Sunday, February 18, 2018

A 5th Birthday Party and Slow Stitching on Sunday

February is moving by in a flash more so because it's been a busy month with birthdays to celebrate and blood work for doctor's appointments that for once came out on a positive side.  Yesterday was my great niece Tessa's 5th birthday party complete with bouncy castle and pony rides. The day was sunny with a nice breeze just perfect for a bunch of 5 year olds to run and bounce around, water bottles were everywhere.
Bouncy castle
Reggie the donkey and Millie pulling cart
The donkey in the background the kids brush and decorate with leis and hats, boas and generally just enjoy petting and talking to him.  After the pony cart rides each of the kids got to ride Grace
Tessa  riding Grace
I waited patiently for her birthday to get here so I could get her a bicycle I was going to get her one for Christmas I wanted to wait I didn't want to overwhelm her at Christmas time. 
My sister mentioned she had recently asked for a new bike as she outgrew the toddler size one she had so I thought it would be the perfect time to get her one.  She has such a hold on my heart my life is so much fuller with her in it.

Another Sunday for some slow stitching, I have been gathering my supplies together for a new project I am going to begin later today, in the meantime I am still stitching a project I started a few months ago. I left off at the bees I worked on the honeycomb and vines last night.
My new project is being made for someone so I can only give a peek at some of the parts but as you
can probably tell it does include some bare tree branches which can take forever to draw and erase and draw again and again before finally tracing it on to my fabric.  This time I used one of the Frixion fine point pens so if I need to make a change I can iron the lines and start again. 

A short time ago a friend requested a special piece to be made into a prayer flag she wants to send her friend I completed the hand embroidery on the Goddess and Hares prayer flag piece last Sunday.
The edges stay unfinished so that it unravels in the breeze, I'll add a small rod pocket on the back or possibly two small grommets at the top for ease of hanging.
I will be posting at Kathy's Quilts today here:  stop on over and check out what other bloggers are slow stitching on this fine Sunday.

My latest check up at the doctors went well my blood work numbers all came back pretty much in my favor, the best improvement was in my A1C test which came back as 5.8 still pre-diabetic but much better than the 6.5 and 6.8 over the past few years.  I have been working diligently to get that number down and my work is paying off, all my cholesterol numbers have improved, my overall number is still higher than I would like so now that is my focus. 

As a heart attack survivor my aim has been to get and keep my numbers all in the normal range which I did well doing up until about 18 months ago when every thing seemed to go sideways.  My main goal for 2018 is to get back my good health and so far what I am doing is working, even my blood pressure is cooperating.  I picked up a cold two weeks ago and just when I thought I was better when boom bronchitis! doctor put me on antibiotic and steroids to fight the worst of it.  My daily walks were interrupted while I was sick last week but now that I am feeling better on the way home from the birthday party I stopped at my favorite park to walk off the birthday cake a fitting end to a perfect sunny Florida day.

Friday, February 16, 2018

February TUSAL Report

With the new moon riding dark in the sky last night and me fighting round two of that nasty winter bug I forgot to post my Orts report yesterday,  I think the antibiotics make me loopy or maybe its just being so tired from coughing. But here they are my February orts, not as many as I would have hoped for but more than I thought I had.

My February orts are from a few small projects I stitched most of the threads are pink and red which fit the month well. There is the love birds heart which is done in variegated floss
It was from a free pattern provided by a stitch along group I am in, the red floss bits are from the redwork heart for the EGA stitch along 
I used DMC floss 498 for the redwork heart its one of the few floss colors in red I like to use when doing redwork.  The other threads are bits from the Brigid's Day piece I made and the 2018 TAST practice and crazy quilt squares I am working.  I am linking my page to It's Daffy Cat for the TUSAL report if you are curious click the link and check it out.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Reading Challenge Update.

I just finished reading another book for both the 2018 Library Love Reading Challenge and the
2018 Try Something New Challenge the book is a library book and a new to me author so I will

check both challenges for this book Murder on the Rocks by Karen MacInernery. It was a fun read

a light or cozy mystery one of my favorite genres to read. I just started reading Just Desserts by G.A McKevett, another new to me author.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Slow Stitching Medal

Today over at Kathy's Quilts since it's an Olympics Week she thought it would be fun to see who would win the slowest stitcher gold medal in the slow stitching competition,she is working on a quilt from 1996, well yesterday I pulled out one of my oldest quilts to stitch it's from 1989, I'll be working on it again today.
This log cabin is the first quilt I made it is hand pieced and hand quilted, I started piecing in October 1989 and finished the quilt top in November, midway through the quilting part I broke my left arm in 3 places on December 29th and had to put it away for several long months while I was recovering, so it was placed in a box and pretty much forgotten about for a few years. Two years after my recovery I did begin working on it again, then lost my mother and so back in the closet it went while I decided on the next chapter of my life which would include a permanent move to Florida in 1994,  since living here in Florida in the winter months I take it out when the temps drop low to work on it.
I think you may be able to see the quilting thread where I left off last night.  Every other block has the patchwork heart which was cut from yardage that actually coordinates with one of the log cabin strips.

