Friday, May 28, 2010

Flowery Friday

I got nothin' on the stitching front to share but I've got flowers. And since uploading pictures and posting on Blogger is a real trial on the weekends I'll post today and maybe next week I'll have stitching to show.

This year the flowers are blooming like crazy. The columbines are very full and their color is beautiful.

I couldn't even begin to get all the irises in a picture. They've bloomed like they mean business.

Irises and lilies seem to love our clay rich soil. It's too soon for the lilies but once they start they will be beautiful. Every time I go to the garden center they have a new variety I must find a place for.

Our holiday weekend will be quiet as the Scholar is away and The Boy Wonder has track sectionals. We'll open the pool, wash the back porch, and cook on the grill. Not a bad start to summer.
Hope everyone has a great holiday weekend.

The Queen Bee

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Lap Frame

Here is the lap frame I recently bought from Images Stitchery Design. It's called The Lap-Stitch Doodler Frame.

I need to start stitching at least a few things in a frame instead of holding them in my hand. To test it out I started this SB pattern. I have Q-snaps and a scroll frame with a floor stand. Neither seem to work for me. The appeal of this one is the ease in which I can flip it over to end or start a thread from the back. I don't have to unclamp anything. The down side is that when it's on my lap it is still too far away from my face. I've had some luck holding it one way or another so I can work with a hand on top and a hand behind the fabric. It works really well on a table top but that is rarely how I stitch.

This particular model has 3 different scroll bars (12, 15, & 18 inches). You do have to stitch your fabric to the leader on the scroll, but that was simple. I just used a long stitch on my sewing machine. When I'm ready to take it off I'll use a seam ripper to pull the thread out. In theory I could mount a different project on each set of scroll bars and just put it on the frame when I want to work on it. In reality, I doubt I'll do that. Maybe if it was the only way I could work on something I'd try that, but for now having one piece mounted is enough.

I'm going to take Lee's advice and make it work otherwise my hands will give out before my will to cross stitch ever does.

The Scholar is in Mexico City working at a day camp for 2 weeks. So far she reports that things are going well, she's in charge of arts and crafts and that they've had some 'cool' food. Wish I was there.

Carol.... Holiday Express is about 12X24.

I'm off.

The Queen Bee

Thursday, May 20, 2010

One huge step is finished.

Here it is... in all it's stitchy glory. Holiday Express. You can read about this project here.

I have finished all the full x's. The back stitching is done from the right hand edge to the engine. Random back stitching is finished in the rest of the picture, but the bulk remains. Also, the half stitches that make the mountains and smoke need finished. Both those steps could take quite a lot of time. I am still celebrating this first huge hurdle, though.

One thing that might jump out at anyone familiar with this piece is that I ended about 20 stitches short on the left. There should be about 1 1/2 inches more of the building but due to a miscalculation in fabric I got over that way and discovered I didn't have room. I never ever start a project anywhere but the middle. But, since this one was so large I started all the way over on the right. I hold my projects with my left hand and didn't want the center part getting held so much while I worked my way to the right then over to the left. Hence, the mismeasurement. I always request my fabric be large enough to include 3 inches all the way around but I guess this one wasn't cut that way. I'm pretty sure that little misstep isn't going to matter in the larger scheme of things.

Now, if I could just keep up the momentum I'll reach my August goal.

The Queen Bee

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Library

Here is my progress on The Library by Little House Needleworks. I'm doing this as a SAL and only stitch on Monday. Other than the bricks, it's a fun piece to stitch because each window is different.

My next post will be one of two things. Either I will have reached a milestone on Holiday Express or I'll show you my new lap frame. The lap frame photos are taken but Holiday Express will take precedence if I reach that important point before posting again. I keep hoping....

Until then, I'm off.

The Queen Bee

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A simple finish

Last year I made the Lizzie Kate Halloween Flip-its and this past weekend I finally finished it into something. I just backed it with some black cat fabric and made a pocket for the hanger. The hanger came from the quilt store. Quick and easy.

I had the purple piece of fabric and thought it would be perfect except it was a little too small. So, I had to adjust the pattern and leave out 2 of the little flip-it patterns. I thought I might make those into a piece all by themselves. (Don't anyone hold their breath.) Hard to say when they'll work themselves to the top of the 'next' pile.

I'm just happy to have another thing off the work table and onto the wall.

I have some more progress pictures but they'll have to wait for another day. I don't want to use up all my posting material in one day!!

