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Monday, March 31, 2008

Opening Day!

I wish I could say that it's a beautiful day for baseball. Unfortunately, it's cloudy, rainy, dreary & damp. On the news this morning, they did say that the Cubbies should be able to get their opening day game in. Whew! For over a month now, I've been counting the days for baseball season to start!

My dear husband has already set the TV to change the channel to WGN at 12:30 my time. I will be parked on my sofa and will start the beading on this block during the game:

Button Block 14

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Update On Button Blocks

I finished up on this button block yesterday:

Button Block 13

After pulling the waste canvas out from under that leaf border at the top, I found that the leaves didn't show up well. The color I used looked fine before I started stitching. I solved the problem by outlining the leaves with 1 strand of DMC black embroidery floss. Now they show up just fine!

I was asked, "what is the best way to sew on buttons?" Well, I use 2 strands of bead thread and I go through each button several times. In fact, I use bead thread to attach almost everything. The only exception is for lace and trim. I use sewing thread in a coordinating color to attach those but for everything else, bead thread is the best choice. If sewing thread is used to attach beads and other do-dads, it will eventually loosen up due to the weight of the items whereas bead thread stays put!

This is my next block:

Button Block 14

I'm thinking of working the borders with burnt orange and rust. I have a beautiful new Watercolor thread from The Caron Collection and I think it will work nicely against these light yellow-greens.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Little House Pattern

Last week, I received a package in the mail from Melusine. It was a package filled with sunshine in the form of vintage iron-on embroidery transfers! I know I've mentioned it many times here, I love them! I have been collecting these vintage patterns for years and years. They are absolute treasure to me!

My mom came over yesterday for a few hours to play with my treadle machine. She enjoys sewing on it as much as I do! She left just before Scott came home so I didn't have much stitching time and that's okay.

Since I don't have an update on my current button block, I thought I would share one of the pretty little patterns that Melusine sent to me:

Little House

Click on the image to go to my Flickr site where you can download the large version. This one isn't dated but most of the patterns are from the 1930's.

Thank you Melusine, for thinking of me! I love these patterns!

Friday, March 28, 2008

More Button Blocks & New Autism Charity Design

Here's my completed red & black block:

Button Block 12

Be sure to click on the image to see a larger version at my Flickr site. All of the buttons are antique metal buttons and they are quite lovely!

Once that one was completed, I started on this one:

Button Block 13

I was recently asked what my personal preference for waste canvas size is. Generally, I use 10 count and 8.5 count. I reserve 14 count for small projects like my Comfort Cat dolls. The red block was stitched entirely with 10 count and the blue block so far, has been stitched using 8.5 count. If you're interested in working with charted borders and waste canvas like I do, you can find my E-Book here.

Finally for today, I've added a new Autism Awareness design to my Etsy shop:

Red Heart Autism design

All proceeds from this design will be donated to Our Children's Circle Autism Group.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Button Block 12

Just a quick update on this block:

Button Block 12

I got caught up in some Civil War Documentaries yesterday that I borrowed from my dad and didn't get in as much stitching as I had planned. I'm sure I'll have this one finished up later today.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

More Buttons & More Blocks

Well, ya'll knew a cat had show up on this quilt somewhere:

Button Block 11

As you can see, I turned the block. I liked the way the lace looked at the top. It also accommodated the cat button. He was the right color for this one so I went with it.

This will be my next block:

Button Block 12

I will be using my absolute most favorite button on here:

Pierrot And Pierrette Button

This came in a jar of buttons that I bought years ago. At the time, I had no idea it was collectible and worth a few dollars. Of course my mom always says, "nothing is worth anything if you aren't willing to sell it!" How true is that!

