Tuesday, April 26, 2011

More April Showers

 We've just been having the craziest weather lately. Today's weather actually started out as rain.....then it changed to snow. Lots and lots of snow. Snowed heavy and hard for over 3 hours before it finally tapered off......and changed back to rain. I took this picture from the back door. The trees looked so pretty covered in snow. Cavi, my guardian llama can be seen standing under them. Jack, one of my alpacas is laying down  next to a tree. Everyone else had taken cover either in the barns or under the overhangs. It was a really wet, heavy snow. I'm sure the flock is happy that shearing hasn't happened yet. Everyone still has their winter coats to help them cope with this crazy weather.

Once the snow tapered off and changed to rain, the little birds came back out. I got lucky and was able to get a photo of a few of them out by the feeders in the backyard. Of course, right after I took this about a dozen little birds came flying in. Unfortunately they all flew out again before I could touch the camera. We get everything from Black Capped Chickadees and
Sparrows to Mountain Bluebirds. Doves and Quails also like to visit the birdfeeders. I really enjoy watching them.  :.)

Thought I would include a picture of what I've been working on lately. It's a wool applique sampler called "Spring Sampler". The pattern is by Bonnie Sullivan of All Through the Night. It's been a wonderful way to pass the time....stitching on my sampler while watching it snow.  :.)

A little bit about the piece. The background is linen (which I'm thinking about coffee-dyeing once done to "age" it a bit). A variety of wool is being used. Pretty much everything from hand-dyed (which I did!!) to over-dyed (the bee hive) to "re-purposed". When complete this piece will fit in a commercial 16" x 20" frame. This has been a really fun piece to do.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

April Showers

And it wasn't rain!!! Yes, it actually snowed yesterday....for most of the day.  It came down hard and furious at times with the wind howling......forcing the flock to take shelter. This morning....no snow to be seen anywhere. Just very cold temperatures. It warmed up enough early yesterday evening to melt everything. Such crazy weather!!

We had plans to work outside on the new fence for the dogs, but that had to be put on hold ....for obvious reasons. Made a good dent in the remodel of the kids' bathroom though. The old sink/vanity, medicine cabinet, and mirror have been taken out. The toilet is next to come out. The tub/shower combination will stay.  It's amazing how large the bathroom looks now that it is nearly empty. I never realized how much room the sink/vanity combination took up. The new vanity was put in last night just to see how it would look. Wow!! Really opened things up. It's much smaller (and prettier) than the old one. Now I can't wait for everything to be done. So today I will start on the taping/mudding with the hopes of finishing a good part of it. My loving hubby will do a few repairs later on tonight (the medicine cabinet was set into the wall so that will have to be taken care of since another will not be going in). He hopes to have all the prep work done in a day or two so that we can start painting. It will be a total remodel from floor to ceiling (with the exception of the tub/shower combination). I have all my light fixtures and mirror picked out. The new sink/vanity is already here waiting to be put in. I've picked out a really pretty faux stone floor. The completed bathroom will have a country garden theme to it.

This will be the second room that has been re-done since my youngest moved out. While it is a bit sad, it's also exiting. It's like we are re-claiming the house as our own.  :.) As for the kids.....well, their thoughts on everything is "It's about time!!"  :.)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wool fun

I've discovered a new way to enjoy wool......wool applique!!  Yes, I've known about wool applique for years. Even tried my hand at it once.....and found that I wasn't real crazy about it. Then, while browsing one of my favorite sites, I came across this little guy.....Larry the Lamb. I thought "I can do this. It's small." Plus it was just so cute that I simply had to have it. So I got the pattern and gave it a go. Turns out I really enjoyed working with the felted wool and stitching this up. So much so that I decided to play with it a bit more. Hence, the framed piece pictured below.

This is one my own design. It just popped into my head as I was spinning one day.....and staring at an empty frame that has been collecting dust on the top of my bookshelf for way too long.  I thought "why not give it a try". After all, I used to be quite the artist when I was younger.....and I've been doing embroidery for decades (learned when I was very young). So I gave it a try. Did some rought sketches. Was staring out and watching my flock wondering about how I wanted my sheep to look when it dawned on me. Why not use my Shetlands as a model.  Then I started noticing things about them.....like how square their bodies are.....and how short their legs look when they are in full fleece......and how their heads look so small compared to their bodies. Of course they don't run around with their tails up....unless they are fertilizing that is.  :>) I just thought it would look cuter. 

 So the piece is named "Stop to Smell the Flowers".....and it is inspired by my own woolly crew. Nothing really extraordinary about it. I did use part of a felted wool sweater for the background. The background is actually a very pretty blue (like in the first picture of the piece). I'm not quite sure why it wanted to photograph more gray in color in the closeups. The sheep body itself is from a felted 100% cashmere sweater (it's amazing what you can find in the local thrift shop). It's so soft!!! I just wanted to sit and pet it all day.  :>)

I used a whip-stitch for all the applique, a stem stitch for the vines and detail in the sheep's body, and french knots for the sheep's eyes. DMC embroidery floss was used for all the stitching in colors that matched the applique pieces. The stitching went rather quickly and was so very fun to do. I had forgotten how much I enjoy doing hand-work....and how relaxing it can be. Will there be more creations like this one? Let's just say the dust has been blown off my sketchbook, pencils, and eraser.....and I look forward to building a felted wool stash.  :>)