Saturday, June 30, 2012

What? Two Whole Weeks??

Well, I've been away ... busy at our BDEIG Seminar, teaching, learning, visiting with some of the nicest people ever.  Thanks to you who mentioned this blog. I hope you'll sign up ... that little space over there on the left side will bring these messages into your email box each time I write.

I'm planning to write about a new flower I just thought up, will include instructions and a photo, and I'm also going to do a picture tutorial on our detached buttonhole stitch -- something most of us avoid with great enthusiasm. I guarantee you will like it when I've finished showing you some tips and tricks.

Meanwhile, I've taken the days since I've been home decomposing, or de-compressing, or whatever it is you do when you've been playing at working for a fun-filled week. I've been catching up in my garden -- the weeds were enthusiastically having their way with my yard while I was gone.

You all know I have a chickadee tree. If you look at that cloud of subjects over there on the right, you can read all about them. Well, we have lots of little chickadees hanging out. I know they are babies because they are busy dive-bombing Emmy. Silly Emmy, thought she might catch one, but I outsmarted her and lured her into the house and shut the door.
There were so many baby chickadees that I just pointed the camera and snapped pictures. Of course, I deleted several that were just leaves. But that's one of the babies up there!

Next to the chickadee tree I have a cherry tree:
It's a three-way graft - Van, Royal Anne, Lambert. This year it was LOADED with cherries, so I pulled out the stepladder and the pruning shears. I prune a high branch, pull the cherries off and go on to the next branch. While I was up there, I looked over and saw one of the baby chickadees happily munching on a cherry. (There are enough for all. I picked 2 gallons from this one tree.)

Usually the bluejays telegraph their friends and family that the cherries are ripe, but this year, I put up the Bluejay Discourager:
They never came.

Again, thanks to all of you who come to visit this blog. I'll do Brazilian embroidery next ... unless the cats do something silly.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Bird Bath - Ole' Watering Hole: What's the Dif?

Someone needs to tell Emmy (yes, we have TWO cats...) that this is a birdbath, not a watering trough for a cat.

AND she makes herself comfortable, planning to stick around a while:
When she saw the photographer, her only comment was, "What?"

So then I wandered around to see what else was blooming. I DO know there is a reason why you prune roses:
I think this is Mr. Lincoln - it wasn't growing in the front yard, so I transplanted it - and it was so happy in the sunshine, it just kept growing (it's not a climber). I think it is 9' or 10' tall, and I don't have it staked at all.  I realize that if I want to enjoy the scent, I will need a stepladder.

See that pretty rose over on the left by my name? It's Love and Peace. Today it was really lovin' the peace of this sunny day, and I decided to take yet another photo.
Yellow daisies are my favorite.
And just so the doggies don't feel left out, and since this blog is supposed to be about Brazilian dimensional embroidery (mostly), here is a picture of one of my new Millefiori designs, "B.E. a Tree - Dogwood with Cats"
Yes, this dogwood tree is full of doggies: King Arf-ur, Sir Barks-A-Lot, a Guard-en Dog, my new dogwood B.E. flower design with an entirely new technique, and a couple of other aptly-named (for a DOGwood tree) flowers that can be adapted to other embroidery. ...and kitties who, this time, have treed the dogs and sit in patient wait-mode.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

O.K. Bad Idea . . .

Remember this little flower - from the "Butterflies in My Heart" design  - Ruth Griffith's design for Millefiori?
I wrote about it here. It turned out that this wasn't the best idea I've ever had. For one thing, the red I used (#101) bled and bled and didn't want to stop AT ALL - and I didn't have two weeks of time to let it soak in cool water, as recommended. This was the center row of stitches and I had a bright idea that I could just snip it out and substitute a different color that wouldn't bleed.

As I was working, somewhere in there my scissors managed to snip the Nymo nylon thread holding those little Swarki beads. Now, as a hobby beader, I really DO know that when you work with Swarovski crystals, it's a good idea to use a thread like Fireline. But the Nymo was handy, so . . .

Now I have TWO things to fix - two times, once on each side of the embroidery.

So I substituted a round of size 11/o seed beads (pink matte that I'd used elsewhere on the embroidery), overlapping as I would when stitching a bullion rose. And I substituted a 4mm. Czech fire polish bead in the center. These beads have have smoother edges and almost as much sparkle as a Swarovski.