Anyway, I love buttons (apparently) and bought this book on Antique & Collectible Buttons by Debra Wisniewski a few years ago:

Button Book 2

My button is not in mint condition. It's a bit tarnished but I don't care. It's called Pierrot And Pierrette. It reminds me of the opera Carmen which was the first opera I ever saw in person. My mom and grandmother took me to see Carmen at the Opera House in downtown Chicago when I was about 8 years old. Since it reminds me of Carmen, I thought this button would work well on this black & red block.

Here is the button as it is pictured in the book:

Button Book 1

If you like buttons like I like buttons, you might want to check out that book. Even if you just like to look at pictures of buttons, this book is loaded with visual gems!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Button Block Update & More

I finished up on this little block yesterday:

Button Block 10

I've always liked the way yellow, pink & green look together. So Springy!

This one will be my next block:

Button Block 11

I haven't decided what colors to use on this. I may keep it kind of "woodsy" looking and do with browns, greens and cream. Stop by tomorrow to see where it goes.

In other news, The First Robin Of Spring Mystery is revealed! Here is the completed design:

Part 4 Image

And this is the little "thank you" design that I did for the stitcher's who joined in:

Bonus Design Image

Both are available here.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Button Block 10

It's hard to believe I'm on #10 now! Anyway, I started on this yesterday:

Button Block 10

I plan to have my chores done by 10:30 this morning and then I can stitch on it.

Has anyone else been watching the John Adams miniseries on HBO? If you like historical movies, this one is so good! Episode 3 is on at 10:30 my time so I'll be parking myself in front of my TV.

Debbie asked me if I was using my Waste Canvas technique for my seams on these blocks. Absolutely! I love the perfection of my stitches when I use my borders with Waste Canvas. I've never been good at eyeballing my stitches. The only exception is when I do vines and then those are freehanded.

If anyone is interested in learning my Waste Canvas technique, you can find my Elegant Crazy Quilt Seam Treatments book here.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

Hi everyone! I hope you're all having a lovely Easter Sunday.

I finished up on the black and silver block yesterday:

Button Block 9

Have a wonderful holiday everyone!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

What Season Is It?

Could someone please tell me why Winter has to steal time from the good seasons? The snow here was just about gone. I was actually able to get to my bird feeders out back. I had daffodils peeking up from the ground. And then yesterday, we got dumped on again! I'll spare you my complaining but I have so had my fill of snow!

To keep myself from climbing the walls, I pieced a ton of blocks on my treadle machine and then I stitched. This block is complete:

Button Block 8

I'll start on this one shortly:

Button Block 9

I have some pretty Victorian black glass buttons that I think will work on here nicely. I'll be stitching the seams in shades of purple.

For now, I'm off to cook some eggs. By the way, what is Easter doing in March?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Find The Bunny Button

I finished up on this one yesterday:

Button Block 6

Can you find the little ceramic bunny button? I guess this one looked kind of Springy to me!

We've had a some cloudy days here lately so a bright yellow block was next on my list:

Button Block 7

This will be finished soon but I haven't decided on my next block yet.

There are some new photos over at the Flickr group that I set up for stitcher's who are working with my Elegant Crazy Quilt Seam Treatments E-Book. Stop by an take a peek.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

More Button Blocks

After several hours of treadling yesterday, I started stitching on this block:

Button Block 6

The only reason I stopped sewing is because I ran out of muslin for the foundation piecing!

I have to tell you too, if you're looking for a sewing machine that doesn't have a cow every time you want to sew 2 pieces of velvet together, an old treadle machine is the way to go! That machine just breezes right through it!

With my electric machine, I have to add some iron-on interfacing to the back of the velvet and I have to use my Walking Foot. I tried it on my treadle without interfacing and I just used the all purpose foot and it was amazing! A walk through the park! I swear, this machine would sew 2 pieces of plywood together without any fuss!

Anyway, I'll be stitching the rest of the day so I do expect to finish this one up later.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Treadling Today

I'll be treadling for a few hours today. I didn't get to any sewing yesterday like I had wanted to so it's Priority #1 for today!

