Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Amy's Creche is Here!

The Creche arrived today!  I opened it up to see all the fabulous fibers that we will be using and saw BLUE!  I guess Amy wants us to do the background first - it should be easier since I have done the first 2 figures of the Nativity and won't it be nice to get it out of the way.

I've already done my photo copies and now just need stretcher bars (Evertites for sure) to get started next week.

We are off to see Ruth Schmuff tomorrow!  Next post will be photos of Washington.

Keep looking up - tomorrow I will be on American Airlines!  No pinch hitting!


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Ocean Reef Art Show

Today was taken over with my dog's annual  visit to the vet and flying to Ocean Reef in Key Largo to sign up with the Coast Guard for the Small Vessel Reporting System.  That's so we can go to the Bahamas and back and file our "float plan" by email. (Yes, we also have a boat)  

 Now, we spent an hour with the nice Coast Guard man who had to  hear all about how I was BORN in Miami because evidently he's never met anyone like that and as we endured this I kept thinking.....are the drug smugglers going to do this?  But you don't bring any of that up in front of the Coast Guard!  We did get lunch and then had approximately 15 minutes before we had to get back to Miami to pick up the dog.  I know that is TMI, but we stopped at the Ocean Reef Art Show and this is what we SAW:

Geisha stitched by Margie Smith
My photos do not do justice to this piece - even Eric declared the stitcher "Black Belt!!"  It has to be the most beautiful Geisha I have ever seen.

Keep looking up!


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Isn't She Lovely

This is our first of three geishas that we are doing for a class project.  Who else can it  be but Madame Butterfly?  She even has a butterfly background.  I love that she is facing away from the canvas - she is of course looking (and waiting for) Pinkerton to return to her and their son.  This is the most beautiful and bittersweet moment in Opera  and I am taking extra care with her!!
These are the flowers that are  at the bottom of her kimono.  They are of course chrysanthemums and why are they here?  Because Puccini based Madame Butterfly on the novel Madame Chrysantheme.

WOW,  now I  have connected two of my great loves - opera and needlepoint!  I can't wait to finish.  And you all thought I was a fly boy (girl) geek!

Keep looking up - I'm there


Sunday, March 20, 2011

UFO Update #2

before beads
after beads

Here are two photos of the second canvas in my UFO Gingerbread series - almost done!  The stitch guide calls for a "sprinkling" of red beads in the "sky" around the gingerbread boy, but I am not sure about that.  I think it may detract from everything else going on.  Let me know what you think. Although I'm liking it more now that I can see it on the computer! (Can I glue them on? - don't answer that one)

Actually, the real reason I am showing you this photo is because one of our SUPER creative ANG members, Becky, taught us how to make an outline without using a pen.  You use black sewing thread  and guess what??? you can adjust the background until you get it exactly right without  ruining the canvas!  What would Martha say?  It's a good thing!!  Or what would Ina say?  How easy is that!!

We are hard at work on our first geisha girl - what a beautiful piece.  More on that tomorrow

Keep looking up - I'm there...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Japanese Ribbon Flowers

I just finished my last bird from our series at Absolutely Needlepoint and learned a stitch that will help to get the Mystery Cat off the "most want to finish " list!  It's the Japanese ribbon flower that is very easy if you have a STEADY hand and don't pull too tight.  The little blue flowers as seen here are done in this stitch and it is just a matter of coming up through the canvas, holding the ribbon with your laying tool and folding it back down and through with a chenille needle.  The key is to hold down the ribbon and not pull too tight.  Some of my petals are smushed because I pulled too tightly on the way back down.  I'm sure you can pick them out on the photo!

Melissa Shirley Bird #6

This was the part of the Mystery Cat project that had me worried (panicked), but it's the very same technique and makes a nice 3D effect.  It's just done with wider ribbon which is a little harder to control.  So I have conquered my fear of that stitch!  And really it's just a matter of trying - what can possibly happen ?  You need to buy more ribbon?

Mystery Cat Flower
Mystery Cat Face
And finally, I want to show you a photo of my inspiration....Jack who was adopted by our family (actually he adopted us...ok... I went across the street and picked him up and stuffed him inside my sweatshirt) after Hurricane Wilma.  He inspired me to start the Mystery Cat in the first place!  Which led to the birds, etc.  If you have kids you have read... If You Give a Mouse a Cookie - that's me.

According to my husband, I also have Ellie May Clampet syndrome. If you are of a certain age you will remember the Beverly Hillbillies - she collected critters.  He's a keeper.  By the way, he is in front of the cover to our gas tank for our generator - yes we live in Hurricane country!


Lets all think of beautiful Japan and send prayers to them!  Keep looking up - I'm there.


Monday, March 14, 2011

Back from Staycation

Overseas Highway

This year we decided to stay home in March for our vacation.  We tend to take our vacations in March because hurricane season lasts so long here that once it starts (June 1) it doesn't seem to end until almost Halloween and then there isn't time to do anything.  Who can relax on vacation during Thanksgiving and Christmas?!?

So...we spent a week in the Florida Keys and I took photography classes, computer classes and did some quality stitching and flying with my husband.  Okay he didn't stitch, but he watched.

Julie Pischke
One day we flew to Key West (where we could give tours if we wanted to) and I actually got to practice flying, taking pictures out the window (at an angle) and we visited Island Needlework which is owned by Julie Pischke.  Julie was kind enough to show us her shop and let me take her picture for my blog.  She had already heard about the photography class that I took earlier in the week so I don't think she was too concerned about the picture coming out.  Wrong!  She looks great!

She almost always works on 10 or 13 count in basketweave and likes to say "10 is your friend" and when asked about canvases on 18 count refers to THAT as "hateteen".  She uses knitting yarn for her projects which she gets from claudia handpainted yarns (  It comes in several variations and Julie carries Fingering 55 (55% silk/45% merino wool), 100% wool, linen and cotton.  So those of you who are looking for canvases in 10 or 13 with a tropical theme, Island Needlework is for you!

We are getting ready to visit our newest ANG member Jennifer in Washington, DC in a few weeks and DROP IN on Ruth Schmuff!  So I am hard at work on the Mystery Cat!  Will it get off the unfinished projects list?  Stay tuned.

Keep looking up,