Friday, October 29, 2010

Fall days

When we were at Cantigny two weeks ago the rose gardens were in full bloom. It was amazing.I won't be taking walks like that for a while. The final diagnosis of my hip is a hairline fracture in the top of the femur (trochanter for those in the know). I'll be using these guys for the next six weeks.So, I'm going to stitch and read and browse in my pictures. More from Cantigny--their gardens were wonderful.

At Cantigny they nurtured their mums so they formed perfect mounds.We really liked this golden plant--I think it would be great in a garden.

It is definitely fall here now. We had two days of wild winds and many of the trees are bare now. (Our dead elm lost all of it's bark and now it's shivering naked in the chilly air!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Before disaster struck, we spent a lovely autumn weekend with the car club at the homes of a collector. Homes is right--one is just for the cars!This is outside of the "real" home. I love bulging the chimney. Car's nice, too. The garages are to the right. I have to admit I don't know what most of these are. I did notice nearly all have current plates and are driven regularly.This is the inside of the swoopy car below. I believe this is a rare reproduction of an extremely rare car. It's really cool.It's an amazing place to just wander around.This the scene in the drive. The owner put little explanatory notes in the windows with stories about the cars. (He does this every year and I probably wrote about last year's event, too.) This is a Facel Vega. Rare. At least I've never seen them anywhere else.This last is me taking pix of the cars inside the second home. Yep, two cars in the living room. Lots of food in the kitchen. A room all about sailing (owns a boat, too), a room of maps, the football game was on. Fun was had by all.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Klutzy Autumn

My klutzy autumn continues. (My toe is still many shades of blue/black.) I slipped and in trying not to do the splits, tore my groin muscle. It's a bit achy but not what I'd call painful. But it appears to have destabilized my artificial hip and the last Wednesday morning something went "pop" and I couldn't move. At all. I'm up and moving again, with help. Hubby has been absolutely wonderful. That's why I was silent last week--I was at home in bed wrapped in ice. I see an orthopedic doc later this week. Preliminary x-rays look okay. We think it's just unhappy muscles and tendons, but anything with my hip pushes all of my panic buttons so I'm being careful.So, I've been busy, since sitting is about all I can do, unless I'm laying about. I made this on my mari. The paper core is not nearly as nice as the rice hulls--the needle and, more important, pins can't penetrate it. But I learned more stitching this one. Both ends are the same.I finished two more kissing pillows and have a fourth underway.Before I fell, I got this block for Deep River County Park pressed and blocked. I'm not thrilled with the green I selected, but otherwise I'm happy. I have a second one cut out but I think I need to find a different green.I had this preprinted ornament panel from Jo-Ann's so I stitched them up.This felt ornament completes the batch of eight that I cut out and began in June. I have more felt and thread but don't know if I'm up to doing more.

I worked on many other things, too, but wasn't up to getting pictures yet. Satin stitch leaves in many shades of green on an old stamped pillowcase for a garden border. I picked up the crewel needlebook that had been languishing in my pile. I designed and stitched four ornament samples for next month's class at the YMCA--I also cut out sequin waste to use to decorate them and I cut out felt shapes for backgrounds. Busy hands help the time pass.

Monday, October 18, 2010

cool stitched stuff

Before I post more photos of more cars (yep, another car show this weekend), I thought I'd post some really cool needlework. Mostly not by me. This is my sister-in-law, wearing a sweater she knit over a lacy top she knit (her show-n-tell is mostly wearable) holding a sashiko pillow by our niece. three at once.This is a runner my sister made. I adore the bright colors.Here are a couple of close ups.My sister also made this cute veggie tales quilt.
On Friday night I made this mari. Step one for a temari ball. The center is shredded paper from my office shredder. In a knee-high nylon with a run. It's bigger than I intended but I made some choices I'll make differently next time. I began with black wool, then some thinner navy wool yarn. That was fine. I topped it with random thread--mostly in peaches and greens. Very pretty on the blue wool but, hmmm, when I went to wrap the white top layer, I began to see the error of my choices. I ended up using two spools of white thread for the top layer, just to cover up all of those dark colors. I've learned.

Now I need to decide what to do with my big fat mari. I spent some time browsing in my book thinking about what I like and why I like it.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Kissing Pillows

One least a few more to go...

Since I monitor outreach for the Great Lakes Region, I've been hearing about Kissing Pillows lately from other chapters. The concept began with the Yellow Rose EGA chapter in Texas and spread. My EGA chapter, Needle Artisans of Northwest Indiana (NANI), was asked to participate by a member who learned about the project through Chicago ANG (American Needlepoint Guild). The text at the bottom is from the Yellow Rose Chapter outreach page.