Here is the latest button block completed:

Button Block 5

As you can probably see by now, there is no shortage of buttons in my house! Ha, ha, ha!

Anyway, here is the next block:

Button Block 6

I'll start stitching on this one as soon as I get my sewing fix!

Monday, March 17, 2008

More Button Blocks

I stitched this one up on Saturday:

Button Block 4

And yesterday, I started on this one:

Button Block 5

We went to a couple of antique malls yesterday and heaven help me, I bought another jar of buttons! I found a jarful that had a ton of flower buttons in it. Ok, I didn't need anymore but sometimes, I just can't help myself! I'll be using some of them on these blocks.

If I have time later, I may run my treadle machine and sew up a few more blocks. I also want to finish my Spring purse which I would do on my electric machine. I'll probably save that for later this week.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Button Block 3

These are so much fun!

Button Block 3

It's nice to have some almost instant gratification! That's not usually my focus but it is nice for a change.

The tatted lace is vintage. I do tatting, but I can't work with that thin tatting thread. I just end up with a big, fat kanoodle! Whenever I see vintage tatting, I just buy it. This came in a huge bagful that I found at a garage sale last Autumn for $5.00! And I'm talking a HUGE bagful of it! All different colors.

Anyway, Jo in NZ asked me if I had a layout planned. No, I have no plans at all for this project. All I know is when I get tired of stitching these little Button Blocks, I will sew them into a quilt. I may do 16 of them or I may do 100. I may just keep doing them until I run out of buttons! Although I have so many, that's not likely to happen!

No, these blocks are just for the sake of stitching. If I end up with more than I can use on one quilt, I'll just make two. One for me and one for my mom.

I did set up an album over at my Flickr site for the photos of these blocks. In case anyone wants to just look at the pictures, they'll all be in one place them. Just click on any of the photos to head over there.

This is my next block:

Button Block 4

I'll be stitching this one in plums and purples.

In other news, I released Part 3 of The First Robin Of Spring Counted Cross Stitch Mystery Stitch-Along this morning. I thought you would enjoy seeing Part 2:

Part 2 Image

It's still available if anyone is interested in stitching this project. You can find it here.

The 4th and final part, along with a complimentary "Thank you" design, will be released next Saturday, March 22nd.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Button Block 2

Here is Button Block 2 completed:

Button Block 2

That metal button with the leaves is circa late 1800's. In mint condition it's worth a few dollars. Mine is a bit rusty but I don't care. I always liked it and it was perfect for this block.

My next Button Block will be this one:

Button Block 3

I've decided to stitch it all in pink. I have some chores to do (always) and then I can relax and "enjoy my creativity".

I did spend about 2 hours yesterday sewing up a few more of these small blocks on my antique sewing machine. Allie commented that treadling must be a sort of "full body experience". It really is since you have to pump the petal to make it work. For me, it's a "mind, body, spirit" experience. There's something about using my own energy to make it go. It didn't take long at all for me to get the hang of it. I like the rhythm of pumping the petal. And I've always loved the sound of a sewing machine. I think it takes me back to when I was very little and I used to sit on the floor in my mom's sewing room playing quietly while she ran her machine. And it doesn't matter to me if the sound is from my electric machine or my treadle. I just love it. I love that sound. It's soothing on my nerves!

In case you're new to my blog, here is a photo of my beautiful antique Singer machine:

1916 Singer Model 66 Sewing Machine

Here's a closeup of the machine:

1916 Singer Model 66 Sewing Machine

If you want to see larger photos just click on the images.

Debbie asked how I get things done so quickly. I've been asked many times how I get so much stitching done. Well, I have to tell you, I am spending more time stitching these days and less time working. I used to be so scheduled, disciplined and regimented in how I did things. I alloted a certain amount of time for chores, laundry, working and so on. I actually used to sit here and design cross stitch for 12 hours a day! Every day! I did that for years! But I never left any room for spontaneity.