I'm off.

The Queen Bee

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A new quilt.

Today I picked up this quilt from the long arm quilter. I posted a picture of this one just before taking it to be quilted on February 20th. And now here it is all finished (minus the binding)....with a little help from the cat. Anyone who has a cat knows that once they decide they're going to be part of the action they aren't going to leave. She looks like she's about to jump at something but that is really her 'I dare you' look. She's daring me to make her move. I'm not even going to fight her, otherwise she'll think this quilt is something special and won't ever leave it alone.

It is gray and miserable outside again. I saw Loons on the lake..... something I've never seen before. I bet it's too cold up in the mountains where they usually summer. They're probably just stopping by until it warms up. I wish I'd had my camera.

Now I'm off to see which sewing project is calling my name.

The Queen Bee

Monday, May 10, 2010

A finish and another purse

First up is 'Mississippi Riverboat' by Little House Needleworks done on a piece of 32 count Picture This Plus 'Mello'. This was fun to stitch and Mello is a great fabric color.

Next is the purse. It's another Interchangeable bag by Ellen Medlock, but made with a twist.

I used Texture Magic, a very cool product.

First you stitch it onto the back of the fabric then use steam to shrink it giving the fabric a crinkled look. I stitched it in a 1" grid over the entire piece of fabric. Another way to do it is to follow the sizing instructions and cut the pattern pieces large and then apply the Texture Magic. I chose to shrink the fabric then cut the pieces because the pattern pieces had a curve so it was harder to tell how to make the appropriate adjustment.

Here is a swatch I tested it on next to the fabric ready to be shrunk.

It looked like this all shrunk up after applying steam to the back of the fabric.

The finished product......

It was a fun product to work with.

Tonight I plan to work on my Monday SAL piece.... 'The Library' by Little House Needleworks. I think I'll need just one more Monday to finish the current library window. Then I'll take a picture to show it off.

I'm off.

The Queen Bee

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Aaaaah, Mother's Day

Today I'm supposed to be lazy and not lift a finger. We'll see how that all works out but we're off to a pretty good start. There is still a lot of day left, though.

Anyway, here in upstate NY, the hummingbirds ALWAYS make their first appearance of the year on Mother's Day weekend. I was planning to catch them on their return and post a picture. I was ready with the feeder full and a hanging Fuchsia basket. Instead.... this is what I got....

First, the wind blew so hard yesterday (50mph) that all the food spilled out of the feeder, the flowers are in the garage to save them from being battered, and YES.... that's snow. Snow in early May isn't unheard of, just disappointing. Not much we can do but watch it.

Happy Mother's Day.

I'm off to sew.

The Queen Bee

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Some answers

Let me answer the questions people have asked about the last posts.

First, Heart and Home is designed by The Quilt Company. Their website is I've seen this pattern offered as a block of the month in various quilt magazines. My local quilt shop put together kits and offered a 6 month class. It was so different then anything else I've ever made. Maybe I was drawn to it because it is similar to Little House Needlework's patterns. I hadn't thought of that, Lee, but it's probably true.

The purse patterns are both from one local quilt store or another. Purses and totes are hugely popular in quilt stores these days. The Bow Tucks Tote (mine is the larger one) is by I'm not sure what quilt store I bought it at, but I've seen it at many stores. has it.

The smaller purse is from the Ellen Medlock Collection. The website is here with tons of bag patterns. Mine is called The Interchangeable Bag. I bought it at my local quilt shop.... the pattern came with the handle. I think there is even a larger set of handles but this smaller one was cute. I liked that I could make a small bag that matched a coat or an outfit. I like a very large purse so I knew I wouldn't be making a purse for every day use no matter how big the handles were!

Thanks for stopping by and asking.

The Queen Bee

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Photo success..... sort of.

Despite looking like I stood on my head to get this picture, it's the best of the lot. I was standing on a chair looking from the top down. With a quilt like this, it's hard to give each part it's due in a photo. I can't get in a position to take a straight on photo. Anyhow, here it is. Heart and Home. It was a 6 month quilt class at my local quilt shop. It was really fun and very different from anything I've ever made. Tons of piecing in the houses and the border.... I can't even tell you how many pieces are in that heart and ribbon border. A gazillion. I took it to my quilt guild Monday night for show'n'tell and someone asked me how I did the applique and I said there wasn't much applique. Duh.... I guess I completely blocked out those sections with the trees, bunnies, and leaves. I worked like mad to have that done between classes so I'd stay on schedule. I'm not sure where it will hang, but I'll find somewhere.

