Monday, December 19, 2011

Image In The Carnival Mirror! November BJP

What would my October 2011 BJP look like if the colors were reversed? It would seem as if I were looking in a carnival mirror. I thought the October page was "Almost Over the Edge" with more than one color and all that fringe. But that was before I had finished this month's page.

I started with the same Blueberry Pie Mix of drop beads, added some transparent aqua drop beads and some transparent matte long magatamas to make a much more irregular fringe. All the sparkly beads on this page added even more texture. Putting the two pages together, this one seemed to be a somewhat distorted version of October's page--like you'd see in a carnival mirror.

Technical Details:

The foundation is Lacy's Stiff Stuff painted with azure blue Dye-na-Flow.

In addition to the drop beads and the long magatamas, there are 15/0s, 11/0s, 10/0s, 8/0s, cubes, bugles, and twisted 10/0s.

I used the backstitch and a fringe stitch.

The piece is 2.5 inches by 3.5 inches.

I used blue Nymo thread.

What I Was Thinking:

This page started to be an examination of what October's page would look like in another color--with the dominant and secondary colors reversed. But the addition of the long magatamas to the fringe added another element of texture. It was interesting to see this page come together. Next to it the October page looks tight and controlled.

Issues That Came Up:

I started with the fringe on both these pages. Before I had added any other beads, the fringe looked floppy. I liked that look. The floppiness disappeared on the October page. The fringe on this page seems floppier. I put the long magatamas on longer stems than the drop beads so they'd move more. And that's what you'd see in the carnival mirror--things moving where you didn't expect.

Almost Over The Edge! October BJP

My October BJP started with a tube of Blueberry Pie Mix Drop or Fringe Beads. The ones in the link aren't drop beads, but the color mix is the same. I wanted to do a page based on the colors in the mix because I thought the combination was so pretty. If you look back at some of my other pages here and here, you can see that I have approached this combination before.

Technical Details:

The foundation is Lacy's Stiff Stuff painted with Azure Blue Dye-na-Flow.

Other than the Blueberry Pie mix, most of the beads are cobalt blue--what I frequently describe as royal blue edging toward navy. The lighter capri blue is used as an accent. There are 15/0s, 11/0s, 10/0s, 8/0s, Delicas, hexes, triangles, cubes, and some bugles.

I used the backstitch and a fringe stitch. All the drop beads are on fringe.

The piece is 2.5 inches by 3.5 inches.

I used royal blue C-lon thread for most of the beading. There is also some medium blue Nymo.

What I Was Thinking:

While I was working on this page I was concentrating on the color combination. If you look at some of my other pieces, you will see that I am a monochromatatist. I invented that word. It means I like to work with only one color. To me, this page looks like more than one color. And the fringe with the drop beads! It was getting wild! It was almost over the edge!

Issues That Came Up:

I have been trying to use up this little bobbin of royal blue C-lon thread all year. I do prefer Nymo, but after all these months I don't mind C-lon so much. But there's only about a yard of the royal blue C-lon left now. Guess I won't be doing any royal blue pages for a while...

I do have difficulty getting a good photo of the cobalt blue.

Let It All Flow Over You! September BJP

Sometimes things happen. And you have to let them happen. To embrace the happening. And to let it all flow over you.

Easier said than done. For me, anyway.

Technical Details:

The foundation is Lacy's Stiff Stuff painted with Azure Blue Dye-na-Flow.

There are three large (1 cm) square beads, some 4 mm cubes, some 8/0s, but the vast majority of the beads are smaller--Delicas, 11/0s, 15/0s, and some 1.5 mm cubes.

This piece is done entirely in the backstitch.

It is 2.5 inches by 3.5 inches.

I used blue Nymo thread.

What I Was Thinking:

I was thinking about what life would be like if a person just accepted what happens. That is not my general nature. I'm an assertive, pro-active, take action, be in charge of myself kind of person. At least on the inside. I have a strong internal locus of control. But at times, we just have to let things happen because we can't control them. Out of my comfort zone... But it's good for me to think about that every now and then.

Issues That Came Up:

This page went very quickly. I finished it in mid-September. I started with the three large squares and then worked around them. Well, we all have to do that sometimes, don't we? There are so many tiny beads on this page that the trick for me was to try to balance the larger beads, especially when those silver-lined 4 mm cubes continued to call attention to themselves. The difference between the large beads and the tiny beads is much more obvious in person than it is in the photo.

