Another Needlecase

Yes I love needle cases – I admit it.  I couldn’t resist making this one though.

I had a bunch of threads all bundled together that I had found in a basket.  Lovely cream, browns, and two shades of green that just went beautifully together and I kept wanting to use them in something.

While at Maureen’s she was working on her latest “Take it Further” challenge which Sharon of In a Minute Ago is running.  Now I have looked at this challenge numerous times and been very tempted  but haven’t actually succumbed to the temptation of the challenge,  too much else on I guess.  So I made myself a challenge.  To use those colours that are in the threads and only those colours and make myself something useful.

By the way you can see some of Maureen’s TIF efforts in this post.  It really is quite inspiring to see Maureen work and how she does things.

I tried a bit of everything on this it seemed.  I haven’t done much in the way of colonial work – so that was the first thing to be played with.  Even a bit of crewel work was popped in.  Don’t look at the butterfly by the way – he/she/it went a bit demented.

It was nice to know I could still do bullion stitch (rose left hand side) and I even experimented in using three threads rather than my usual two.

The inside has two pockets.  The green one is for my quilting thimble, while the cream pocket (partially hidden) holds the spare packet of quilting needles.  There are only two “leaves” of felt as I didn’t really need any more.  Ohh and I have removed those pins and sewn the bottom together by the way.  Just wish I had thought of that before I took the photo.  : – (

Milly was model again – not that she seemed terribly interested at all.  I think it was just a bit too much for her.

After all that I checked out the latest colour chart for August’s Take it Further Challenge and I just might have to play.  Like I need another project.


Glamorous Girls

Well now I’m all glamorous (well as glamorous as I will ever be…vbg) with my hair newly cut and coloured and not a grey hair in sight – I thought it high time I showed you the glamorous Birthday Present I made for Maureen.

For a while I toyed with the idea of giving it to her hubby to store away until Maureen’s birthday – then I changed my mind and wanted to see the look on her face when she opened up the parcel.

Then I saw all the wonderful dolls Maureen has made……………….and let me tell you they are pretty darn amazing when all is said and done, certainly they are way out of my league…………….and I changed my mind again and thought I should give her something else.

Then that niggly voice in the back of my head told me to stop being so chicken and trust in my instincts that she might like it.  Guess what – Maureen did!!!

I was so pleased that she did like it and to be honest I love it myself but wasn’t tempted to keep it even once.

I crazy pieced the skirt (sewed in the darts) then decorated to my hearts content with whatever I could think of.  The bodice was made, lace added to the sleeves and then it was attached to the skirt then I figured it needed something else and I added the tatting and the silk ribbon roses to it. She has a pearl necklace (not real unfortunately) and a pearl headband to keep all that gorgeous mohair hair in place.  The hair is as soft as it looks to and the most delightful soft mauve’s, pinks, greens, grays and even a touch of caramel are all part of the hair.  I needlescultped the face (obviously something I need to practice) and then painted it.  At the last minute Elise found the glasses hiding in her room – I’m not even game to ask why she had them.  The touch of lace at the centre front of the bodice is to preserve her modesty and to add another touch of colour.

This pattern I might add is brilliant.  It’s called “Moonlighting” by Marilyn Halcomb and by the look of the date on it I purchased it in 1999.  By day “Flo” is a “mild mannered member of the bowling team, by night she supplements her pension by posing for the life drawing class”.  Yep you guessed it  – she poses nude on a lovely chaise lounge in all her glory.  I’m not joking that is the way the pattern is designed.  She comes complete (if you wish to go to all that trouble) of having knees, ankles, nipples the lot all needle scuplted.  I confess I haven’t gone that far with the two dolls I have made by this pattern – but there are times when I am so very tempted.  I made Mum one of these dolls and dressed her up to play croquet for Mum’s 60th birthday.  She has pride of place in Mum’s lounge room.  It will be interesting to see where Maureen’s girl ends up.  Ohh and I might add I didn’t make it that she could remove her clothes for Maureen and Graeme.  I thought I should preserve her dignity a bit.

Crinoline Lady

First let me say a very big thank you to everyone who commented on Maureen’s blocks.  Your comments really were appreciated very much.  Unfortunately I haven’t done anymore on the last one.  I think the creative side of me has gone just a bit on strike (if such a thing is possible) and there has been little or no time to play of late.

I am well and truly on the mend from my illness and up to yesterday all three children were back at school.  Unfortunately James is no running another tempreture and is home again today.  I’m crossing my fingers it might be the last of our illnesses for a while.

Debbie asked how I did the crinoline lady on Maureen’s block.  I’m sorry it’s taken so long to reply and I hope you haven’t given up hope Debbie – but here is the short version and hopefully it makes sense…..grin.

I found a drawing of a lady that I liked – it was actually designed to be embroidered which gave a good clear outline.  I traced the skirt onto some visoflex (double sided vilene) and ironed it onto  fabric which is actually a petal on a flower – it had the look and colours I wanted.  Cut it out and iron (very, very carefully) onto the block.  I stem stitched around the edges of the skirt to “seal” them and buttonholed along the hemline.  Using the original pattern of the lady I traced in the hat, hair, face, and arm and sleeve and embroidered them.  The hair is just bullion stitch done with a thick cotton thread that I had.  Do a couple of stem stitch lines on the skirt to represent movement then add whatever you like in the way of flowers, greenery to represent a garden.

