Sunday, May 31, 2009

Some Bargains Come Around Only Once

For some reason I have a little time tonight so I thought I would share with you what I picked up on a recent trip to the Dollar Tree Store. I enjoy this store because everything is still just a $1. My daughter, Moon, and I made a pact to go into the store and find some items that could possibly be used on a CQ and not spend more than $10 for the trip. We were to go in and out in just 15 minutes. One of the great things about the dollar stores is that their inventory changes all the time and you can always find something different. The drawback is that if you like it you had better buy it because it might not be there next time!

Because we had just passed the Easter holiday the store was still full of spring type merchandise. I picked up 2 rolls of good quality 1/2" wide satin ribbon to use for ruching, bows and folded flowers. I also found some narrow gold braid which will be great for laying on a seam and couching down with beads. One thing I have always had trouble finding at the dollar stores is beads. But, this time I hit the jackpot. The beads I found were already strung into something else. Eyeglass holders! They have some very uniform sized beads in great colors and some super little novelty beads on them. I just had to have them! I bought the 4 packages below for myself and then one of each for a friend. Of course, this put me over the $10 limit I had imposed but really, some of it was for my friend and my portion was below $10, LOL.

Aren't the little butterflies and flowers cute? They came in a variety of colors too! The metallic hearts are really great and I wish they had more of those! You have to think outside the box when you are looking in there for this stuff, that's for sure.

I'd also like to share a little blue bear that lives in my bedroom. I think I have mentioned my dear friend Nelle Stafford before. She was my CQ mentor and she was so creative! She could sew like nobodie's business too! She spent several years perfecting a teddy bear pattern that she could use for CQ purposes. It had to set up, not fall over, be large enough to show off her seams and embroidery. As she grew older she quit doing her CQ and started to give it away for the benefit of others. She would donate bears, of all sizes, that she had made to our EGA chapter's annual auction. Everyone wanted to have a Stafford Bear. If you didn't have one that she had made for you out of love or that you had paid her to make for you then this could be your last chance to get one of the few left in her personal collection. I am happy to say I have 3 Stafford bears! One that she made for me out of love and one small jointed one that I bought at the auction (paid a pretty penny for it too - everyone wanted it).

The third bear I own that Nelle did the work on is actually a TY bear that she made a vest and beret for. I named him Neil (as close as I could get to Nelle). Here he is in his finery.

I am very grateful that Nelle was a part of my life. She had the sweetest disposition. She taught me a lot about transferring patterns and interpreting how to do them in various embroidery stitches. Near the end of her stitching life she had trouble making the embroidery meet her own high standards so she quit. "While I am ahead of the CQ Gods" she laughed. I like to think of her now as being in heaven teaching some little angels to stitch those beautiful, perfectly spaced seam treatments and flower petals.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

A Chance To Pay It Forward (PIF)

Recently on Beatrice's Stitching With A View blog she had a PIF sign up. I was fortunate enough to be one of the first 5 to sign up and am now obligated to Pay It Forward. Beatrice sent this darling little cross stitched ornament hanger.

Now it's my my turn to Pay It Forward in a similar manner.

This is the way it goes...
The first 5... yes five... people to comment on this post only, within the next 10 days, that they are willing to PIF....Will receive a gift made by me.

There is a CATCH.. PIF

1-You MUST do the same... post this on "Your blog" and pass on to FIVE folks as well.
2-You will receive this gift within the year.
3- I'm getting ready to start stitching my gifts to the 5 people.
4- If you don't want to Pay It Forward please leave the space for someone who would like too.
5- It MUST be something handmade/created by you in your favorite technique. It doesn't have to be a large gift, just heartfelt and it would help if you would be happy to receive it yourself.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Stash Angels, Mentors and Apprentices

I have been extra busy for the past two months starting two new Yahoo Groups - Stash Angels and Mentors (SAM) and StitchMap (MAP). The idea for these groups came to me recently, when I began to mentor Amy A. in the art of CQ. Pretty soon I was mentoring Wanda S. too. I met both of these ladies through one of the CQ Yahoo Groups I belong to. Word got out that I was mentoring and other beginning stitchers began to ask if I would help mentor them through various steps in CQ and other techniques. They all wanted to enhance their repertoire of embroidery skills. I knew I didn't have time to help them all and yet, I wanted to assist them in getting the help they were seeking. Obviously, there was a need for more mentors. I spoke to some friends who had varied stitching and teaching backgrounds. As a result of these discussions the idea was conceived to start SAM and MAP.

The hope was to find as many accomplished needle artists as possible who were willing to share their knowledge FREE. They would be paired, one-on-one, with apprentices wanting to learn the basics in any of a variety of needlework techniques. All in the hope of carrying the love of needlework into the future. However, it was discussed that most of us cannot start a new project or craft without the proper tools. In today's economy it is not always easy to afford the variety of threads, fabrics and notions that we might need, or like to have, to start a new stitching technique. So, an invitation was extended to several other friends to come along for the ride. These ladies were known to be curently in the process of de-stashing or to be extremely generous with their excess stash. Within a few days the first apprentices were assigned to mentors and a list of stitchers in need of small stash enhancements was identified. SAM and MAP were up and running.

