Sunday, August 20, 2017

Slowly Stitching August Away

This month has been moving through it's days faster than water through a sieve; I'm not at all sorry to see this month end, August weather in Florida can be brutal to say the least, hot days filled with sunshine and heavy gray clouds, humidity so thick it feels like you're parting a veil just to breathe.

I have my newest project set up for stitching, it's a Sashiko project from a kit I purchased a few months ago.
The kit included the printed indigo fabric, a packet of needles and the hank of white DMC perle cotton thread.  I'm using a light blue chambray cotton to back the indigo fabric for more stability since the dark fabric feel thin and I'm not sure how it will stitch with the perle cotton.
The kit can be found at this Etsy shop
I loved the pattern when I saw it, Aine as it is called with it's Celtic knotwork look just called to me as you may have noticed over the years many of my hand embroideries are of Celtic knot work or symbols.  Aine is the name of a Celtic/Irish goddess and  I have made quite a few hand embroidered goddesses over the last year or two.

Speaking of goddess embroidery here is the latest goddess project I completed this week:
Goddess stitched
She started as a simple sketch of this lovely little figurine I have, the figurine is an Abby Willowroot design.
Goddess figurine
A few weeks ago I was listening to the rain fall while recovering from a nasty bout of finger pain so I grabbed my sketchbook and began to sketch, after my sketch was done I thought to embroider her. I gave her a spiral labyrinth look to her head, the actual figurine has a spiral on the other side of it.  I left off some of the lines and didn't add the stars to the embroidered piece.
sketch of statue
I scanned my sketch to my computer and printed it out on my favorite stitch and wash away product, then found the fabric I wanted a few days later I would chose the colors and begin the stitching process.  I used variegated embroidery floss throughout except for the moons for those I used DMC satin floss.

I have another two witch bonnet sue blocks put together and a few more waiting to be pieced I decided to wait until all the blocks are done before I begin embellishing them.
witch bonnet sue blocks
I will be linking up today at Kathy's Quilts for slow Sunday Stitching stop on over to see what other bloggers are slow stitching today

I just finished reading a lovely book  by Kathleen Rooney titled Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk  I couldn't put it down until I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer.
I also started the newest Susan Wittig Albert book The Last Chance Olive Ranch  I love her China Bayles mysteries, what began as cozy mysteries over the years have evolved  into some well written mystery stories filled with information on various aspects of herbs and herb gardening, these books inspired me to expand my own interest in herbal medicine and herb gardening years ago.  The photo is my last haul of books for the library, I'll start the Garden of Small beginnings later this week.

Speaking of gardening the near daily rains come in torrential down pours which is great when it comes to watering my plants and keeping my bamboo plants growing by the foot. Unfortunately the bamboo isn't the only thing growing by leaps and bounds in my garden, after so much rain the weeds are going to be jungle height and thoughts of replacing the weed whacker with a machete has crossed my mind more than once this week.

I would like to plant one of the small dormant beds this autumn, I don't feel the connection to the earth as much tending a potted plant as I do when I am bent over a garden bed taking in all the beauty the scent of the sun warming the plants, seeing them grow, pulling the never ending weeds growing whether it rains or not, so I think it's time I prepare at least one of the beds for a Fall garden.

Until then I will spend my days stitching away on one project or another in my free time, and reading a good book or three.

Monday Update:
My Summer of Love challenge piece has been completed I added two tabs for hanging, I missed the deadline to send the actual piece (like many others I sent just a photo) now it will be another prayer flag for the garden.

It measures 16x17 inches with 3 inch tabs it is not hemmed as prayer flags are meant to unravel over time.  I missed the deadline to send it because I had circled the wrong day on my calendar to mail it by, such a silly mistake but it happens.  

I forgot to mention it above I plan to add embroidery to the corners of the new goddess piece or surround her with a flowering vine.  I have a few ideas brewing in my
head I just need to stir things up, lay the designs out over the fabric so I can choose what feels right.  I know I should go with what I originally planned but that never seems to happen.  
I'm linking up today at Super Mom No Cape come take a look at what other bloggers are hand embroidering today: 

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Rambles in August and Some Slow Stitching

Those dog days of summer are upon us when the heat of summer sets in what seems to be forever. The humidity so thick it feels like you could move it with your hands, if only.  Living here in north central Florida for 23 years certainly has some challenges, but in the long run I've endured the summers, learned to adapt and eventually thrive.

