Sunday, December 21, 2008

Froggy and Friends Come Home

My EGA group had a fabric challenge this year. At our June luncheon we all received a 14" square of cotton fabric (there were actually 3 versions - a red, a green and a purple). I received the green fabric, daughter Amy received the red and friend Sharon received the purple. The challenge was to create something by the September meeting from the fabric using a needle and thread. Not being a sewing machine enthusiast I was all summer deciding whether to take up the challenge or not. The fabric was so busy and wild! It was definitely going to require sewing and it would have to be an easy project to keep my interest alive.

My grandson, Axel, gave me the inspiration I was lacking. He loves the bean bag frogs I have given my hubby over the years, especially the first big one. One day, a few weeks before his August birthday he said, "I wish I had a frog like this." And so the idea was born to take my green fabric and create a bean bag frog for him the same size as hubby's. I found the pattern (I never throw things like that away!), cut it out and decided to embellish it with embroidery stitches, beaded warts and all. Several hundred beads and sequins later I added an ultra suede tongue and two large google eyes. I gave the frog a peachy orange underbelly fabric and filled it with lentils. It was done the day before his birthday. When he opened it he was thrilled. It does sit upright when folded at the waist so he will use it on his dresser.

I told him about the contest and he told me he would "loan" me the frog for the meeting. He assured me that it would win because it was the "bestest frog in the world". Well, it did take second place. For the effort I was given a gift certificate to an advertiser of my choice from our chapter newsletter. I chose Green Valley Weavers and Knitters so I could get more needle felting supplies. At the end of the meeting I loaned the frog to the chapter for its citywide library display of needlework in honor of National Needlework month. It was on display at the Ruth Holley Branch of our library system through October. I missed the November EGA meeting and just got it back this month. It is home now, none the worse for wear and very much loved by one little 7 yr. old boy.

My daughter had made a Dotee doll from her fabric. My friend Sharon made a Dammit Doll from hers. They gave me their remnants and I made a stitch embellished red mouse carrying case for my rotary cutter. It opens at the mouth and you slip in your rotary cutter. To go with it I made a little family of mice from each of our remaining fabric swatches. They make darling pincushions. Also embellished the existing design with stitches such as chain, stem stitch and fly stitch.

Another item I want to share is a picture of my silver chantelaine. There was recently an auction on e-bay for one quite a bit more ornate than this one. It sold for over $1000. I did not pay that much but it didn't come cheap either. I have kept it in a special hiding place, bringing it out only rarely the past couple of years. Recently I have been encouraged by others to begin wearing it to EGA meetings, etc. Isn't it nice? I love it and need to show my hubby how much I appreciate his giving me the $$ to buy it. Let him know it wasn't a waste, so to speak.

This is not an especially Christmasy post but I am not too much in the mood yet. I just returned from several days spent in Denver at the hospital tending to my oldest daughter. She was in an auto accident and had to have spinal sugery on her neck. They fused 3 vertebrae. She is home now and my other daughter is staying with her during recovery. Both girls will miss being home for Christmas. They will be missed. For the sake of the grandkids living with us I will begin baking and put up the nativity tomorrow. Hopefully that will help me get in the spirit of the season. I may even get the tree decorated with their help.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

My goodness but the holidays can take their sweet time getting over! Well, when you have to spread the one day-Thanksgiving - out over 3 days because of family work schedules it sure can! I am grateful this year for my family, for the custody issue being settled in my son's favor, for the grandchildren's smiles that wake me every morning and for the few precious hours I get alone to bathe, stitch and/or create.

The day before Thanksgiving the children were out of school and preschool so I took them shopping with me to the local Goodwill. They each got a toy for being good while they were there and allowing me time to find a few special items. One of the things I have learned is I should never go to a thrift store looking for specific items. They will never have what Iam looking for. If I go open minded and willing to be pleasantly surprised I will almost always find a treasure. This time I was lucky - struck gold, so to speak.

We were able to find these 4 pine cheese boxes, in 3 different sizes. The largest (oriental wok set box) 7.5" tall x 16" across. The other 2 medium ones are 5" tall and 6 " tall x 15" across. The smaller one is 5.5" tall x 11" across. I love the smaller one because I don't often see them in this size and I have been hoping to find one for holding my crazy quilting/sewing charms in. What made them such a good buy that day was that they ranged from $2.99 - $3.99 EACH and I got them 1/2 off because I am a senior citizen, lol. Finally, age had its benefits. What a bargain!

They are perfect for button boxes, for storing garden seeds, hiding chocolate in, or for holding any number of small crafting items. I usually paint them, and put a crazy quilted top on them. I will, on occassion, line the lid and/or the bottom inside. It really depends on the condition of the box and what I plan on putting in it. I give them as gifts to friends, donate them for fundraising purposes to groups I belong to for auctions and raffles.

I am thinking of combining my two current button boxes into the one largest box I just found. That will give me the "Walk In The Park" box to put more flower seeds in (I have one already but it is overflowing with vegetable and flower seeds - needs to be thinned out like my garden, lol).

I think I will use the box currently holding my colored buttons - my "Denim and Lace" cheese box - too hold just my ceramic and Fimo type buttons in from now on.

These are jobs for after the first of the year. I just get a warm tingly feeling thinking about the possibilities though. What about that material I dyed at Indigo Days at Table Rock Llamas? It is just waiting to be worked up into something lovely. I've been wanting to do an underwater themed CQ for sometime now, hmmmm. The possibilities are endless.............sweet dreams.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Today I finalized what I will be sending out in my Secret Santa package for someone in CQForNewbies. I had a lot of fun selecting what I hope will be welcome additions to this lady's stash. I will post a picture of it later after it has been received and opened by the recipient.

I also attended BGD Grace's preK Indian PowWow (Thanksgiving) presentation at her school. I am concerned that the school's are getting away from even naming these actual holidays that are universal to Americans by names other than what they are. What is politically incorrect about celebrating Thanksgiving? No matter, the program was delightful and Grace was especially animated throughout. Her spirit of the wind ribbon dance was very sweet. We enjoyed a sumptious feast of homemade goodies afterwards with the other class members and their families. It was cute to see her in an Indian outfit. She is a child of many costumes. She has been known to be a Dalmation, Barney, a clown, an angel, a cowgirl, or one of her 2 favorites - Broncos Cheerleader or a Princess.

I also set aside some ornaments that will either be traded at my EGA chapter's ornament exchange this coming month or be sent as thank you's to some very deserving ladies I think have gone out of their way to help me and others this past month.

The 2 white ornaments are Hardanger on linen done with fine metallic braids and beads. The Santa Stocking is beaded on perforated paper and backed in felt.

The ornament below is also Hardanger on linen but is done in Perle Cotton with a metallic paper lining. Silk Ribbon rose by the hanger. It is backed in the same metallic paper. This was stitched by my youngest daughter, Amy.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The First Day Of My Blog Life

Today I am taking a great leap of faith by believing that I can accomplish this blogging task. I thought it would be a good day because I have things I'd like to share.

I received my first ever Christmas Cracker through CQI - one of the CQ groups I belong to. I do not know who it came from (but she lives in Indiana according to the envelope). I am evidently not going to know until Christmas Day when I open the envelope. Christmas now seems VERY far away.

I sent a Christmas Cracker to Lisa B. from the same group. I cannot reveal the contents until after Christmas. I did enjoy putting it together though. There were minimal requirements as to what should be included and then you were free to add to that if you so desired. As this was my first time for this type of Swap I tried to be generous.

Here is a picture of the Cristmas Cracker I sent to Lisa.