Sunday, March 25, 2012

Big Bun. --REALLY Big Bun.

This is one of my kitties - Cuthbert. You probably all know him by now. This picture was just such a big TEMPTATION.  --or should I say Big BUN!
I guess he didn't like the interruption too much.  (Cuthbert is at the ole' watering trough.)
Cuthbert asks, "Oh, so you think this is funny?  Wait till I get hold of that camera and take a picture of YOU.  I saw you eating that chocolate..."

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Do I Doodle? 'Deed, I Do . . .

This idea for doodling stitches on our doodle cloths for Brazilian dimensional embroidery is entirely TOO good to not share!
Yesterday morning I was at JoAnn stores (one of them). They always have upholstery fabric samples. Some are current and some are discontinued and in a bin or separate table, clearanced to go. They are 18" x 18" and are marked down to $2.00 each (and my 40% coupon worked on one of them), and all edges are serged. Besides being useful for doodle cloths, the fabric samples are also perfect for pillows.

I picked up the two prints because they were pretty. I thought about cutting them apart for crazy quilting. Then I saw the solids, slightly heavier. There are 10 diamond patterns vertically and horizontally. I'm going to start in the middle and stitch a flower. Then I will add more.  I'll post pictures as I'm working. The fabric is heavy enough that I don't need a hoop.

I just wanted to share this great idea with all of you.  By the way, I photographed the fabric pieces on my cutting mat (for a nice background). I just turned it over to avoid having grid marks on the photo.

...And THEN ...It Snowed

Why is this so funny, you ask?  It's mid-March here in the valley. It NEVER snows in mid-March here in the valley. Mt. Hood, yes, but not here! 

Well, I was pretty sure it would all be gone by mid-morning today, and it is - huge lumps and glops of snow are falling off the tree branches, smashing happily into the ground.  So, early this morning - around 1:30 a.m., yes. I picked up the camera (ignoring the perplexed look on hubby's face) and went outside in my jammies to take some snow pictures.
           No, I didn't step too far away from the house. I tried to NOT imagine the perplexed looks on the faces of the paramedics as they would need to come and haul away a little old lady lying on her back in the snow with her camera still gripped firmly in hand, staring up at the heavens with little "x's" on her eyes.

Looking up:
Looking down:
OK, you can stop laughing now. It's all gone anyway. But I did manage to capture a picture of some True Snowbirds!

This morning in the middle of The Great Melt, I took this picture of A Birdbath for Snowbirds:
This is my Hydrangea Wannabe:
And this is my Camellia Going-To-Be,-No-Matter-What:
Oh, did I forget to mention that SPRING happened yesterday?  Never mind about that lion and lamb thing -- Spring this year came in on Big Clompy Wet Snowshoes!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Yesterday it Rained. The Day Before Yesterday it Rained. Today It is Raining.

Well, this is the beautiful Willamette Valley of Oregon, so who's complaining. (I haven't figured out how to take good "rain" pictures yet, but I think I have plenty of time before July-August-September when we have NO rain.)

But with the rain, I noticed one thing. All of the flowers are starting to bloom, and once again I wander my yard with my camera, snapping pictures -- most likely the same ones as I took last year, but the flowers always look SO good.

This is my Frog Gnome (a gift from two little boys with a big sense of humor):
I have a Clematis armandii "Apple Blossom" growing just outside my front door:
Isn't it pretty?  And to think I almost missed it!  All of the blossoms are at The Very Top (because I didn't prune it back last fall):
I think I need another clematis.  But to continue the tour, sidestepping mud puddles as I wander, here's the lovely fragrant daphne just outside our front door. (Last year it turned black and crispy because of a really late frost.)
This year it's pretty:
And this spring I have really pretty blossoms on the wild currant in our side yard.
Everything looked so good, I didn't even mind the seed spitters trying to grow faster than the roses:
Well, there's a big round yellow orb in the newspaper forecast for later this week, so I guess I'll go out and play in the garden.  Guess who is going with me?  Yep.  Cuthbert! --after he's had his coffee.
Cuthbert actually thinks he's An Outdoor Cat and would like to go out now, right this very moment.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Debbie Kelley's FREE Brazilian Dimensional Embroidery Design is up!

