Wednesday, April 27, 2011


When we were at the Washington Park Zoo in Michigan City, IN, last weekend, the peacocks were strutting their stuff. His tail looks lovely here but boy, when he puts on a show! This photo best captures the colors of the plumage. The shape of the tail above reminds me of ladies' skirts from the 1880s.

I can see why embroiderer's have been inspired by peacocks--their colors and their feathers--for centuries. The plumes are HUGE!The zoo also has an albino peacock--he wasn't displaying like the others, but still, he's so elegant!Here is a peacock in action, trying to lure the ladies (they weren't having any of it).Here you can see, from the back the stiff feathers that hold the display. When he got going those would vibrate (causing the fan to vibrate, too) and he'd run forward toward the peahens. They mostly just ignored it, sometimes squawking in alarm.I found it fascinating.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Not there yet

I finally was getting back to doing a little stitching--this bracelet is a project we're teaching at the YMCA--when I woke in the middle of the night with a fever and sore throat. I need to get rid of this once and for all!But, I did finish my bracelet and this past weekend we had a lovely outing, in the rare nice weather on Saturday. We visited the Washington Park Zoo in Michigan City, Indiana, a place I rave about each year.I didn't get a photo of the best part--a large, walk-in cage full of Budgies--and you can feed them so they will land on your hand! It was very fun.They've been working hard on the landscaping at the zoo and it shows.After the zoo, we swung by the dunes for a beach stroll. Way in the background you can see Chicago.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

More Kid Art

Before I got sick, we got a chance to get out to Lubeznik Center for the Arts and see the grade school art on display. These exhibits are my favorites.You can't top it for color, vibrancy and imagination! This show ended yesterday, but their new shows include a quilt artist, Belle Epoque posters and vintage covers from Vogue magazine. (Woman as Artist, Woman as Muse)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Getting better slowly--and invisible chain stitch start

I was hit with a triple whammy--a cold, then bronchitis, and then labrynthitis. The last is when a virus causes nerve damage to the inner-ear nerve that deals with balance. It causes very sudden, very bad vertigo. The first 48 hours are the worst and then things slowly improve. It can take several months for the nerve to heal completely.I finished this spirally tree before the vertigo hit--just after my vacation. I had begun it a while back and enjoyed stitiching it.I began with a stuffed shape and added the random embroidery. Looking at it now, it seems kind of vertigo induced!

When I was stitching it I figured out an invisible way to start chain stitch. (this is all chain stitch in two strands, using two colors of DMC floss on white on white patterned fabric--totally ignoring the fabric pattern for my design.) What you do is use a long doubled strand of floss. Thread the two ends into the needle--this leaves a loop at the other end.

Enter your fabric where you wish the first stitch to begin. Come up one stitch length away, making sure to go through the loop end. This is the first chain stitch. Just continue with regular chain stitches with the doubled thread. The first stitch is only one thread, not two, but I don't think it shows enough to matter on this project. I eneded each thread by running the end into the stuffing, following along under chain stitches already made so the dark thread wouldn't show through the white fabric.

If this doesn't make sense, let me know and I'll make up some simple drawings that will hopefully clarify it.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Spring Cooties

I'm down and out for the count with a virus that I've had for a week now. It keeps changing on me, first I slept. Then I sneezed. Now I cough. Yesterday added a bacterial infection to the mix. I spent the morning doctoring. I'm not stitching. I'm occasionally reading (rereading old Robert Heinlein science fiction from the 40s through the 80s). And I don't have anything fun to say or show for now. I hope to be back next week.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Rainbows and TWO Springs

I'm home, back at work. Busy, busy again. Hubby greeted me at the airport with these flowers.They were most welcome--Chicago looked bleak after sunny and daffodil filled London. But then, I realized I get an unexpected bonus--this year I get to experience TWO SPRINGS! These crocuses bloomed in our back yard this weekend. I got to see London come into bloom and in the next few weeks, I'll experience Chicago's spring. It can't get much better than this!
Your rainbow is intensely shaded violet, green, and yellow.

What is says about you: You are a creative person. You appreciate optimism. You're good at getting people to like you. Those around you admire your fresh outlook and vitality. Find the colors of your rainbow at
I found the link to this rainbow "test" on Lady J Spice's blog.

Latvian Chart Winners

Well, lin and I never expected the interest generated by our giveaway of the Latvian designs she had charted. I'm amazed and very pleased that these lovely traditional designs are still desired. I used to pick six winners (I couldn't stop at just five) from the comments. Please send me your snail-mail addresses and I'll send the charts your way. The winners are 38 Kitty Wench 2 Michelle & Trevor 20 Wagapappa 9 Shari 39 The Universal Whisper 17 Food Girl I have a couple more giveaways in the works from my stash. Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Portobello and Camden

On Saturday I went to Portobello Road. I got there about 8 a.m. and it was nice. By 10 a.m. it was a madhouse!I went to visit a friend in his booth and to browse. I was at the high-end of the street. The other end, I was told, is more "boot sale" like. Loads of amazing jewelry, silver and antique white linens, antique clothing, and lace. There were also food stalls, souvenir stands, and a large vegetable stand.This house was on the way to the market area. George Orwell also lived on this street.One window featuring colorful china. And, this amazing shop had every window covered in rows of antique sewing machines, mostly hand-crank models. It was amazing. I saw another store of this brand in Camden with the same amazing window display. After Portobello, I decided to stay out of central London and away from the strike and march, so I went over to Camden. This was the first store I entered.Then I went to the Stables Market.If you're in my age group and from Chicago, you'll remember Pipers Alley. Well, this is like Piper's Alley on steroids (without the carved candles). The place was jumping, full of interesting fashions, beads, people and incense. Oh, and large brass horse sculptures everywhere.I spent ages wandering up and down the meandering aisles. This market is where I got my henna tattoo.Here's one of the indoor streets in the market. I walked my feet off by the time I got back, but I had loads of fun. Camden also had an outdoor market and loads of shops that looked quite interesting.