Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Thou Shalt Not - - -

- - - Covet. At least that's what I've always been taught. But it's really, really hard to keep that commandment sometimes! Last week I made it up to Sharon's house to 'meet' a new piece of furniture she had just acquired for her wool room. This piece is a rug hooker's dream come true with all it's drawers - perfect for holding worms, small bits of wool and other supplies.

The drawers are dove-tailed - - -

- - - and the oak finish is nearly pristine. She was told this used to live in a telegraph office.

It sure looks nice in it's new home, huh? It's such a shame that they just don't build furniture like this anymore.

Sharon also showed me three crates of vintage cream bottles her hubby bought for her - can't wait to see what she fills them up with.

I got to see the project she was working on the day I visited - Valentine's cards for her grandchildren. Lucky kids!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Birthday Gift

My Mom's birthday is coming up. It's gotten to the point where she really doesn't NEED anything, but I like to give her SOMETHING to make her feel special and remembered - so I bought some spoons at the thrift store - hammered them flat - then stamped sayings on them using my set of metal alphabet stamps.

She lives in a condo with a very small patio - but it is overflowing inside and out with plants and flowers of every description - so I think she'll enjoy putting these little stakes into her pots.

Wish I had her green thumb, but our yard (and consequently our house) is too shady to grow flowers with much luck....

Friday, February 17, 2012

Quilty Stuff

I've been doing a little more stitching. Finished this basket quilt and gave it away for a birthday gift - I think the recipient was very pleased to have it.

It was the cover pattern in the most recent issue of Primitive Quilts, but I tweaked it just a bit by making three basket blocks instead of the four that they had.

Then, I did six blocks for Cheri's recent stitch-along, but I'm not really loving this one. Don't know if it's my choice of fabrics & colors, or what - but I doubt it's one that'll ever get finished.

I started making tiny 3" paper-pieced house blocks - you've seen them all over blogland, I'm sure. The idea is to make one house each day for the entire year so you'd end up with a huge village by the time you're done. I know I won't make that many, but it has been lots of fun going through my scrap baskets and pulling out old favorites to use in these scrappy blocks. I even found some small novelty print fabrics that I could fussy cut and place a cat or a star or a heart in the window. They'll all end up having blue sky so that's why I have all those blue fabrics sitting here.

Here's a picture of my design wall - just a block or two of this & that - nothing really serious going on..... 

And speaking of design walls - I know a lot of quilters spend big money on specially marketed products to use for their design walls, but I use a very inexpensive vinyl tablecloth - the kind that has a flannel backing. It's just thumb tacked up on the wall - and it holds onto my quilt blocks without any problems. Just thought I'd share that tidbit in case anyone is needing a wall - it can be very portable too - take it to class - then fold it up and bring it home without disturbing your layout......

Monday, February 13, 2012


I used to decorate for the hilt for each holiday as it came - I'd hang up themed wall quilts, fill the hutch in the dining room with dishes & a bunch of knick knacks, and hang a ton of handmade ornaments that I'd received in prim swaps on my year round tree. Lately, I've been scaling things back - if I actually do anything at all! This year, instead of pulling out the tote full of Valentine decorations that I already own, I made up just a couple of new things to display on the dining room table.

Last week at hooking, Nancy pulled out some old issues of RHM News & Views for us to look at (1980's) and I saw a cute pattern for a Valentine Rug - I shrunk down the design and did it with my punch needle instead of hooking it and it turned out so cute! I had a hard time deciding how to finish it, but  ended up making a small heart shaped pillow.

I followed the tutorial that Kris at Simply Prim posted awhile ago and made a handful of grubby hearts using pipe cleaners from the dollar store. I cut each piece in half and made them much smaller than hers - they worked up quickly and smell really good since they're coated with cinnamon and nutmeg. Mmm......

So here's the finished centerpiece displayed on my table. The wooly feather tree looks cute adorned for Valentine's Day!

.....On a side note, on Saturday I received a brand new catalog in the mail that is just full of wonderful decorating items. From furniture,  to bedding, to accessories, to hand hooked rugs. They have a website here where you can see all of their merchandise, but I would suggest requesting one of their free catalogs - it's so much fun to turn each page and see the details of each lovely item! It's called Primitive Beginnings and I think you'll like it!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Eye Candy

I meet with two different rug hooking groups each month, and this month they happened to land one day apart - so I've enjoyed two days of visiting with friends and being inspired by their projects.

Tonia finished her Karen Kahle rug - this is a pretty big one (by MY standards anyway) and it was only half finished last month - so she's been really busy!

Here are several close-ups so you can see some of the beautiful details. Even though she hasn't ever taken a class from Karen Kahle - I think she's captured her technique really well.

Sharon was binding this cute little bird rug - love the colors she used on this - especially the background..

Victoria was working on a penny rug that she started a long time ago.

Jeanette brought these finished proddy flowers that she hooked and installed in a thrift store frame - I love the texture of them, and how she left the background unhooked so you could see the linen.

And this is the project she's working on now - everyone's favorite quote from the Bible about working with wool and flax - so appropriate for all rug hookers!

Switching groups - this is a cute little bird pillow that Terri recently finished - these vibrant, cheerful colors really pop against the black background. This was a free pattern in a recent issue of Rug Hooking Magazine.

And this is the second Halloween rug she's hooked using this pattern - the first one was made as a gift for her mother.

I'm making slow progress on my scrappy rug. It's very unusual for me to hook the background before the motifs, but that's what I've done with this one cuz I didn't want to drag a million colors of wool with me to meetings so I just grabbed the antique blacks and a green for the vine & leaves in the border. I hope I don't run into any problems when I get around to hooking the rest of those flowers!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Rockin' It!

Last week I visited one of my favorite local needlework shops and found some natural wool roving for sale at a fantastic price. I bought some and used it for a project that I've been wanting to try for awhile now. I gathered a few small river rocks and wet felted a cover for them using this tutorial I found on YouTube. Then I tried my hand at embellishing them with some embroidery stitches using crochet thread instead of floss - definitely not perfect - but I like the texture - and the neutral colors. I think these will look pretty displayed under a glass cloche.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Talented Friends

My Little by Little quilt group met on Wednesday night and there was some great show & tell. Kathy has become SO good at making dolls! She uses polymer clay to sculpt their faces and hands - every single one turns out differently. Then she sews their clothing with exacting attention to the smallest of details - and she designs her own patterns and finds all the little embellishements that make them so special. Right now she is working on some  Christmas elves - she has orders for six of them.

Here are two heads that don't have bodies yet - their expressions are so sparkling and mischevious! I love the freckles on the girl elf.

She also showed us this quilt that she's stitching the binding - it will be sent to her son who is serving a two year mission in Uraguay.

Jayna has been making jewelry for several years now, but she just took a class and learned some new techniques to go along with the soldering that she's perfected. Now she can make her own bezels - and add a lot of depth and dimension to her work using resin. I'd say these have a slight steampunk vibe to them. Very fun!

I love rubbing shoulders with these friends each month and seeing what new projects they've been working on!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Block Party

For the last three years I have participated in the Block Party that is organized by one of my favorite quilt designers - Lynda Hall - of Primitive Pieces by Lynda. Lynda designs a quilt block and chooses a color palette - then people sew them up and send her quilt blocks. She arranges to have them pieced together, quilted and auctioned off to raise money for Quilts for a Cause to fight breast cancer.  I just finished up a number of blocks and will get them in the mail to her soon.

I know there is still plenty of time for people to sign up, so if you are interested in helping out just send her an email telling her you are willing. She will send you the pattern and instructions on how to make the block - they work up really quickly and can be scrappy - which makes it so fun.