I painted the foundation at night and wanted to work on it the next morning. To encourage it to dry quickly, I put the Lacy's Stiff Stuff up on a disposable plastic cup. And look what happened on the back! The area outside the cup dried first because there was more air circulation, while the area directly above the cup dried more slowly. Through capillary action, the dilute paint "wicked" to the drier areas of the Stuff, leaving this moon-like scene on the back of the page. Pretty cool, huh? This is the same way sun-printing works with paint on fabric. Equally cool!

Brown Hope Stone

This brown Hope Stone was a very unusual color. I don't often think of brown when I think of hope. I mean, who's favorite color is brown? But then again, when everything seems brown a person may need hope the most.

Hope Stones are given to cancer survivors at the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life. When the survivor is ready, he or she can pass the stone on to someone else living with cancer who needs hope.

It was a challenge to find beads that would enhance the brown color and make the stone as beautiful as the thoughts that go with it. I don't even know what color to call the beads I used to embellish the stone. Bronze? Kinda...

In the end, I was quite pleased with the way this Hope Stone turned out. You can see the other Hope Stones I've embellished here.

I'm not sure where this Hope Stone will end up. If you have cancer and need hope, let me know.

Blue Explosion! August BJP

My challenge for the August BJP was to use a tube of mixed blue beads. I'm not sure what the name of the mix is, but it is a multi-mix, with various sizes and shapes of beads in a range of blues, with some tiny white pearls, some small silver bugles, some gold-lined clear hexes, and three green Delicas also in the mix. The blue beads ranged from size 6/0s and 4 mm cubes to size 15/0s. Most of the blues were royal blue edging toward navy, although they look lighter in the photo. The beads were transparent, shiny, opaque, matte, silver-lined, AB, and various combinations of those. I supplemented the mix with other blue beads in the same tones and finishes.

Technical Details:

The foundation is Lacy's Stiff stuff painted with Dye-na-Flow. It's a secret mixture of Azure Blue, Violet, and Black. A mixture so secret that not even I could reproduce it.

Most of the beads on the page came from the blue multi-mix. The tube was only half full so I supplemented with other blue beads. There are 15/0s, 11/0s, 8/0s, 6/0s, triangles, hexes, bugles, cubes and Delicas. There are very few beads from the mix left--fewer than 20 leftover beads.

I used the backstitch and the stop stitch.

The piece is 2.5 inches by 3.5 inches.

I used royal blue C-lon thread, along with some tan Nymo for the pearls and gold-lined clear beads.

What I Was Thinking:

This was a fun piece to do. It was an interesting challenge to have someone else (the Bead Multi-Mixer) choose the beads for me. It just happened, with no planning. That's my favorite way to bead--to let the beads decide where they want to go. When it was finished, it just looked like an explosion.

Issues That Came Up:

I realized that I should have taken a photo of the bead mix before I started sewing. I've looked at the websites of a couple of bead vendors, and I can't find the exact mix I used. Who know where or when I got it?

I had a difficult time getting the colors in the photo match the colors in the piece. The colors are similar to those in my March 2011 page, and I couldn't get a good photo then either.

And then there's the lack of blogging... I finished this on September 1, and here it is December. The less said about that the better.

Friday, September 2, 2011

My Other Favorite Blue. Really. July BJP

Here it is. My July BJP done in my other favorite blue. Really.

So you think that sounds familiar? My June BJP was done in my favorite blue. Look to the second post below this to find out about it. This July BJP is my other favorite blue.

July is a little darker, more purple, and has more AB beads. I tried to get a photo of the two together, but I just couldn't get the colors to show up. Several kinds of beads are used in both pages. Most of the kinds of beads, however, appear on only one of the pages.

Technical Details:

The foundation is Lacy's Stiff Stuff painted with a mixture of blue and purple Dye-na-Flo.

I used 15/0s, 11/0s, 8/0s, 6/0s, hexes, Delicas, charlottes, bugles, and twisted hexes. There are also some large beads that you can also see in the blog header. I think I must have used a flash to take the photo of in the blog header. That's why those large beads look so different.

I used the backstitch, the lazy stitch and a twisted rope stitch.

This piece is 2.5 inches by 3.5 inches.

The thread is C-lon AA royal blue.

What I Was Thinking:

I did not look at the June piece as I worked on the July piece. When I put them next to each other a few minutes ago, I was surprised and pleased to see how different they are than each other. That's what I felt as I was beading. Again this time, it was fun to just enjoy the blue.

And I was thinking that I would never catch up...