The offshoot project NANI is participating in plans to provide 1100 pillows for the Navy helicopter squadron of the brother of a local Chicago ANG member. The squadron will be deploying in early 2011. They use 14 count aida, three colors of floss, and about two-hours of stitching time. If you would like to participate in this project, e-mail me.

Soldier Family Pillows

In 2005, wanting to show our appreciation for the sacrifices made by military personnel, Yellow Rose members began hand-stitching small 4” X 4” patriotic pillows designed to be used as a keepsake for the children and loved ones left behind by the soldiers departing for service of the U.S. ... Each pillow is presented in a plastic bag with a note explaining the purpose of the tiny pillow and expressing our gratitude for their service. The soldier kisses the pillow and gives one to each of his/her loved ones to hold onto until he/she returns from war. When we began this project, we initially thought only about the children, but the wives and sweethearts requested them too, and then, the soldiers wanted one with everyone’s kisses on it to take with him/her off to war.

The response has been overwhelming. A very special project that we hoped would express our gratitude for the sacrifices of our servicemen and women has more than filled our expectations and has mushroomed into something that touches the hearts of everyone.

In the fall of 2006, Yellow Rose began offering the project to all Embroiderers’ Guild of America chapters. In November 2006, the project was offered to chapters of the American Needlepoint Guild. The goal was to have needlework chapters stitching for military units across the United States. ... For more information or to participate, please contact Yellow Rose.

Girlz Day Out!

And high time, too--it's been ages and ages!The day was not too cool, but not quite warm either. The morning was cloudy and we worried a bit, but decided the sun would come out after lunch. It did.We met at my sister's and sat at the kitchen table and chatted and showed and told what we've been working on and then we went to Cantigny for lunch and a garden walk. This is Le Jardin restaurant in the park.

Cantigny was the estate of Robert R. McCormick, editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune. It includes his home and estates. There are two musems, on about McCormick and one focusing on WWI and the First Divison (with a tank "garden"), which we did not look at this trip. We needed to be outside.

This is the view from our lunch table--this is the starting edge of the gardens.
There are a number of gardens to stroll through, including a inspiring "idea garden." I was astounded to see the rose garden still in bloom. The photo at the top of this posting is a distance shot of the rock garden.

I took several photos. I've decided to space them out and share them over the next week. It was so nice to see all of the blooming plants and colors. I know this lovely weather can't hold out forever and the trees here are already loosing their leaves. (I hope it does a bit longer--my bruised toe is much happier in open sandals than in shoes. It rarely hurts but I'm generally aware of it and it bleeds a bit in shoes.)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Over the last two months at Needle Artisans, World Embroideries has been teaching us a simple temari design. She made all the mari, we just got to do the fun stuff.This is my first side. It's what I understood from the class.For side two I decided to switch the colors. And I also decided to look through the book on Temari I have. Hmmm, the instructions looked different so I tried it. The result is very different. The stitches are exactly the same, there's only a slight change in where they are placed (inside or outside the previous row). Here's my obi. My marking thread shows through but not regularly. I wasn't sure which way to go with it (try and make it show all around or try to bury it, so I just left it.

It was really fun and I got a tad obsessive about seeing what how the next row looked. I also found it very hard on both of my hands and I ached.

But I already want to redo this using the things I've learned. She said you could use shredded paper for the center of the mari. I have lots of shredded paper....

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Hot weekend!

It was unseasonably warm here last weekend--perfect for the last-of-the-season car shows. There were two. (there is needlework content at the bottom)I always find neat things to look at. This hood ornament is from a "doctor's sedan" from the 30s. It had gorgeous woven trim on the insides of the doors and the sweetest little pom-pom tassels on the window shades. Sadly my photo was a bust--the camera focused on the window and not what was just beyond it. The tassel had a typical wooden-frame covered with wrapped and stitched cording, but instead of a long tassel, it ended in a fuzzy silk pom-pom.This is hubby and a friend, chatting.The show was only a couple of miles from home and it was a nice size for me--maybe 50 cars. They were coming and going all day so it was hard to count.I love the texture of the finish on that doctor's sedan (a type of car--largish and enclosed with fold up seats to make it convenient for a doctor to use). It is a "survivor"--it's original, never restored, just maintained.The second show was less to my taste. I tried to get an overview photo but I'm not tall enough to show the scope of the place. They had over 1,100 cars to be judged and that's not to mention the "cars for sale" area or the swap meet area. It was HUGE. It's held every year at Morris, IL, an hours drive. The parking lot is nearby but far enough we waited and took the shuttle bus. It was also very hot (80s) and sunny and, what bothered me most, dusty from constant traffic on gravel roads. It made my head ache. We didn't stay long. We ended up stopping to visit friends who live nearby, which was a nice finish to the outing.The car shows weren't all day and I got some things completed. I also got some "at home" time to catch up with laundry and chores a bit after being gone too much lately. It feels good.

