Friday, March 25, 2011

Dreaming of the desert

So here's a sneak peek of the "fantasy" themed landscape quilt I hope to finish this weekend. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


When the sun came out over the weekend, we took the kids to Point Defiance Park for a bit of serendipity.  We ended up at the beach, where they joined with a dozen other kids in some engineering, making a canal that lead from a culvert outfall to the shoreline.  We ended up in the forest, looking at the Rhodedendrons that aren't yet blooming.  But most eventfully, we ended up at Fort Nisqually, a recreation of an early Hudson's Bay Company settlement in the area as it may have looked in 1855.  I hadn't been there in years, and it seemed like whenever we went by they were closed.  Not this time!

It was a great opportunity to give the boy the map of the fort and let him lead the way. 

He led us to the storehouses and blacksmith.

He led us past old tools and wagon wheels.

He led us up into the fort bastions, where we could looked out the defensive window slits to the sound below.

He led us to the kid's games area, where little sis tried her hand at some lacing cards.

And he led us to the Factor's House, which was the residence of the Fort's leader and his family.

I was the only one who cared about the samplers on the walls in there, though.

And of course we had to circle back around to the kid's games area.  The biggest kid (Daddy) loved the giant, heavy top.

What do you think-  are we dreaming?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Signs of spring

I think spring is almost here.  Our plum tree is starting to bloom. 

I found a little Narcissus in the lawn.

And yesterday, the most wonderful sight:

Our shadows!

Time to rotate in the springy stitchy finishes to the walls.

Finish: Chatelaine Designs' Mini Mandala V

Friday, March 18, 2011

New Dovo and Kai scissors reviewed

I bought these a few weeks ago now, but looking through my photos I realized I forgot to post them!  I went to the big sewing expo over my birthday weekend and I found these:

Gorgeous, right?  They are super-pretty 5" Deco-style Dovos.  The show special made them a steal compared to many Dovos.  The ladies at the booth I bought them from said they were being discontinued, but it became pretty obvious pretty fast that I know more about the brand than they did when they asked me what all the different kinds are used for.  Hmm.  Anyway I've already tried these out to cut some small applique pieces for a landscape quilt I'm working on and they give a wonderful swooshy snip.

Also, these blunt-end Kai embroidery scissors. 

I've posted about the almost surgically sharp blade of their standard embroidery scissors.  They are fantastically sharp, so much so I'm almost afraid to use them, especially with the kids around, so I was pleased to see their blunt nose model. 

The standard super-sharp Kai embroidery blades are on the left, and the blunt is on the right.  They are lightweight, inexpensive (under $15) and came with a free lanyard as the show special, so I think these are going to be my new go-to travel scissors. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Patterns in Pendleton

There were not so many posts last week, largely because I was traveling.  Work sent me to northeast Oregon again, this time to look at some great old turn-of-the century theater buildings.   It was very dark and difficult to take pictures inside, the theater in one of the buildings was basically frozen in time, sealed off from the more modern users of the buildings (most recently a Domino's Pizza, of all things).  Even the old theater chandelier was still in place, dusty and in need of renovation, but very cool in spite of it.

Anyway, my flights left from the airport in Pendleton, which gave me a little time to poke around downtown and go to the old woolen mill.  Pendleton is an interesting little city with a lot of history, famous for it's rodeo and woolen blankets, and a lot of modern details to enhance the history.  I noticed that the concrete of the sidewalks downtown was made to look like old wooden boards.

Some of the buildings have been pretty well preserved. I mean, if it weren't for the stoplights and late-model cars, this old western wear store looks just like it could have in 1895.

And of course I had to stop in at the Pendleton Woolen Mills factory.  Pendleton Woolen Mills has an intersting history-- it became famous for "Indian Pattern" blankets in the early 1900s, using patterns created by a white artist with a love of native art.  The blankets were adopted by many members of the nearby Nez Pierce tribe, and then through clever marketing, the company has been going strong ever since.  I have always loved the bold patterns on their blankets, and I have one hanging in our living room.  I managed not to buy anything this time except a key ring and a reprint of a 1915 catalog. 

Sadly, I didn't have time to take the factory tour, but a portion of the factory is visible through a window at the back of the store.   Look at all the giant spools of wool yarn!  Again, sadly, they don't sell samples of the yarn.  How cool would that be?

Even so the factory store is pretty fun to browse through.  Hundreds of gorgeous blankets, and even a little museum of antique blankets and other native artifacts. 

I *almost* left with this pillow. 