Issues That Came Up:

Recently I've been using a John James size 11 sharp needle, and that's what I used for the July piece. This needle is much stiffer than the size 10 short beading needles that I usually use. And the hole is smaller. Way smaller. But it worked out well, and it's hardly bent at all. It wouldn't go through all the charlottes, so for those I switched back to the size 10 short beading needle. And then I wondered why the 10 would be smaller than the 11. Maybe it's like clothing sizes. It depends on the brand.

And now for the really good news. August is finished. And only one day late. Woo-hoo! I'm embellishing another Hope Stone right now, so I won't start September till next week.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Endless Hope

This Hope Stone was made in response to a special request from my niece. It's for someone I haven't met. But I can still send hope and good wishes. There is no end to the hope a person can send.

Hope Stones are given to survivors at the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life. Whenever he or she is ready, the survivor is invited to pass the stone on to another person with cancer--to share the hope for the future. By embellishing the Hope Stone with beads, I add my own special wishes. If you look closely, you can see the word HOPE on the front of the stone.

You can see the other Hope Stones I've embellished here

Friday, August 5, 2011

My Favorite Blue. Really. June BJP

I'm not exactly falling behinder, I'm just getting busier. But here's the June BJP. It's my favorite blue. Really. At least it was in June. It's a sort of periwinkle blue. Blue with a purplish tinge. It's hard to get that color to show up in the photo.

Even though it's now August, I did finish it in mid-July. I keep thinking I'm going to get caught up, and July is half done. Hmmm... Still three-quarters of August to go so there's hope.

Technical Details:

The foundation is Lacy's Stiff Stuff painted with Azure Blue and Purple Dye-na-Flow.

I used 8/0s, 11/0s, 15/0s, charlottes, triangles, hexes, Delicas, cubes and some drop beads.

I used the backstitch and the stop stitch. I did have fun with the fringes. If you look at the lower right hand side, you see a row of fringe. On the right hand side it is two beads tall. In the middle it is eight beads tall. On the left hand side it is five beads tall. She Who Shall Not Be Named thought this was interesting. I also did some brick stitch picots to make little sticking up triangles.

The piece is 2.5 inches by 3.5 inches.

I used AA C-lon thread in royal blue and Nymo B in blue.

What I Was Thinking:

For this piece, I just enjoyed the blue. No deep thoughts--just me and the blue beads.

Issues That Came Up:

Honestly, I'm trying to use up the C-lon. It will show up again in the July page. I do prefer Nymo thread.

Size 12 Colonial Short Beading Needles. After I bought out the entire supply on clearance from Hobby Lobby, I can't find them any more. They're bendy rather than durable, especially when going through the Stiff Stuff. But I like them. They have large holes. And before long I'm going to use up all I have. EEEK!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Jewelry to Wear to a Wedding

I needed a necklace to wear to a family wedding last weekend so I made this bead embroidered pendant to go with the dress I made.

The pendant is 2 inches long and an inch and 5/8 wide. The embroidery was done on a piece of quilting cotton backed by a lightweight fusible interfacing. The pendant was mounted on piece cut from the plastic top of a coffee can, with several layers of thin cotton quilt batting for padding. It is backed with blue UltraSuede. A beaded picot stitch joined the front to the back.

I didn’t have a silver chain or neck ring, so I went to a local department store and bought an inexpensive necklace at the “Take an extra 60% off sale.” After removing the store-bought pendant, I had to find a way to attach my pendant to the neck ring. Because of the size of the clasp, I had to make a fairly large bail. I used the two needle ladder stitch, and attached the bail to the UltraSuede backing about half an inch down from the top.

The most interesting beads in this piece are the little cubes. They are about about 4 mm, but they are diagonally drilled. That makes them stand up away from the background.

I’d like to make some beaded earrings to match, but I don’t have pierced ears. If you know of a source of clip earring blanks, I’d like to know about it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Artistic Inspiration From Far Away--May BJP

This piece has been done for quite a while, but I've been a blogging slacker. Bad Marty! Or maybe that should be busy Marty. I've done some sewing, which involved lots and lots of fitting and alterations. Photos will come later, after the grand debuts of the outfits.

I realize that I keep going on and on about our trip to Turkey in April. To repeat, it was super-fabulous! And this BJP was inspired by some of the things we saw in Turkey. I showed some of my photos here and here and here. Think turquoise. Turkey. Turquoise. The sea, the sky, the tiles. My inspiration for May.

Technical Details:

The foundation is Lacy's Stiff Stuff painted with Azure Blue Dye-na-Flow.

