Thursday, March 29, 2012

Drunkard's path medallion variation quilt top

Roy G Biv
Thought I would share a few photos of this quilt top I pieced several years ago.  I pulled it out today to give it a look and wonder (again) if it would be possible to quilt it at home.  It is a beast!  I don't know the measurements, but it's about a queen. 

I don't know the proper name for the pattern, but it is a variation on the 'drunkard's path' pattern, and in my head I call it the 'medallion variation.'  It is pieced with feed sack reproduction fabric and off white muslin. 

This top was packed up and it came to mind because I am wanting to join the retro flowers quilt along, hosted by citystitches, and those curved seams made me think of my quilt top.  

After doing so many of them I feel like a pro, but when you think you've got them down is when you end up reaching for the seam ripper!

Monday, March 26, 2012

New Blog and Kitties

I recently started a new blog called: stitch-love-project 

This new blog is a place where I will share as many projects from Stitch magazine that I can complete, until I get too overwhelmed/bored to try.  Either way, I should have my xmas list finished early this year!

I am currently working on two pot holders, one for my grandmother and one for myself.  The pattern is from the newest issue of Stitch.  Frida was a big help..

Frida girl
Yoko looks kind of ticked but she isn't.  Aren't her little paws cute?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Chicken scratch pillow

Chicken scratch pillow

I had the great good fortune of knowing my great grandmother.  We called her "Ma". She was a hard working farmer's wife, an amazing baker, and a very crafty lady.  She was sweet and loving.  She made a quilt for me when I was born, it is a sunbonnet sue with yellow and ecru sashing.  She made my mother an amazing cathedral window quilt that hung in our dining room my entire childhood.  She always had a project going.

My mother and I were talking recently about a pillow that Ma stitched.  Mom told me it's called "chicken scratch", and after looking online, I found this type of embroidery was popular in the depression.  You embroider a double cross stitch (and a few other stitches as desired) to make a design on gingham fabric. 

I remember the pillow from my childhood as well.  It has a very textural feeling.  I like that Ma barely stuffed the pillow, so it is very thin, I would say no more than two inches thick.  I think I will start under stuffing pillows, so I can fit more on my couch!

Fried Chicken Etc..

so bad and so good

So, I try to stay away from fried food as much as I can, and I almost never cook it myself.  That being said, I am a southern girl and grew up on all manner of fried foods-- so I enjoyed my dinner very much today. 

gizzards and hearts

We had a get together to watch the University of Louisville play in the sweet sixteen (they won, yay!), and my little sister completely outdid herself.  On the menu: fried chicken legs, gizzards, and hearts, mashed potatoes, black-eyed peas, corn on the cob, biscuits and gizzard gravy.  It was so good!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Valley of Fire

A huge rock defying the laws of physics
Yesterday my husband and I took a picnic to the Valley of Fire.  Though only about an hour and a half outside of town, we had never visited this beautiful state park.  The day was slightly overcast and breezy, the air was fresh, the rocks made everything a little cooler, and the views were truly breathtaking.  If this wasn't enough, the entire area is decorated with petroglyphs that are thousands of years old!

I took over 200 photos (hah), and it was difficult narrowing it down to a few.  I may post more later in the week, but here is a sampling.  Of course, they don't do justice to the real thing..

Can you spot the petroglyphs?

Here they are up close in the top right corner
Here are some petroglyphs on a different rock

and here are some more..
So scenic!  And the roads were very curvy!
My man was in awe of the petroglyphs; he's a mystic at heart

Can you spot the bighorn sheep?

All the rocks in the park are sandstone (created from prehistoric sand dunes)  The wind shapes
them into amazing formations..

Good for the soul

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Vintage Patterns

It is beautiful in Las Vegas today.  75 degrees, a little breezy, birds are singing and the air is fresh.  My husband and I were running a few errands and, on a whim, we stopped into the Salvation Army. 

There were plenty of VCRs and old blenders, and more plates and glasses than you could shake a fist at, but I found a few things I liked!  There was a beaded purse; circa 1880, with beautiful muted colors, and the beads no bigger than a pin head!  The $100 price tag was a little rich for my blood, but I got the lady to let me hold it a minute.

Then on a shelf next to a box of old eyeglasses, I found these old Simplicity patterns! 

1971, never cut

1969, cut, the collar pattern piece is pinned to some
fabulous green flower fabric!

1972, cut

1971, never cut

1968, well used

one Butterick, cut
no date, probably mid 70s

At a dollar a piece, I didn't pass up a one!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Blueberry Scones

I made some British style blueberry scones for breakfast today. 

American scones sometimes have the bad habit of cooking up like dense bricks.  Apparently British scones are more like lightly sweetened biscuits. 

These have fresh blueberries and a bit of lemon zest.  Delicious!


I got the recipe from my favorite America's Test Kitchen.  You can get this recipe, and many more free with a 14 day trial, just click the link above!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

iPhone Modigliani Cross Stitch case

I finally finished up my iPhone case tonight!  I am pretty excited about it.  If you didn't catch my earlier post, I based my design on a work by one of my favorite painters, Modigliani. 

This was a time consuming project!  Why?  Well, embroidery almost takes the same amount of time no matter how big or small the project.  The only difference is the amount of thread you have to use.  No matter the size of the cross stitch, the needle still has to pass through the material 4 times, and there's no doing it faster!

Dinner tonight, Steak Teriyaki

This is one of my favorite 30 minutes meals.  Steak, homemade teriyaki sauce, rice, scallions- yum!!