2 posts in one day. You're going to wonder if I don't have anything else to do. Mostly I'm finding other things to do instead of the errands I have to run. I have to go to the bank and buy Mexican Pesos for the Scholar. Can't say I'm excited about this trip but I have to trust the organizers to know what they're doing. Plus, I'm sure I've mentioned the Scholar's love of travel. No amount of argument is going to keep her from seeing the world. Brings back memories of my own college days when I spent 6 weeks in San Salvador in the Bahamas. Oh, Lord.... I should stop right now or I might have to 'accidentally' misplace her passport. Just kidding..... really....

I have to keep reminding myself that my niece, who is a year ahead of the Scholar in school, manages to find trips to places like Africa and India. India for her semester abroad! Yikes. I'll take Spain, which is where she's planning to go next winter.

The Queen Bee

Project purse

I have been making purses. The first is called Bow Tucks Bag. I made another one this past winter. Once you know the process it goes together pretty quickly. I don't care for the button but that's an easy fix once I find one I like better.

This second bag is kind of small, but I just loved the handle. It comes off the bag so I can make as many as I want using the same handle. I have fabric for a more springy looking one. This one matches my winter coat.

I took pictures of my latest quilt finish but they turned out terrible. I'll string you along with promises of fresh pictures soon.

Until then, I'm off.

The Queen Bee

Monday, May 3, 2010


Lee has resurrected the Stitching Bloggers Question. This month she asks if we're a project or a process stitcher. At first I would have said a process stitcher but, in reality, I think I am a project stitcher. The fact that I can start a project and stitch my way thru it without quiting seems to point in that direct. I generally have more then one project going at a time but that's more a function of having more then one stitching location then being bored with something.

I have an upstairs and a downstairs stitching chair. In each location I have a major project. I also have a SAL project and sometimes a project where I receive a part each month. I like to try to keep up with those so I'll pick those up as each installment arrives. Also, I'm prone to start something that is related to the holiday or season we're experiencing at the time. I still finish the project then go back to the main project I was working on before taking a temporary break.

Can't wait to watch Lee's comments to see who else has posted and what they have to say.

The Queen Bee

A good book that

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didn't live up to my expectations.

Not that it wasn't a good story...... It's well written, funny, sad, and whatever else you might expect from a memoir about a marriage falling apart. Rhoda Janzen grew up in an ultra conservative home. In her adult life she left that conservative lifestyle behind, became a college professor, and made a bad marriage that lead to an inevitable end.

While the news that her husband is leaving her for another man might have some shock value for us readers, it apparently wasn't such a shock for Rhoda. What is shocking is that she managed to stay married for 15 years. Rhoda speculates, and I would have to agree, that her ultra conservative upbringing is what made her stay and continually attempt to mold herself into the wife her husband demanded.

I think what I found disappointing was the Mennonite aspect. That is 100% my own fault, so I don't want it to spoil any one's choice to read and enjoy this book. But, I live in a community of Mennonites. The horse and buggy type of Mennonites. I wished I'd taken a camera with me yesterday when I was driving to church to show you just how many horses and buggies are out and about making their way to Sunday morning services at the local Mennonite church. What I was hoping for, in this book, was a little glimpse into the lives of the Mennonite homes I am surrounded by.

In Rhoda's Mennonite home, children were allowed 'supervised television'. Huh? That was my first hint that things were going to be quite different. Here, Mennonite homes don't have electricity. Also, Rhoda went to public school, wore pants, and her mother was a nurse. Here, Mennonite children go to one room school houses, wear dresses & bonnets, and are generally farmers or small business owners, not anything that would require a college education.

Rhoda does a good job of explaining that many people have preconceived ideas about Mennonites and their lifestyles. In the appendix she explains that lifestyles are varied based on congregational affiliations. So, the education I got was that my knowledge of the Mennonites was limited to the community around me, which is not a fair representation of ALL Mennonite lives.

Now, I'm off to a full morning of errands. Over the weekend I put the finishing touches on a quilt and sewed a purse. Look for pictures in the next few days. Also, Lee, over at Lake Stitcher, is going to resurrect the Stitching Bloggers Question of the month (instead of the week) so watch for that.

The Queen Bee