Saturday, June 27, 2009

prepping pages for the plane

While taking a few moments to prep some pages in my travel journal, I decided to quickly collage a page with just a few leftover scraps gathered from my desk. Collecting bits of wallpaper, Jenni Bowlin paper, Anna Griffin paper, some leftover Sizzix die cut shapes and letters, and a couple rubber stamps, this page was arranged in minutes. I applied some bluish ink and washed it over the pages for background color.

After gluing everything in place, I penned in some words and hope to continue journaling on the plane, where they still do allow pens, if not embroidery scissors. Can you tell that I'm excited to be on my way?


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

embroidery party


Even though I forgot my camera and can't show you the yummy chicken salad made by Amy's dad or the dainty little cupcakes showcased on their pedestal stand with little fairies beckoning us to taste, I can tell you what a fun day we had lunching and stitching at sweet Amy's embroidery craft day.   ClaudineLorraineSueHope, Lia and I all came together to progress with our beginning or rusty embroidery skills, bringing our bits and pieces to add to our sampler and to share across the table.

Beforehand, as a little treat to myself, I started a needle book to keep track of my needles. So far I've hand-sewn the cover, using soft pink chenille on the front, lining it with white felt, and binding it with pink blanket tape. Inside I'm adding a pink linen page for the needles, binding the raw edges with red blanket stitch. But, since the page is double-sided, I'm having trouble ending and starting the threads without making a big lump where I anchor the ends. So I brought the needle book-in-progress to Amy's for advice.

Happily, both Amy and her mother Marjorie with her soft southern drawl demonstrated stitch after stitch. Marjorie showed me a blanket-bag project she was edging with blanket stitch and showed me how I could roll my linen edges to hide the raw fabric and tuck in the thread ends.

Amy's joyously-colored embroidery sampler (see here and here) inspired us all to draw some squares on our background fabric and get started. My beginner's hand was a little shaky, but Claudine plunged right in, sewing on some buttons and beads to remove that blank slate feeling.

My sitting next to Sue afforded me another visual treat.  Sue used to own a vintage dress shop and generously shared her pile of gorgeous vintage lace bits which she plopped temptingly right next to me.  Using Claudine's idea to get over the hump, I found a small lace remnant to sew as a corner frame above the bird Amy iron-transferred onto my linen. I think Sue called that row of white stitches I made along the top of the lace an entredos stitch.  Then I bravely tackled some French knots to anchor the little flower sections.  And finally I used some back stitch and Amy's fill stitch to add a leafy branch.  Phew!  So much time, so few stitches to show you.

Next up is the little bird.  And if the early mornings stay cool for the next few days, I think I'll take my embroidery out to my favorite deck chair. My comfy chair (shown in the first photo) is covered with the quilt I purchased at half price at the Beekeeper's Cottage at Luckett's last week on our girls' shopping day. Oh, and my sewing bag is from last year's Silver Bella Prada Schmada class with Charlotte Lyons.  And then I'll carry my embroidery on the plane to France, just in case I have any free time during my visit . . .


Thursday, June 18, 2009

reading corner


Another day filled with rain made my reading corner just the place for a relaxing break. It's next to the window so I could listen to the heavy drops cascade into the garden while I started some homework. Next week sweet Amy is hosting an embroidery party, and I decided I need to learn some stitch vocabulary -- and maybe some stitches, too. Plus today I signed up for a Silver Bella embroidery swap hosted by Rebecca. Such fun ahead!

I found the two paperback books on eBay, and they look so enticing that even as a beginner I'm hooked. Luckily, they are both filled with diagrams and directions. Crewel and Surface Embroidery by Trish Burr is a 2008 publication, still available on Amazon, with 17 projects from beginner to advanced levels and lots of tips on techniques. Monograms, the Art of Embroidered Letters, by Susan O'Connor was published in Australia in 2007, so it's harder to find. Again it's filled with illustrated techniques and two sets of templates.