The sub-group StitchMap (MAP) was formed to better fit the needs of the Apprentices and the Stash Angels. Mentors belong to SAM. All mentoring assignments are handed out through SAM and this is the site on which Mentors discuss any teaching problems or triumphs, get reference information about teaching seminars, and discuss the possibility of upcoming group classes, etc. Everyone belongs to MAP. It is the social forum and where we share our individual photo albums, store our tutorials, helpful hints, favorite online shopping sites, have our contests, and so forth. Each apprentice also has a project photo album to share a pictoral journey of their mentored project with all its trials and tribulations. New features are being added all the time. The wonderful thing is that SAM was set up to reach out to needle enthusiasts in many techniques. There are apprentices who are doing CQ, Hardanger, Xstitch, SRE, and more! There is even a mentor to help you create a blog. Online classes (members only) will be started very soon and we will be doing some projects together for charitable causes.

If you are interested in being a Stash Angel, a Mentor or an Apprentice in some form of needlework....If you would like one-on-one mentoring through a current or new project....if you want to have a great group of supportive stitchers around you to keep you focused.....then you just might want to check out SAM and MAP. Everything is FREE! No charge, as in no cash, credit cards or checks. It is hoped that ultimately each apprentice will strive to pay forward what she/he has received by becoming a Stash Angel and/or a mentor at some point along their journey. And it is working! Hooray!

I have put Yahoo Group Buttons on the left side of my blog for each of these groups. Click on the button and you will be taken to the Join This Group Page. After you fill out the application you will receive a short questionnaire. Fill out the required questionnaire and return it. Your membership will be approved and the information you have supplied will be used to make sure you are put in the right group(s), with the right mentor, Stash Angel and/or apprentice. Everyone is welcome to join us in assuring that the love of stitchery does not die out during our lifetimes, for lack of effort on our part.

Here are some pictures of small stash enhancements my own apprentices sent to their mentor in the last 2 weeks! They are so sweet to send these thank you gifties. I will definitely find a way to use them that will remind me of Amy and Wanda.

In the picture above Amy has sent me some burgundy and mauve fabrics left over from piecing her first CQ RR block with my help. The other fabrics are some that she has used previously in sane quilting. The yellow at the top of the picture is a wool sweater of her husband's. She sent it so I could felt it for my needlefelting. How thoughtful was that? I hope he doesn't get cold without it next winter because I love the soft yellow!

This picture is of some vintage fabrics Amy found on a shopping trip right after we had begun the mentoring process. I am thrilled she shared some of these treasures with me! There are also some fish beads and other trims and notions that she thought I might be able to use. Love the fishies!

This is a picture of some wonderful bead soup that Wanda sent me. It has some very unique animal skin printed beads in it. I had just picked up a vest from the thrift store with African animals and grasses, etc. on it that I thought would make a cute box top for a man. Lo and behold, the next day these beads arrive! This week she sent the rest of the matching beads she had left and some African animal charms to boot! What a special lady she is. I think the darling little friendship heart will be a favorite of this mentor for a long time to come.

Do consider joining all of the ladies at SAM and MAP. You won't be disappointed!

Better Late Than Never

I am so remiss in my blog efforts and showing the wonderful goodies that have come through the mail the past few weeks. I really must catch up. This first blurb should have been blogged the week of April 21 actually.

My friend Lyn G. has a blog teaser contest each month on her own blog Quilting Lion. It is always about a Broadway figure from the past. She has as one of her prizes a large squishie (baggieof stash) and I have been fortunate enough to win the main prize in the past. In fact, I have previously posted pictures of the things I have won from her blog teaser contest. She has begun to add some lovely CQ'd items besides the squishie to her prize list. I won a CQ'd pin keep she made out of old CD's earlier this year. This past month she offered a CQ'd pouch that was just outstanding.

The problem I had in trying to win the pouch is that Lyn has gotten smarter. LOL She made it the special prize for answering the extra bonus question. Someone else sent her that answer while I was busy trying to research the main body of questions for the overall prize. And I have to tell you, she is making the questions a little bit harder every month. I think she is hoping I will quit sending my entry and give someone else a chance to win. VBG But, I am tenacious and I WON the April Teaser. I just love the challenge. However, in the sense of fairplay I am going to, with this win, put myself on a self-imposed no entry status for a 3 month period. She has been so generous and I have been so greedy, LOL. Not really, I just loved the challenge and the subject matter. It is one of the reasons we are good friends online - we share several common interests. So, I urge each of you to check out her blog about the end of the first week of each month and challenge yourself to win one of her wonderful gifts. I would love to read your name there as being the winner. Just remember, I will return in August!

Here are some pictures of what I won. They might inspire you to give it a shot. Lyn is no slouch at putting together a prize winner's squishie!

LOADS OF FABRIC SWATCHES! Perfect for CQ or for embroidery or silk ribbon work. What a recycling genius! She is a real Thrift Store Diva!

Lots of lace, trims (love the featehrs and fluffy stuff! LOL) and embellishments. See that little baggie of pumpkins (all orange upper mid-left)? They were open and flew out of the mailer when I opened it. Baby Belle loved them!

A couple of days later I got a greeting card from Lyn with these beautiful burned silk autumn leaves in it. She had been practicing and decided to send me some because I am a fall earth tones type of gal. Thanks, Lyn.