Monday, May 31, 2010

My friend Jan

Me on the left and Jan on the right                     Jan on the left and me on the right

My friend Jan and I have been best friends since we met in our first year of grammar school in England at age12. Can you believe that we are nearly 13 years old in the photo above!
 She emigrated to Canada to be my bridesmaid and we were back yard neighbours for years and babysat each other's kids.   She moved out west many years ago, but we still managed to keep in touch and visit and attend each of the children's weddings in Las Vegas, Vancouver Island, Toronto, Port Perry, and Montreal.   And this week she was back in town for a visit with her daughter.  We met today for lunch and it was lovely!    

Arlene's Stumpwork CQI RR

Here's Arlene's block after Karin and I have completed our work on it.  My contributions are the calla lilies, the dragonfly and the cast on stitch flower seam in pink/maroon.  The calla lilies are worked on muslin in a hoop and sewn on later.  For the needlelace leaves I worked on a pad made up of several layers of heavy cotton covered with a layer of "press and seal" saranwrap.  Under the saranwrap was my pattern.  After the leaf outline and centre lines have been couched down, the leaf is worked on top of the plastic.   When the couching stitches are removed, the leaf lifts off. 
The dragonfly wings were also made the same way.  But I had loads of trouble keeping the blanket stitch around the wire flat, it wanted to spiral, and it took me several tries to figure out why this happened and how to fix it as you can see from the pile of discarded wings.  In my time I've done a lot of macrame, and the blanket stitch around the wire is really a half knot.  In macrame when you do half knots, say for a planter hanger, the work spirals.  When you do a full knot, or a square knot as we called it, the work lies flat.  So that was how I did the dragonfly's wings, and they finally stayed flat. 

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Susan's SRE RR Block moving on...

This Silk Ribbon Embroidery block is another CQI round robin that I am taking part in.  Arlene and Candji worked on it before me (Candji embroidered the garden in the top left, Arlene the watering can and flowers, bottom right).  My contributions are the rose tree and the yellow flowers below it. The scalloped seam above it, the lilac chain stitch seam and the blue herringbone seam to the right.  Now it is off to Meg for her finishing touches.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Cathy's Bees, Butterflies & Beetles RR Block - finished

This is the last of the BB&B blocks in this CQI round robin.  This is quite a large round block and most of the work on it is fairly small, so there is lots to see.   Arlene, Cathy, Meg and I worked on this block for Cathy. I wrapped a chain stitch scalloped seam with variegated silk ribbon.   I beaded the pink butterfly, did the row of SRE butterflies above it, and the chevron seam to the left.   In the centre of the block I did a needlelace/beaded butterfly.  It's wired so the wing does stay up.  On another patch I did a beetle showdown!  I put in the big beetle first and wondered what else to fill the block up with.  (No planning ahead here....)  In the end, three smaller beetles appeared and it became a bit of fun.   I also embroidered the lilac daisy and pearl seam which is above the butterfly and the below the beetles. 

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Absolutely spoiled rotten!

No kidding, I feel very privileged to receive this wonderful stitching.  The ladies in this group gave me more than I could imagine.  Nicki Lee, Meg, Rita and Darlene added some marvellous details as you can see.  Rita added the beautifully embellished  fan.  Nicki Lee the appliqued geisha with her pretty hair ornament, fan and flowers at her feet and the cherry blossom broach to the right of the geisha's head and added some
sparkle to the printed fans, third photo from top.  Darlene added the button cluster, gold character, diamond seam with pearls and stars, the seam on the peony patch, Mount Fiji, and feather stitch patch with the pearls.  Meg did everything else, the unusual crochet fan with her signature gold wheel, the pretty fan seam to the left of the crochet fan and the green and pink seam in the second photo from the top. 
Well......true to form, all the photos have changed order when I changed them from centred to right align, who knows why!  But they are staying the way they are.

