Monday, December 21, 2009

Merry Christmas! California here I come!!

To all my friends and family, Merry Christmas! Enjoy your time spent with loved ones and cherish every memory made. Best wishes to you all for a Happy and Healthy New Year - may we all look forward to a wonderful year ahead. Rob & Nicki

In a matter of a day I will be on my way back to California. I can actually sing that phrase "California here I come, right back where I started from" cause I was born in Los Angeles. Who would have thought 50+ years later I would have a son living there with his wife and my two beautiful grandbabies.

As a Christmas present my wonderful son Jason sent Rob and I and also his father, tickets to come spend the Christmas holidays with him. This has got to be the best present ever - the thought of spending two solid weeks with Evita and DeAngelo has got me so emotional and so excited! It's been 6 months since I've seen them so I know I'm going to be so surprised to see how much they have changed.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Crazy Quilt RR Time!

Can you spell PROCRASTINATOR??? I was just talking to my friend Julie today and we both agreed that that particular word describes us to a T. Seems like I have all these great plans and so many ideas at the beginning of a New Year, but now, only 3 weeks until the New Year, I once again find myself with more things on my "to do" list and can't seem to catch up. Oh well.... there's always next year LOL!

I want to share with you all some gorgeous blocks that I have recently received in the mail. I am in a CQ Faces RR with a few of the ladies from the CQI Group. These ladies are incredible artist and just by passing around the blocks and sharing, I have learned so much from them ... I've also realized I have SOOOO much more to learn. I'd give anything to be able to sit next to anyone of them for lessons.

Yesterday, I received this set of CQ Face Blocks in the mail. OMG! I pulled them out and just sat there in awe. Each block is so incredible - the pictures here do not do any of them justice. These blocks belong to Diane and I know she is going to flip when she gets them back home.

#1 Block - This awesome block was created by Debbie Q. It looks to me like the Goddess of the Wind. WOW! You can't believe how many bullion stitches went into making her hair.... I'm sure many many hours. What a beauty!

#2 Block by Rose Ann. When I first saw this block I immediately thought of Cher. I love it ! I was wondering how anyone would use Diane's beads. (To see a closer look, I've posted an up close picture of the bead further down) So any stitches and a beautiful head dress.

#3 Created by Leslie - she again worked her magic into making a block come alive - so many gorgeous flowers and beautiful stitches. OMG! and the bead work is insane!

#4 Block by Gerry - Incredible! Absolutely beautiful and so celestial looking. Gorgeous hair and wonderful bead work.

This is the block I will be embellishing. I have a choice of two different faces - once I decide which direction I am going in I will pick the right face. These look to be something like cloisonne beads - a little big but so striking. I can't wait to see where my stitching leads me to on this one.

This is another set of CQ Faces RR blocks that I am currently working on. They belong to Debbie in Maine - boy does she have some beauties coming home soon. I've been working on block #4 and hope to have all of these in the mail to her sometime next week. Hang in there Debbie - they will be home soon!

#1 Block created by Leslie. This block makes you wish you were a little girl again. The dollhouse and rocking horse stitching is fabulous... just makes you want to jump into the block and play.

#2 Block - by GerryK. OMG! What a fun block to look at! You can't tell from the pictures but the Jack-in-the-box is 3D and so real like - so adorable.

#3 Block was created by Rose Ann - Such a cutie - Can you just imagine how many beads she used to make Raggedy Ann's hair? Oh and the hours!!!!

Over on Yahoo I belong to the My Favorites RR and we are doing an Encrusted RR. I just received this beautiful block from Andrea who lives in India. It will be my first time doing something "encrusted" so, being the first person to work on her block, I've got plenty of room to play. She used gorgeous fabrics and included a beautifully handmade book for everyone to write in.

Guess ya'll will know what I'll be up to for the next week or so - stitching away. The next time I blog I will be announcing a Surprise Give Away to celebrate a new venture I just took a step in. Please check in now and then to see what you will have a chance at winning.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

CQ Mermaid RR Update

A few months ago I blogged about a Crazy Quilt Mermaid RR that I was in with a group of ladies. There are 6 of us with blocks going around all over the US. Today I received some updated pictures of my block and thought I would share them with you. I feel very lucky to be in this RR with such wonderful and talented ladies and am getting so excited to see the end results of all our blocks. This is how my block left me ... a little bit naked just waiting for some magic to happen. If I'm remembering right, I think this block is something like 24x 28 +/-

This is the first of two mermaids that Kathy has beaded for me on my Mermaid Block. The amount of time she put into sewing on all the sequins and embroidering her hair is just beautiful not to mention totally AWESOME! Thank you soooo much Kathy!

