27 February 2015

More Feather Stitched Seams

I've been stitching more feather stitches on the Brown bell pull.  I really need to come up with a name for this project rather than just referring to it by the main color!  For this variation, on the feather stitch, I lengthened some of the "feathers" and added some little woven spider-web flowers in a variegated pearl cotton. 

This was a feather stitch variation that I don't believe I have ever attempted before.  It did take me a couple of tries to get it worked out.  It has a great graphic quality to it.  


This one is a variation of the maidenhair feather stitch that I did with Valerie's Joyful Embellishments challenge.  More leaves and some little bead flowers at the ends of the stems. 

This looks like a pretty plain feather stitch, dressed up with buttons, beads and some SRE leaves.  But it actually was one of the more difficult feather stitches as it joggles back and forth the opposite of how feather stitch is usually done.  To my eyes, it ended up looking like a messy feather stitch.  I think it would have turned out better if the stitches had been smaller and the angles as little greater, but I knew I wanted to use some small mother of pearl buttons with this and this was the scale that worked best.  

This was another curvy feather stitch, but this time with bullion stitch flowers, french knots and SRE leaves.  It is one of my favorite seams so far... I think it's the addition of the bullion's! 


So the bell pull is about 1/3 completed.  I'm working my way across and hunting for seam ideas as I go that complements what is already there, but taking care not to duplicate any seams.  I'm loving how it is turning out.  As is so often the case, the photographs don't do justice to how lovely this piece is looking!  

I'm beginning to wish that I had done my CQJP blocks in these colors as I am really loving the combination of brown/taupe fabrics with the green stitching on them! 

21 February 2015

February Round Robin Blocks

February's round robin blocks are finished and in the mail to the next participants!  Liz's Steampunk block was lovely and the camera has a difficult time picking up the rich muted colors of dusty rose and mossy/olive greens.  

It took me a while to find my way with this block, but once I discovered the escutcheon and key amongst the box of gears and other steampunk bits, it came together quickly.  

Among my trims was some lovely mossy wire mesh ribbon with a bit of coppery thread through the center.  Perfect for a couched seam treatment!  I also had a lovely coppery gold fine braid that worked well with it!   

Down in the lower right corner, I stitched a ribbon rose.  It came out a bit bigger and a little closer to the corner than I would have liked, but it fills the corner nicely.  I accented it with some vintage pearls.  

The little key was the perfect touch with the escutcheon plate!  The little cast on flowers in blue match the blue that Lonna used on her block for Liz.  I like being able to pull some colors through from block to block to help them coordinate with one another. 

Here's a look at the bottom of the block.


In the lower left corner, I added a nice gear trail with some gold and coppery beads.  I'm happy with the way this block turned out and hope that Liz is as well! 


I also finished my block for Darlene in the Mini DYB round robin.  Darlene made several small ornament shapes in fans and stockings.  I chose the Holly stocking ~ being rather partial to Holly, since that is my sister's name!  This little stocking is only about 3 1/2" high and about 2 inches wide at the widest part!  I look forward to seeing how Darlene puts them together! 

18 February 2015

Discovering the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge

For a while now, I've been following a wildlife photography group here along the Front Range of Colorado.  Some of the fabulous photographers there alerted me to the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge.  I had seen the signs for it and remember when they cleaned up what used to be a huge weapons arsenal on the northeast side of Denver, but I had never been there.  

It turns out that I drive very near it on my way to and from work, so last week, I decided to stop on my way home after my last night of work that week.  I like to try and stay up that day so I can be more functional for the rest of my days off, but I always need something to keep me active and interested in order to do so!   It was a beautiful warm mid-winter day with interesting clouds and some blue sky away from the hazy mountains.  The view across some of the ponds was lovely.  I sat here and watched two coyotes hunting in a field behind me and saw my first Northern Harrier hawk!  

The drive through the refuge is about 9 miles long and takes one past many ponds filled with a nice variety of waterfowl.  

On the west end, a bit of open prairie looks back towards downtown Denver.

There is a large variety of wildlife from the small critters like cottontail rabbits;

lots of prairie dogs;

a herd of enormous buffalo, lots of deer, both white tail and mule deer, and an ever changing variety of birds!  

I enjoyed it so much that I decided to repeat the drive on my way home this week.  The bit of snow that Denver had this past week caused it to look much different! 

The deer were very active and I saw at least four herds of mule deer and one of white tail deer.

This doe has a lovely face!  They have tagged a few animals in each herd to track their movements.  

