Saturday, September 27, 2008

Halloween Musings

Last night I began a JBW pumpkin design as part of the Friday Night Stitch-a-thon group. Today I'll be working to get my HOE Halloween Exchange sewn together and packed up, as well as sew a (stitched) Halloween sign.

This will be our first Halloween in this apartment complex and people are already decorating their doors and windows. I realized that we will need a LOT of candy to give out. Last year we were much more isolated (down a gravel country lane), and had not one single trick-or-treater! I enjoy going to the door and giving out the treats.

I remember from my childhood that a whole candy bar was only a nickel. One family used to keep them slightly warm in the oven for us! Our paper grocery bag full of Halloween candy lasted about a whole month because we were allowed to have only one piece per day.

I've got a Martha Stewart Halloween book from the library and have recipes to copy, as well as some templates for decorating ideas.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Spooky Time is Coming!

I finished the stitching of "Spooky Time." I substituted the cat button for the suggested spider, used DMC white instead of oatmeal for the top of the candy corn, and sewed on silver-lined glass beads instead of glittery thread.

I embroidered the eyes with black and glow-in-the-dark thread, as a substitute for the eye buttons. Now it needs to be finished into a ?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Cascades Raptor Center

Here are two photos taken at the Cascades Raptor Center, Eugene (OR), located near Spencer's Butte. The top picture shows a species of hawk. The bottom one shows a few of the shaded cages and a path. The center is located on the side of a hill and the paths are steep.

I was really happy to be able to visit this non-profit center and see so many raptors. Here in WV I see turkey vultures, red-tailed hawks, and perhaps another small hawk. The Raptor Center cares for many birds who were brought in injured (usually) and either rehabilitates them to be returned to the wild, or keeps them lifelong, if their injuries are too severe.

I saw many species of hawks and owls, as well as bald and golden eagles. The place serves as an educational center on birds of prey for the Eugene area and hosts many students during the school year.

We asked about the bags of feathers that we saw pinned to the walls of the supply sections of the cages and were told that even though they are approved to care for these special birds, they are not allowed to keep the feathers from certain species, such as eagles. Those feathers are sent to a federal facility in Colorado. Native Americans who need the feathers for spiritual ceremonies must make formal, written requests for them. It was unclear to me if non-Native Americans are entitled to request feathers as well.

They provide a sitting bench in front of one of the bald eagle cages. It was awesome to just sit and contemplate this magnificent bird.

The gift shop sells a wonderful variety or raptor-themed merchandise, including reproductions of pencil drawings of some raptors at a reasonable $8! If you ever visit Eugene, I recommend a visit here. You will not be disappointed.

More Halloween Stitching

I started "Spooky Time," a freebie by Lizzie Kate.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Quaker Hedgehog WIP

This is the "Quaker hedgehog" freebie from the Workbasket. I need a new regular (pillow) pincushion, so I'll finish him as one. It seems appropriate that a spiny creature should hold pins.

Some interesting facts about hedgehogs may be found here. A hedgehog is not the same as an American porcupine.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Poems for the First Day of Autumn

"Autumn is always too early."

---from Autumn, by Adam Zagajewski
(trans. by Renata Gorcynski)

"The milkweed pods are breaking

And the bits of silken down

Float off upon the autumn breeze

Across the meadows brown."

----from The Milkweed, by Cecil Cavendish

My DMC Master Chart

Yesterday I began "Garden Gate," by Elizabeth's Designs. I did the birdhouse in the wrong color and it is in the process of being ripped out.

I spent several hours yesterday afternoon learning to use a spreadsheet in my Microsoft Works. I created a master list of all of my DMC floss colors. I had paid my granddaughter a penny per skein for writing down the color numbers of all my floss (stored by color family in plastic bags). Yesterday I entered several sheets of the handwritten numbers into the computer and printed a master sheet that runs from lowest to highest label number.

When I find a chart I want to stitch, all I have to do is consult my master sheet and I can see immediately: (a) if I have the thread
(b) how many skeins of each color.

No more guessing for a project, no more buying the same thread over again at the craft store!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Poor Jack Finished

"Poor Jack" is finished. I didn't have DMC 972, so I made the eyes of the spiders darker. I think that the spiders' legs would have turned out better if I had a one of the thicker, single-strand type floss, such as Tentakulum. Someone sent me some (rose/green shaded) in an HOE exchange and I enjoyed using it as I did not have to unply it.

In the woods across from my window, a blue jay is calling over a low background of buzzing insects. Fall arrives tomorrow.

"That soon they will die

Is unknown

To the chirping cicadas."


(from The Moon in the Pines, by J. Clements)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Pumice Desert, Crater Lake

This is the Pumice Desert in Crater Lake National Park (OR) and it is located about six miles north of the actual crater. It was formed about 7,700 years ago from the pumice ejected by the ancient volcano, Mt. Mazama. You can see the great expanse of the desert as well as the myriad tiny holes in the piece of pumice.

