Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Showing my Orts for The first TUSAL of 2018

The chill weather continues here in Ocala with tonight's temps expected to drop to 22 degrees, these old bones are feeling the cold this week so the remedy for that is staying inside as much as I can and stitching a little, reading a bit and sipping hot tea.

Tonight is the new moon which brings out the Ort report for the 2018 Totally Useless Stitch Along or TUSAL hosted by It's Daffy Cat's blog if you are curious as to what the TUSAL is all about check out the link here:

Here are my orts so far for January 2018, not as many as I would have liked but enough to see I have been stitching.
Orts and thread catcher
orts jar

I'm getting better at using up most of the thread/floss on my needle, I noticed with my December orts I had quite a few longer pieces of thread most likely from finishing the color and pulling it out of the needle and dropping it in the thread catcher instead of just sticking the needle with thread in the pincushion, live and learn.

I think I mentioned I am taking part is Take a Stitch Tuesday (TAST) this year and I'm also taking part in the Crazy Quilt Journal Project (CQJP) so I thought I might combined both and use the TAST stitching as some of the embellishment on the Crazy Quilt blocks.
buttonhole and running stitch
The first two stitches are the running stitch and the buttonhole stitch, I also have some lazy daisy a french knot and straight stitches in the mix.
Yesterday the 3rd stitch is the fly stitch so I made a bunch of different sizes to fill in the square. I will probably make a few fly stitches leaving a short tail too on another area of the block.
fly stitch
I made a little more progress on my little sunshine piece. I am using Anchor variegated floss throughout.
It's Wednesday so here is what I'm reading another book for the Library Love reading challenge, Shirley Jackson's Let Me Tell You.
Here is the link if you are curious or are looking for a reading challenge for this year.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Slow Stitching bits and Some Sunshine.

Another cold snap made it's way here to north central Florida we were at a balmy 29 degrees at nine o'clock this morning.  Winter in Florida does keep me on my toes and this week has surely pushed my buttons so I'm glad to be starting a brand new week.

On Thursday I had several appointments in the morning,  I was heading out for my appointment on the other side of town and instead of wiping the condensation off my windows with a towel as I normally do I decided to just roll the windows down so I didn't waste time. Well you know Murphy's Law tends to catch us when we least expect it the my passenger side window decided at that moment not to go back up. The rain came in the early afternoon lucky for me I had plastic over the open window and drove it to the repair shop.

It's fair to say my stress levels are up along with my blood pressure, though I did explain to the doctor what my morning was like, so this month I will once again be monitoring my blood pressure as she was quick to point out my last few visit my numbers were elevated. I'm attempting to get in as much stitching as I can, I spent some time yesterday preparing a few pieces of cloth with small random designs to have ready.

I finished the stitching on my mixed media self portrait for the San Francisco School of Needlework & Design Stitch at Home Challenge, along with the hand embroidery I  used crayon tint and beads.
self portrait
I have also been drafting a pattern for the next challenge  here's the link if you are interested:

I began to add some stitches to the January crazy quilt block, pulled a few out and put it aside for a bit.  I feel stuck at this moment and I find myself rethinking the block.
a few stitches in
One of the small random bits I worked on yesterday while the winds blew about the leaves and the temps outside dropped lower and lower.
a bit of sunshine
I will be linking up over at Kathy's Quilts today for Slow Stitching Sunday check out the link to see what other talented bloggers are slow stitching this week.

I am once again taking part in the Facebook Group 1 Year of Stitches here is the group link if it's of interest to you. It's an all hand embroidery group with a new admin with most of the members from 2017 continuing on this year and many new members

There is also a Facebook Group A Year in Stitches which has also continued on for 2018, it's also an all hand embroidery group with many of us continuing on this year.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Such Lovely Words

Your magnificent story

Why would you wish
to change the canvas
of your beautiful face
as you age?
Why would you want
to rid yourself
of the unique terrain
you have so deservedly
come to inhabit,
the visible and faithful
testament that you
have lived?
Why would you
not want people to
recognize the multitude
of seasons that
considered you
a worthy dance partner ..
the droughts and harvests,
the winds and storms
that have shaped
your brow,
supplied you with
an enviable furrow,
that have deepened
and softened the gaze
of your sorrowing
and courageous eyes
with tears that shine
in the dark?
Why would you not
want to be that old
gnarly tree that
children can swing from
as you creak?
Why would you want
to betray your own
magnificent story ..
all the things you’ve done,
all the ways you’ve fallen
and gotten back up,
all the ways you’ve said
yes or no to love ..
why would you want
to let someone cut “you"
away and inject you
with the “not you" and
then pay for it?
Why would you want
to not become fully
yourself and be
recognizable to your
ancestors who walked
before you
when you die?
© Poetess (Rachelle Lamb)
Photo: Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Uncovering: With the Cloak of Many Colors

It's been quite cold here in north central Florida with gray skies and cold winds blowing through, temps fell into the low twenties all week which of course meant it was time to tuck in the plants

We weren't fortunate enough to get any of the snow that fell on Tallahassee or Pensacola but I know when I left the house earlier this week I was hit in the face with sleet or maybe a few flurries. I feel a little disappointed each time the temps drop so cold, the skies break gray  and in your heart you just know it is snowing north of where you stand and I long to walk in the beauty where everything covered in white snow surrounded by the silence that usually follows.