Driving past one of the lakes, I had to stop and do some birdwatching.  How wonderful to see these fun Hooded Merganzers!  I had never seen them before, so quite a treat! 

But the biggest joy of my morning was to watch the cottontails!  This one thought she was hiding from me while enjoying the early morning sunshine.  

Nearby, I watched this pair of cottontails leaping and dancing around one another!  They went on and on for the longest time, till at last they went their separate ways.  I so wish that my camera had been able to do video as it was something to watch them bouncing way up into the air, under and over one another! 

Such leaps!

And flying snow...

While it looked like a wonderful dance of fun, I suspect that it was actually more of a territorial dispute!  Witnessing this was definitely was the highlight of my week so far! 

What a delight to discover this large natural area so close to Denver and just a few short minutes off my usual path home!  It has been a wonderful way to unwind from the stresses of work before I head home for the rest of the week!

14 February 2015

Happy Valentine's Day!


While today we celebrate romantic love on this day, historically, the feast day of St Valentine was to celebrate and remember the saint who was  martyred for his love of Jesus by the Emperor Claudius.  As you celebrate today, remember these things:

We love because He (God) first loved us.  
1 John 4:19 (Good News for Modern Man - New English Translation)

This is what love is: it is not that we have loved God, 
but that he loved us 
and sent his Son to be the means by which our sins are forgiven. 
1John 4:10 (Good News for Modern Man - New English Translation)

My commandment is this: love one another, just as I love you.
John 15:12 (Good News for Modern Man - New English Translation)

Today I want to share the lovely round robin blocks that came home to me from the Heart's Round Robin last year.  This heart is by Thalia Holt.  I love the beautiful embroidery and all the background embellishments that she added in the white areas!  As I finish my blocks for this project, I will continue here lovely little flower motif through several of them! 

This lovely heart was stitched by Renee Younger.  I just love what she did with the little heart beads!  She also did some lovely background motifs that I'll use on some of  my blocks.

Kathy Semone was the stitcher of this lovely block!  Great scalloped buttonhole seam on the heart!  It's one I've added to my book of seams!  

Alexandra henry stitched this lovely block!  I love her seams, especially in the white area! And that tatted lace around the heart! 

This lovely block comes from Barbara Warner!  Loving the little ribbon flowers and the stitched white heart on the bottom left!  

Can't wait to get my blocks finished for this round robin so I can put this wall hanging together!  Maybe by next Valentine's Day! 

06 February 2015

Stitching Seams

Though the Joyful Embellishments group on Facebook has moved beyond feather stitching now, I've decided to continue with it on this piece.  There are still 16 more seams to fill with my favorite feather stitches!  For these last seams, I'm using stitches from my stitch idea book that I've been keeping now for several years.  This is one that I love and have used a couple of other times.  It's a triple feather with lazy daisies, straight stitch and beads.  


Sometimes, the simplest of seams can be the most elegant!  I love this straight feather stitch with lazy daisies and beads.  

For February, the Joyful Embellishments group has moved on to Herringbone Stitch, another of my favorites.  At the CQI retreat last year, I won a kit of autumn themed threads and fabric that included this already pieced block.  It's large enough to make a table centerpiece mat and the kit included enough silk squares to finish the outer edge in prairie points!  Once I opened it up, I wasn't sure quite how to approach embellishing it, as the patches are quite large for the most part.  Then I realized it has 19 seams ~ almost perfect for a month of Joyful Embellishment seams!  In the centers of the largest pieces, I'll add some autumn themed motifs eventually. 

Herringbone Stitch #1 was a simple herringbone with beads and lazy daisies.

Herringbone Stitch #2 was a simple herringbone with the addition of some straight stitches and beads. 

Herringbone Stitch #3 was a double herringbone in different threads and the addition of beads.  I used a medium Kreinik metallic braid for the fancy thread and a Valdani pearl cotton #12 for the other.  Since I did the pearl cotton over the top of the heavy braid, I needed to couch it where it crossed to make it lay nicely.  

Herringbone #4 turns into heart shapes with the addition of some fly stitches!  I think I need to add some beads to this seam in order to complete it.  It looks a bit unfinished to me. 

Herringbone Stitch #5 adds beads and pistil stitch.  I've used many variations of this over the years I've been crazy quilting! 

This coming week, I can get back to my CQJP and round robin blocks as the projects I've been working on (a couple of things for the Summer edition of Crazy Quilt Quarterly Magazine) are finally complete! 


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