Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Chain Maille

Last Saturday I took a Homewood Guild workshop to make a "Shaggy Loops Bracelet" and matching earrings. The design is by Deanna Kittrell and the class was taught by guild member Karen H. and her friend (whose name I cannot remember today). It was a great class, held in Karen's lovely home.
I was pretty burnt out from a long week, but one nice thing about a class with long-time friends. I felt free to stop working when I became too tired, and I sat and looked at the many examples the teachers had set out and browse through the books they set out for us. 
Some people finished their bracelets and earrings in class. I quickly finished mine up Sunday morning (after hitting the hay early on Saturday and sleeping 12 hours! I really was tired.) 

The bracelet uses silver jump rings, triangle beads and rubber o rings.

We made a wonderful pot luck salad with greens and every conceivable topping. Of course there were yummy desserts, too. I've been trying not to do too many classes--this one sold me because of the "you'll have it finished before you leave" promise. I forgot how much I really enjoy these gatherings.
This lovely lady is visiting me for a redo. She's a pincushion half doll, probably from the 1920s, that a friend sent me to renew.  Over the next few weeks I plan to clean her up, take her apart, remake her with a pretty new skirt. Interestingly, her stuffing is wood chips! I'm looking for the perfect color silk for her skirt. I can see it in my mind... now I have to find it.   I just think she's sweet. 

Sunday, April 21, 2013


I think Spring is really here. It's somewhat hard to tell. The snow no longer is sticking and flowers are coming up.  Scilla's out and Daffodils are starting to bloom in the neighborhood.

We made our annual spring visit to Bailey Homestead in Indiana today. The paths were damp but good--signs of the torrential rains abounded but walking was okay and the water was back down in many places (it drains off fast in sand).
 It's hard to take photos of the tiny little flowers that come up early. Each year they're all there, but the quantity and location of each changes.  We were early for the season, today, but the first flowers, Spring Beauties, were not in their usual abundance.  Instead, we found many more than usual Trilliums coming up (below).
May Apples were already out (below)--but Trout Lilies were just starting to flower. Many new trees were down, opening up the forest area but also providing loads of sheltered and rich areas for the early spring flowers to thrive in.
Our walks at Bailey are more than just getting out into the woods. We really work to slow down, focus and see.  Once our eyes became attuned, we saw that the Trout Lilies were starting to bloom and that there were indeed Spring Beauties, Toothwort, Bloodwort, and tiny little insects pollinating them (including one very tiny delightful bright blue butterfly or moth).  We spotted two of Mrs. Bailey's remaining Hyacinths blooming. They are pretty tiny now.  We saw deer prints in the mud and heard and saw a variety of birds. We find this conscious slowing down to really look and to really listen makes us feel good and can stay with us for several days.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Odds and ends and back to stitching

I received another box of goodies from my friend. Lovely laces and silk scarves and a lady in distress (a half-doll pincushion I will reskirt). Here are two items from the box (which also included some lovely chocolate and a charming tin-litho Easter egg that would not photograph today--too reflective).
The triangle is a beaded applique, rather fragile.
I'm finding the purse handle particularly inspiring right now. Not quite sure why.
I finally began the crewel piece on blue felt. I had completed basting the design lines a while ago, had the threads and just couldn't get it going. (the colors here aren't quite right--too light--it's all much darker) I've never worked on such a dark ground before and it needs a certain level of energy to stitch because while I have a color map, I'm adjusting all the colors as I go. I wasn't sure how the coverage would be on this dark ground, and I think I'll need to use a felt underlayer for white or pale yellow, but so far I really like it.
I recently ordered these hand printed fabrics from Mabon Arts. The Little Deer project was in a recent issue of Stitch. I kept going back to it--I really like it--so I decided to make it up. Now I'm on the hunt for fine red gingham and a couple of other fabrics. 

 I have some other things in the works. I'm still plugging away on the London quilt--I'm nearly done with the hexagon pieced ground. I've chosen fabric to add on each side and laid it all out last weekend to determine how wide the side borders will be. 

I'm going to make a ring-bearer pillow for a friend's wedding. Crewel strawberries. I have a size and draft design that needs some tweeking--now I'm looking for ground fabric. I'd like a pastel yellow or green wool (not felt) for the ground. If not wool, perhaps a heavy linen. Time for a trip to a fabric store!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Family Fun

My niece and her husband came in for a visit last weekend and we went up to my sister's to join in the fun.  We had a chili feast. After my sister and niece tried a new cookie recipe. (Pretty yummy!)
Then we headed up to use the bedroom floor as a space to work on my niece's quilt.
She carefully laid out and smoothed the backing, then spread on the batting, and then laid the pieced quilt to on top of the sandwich.
Next came pin basting to hold it all together for quilting.
I learned a lot because I've never done this with a piece larger than about 18". The bedroom carpet was ideal for this.
This is one of my sister's quilts, hanging on her wall.It's really striking over their bed.
It was really nice to see everyone--our visit last month was cancelled because we were sick.  I brought some of my projects for show-n-tell and also to lay out on their big kitchen table.

Sunday, April 14, 2013


What a difference a week makes! I took the photo below last Sunday...
and the one below here today.
Last week our colds were endlessly dragging on and we had endless days of chill rain.
Today the sun came out and it was warm (nearly 70) and lovely. There were birds chirping everywhere and kids out playing.
I can't claim these daffodils--they're a neighbors.
There's not much up for the birds and insects to feast on yet, but some of last year's leftovers are helping out. We encourage milkweed in our yard because butterflies like it.
More flowers in our neighbor's yard.
The evergreens by our front door get little balls this time of the year--I'm guessing their version of spring flowers.
And our peonies and coming up.  Rain and chill are supposed to return tomorrow (it snowed a bit yesterday, not enough to stick, but sufficient for us to say enough already!).  Hopefully our energy will begin to return soon, too.