Thursday, January 31, 2008

more transfer experiments

Last night I came home to the new issue of Stitch with the Embroiderer's Guild magazine. I love this publication and they have a great website.

After reading it over, I set up the ironing board and tried one of the techniques in the article on transfering text and images onto fabric. I just put one of my color laser printed copies face down onto fabric and ironed. And ironed and pressed and ironed. I got some ghostly faded images and some pretty good ones.

I realized I need images I can show. I've been using images I got when I donated to Art e-Zine and I don't feel comfortable sharing them unless they're firmly imbedded into a piece of art I make.

So today I printed out multiples of one of my photographs and I plan to try all of my experiments on that, repeating the ones I've already done, and then I can post them to show.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Last night I didn't get to the fusible. PBS was airing a program on the Parthenon that I wanted to watch so I sat and made some hearts using the Clover template. I have two hearts, this one and a large one, a flower and at teeny-tiny circle. I got them at Jo-Ann's, but they vanish quickly.

The templates are quick and fun to use and there's no tedious fussy cutting.

Planning for Valentine's Day (I usually make my sweetie a Valentine), I had on hand a block of fat-eighths in pinks and reds, all washed and pressed and ready to go.

In short order I had four large hearts and four small ones completed. I think I'll use some small ones in a Pink Challenge square. As for the Valentine, I'm still thinking about ideas.

First comes the birthday though (hubby's birthday is Sunday)!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Here are my first attempts at making 2" pink squares for the Pink Artist doll challenge by Monica Magness.

The pictures were from magazines and I used fusible hem-webbing to capture the image. I wet and rubbed off the paper and then fused the design to gingham. I then used fabric markers and Sharpies and a gold gel pen to color in the images and shade the edges a bit to blend them into the fabric.

The words were clipped from some law texts I'd rescued from the trash heap. The other trims and threads were things I had hanging around.

I backed them with the same prequilted fabric I used for the TIF piece. It provides a nice body to them and isn't too thick.

Last week I printed out two pages of faces for an experiment with a variety of small faces on each page. I coated one page with acrylic gel medium from Golden. I layered several thin coats, letting it dry in between. Then I let it dry for about 24 hours. I soaked it in cool water and rubbed off the paper from the back. The dried gel stretches so you need to be careful to work on a smooth, flat surface and mostly in a gentle circular motion to keep it from stretching too much. When it dried, I could see spots where I'd missed paper bits so I wet it again and rubbed some more.

The images are embedded in the clear gel. I know I can use the medium to glue them onto paper or fabric. I'm not sure how the gel will hold up to stitching. I plan to cut them apart and use them in projects as yet unknown (maybe some more pink squares).

I learned this technique back in the 70s in college. I made a collage from magazine photos, trimming them carefully to avoid overlap (so there was no glue on the back of the paper). I coated my collage with the medium and built up several layers. After removing the paper, I used this as a negative to make a photo-etched plate and then printed my etchings.

The second half of my experiment was to take the second page of images and iron on Wonder-Under, then remove the paper. It wasn't a failure in that I learned what doesn't work. The Wonder-Under was just too light and fell apart when I tried to remove the paper.

I've seen this someplace on the Internet and Bond-a-Web was recommended, which appears to be the same as Wonder-Under. Of course I can't find the site now! I know the technique works from using it with the hem tape and the hem tape was a lot heavier than the Wonder-Under.

I have since learned there's a heavy-duty Wonder-Under that would likely be better. Since I already have the regular, I plan to experiment by layering a few sheets together.

I want to get this to work because I like the aged and worn look the fusible gave to the images. The gel images are exactly like the photos. So I'm off to experiment some more.

Friday, January 25, 2008

January TIF completed

My Take-It-Further page is done and scanned. I'm pleased with the way it came out but happy to have a few days before the new challenge. Looking at it now it doesn't seem like that huge of a project, but it's more than I usually do, quicker than I usually do it and I neglected a lot of other things whilst doing it.

I also learned a lot and experimented a lot and had a whole lot of fun. Here's the piece with all of it's flaps in order. Here is the back. And here is the front with some of the flaps opened.

This lovely little hand embroidered handkerchief was a gift from my husband to me; another antique find.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

JLC Studio

Check out this wonderful blog done by the daughter of a friend of mine. I went to take a quick look and got lost for quite a while in the wonderful images. She has a wonderful design sense.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

nearly done with January TIF

First, I want to say that Quilting Arts was totally responsive to my complaints about the lost order, which was really nice. It still hasn't made it to me but I'm sure it will be here soon and all will be well.

