Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Taking It for a Spin

There is still snow on the ground, ice on the deck, coats and hats and gloves on the people.

At the same time, the daylight is lasting longer.
Some of the bulbs in the Garden of Hope are beginning to sprout.
There are fewer stormy days.

As a testament of the coming Spring, I hung my new spinner on the front porch.

It looks quite pretty in the Golden Hour with the slanting light bouncing off the surface.
The rainbow?
Another promise of Spring.

Monday, February 27, 2017

One Nice Thing

... about a long winter? More chances to take photos of snowflakes.

This one landed on the brim of my hat this morning.

The temperature was nearly too warm for snowflake photos today. Most of the flakes landed in clumps rather than as individual flakes. Those that did land by themselves were missing a leg or two, and melted very quickly.

Soon after I took this photo, the flakes dropped on my hat and coat like broken skeletons, cracked bones littering the landscape. I had to give up for the day.

Tonight it's all slush and ice. I nearly fell on my keister trying to walk on the concrete driveway.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Day Four

I spent a quiet morning listening to podcasts and returning to the Strawberry Quilt Block.

Today I attached all the beads and sequins. Those petite beads gave me a bit of trouble. Even with my smallest tapestry (blunt point) needle, some of the holes in the beads were too small. I had to resort to a pointed beading needle, which did the job just fine, once I could thread the tiny eye.

You better believe I was using a magnifier today!

Next I need to figure out what kind of finishing treatment I want to give it. I have some ideas, but think I'll put this on hold for another day.

Tomorrow I hope to straighten up my Studio, put some new supplies away, and set up the next projects for St. Patrick's Day. I'll also likely embroider another quilt square or two for my granddaughter's quilt.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

I'm Looking Over a Four Leave Clover

So THIS became this ...

Some 4-leaf clovers for St. Patrick's Day. Seem early? It's just 20 days away!

My happy leprechaun looks outstanding in his field.

I learned to make the shamrock from this YouTube video:



Inspired by Yolanda Soto Lopez

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Frame Fettish

I think I have a problem.

I keep buying picture frames. I bought these today. I also have a big storage box (or two) downstairs.
Oh, dear.

Thankfully, most are pre-owned frames from thrift stores.

Only two of the six I bought today are new. The big one is for a limited edition Love poster I bought through DFTBA, the proceeds of which go to an organization that works with refugees.

One of the black square frames is for a finished piece of stitchery which I unearthed today ... in a frame, tucked behind another piece of stitchery. And it's a heart! Might as well put that baby on the wall. It's called [I give you] Olive My Heart! It's a heart ... decorated with green olives. I stitched it years and years ago!

The small white frame needs a little refinishing help. Then I'll use it to frame my embroidery on paper. Of all the pieces I stitched last December, this is the only one that I kept for myself.

The other frames? For stitcheries yet unfinished.
:: blush ::
A girl can dream.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Tired and Happy

You know how it is after vacation days ... and then you return to real life?

That was my day today. Dale was back at work. I did a big Home Blessing. That means 4 or 5 loads of laundry, water the plants, thoroughly clean the bathroom, put clean sheets on the beds, scrub down the counters, sweep and clean the wood floors, vacuum, sweep the porch, dust, all that stuff.

AND I cleaned the oven. So shiny!

AND I walked more than 11,000 steps! My current daily goal is 7,600. Whoo-hoo!

So I'm pooped and a little sore, but very satisfied.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Our Cozy Weekend

It was a fairly quiet day in the Davaz household. The snow fell in giant clumps most of the day and turned to rain in the evening. It's Dale's last vacation day (of five). We spent the long weekend at home doing annual business, some decluttering, and cozy things.

Annual business? We met with our financial advisor to add funds to my IRA and talk about our eventual retirement.

Decluttering? Dale help Jeanne move his mom's former dining set to Jeanne's apartment. I released unneeded clothes, lots of vases, a few dishes, party supplies, cross-stitch patterns, take-home menus, old electronics, holiday decor, shoe polish and more. We're simple and eclectic and our belongings reveal that.

Cozy things? I finished crocheting the hat and scarf set on Saturday. Today started with breakfast at iHop, and moved on to watching the 3-D version of Upside Down. We shared some popcorn and peanuts during the movie. Later, we warmed up with potato soup.

Plus, there's this:

After several years of searching, we traded out our 10+ year old comforter for a new one, complete with complimentary pillows. I really like the subtle stripes on top with the flocked floral skirt. A very nice combination of Dale's style mixed with Margaret's. It makes for a comfy #CornerOfOurHome

A simple, loving weekend is sure to culminate in a good night of sleep, which, in turn, will lead to a very short work week.

Tonight, I'm content inside. I really do live a charmed life.

Monday, February 20, 2017

My Valentines

This year I had grand plans to make a unique Valentine card for each of the special people in my life. I had some doozies picked out. Then LIFE happened. I felt a little lousy. The Winter Blues kicked in. I had disturbing politics on my mind. You know the drill.