I actually like this flower MUCH better:
Speaking of Nymo (nylon beading thread), this little butterfly bead had a hole which I used, but I wanted it attached more securely so stitched across the body a couple of times. The Nymo was white. So I pulled out my blue Sharpie pen and just colored it over:
This is a picture of the design's focal flower - Ruth's Art Nouveau Lily. Ruth stitches hers with Iris. I used a Kreinik Cord and the 1/8" light pink Kreinik ribbon (It's very relaxing to "lay" ribbon floss), and I added size 11/o beads for the stamens. This is mine:
And this is Ruth's original (instructions included with the design):
Ruth added a bit of padding beneath the lower petal. I liked using the Kreinik cord because it was stiff enough that it was easily shaped.

Here's a picture of the finished embroidery - my version of "Butterflies in My Heart," a Millefiori design by Ruth Griffith. If you'd like to order one and start stitching yourself, just contact me here.
I hope you will also try different stitches, different fibers, and other creative ideas to your Brazilian dimensional embroidery stitching projects. Always be willing to try something new and make the project truly your own.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Not Seeing Eye to Eye to Eye

Very occasionally, my bullions and I do not see eye to I to needle eye. I'm still stitching Ruth Griffith's design for Millefiori, "Butterflies in My Heart". I'm using up some of my sparkly threads, also some rayon floss.
These are only 25-wrap bullions with Iris. You would think I could get them right. Originally I had plans to stitch a Japanese Violet, but since my bullions were having their way with my needle, I re-grouped.
...substituting 18-loop up-down cast-on stitches in front of those stubborn bullions. If you look at the first picture above, there is an arrow. I offset the cast-on stitches, just for fun, and to see what would happen. I think that a third row of cast-on stitches in green sparkly thread (this is Candlelight) might be fun.

By the way, I am sure everyone knows this, but I'll throw it in anyway. Most B.E. stitchers are encouraged to stitch all greenery first, leaves, stems, etc. Sometimes you later find that the flowers don't quite reach and the tip of the stem is attached to nothingness.  It's always a good idea to stitch stems almost up to the flower center ... just ... in ... case ...

Since this is the Butterflies in My Heart design, I tucked that pretty little butterfly bead into the flower center.

OK, what else did I do? 
This is Ruth's French Hydrangea flower, four petals around a cast-on stitch center, usually finished with buttonhole stitch. I had this pretty little Swarovski marguerite bead from Fire Mountain Gems, attached the red marg on top, both fastened with a little yellow seed bead.
     Then I added four little purple cast-on stitches (10 loops), followed by four red cast-on stitches (12 loops), and a third row of purple cast-on stitches (also 12 loops).  Of course, after I was all finished, I thought that the center row might have been prettier with sparkly thread like the fuchsia-color Candlelight or a Kreinik cord. 

There's more. 
It's always nice to see what you have "lying around". These little purple beads are plastic and are from a stretchy bracelet that I re-purposed.  By the way, all of those butterflies on this design -- if you check your jewelry box or take a trip to a 'whatever'-store, you can sometimes find inexpensive earrings that can be re-used for your embroidery. Of course, you can also find very nice butterfly beads and/or buttons at your local craft or fabric stores.
Next, I decided to complete the fuchsia. Ruth calls it a Snow Flower. There aren't any labels on our embroidery, so we can call them whatever we want.
In my book Take A Stitch (by Rosalie Wakefield) -- sorry, I thought I had it on my website; guess I'd better go over there and take care of that -- I have a stitch technique called a "Knotted Loop" -- I stitched this flower with Kreinik ribbon, pink #92, but I'm going to change to a darker pink:
Pretty, isn't it? You tie a knot in your floss (1" up from the fabric), then take your needle down through the fabric -- the knot stops on top and you have a (cleverly named) Knotted Loop Stitch. I also do my turkey work with this method -- using Cire or Nova for turkey work gets rid of that kinky 'permed' look because the twist is looser for these two floss weights.