Last night I put the pieces for the January Take It Further Challenge. Tonight I'm going to go by a friend's and borrow her sewing machine and sew the backing on. It's all pinned and ready to go.
I quilted the bottom layer with Kreinik Gold Cord. I like the subtle added dimension.
I hemmed or buttonhole stitched around each of the top layer panels. This words panel is on the plastic-coated washable printer fabric. I bound it with leftover fabric from my sister's wedding (bride's maid dresses).
The floral printed quilted fabric is a leftover and will be the backing. I'm not sure what I used it for, but I think I made something for my sister with it. In any case, I think it complements the other colors and was handy.
The last bit I have is something I found on my quick visit to Jo-Ann's Fabrics for the printer fabric. I found these acrylic letters and plan to stitch the admire one onto the back of the back panel. I think I will also include a label of some sort but I haven't thought it out yet.
In the meantime, I've joined the Visions of Pink project by Monica (thanks for your kind words, Monica). I'm a Pink Artist (see the button to the left). My friend Jane and I are going to get together and make a few squares. I had some pink gingham handy and got going already.
I've been cleaning and clearing things out, in particular old magazines, and I found this reference to a photo transfer technique using fusible. And in my cleaning I came across my grandmother's button bag (it's an olive drab twill drawstring bag, I'm sure made from some WWII era surplus garment, with buttons and other sewing bits). In it I found a small roll of 1" wide hem bonding web.
So I cut some faces from the magazines I was trashing and gave it a go. I tore the magazine pages to give a rough edge for easier removal of the backing paper. I used a Teflon press sheet and fused the web to the front of my chosen photo. Once cool, I peeled it off and pressed it face down onto some neutral fabric. Pressed it good and let it cool.
Then I soaked the fabric/photo in water and gently rubbed off the excess paper. I was quite happy the image was there and nicely old looking.
Once the fabric was dry, I added more iron on to the back of the image and pressed it to my pink gingham. Then late last night, I colored my images in with fabric pens, sharpies, and a gold gel pen. The faces don't look much like the original but I really like them. Here are the original images.
We're also doing a lot of clearing out at work and I had pulled a couple of law text books from the garbage last year, with intentions of trying an altered book. I scanned through one for some good words and used a glue stick to tack them into position until I get into the basement boxes and find the pva or textile medium. I've pined a bit of lace onto Mona. I need to make a 2" template before proceeding. It was a fun way to end the day.
I spent a few minutes in Michael's last night and found some charms I plan to use on other pink squares and some pink ribbon.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Cold Weekend

I don't have any pictures today. I've been having a frustrating time and didn't get to the point of scanning anything until quite late last night.

Quiting Arts never sent my order (a first, they're usually pretty good). I ran out to Jo-Ann's late last week and got some of the printer fabric sheets they stock. I got Blumenthal Craft silk habotai which is a lovely fabric, but hard to manage. It will not stay on grain once removed from the backing. But it presses nicely and is sheer enough to work for what I want. It printed beautifully. I actually think this will work better than the organza I'd ordered from Quilting Arts.

I also got a large package of June Tailor Colorfast sheets. I've used June Tailor products before, but this one is just awful. The sheets are more plastic than fabric and while they say sew in, they definitely mean machine sew. It's nearly impossible for hand sewing. The image printed nicely but I hate the feel of the "fabric."

A couple of tips I learned for handling the silk habotai: Press, don't slide the iron. Stick to a silk setting, no hotter or the fabric will stick. Dampen with a spritz of water and it will press beautifully smooth and when damp it will set nice creases. I was trying to press a double fold hem into all four sides of fairly small pieces. I laid the fabric on the board and cut it square. I spritzed it and folded up the first fold. Then I ran into a conundrum.

If I dampened it to set the second fold, then the first would disappear before I could manipulate the second. However, I learned that if I sprayed the cotton ironing board cover, gently laid the silk on it and then pressed my hem, there was enough steam to set the second crease without the first fading away. I also learned to fold from each corner and press to the center. They're still not at square as I would have liked. A possible solution might be to cut cardboard or heatproof plastic to the final hemmed size and press the fabric over the template. Of course, I didn't think of that until well afterward.