The piece started with the two vintage 30 millimeter bugle beads. They were on a short piece beaded trim given to me by a friend. Thanks, K! Other beads used are 8/0s, 11/0s, 15/0s, charlottes, triangles, smaller bugles, hexes, twisted hexes, and some drop beads.

I used the backstitch and the stop stitch.

The piece is 2.5 inches by 3.5 inches.

I used AA C-lon thread in turquoise.

What I Was Thinking:

While I stitched this piece, I remembered the beautiful Iznik tiles from the 16th to the 18th century we saw in Turkey. If want to splurge, you can buy reproductions here. Or you can just look.

Issues That Came Up:

It was harder than I expected to work around the large bugles. The piece didn't turn out at all as I originally thought.

I kept remembering the June 2009 piece here, and wanting to make sure the two didn't turn out the same. I did not get the older piece out, but when I see the two photos, they look quite similar. The beads must know what they want.

I used C-lon thread in this piece, as well as in my April piece and in the soon-to-be-finished June piece. I prefer Nymo. For me, Nymo seems to stay twisted better than C-lon.

So now to finish June and then to think about July.

Emerald Hope Stone

If you look carefully, you might be able to see the word HOPE etched on this stone. Hope Stones are given to cancer survivors at our local American Cancer Society Relay for Life.

The stones are intended to give a survivor hope when he or she needs it. Survivors are encouraged to pass along a Hope Stone when there is someone with cancer who needs this physical symbol of hope.

This stone is emerald green glass. I mounted it on Lacy's Stiff Stuff, backed it with UltraSuede, and added the edging, fringe and ribbon for hanging. I donated it to our Relay for Life to be used as a door prize at the dinner for survivors. I wanted to give someone some extra hope.

You can see some of my other Hope Stones here.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

April BJP--Robin's Egg Blue for Spring

If keeping up with this blog is an optional--no obligation--activity, why do I feel guilty about being a blog posting slacker? And why does the blog nag at me when I ignore it? Enough of the philosophical questions and on to the April BJP.

The April BJP was completed in May. I first blogged about it here in early April on the day we left for our super-fabulous trip to Turkey. At that time, I counted 32 different kinds of Robin's Egg Blue beads in the lower part of the piece. As far as I can tell without using a jeweler's loupe or making myself crazier than usual, I seem to have succeeded in making each column a different kind of bead. There are a few additional kinds of beads in the top part. I'm not going to count them mostly because I don't want to know exactly how many different kinds of beads I have in this color. Too embarrassing.

Technical Details:

The foundation is Lacy's Stiff Stuff painted with Dye-na-Flow, probably a combination of Azure Blue and Emerald Green.

Although we weren't going to discuss this further, I think there are close to forty different kinds of beads in this piece. An embarrassment of beads. The largest ones are five lentils. The smallest are 15/0s.

I used the backstitch and the stop stitch and a bit of couching in this piece.

The piece is 2.5 inches by 3.5 inches.

I used size AA C-lon thread in turquoise.

What I Was Thinking:

This Robin's Egg Blue color is a nice color for spring. Robin's Egg Blue is definitely a 50s name for a color. My mother used to describe this shade of blue as Robin's Egg Blue. When our older grandson was about five, we found a robin's egg (already hatched) on the sidewalk in front of our house. It was this color. Finding an egg was very exciting so we brought it inside and put it on a table in the living room. He didn't take the egg home with him, so about a week later we disposed of it.

But seriously, I was thinking about the trip to Turkey--both before it and after it--as I stitched this piece. It was the Best Trip Ever!

Issues That Came Up:

I wrote in the earlier post about my Persistent Goal-Directed Behavior. I do suffer from it. I'll try to learn to embrace it.

And then there was the embarrassment of beads. Get a grip, woman!

The May BJP has been finished for several weeks and the June BJP is about 3/4 complete. Both are blue. Watch for another post in a day or two.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

I Haven't Been Blogging Because...

I've been jumping. Look carefully. My feet are totally off the ground.

And look again. See the basketball on the ground. And the backboard almost hidden behind the man. I put the basketball through the hoop. By throwing it. Woo-Hoo!

This was taken at the Madison Wisconsin Komen Race for the Cure. Our team had five runners and two walkers. OK, so I was one of the walkers. I'll admit it.

The two grandsons raced in the 18 and under age group. Nine-year-old grandson number one was the fastest in the family with a time of 26 minutes 25 seconds. This was his first 5K run. He hadn't trained at all, but he plays a lot of soccer. Seven-year-old grandson number two had a time of 30 minutes 27 seconds, his fastest time ever! Out of the two 5Ks he has run. Woo-Hoo for the guys!