This is the second mermaid that Kathy worked on... stunning, beautiful and overall just incredible! By the way, if you would like to add some great new stitches to your CQing, check out Kathy's blog as she has tons of fabulous stitches she is journaling.

Friday, November 6, 2009

CQ Mini Needle Book Ornaments

WEW! It's been one busy week. Like everyone I know, we all have those "to do" lists a mile long. I decided early this week I was going to start hammering away from top to bottom and start getting some of the projects done, fini and crossed of my ever growing list. Why is it you cross of one thing but seem to add 10!

Since I am hosting a CQ Ornament swap on the HGTV Board, I thought I should at least get my 12 ornaments completed and ready to swap out at the end of the month. Check mark - done! I decided to make mini needle books - something that could be hung on a tree but then used after the holidays. Since I love shabby chic colors I went for the soft pinks and greens - all 12 measure just about 2x3 and are CQ'd on both sides.

While I was in my "needle book" frame of mind I also whipped up a few more that will be little surprises along the way. On these particular ones I used some of the prettiest velvet that I have ever found - tucked away for just the right project.

Of course what would one of my projects be if I didn't make something "BLUE!" I made this one for a special friend for a special day that she has coming up (3x4)

So, with this project done I'm off to finish working on a custom Needle book that Shogun of the HGTV board won in a contest I held a couple weeks ago. Ali, I'm almost done and hope to get it in the mail to you sometime next week... don't want to ruin the surprise by posting a picture quite yet.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

CQ RR Faces - Bertha is ready to Parteeee!

On my blog posting of October 8th, I introduced a couple of great ladies that were created for Gerry of the CQI Group. Gerry created the faces and sent them around to a small group for some CQ gussying up. Opal and Pearl were all dress up in their glory ready to party and poor Bertha just was sitting home pouting as she didn't have a thing to wear. Well, move over girls, Bertha is ready to party now.

Bertha before:

Bertha in her mink cape, hat and diamonds:

Girls just want to have fun!! Opal, Pearl & Bertha

Friday, October 23, 2009

A B&B Story of Ever Lasting Friendship.

Can I tell you a little story? I’ve been trying to think of something special I could do to celebrate my best friend Beverly’s birthday. Through the years, we try and send each other a present, a card, a note or even a phone call. This time I thought I would recap a little bit of our 44 years of being B&B (Barb & Bev) (Barbara being my first name).
In 1965 Beverly and I were two new girls in a new country and new school. Our fathers had been transferred to San Pablo Air Force Base near Seville, Spain. Being 13 and in a new environment you can imagine how scared we both were being the “new girls”. On that first day we turned to each other, introduced ourselves, and from that day we have remained closer than sisters.

Bev and I were baptized together the following spring on Palm Sunday – somehow God knew to bring the two of us together as he knew in the coming years we would go through so many ups and downs - good times, bads times and crazy times. (Bev, he knew there was something special in both of us - the best in me and the best in you - that would help us to survive what life threw our way as long as we had each other to rely on).

Bev has been the one constant in my life and the one person I turn to no matter what. It has been the most incredible 44 years of my life knowing that she has been beside me, supporting me in all my craziness and helping me get even crazier at times! One of the most incredible things about our lasting friendship is…in the 44 years of being more than sisters, we have only lived near each other for the 3+ years we lived in Spain. Going through our High School years together in Spain was the most wonderful experience and we had soooo much fun. In 1969 our parent were sent back to USA – Bev’s family moved to Texas, mine to Boston, MA. With the exception of a few years scattered here and there, we have made it a point to see each other at least once a year. Through the passing of her mother and brother, her wedding in Las Vegas, my wedding in Maui, the birth of my sons, all out heartbreaks and all our joys and all the other important days of our lives… B&B have been together. Many B&B trips have been taken too – canoeing and fishing at the Devil’s River, Chris’s parents mansion in CA, Wandering through Oaxaca & Puebla in Mexico (and OMG the Mexico City Airport fiasco!!!) Kansas City, Madri Gra, Las Vegas, jumping out of trees in Costa Rica, Camping out in the Rain at the Kerville Folk Festival, Maui, Sailing in Scituate Harbor with Rob, Cape Cod, PTown Galleries, numerous Seville High School Reunions …. the list goes on and on. How can we ever forget all the times we’ve laughed and cried together, the secrets that only we share and sreiously, how can we ever forget the times that we don’t even remember (Balloons! Brownies! Tequilla! LOL!!!! )