I spent most of the weekend with the overlays for my January TIF journal page. I had gathered images over the past several weeks and set them up in documents to fit the pages of the journal. I printed them Friday, let them dry and then pressed them to set. I pressed in the hems and stitched them all by hand (some straight stitch and others buttonhole). I bound the edge of the piece I printed on the June Tailor plastic with red fabric from my sister's wedding. I also stitched the loops that will be sewn in to the side for binding. I backed my PaintStick-stenciled-and-rubbing square with some wool batting and basted around the outside edge and around the border of each "window" with Kreinik cord (I think in the silk-gold mix, Vatican). It's subtle but I really like it. I found a piece of eyelet lace to add to one edge.

I realized I was beginning to feel really pressured by the challenge; I usually work much slowly and this is intense for me. I took a break and felted the last (yea!) of the hats I'd knit for Christmas. We're finally getting together with my brother's family and I needed to get this last one done. I used a Fiber Space pattern for the hats (felted baseball cap) and Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride and Nature Spun together. They felted beautifully and are great fun to do but after making eight of them, I'm done for now.

I felt by hand at the kitchen sink using a huge Pyrex bowl, mini-scrub board, potato masher, vegetable brush, dish soap and boiling water. The perfect task for a near-zero degree day like we had Saturday.

Lillian sent me an article from the New York Times (December 28, 2007) on an embroidery exhibit. Pricked: Extreme Embroidery It's quite interesting and I wish I was in New York to see it. The Chicago Cultural Center is more doable and they have a new embroidery exhibit open that I hope to get to soon. Petronele Gerlikiene: Embroidered Myths and Everyday Stories. It's there until April 6.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

More weekend fun

Well, I'm still trying to figure out how to get photos where I want them. These are pictures of some of the things I did this weekend.
The red design follows the format I'd set out for the Take It Further challenge. While I love the gold and the texture, I don't think it reflects my sister.
I made a stencil from freezer paper and ironed it on. Then I coated the open spaces with gold stamp pad ink (pigment) or embossing powder (gold and clear iridescent). Then I zapped it with the heat gun. All went well until I think the heat began to affect the polyester in the fabric (I'd thought it was 100% cotton but was wrong). Fumes from burning polyester are not fun and not recommended. I do rather like the result, however.
For the second fabric above I used the cutouts from the red mask to make a reverse stencil and used gold paintstick to pain the background on dark blue fabric. Then I used rubbing plates (hard plastic from Target's paper craft department--they're advertised more for embossing and I think they may fit into a machine) and made rubbings in the squares. I do believe this will be my TIF background.
These three are rubbings using paintsticks on rubbing plates from Cedar Canyon, the company from whom I bought the paintsticks.
I used multiple colors on each and had a great deal of fun playing with the color mixes and blends. They are on dark blue or black
fabric. I did a rubbing or two on muslin, but the effect of the iridescent paint sticks is much more pronounced on very dark fabrics.

Next time I have play time, I want to try some of the fine stencils I have. I also purchased blending paintsticks so I can lighten and mix colors. But that's for the future, for now I plan to work more on the TIF challenge. If only my order of Misty Fuse and Organza printer sheets would arrive...
I've been rather obsessing about the project and am now working on the overlays and how I want them. Jane pointed out that putting sheers over the dark busy panel, as I'd planned, might have unexpected effects, so now I'm working to take that into consideration. Perhaps I'll make the bottom layer of overlay more opaque.
I've also realized that I have this page stuck in my mind as the back of the book (or the bottom of the stack, as I've been viewing it). It just came to me that this could be rather odd, I would normally think of January as the first page, or front. But I've decided to go with my intuition and leave this as the back and will add new pages in front of it.

Chicago Area Event

The Homewood Embroiderer’s Guild is pleased to announce an opportunity to meet author Mary “Monica Ferris” Pulver on April 12, at 11:30 A.M. at Trinity Christian College, 6601 W. College Drive, Palos Heights, IL 60463. Mary is the author of more than a dozen books of the “cozy mystery” genre. The main sleuth is the owner of a needlework shop in Excelsior, Minnesota, and each of the books highlights a different needlework skill. The program will include lunch, a lecture by Mary with opportunity for questions, and a book signing. Tickets are $25. For information, please e-mail or call Jane at 708-833-9077.

Directions to the campus may be found at I am really looking forward to this event.

Monday, January 14, 2008

It's done--well mostly

I finished the final row on the sampler this weekend. It's only mostly done because the instructions included a tent stitch border with a row of twisted chain to "finish" the sampler (and make it easier to frame or sew into a pillow). I've begun this in the upper right of the picture (which is the bottom according to how it was worked--the sampler's bigger than our scanner bed).