Remember our One-A-Month -- the FREE Brazilian dimensional embroidery designs posted at our BDEIG website as a gift to stitchers as we start our next 20 years as a guild? Another of our gifted B.E. designers, Debbie Kelley of DK Designs, has designed a beautiful Monogram Keyhole Tassel. Here's a picture: 
Debbie's lovely little rosebud accents an initial (all letters included) for her tassel and, as with all of her work, she has written exquisite instructions -- all available for a free download here. In addition to the embroidery design, Debbie also tells you how to make the tassel and cord. Remember, the design is up for one month only. 

Debbie is one of our BDEIG Traveling Teachers and will happily come to teach at your store, chapter or stitching group. You can reach her here.

With permission of our designers, I hope to post information about each monthly project as it is posted at the BDEIG website around the middle of the month. Be sure you don't miss any of them; sign up for email notices whenever I make a blog entry. Just type in your addy in that box up there at the upper left of the page.

While you are at the website -- (the short version), be sure to look around. Our exciting annual seminar happens in mid-June, a week full of innovative new dimensional stitches and designs for the needle artist; you'll see pictures and descriptions of all the classes, and there's also a BDEIG Membership Application for you to complete so you won't miss a single bit of fun!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Waiting for Cuthbert to Move ... I could download my pictures.
He didn't, so I worked around him.

Here is a picture of a new flower I designed -- the Edelweiss, a pretty little alpine wildflower we all remember from "The Sound of Music".
I'm not sure if the designing or the stitching, or the creative presentation is the most fun. Probably all of the above. I stitched the design with the "Alps" on medium blue Trigger poplin and mounted it on foam core board (poked pins in the sides). Then I finished the sides with some pretty rick rack (nice to find a use for that stuff!) pinned to the foam board, too.
I wrote the flower name with my Micron Pigma Pen (the entire embroidery is also signed/initialed-dated). Then I glued it to that board using my favorite fast-drying clear glue, Fabri-Tac (from JoAnn Stores). The wood is a piece of pine board that someone wood-burned some daisies onto (I touched them up with my acrylic paints). I thought it was pretty, and it made a nice frame.  Yes, I found it at a garage sale. Oh - those flowers? 
Well ... I wandered through the house because I just KNEW I had some silk flowers somewhere. I did. They were in a bouquet, so I popped off a couple of blossoms, decided where they might look nice, dropped a splotch of glue down and plunked them into it.  I like the way it all turned out.

The picture that inspired me was sent by a friend.
I looked at it and tried to decide which stitches I would use (Yes, designing is just that easy!) and I researched it on the Internet. Those "petals" are actually bracts like a poinsettia and the "flower" is the center part. I discovered that the bracts are fuzzy and thought Cire would be a perfect fiber choice.
     I'll leave all of the stitching details to be a surprise! This will be the May Freebie "One-A-Month" design that the Brazilian Dimensional Embroidery International Guild, Inc. is giving to everyone in honor of the start of our next 20 years as a guild.
     Our first flower is already posted - I wrote about it the other day here. If you go to the BDEIG website, scroll to the bottom of the page for "Free Designs to Stitch". That's where you'll find all of the instructions.
I stitched the Edelweiss on white fabric using Cire #227 (palest sea green). Here's a picture.

Looking at it on my computer monitor, the fabric threads were showing and it looked kind of "harsh". So I popped the jpg into my photo editing app, tried a little "noise removal" and then did an "unsharp".  I'm not sure I really know what I'm doing, but liked this final version a lot better.
Cuthbert got tired of loafing under the "sunlamp". He moved over and decided to loaf on the kitchen stool instead.