Maybe I should go back?  But that would mean another set of flights in tiny 9-passenger airplaine...the last one had a very exciting landing during a windstorm back to Seattle.  I will say though that the Pendleton Airport parking lot is the prettiest airport parking lot I have ever seen.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

How to get more color in your life.

For reference, when left to my own devices, these are the kinds of fabrics I tend to pick for my stash:

And these are the ones the kids picked out for birthday presents to me:

I need to find a way to use more stripes!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Eskimimi's fossils

I have been out of town a few days (more on this later) but I was so pleased to come back and see eskimimi's versions of my trilobite freebies!  Well done! 

Monday, March 7, 2011

And the winner is...

Random number generator says:

Comment #8.....Antaresia!  Lucky girl! 

Thank you all who entered and I encourage you to try your hand at something out-of-the-box.  Or, to stay in the box, if that's your pleasure.  Or stitch the box itself....just go enjoy making *something* and have a great day!    

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Weekend thoughts

First: I'm going to pick a winner of the giveaway on Monday, so if you are interested, enter soon!

I have only a few minutes to post, because the SUN came OUT!  Wonders never cease. So we are planning an expedition out and around the sound today.  I plan to use my camera a lot today, because dear husband got me Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 for my birthday so I am excited to learn how to use it and turn my fair-to-good photos into good-to-great.  I've played with it only briefly so far, there is really a lot to learn to use it properly, but I like what I have been able to do already.



What a subtle but wonderful difference, huh?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

And I'll stitch if I want to

It's my birthday!  Alas it is a lame-o Thursday.  Oh well.  How old am I?  Not so old, but old enough that I better stop saying I'm 29.  I will say that the year of my birth, this song was a huge hit in the USA:

Also in that year, the "Star Wars" movie phenomenon began (my kids now love it too) and according to Wikipedia, other notable events from this year included the catch of a 44-lb lobster in Nova Scotia (four feet long!), the sale of the first Apple II computers, and Fonzie jumped the shark on Happy Days.

So *shhh, don't tell* I am going to work from home today and do only the minimal amount of work I can get away with, and spend the rest of the time stitching and dreaming of summer travel.  Want to see my birthday gift to myself?

Cute little scalloped gold-handle Dovo scissors and an adorable magnetic mouse needle keeper that looks like the little mouse friends in The Tailor of Gloucester.  Both were on sale from the Silver Needle Superbowl sale!  Score!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Moss is taking over

So I think I'm done with making these for a while.  I still need to finish mounting them, but there turned out to be five.  In the meantime, you get to see this one because I love the tiny brown seed beads:

And this one, because it is DH's favorite:

Here's hoping for better lighting when they are all ready for their close-ups!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Blog-o-versary GIVEAWAY!

So as of today, March 1, this blog is six months old!  Oh the time flies. 

A couple weeks ago rooting through my books I realized I have two copies of A Complete Guide to Creative Embroidery: Designs * Textures * Stitches by Jan Beaney & Jean Littlejohn. I guess I liked it so much I bought it twice.

This is a great book, filled with inspiring photographs and unique techniques.  I will say, this is not a "project book" and if you are looking for a book of specific patterns, this is not the book you want.  However, if you are interested in learning how to approach designing your own creative embroideries, and get some ideas for techniques you might try in addition to hand embroidery, this is a fantastic choice. 

It is really two books in one.  The first, "Design to Embroider" includes chapters on 'learning to look' and 'exploring ideas', which I found really valuable.  The second, "Stitched Images" includes chapters on techniques that can really enhance hand embroidery, including applique and paint, and my favorite chapter, 'stitch themes' which talks about incorporating various techniques to achieve different effects. 

So, obviously, what a great choice for my first giveaway!  In addition to a very good condition copy of this book, the winner will also get 5 skeins of DMC "Color Variations" floss in a few of my favorite colors, which you can see below, and a small vial of various beads (includes seed beads, swarovski crystals, and stone chips) from my own collection in complementary colors:

So this giveaway is open to any readers who have a hankering to try your own stitchy experiments and give creative, freestyle embroidery a try.  I will by no means call myself an expert on this stuff, but education and reading books like this one really took away the fear for me and helped me realize "it's just thread" and there is no reason I can't try to make my own art in this medium. 

How to enter?  Just leave a comment to this post.  I'll announce the winner in a week, March 7, so come back here then to see who's name was pulled out of the hat.  Feel free to publicize this giveaway on your own blog or forum-of-choice, and just for fun, name your favorite color in the comment.  Green!

UPDATE: A winner was picked on monday.  Thanks to all who entered!