I've begun the rows of tent using basketweave and added a bit of the twisted chain (and ripped, and added, and ripped). The instructions call for two strands of the wool. I didn't like the look so I tried it with a half-step (kind of a back-stitch chain). Didn't like that, either. Then I tried a half-step chain with the perle. No good. This version, which I like, is a twisted chain using perle 3. I think it will provide a nice finishing edge. After I looked at the scans, however, I've decided to rip what I've done and twist the stitch away from the sampler rather than toward it.

Before I scanned most things, I would photocopy them, just to catch this type of thing. I didn't see it at all in the stitched piece.

I spent Saturday having a blast painting and embossing and bleaching fabrics. I used the Take It Further challenge as an excuse to finally try out my Shiva Paintsticks (I've had them since last April). I also wanted to try embossing on fabric, something mentioned in the Fiber&Stitch group. And I had a bleach pen just sitting there waiting to be used!
I spent most of the morning pressing the fabrics, adding freezer paper backing to hold them straight. I also measured, cut and applied freezer paper grids like the grid I drew in my last TIF posting. And finally I made some freezer paper cutouts to use as stencils for practice.

Then I got down to the fun. Here are some samples. I'll post more later on. These two hearts used freezer paper masks and were my first experiments with paintsticks.

They were pretty easy to use, like fat crayons. I found that the gold and silver sticks were crumbly and the tips pretty much crumbled off as I removed the outer dried layer. The purple stick was a sale item I found, it's a glitter paint stick. It is very glittery.
I think my flower is pretty lame.
Then I did this Fleur de Lis rubbing, again with a freezer paper stencil. That's more like it. I used a honey comb stencil--I'd read somewhere that bees were Napoleon's symbol and I always think of the Fleur de Lis as very French.
These designs aren't what I'll use for the TIF design, but were steps leading there.

Cindy: I visited Albuquerque and Santa Fe once many years ago and would love to go back. I had fun exploring your blogs (I'm jealous you got to see BB King last year--my hubby wasn't up to it). I have a friend doing the cirque des circles design, too, and pointed her your way.

Thanks for the comments, Wawanna. I really enjoyed your Krystal Joy blog.

Friday, January 11, 2008

New Mexico Fiber Arts Trails

Last night the mail brought me a wonderful brochure from a cousin in New Mexico: "New Mexico Fiber Arts Trails." It's a compilation of fiber related destinations all over the state. I looked today and there's a website so you can enjoy it too:
After this very gray and rainy week, I must say that sunny New Mexico really sounds delightful.

I've been thinking a lot about the take it further challenge and have come up with a layout for the bottom layer. I hope to get some time to paint this weekend. I have red, royal and navy cotton and plan to stamp the squares in gold and perhaps paintsticks. I also have some gold leaf to try, gold embossing powder, dryer sheets and a sheet of lutradur. I'm really looking forward to the weekend.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

holiday gifts

My friend Jenny always sends the very best presents. This year for Christmas she gave me a needlpoint pincushion kit. Not a stitcher herself, she nonetheless finds unique designs made by small designers that are always great fun.
Here is the kit cover, the colors and my beginning row and the designer information. This kit is for charted needlepoint and is very complete with all of the threads, canvas and a lovely coordinating backing fabric.

Jenny also sent an incredible book. It is in two languages and I don't know what they are other than Eastern European (one is cyrillic and the other roman letters). The range of topic is amazing--embroidery, sewing (with patterns), knitting, weaving...anything to do with textiles is included. If anyone can identify the languages, I would be most apprecitative. Even without the text, the pictures and charts are quite complete and detailed... Here are the covers and some of the pages from this book. I've never quite seen anything like it and am finding all sorts of inspiration. I hope you do too.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Take It Further

I still feel I'm really foundering with this. I have included a couple of pages from my journal showing the binding I plan to use and some fabrics I found in my stash.

I'm not sure how I want to put the pieces together. Or even what pieces to use!

I would like to keep this project as stash-based as possible but I'm already thinking I need to get Misty Fuse (I thought I had some but I can't find it so it most likely was just wishful thinking) and some printer ready sheer fabric.
I spent a lot of the weekend going through and discarding old magazines. I'd pull an article out here and there but mostly they're heading for recycling. They're starting to get musty in the basement. Magazines are my vice and every once and a while the piles get out of control. I go through each one first and reminisce.
I also worked along on mom's needlepoint sampler. The bands are large. Band 10, the one I'm on now, has five rows so I'm trying to do a row a day but last night I did more ripping than stitching.
On Saturday we went to an exhibit of folk or "outsider" art at the Lubeznik Center in Michigan City, Indiana. If you're in the Chicago/NW Indiana or Michigan areas, I recommend this museum. They have some really interesting shows. (they're also free.) They have classes, too, but are a bit far for us to have participated.