Looking close you can see not all of the strips are precisely cut, all of the strips were cut with scissors after being traced onto fabric using a cardboard template, still my favorite way to cut fabric. I love that some of the pieces are wonky like me slightly imperfect.  I took me nearly 3 weeks to trace and cut all the pieces, my hands ached after a few hours of cutting and some days I didn't cut anything. In the past I think I hesitated to complete this quilt thinking it would close a door on a chapter of my life I wasn't ready to let go of,  but lately stitch by stitch I see myself making my way to the end.
I am linking up my oldest UFO over at Kathy's Quilts today here is the link
lets go over and see some other old UFO's that other bloggers may be working on.

One of these days I will finally get the Dresdan plates I made put on a background then that will be my oldest UFO to finish, I began that in 1979.  I have to get into my project bin soon and dig them out.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Busy February Days

February is a busy month for me, my son's birthday is on the 6th, I have blood work scheduled and a doctors appointment next week, my grand niece Tessa is having her 5th birthday party with pony rides and bouncy house, both activities I am much to big for.  The movie,Peter Rabbit, is out this weekend I know I never mentioned this before but as a child Beatrix Potter's The Tales of Peter Rabbit was my favorite book, my plan is to take Tessa to see it. And then there is the entire month of February celebrating Embroidery.
I have been stitching up quite of few small projects, one requested piece and taking part in the EGA stitch-a-long for February which is Redwork.  Here is the first little piece I will stitch for it.
My friend recently requested a small embroidery to celebrate Brigid's Day, she sent me a drawing from a site with free coloring pages after posting my progress in a Facebook group I am in I found
out the drawing is actually by Mia Anthonia Fries Orsted, who commented it was a lovely rendering of her drawing and would like to post it on her pages, I was flattered telling her to feel free to post it.
Here is the embroidery I made from her lovely drawing below my embroidered rendition.
my embroidery 

Original Drawing by Mia Anthonia Fries Orsted
It is backed with this batik fabric I bought back in 2014 I just love the knot work on the fabric and I wish I had purchased more of it but if memory serves correctly the shop only had 2 fat quarters left which is what I bought.

I was also quite disturbed that her lovely drawing was hacked, the color was removed and it was stuck on a site as a coloring page.  I have used coloring pages a few times usually through a blog site that offered them free and I have purchased several from Etsy shops.  I will need to be more careful when someone sends me something to stitch etc. my friend didn't keep track of where she got it so I couldn't link back or even furnish the site to the actual artist.  I usually link back to whatever site, shop or store I have gotten a pattern etc. from and I will add the name of the artist when I know who they are. 

I finished reading Ellen Stimson's book Mud Season, it was quite a fun read and had me laughing out loud at some of the passages and nearly through the entire chapter of the lambs.
I read a few articles in the Herb Quarterly and will bring it while I wait at the lab and the doctors offices this week.  I bought a few dollar daffodils from the Wal-Mart garden center last week to
brighten up the succulents that actually survived those freezes we had throughout January.  I made some embroidery progress on my January crazy quilt block
I am also taking part in the TAST this year so I am using the weekly stitch on the block as well as on another piece of fabric, so far we are 5 stitches in, tomorrow the 6th stitch will be posted. If you are
interested in what TAST is or joining here is the link  So many of my embroidery is done using a few stitches: back stitch, stem stitch, running stitch and french knots, satin stitch and lazy daisy I found I forgot many of the other stitches so TAST is such a good refresher and I am trying to add more stitches in my pieces. 
Here is my February block for the 2018 Crazy Quilt Journal Project, again I am using up scraps from my stash for each of my blocks and so far I'm just using hand embroidery for the embellishment,  as
you can see I haven't added anything to the block yet, I decided to sew each block at the start of each month so each block will be fresh and ready and I don't have to decide from a pile of blocks. Or hey may be I am just lazy.  Truth is I can manage my time better making one block at a time.  My orts for January 2018, not too bad for one month of stitching.
I am linking up my post over at Super Mom No Cape today why don't you stop on over and see what other bloggers are hand embroidering.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

A Little Road Trip to Jacksonville and Slow Stitching Sunday

On Friday I accompanied my friend G to Jacksonville so she could take care of business, it's nearly a 3 hour drive and when you aren't familiar with the area it's good to have a second pair of eyes to watch out for the street names, though I don't know how good that was going to be since both of us can't see a street sign without our eyeglasses on, I did use the navigation in my cell phone which talks us through each turn which makes traveling unfamiliar areas fairly easy.

