19 April 2014

Hari-kuyo Needlebook

front cover with straps
Back in 2012, I signed up for Susan's Hari-kuyo Needlebook course.  Just as it was getting started, my Mom fell ill in Costa Rica and off I went to help her.  Within two short weeks, she passed away, and my life went through enormous changes.  Needless to say, I was unable to complete the course and needlebook project at that time. Since then, I have returned to Susan's instructions time and again thinking that sooner or later, I'd start stitching again and this would be my "re-start" project.  

I must have chosen at least three different sets of fabric for this project and cut out all the pieces, but when I went to work on them, none of them seemed right, so I'd lose motivation and set it aside once again.  I even went so far as to dye some silk embroidery ribbon for one of them and embroidered a different cover, but wasn't happy with the way it turned out.  

Then, just a few weeks ago, I looked at it again and realized that what I really wanted was my favorite linen for the cover. It went perfectly with the Japanese bunny fabric I wanted to use on the inside.  Suddenly I was motivated again!  After adjusting a few of the other pieces of fabric, I finally got it completed! 

front cover
I love the Colorstreams variegated ribbon that I found for the flower!  The colors were a perfect compliment to the fabrics I had chosen.  I believe this is the Arabian Nights color with the gold tones removed.   The leaves are Hannah Silks over-dyed bias ribbon.  The stem is couched silk chenille.  

back cover
Here is the back of the book.

inside front cover
Inside the front cover.  I have a few pieces of Japanese bunny fabrics that I just love!  So "hoppy"!  They make me smile!  One of the things that really makes the needlebook special are the wonderful labels for the needle pages!    

Inside back cover
Inside the back cover.  If I had it to do over again, I'd shift the felt page for the broken needles to the left about 1/4" to 3/8".  It's been a long time since I've stitched enough to break a needle, but I've broken two within the past week!    I also missed the instruction to trim the ties to a better length once the book is assembled ~ but before the flowers were attached!  They are a bit long, so this is something that I'll have to go back and fix.  

I'm so glad to have this project completed.  It feels like a fresh start and a sign that life is finally back to a more normal routine!  

18 April 2014

Judy's Fan Block

Fan #2 DYB Judy's Block by Lisa Boni
There seems to be a lot of blue and white in my life these days.  They are the colors my daughter has chosen for her wedding, and the colors of Judy D's lovely fan blocks!  I'm so pleased with how this block turned out!  

Fans #2 DYB Judy's Blocks after Gerry K.
These are Judy's blocks as they arrived in the mail.  So lovely!  It was hard to choose one to work on.  

Fan #2 DYB Judy's Block before Lisa B.
This is the block I chose.

Fan #2 DYB Judy's block by Lisa WIP
I nearly stopped working on it at this point, loving the simplicity of leaving the dark blue fan blades blank.  But I kept on working!  At first, I was going to do a different embroidery on each fan blade, but found I liked them to have some symmetry.  

Fan #2 DYB Judy's Block Spiderweb detail by Lisa Boni
I'm not a fan of spiders or spider webs, though I can see the beauty in them.  Spiders just give me the heebie jeebies!  As a result, I have rarely stitched a spider web, and even rarer, a spider.  But Judy asked for a spiderweb and spider on each of her blocks.  In my little box of freshwater pearls, I found the perfect double pearl and stitched a tiny white spider on a web in the corner of the block.  It's about as friendly a spider as I could make it!  

Fan #2 DYB Judy's Block Butterfly detail by Lisa Boni
I'm much happier stitching butterflies!  I wish I could remember where I found a similarly stitched butterfly, but when I sketched one in  my little stitch book, I failed to note where this one was from.  Hope that whoever it is doesn't mind that I've adapted it for this block!  

Fan #2 DYB Judy's Blocks by Lisa B. & Gerry K.
This shows how Gerry K's block and mine balance together.  You can see how the stitching on her two outer patterned fan blades inspired the stitching on the two outer blades that I did.  I also pulled the coral and peach colors through and the little fargo ribbon roses.  I loved that in my stash of lace bits, I had some ivory lace that blended perfectly with what Gerry had used!  I had to look a little further afield when it came to silver accents though.  I had almost nothing silver at all and had to purchase some silver beads and then my daughter shared some of her silver trims with me in order to complete the block!    

It was a delightful block to stitch and I hope that Judy is pleased with it!  

12 April 2014

Almost Easter

With all the wedding planning taking place, I'm not doing much Easter decorating this year.  Just a few things out.  The old sugar egg, which has miraculously survived several moves, time in an overheated storage locker, and well below zero freezing temperatures in the garage before I realized that it was out there with the camping gear!  The forsythia are blooming beautifully in the yard right now, but with up to 6 inches of snow and freezing temperatures predicted for tomorrow, I thought I'd clip some to bring in and enjoy.  The bunnies live on top of the china cabinet most of the year.  It's all very simple compared to what I usually put out at Easter.  

