Do you agree that it calls out Spring! Flowers! Warm Weather!?

I really wanted to do a floral themed block, and the colors just really called out for it on this one.  This was a fun block to work on.

Finished block:

20140320-184108.jpg

I picked the word Hope for a couple reasons. Spring is a season that makes you think of Hope, in my opinion. Moods get better, the winter blues go away. The winter jackets (and long johns and triple layer sweatshirts and…) get put away again until next winter. We start looking forward to seeing beautiful flowers, brilliant green leaves, and going outside barefoot.

20140320-184134.jpg

 

While I did again use doodles from the book Doodle Stitching on this block, I also used a bit more of my own drawings. The bottom left corner is a flower taken from Doodle Stitching and then modified slightly to fit the space. Just above that in the green section is a flower that I have been drawing for a good majority of my life. Sometimes I draw just the flower, sometimes I add vines, and sometimes I add a lot of vines and more of the flowers.

20140320-184200.jpg

When I was talking with my mom about this block, she asked “Can you add lilacs?” And that led into reminiscing about the gorgeous lilac bushes that my grandma had next to the farmhouse. Couple different shades of purple, the bushes were HUGE. You could smell the lilacs all around the farmhouse. Any time I smell them now, I think of Grandma. Last year was the first year the lilacs at my house and my mom’s house bloomed. We like to think it was Grandma looking down (we lost her last year).

I had to think about it for a bit, and I looked through my phone at the pictures of lilacs I had taken. Then I sat down and drew out the lilacs and used a ton of french knots to create them. Mom said she could smell lilacs when she looked at them.

20140320-184215.jpg

For some reason, the next few pictures turned sideways on my phone and I can’t get them to turn the correct way. Two small sections which are the bottom right corner, I did a field of purple french knot flowers and…a curved vine with some petals. Don’t ask me what it’s supposed to represent because I’m not really sure. lol.

20140320-184231.jpg

Along the right side of the block in a larger section, I added vines with lazy daisy flowers and a few french knot flower buds.

20140320-184247.jpg

The top right section of the block took me a little bit of time to decide on. Then I decided to attempt drawing a large daisy. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. French knots fill the yellow center of the daisy.

20140320-184302.jpg

(this picture is also sideways. sigh). Along the left side of the block, which is shown at the top of this picture, is another Doodle Stitching design that was modified slightly to fit the space. I think it was from the Asian section of motifs.

20140320-184317.jpg

I really wanted to add a long stem rose to the upper left corner, but I could not find a pattern that I really liked, so after studying various images and again looking on my phone at roses that I have photographed, I drew out this rose. I decided to keep it more as a rosebud.

20140320-184344.jpg

I used one patterned fabric on this square. It is in two locations but only one was large enough to play with the details on. I outlined the leaves, added details inside the leaves, stem stitched the stems (who woulda thought, stemming a stem!), and outlined then filled in the flowers. I’m very happy with how they turned out.

20140320-184427.jpg

I wanted to leave the other flower bunch on this piece of fabric as the printed version, but it seemed like I had such a large empty space left on the block. I looked through different ideas for circling or bordering the printed flowers. Then the other day I was up at Sew Crazy talking with my Mom and I was looking at one of the quilts hanging on the wall. It happened to be the breast cancer quilt. And I noticed on closer look, that the woman who did the quilting, actually quilted in awareness ribbons. And that is what led me to the last detail I added to my block. Four awareness ribbons that hold some meaning to me and my family.  These ribbons all have multiple awareness’s attached to them, but I’m only listing the ones that are relevant to this.

The green ribbon is for my maternal Grandma, who we lost to Kidney Cancer (she was 3rd known generation to have it). Green ribbons stand for Kidney Cancer Awareness . The purple ribbon is for my maternal Grandpa who we lost only 34 days later, official cause is a broken heart, but he also suffered from Alzheimer’s. the Purple ribbon stands for Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness.  The red ribbon is for Heart Disease Awareness. We lost my paternal Grandpa when I was younger to heart problems. Several members of my paternal family suffer from heart related problems, including my Dad. My stepdad also has heart issues.   The fourth ribbon pictured here is an adaption of the pastel pink and blue ribbon that stands for Infertility Awareness.  The pastel pink and blue did not show up at all so I needed to use darker colors, also the actual ribbon is one side pink, other side blue, which I couldn’t depict properly here with my style of ribbon.

20140320-184441.jpg

What Is Your Favorite Stitch?

There are many different embroidery stitches out there to play with. Maybe you’ve tried them all. Maybe you play around with a large majority of them all the time.

And maybe you are more like me when it comes to embroidery and you find yourself leaning toward the same stitches most of the time.

My favorite stitch for outlining a design is the stem stitch. I love how it looks and it is easy to do. Once I got the hang of it, curves became much easier as well. And it makes wonderful vines.

Stem stitch:

20140311-220557.jpg

My second go-to stitch when I want to follow a line, curve, etc is the reverse chain stitch. Chain stitch used to be one of my least favorite. Mine were always so sloppy and I couldn’t keep the size uniform. Once I learned the reverse chain stitch, I now really like it.