Pan fried new york strip steak mmm

You can get the recipe here with a free trial.  You can read about my love of America's Test Kitchen here.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Cement Head

Me and my husband picked up this life sized cement head at a peddler's mall several years ago.  She weighs about 40 pounds, but we love her anyways!

She's modelling a hat I crocheted a few weeks ago.  I used a big hook and only one ball of yarn; it worked up really quick!

You can get the pattern here.  (you have to sign up, but it's free).

I love her face

Saturday, March 3, 2012

A delicious snack

So, I went to Trader Joes yesterday and picked up a package of their dark chocolate covered edamame (soy beans).  They are...fantastic!  And addicting.  And they go really good with a vanilla latte. 

My very first job, at 16 years old, was at a coffee/bagel shop.  I guess you always remember your first job.  I had fun, I learned a lot, and even got paid a little!  I don't mean to brag, but I'm no stranger to steamed milk.  :)
Ever since, I have wanted my own espresso machine.  And.. three years ago my husband got me one, and I have, without fail, made at least one latte every day since! 

If you enjoy espresso based drinks, I think it can be worth investing in your own machine. 
A few pros:   You can have a latte (or a mocha, or a macchiato, or a chai) anytime you want!
It pays for itself when compared to purchasing a drink everyday from a coffee shop.
Even an inexpensive machine, when properly used can make a mean latte!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Holbein Sketch, The Earl of Surrey Embroidery

Isn't he handsome?  In a very British sort of way!

So, continuing the theme of yesterday's book review of Flowers and Trees of Tudor England, I thought I would share a peek of one of my newest projects, a series of embroideries based on sketches by the great Tudor era painter, Hans Holbein. 

Most everyone is (even unknowingly) familiar with Holbein's work, as he painted the iconic portraits of the large and in charge Henry VIII.

I came across a picture of the Earl of Surrey, as sketched by Holbein, in one of my Horizon magazines, and fell a little bit in love with his handsome face and cool aristocratic expression.  I thought it would make a perfect embroidery!

I have been working on this, and other Holbein based embroideries for weeks, and hope to offer the patterns for sale in my Etsy shop very soon!

My pattern transfer technique is humorous I know- but I was improvising!  I used some
Dritz Mark-be-gone tracing paper and a steel crochet hook!

It worked pretty good!  The lines kept wanting to disappear so I ironed it good to help set them.

I used several stitches, including cloud fill, stem, and very tiny feather stitches!  Those back stitches that
make up the face are about a 32nd of an inch and smaller!

Tudor Flowers supplement

I had to add this photo of Frida girl laying on Flowers and Trees of Tudor England.  She is the sweetest old barn cat you will ever meet. 

And yes, she has a goatee that is completely adorable! 

Casual Book Review, Flowers and Trees of Tudor England

Notice all the bookmarks sticking out of the top.  I reference this book often!

So, this is a casual (and by that I mean mostly unqualified) review of a very sweet book in my collection entitled Flowers and Trees of Tudor England.  I think I picked this up at a used book store a few years ago, but it might have been an antique mall.  I loved it immediately and therefore paid more than I normally do for a used book, I think around $10.  I have returned to this book several times for inspiration for various craft projects.  I really love the treatment of the trees.

A brief history of this book:
So this book is a collection of plates taken from a rare and fantastic manuscript dating from around 1504 called the Ashmole Manuscript.  This 16th century 'picture book' came onto the pages of history when it was acquired by a Mr. Elias Ashmole in the mid 17th century.  Mr. Ashmole married rich and was thus able to devote himself to the softer things in life: local history, alchemy, poetry.  His eclectic collection of 'curiosities' was first housed in his own museum, but has since been split between various museums and colleges over the centuries. 

The Ashmole Manuscript is both rare and a bit mysterious, as there is little text and no hints of original ownership.  Its exact purpose is not even agreed upon by scholars.  I like the theory that it was intended as a pattern book that artists could use as reference.  As in, "hmm, I can't quite picture what a cauldron looks like.. let me get my book."

So this manuscript has over the years gathered respect and acclaim as not only beautiful stylized depictions of plants and flowers, but also as a unique source of day to day objects commonly used in the 16th century.

My book, Flowers and Trees of Tudor England, is a partial facsimile of the original Ashmole manuscript, and was published in 1972.  It is slightly over sized (almost coffee table sized), but rather thin.  The paper is thick, and the illustrations are reproduced pretty nicely.  Not the best printing technique, but nice.  There is also brief accompanying text describing each plate.  For me it is useful for what I think was it's original purpose, as reference and inspiration!

**A note: I just installed a new photography app on my phone, so pardon all the effects!  The book doesn't have furled edges, it's actually a really nice copy!

The cover; the tattered edges is a camera effect.  The book is quite solid!

Dandelion and Sweet Briar

Box tree and Pomegranate

Apple tree and White poplar

There are some really nice photos of the original manuscript pages here.

If you want a copy of your own, visit my favorite site to buy books online,   Biblio Books.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Modigliani iPhone Cross Stitch Case

I purchased an iPhone cross stitch case several weeks ago, and have finally begun working on it!  I based the design on a painting by one of my favorite artists, Amedeo Modigliani. 
I've been hopelessly in love with Modigliani and his beautiful, unique style of painting for years.  He lived in Paris in a very romantic time (the turn of the century), and he knew all the great painters of that age.  His life was tragically short, but his style has inspired many (including me) ever since.  I got to see his Woman in a yellow sweater at the (now closed) Guggenheim museum, Las Vegas a few years back, and spent a good while standing and examining it from several distances!
But back to the case, I am getting close to completing it, and I will post a picture of it finished as soon as I can!