I realized recently that I just don't have it in me to live like that anymore. I guess I used to work so much because I believed that was what I was supposed to do. Ok, so what rock is that written on?

I woke up one day last week with a little "Pearl Of Wisdom". Here it is: There are 2 types of existence. Being in a state of Doing and Doing in a state of Being.

Looking back, I can see now that I was always in a state of doing and because of that, I didn't have time for Being. I don't know if it's a 40's thing or what. But that's what the Button Quilt is all about. It's about Being and enjoying my own creativity.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Button Quilt Blocks

I went through my collection of buttons yesterday and it's a good thing I decided to do some "button blocks"! I didn't have them all in one container or one place so I didn't realize how many I had! Some of my buttons are actually collectibles and I put them to the side thinking I wouldn't use them, I would just enjoy having them. Ha! What good is having them in a box that I forget about! I will be using them on this quilt:

Button Block 1

Several of the buttons on this block are Vegetable Ivory. To learn more about it click here. I have quite a nice collection of Vegetable Ivory buttons and I'm sure I'll be using more of them on upcoming blocks.

When I finished up the blue one, I started another:

Button Block 2

I'll stitch on this some more later. Several of my readers asked me if this quilt would be as large as Sharon's quilt. To be honest, I don't really have a plan. And that's probably a first. My intention was to stitch a few blocks and use my buttons as a focal point, and do these small ones in between larger projects. I will definitely put them into a quilt but it's also become what I would call a "purposeless project". While stitching yesterday, I realized that I was stitching for the sake of creating. Not to "get something done" or keep my "idle hands busy" or because "I don't have anything better to do with myself" or because I needed another "purse fix". I felt like I was stitching for the sole purpose of enjoying my own creativity. So I guess I'll know how many blocks there will be when I get tired of doing them.

Apparently, this is another "Crazy Quilt Journey". I hope you'll all come along for the ride!

For now, I decided to do some treadling on my beautiful antique sewing machine and piece up a few more 6 inch blocks. I have to tell you, if you've never sewn on a treadle machine, there is nothing like it! It's no more difficult than using an electric machine and oh what fun it is making that treadle peddle go!!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Button Quilt - Block 1

I started stitching on this little 6 inch block:

Blue Button Block

As I mentioned yesterday, I've always been fond of Sharon B's "I Dropped The Button Box Quilt". Scott's step mom has been giving me jars and bags full of old buttons that she finds at garage sales and flea markets so I thought it would be fun to do a bunch of small blocks to use my buttons on.

I emailed Sharon and asked if her quilt was still online somewhere and she kindly sent me the link. If you haven't seen it yet, do hop over. You can find it here.

I'll finish this up today and probably start on another button block. Judy asked if all the blocks would be blue. Nope! They'll be all different colors and of course, they must have glitter!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Take It Further March - Completed

I finished this up yesterday:

Take It Further March Completed

As you can see, I added some button clusters to give it a more garden-like feel. If you look at the cluster under the hummingbird, you can see a pair of vintage crystal earrings. They were clip on's so I had to cut the clips off of them. I had to top sew them down and hide the threads, to the best of the ability, underneath the crystals.

The concept was, Little Things or Details In Life. I chose the hummingbird because of the personal significance it has for me but I won't go into what that is here.

Now that I've completed the March block, and I must say, I always feel a little sad when finish up my challenge block, I decided on a small project:

Blue Button Block

I like to alternate large and small projects so last week when I was running my treadle machine, I pieced up a few 6 inch blocks. I've always been taken with Sharon B's "I dropped the button box" quilt. I looked for the link on her website and I don't see it. I will email Sharon and ask her if she still has a photo of it online somewhere.