I know I could drive north to enjoy the snow, I also know my old bones feel the cold now more than a year ago and those old bones ache deep inside, the arthritis and old bone breaks let me know I'm not missing as much as I think, so perhaps just longing for the snow and reading about it on friends and family blogs is enough for me this year.

A few days ago I was browsing the internet as I do from time to time, reading blogs, looking at posts on Pinterest, reserving a few books for the library reading challenge when somewhere along my web travels I came across this colorful Ruana:
Echo Ruana from Paradox Moon
Oh the riot of color, I was enchanted from the moment my eyes fell on the photo, yes that photo above, from Paradox Moon. I saved the photo and posted it on my Facebook along with this one also from Paradox Moon and asked for opinions.
Helena Ruana from Paradox Moon

I think I knew I was going to buy it the moment I saw it but I waited a few days I don't like to make impulse buys.  For days I couldn't get it out of my mind, I just loved the colors, the embroidery the way it made me feel when I thought about it, something was happening to me I couldn't explain it but I felt that feeling before a long, long time ago.  Four days after I first laid eyes on it I bought it.  I purchased it on the evening of the first full moon of the year perhaps shedding my old ways to lay a path to start a whole new cycle.
the back Echo Ruana
It arrived Thursday afternoon when I wrapped the ruana around me I unwrapped a part of myself  I felt more alive, free and easy. This baffled me to no end could a mere garment cause such a feeling of transformation? I felt awake for the first time in a very long time, not the awake you feel after a long night of sound sleep, but awake to my life the part I seem to have tucked away a while back and somehow I forgot all about.

My friend K left this comment on my FB page It's gorgeous. You are going to feel so wonderful walking around in it.  She was right, though I felt so much more, I could feel layers of dust fall from me the old stirrings of creativity rumbling from deep down inside me, the potter, the painter, the writer, all long tucked away deep within like my garden plants waiting to be uncovered to the sunlight once again.  I need to hold on and embrace this rediscovered me, it looks like 2018 is going to be an interesting year.

On another note I haven't done much stitching this week my hands and fingers are sore and holding the needle can be quite painful, the tingling can really be maddening, and the arthritis with the cold doesn't help so I have spent a few days reading.  Yesterday while out running a few errands I stopped by the library to pick up a few books I reserved.
I had joined a few reading challenges for 2018 and these will fit in nicely for the 2018 Library Love Challenge. Here is the link if you are interested. 
I am an avid reader and patron of the local library, every book checked out helps get those library funds.  I didn't read as many books last year I was so engrossed in hand embroidery I sort of just let it slide I plan to remedy that this year. 
On the stitching front I made a little more progress on the greenman piece, my fingers were too achy to get much done but every stitch counts.
It's beginning to warm up a little and by mid week daytime temps should be in the 60's which should help my hands start feeling nimble again today I need to start the embroidery work on my crazy quilt block for January. This is the block:
 I have pulled out some beads from that big stash I found at a local thrift shop back in early December for $5.00, I do love a good find.
I wondered after I brought them home would I be able to use them all? Maybe not I plan to use some  on each crazy quilt block.  I am linking today at Kathy's Quilts here is the link
go on over to see what other talented bloggers are hand stitching today.

I have the answer to my question as to whether the Frixion pen lines would disappear after being ironed, yesterday I was pressing the crayon tint on a project before I began stitching and YES those lines do disappear when ironed, lucky for me it was my own pattern so I can retrace the stitching lines.
Silly me had forgotten all about the pens lines I just wanted to get the crayon tinting set so I could start stitching.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Another Stitch at Home Challenge from San Francisco School of Needlework & Design

The San Francisco School of Needlework & Design is having another Stitch at Home challenge, I just signed up, I am nearly done with my Mixed Media Self Portrait challenge piece, the deadline for that is January 17th.  Here is a link for the newest challenge:

I finished another hand embroidered piece last night, I have a few more hand pieces I want to get done over the next few weeks for a project I have brewing in my head.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year

Once again we are at the start of a brand new year, I like to see it as a clean slate or a fresh page of paper poised and ready for my pen to start writing what I would like to do during 2018. I have put my new calendar on the wall all those little squares of endless possibility just waiting to be filled.
So let me start off with a few of my goals, plans and ideas for 2018. I was going to take part in the First Day Hikes presented by the Florida State Parks unfortunately the day broke with heavy rain which lasted through most of the day. It was like mother nature washes away the last remnants of 2017.  I will be doing a hike at the Silver Springs State Park, tomorrow this will kick off two of my goals for 2018, the 1st is to work toward a healthier me and the 2nd is to hike a trail at least once a month.