Still I was determined to make handcrafted valentines this year, so I picked one idea and set to work. I found this idea on Pinterest, of course.

I was pleased to find card blanks at the Dollar Tree this year. So I picked up a pack that had red fronts, white interiors, and pink envelopes.

I used brown craft paper, also from Dollar Tree, and cut out the shape of the paper bags. The "bling" is a string of gem stickers, also from Dollar Tree.

I raided my stash and used some scraps of patterned papers to punch out a variety of heart shapes in two sizes. The foil red heart is from my stash. Some of those hearts are actually cut from designs on Christmas cards!

On the inside, I taped a small valentine lapel pin, added the sentiment, and a flower sticker. One of my goals this year is to learn some fancy hand lettering techniques so my cards will look more polished.

Best? I got the cards in the mail on time, and they arrived at the homes of family and friends by Valentine's Day.


I don't know the name of the designer who inspired me.
Here's what the original design looked like.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Valentine Rose Wreath

Last week when my eldest daughter Jeanne spent the day with me, we went downstairs to play in my Studio. I wanted to recreate a heart-shaped wreath that I saw demonstrated by Tracy on YouTube's GiftBasketAppeal channel.

All the components for this wreath were purchased from the Dollar Tree. The wreath form looks much like this photo, though a bit more curved -- and much less expensive. The roses came with about six flowers on each stem and looked a bit like this. The flowers were three sizes. I bought six stems of roses. (Unfortunately, at the time of this writing, these items are no longer listed on the Dollar Tree website).

To create the wreath, we cut the flowers off the stem, leaving about a one inch stub. We used hot glue to adhere the leaves and bottom petals of the flowers to the heart frame. We alternated flower sizes so that the frame was filled out nicely. It took a bit of finesse to place the roses in such a way that they accentuated the shape of the heart frame. Place a few flowers incorrectly, and the heart turns into a blob.

I also bought some glittery berry sprays at the Dollar Tree that look a bit like this. We tried placing groups of berries throughout the wreath, but they didn't look right. So we cut the berries off the stems, and placed a single berry in the center a few choice flowers scattered throughout the wreath. The berries become a happy surprise tucked into the center of the fullest blooms.

Finally we tied a loop of red ribbon (from my stash) at the top of the heart so it could hang. The total cost of the wreath was only eight dollars. I'm so pleased with the result!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Valentine Bouquet

For Valentine's Day, Dale bought me a bouquet of roses.

White with pink tips.
Loads of Baby's Breath.
And a pretty red heart ribbon.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Chenille Hat and Scarf

I was off my game on this drizzly, low-barometric pressure day. I chose to do something quiet and rhythmic today.

My daughter helped procure a commissioned hat and scarf set for me. The yarn arrived yesterday, so I decided to start the project today.

I knit the hat on a loom. I'm about 1/3 of the way done crocheting the scarf. It was a good way to spend the day.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Day Three

I didn't get around to finishing the Strawberry Quilt Block by Valentine's Day as I had hoped (I got distracted crocheting another pussyhat for a friend of mine), but I did get to work on it a good deal today. I also moved my guidelines to center them to help with bead placement.

All the stitching is complete. Now it's time to add the embellishments - the beads and paillettes. I had to take time to dig out a size 28 tapestry needle so I can attach those teeny tiny petite seed beads.

It took a bit of finesse to work around the "off by one thread" problem. It's barely noticeable, thank goodness.

I've also decided on how I want to finish this piece. I'll make a handmade fabric frame to finish this piece like I did Just Nan's Rose Lady.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Sneak Peek

My daughter Jeanne came by to spend Valentine's Day with me. We baked some cupcakes and spent some time playing in the Studio. Time is limited today for a long blog post, so here's a sneak peek.

What we did together ...

Handcrafted Valentine card

Monday, February 13, 2017

The Early Bird

catches the bouquet ...
then gives it to his wife!

Thank you, Dale!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Flamingos in the Snow

I've been a little under the weather this weekend, so spent the time in my pajamas, hanging out in my comfy chair in the living room and crocheting. Through the window and out of the corner of my eye, I saw a line of pink ... somethings. So I took a closer look.

A flock of flamingos had gathered in my neighbor's yard! What's a girl to do but grab her camera, put on the long lens, and take photos from the safety of the bedroom?

They do look content!


February 13 update:

The flocking is part of a fundraiser by our local Kiwani's Club. It goes on all over town.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Painting a Pallet - part 2

Here's my second pallet ... a love heart. I'm crazy about the concept. I do like it as is. I'm very pleased with most of my color choices.

I may play around with it a bit more to make the words more crisp. I may darken that light purple (it looks lighter here than in real life, but still ...). I'm considering outlining each letter with black or purple Sharpie. Right now, the overall heart shape seems a little lost in all the colors.

I think I can make some improvements that will leave me more satisfied. 

