Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Another New Needlebook

I made this needle book yesterday but the design has been rattling around in my head for several days.  It is inspired by beautiful old leather bound books, and maybe a little bit by some of the books in the Harry Potter movies!  It is hard to capture the richness of these dark felt colors in photographs.  I used a golden brown variegated thread for the embroidery which works really well in this project.

felt needle book

needle book inspiration

needle book project

old book style needle book

You can find this needle book listed in my Etsy shop here.

antique book

old leather book, felt

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

New Needle Books

I realized that my stock of needle books has gotten quite low so I've been working on remedying that and have some ideas for new ones in my sketchbook.  Seriously, there aren't enough hours in the day!  Here is the little English paper pieced hexagon one.

The little hexagons are less than an inch across so it was a fiddly process but I did enjoy the hand piecing.  I found it rather soothing.  I'm thinking that I will make several of these using different fabrics for the Quilt Show later in the year so this one is not in my shop.  

I've sold several of the antique clock face pincushions and I had a customer ask me for a matching needle book so here it is.  The clock face is a little bit smaller than the one on the pincushion but otherwise very similar.  This needle book is available here.

This needle book with the little bird in a nest coordinates with the tree pincushion which has the same little nest on the side band.  I added some pale pink french knot blossoms to this one for a bit of extra color.   The leaves seemed a bit bare without the flowers.   You can find this needle book here.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

A Momentous Day

This week I became a U.S. Citizen.  It was time.  We've lived here for nearly 20 years.  My daughter was born here but my husband, son and I have been here on Green Cards.  We applied for citizenship in early January and so the whole process has taken about 4 months.  It was very straightforward and everyone at our local Naturalization Office was really friendly and helpful.  This week was the Oath Ceremony, the final step to citizenship.  It was held in a theater and there were nearly 400 of us that day, from over 50 countries.  

I felt a bit emotional on the morning of the ceremony.  I think it hit me that it was such a big step in our lives.  I calmed down with my last cup of tea as an "Alien" before getting ready per the instructions we had received (solemn occasion - no jeans or flip flops!).  I really, really dislike dressing up.  I'm a jeans/yoga pants and t-shirt girl, I had to buy a dress for the day, and shoes but buying shoes is always fun!

This beautiful rose caught my eye on the way out.  I have roses down the path to my front door and in the front of the house.  They are all fragrant old English style roses and are so pretty at the moment.  

Inside those envelopes we are holding are our Citizenship Certificates, voter registration forms and passport application forms.  We are looking forward to having a say in how our tax dollars are used and to voting in local and national elections.  The ceremony was on Thursday and at the beginning of the week I got a jury summons in the mail for late May!  And so it begins.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

On My Worktable

I had a great few days in the mountains last week, hiking, sewing and watching movies with my daughter.  It was lovely.  I put a note on my shop announcement saying I would be gone for a few days and oddly enough, I had a eight orders!  I got those all packaged up on Sunday and to the Post Office first thing Monday morning.  

After a few days away I have been doing all the usual catching up things around the house, laundry and cleaning etc which is all quite tedious!  I have also been doing some sewing.  I made some more antique clock pincushions last week while I was away but stuffed and finished them on Monday.

I also finished up some more of these little bird pincushions.  You can't see in this picture, but there is a little nest on a branch with another red bird nestled in it on the side of these pincushions.  

For a while now, I've wanted to make something with English pieced hexagons.  I decided to start with a needle book.  The fabrics I've used look like Liberty prints don't they?  In reality they are made by Moda and actually have a nicer feel than the Liberty quilting cotton fabrics I have in my stash.  They have the weight of quilting cotton but the softness of Liberty lawn fabric and they sew beautifully.  These hexagons are small, less than an inch across so they are a bit fiddly to work with!

I finished this needle book this afternoon but didn't have time to photograph it so I'll show you next time.  This evening after dinner I started on some cherry tree pincushions as I am currently sold out of those.  This is another project featuring hundreds of french knots!  I've mentioned before that french knots are my favorite embroidery stitch, I find them very soothing...... until the thread tangles....grrrrr.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A Chilly Walk Around The Lake

We are in the mountains for a few days since it is our Spring Break this week.  It's very quiet up here, I think my daughter's school must be the only one in the region to have such a late Spring Break!  

Today we hiked in the woods around Lake Alpine.  There was very little snow left and the water level is considerably lower than it should be but it was a beautiful day, cold, windy and crisp - just the way I like it for hiking!  

Everything about being outdoors today was a feast for our senses.  From the warmth of the sun on our faces and the cold bite of the wind to the lovely whooshing sound of the wind in the pines and the occasional thunk as broken branches crashed through the trees to the ground.  There was the smell of the sun warmed pines and the crunchiness of the still partly frozen gravel on the lakeshore.  We found beautiful ice crystals underfoot where the ground was still frozen below the surface and touched soft moss and lichens.  

Below are ice crystals we found under the surface of the trail.  We noticed them when we scuffed the surface with our hiking boots.

This is a piece of hard frozen snow from the trail with the same ice crystals attached - it's upside down in the photo. 

We crossed a number of small creeks.  This one was still partially frozen and we noticed these beautiful ice formations.  

Every time I come here I am inspired.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Painted Elephant Pincushion

I finished these pincushions last night and have listed one in my Etsy shop.  You can see it here.  Last night I updated the software on my laptop only to discover that Apple had completely redesigned the photo software.  Usually I love their software, it is intuitive.  Sadly this update is terrible, lots of irritating things and they have made editing photos (which used to be simple to do) complicated and time consuming.  I even emailed Apple this morning with my opinion, which is something I never usually do!  So if my photos today look a bit rough around the edges, that is why....blame Apple.

In my previous post I wrote about the inspiration for these pincushions but I felt I had to add bigger versions of these photos for you.  The second one is what inspired the idea of the elephant spouting flowers!

One of the less glamorous aspects of running an Etsy shop is organizing shipping materials.  All my orders are wrapped in white tissue paper and placed in a hand printed brown bag.  Pincushions are protected on their travels by some cardboard.  This morning, before I could ship out an order, I had to cut strips of 2inch wide cardboard.  It takes a little while to do it, and I have to watch I stay on the mat and don't cut the hardwood floor with my stanley knife!

Stitch-along part 6

  Stitching the ridge tiles to finish the ornament Take one ridge tile and wrap it over the ridge of the roof as shown below.  Using two str...