Saturday, October 25, 2014

Penguin Progress

These are coming along nicely!  I begin with drawings.  Then I trace the design onto thinner paper and resize it to fit the pincushion top.

Once the size is right, I trace the different body parts to make the pattern pieces.  Then the fun part begins!  

Friday, October 24, 2014

Something Old, Something New

Yesterday I started working on a batch of cherry blossom needle books.  You can see an older blog post about this design here.  I sold out of these at the quilt show, everyone really appreciated all those tiny french knots!  French knots are my favorite embroidery stitch, I use them a lot.  

In addition to this, I have been working on drawings for some new pincushions.  This is one in progress.

As always I start off with photographs for reference.  These awesome photos are by Anne Froehlich and are on Flickr.  I draw and think and sip some tea and then imagine how the drawings can be translated to felt and embroidery.  I think about color schemes and backgrounds.  I pull out scraps of felt and skeins of thread and make decisions.  Later I will make paper pattern pieces.

Just as I was heading out yesterday afternoon, two parcels arrived.  The first was from Quilting Acres and was full of beautiful pieces of hand dyed felt, and it arrived arranged in rainbow order just as I would organize it!  Perfect, I think this seller is a kindred spirit!  I was excited to find that she had some of the brown herringbone felt that I like to use for my tree stump pincushions.  I've had a hard time finding it.  

The second parcel was an order of Holland Felt which is my everyday felt.  It is gorgeous 100% wool and is lovely to work with.  It is certified organic in every step of the process from sheep to finished product.  I've found a new distributor here in the U.S. and their shipping is much faster and less expensive than my previous source.  Distracted, as I was by my parcels, I was a few minutes late for school pick-up, oops!  

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

On My Worktable

This has been a week for trees!  I finished up a batch of Christmas Tree ornaments with hand embroidered flower garlands and another batch with appliquéd flowers and leaves.  I love both styles.  I have added the embroidered garland ones to my shop and will be adding the others tomorrow.  You can check them out here

I used hand dyed felted wool fabric for all these trees and while I love how it looks and feels, it is not as easy to sew with as my regular wool felt.  It does fray a little and it is floppy to embroider on so I have to be careful not to pull my stitches too tight.  I have been buying my hand dyed felt from fellow Etsy shop, Quilting Acres.  I have been really happy with the service from this shop and they have a wonderful selection of hand dyed felted wool fabric in lots of luscious colors.  

This second batch of tree ornaments has appliquéd flowers and leaves.  All the trees are lightly stuffed so they have some dimension but no distortion of shape.  

I have also cut out the parts for some cherry blossom needle books, I plan to start on those tomorrow.  

And finally, I filled out paperwork for another Quilt Show at the end of February.  I am very excited about it, it is a bigger show than the last one so it will be interesting to see how it goes!  

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

My Day In Cups Of Tea

My weekdays begin at 6am with a cup of tea that my husband kindly makes and leaves on the kitchen counter for me.  I'm not a morning person and 6am is not a happy time for me.  I put together lunches for whoever needs one that day and then wake my daughter up, she's not a morning person either!  

Sometimes I have breakfast with my daughter before school and other times, I wait until I get back after drop off.  Today was an "after drop off" morning, gluten free oatmeal cooked with a some chopped apple, local walnuts and raisins and some pumpkin pie spice (a blend of cinnamon, ginger, lemon peel, nutmeg, cloves and cardamon) - delicious!

My local Target store has an instore Starbucks and I often get a cup of their "Awake" blend tea to sip while I shop especially if it is late morning and I'm starting to feel like I need it.  I used to drink strong black coffee all morning, but had to give it up for health reasons and I still miss everything about it.  I did some sewing today in-between laundry loads but more about that another time.

4pm is teatime.  Today the weather was gorgeous and I sat out in the garden and enjoyed my cup of tea.  I'm reading the newish Jacqueline Winspear book, "The Care And Management Of Lies" but am having a hard time getting into it.  I noticed there were more tomatoes to pick, some carrots ready for pulling and the lemons and grapefruit were tinged with yellow.   

Those turnip looking things in the center are watermelon radishes.  They like warm weather and are the most amazing color of shocking pink inside!  Here is the tomato and radish salad we had for dinner.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Friday, October 17, 2014

Whale Watching In The Monterey Bay

Last Tuesday my daughter had one of those odd days with no school so we decided to do another whale watching trip with Sanctuary Cruises.  Sanctuary Cruises use a small, bio diesel powered boat, with a maximum of about 30 people so it is a small group as well.  They operate out of Moss Landing.  In previous years we have done trips out of Monterey on a much bigger boat but I definitely prefer the smaller boat.  You are closer to the water and the wildlife BUT you are also tossed around by the waves more too!  It was a stunning day, clear and sunny but the waves were big and despite all my efforts I did feel seasick.  Take a look at the photos though, and I think you'll agree that any discomfort was totally worth it.  

This is a brown pelican gliding over the water, they are so graceful for such a big bird.  We had to go about 5 miles out to see whales.  We first saw a posse of California sea lions feeding on anchovies and then the humpback whales appeared.  Every time the sea lion frenzy happened we saw whales immediately after.  It was so cool!

As our boat wallowed in the swell, and we watched in awe as the whales fed, breached, tail and fin slapped the water, we gradually realized that there were about 3 whales very close to the boat.  Actually they were hanging out under the boat which was a little mind blowing, considering they were bigger than the boat.  The water was so clear we could see them under the water.  After a little while they surfaced and gave us blasts of whale breath!  They were there with us for probably about 20 to 30 minutes watching us watching them.  Because they were so close the captain couldn't start the boat engines so we really got thrown around by the waves and had to hang on tight to stay standing!  It was a very moving experience, I had goose bumps!