Anyway, I have gobs and gobs of old buttons and thought it would be fun to use some of them on small blocks which I'll eventually sew into a quilt. I'll be starting on this one today.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Take It Further March - Day 4

I'm running a bit late today. I had troubles getting my photo to upload to Flickr. It's there now so here's an update on my March Take It Further block:

Take It Further March

I have all of the seams beaded now so next I'll start adding some of the larger do-dads. I decided against SRE iris's under the bird. Scott's step mom just gave me a huge bag of vintage buttons that she found at a garage sale so I thought I'd do some button clusters on this.

I'm sure I'll finish this today as I just plan to relax, stitch and listen to movies all day. I haven't decided on what to stitch next. I have some new small blocks that I put together last week on my treadle machine. I may choose one of those. I like to alternate small and large projects.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Take It Further March - Day 2

This is actually kind of day 2 and 3. I just didn't get much done on it the 2nd day. Anyway, I have all of the seams stitched now:

Take It Further March

The hummingbird isn't permanently attached yet. I may move him a bit. I pinned him on to get a feel of space there. I want to stitch some irises underneath him.

I'll start beading on this later today.

Also, I thought I'd mention that you can get a feel of "curved seams" but using lace and trim. Both pieces of lace are antique and they had a natural curve to them so I just went with it. It adds some movement without actually doing curved seams. Crocheted lace is great for this! It's very easy to manipulate so if you have some laying around, give a try!

Finally, I just have to tell you that I saw Robin's today! I was really surprised because it's only 19 degrees outside. I heard a familiar sound, but one that I hadn't heard in a long time. I looked up at the maple tree and there they were. Four big, fat robin birds, sitting up there singing away! I guess there's hope after all, that Spring might actually show up one of the days.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Take It Further March - Day 1

Just a quick update for today:

Take It Further March

I'm off to clean out the cupboards in my kitchen.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Take It Further Challenge March & Finishes

I did some sewing yesterday and finished a few of my projects. First are my little doorknockers:

Shamrock Doorhanger

Pansy Doorhanger

Next, I finished the Floral "A" block into a pillow/cushion for my mother for her birthday:

Floral "A" Block

I didn't get to the finishing on my Spring purse yet because I need to pick up some purse handles. I expect to get that sewn up next week.

In the meantime, I have my Take It Further Challenge March block all pieced now:

Take It Further March

You can see the little hummingbird pin that I found over the weekend. I'll start stitching on this later today.

I'd also like to mention that my "Elegant Crazy Quilt Seam Treatments" E-Book is now available in PDF format.

Elegant Crazy Quilt Seam Treatments

I want to take a moment to say thank you to Carolyn Cibik at Evening Star Designs for her kindness in offering to convert it to PDF format for me. Thank you Carolyn! I'm not a computer whiz. I know what I need to know and creating a PDF file was not one of them! I very much appreciate Carolyn's generous offer to help me.

Finally for today, there's a Flickr group set up for stitcher's who are working with the designs in the book. A few ladies have posted photos so please stop by to see how other stitcher's use the designs!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Take It Further Palette March

We did finally get our Bald Eagle weekend! Our photos didn't come out well though. This photo is from our Eagle weekend last year:

Bald Eagles February 2007

If you would like see more of my photos from last year, click on the image to go to my Flickr site.

Sharon B. has announced the concept and color palette for the March Take It Further Challenge. I've matched up the DMC Floss colors to Sharon's palette:

Take It Further Palette March

Here is Sharon's theme for March:

Do you ever notice the little things, the small moments, the details in life? This months challenge is to do just that, pay attention to the tiny details. Sometimes the small things become emblematic for something larger.

While reading Sharon's blog post, I immediately thought of the most beautiful tiny detail I know of. What would a Summer garden be without a hummingbird! They're so little, you would miss them if you weren't looking for them.

And for reasons I won't mention here, they're personally significant to me. So, I have chosen a Hummingbird as my detail for the March challenge. I bought a beautiful crystal hummingbird pin over the weekend to use on my block. I will also be working with Sharon's color palette.

I'm going to run my sewing machine today. I have a few things that need sewing up and I'd like to get my block put together as well so I can start stitching on it.
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