First Block...Finished??

I think this block is finished.  It just seems like it still needs something.  I think it is because of the muted colors.  I am used to the vividness and contrast of the other quilt.  Any suggestions for additions?  After the whole thing is assembled (a looooong time from now), I may add some beads and more buttons for embellishment.  I am hesitant to do that until after all the blocks are sewn together, though, because I think it will be more difficult to work with if I add them before.  By the way, the block is 6 x 12.
 My little drum was very sad so I added some flowers to spruce it up.  The drum was my first foray into silk floss.  Yummm (she says with dreamy, far away eyes).

The teacup was my second try at silk floss.  It was just as good as the first time, so I guess the ease of it wasn't a fluke.  Unfortunately, I used the whole skein of green.  The little flower was cut off from a venise motif and dyed.
 The little girl in the picture is my great grandmother, Maggie Dukes Brown.  She is with her baby brother and parents in a circa 1900 photograph.  I am planning to use family pictures of children in the quilt.  This picture was originally a lot smaller and it just wasn't working, so I blew it up some more and ended up appliqueing it on.
This motif was inspired by Brian Haggerd.  Along with the Kreinik floss, Santa brought me his newest book.
Have you ever noticed that when you get something new (or want something) that you suddenly see that item everywhere?  Whenever my husband gets a new vehicle, he is suddenly able to point out everything similar in a 2 mile radius.  That is exactly how I am with this piece of lace.  I found it in an antique shop in Goliad, Texas (Hanging Tree Antiques--check them out if you are in the area, these are super nice people).  There are several pieces of it that equal a few yards.  Anyway, in the couple of weeks since I bought it, I have seen it online in at least 4 other blocks.  Then when the husband and I went to Goliad for Market Days on the 12th, we went back to the Hanging Tree and and I found another length of lace which has the above lace as an insertion.


New Loves

Oh, my.  Oh, my.  Oh, my!!  Why didn't someone tell me about silk embroidery floss before?  Santa brought me a couple of the small Kreinik Silk Mori sampler packs and I just tried them out on the drum.  Wow.  I am in love.  I really expected it to be like the DMC satin floss.  Pretty, but entirely too much trouble.  If you haven't tried this stuff, take it from someone who is really impatient with stubborn threads, fabrics, and needles.  Silk Mori is like the proverbial knife through butter.  If this is the kind of floss our Victorian ancestors sat around using, I understand why they were always acting so dainty.  It was so they could embroider all of the time!!!
Don't get me wrong, I still love my plain Jane DMC that I've been playing with for more than a few years (read:  decades).  And I have an awful lot of that to use up.  But I will definitely be saving up my fun money for more Silk Mori. 
This is my new toy:

It is a circa 1931 Singer Hand Operated Pinker and was a gift from a very good friend and her brother.  Because it was their mother's, they shall remain nameless because I don't want any children getting bent out of shape.  Why did I get it?  Because I appreciate such awesome sewing paraphernalia. I also appreciate awesome friends, and not for the cool stuff.  
This is what it does:
Don't you love my daughter's pink toenails in the picture?  I was going to crop it, but changed my mind.  This is the true story of where we live.  It was the middle of January and we were barefoot on the porch taking pictures.  Now it's cold again, though. 

This thing will reportedly cut through fabric, paper, and leather.  It has dials you change to adjust for the thickness of what you are cutting.  As my son said, it looks like an "old" pencil sharpener.  I remember when those pencil sharpeners weren't "old," but you get the idea.  There are other blades for the pinker, but they are a tad expensive and difficult to come by.  Hopefully some day I will get others.


2013 Block One in Progress

I really, really don't like cold weather.  I live in South Texas where the temperature is in the 90s six months of the year.  Three months are in the 80s, two in the 70s, and one in the 60s.  This 40-50 degree weather we've had lately is positively killing me.  I don't know how those of you who have four real seasons deals with it.  I mean, I can see the beauty of having seasons.  Leaves changing colors, the flowers blooming in the spring, etc.  That would be awesome.  But I hate being cold!!! 

And the worst part is not being able to sew.  My studio is housed in a portable building in the backyard.  Since it's not cold 98% of the time, it does not have heat.  I could take out a portable heater, but with all the fabric and stuff it just doesn't seem very safe.  I have one overhead florescent light.  Did you know that those lights will not come on when it's cold??  So when I get home from work after 5 and it's already dusk, I can't see to sew!  Plus it's cold!!!!  For a week I have wanted to put together a crazy block to give me something to embroider as I sit wrapped in blankets on my bed.  It would take my mind off the shivering.  On Saturday I was finally able to sneak out when there was enough daylight to assemble a block.  Go, me!!  I should have made a few, but that was all the time I could spare.
While I have the idea for the finished wall hanging in my head, I hadn't thought much about colors and such.  As I slapped the block together, the colors came out.  It will be muted colors and a lot of browns.  I will be embellishing with the same.  The next question is what theme I will use for the patch embroidery.  Suggestions would very welcome at this point.  The middle block will be adapted from Helen Scott's bonnet girls and will be a turn of the century family of five in the parlor.  The crazy blocks will include antique pictures of families and children.  My first inclination is to embroider toy motifs.  Would it seem odd to add things like sewing, cooking, and more manly pursuits?  I think I spend too much time over-thinking things.  And yes, I think about that, too. 

I am including pictures of one of my Christmas gifts.  It's a Craftsman pink 12" tool tote.  I will use it for hauling around my "work-in-progress" from room to room.  I haven't loaded it up yet, but probably will tonight now that I have a block ready for handwork.  It is a very, very pretty shade of pink with lots of pockets that I can lose things in. 


Bits and Pieces

Happy New Year!  I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas.  And if you do not celebrate Christmas, I hope you had a blessed whatever-you-believe-in. 

I would love to say that I spent the last two weeks completing all sorts of beautiful projects, but for the most part I just stressed and vegetated.  Oh, well.  I did clean my studio (a little-I can at least walk in the door again) and I cleaned my "nest" in the bedroom.  That's the area between my side of the bed and the wall where all of the bits and pieces of my latest project(s) land.  Books, scraps, heaps of thread snippets, needles in the carpet, etc. 

I also made these beauties with the embroidery machine:

Some designs were from Secrets of Embroidery and some from Urban Threads.  They were all gifts. 

I also made a nifty little needlebook for Kay, my office mate, who is now into hand embroidery. 

It includes 100% wool felt for the needles and 4 pockets for stashing stuff. 
The idea was from Marsha Michler's The Magic of Crazy Quilting, but the execution, size, etc, was my own.