When Bev and I got married our husbands knew all along that we were a package deal… always have been, always will be. Poor Chris, always putting up with our craziness and Rob! OMG! He now has wifey #1 and wifey # 2 to contend with LOL! Hey, he still hasn’t bought me a diamond as big as the one you got! LOL! Bev, remember that poem we had to memorize in 8th grade? The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost? A few lines have always stuck with me:

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood… and sorry I could not travel both” and the ending…” I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference”

I’m so happy that we’ve have traveled all these years together down the same road. People have told us a million times that we look like sisters.... little do they know we are in more ways than one. Happy belated Birthday Bev - I love you, miss you and adore you…
we need to plan another B&B soon.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Mini Quilts

Happy Fall!

Over the past 5 weeks I have been teaching a Crazy Quilting class at a local quilting store and also trying to catch up on a few CQ RR's. Stepping back from CQ (somewhat) I took the time to complete two Mini Quilts for a Mini Swap I am in on the HGTV Board. The first mini (above) is a Fall mini and is for Christine. Using the orange and yellow fabric in this mini has certainly shown me that the two colors I most dread can certainly be pretty together. They are slowly growing on me LOL! With each mini sent out, the girls also send a little gift so I picked up some of the scraps from this mini and made Christine a little Needlebook - actually I lined it with some low-pile fleece which is awesome to use when beading... the beads don't roll away from you.

Here is the mini Christine made me in return - I just love it! She also sent me on of her beautiful pieces of tatting - gorgeous colors!!!!

My second mini was for the Christmas Mini Swap. This one was made for MyJack - it is a smaller version of the Fall mini - done up in blue and white snowy Christmas fabrics and embellished just a bit with some glittery trim and crystals. I also made her a small needlebook out of some of the scraps used on her mini. This one is in the mail and should be arriving to her house soon.... Oops - Surprise! I forgot to tell her it was on the way!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Crazy Quilt Faces RR

Want to see something that takes Crazy Quilting to a new level? When I received this package in the mail today I could not stop laughing! These wonderful blocks belong to Gerry and I just know she is going to flip out when she gets them home - they are hysterical!

Meet Opal & Pearl -

A few months ago I signed up for another RR with the CQI Group. This RR has us all creating CQ blocks depicting "faces" to be passed around for embellishment. Well today I received my next round. Inside the box I pulled out 2 completed blocks - Opal & Pearl. I love them! Without any further ado... my I present Ms. Opal in all her glory - created by the one and only Rose Anne

and Ms. Pearl with her beautiful peacock hat - decked out to the nines by Leslie - check out the pup in her arms - too cute!

Since I am blond (well most of the time -LOL!) I have chosen to work on Bertha. I haven't quite decide how I will deck her out but you can be sure she will be ready to party with these ladies in her finest apparel.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Update on Courtney's CQ Block

I really would like to get Courntey's block done by the beginning of next week so I can sew it up into a pillow. I've been working on it little by little and like the way it's coming along - and especially liking my new found "like" for orange and yellow.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

CQ Pillow for Courtney

A few months ago my niece Courtney's father passed away. At 16 years old I can't imagine the heartbreak. Her mom, Judy, thought that she would like something that was a reminder of her father - something that was a part of him and asked me to CQ Courtney a surprise using Kevin's clothes and something with sunflowers. I had Judy send me a few pieces of fabric from some of his clothes and a couple of pictures. I've been working on this block for about a month off and on.
Now most of you know that orange and yellow are not my favorite colors so I'm a little out of my element here... although lately, I'm finding that I like them more and more. The crocheted embellishments were actually sent to me via a CQ Embellishment swap I was in - the adorable crocheted sunflower and the beautiful basket of orange flowers. ( I'm sorry to say I don't remember who made them but I thank you so much!) I embellished them just a bit with some silk floss and glass beads. I think I'm about a third of the way done - I hope to have it completed and made into a pillow for Courtney before the holidays.
Starting point:

Monday, September 21, 2009

CQ, RR's and more..........