Reverse chain stitch on the right side:

20140311-220826.jpg

Another nice stitch for outlining an area is the back stitch. I don’t use this one quite as much though.

Back stitch on far right:

20140311-220957.jpg

Flowers can also be made using stem, chain, or back stitch, but there are two other stitches that I’m more likely to go to instead. Lazy daisies and French knots. Lazy daisies are good for making petals that are petal-like. French knots are great for small flowers, flower buds on vines, and filling in areas.

Lazy daisy:

20140311-221321.jpg

French knots:

20140311-221353.jpg

You may see a glimpse of a chain stitch in the picture with the French knots. I decided since I was making up some sample pieces, I would try making a curved line doing the chain stitch the regular way. I was surprised how much better it looks compared to when I did them before. I’m still not a fan of the regular chain stitch. It feels awkward to me.

Regular chain stitch:

20140311-221602.jpg

Also in the list of stitches that I like is the buttonhole stitch. I like using this stitch for seam treatments and making fans.

20140311-221832.jpg

20140311-221844.jpg

So, what’s your favorite embroidery stitch?

CQJP 2014- March Block 1

Imagine! That is the theme of my March block. Just imagine what you can do when you really let yourself be immersed in the project.  Imagine what you can do when you put effort forward, in anything in life not just something creative.

I appear to maybe have accidentally deleted the bare block picture from my phone. Oops. Or it’s there still, buried somewhere amid the 1,518 photos and 50 videos that I have on the phone. Yes, 1,518 photos. And that’s after having deleted close to 100 photos a week or so ago. Of those still on the phone, I would estimate about 1,250 are photos of crafts and/or cats.  The other 250-ish are vacations, my best friend’s daughter, and a few other random things. 

 

This may be block 1 of 2, or it may end up being the only block for March. I’ve been distracted with a few other projects lately, one of which is creating some quilt designs. So without further ado, Here is the finished block for March:

20140307-092732.jpg

 

Imagine the fun you could have when you let yourself wander. As I did with the … I don’t even know what to call it. Spiraled out of control? I had just learned how to do the reverse chain stitch and I wanted to see what I could do with it.  So I started in the center and started spiraling out. And somewhere along the way, I wandered.  Wandered right off the path of the spiral and into a couple of loops.  If you could see how I work on projects, you would realize that this actually fits my process fairly well. I work hard and dedicated on the current project, but when I get close to a certain point, my mind starts wandering off to other projects. I think it kinda drives my hubby nuts, because while the Wife Cave is downstairs, when I’m hand sewing or crocheting or designing or…whatever else, I’m upstairs in the living room working on it. So I usually have the coffee table and side table full of craft stuff, plus a bag of supplies on the floor in front of the side table.  I do clear it all off when we have company coming though!

20140307-092812.jpg

 

Imagining sometimes is like wishing. Your mind is wishing for ways to accomplish a project, and you might not even realize the idea is percolating back in your subconscious until BAM, there it is!  So I had to add a magic wand to this block. The wand is from the Doodle Stitching: The Motif Collection.  Depending on the design, I now rarely trace the exact design and transfer to the project. Instead I grab my Frixon pen and eyeball the picture then draw it freehand on the block. Sometimes like with the wand, it ends up looking almost exactly like the one in the book. Other times…lets just say it’s a great thing that I can just quickly iron off my pen marks and start again!  The vine to the left of the wand is just a little curvy stem stitch vine with some french knot flowers.

20140307-092843.jpg

 

I love curvy lines in embroidery. And reverse chain stitch just called out to me for this section. I used hand-dyed rayon and again the design was from Doodle Stitching, although I cant remember if I changed it slightly or not to fit the section on the block (I’ll have to look in the book again).  The small section above the curvy design has a little pink mask. (Which as I look at the picture on the laptop, I appear to have not finished ironing this block to remove the Frixon markings. oops again).

 

20140307-092911.jpg

 

This bottom corner I played around a little bit with trying to make a fancier fan than I normally do. The variegated yarn had longer color runs in it than I would have liked for a small design. I also used french knots to do a seam treatment along the same section the fan is in.

20140307-092941.jpg

 

In this next section, I added curvy vines and lazy daisy flowers. I think this also came from Doodle Stitching (can you tell by now how much I enjoy this book for it’s designs and inspiration?).  I love the hand-dyed for the flowers, the short color runs make for some pretty variegated flowers.   The upper corner has a simple fan and buttonhole stitch for seam treatment. I was at a loss for what to put in this corner as the size of the section didn’t allow for a whole lot.

20140307-093009.jpg

 

The other top corner I decided to play around with a few more Doodle Stitching designs. I added a sun/moon to the corner piece. In the long section I attempted to free-hand copy the peacock feather. The one in the book looks MUCH better, but I’m happy with my attempt. Anyone else think the top part of the feather looks like an alien head with three eyes and an open mouth? lol

20140307-093046.jpg

 

Imagination is a wonderful thing.  When you hit a snag in your project, dip into your imagination and see what solutions come up. Maybe the solution is to step back for awhile, pick up another project, and work on that for awhile. Just don’t forget to go back, someday, to the other project. UFOs like to pile up!

20140307-093116.jpg