Gardening was a challenge in the beginning, I learned the hard way you can't plant the way I did it up north because the rainy season hits and all is lost.  Trust me I didn't learn that my first or second year I was here, but I did learn and for the most part my garden did thrive. What I did learn for me is to not plant a vegetable garden anytime after the first week of March or all will be doomed, now that's just for me there may be many gardeners whose vegetable gardens thrive in the summer, but for me after too many losses I just don't plant veggies in the summer. That's okay though we have several nice Farmers Markets in the area so I can get my fresh produce from them and help support locally grown foods. Flowers for the most part do well a I have learned to buy native and tropical plants which has made a big difference, but even in the heat and humidity and torrential downpours the flowers begin to droop from the heat.3

Friday evening after some heavy rainstorms the Oak tree in front of my house lost one of his beautiful branches falling to the ground without making a sound.  Lucky for me it was a branch on the front of the tree and didn't come crashing down on my car.
My son moved his car the he and I dragged it onto the front lawn area where it fell, part if it was on the neighbors mail box, it doesn't look all the big but it took the two of us to drag it the few feet past my mailbox there in the photo.
What amazes me is that something so large fell silently to the ground, I don't even recall any wind blowing up with the rainstorm.  After the rain I always go out and walk the property to check for damage.  One of my small potted plants was on its side so I righted it surprised it fell over, I didn't here any wind, then my son says look at the end of the driveway and there it was this huge pile of green just sitting there. I shake my head wondering at nature's way, a few months ago we had tornado warnings with 65 mph winds and not one branch fell from the tree, just a few small twigs, Friday we had barely a breeze and there in my yard sits a downed tree branch, mother nature sure is fickle.  The branch will be cut up later in the week.

I haven't done much more on my crochet project this week but I did manage to put in three more rows.
The Summer of Love piece will be finished in a few days and then off it goes in the mail for the exhibition.
I have a new project in the works last night I put in quite a few stitches. This project will be put aside until the Summer of Love is done.
I did take a day for myself on Friday to accompany my sister and niece Tessa shopping for back to school clothes, school starts back on Thursday, August 10th, she will be attending Pre-K this year, my time does fly.  We had a nice girls day out, found everything Tessa needs until winter and made it home before the rains came.

I will linking my post today at Kathy's Quilts   stop on over and see what other talented bloggers are slow stitching today.

UPDATE August 7th

I did manage to put in quite a few more stitches yesterday finishing the roots of the tree and moving onto the tree top and the bright silvery full moon.

 I decided to use a slippery rayon satin floss to give her a bit of a glow, the floss is DMC S712 Mother of Pearl which is very fitting for the moon don't you think?  This is a 6 strand floss  I separated it using 3 strands.  Its quite a slippery thread so it took me a few minutes to get the needle threaded but once threaded its stitched up like a dream.  I've had the satin floss for a few years I'm not sure if its still available at local shops but you can pick some up on Amazon and Ebay.  I will link up today at Supermom No Cape here:
Stop on over and have a look at what other bloggers are hand embroidering today and maybe you will be inspired to link up your project too.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Warm wishes for a wonderful Lughnasadh/Lammas

The Lughnasadh is a time to celebrate the first of three harvest celebrations (Mabon and Samhain being the other two). It marks the middle of Summer represents the start of the harvest cycle and relies on the early crops of ripening grain, and also any fruits and vegetables that are ready to be harvested. It is greatly associated with bread, as grain is one of the first crops to be harvested.  The Celts celebrate this festival from sunset August 1 until sunset August 2 to honor  the God Lugh. It is the wake of Lugh, the Sun-King, whose light begins to dwindle after the summer solstice.

 The Saxon holiday of Lammas celebrates the harvesting of the grain. The first sheaf of wheat is ceremonially reaped, threshed, milled and baked into a loaf. The grain dies so that the people might live. Eating this bread, the bread of the Gods, gives us life.  

One traditional Lughnasadh custom was the construction of the corn dolly or corn maiden. This figure, braided into a woman's form from the last harvested sheaf of grain, represented the Harvest Spirit. The doll would be saved until Spring, when it was ploughed into the field to consecrate the new planting and insure a good harvest.
My Corn Doll Witch
While I love the idea of plowing the corn doll to insure a good harvest, my corn doll witch sits on a shelf among a few other harvest season trinkets throughout the harvest festival season.  

If you are interested in non-traditional seasonal celebrations  you can find them within the pages of these books.

If you follow a Goddess path and are looking for simple rituals and ideas for living in a more sacred, mindful way every day, I highly recommend this book it is absolutely worth tracking down a used copy if you can.
From the back cover: In 2007, the Seruntine family relocated to a secluded Nova Scotia homestead. They made it a point to live gently upon the land by growing and raising their own food, living in balance with the surrounding forest, and honoring Nature's spirits. In return, the land and the spirits looked after them. Seasons of the Sacred Earth follows life deep in their woodland hollow through a magical year.
And another book I have on living the around the Wheel of the Year or Wheel of Life and enjoying all the ways to celebrate, and again if you follow the Goddess path you will find much among the pages.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

July 30th is World Embroidery Day

World Embroidery Day

Invented in Sweden in 2011 a local group belonging to Broderiakademin, Sweden’s Embroidery Guild, took the initiative to plan and create a special day to celebrate embroidery. World Embroidery Day was born. It is now celebrated annually, each year on July 30.

I plan on making this day a happy stitching event joining in spirit with others all around the globe to celebrate in small part World Embroidery Day.

I'm working on the Zenbroidery piece today what are you working on?

Monday, July 24, 2017

July coming to and end

Well here we are in the last full week of July and my needle and floss seem to be flowing along at a decent pace.  Late last week though I hit a snag when I was hit with some type of pain and some rather nasty dizzy spells,  I had plans to spend time with my sister and niece at our community pool however I spent the entire day sleeping.  Saturday morning I didn't feel as dizzy or sore so I spent the day reading and crocheting.   I managed to do 7 rows in the Ruana  pattern  I purchased a short time ago.