Monday, March 5, 2012

Cloud Nine

This is Cloud Nine (Cornus florida). What a lovely name for a flower. It's a dogwood whose name means "In a state of blissful happiness" and although the flowers are white in nature, in Brazilian dimensional embroidery they can be any color we want.
     The flowering dogwood, native to central and eastern North America, is also the "Flower of the Year" of the Brazilian Dimensional Embroidery International Guild, Inc., and each year our designers try to think of interesting ways to preserve these flowers in stitch.

I used an interesting cast-on/bullion combination stitch and made the center veins with a drizzle and two needles. It's one of my BDEIG Seminar classes this coming June, and because the flower of this particular variety is white, I used the lighter color shown below.  In addition, I'm going to once again show a new dimensional stitch that I developed some time ago and named the "Interlocking Stem Stitch". It makes a beautiful raised border and I've used it on several designs, even one time as a cholla cactus skeleton and again as the posts of a stake and rider fence. Most often, though, I use it for a pretty raised border. Here's a picture of the design as I'm teaching it:
It almost looks like a Christmas card, doesn't it? I'll have this Millefiori design ready for everyone to stitch as soon as I stop playing on this blog and finish writing instructions. I hope you all like it.

Whisper of Springtime

Remember the design I stitched last fall for our BDEIG Scholarship Fundraiser Quilt?  If you'd like to have a chance to win this art quilt for yourself (It's approximately 40" x 50"), click the link above. All income from ticket sales supports scholarships to our BDEIG Seminars.

I wrote about stitching the block here. You can see some of the work while I was stitching. I did an interesting combination of cast-on stitches and wraps for the lilac blossoms and I added a pretty enameled button from Susan Clarke Originals.
Shaded floss (EdMar's 100% rayon Z-twist) adds such pretty depth to these lilac racemes. I went through my stash and pulled out 2-3 shaded colors and a couple of solids, plus some extra skeins with only a few strands left. Mother Nature isn't picky, so why would I want to be?
I've used this lilac stitch previously, on my Millefiori design #951 "Seasons of the Butterfly". Here's a picture, upper left corner:
Those butterflies are all embroidered. I edged them with a dark, contrasting color and they look like appliques. I also shared the technique for stitching the lilacs with a lighter-weight floss in my book, "An Artist's Garden". Here's a picture of the cover. I added the lilacs here, too. I guess you can tell it's one of my favorite flowers.
I have LOTS of them growing in my garden!
But before I take you on another endless photo tour of my garden, here's a picture of the final design, which I've named "Whisper of Springtime", and which will be one of my classes at this year's BDEIG Seminar in June (and also available for stitching soon).

I also discovered a way to make just one stitch and have it look like I made an entire bank of flowers! It's just amazing the things you can do with a few basic stitches and no rules (That's the creativity and the fun of doing Brazilian dimensional embroidery!).

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Enchanted Jungle

This is "The Enchanted Jungle", the back cover design from my book Tropical Flower Garden. This one:
That front cover design is "Into The Rainforest".  Well, the book has sold out. I'm not sure if I'll have it reprinted very soon, and I'm all out of 'Rainforest' prints. 

But I DID have several prints left of "The Enchanted Jungle" on cream fabric. So I pulled all of the instructions from the book and have combined them with the printed design. I'll sell them until they are gone - not sure if I'll print more - it depends on the interest.  Anyway, the supply of Jungle prints/instructions is limited. There are 42 flowers, lots of new stitches - including my New Pistil Stitch - and lots of ideas that you can use on your other dimensional embroidery.

If you'd like one, just let me know with an email or phone order. In addition to the screen print, a color photo and ALL those flowers, you'll receive 28 pages of printed instructions -- almost half the book!

And since I'm doing a bit of blatant advertising (I'm allowed; this is my blog...), I'd like to invite you to visit my still-in-progress website to see all of my other Brazilian embroidery designs and books. I've been adding all of my new things here on this blog (it's just SO easy), so come back from time to time, or sign up to receive these msgs in your email.  There's a little box over there on the upper left; you can subscribe and - if you want - unsubscribe at any time.

I haven't forgotten - I'm going to post pictures of my other BDEIG Seminar class designs pretty soon.