Sunday, March 27, 2011

Woodlawn, Spring cleaning, and jewelry making

Well, I finally made it to Woodlawn to see my Arch-Chancellor's Hat on display. I was very disappointed as it was placed so that the words were unreadable. After they displayed my Priest's Stole on a bed and hard to see, and not in the same room where all the other vestments were placed, this placement is a big disappointment. Not sure that I will be entering anything else, as I doubt that I will ever do something good enough to get any prize. Yeah, I've heard the stuff about not entering just to win, but... Plus, I have just as much fun showing my stuff off at my local stitching groups, and it doesn't cost $20 to do so either. I would count the gas to get to meetings, but I have to drive to deliver the piece to Woodlawn, drive to Woodlawn to see it, and make a third trip to pick up my piece. All so they can display them in the worst possible ways. I have a picture of it, but they let us past the ropes so my friend could take the picture straight on. From the ropes, you can't read the quote, and it just looks like smudges. Talked to a friend of mine, who was incensed that they didn't give the stole at least honorable mention, and she agreed that they do seem to be doing a good job of putting my things in the wrong place, and that it was an expensive way to be disappointed.

Meanwhile, the cleaning goes on, and I actually got rid of four boxes of stuff last week! And, I found the supplies for my rainbow crystal bracelet, and made a new one for myself, having given my other one away. I designed this as a look alike for a very expensive bracelet made of sapphires--they come in every color of the rainbow, and the bracelet is gorgeous, but wearing something that expensive--as Rita Rudner says, "I don't want anything around my neck that is worth more than my head", and for me, the same goes for my wrist and hand. This bracelet, if someone steals it, I can always make another one. I'll have to do another picture, as this one dates back to when I was using only nine colors of swarovski cubes (all the colors they had at the time) and I now have twelve colors, they came out with indigo, olivine and jonquil after I designed the piece.

Lastly, my avocado tree is doing very well, and once frost danger is past will be moving out on the back porch, along with the lemon tree, the castanospermum, the pointsettia and the plumeria. I lost one of the stubs over the winter :-(, but the pink/red one is doing fine, and still has the flower buds she set last fall. Over the next week, I plan to start a bunch of seeds, tomato, pepper (green and hot types) black beans, corn and other veggies, and a few herbs. I also am going to be rooting some sage for a good friend of mine who is starting an herb garden.

THE Magpie

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Syrian Tiles supplies came!!!!!

The supplies I need to do Jane Nicholas' Syrian and Persian Tiles just arrived!!! WoooHooo!!!!!! Gonna be busy for a long time to come. It's the perfect cure for boredom. Unfortunately, it is hell on cleaning.

I ordered gold glass pearls in four sizes, and some wire for the detached parts, and the volume of wire is amazing. I think I may have a lifetime supply now, and for a mere 12 dollars American.

Hmmm, thinking that I may do detached stuff for Michele's flowers too... Uh-oh, I am totally high on projectery. Don't talk me down, I'm having too much fun!

THE Magpie

Pictures of the beginning of the project

So here are the materials I am using for this project. I have a choice of eight different flowers, and any materials I want to use, but am limited to two different stitches for the flower I do. I am going to do flower number one, the top left flower in the picture. Based on the materials I got from Michele, I decided to do textures. And colors, duh, I am THE Deranged Magpie, after all. I think I am going to use the fabric that is laying over the pictures for the background, and yes, I am probably going to do most, if not all of the flowers--I have til October to finish the embroidery after all.
This is a pretty good photo of the fabric I will be using for the first flower, and also the flower pictures themselves.

Here are some of the fibers I got from Michele. I have rayon floss, and a selection of wools and other yarn type stuff, and also some metallic braid. I'll probably supplement this with my own fibers, and, of course, beads, which I have spent most of yesterday putting back in order. I have found that I am a visual creator, and that in order to make pretty things, I start with disorder--well, actually, I start with everything categorized and tidy, and cause disorder, and then put things back in order. Or something of the sort.

I really liked what a priest at the church I attend challenged us with as a Lenten Discipline. Instead of giving up something (chocolate is the one I hear most, actually), he suggested we do something positive. So for mine, I decided to wage war on junk--I have a lot of stuff, and some of it needs to go. So I am trying to empty at least two boxes of stuff a week, throw it away, give it away, or put it away. I don't think it will solve the whole problem, but it will make a dent at least. Which led to me tidying up my beads, and I got rid of a cardboard box, hooray! Next is to finish putting beads away, and then on to another box of stuff, in between updating this blog and embroidering, of course.

Anyway, you wouldn't think bringing more stuff home was a very good start to the thing, but hey, I have places for all this stuff.
Plus, the fabrics are pretty. I may supplement these with fabrics from my stash, who knows. In my cleaning, I found a box of fabric I got from a woman on RCTN (rec.crafts.textiles.needlework) as a swap for something--don't remember what I sent, but she must have really liked it.

THE Magpie

Friday, March 11, 2011

New project!!!

On Wednesday I went to my Embroiderer's Guild meeting, and a former president of the chapter and current designer of very cool stuff, Michele Chavez, had a new challenge project. She had done several (oh, okay, eight) Jacobean type flowers. The challenge was to interpret one or more in fiber, fabric and whatever else you wanted to toss in the mix, and to only use two different stitches on any one flower. So you could use running stitch and french knots, for instance. She also had a bunch of bits and pieces of fabric and different fibers and flosses for stitching with.

I got a bunch of little pieces of fabric in interesting textures, and also some crewel yarn and other interesting textured fibers, and decided that I am going for textures in the flowers. I think this is going to be lots of fun, and there will be lots of pictures here to look at.

Incidentally, this is the same person who caused me to make the priest's stole that started my crazy mad embroidery obsession, so big round of applause to Michele, my muse.

THE Magpie

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Book Review: Seed Bead Fusion by Rachel Nelson-Smith

You can find it at any Borders that are still open, and also Amazon, here are the addresses online..., type in seed bead fusion, and for amazon,

Lots of interesting projects in here, one of which I am currently stitching up, a beaded bead about which I have previously blogged. See the picture here:

I'll have to see if I can get some good pictures of it as it is now, I have finished the first row of bumps and started on the middle row, but I'm not going to take pictures today, the cloud cover is not conducive to clear bright photos. Anyway, she mostly does structural pieces, not flat, and generally in several layers. I like that, as you can choose which layer to stop at, and do all or only some. She has used a diverse assortment of items to inspire her designs, including eggs, Star Wars aliens, Bollywood jewelry, and sea creatures.

Best of all, in my opinion, her directions are concise and clear, a wondrous thing, and I have done projects where the directions were not so great, so I am always glad to find ones that are good. She also has a huge number of illustrations and photos showing what the pieces look like at various stages in the construction. The projects in the book range from beginner level pieces to more advanced items, and short term projects that can be finished in a few hours to things which would take--well, a lot longer. All of them are gorgeous, and the book is a wonderful inspiration.

THE Magpie

As usual, I have no financial stake in the sales of this book, other than having purchased a copy and liking it very well indeed.