The only other decorating I've done is to add some bunnies and a flower garland to the fireplace mantel and to change out the paintings from winter themes to spring themes.  

One of the things I enjoy creating are these little pocket prayers that I send off to friends who have been coping with difficult times.  This one went out a couple of weeks ago to a dear friend.

They are only about 3 to 4 inches square.  All hand stitched.  I love using textured fabrics, velvet and hand quilting on these.  The idea being that the recipient can tuck them into a pocket, a purse or simply keep it nearby.  


Their tactile nature encourages touching and holding them, and in doing so, I hope that the recipient is reminded that they are prayed for, loved, and in my thoughts. 

11 April 2014

Wedding Plans! (and Spring is Here at Last!)

My daughter Jessie is getting married in July!  Needless to say, wedding planning has stepped up into high gear.  Last weekend, we found THE dress!  We looked at endless veils and tiaras, but none of them seemed quite right.  When we got home and reviewed the day, Jessie said, "What I'd really like to do is see if Nana's headpiece from her veil would work."  So we got it out to see.  The pearls have darkened with age but otherwise, it's in good shape, though the actual veil had been removed a while back as it was tattered.  It's a perfect match to the color of her dress! 


Here are my Mom and Dad on their wedding day in 1955!  My mom wore the headpiece, not round as I had thought, but rather in a marquise shape.  Aren't they lovely?!  I have to smile when looking at this photo because they had to have had my Mom standing on something as she was a good foot shorter than my Dad!  Not often that she got to look him in the eye! 

To help the circlet match Jessie's dress, we are going to remove the ecru pearls and use bright white pearls and some silver lined beads.  Then we'll attach a comb and veil.  She'll probably wear it in a circular shape for the ceremony and then remove it after in exchange for a beaded hair piece for the reception.  Such fun to work on!  

The wedding will be in my backyard, so I've been busy getting estimates on things like house-painting (which means that it's also time to look at insulation and gutters), landscaping work, etc.  Much to do in the next 3 months!  Plus one of my fences blew down in the ferocious wind we had a couple of weeks ago, so now that needs replaced as well!  All of this is incentive to get the garden beds looking beautiful too, so I've been spending the last few warm spring days digging in the dirt a little!  It's one of the best things about owning a house again!  


The front walk is looking lovely!  All the bulbs I planted last fall are blooming gloriously!  

Makes me so happy to see all these gorgeous blooms!

The ground-cover phlox is blooming too!

Lovely pale daffodils

Orange tulips left from one of the previous owners ~ I must admit that orange flowers are NOT my favorite, but they do look cheerful and happy!

They left a few pink tulips as well.  Much more to my taste!

When we had the huge old cottonwood trees taken out, the yard was left with lots of holes that were filled with dirt.  I planted a hundred or more daffodils in hopes of having a large swath of them.  Unfortunately, I didn't realize that the dirt they filled the holes with had a sterilant in it to keep the remaining underground roots from sprouting into new trees.  Las year just a couple of anemic looking daffodils managed to come up but this year, they are dotting the lawn in several places!  I'm hopeful that by next year, the ones that are just leaves this year will also be bearing flowers!    I'm getting the lawn refurbished and the bare spots planted with grass at long last, so it should look a bit nicer by the end of July when the wedding takes place! 


With one side of the front walk up to the house looking nice, I need to work on the opposite side, which is overgrown with grass, about a million dandelions, vinca and several types of small shrubby things.  Hoping to simplify things to make it easier for just me to take care of!   In the meantime, I'm so very glad that spring is here at long last!  

27 March 2014

Spring IS Coming!

Featherstitch Ferns
It's always nice to have a little time between round robin projects to work on some of my own projects. With Spring at the door, I'm craving green, so decided to get my fairy block out and work on a ferny seam.  I love how versatile feather stitch is as a foundation for leafy stitches!  

Fairy CQ Block WIP
This is the block it is on.  I've got lots of ideas for it that are finally coming together after *years* of contemplation.  It's funny how sometimes you can envision a project yet not actually see how to make it happen.  I'm glad that this is coming together at long last! 

Grape Hyacinths
Along the front walk, all the hyacinths that I replanted are beginning to bloom!  They are so happy to have more room!  

Spring Buds
The regular hyacinths are also starting to blossom and the buds on the spring phlox indicate that it won't be too long until there is a nice mat of pale blue blossoms!  Time to get those fall leaves out of the beds! The rest of the yard is still brown, but this little bed along the front walk is nicely protected and gets the mid-day sun.   It is such a joy to see these little bits of spring shooting forth after our long cold winter!   


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