And special thanks to She Who Shall Not Be Named for organized the festivities. And for providing the totally stylin' pink socks for the female team members.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Artistic Inspiration from Far Away

We recently returned from two-and-a-half weeks in Turkey. It was a fabulous trip! We spent a few days in Istanbul before joining a Rick Steves Europe Through The Back Door Tour. After the tour we went back to Istanbul for another two days. Our great group of tourmates made everything fun. Our wonderful guide taught us a great deal--and he was fun, too!

It was Istanbul's Sixth Annual Tulip Festival. The tulips were gorgeous. We had fun walking in Gulhane Park, watching parents take photos of their kids with the tulips. It seemed very familiar... When someone sat down in the tulip beds for a photo, a policeman blew a whistle to tell them to move along.

Everyone thinks of the Netherlands when they think of tulips, but tulips actually originated in Turkey. Tulips came to Holland (Netherlands) in the 1500s, and by the 1630s Tulipmania erupted. It was a period of wild financial speculation when a single bulb could cost as much as a house.

This is a window in a tailor's shop in Istanbul. I couldn't resist the combination of wooden shoes and a sewing machine.

The tulip motif is everywhere in Turkey. These are some beautiful pillows in the Spice Bazaar.

A lovely rug with the tulip motif in the Arasta Bazaar in Istanbul. I would have liked to get a closer look to see the construction techniques. From the street, it looked pieced, but it may have been woven as a tapestry. The salesmen were quite enthusiastic, and Dr. Mathematics, my associate traveler, and I decided just to look from a distance.

A tulip motif from the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations. It was in a display case. I can't remember why exactly it was there--so I've got to go back!

Before we left and since we returned home, we've had a number of questions about safety in Turkey. We NEVER felt unsafe in Turkey. We did keep our passports, credit cards and big money in a money belt, and we looked both ways before we crossed a street. Turkey is legally a secular democracy, although not quite like the USA. We found the people helpful and friendly, the food delicious, and the scenery stunning. The history of Turkey is long, complex, and fascinating. If you have a chance, go to Turkey!

More Artistic Inspiration from Far Away

Fresco at Chora Church, Istanbul. Notice any quilt block patterns?

Tiles in the Harem at Topkapi Palace, Istanbul

Handwoven Turkish carpets at the Hereke Carpet Weaving Center, Capadocia, Turkey

Even More Artistic Inspiration from Far Away

Fantastical rock formation in Capadocia, Turkey

Sailing on the Mediterranean

View of the Aegean Sea from Starbucks, Kusadasi, Turkey

Sunset over the Aegean Sea in Kusadasi, Turkey

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Blue Again for April

In the description of my March BJP, I admitted to having an embarrassingly large number of cobalt blue beads in my stash--so many that I couldn't find the space to use them all in my March project.

And then came April. No joke, I think I have a larger variety in this Robin's Egg Blue I am using. While the March cobalt blue piece had almost no variation in value, these Robin's Egg Blue do vary in value. Even the beads that show as silver or pearl have a Robin's Egg Blue cast.

When I began to see the pattern developing in this piece, Persistent Goal-Directed Behavior kicked in. At that point each column was constructed of different beads. I became determined to see if I could complete the entire lower part with each column different.

So far, so good. With the exception of the beads used as stop beads and spacers with bugle beads, each type of bead appears only once. That would be 32 different kinds of beads. I have three more spaces to fill, and I may be able to achieve my goal.

And what will the top part look like? I don't know, but it will be Robin's Egg Blue.

Note: No shopping was needed to make this piece. Well, no shopping in March or April.

Monday, April 4, 2011

It's Not Boring! March BJP

It's not boring! It may be the most monochromatic piece I've ever done, but it's not boring!

In fact, I LOVED working in this narrow range of color. Well, calling it a "range" might be an overstatement. Nearly all the beads are the same shade of cobalt blue. A few edge toward navy, but they're all cobalt. Even the large beads with the AB finish are cobalt.

Technical Details:

The foundation is Lacy's Stiff Stuff painted with a mixture of azure blue and black Dye-na-Flow.

There are at least 28 different types of cobalt blue beads in this piece. I counted them. The largest beads with the AB finish are octahedrons. There are also some fire-polished round beads with an AB finish. The remaining large beads are hearts and leaves. The rest of the beads in this piece are the usual combination of cubes, triangles, hexes, drop beads, bugles, tubes, 6/0s, 8/0s, 11/0s, 10/0s, 15/0s, and charlottes.