I didn't feel much better yesterday when I woke so I found myself once again lying around on the sofa managed to finish reading The Hideaway and finally started on The Beach at Painter's Cove.
A Good Read
I had planned to read the Beach at Painter's Cove while I was away but started another book instead.  I really enjoyed The Hideaway.

I did manage to get some hand embroidery stitches in on Friday while resting, I used a split stitch on the Flower Power portion, I have to say I really like the look of the split stitch.
I didn't get as much done as I had hoped to on the Summer of Love piece as I had hoped so I have plans to get some stitching done on it today, it is nearly complete, I just hope I can focus on the stitching.
Yesterday I added another 3 rows to the Ruana pattern and I love the loose, soft feel it has using the Shawl in a Ball yarn, I also changed the stitch from half double crochet to a double crochet for a lighter airy look.
10 rows done
Here is the pattern I am making The Playa Ruana, from Two of Wands website.  I just love the soft flowing look it has.
I am using size "N" crochet hook and Shawl in a Ball metallics yarn from Lion Brand in the Om Opal colorway.
The metallic threads are very subtle throughout but it does give a nice little sparkle to the overall piece.  I have this yarn in other colorways and I plan to use it with beads on the next piece I make. I also ordered a few other colorways last week.

I'll be linking my post to Super Mom No Cape today I hope you will stop by and have a look at what other bloggers are embroidery today.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Mid July

July is just moving along, mid month came so fast though this week the days felt long and exhausting.  The heat and humidity are taking its toll on me this year.

I put in more progress on my Zenbroidery piece
moving long
I love the look the variegated threads I'm using, I'm also using 3 strands of floss, I have seen a few using the full 6 strands and for me it just looks so heavy and too crowed.

Progress on the Summer of Love project is going well too, I still have more to finish on the figure at

the bottom before I  move on to the next area,  I removed the stitch and wash fabric so the piece looks a bit wrinkled it will all be pressed after the piece is complete,

I will be linking up to Kathy's Quilts today   and on Monday I will link up at Super Mom No Cape please check out the  links and see what other talented bloggers are hand stitching.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Beaches, Books and a Birthday too.

July is moving along at a fast clip, do you ever wonder where the time goes, it seems it was just yesterday I was blowing out the candles on my 62nd birthday cake on the first of July and here we are 9 days into the month.

I have been slowly making progress on the Peace symbol Zenbroidery and I am happy to say my satin stitch is looking much better as I work, for some reason I always struggled with that stitch, but not nearly as much as I struggled with the french knot.

Several members of the stitching challenge I am in have made this and told me that once its nearly done it will be very hard to get the needle through, I had noticed how dense the stitching looked on photos they had posted so I am using back stitch to outline some of the motifs rather than have it all filled in,  I like the look of some white spaces.

My time on Sanibel Island was lovely, though as it is with vacations too short. The weather was lovely sunny and hot, I forgot the further south in Florida the hotter it gets though it did seem less humid being on the gulf coast enjoy the balmy breezes. 

Spent some time shelling on the beach and browsing bookstores during the afternoon rains, the water so clear and the shells abundant.
perfect beach day
hunting shells low tide
thousands of tiny shells 
a lovely morning
I didn't take too many photos, I was too busy picking up shells and walking along the shore and wading into the water.  I will post some photos of the larger shells found eventually.  After an early morning of shelling I brought out my beach chair and spent a few hours soaking in the sun.

I located two book shops on the Island, one of the bookshops had 3 buildings and books everywhere.
These are some of the books I bought.
a little of everything
City Guide Discworld 
two books in one
I also found a bookshop in Fort Myers and purchased a few books but I haven't unpacked those yet.  I have just started the Terry Pratchett  Discworld series so I am picking up the books not available at our library, and I just thought to grab the City Guide complete with map.  Wicked is the first two novels for a friend. The Randy Wayne White books are written by a Sanibel author and the novels take place in and around Southwest Florida.  Now I can start this series too.

On the first of July I celebrated my 62nd Birthday with a little cake that just makes me smile, it was so colorful.
basket of  flowers cake

I have to tell you those flowers were amazing and quite sweet, I don't like too much frosting so I scrape most of it off, it was a delicious white cake inside. 

One of the new projects I am working on is a witch bonnet Sue quilt, here is a look at two of the blocks waiting for embellishing, I will be embroidering the blocks and adding some beads too.

Here is a close up of one of the Sue blocks, they are appliqued on using fusible web, don't you just love the spider webs.

I'm thinking may be using some metallic threads around the block.  Here is a look at a traditional Sun Bonnet Sue block I made years ago.

As you can see the black threads are all the embroidery I added around the edges, added the lines for socks and umbrella handle and her hands.

Here is an up date on my  progress. for the Summer of Love Challenge piece. I will be linking my post up today at Kathy's Quilts and on Monday at Supermom No Cape.
Summer of Love