Sunday we went antiquing. We used to do this almost every weekend but now it's a rare excursion. This photo shows two of three butterflies on a brightly colored circular table cover I found. It's stitched with "Art Silk" (rayon) from probably the 30s.

These are two hanger covers. I am always happy to find them because I use them in my closet to protect fragile clothing or things I don't wear too often. I love the embroidery on them.

I also found these two charming pictures of young boys, one in a kilt! I keep looking at Pat Winter's recent dolls and thinking I would like to use some of my photographs for something like that.

Friday, January 4, 2008


I just got back from a brisk walk across campus. The library had the book about Phoebe Anna Traquair and I walked over to get it rather than have a page bring it to me. The sidewalks are still slushy and the wind's pretty chill, but it was a nice walk. My sister-in-law works at the main library so I got to pop in and say "hey!" I've only had a chance to flip through the book but it looks quite interesting.

On the way back I saw a delightful sight. For several years now I've seen a Chinese grandmother out walking with her two grandchildren. Today the little boy was learning how to use one of those razor scooters--he had a bit of trouble keeping it on track but was doing quite well. To my amazement, the little girl was strolling along on home-made stilts, maybe a foot high. I told her I was most impressed, and I am. (Pretty soon she'll be cleaning the top of the curtains like Sharon B's daughter did recently--

I didn't stitch at all last night, but I did think a lot about the Take It Further challenge. I've been fascinated by the journal quilts shown each year at the International Quilt Festival. Here are a couple of links to past journal quilts:,,, and the book (which is wonderful) So I'm going to do a small "quilt" each month.

I've long had an interest in the Fibonacci series and the Golden Rectangle. and are two good sites. My golden rectangle will be 17mm by 27.5mm (it was easier to come up with round numbers on a ruler using metrics rather than inches this time). That's just about 6-1/2" by 10-3/4". I took 17mm and multiplied it by tau (1.61803398875) to get the second dimension. (I love playing with geometry.)

I also figured out a binding method that I don't recall seeing elsewhere (but I wouldn't be surprised if I have--I've looked at a lot of books on cloth books and book binding over the years). Each page with have loops along the spine edge. The loops will interlink and the cover will have buttons to hold the loops of the first page and end the chain. I've been doing a lot of knitting and crochet lately and I think that's where this came form. I'll make a sketch and scan it this weekend--it may be more clear than words.

So I have a form, a size and and idea for finishing.

Then I focused on my sister, mostly listing down words that came to me. What is intriguing me is that I see very definite colors for her: bright red (going toward blue not scarlet), royal blue, navy blue, a bluish turquoise, hot pink. These colors have really been haunting me the last 24 hours! I can't wait for the weekend and time to pick out floss and fabric!

My word lists so far:
  • focused, organized, disciplined, lists, reliable, classic, worker, religious
  • music, singing, Harley motorcycles, nursing, community service
  • mom, wife, nurse, sister, daughter, church member
I also took a photo of her from the summer and made it into a black and white graphic. My thought right now is to print it onto something clear or sheer and place it over other things (pretty vague so far).

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Take It Further and word for the year

This is going to be a wordy's how I tend to design.

January 2, 2008: I just looked up the first Take It Further challenge: "The key concept for January is a feeling we have all had, the feeling of admiration for another. Ask yourself who do you look up to and admire? Why? What is it you admire about them?"
Right off the bat, my thought was my grandmother, my mom’s mother. But did I really know her enough to really admire her? Mostly I see her through my mother’s eyes.
A second thought is a person I work with who gave me a wonderful treasure trove of his ties a year ago and they would be fun to work with again. I admire many things about him. But then this just a "handy materials" driven concept?
I think this is going to take a little more thought...who do I admire and why?

As usual, my first step is to visit a dictionary:

ad·mire verb
Etymology: Middle French admirer, to marvel at, from Latin admirari, from ad- + mirari to wonder, from mirus astonishing 1560 transitive verb
1 : to regard with admiration
2 archaic : to marvel at
intransitive verb, dialect : to like very much synonym see REGARD

ad·mi·ra·tion noun 15th century
1 archaic : WONDER
2 : an object of esteem
3 : delighted or astonished approbation

ap·pro·ba·tion noun 14th century
1 obsolete : PROOF
2 a : an act of approving formally or officially b : COMMENDATION, PRAISE

This puts a bit of different light on it. Marvel. Wonder. Astonish. Esteem. It’s the astonishment bit that I’m finding intriguing.