Shower cake and Baby's first birthday cake

Two cakes for this weekend, a 10" and 8" vanilla sponge, the Shower Cake covered with fondant and the first birthday cake in buttercream.  All the decorations were made with gumpaste except for Teddy, he was Mexican paste.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

My BB & B RR block is home!

I said "WOW" out loud as I took my first look at my Bees, Butterflies and Beetles RR block.  And you can see why!  It's packed with such lovely stitching, lacey motifs, and bugs galore!  You will notice there are no butterflies, and that was at my request, but my group made up for it with bees and beetles!  

BB&B block stitchers.

I had such a hard time trying to get these photos below the finished block photo in the last post, that I decided to do the closeups separately. 
The photo above is Janet's gold beetle.  Below, the first photo is Janet's hand dyed lace and beads. 
The second is Arlene's beetle. 
The third is Arlene's roses and seam. 
The fourth and fifth, Cathy's ladybird and beetles. 
The sixth is Janet's gold beetle and more of Cathy's beetles. 
Seventh is Janet's roses, vine and seam. 
Eighth photo shows Meg's dragonfly and the ninth is Meg's lovely piece of Bulgarian lace.  

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A possibility

This may become a second star quilt!  Fabric for these three blocks came from a friend from our Seniors' group, who passed away last fall. Her stash was full of beige, cream peach, browns and oranges.   I put them together using a free pattern I downloaded from the internet.  It's a very simple and accurate way to make these two triangle squares, and very similar to the method used for the star quilt we just finished piecing. 

To get the corner squares which are two light triangles joined, place two pieces of light fabric right sides together, pin the paper pattern on top, and sew on the dotted lines.
The dotted lines are the outside lines of the zig zag.  The cutting lines are all the straight lines:  outside borders, criss-cross, and the middle lines of the zig zags.  This will produce 18 folded triangles, each with one paper triangle sewn to it.  Press the triangles open and remove the paper, and there is the two-triangle square.  

Paper pieced quilt ..... still continued

This is the star pattern quilt that I've been working on, along with other members of the St. Margaret's in the Pines craft group.  This past week the edging pieces were added, the batting and backing fabric measured and cut, and next it will be delivered to the long arm quilting lady who will finish it off.  It's been a wonderful project to work on!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Sugar update

Mum celebrated her 94th birthday today and I made her this 8" cake.   The design is neat and comes from a thick plastic mat with flowers cut out from the plastic.    See the photograph below. To use it, simply roll out your fondant to the normal thickness you prefer, then place the mat on top of the fondant and roll over the mat with your rolling pin quite firmly to force the fondant into the cut out spaces, which gives raised flowers.  These can either be left as is, or, while the mat is still on the fondant, use edible dusting powder to colour the flowers and leaves.  In this case I used blue, pink and green dusting powders, and then went over the whole thing, still with the mat in place, with a perle dust.    Then I roll up the fondant onto a long thin rolling pin and place over the cake and unroll carefully.  With the pattern on the fondant you can't smooth the fondant as much as would with plain fondant.  This is the mat.  It is a good size, 18" x 24" and is available at Creative Cutters in Richmond Hill, Ontario. 
Jack (my grandson) always gets to choose his birthday cake.  This year Star Wars is his passion and Nana obliged!  These funny figures are all Star War characters and were really pretty fiddly to do in colorflow.  But it was well received and kids don't notice the imperfections like we do!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Time to show off my grandchildren!

This is Brynn, 1 1/2, she's my lone grand daughter and sister to Caleb 3 1/2.   Josh, 2 1/2 and Elijah, 6 mos. are brothers. Jack is just 7.  I made him a star wars birthday cake.  
 I'm lucky that they all live in Canada.  Caleb and Brynn in Quebec, Jack, Josh and Elijah within 30 minutes driving.  What a pleasure they are, and how nicely their mums and dads are raising them all. Below are Joshua and ElijahJack and his dad.Caleb