I may have mentioned I joined the Crazy Quilt Journal Project 2018. I thought this would be a great project to gain more confidence in using more embroidery stitches and improving my skills. So often I have done projects that required only a few stitches and several where I just used the back stitch to outline the pattern and while those look great a few years ago I was working many new stitches each week then some where along the way I stopped.

I mentioned in my post yesterday I joined a few reading challenges for this year, something I neglected to do last year and maybe that's why I didn't read as much as I usually do. To get things off to a good start I reserved a few books from the local library: 

Let Me Tell You: new stories, essays and other writings by Shirley Jackson
Shirley Jackson: A Haunted Life by Ruth Franklin
The Man Who Made Things Out of Trees by Rob Penn

I recently ordered two books from Amazon both by Ellen Stimson which should be here by the end of the week they are:
Good Grief
Mud Season

The new 1 Year of Stitches project started for 2018, this is a group on Facebook for hand embroidery, here is the link if it may be something you are interested in joining.

I plan to fill the new calendar with all kinds of projects from quilting and crochet, knitting and embroidery, some beading and reading a few classes too. Toss in some healthy activities and an exercise class or two and I should be able to meet my goals for 2018. 

Sunday, December 31, 2017

The last Slow Sunday Stitching for 2017 and a little peek ahead

Once again we are find ourselves on the last day of the year and hopefully looking back you have all had more good times than not. I looked back on my January 1 entry for 2017 and I'm happy to say most of the goals I set for myself were met. The most important one however still eludes me and that is getting better control of my health so that once again becomes my main goal.

I will say I did rather well on the Be More Creative goal I am avidly pursuing my love for hand embroidery perhaps to the point of ignoring everything else so I do need to remember I have other interest that shouldn't be ignored. During the week I worked on a few little embroideries the hand I plan to work into a larger project in the coming year. I will be linking to Kathy's Quilts for Slow Sunday Stitching.
The little Goddess with the candles I made for a friend, I just need to press and finish it with a hem.
Goddess for St. Brigid's Day
I'm once again going to be more creative in 2018, to start the year off I have the first block for the Crazy Quilt Journal Project ready to embellish. 
January block
My blocks won't look like the usual crazy quilt blocks you know those very lovely recognizable blocks that I see all over Pinterest, Facebook etc.  I'll be using this book as my guide and perhaps a few of the block layouts too. I'm also going to be using fabric from my stash of scraps. 

There is still time to join the CQJP 2018 the deadline to sign up is December 31st here:
This year I plan to read at least seven new to me authors rather than my usual 5 this year and to read more, I don't know what happened this year I have plenty of books to read and I started off doing quite well then after my vacation I seem to have not only forgotten I have books I forgot to open those books to read them because hand embroidery was all I wanted to do in my spare time. I bought the book The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman, I waited months for the book to be released, pre ordered it and when it came I had planned to start reading right after Halloween, when that nasty flu hit me and I could barely keep my eyes open for days, I didn't get any embroidery done during that time either. So the first book I will read in 2018 is The Rules of Magic.
first read in 2018
And to be sure I do more reading this year I will join the 2018 Library Love Challenge.
Also I have joined the Try Something New Challenge to be sure I keep my goal of trying at least 7 new to me authors in 2018 here is the link for this challenge:

Another goal for this year fell short so I'll try once again to take monthly hikes in the some of the Florida State Parks. I did so well in 2016 I don't know what happened this year. I will take part tomorrow morning in the First Day hike at Silver Springs State Park, these hikes are nationwide so if you are up early and near a state park check one out.
A few other state parks I plan to visit this year are:
Crystal River Archaeological State Park
Crystal River Preserve State Park
Big Talbot Island State Park
Honeymoon Island State Park
Falling Waters State Park

There will be other parks to visit but these were on my list last year and I didn't make it. Big Talbot Island and Honeymoon Island both have beaches. I love hiking and really need to do more of it this year here is one of my favorite quotes:
I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees.” -Thoreau
For most of these hikes I will be going solo, but for the Crystal River parks my sister and little grand niece Tessa may come along.

I would like to take a few crafting classes this year, not quite sure what at this time. I also want to try my hand at Gold work embroidery, try a larger Sashiko project, and let loose with my artistic side and really immerse myself with those things that interest me that I never seem to have time for. 

This year will be about making the time and taking the time, I have so many ideas in my head that need to get out, not to mention all those sketches and notes in my journals. I did make a little beaded scissors fob and needle nanny this week too.
scissors fob and needle nanny
Here's a photo of my orts for 2017, not as many as I thought but I use my thread until I can't pull the needle through most of the time. There is even a few strands of yarn in there from a crochet project and some plain sewing thread from hemming my pants. 
January to December 2017 Orts
This is the fullest my orts jar has ever been I am really pleased at how much stitching I did in 2017. 
orts jar 2017
I thank all of you for your comments throughout the year and wish all of you a safe and Happy New Year!