Has it really been a month since I last blogged? Where did the time go? Where in the world did summer go! I hope everyone had a great time over this past summer and you've found some new ways to be creative.

Summer is coming to and end and I find myself starting to hibernate already. How can I tell... well my creative juices are flowing. I'm not quite sure why, but in the past 2-3 weeks I have been on this creative, sewing binge.... hmmmmm ...getting ready for the long winter? I'm thinking it might have something to do with the fact that I have been walking 3-4 times a week and all the fresh air is airing out my brain! Not only has the walking been helping me sleep and making my legs feel better, it has given me so many new ideas and so much more motivation to create. It's about time! So... with that being said I have a lot of catching up to do with my blogging over the next week. I guess I'll get started by telling ya'll about what I've been up to the past week or so.

I just finished a CQ block for the Art4Mail Group. The theme was "monochromatic CQ blocks". The block I was to make was "teal". Without a doubt I was so excited as teal is one of my favorite colors and I knew I had plenty in my stash to work with.

One of my favorite swaps I'm in right now is a CQ Face RR. A group of ladies from the CQI site signed up to do this Round Robin using faces. I sent 6 polymer clay faces that I had made along with 6 naked CQ blocks to be embellished in whatever manner by the ladies .... I can't wait to see how they come home. Here are two of the blocks that I have had so far to work on. Rose Anne sent me the first one - she sent along the face and her celestial blocks. I immediately knew what I was going to do with it - I had bought a bunch of these crazy looking motifs while out in LA this past summer... at first I thought they looked like octopus and have dyed some of them to be used in various underwater themed CQ projects. When I saw Rose Anne's face I knew one of them would take on the roll of being the sun. I beaded around the face and then embellished the sun rays with gold bugle beads.

Now this next block was a challenge. This block is Leslie's and for the life of me I had no idea how to create a sugar plum fairy. My niece told me they should look like a fairy so I made her a dress and gave her long golden locks along with some make up.
A while back my friend Barbara from the ART4Mail site asked me to make her a Sewing/needle case. I love making them and especially enjoyed making this one as I was out of my color element - I used only pinks and greens... no blues! LOL! I have to admit I love the color combination and will be using them again. You know how you start something and are really into it and then all of a sudden you hit a wall and just can't think on how to finsih it? Well that happened to me so this pretty sat idle for a couple months. I'm preally pleased with how it turned out and hope Barbara likes it as much.
Currently I am hosting a "CQ for Me Challenge" on the HGTV Quilting web site. All year we spend so much time making this and that for everyone else, I thought it would be nice if we made something specific for ourselves. This would give everyone a chance to use all those "special" pretties that they have been saving.

I decided to make a Challenge out of this swap. I had each lady (42 participants) send me their vote for their color choice. Top two votes ended up being Blue and Green... now I know what you think, Nicki loves BLUE. But... I actually voted for pink! All the ladies chipped in for the pretties to be used. Once I had the colors I went on a hunt for some pretty fabrics. I bought two beautiful silk... the blue being a dupioni. I also ordered each lady a floral motif. The two pieces of fabric and the motif are to be used in the Challenge which is due January 1, 2010. The nice thing is everyone will end up with something pretty that they created for themselves.

My wonderful and talented friend Carolyn, Sunshinedesigns , painted me a beautiful peacock as a gift last year. I have been wanting to make something special with it and decided immediately that now was my chance - the colors were PERFECT! If you haven't seen Carolyn's work check out her blog - she paints the most amazing flowers, birds, and pretties on dupioni silk...she even offers a few of her designs for downloading.

My blocks will be made into a purse. The blocks measure 13.5 x 15.5 - the first block will be the front and the second , the back. So far I've only dyed the motif and placed it on the block alogn with another peacock that I'm not sure if I'm going to use. I have all winter to play with this project and want to take my time - might even try my hand at some new techniques and try a little encrusting.

Also on the HGTV Board, ToryAM is hosting a Self Portrait ATC (Artist Trading Card) Swap. These cards are so much fun to make - they measure 2.5x3. I started out buy using up the left over scraps of fabric from all the CQ blocks I have been making and ironed them down to large piece of double-sided peltex. Next I used some gold metalic thread to embellish the seams a bit- and just meandered all over in a swirly motion. Once that was done I cut out the ATC's with a rotary blade then fuse a picture of my eyes that I had downloaded onto fabric.


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