The three stitches used in this piece are the backstitch, the stop stitch, and the lazy stitch.

It is 2.5 inches by 3.5 inches.

I used navy Nymo thread in size B.

What I Was Thinking:

While I stitched this page, I thought about how interesting it was to work in only one color. Eliminating differences in color allowed me to concentrate on shape, line, finish, and texture. The forest became invisible so I could focus on individual trees. The individual trees have many interesting characteristics that would not be seen if one only looks at the forest. To get the best picture, one should look at both the forest and the individual trees.

Issues That Came Up:

Twenty-eight different kinds of cobalt beads? Whoa... And what about the twelve other kinds of cobalt beads in my stash that I couldn't find a place to use here? Perhaps it is not necessary for me to go shopping for any more cobalt beads.

Octahedron. I didn't know the name for this shape, so I had to go to my associate homeowner, Doctor Mathematics, for more information. An octahedron is a polyhedron with eight sides, and Wiki can tell you all about it here. Right. I knew you would want to know that.

It was very difficult to get a photo that showed the color of the blue. This cobalt is a deep royal blue. I tinkered with the photo, but I still didn't get the color right.

So far, all three of my 2011 BJP pages have been blue. I've started April, and it's blue, too.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Blizzard of 2011 and What She Did

Remember the Midwestern Blizzard of February 1 and 2, 2011? What would you have done in that blizzard?

What would you have done if you opened your front door on February 2 to find this?

Or if you pushed the snow off your back steps and looked across your courtyard toward your garage and found this?

Or if you trudged around the block and into your garage and opened the door to look across your courtyard from the other direction and you saw this?

If there were snowdrifts taller than you, what would you do? If you were She Who Shall Not Be Named, you'd get your snow shovel and twenty (20) minutes later you'd see this:

And this:

Her name must be Superwoman!

And if you were the mother of Superwoman, what would you do? You'd print the photos on fabric and make them into a wall hanging for Superwoman's birthday present.

Happy Birthday, Superwoman!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

It's All Connected--February BJP

Another blue page. This time the theme is It's All Connected. I'll let you interpret that anyway you want, but I think it's all connected.

In January I considered the possibility of using blue beads for all 12 journal pages. That's going to be an interesting challenge, but so far I'm two for two. This blue is capri blue, more or less, depending on which bead manufacturer is naming the beads. I have to admit that I prefer the blues with a purplish cast--such as copen or periwinkle, but this was a nice color to work with, too.

Technical Details:

The foundation is Lacy's Stiff Stuff painted with Azure Dye-na-Flow. Actually I painted this background for the January page, but it was not the right color to start the year off.

The beads are primarily 11/0s and 15/0s, with some 8/0s, bugles, cubes and triangles. My favorite beads are the little hearts that connect the two upper circular gears. The silvery-colored beads that go between the gears are Toho Treasures in dyed indigo AB. Who'd guess that was the color?

The backstitch and the lazy stitch were used.

The page is 2.5 inches by 3.5 inches.

I used Nymo B thread is a medium blue.

What I Was Thinking:

I was thinking about connections. And about disconnections. I don't mean un-connections, I mean disconnections. And I was thinking about how blue sometimes gets a bad rap. I mean, I love blue. It's my favorite color(s). It's not sad or the blues. It's beautiful!

Issues That Came Up:

Things got sorta busy, so even though I finished the piece in February, here I am posting it in mid-March. It was my turn to host my book group, a situation that results in 10 or so days of hysterical housecleaning. Generally, I lean more toward casual housecleaning than toward perfect housekeeping. After all, my associate homeowner lives here, too. Even though members of the book group are lovely, kind-hearted women who are more community activist than socialite, I feel internal pressure to get the place up to snuff. So now the place is clean for another year. Or until the Queen comes for tea. (For anyone interested, this month's book was The Living Great Lakes by Jerry Dennis. Everyone in the group would recommended it, especially to those who live near the Great Lakes.)

And now I'm in the middle of my March BJP. Guess what color it is!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Kimono Ladies

Last week our Lakeshore Fiber Arts Guild had a program on "How to Wear Kimono." Mayumi Balfour was our instructor. I volunteered to be one of the models. I can't believe members weren't pushing and shoving to be dressed in kimomo. The front of the kimono (with me in it) is above, and the back of the kimono is below.

This is a close-up of the obi.

I was surprised to learn how many layers went around a woman's middle. The idea is to have a straight up and down figure, with the back of the neck being the most sensual part of the body. I'm sure you can tell that from the back view.