I thought I'd tell you a little about my reading corner. On the old turned table bought in Holland in the 80's, which sits beside my carved Victorian reading chair, are three delicate handblown glass balls from North Carolina (others have broken in our many moves) in a Coalport china bowl acquired when I worked for Wedgwood in Germany. The hand-carved lion was made by the same carver and from the same stone being used to restore columns in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre when I lived in Jerusalem in the 70's. It guards an old iron pedestal stand found long ago in a NC antique shop. The silk flowers are leftover from an art event I helped decorate. This quiet corner, like many others in my home, reminds me of all the countries and houses I've lived in, pursuing my adventures.

Monday, June 15, 2009

lovely ladies in love with vintage


The Ladies Leesburg Vintage Society
Back row: Jessica, Pam, Lori, Amy, Heather, Andrea
Front Row: Hope, Karla, Beth, Stephenie, Robin
Photo by Donna Troxler, owner On a Whim

This past Friday, Heather brilliantly organized a lovely shopping day in Leesburg that brought together blogging friends from PA, OH, MD, VA, and even KS.  She further managed a day full of sunshine after weeks of thunder and rain here. We enjoyed wonderful hours of laughing and shopping and eating -- and getting to know each other in person.

Amy, Karla, Jessica, Lori, Andrea, Heather inside the Antique Emporium

You'll enjoy such a treat when you visit each of their blogs (see links above) for gorgeous photos showcasing their favorite images of the day.   Although I'm lucky enough to shop at these vintage places more often, it's such an eye-opener to see the day through their eyes, and to see what I may have missed, too. And yes, I was too busy chatting to remember to take many photos myself.

Amy, Heather, Stephenie, Lori at On a Whim

Our full day started with a couple hours at Lucketts, the Beekeeper's Cottage, and the Design House.  Inside Lucketts is the small shop Fleurish where, as blogging serendipity would have it, we met the owner Karen, the Graphics Fairy, who came to life right before our eyes.  Down the road at On a Whim, the owner Donna told us stories about her wonderful prom gown collection and took our group photos.  In Leesburg at The Cottage, owner Ann was pleased to see old and new friends come to visit.

Robin, Beth, Jessica outside Lola's

Needing a mid-day refreshment break at Lola's, we indulged in homemade cookies and lemonade and cokes in the green bottle while examining the very prolific pages of Hope's journal.  Fortified, we made our way to the Antique Emporium and then Ekster's, where the light subtle European tones of gray and white delighted everyone.  

Ok, I was compelled to take this photo of my raspberry sherbet dessert at Tuscarora Mills where they graciously gathered together a looong table for our 11 hungry selves. Lacking a sweet tooth, I seldom eat dessert, but this was delicious!

And afterwards we stayed on chatting outside Tuskies through the balmy evening . . .

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

high flying in boston


Heading off to Boston this week to be WOWed by some high-flying action.  My son's newest high-rise building project will have its opening ceremony on Thursday, with the mayor helping to cut the ribbon.  And although she loves flying through the air, I think my 9-year-old granddaughter will come down from her trapeze long enough to join us at the celebration.  


Wednesday, June 03, 2009

another journal start


Although it was a busy day, I took my new journal with me in case I had a chance to start on its fresh pages. And luckily, while waiting for my lunch to come to the table, I had just enough time to sketch a page, a sort of stylized figure from maybe the 1960's, a bit vintage like the new-found treasures we'll be looking for next week. The lighting wasn't great, and all I had was my pencil.  No color yet.  But I'm looking forward to a great day next Friday shopping with new and old friends in Leesburg.  I'm sure we'll have many colorful hours that I'll want to note.  Maybe I can even persuade each of these lovely women to add a page for me. Wouldn't that be a great memory!

Edit:  I finally remembered where I had seen the sewing pattern pose that prompted this sketch.  It's pictured on Kari Ramstrom's Year of Color blog, as a Moleskine journal cover made by Julie Thompson.  You can see Julie's cute journal here.