January 3: This all has been swirling around. Just after I wrote the above, I got up and left my desk and walked about and it popped into my head that the person I really admire and who continually astonishes me is my sister. We’ve spent a lot of time together this year, working on her daughter’s wedding and I’m continually amazed by her poise, organization, focus, just goes on and on. So, Kim it is.

Which led me to a new dilemma. With all the wedding plans and holidays, I pretty much ignored thinking about this challenge. So my next step is to do some backpedaling and think about form. Do I want a consistent object from each challenge, such a as journal quilt page? Do I want to do something totally different each month? And media. Embroidery? Crazy Quilting? Collage? Beading? I feel the need to make some decisions and become a bit more focused.

Which leads me to my “word” for the year. The Fiber & Stitch Yahoo group has been discussing selecting a word for the coming year, instead of or in addition to a resolution. I have selected FOCUS. I’ve been feeling more and more scattered and unfocused and want to concentrate on becoming more focused on what I’m doing at the time and focusing each project I do, too, on some long term goals (like stash reduction, trying new things).

So for now I’m concentrating on what I want to learn from this year’s Take It Further challenge and what to focus on here.

What I focused on last night was the needlepoint sampler. I completed the basketweave band and realized that I kept working later than I should have just so I could type those words here. I don't often stitch on weeknights for lack of time and energy. So just having this blog is providing it's own bit of motivation (and focus, let's not forget focus!)

Addendum: I just realized that paying attention to focus should also help my abysmal photography!

I dug further into mom's notes on her needlepoint sampler and found a date and more information. She began it in September 1995 with the EGA chapter, Fox Valley Illinois. The Canvaswork Band Sampler was designed by Carol Harrison. And the perle is #3 and #5 (not 5 and 8 like I'd thought). It's white wool, which is actually an off-white color, with the ecru perle. Ms Harrison suggests: "If you choose an overall white effect, do not use white perle coton. White perle coton is a much starker white than any brand of wool can match. It will make your wool look dirty. However, if you use ecru perle cotton with the white wool, the perle coton will look white and make the white yarn sparkle." (the emphasis is my mom's)

The sampler has eleven bands total, so I have two to go. It also has instructions for a twisted chain and continental edging to aid in finishing. (The instructions don't specify whether it was to be framed or made up as a pillow or something else altogether.) Mom began the sampler way over to one edge so I'm not sure if I'll have space for the edging rows, but I'd like to try that twisted chain...

Wednesday, January 2, 2008


Happy New Year! The wedding came off without a hitch on Saturday. I don't have any photos yet...mine were too blurry for use. I think it was because the church was too dark and I didn't have a tripod for steadiness. We all had a great deal of fun and it was a very happy day.
Thanks to everyone for the positive comments about the pillow. In the end they decided to let the best man hold onto the rings. I'm not sure if they were worried about the ring bearer relinquishing the rings or about the cord holding them securely. Since the pillow was waved about at every angle, including upside down, during its trip down the aisle, I can understand their concern.

My holiday's over and now it's back to reality and in Chicago that means snow and cold.

A friend gave me a couple of bookmarks from Scotland, featuring embroideries, as a holiday gift. One was a design by Phoebe Anna Traquair, an artist new to me. She was part of the Scottish arts & crafts movement. Some searching over the past few days turned up this lovely site featuring her illustrated edition of the Sonnets from the Portuguese. There's also a book about her that I hope to get from the library: Phoebe Anne Traquair 1852-1936, by Elizabeth Cumming (National Galleries of Scotland, 2005).
I received a couple of other lovely holiday gifts that I plan to feature in future entries--a lovely needlepoint kit and an incredible book from 1955.

I've decided for now to work on some unfinished projects for now. I certainly have plenty laying around. This is a large needlepoint sampler begun by my mom. It looks like it was a project with one of the embroidery guilds she belonged to. I don't know when she began it. It was very saggily tacked onto stretcher bars and came to me with a folder of instructions and a bag of wool and perle cotton. It's worked entirely in ecru Persian wool and DMC Perle 8 and 5 in ecru on 14 count white mono canvas.
I did a bit on it right after mom died, but most of what's here was done by my mother. I did the diamond band at the bottom and started the basket weave band below it over the weekend. There are three or four more bands to follow. Its very peaceful and mindless, which is nice right now.