Here is Wendy wearing kimono:

And here are some other members of our group wearing yukata, with Mayumi on the right.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I Found My Underwear!

Woo-Hoo! I found my underwear. Woo-Hoo! Fifteen months later. Twenty-five miles from home.

A couple of friends told me they'd seen my underwear. And they told me where they'd seen it. So I decided to find it myself.

And here it is.

It's hard to see in this photo (more about that adventure later), but this is the beaded bra I made and donated for an auction that raised money for mammograms for uninsured or under-insured women. The bra cups are covered with flower, leaf and butterfly beads. The sides and back are covered with pink fabric. I named the bra "Garden of Hope."

It's hanging in the fitting room of Dockside Clothing in Grand Haven, Michigan. I believe the store owner must have purchased it at the auction.

Taking the picture was itself an adventure. I walked into the store and told the clerk that I understood there was a beaded bra in the fitting room and that I was the person who made the bra. She did a double take. I guess I don't look like the highly embellished undergarment type.

At lunch a friend had shown me how to take a picture with my relatively new phone. (See what happened to the old one here.) So I took the photo with my phone. Then the issue was what to do with it. Apparently my $20 not-very-smart phone and my $5 a month plan do not permit me to send email or to download info from the phone. So I texted it to my daughter-in-law's smart phone and she emailed it back to me. I think I should be able to take better photos with the phone, but the instruction book is not too clear. I'll have to experiment.

But when I get back to Grand Haven next month, I'll take a real camera and get a better picture.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Fabric In Its Prime

I just finished the lap quilt to keep my legs and feet warm while I do hand stitching, read, or watch TV. It's 60 inches long by 40 1/2 inches wide. My plan, as it developed, was to finish the layering and quilting and machine stitch the binding on by last Sunday afternoon so I could hand stitch the binding on to the back during the Super Bowl. I did that, but it took till this morning to get all the hand stitching completed, due to numerous distractions along the way.

Because this is an item that will be washed frequently, I used polyester batting. For the quilting, smoke polyester mono-filament thread was used on the top and brown Gutermann polyester thread was used in the bobbin. I thought the quilt was busy enough with the variety of fabrics and blocks so I machine quilted in the ditch. I used a 75/11 quilting needle and a walking foot.

I wanted to limit my starts and stops in each block and the retracing of any stitching so I consulted the local topologist for the best way to plan the quilting. He referred me to Eulerian Paths and the Bridges of Konigsberg problem.

Aha! Or it would have been Aha!, except that I was distracted by two things. First, I realized we had had this discussion before. More than once. In fact, if I recall correctly, the Bridges of Konigsberg problem was used as a pick-up line some 40 years ago. (It worked.) Second, there was a loud Whooshing noise. The Whoosh was the sound of all that information going right over my head.

Now I know you're not hearing that Whooshing sound because you read and fully comprehended those Wikipedia references. But this is what I took away from the detailed explanation: Sometimes you can quilt all around all the pieces without stopping. Sometimes you can't. I can usually figure it out by eyeballing it. That's because it's Ayrt, not mathematics.

Because this little quilt will not be treated gently, I decided to use a French (double fold) bias binding. Being a book-larnin' kind of a person, I did a little research about how wide to cut my bias strips. What I found was a range of recommended widths. After auditioning the various widths, I went with the Sally Collins recommendation of 1 7/8 inches wide. This worked very well. (For your information, Fons and Porter recommend 2", 2 1/4", or 2 1/2" and Nancy Johnson-Srebro recommends 2".)

I named this quilt "Fabric in its Prime." Shortly after my mother died in 2002, my dad gave me some money for my birthday. I decided to spend it on something both my mother and I both enjoyed--fabric. Most of this fabric in the blocks came from a bundle of quarter yards I bought at that time. I think my dad was pleased to see that I spent it that way. The fabric brings me happy memories of both my parents.

This is the label. You can see the backing fabric in the photo. The dark brown sashing and border fabric is used as a frame for the label. I did have to purchase the backing and border/sashing fabric from our favorite, locally-owned fabric store.

If you want to see the individual blocks, scroll down to earlier posts.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Starting The New Year Right!

My January 2011 Bead Journal Project is Starting The New Year Right. For me, starting the new year right means using my favorite color for beading. I really like all shades of blue, but this periwinkle blue is my all time favorite. It makes me happy, happy, happy!

When I was very little, my sister and I would help my mother bake Christmas cookies. My sister, 14 months older, decided that red was her favorite color and so the cookies with the red sugar were hers. I can remember my mother telling me that green was my color and the cookies with the green sugar were mine. For a long time green was my favorite color. I still like green, but I love blue.