I have used this technique a few times and it does give a bit more life to a block.  It’s a pity you can’t see just how textural the roses are.  They are simply fargo roses done with 7 mm hand dyed silk ribbon..  The hollyhocks are 4 mm hand dyed silk ribbon, with green stranded embroidery thread french knots for the buds.

I hope all that makes sense.

Crazy Quilted Blocks

I have been working slowly but surely on Maureen’s blocks over the past week or so. It really is amazing just how much you can get done when you or the family is sick and you can’t go anywhere. Even the computer didn’t have much appeal which was possibly a good thing or I wouldn’t have these two blocks finished.

I know it doesn’t show up very well on this photo but the green fan is slightly padded – just enough to give it some texture.  I felt it needed a boost as the rest of the block is quite textured with all those roses.

The large spider web roses around the central photo are varigated silk ribbon with the main one having a diamonte necklace clasp at the centre of it.  The colour really doesn’t show up well in the picture.  Some of the seam treatments are from the new book I had purchased – Encylopedia of Ribbon Embroidery Borders.  A fabulous book for inspiration.

I hope you like these Maureen.

I just have one more block to do for Maureen, then three for Sandie and three for me and this swap is complete. It’s a good thing we didn’t set a time limit on when these are to be done by as I don’t think any of us would be finished on time – life has a habit of getting in the way a bit much of late.

The next block for Maureen is totally different in colour from these two.  Think old fashioned red velvety roses (not that modern garish red) on cream background and you are beginning to think of the colour scheme that I’m playing with.  I had heaps of lace, silk ribbon and bits and pieces that all go beautifully together.  Time will tell if it works.

Mail Call

I love it when the mail box is stuffed with parcels and letters all addressed to me……lol.  It just makes my day complete somehow and what was even better – none of those parcels and letters were bills….whooo hooo.

I had participated in a postcard swap with some of the ladies on the crazy quilting group I am in.  The theme was “Express Yourself” with the idea that we would all try something new and as it would be postcard size the theory was it wouldn’t be too scary or difficult.  Well I have to admit it was easy finding and trying something new – the hard bit was trying to decide who would receive what card….grin.

Today’s Postcards came from….

Margaret G.  Beautiful hand dyed lace butterflies and flowers on a really scrummy background.  Thank you Margaret.  Margaret even had it hand cancelled then popped it in an envelope to post.

Maureen B. sent me this stunning card.  I have been encouraging Maureen to have a go at Machine Embroidery and despite emails like “I broke the needle – again!” …lol….I think she is well on her way to being quite successful at the technique.   Maureen said she found the picture in a magazine for inspiration and the background fabric was a shop bought piece.  It really does look very life like and the “worm” the bird is holding is a “loose” peice of string so you get a dimensional effect.

My last postcard came in all it’s “naked” glory, hand cancelled and stamped into my post office box with absolutely no damage to it at all. Some of my faith in Australia Post has been restored.

It is from Margaret P. and she used Xpanda paint which is then machine embroidered and although you can’t see them clearly, beaded as well.  Mum looked and ooooed and ahhhhed over it – then idly wondered if that was another technique I wanted to try.  Sure is Mum  ……..wicked grin.  The photo really doesn’t do it justice as the whole card is quite glittery in effect and the edges very bronze.  It’s stunning.  Thank you Margaret.

My last parcel was this book which was a recent ebay purchase all the way from the States.

You can’t order this book anymore as it is no longer in print and I have been searching ebay for months in an attempt to find one.  Maureen C. said she has it and it is brilliant.  She’s right.  It is brilliant.  Wonderful photos, clear descriptions and diagrams and the best eye candy.  Best of all with the Aussie dollar/US Dollar at the moment it was cheaper than imagined it might have been.

A New Book

I looooove books – especially embroidery books that have fantastic photos and easy instructions so when I saw this one at the book shop the other day I just had to have it.

My friend Sandie bought another of Di van Niekerk’s books the other day as well and now I’m very tempted to buy that one too.

The inspiration alone is well worth the price of the book I think.  Now just to try out a few or more stitches and see how I go.

Naked Blocks for a DYB

Along with my friends Sandie and Maureen, I am participating in a DYB (doing your block) swap and like Sandie, spent most of Saturday putting my blocks together.  I am used to making blocks with a particular idea in mind and it was hard at the beginning to make them knowing it wasn’t me working on them and therefore I had no control on how they will turn out.  With Sandie and Maureen’s beautiful work though I will have no problems falling in love with the finished blocks – they are both wonderfully creative with their needles and thread.

 Now, unlike the very orgainsed Sandie, I forgot to scan in the blocks I sent off to Sandie and Maureen, but here are the three I kept to work on myself.

 Block 1

Block One

Block 2

Block 2

Block 3

Block Three

You can see the blocks Sandie made here.  Sandie is going to make a quilt to hang in her bedroom and I confess I am leaning that way myself.  I want a quilt that is very textured – lots of beads, buttons, fancy stitches (the girls will probably throw something at me…vbg)…in short I want a quilt that says “touch me and see what I have to offer”.  I just hope I can do that kind of work on my own blocks.  I am aiming for soft greens, blues, yellows, apricots, rose pinks etc.  Not bright colours but not really washed out pastels either.