Back when I felted the little "nuts" for the acorn necklaces, I also felted this big nut (it's about an inch-and-a-half to two inches long). I had a plan but then I couldn't find the bright blue wool remnant I knew was right there. I found it in my cleaning Saturday morning, stopped cleaning and sat down and made the detached buttonhole cap. It was nice but a bit dull, so Sunday morning I added the overlay in finer wool (a remnant from the shrug my s-i-l made me for my birthday). Also detached buttonhole. I have no idea what it is. An ornament, I guess.I realized I may not get to my Homewood Guild meeting in November due to a trip coming up. Each year we put on a display at the Irwin Center in Homewood and each member is obligated to contribute. I brought my pieces early to turn in so I wouldn't forget. I needed three ornaments. The two below were nearly done so I got them finished.I finished sewing the backing onto the ornament below just about ten minutes before leaving for the meeting.

Friday, October 8, 2010


Last weekend was stormy and very gray. As I was in the midst of fixing dinner, I realized we were out of celery. I turned off the stove, grabbed my coat and stomped out to get some. As I got out of the car after my errand, I looked up and saw the most wonderful rainbow. The sky was very dark and looming and the rainbow luminescent and very bright. It was a complete rainbow with part of a second arc just beyond. It was raining pretty good so I didn't get the camera out to take a picture. I did drag hubby out of the house to look at it. It lasted a long time.

On Tuesday before my EGA chapter meeting, friends and I were having our usual dinner at our usual Chinese place. Now, I live in Cook County, Illinois--a place that is virtually smoke free and I'm very happy about it. I react badly to smoke of all types--wheezing and headaches and even migraines. I also live on the border of Indiana, which is the land of cheap cigarettes (well, cheaper) and smoking. My usual tactic is to simply remove myself from places where there is smoking. These days smokers can be very defensive and belligerent if confronted. (As much as I dislike smoking and being around it, I can also understand how hard it can be to be constantly vilified for doing something you consider your right.)

So, we're in a restaurant in Indiana and a diner at a nearby table lights up. It's a very small place. I quietly tell my friends I'm going to get my dinner to go (we hadn't ordered yet). After we placed our orders, I got up to stand at the other end of the room, near the carry-out pick-up window. The owner was there and he noticed me and asked if anything was wrong. I explained, I thought quietly, that I couldn't be around the smoke and was going to take my order as a carryout.

Much to my surprise (and a little embarrassment) the woman who was smoking put her cigarette out and came up to me and told me to sit back down. She said that I was out with my friends and needed to enjoy my evening and she could certainly do without a cigarette. I was flabbergasted.

So I did. I had a nice dinner with my friends. The smoker and her husband had a nice dinner. We all made sure to thank them for their kindness. She repeated that friends are special and it was right that I should have my nice dinner out with them.

Even now, a few days later, I'm amazed and so very pleased by this one woman's thoughtful action. I was still very touched after the meeting and came home and told my husband. He was also quite touched. So now I'm telling you.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

More Japanese Embroidery

We've had some lovely weather here the past two days and I'm back taking my morning walks. This late in the year I'm out just after dawn. Many years ago we watched our neighbors plant a little twig of a maple to replace a large tree that had died. This tree, which is directly across from our house, just glows with red in the fall. (and has from that first year when it had, maybe, five leaves!)Not many flowers are still blooming, but this plant is chugging along. For my birthday party, my sister got some small potted plants as decorations. I took this one home and put it in a large pot in front of our house. It did not like the heat in August and September, but is loving our recent cooler weather. (This looks bright because the flash went off--the tree reflects more of how the light was this morning.) I think they're very sweet and it's so nice to see the color in the mornings.You have to look closely to see any progress but I made a lot today at our usual monthly meeting. I made all of the Japanese knots on the second Valerian and on all of the mums. Those elements are now complete!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Japanese Embroidery

Our teacher took this photo of our class, ready to stitch. I think this was the last day of class last week. We met in the lovely apartment belonging to the mom of one of our class--mom was on vacation.Here's where I was last July, the last chance I'd had to work on this.I had the piece rotated differently on my stand this time so it's hard to compare. This was taken on Thursday morning, before stitching. I did the second Valerian, finished the pink, stitched some leaves and stems.And this was taken Thursday at the end of class. I took out the partially done gold overlay on the brown paper holding the flowers (it drove me nuts, it was so "off") and I also removed the first three petals of the orange carnation. I then completely stitched the orange carnation. Getting that done opens up whole new areas where I can now stitch. (Japanese embroidery is stitched foreground first, then background.) I have a lot I can do now and, sometimes, the confidence that I can. I just need to settle down and do it.

All of these photos were taken of the same piece in natural lighting. It's amazing to me how the lighting varies. The bottom one is truest to color, I think.

I'm thinking about Phase II.