I've used blue in other Bead Journal pages. I used blue to show Abundance here and Tranquility here and to remember Morocco here.

Technical Details:

The foundation is Lacy's Stiff Stuff painted with watered down blue Dye-na-Flow.

This page contains the usual combination of 15/0s, 11/0s, 8/0s, and 6/0s plus some hexes, cubes, and charlottes. There are also some flat teardrop shaped beads and some flat round beads.

I used the backstitch and the stop stitch.

The page is 2.5 inches by 3.5 inches. That's the same size as my 2010 Bead Journal pages.

The thread is blue Nymo D.

What I Was Thinking:

Happy thoughts! I love working with blue. This page has a very small range of color and value, and it was interesting to see myself continue to try to limit that range. And I wondered whether I could really do all twelve pages for 2011 in different shades of blue.

Issues that Came Up:

The most challenging thing about this page was trying to get it balanced. The three "wallpaper motifs" above the row of bugles went on early. The three "eyebrows" (that's the way I think of them--call them what you want) of 6/0 beads seemed so heavy. I didn't have any more of the 6/0 beads to use elsewhere on the page. In the end, I think the teardrop beads and the three smaller "wallpaper motifs" above the "eyebrows" helped to balance the page. Ripping was not required.

And now, can I really do all twelve pages for 2011 in different shades of blue? No need to decide till tomorrow, when February starts.

The Satisfaction of Working Without a Plan

Here's the final--fifteenth--block for my small lap quilt. It's called Eddystone Light. I always thought this block had a pretty cool name, but I had no idea what it meant. For more information, I went to The Real Source Of All True Knowledge, Wikipedia. You can read about the Eddystone Lighthouse here. If you want to hear the song about the Eddystone Light, go here.

My next step in this project is to add sashing and borders. This will be the perfect project for our expected snow day(s) Tuesday afternoon into Wednesday.

I made each block (see previous posts for the others) one at a time. I either picked out a block pattern and chose the fabric, or chose the fabric and picked the block. Then I cut the fabric and sewed the block. As I got most of the blocks finished, I started thinking about balancing the shapes of the blocks and the fabrics in the blocks. As far as I can recall, I have not made any of these blocks before, except possibly Ohio Star.

I really enjoyed working this way because of the variety in activity. The figuring, planning, cutting and sewing were spread out so I did some of each with all the blocks. It was always interesting.

Of course, there can be pitfalls in not planning ahead--a design that veers off to an unsuitable side, no unity in design, running out of fabric, the constant mess of having everything out all the time (so that one doesn't bother me at all). But for a sampler quilt, the no-plan method worked well.

I'm anticipating an attack of quilt block withdrawal. This project was so much fun that I need to start thinking of the next one I can do the same way.

And right now I don't think it will be my traditional January/February project, trying to perfect a pants pattern. Although I do need to adjust my pants pattern (lost 4 pounds--woo-hoo!), I'm in the mood for more fun. If you want to find out about my adventures in fitting pants, go here and here and here

Monday, January 24, 2011

Some More Blocks And A Non-Block

A few more blocks:

Darting Minnows:

Gentleman’s Fancy:

Beacon Lights:

Westland: This was an interesting block because the corner squares had to be inserted with a Y-seam. I hadn’t done this in quite a while, so I needed the directions. There was a minor disconnect between the directions on the block page and the directions on page 223-224 about how to stitch that Y-seam. However, no ripping was required, and I think the corners match pretty well.

For the next block, ripping was required. It is Review:

This is Not Review: As was mentioned elsewhere, it is a perfectly good block--even an attractive one. But I decided it was too similar to Birds in the Air (lower left in final picture) for me. And it was not what I had set out to make!

This is Review:

I chose Review because I needed a block with larger pieces to show the design in the fabric. It was an easy block to make wrong and an easy block to make right. It doesn’t matter how fabulous the diagrams are if a person doesn’t look at them. And I didn’t.

Here are all fourteen blocks I’ve finished:

I’ll make one more block. I’m leaning toward Eddystone Light, as suggested by Cathy. It has such a cool name. The first Eddystone Lighthouse began functioning in 1698. It is off the coast of England near Devon. I’ve tried several color schemes, but I haven’t found the right one yet.

The target size for this little quilt is 41 inches by 63 inches. I don’t want to piece the backing. I don’t know what color(s) I will use for sashing and borders, but perhaps this weekend another Crackpot and I can arrange for a fabric store session.