Friday, February 10, 2017

Painting a Pallet - part 1

Tonight I stepped out of my comfort zone and into a painting party. This is something I've never done before. The last time I tried to paint was in a Parks & Rec program over a decade ago.

A former neighbor who I keep in touch with via Facebook was kind enough to invite me to a party where we learned to make pallet art. Vinyl stencils are adhered to 11" x 17" painted wood pallets, then painted with whatever colors we wanted.

I chose two Valentine designs. Here's the first.

I'll show you the next one tomorrow.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Day Two

I didn't have much time to stitch today, but I got a little done.

I fixed my mistake at the bottom of the piece. I had one set of queen stitches off by two threads (you can see it on yesterday's photo). So I pulled those stitches out and re-stitched them in the right place.

Then I finished up the strawberries by stitching the next queen stitches in two shades of pink.

I should mention that this image is larger than actual size. The stitching is only 2.75 inches square.

Tomorrow I plan to make some Valentines, so I'll set this aside for a day. It will be quite nice to spend an entire day under the bright lights in my Studio.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Day One

This is how much of the Strawberry Quilt Block that I completed the first day. The border of four-sided stitch, and the first bit of queen stitch.

That's an earring that I pin at the top to keep my stitchery going in the right direction. On a piece like this it doesn't matter a whole lot since it's symmetrical. But the blue lines match the lines match the dark lines on the chart, so the earring helps keep me straight.

It's a bit of a challenge stitching 18 stitches per inch, but my magnifier is helping.

I may have cut my fabric too small, but I'll make it work in the finishing.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

What's Next?

I'm going to take another short break from the quilt blocks to see if I can finish stitching this small piece from The Sweetheart Tree by Valentine's Day. I like the tiny heart-shaped strawberry bead in the middle.

It will be fun to do a design with "specialty stitches" which include the four-sided stitch (around the edge) and the queen stitch (the strawberries). Besides the bead embellishment, there are also some Paillettes (sequins).

I must have really liked this pattern. When I opened the package, I see that I have three complete sets of patterns and embellishments.

Though this is called Strawberry Quilt Block, I won't be using it as a quilt block. But I'm not sure how I'll be finishing it. Perhaps as an easel or flat fold.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Technicolor Turtle

This is my favorite quilt square so far for my grandchild's quilt!

Just look at that happy face. Look at that shell!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

The Reptile

After finishing my Hearts yesterday morning, I returned to embroidering the quilt squares for my daughter Julie's baby. This guy is adorable.

The colors look a little funky for a couple reasons. First, this is a scanned image rather than a photograph. The brown looks red, the light green looks yellow, and the medium green looks blue.

Second, the iron-on transfer my mom used when she started these quilt squares is very pink, very thick, and quite dark. So the colors of floss I chose don't show true. I do hope the pink will wash out later on.

If not, my grandchild will have a fun and funky colored quilt, made with love by her grandma and great-grandma. That's worth the price of admission.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Showin' Some Love

This morning I was able to do the finishing work on my stitchery. I decided to frame it.

I found a 6" brown wood frame in my stash. I used two coats of acrylic paint to change it to red. I used acid-free foam core as the base for the stitchery. I covered the foam core a light layer of quilt batting. Since I don't consider this a "heritage" piece, I didn't bother lacing the stitchery to the foam core. Instead, I pinned it with silk pins around the edges, then taped the excess fabric to the back of the foam core.

Top Row

I used glazier points to hold the stitchery to the frame. Then stapled brown package wrap to the back to act as a dust cover.

Middle Row with Button

This was a fun piece to stitch because it
[a] is small! The finished stitching is 4" by 4"
[b] only uses three colors of floss
[c] each heart has a different pattern
[d] has that center polymer clay button that adds a sweet little pop of embellishment

Bottom Row

I've set it on the fireplace mantle for the month. It was awfully nice to finish a piece of cross-stitch. I hope to do more this year.

Here are the details:

Design name: DH 5 Hearts
Designer: Hob-Nobb Designs, Inc.
Copyright: 2004
* Gentle Art Sampler Thread - Hibiscus (overdyed)
* DMC 498
* DMC 3802
Fabric: I think this is a cream colored 28 ct.Lugana stitched over two.
(I kitted this up so long ago that I'm not sure).
Embellishment: Polymer clay button came with the pattern
Cost of Chart: $3.00

Friday, February 3, 2017

Stitching Done

I finished stitching all the hearts. It's getting a little soak to clean off any oils from my hands.

Now to figure out how I want to finish it. Frame it? Turn it into a pillow? A small banner? We'll have to see what I come up with.

Thursday, February 2, 2017


I've had some time to stitch today and made some nice progress.  Here's a teaser.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Cold, Cold Heart

On this freezing night, I stood on the driveway, facing the garage as Dale parked the car. The house lights illuminated the snow and ice, casting a heart-shaped shadow.

Love is not only in the air. It's thoroughly grounded.