The stamens are made with my New Pistil Stitch -- or Cast-on Pistil Stitch -- something I discovered accidently about a year ago when I thought it would be more fun to stop at my work table and play with my floss for a few minutes instead of cleaning the house. It was a TOTAL accident, but I like it SO much better than our traditional pistil stitch. You'll find ALL of the instructions here on this blog.
     In this series of photos, I used Cire #001 and looped 2 cast-on stitches around the needle (Remember, you come up from the fabric where the knot will be):

 I found some other pinks for the upper petals, so I'm off to stitch again!
This is Mr. Oblivious:
He likes the nice, warm light. By the way, do you ever wonder why cats have flat noses?  Here's why:

Friday, June 1, 2012

Brazilian Butterflies and REAL Flowers

Yesterday I posted some notes about one of Ruth Griffith's B.E. designs that I'm playing with, "Butterflies In My Heart".
I found this lovely blue/purple rayon ribbon floss in my box of treasures and have wanted to use it for a while. After I stitched those little bugle beads down the center of the flowers, I added cast-on stitches on each side using the rayon ribbon floss. Between each bugle bead I added a 3-wrap French knot to give the flower a finished look. Detail:
..and then I picked up my camera and went for a walk in my garden. Here are some of the pretty iris my friend Virginia shared with me a few years ago:

Do you ever wonder about what's deep down inside those flowers?
This one has a fuzzy orange caterpillar deep down inside there. See:

OK. Those are some of the iris in my garden. But if you remember, it rained a little in Oregon -- a record of 14.53" for March-April-May this year. Everything has decided to bloom at once.  See:
This is my Ceanothus, or California lilac, a blue flower I've loved ever since I saw it growing in the Sacramento, CA, area.  I'm pruning mine into a sort-of tree (not enough room for the flowers, otherwise).
When all of these little flowers fall, the ground looks like blue snow.

I'm not sure what happened here ... I tied up my Gold Medal rose to this little trellis I found at JoAnn's. But all of the flowers are facing away (probably entertaining the little hummingbirds that come to visit my Red Chestnut tree right next to the rose). Maybe I should have just pruned the rose in January.
If you aren't tired of wandering through my garden, here are more pictures.  This is a raggedly, shaggy peony next to a thorny rose stem. (I have yellow tree peonies, too, but they are bashful bloomers).

Oh, for sure. You have to almost lie down on the ground to get a good picture of those little babies!
     This spectacular beauty showed up all by itself. It's a columbine that volunteered from several other varieties that I have (probably pollinated by a curious bee). I haven't ever seen it before, and if you want a REALLY good look, double click the picture. Doesn't it just scream, "Design ME in BE!"?
I think I'll go out and collect some seeds before the little finches decide to snack on them.

Daisies are my favorite flower (oh, wait, these aren't daisies -- they just LOOK like daisies).
These are blue bells (campanula).
 Oh, wait.  I think ROSES are my favorite flower.  This is JUNE in Oregon anyway -- the month of our Rose Festival. 
This is Cl. Royal Sunset. It has been growing and blooming for 30 years ... even more since we cut down a tree that was shading it.  It's a 3-day rose. Beautiful bud and then opens to a lovely rose. This photograph is the second day. On the third day, it totally flattens out and cries, "Prune me, Prune me." (You didn't know that flowers talked, did you?)
This is Day 1 for the Climbing Royal Sunset (by the way, a lot of these roses are from Jackson/Perkins, but some are from Roseway and Fred Edmunds and other wondrous places).
And THIS is Day 3 for the Climbing Royal Sunset (hardly worth the waste of digital picture whatevers):

I have a Peace and a Chicago Peace, but I'm not quite sure what the name of this rose is:
This next rose is a floribunda called Sunsprite. It has also been here for over 30 years.
Here's my Peace Rose (or Chicago Peace) - I never get them sorted out:

I call this next photo "Bee on Fox". The foxgloves have re-seeded to the front of my garden, covering up all of the short stuff behind. This bee is taking a nap, but he heard the click of the camera, got into a huff for being awoken, and flew off a minute later.
I think that if anyone asks me what my favorite flower is, I will reply, "Yes."

I love these leaves -- the insignificant yellow flowers, not so much. But the leaves are amazing.  It's a short little plant and the leaves are actually more gray than green. But if you are designing Brazilian embroidery flowers or foliage, double click this to see a larger version and just imagine how it could be translated into a pretty design!
Speaking of designs, here's one of my newest. I call it a Posey Rose and for those of you attending our BDEIG Seminar in a couple of weeks, you will receive instructions for stitching it yourselves!

Which reminds me -- I should probably go back to finish up my stitching projects.
      I hope you enjoyed wandering through my flowers. Between them, my cats (uh, oh ... cat coming through) ...
That's Cuthbert. Looks like The Sphinx, doesn't he?  Well, between all of these and my Brazilian embroidery, I definitely do enjoy the beauty I see around me each day.