My friend G and I haven't seen each other in a while so you can imagine the chatter that went on between us the entire drive, but we made it to or destination with no trouble pulled into the nearest parking garage and exited. Neither of us thought to note where the parking garage was, and I hadn't checked the phone to see how close we were to the place we were going.  Our destination was roughly 3 blocks from the parking garage and I did note the blue awning our the entrance, so we walked to the courthouse arriving about 30 minutes early and to our surprise you are not allowed to bring cell phones into the courthouse.  Uh Oh!

the courthouse
I decided instead of walking all the way back to the parking garage I'd wait in the lobby but first we both needed to use the restroom, she was able to go in because I had the cell phone, I on the other hand was told I needed to use a facility elsewhere, just when I was turning around another attendant at the security checkpoint said to just give him the phones and I could go though what a nice man.  So my friend headed to where she needed to be and I went back to the lobby both of us not realizing it was still about 20 minutes until her appointed time.  So I strolled the lobby several times back and forth then headed outside to walk around the courtyard several times. Did you ever notice how slow time moves when you are waiting.
The courthouse lobby
Downtown Jacksonville is a lively city with tall old building and people and cars hustling here and there, it immediately takes me back to my childhood growing up in New York, there is nothing like the sites, sounds and smells of a city. I wandered over to where I heard live music on a square across from the courthouse and sat down to listen for a while. My friends appointment time was just coming up so after listening a little longer I headed back to the lobby and 10  minutes later we were on our way back to the parking garage, we missed one of the cross streets but quickly recovered our steps and found the parking garage.

Over lunch we both caught up a bit more and made plans to try to make an effort to get together sooner, it was  well over a year since we were last together we both live in the same city yet never seem to have the same time free, with family obligations and work schedules and other pursuits it can sometimes be impossible to get together.

It's the last Slow Stitching Sunday for January time does fly when you are having fun or so it seems.
I 'll be linking my post at Kathy's Quilts today

I finished the stitching for the little Valentine I made using cotton variegated floss and stitching on 100% cotton fabric.
Yesterday after completing the stitching on the Valentine piece I started stitching on one of my next projects so far I stitched the crudely drawn snowdrop.
I plan to be working on this today, we are due for some heavy thunderstorms and rain today so it's a good say for some hand stitching.

I did some organizing of embroidery floss a few days ago, here are five of my bins these are all DMC floss, I have about 5 or 6 more bins of DMC bins of wrapped floss and several smaller totes  and containers of skeins.
The above photo and below are bins I am currently working from I am known to pull all knew skeins to start a new project I will let you in on a secret I usually only wind my floss after I have used it from the skein,  I don't really like kinks or bends in the floss once it is wound.
DMC floss Skeins 
 I am getting better at using up a floss skein before I pull out a new one for me a hard habit to break.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Greeted by a crow, a new book and a stitched heart.

I woke this morning craving a long leisurely walk and not my fast paced for fitness walk, the warm sunshine was just what I needed today to help me decide to go for the slow paced walk. Does it sound odd for someone to crave a walk? 

I opted to walk in  my favorite park and was greeted by a lovely black crow poking around the dirt I have long believed the crow to symbolize transformation and lately that seems to be at the forefront of my life right now.
The sun was warm but air was cooler than I thought it would be though no breeze blowing so walking without a sweat shirt was fine.  I passed several pregnant women on my stroll sure signs Spring is on the way. There were several moms with little ones playing in the playground area.  I love the sounds of children's voices at play and their laughter while I walk along the path, so full of life and joy.

I notice this large rock at the edge of the basketball court so out of place sitting there just being a rock. I would have liked to carry it along with me but I still had plenty of walking to do and nothing to put it in. My hands would have suffered carrying it and I have enough trouble with my fingers.

Some of the trees are looking very wintry and others are still full and green I think it's one of the things I like about Florida is not all the trees lose their leaves.

I have always loved trees and can spend hours just looking at them, it's a kind of mediation I suppose and often I'm wondering what stories they could tell if only the trees could speak.
I love big old knots and little caves in the trunk I bet you can find a sprite or fairy in there if you look close enough. Oh the things I imagine while I am walking often become ideas for an embroidery or  a quilted wall hanging, or a short story or poem, even a piece of jewelry or pottery. The ideas fill my head till I'm fairly swooning yet more then half lost before I get home.   But that doesn't matter, what does matter is the ideas and inspiration keep coming.

What I'm reading on this wonderful Wednesday:  for the Try Something New Challenge
I'm reading a new to me author, Ellen Stimson, the book is Mud Season and it has me laughing out loud and commiserating with some of the circumstances.  The Herb Quarterly isn't new to me or part of the challenge but I am reading this as well.

In between reading, writing a few letters and walking in the park I'm stitching a cute little Valentine for absolutely no reason except a friend sent me the pattern so I thought I would stitch it up, put it a hoop and send it back to her completed, hopefully in time for Valentine's Day.

I finished the embroidery on the sun piece so now I need a hoop and backing fabric to finish it off  I'm quite pleased with how it turned out.
For both projects I used 100% cotton fabric and variegated embroidery floss, both are made on scrap fabric the Valentine is on muslin and the sun on a heavy cotton.