The sign at the lookout area said that it will take thousands of years for a forest to get established here due to the poor quality of the soil. It is quite a contrast to go from here to the beauty of the lake up in the caldera.

Halloween 2008 Stitching

This is a freebie on 28-ct. linen, "Poor Jack" by Just Nan, that I started last night. I made his eyes and grin with DMC glow-in-the-dark floss. I'll be making several Halloween designs, and I'm not sure yet which will be used for my HOE partner. The linen is really natural but the scan makes it look grey.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Crater Lake

This is a view of Crater Lake National Park as seen from a north lookout on the rim highway. This photo was taken on August 2, and the white stuff you see around the edge of the lake is snow!

The little island poking up is Wizard Island. A park ranger told us that the view was hazy because the smoke from massive wildfires in California moved north into the valleys of Oregon. At the bottom of the photo you can see that the haze is beginning to clear, and the incredible deep lapis blue of the lake is starting to emerge.

Unfortunately, there are now Oregon wildfires burning that are affecting towns, some access highways to the park, and hiking trails. It is very dry in most of Oregon right now.

Eliza's Pyn Pillow

This is a WIP freebie, "Eliza's Pin Pillow" by With My Needle, that I stitched this summer. I'll finish it as a pinkeep. I didn't have the recommended thread count linen, and so I had to leave the serifs off of most of the letters, as well as rearrange them to fit my small piece of linen. I had to substitute for some of the colors.

Yesterday I went to Michael's crafts for a sale and bought some narrow ribbons. I got some Thanksgiving colors, and plan to use a brown for the edging of this.

I also bought another skein of DMC glow-in-the-dark thread to give to my HOE Halloween Exchange partner, and two quarter-yard pieces of lovely prints that will be useful for the backs of smalls. My granddaughter likes the glow-in-the-dark and wants me to use it to stitch something for her room.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Chihuly in Pittsburgh

This is one of the Chihuly art glass pieces in the Phipps Conservatory, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. My daughter visited there but I haven't been able to go yet :(

Phipps had a Chihuly exhibition last spring that was so popular that (I think) they purchased several of the works, which are now on permanent display.

Oregon Coast

This is a view of the Oregon coast as seen from the trail in the woods below the Heceta Head lighthouse. The day was overcast when we arrived, but gradually the mist lifted. I was so excited to finally see the Pacific Ocean!

"Ocean in view . . . oh, the joy"
---from the journals of Lewis & Clark

A Quaker Pinkeep

Although I didn't post all summer due to a lack of blank CD's (to back up all photos), I was busy stitching. I made this pinkeep for the HOE Summer Quaker exchange, but realized that I did not like the floss colors against the background. The background isn't really blue-grey--it's more of a mottled neutral. The reverse is covered with the batik yellow fabric that you see.

I gave it as a birthday present to someone with a summer birthday. They never responded, even to say whether or not they liked it. It took me a long time to stitch this with my aging eyesight. I have to wear magnifying glasses.

Memo to self: I will cross-stitch handmade gifts only for family and close friends who appreciate my work.

I took the pattern from an issue of the digital magazine "The Gift of Stitching."

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Thank You Gift

I stitched this as a thank-you gift for my son's girlfriend, following my stay with them in Eugene. It's "Embraceable Ewes: September" (An Apple for You), by Moon Pi Madness.

It's stitched with DMC on linen. I chose to eliminate the bow at the sheep's neck, and the row of apples on the bottom. The chart featured only the picture so I added the letters from one of my Dover Publications books. I used buckram and some quilt batting to create a hanging. The back has sheep design fabric. I was rushed and didn't sew the edges straight, therefore no picture of the reverse side.

Saturday Market--Eugene, OR

Here are pictures of some lovely flower bouquets for sale at the Saturday market in downtown Eugene. It's held outside until sometime in the fall, when it moves to an indoor location.

Farmers and craftspeople come from the Eugene area and set up their wares underneath tents. The selection of both homegrown produce, food and and handmade crafts was incredible!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

My Trip to Oregon

In August I traveled to Eugene, Oregon, to spend five days with my son and his girlfriend. I'll be posting some pictures from my trip.

This is a view of Eugene taken from Skinner's Butte.

Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art

These are some huge plants in the inner courtyard of the museum that overlook a small pool. I don't know what they are.

I went to this museum on the University of Oregon campus primarily to see the collection of works by Morris Graves . They had about four of his works in a special room. Unfortunately, there were no prints or posters of them in the museum gift shop, and practically nothing in the gift shop was based upon the museum collections, except for some magnets. Perhaps because the Jordan Schnitzer Museum is small, it cannot afford to make reproductions.

It is difficult to find reproductions of Morris Graves' work. It seems that much of his work is in private hands, and many of the works in major museums are not sold as prints or posters in their shops, either. Maybe some are available when one visits in person, but not listed in the online shopping. Maybe there are not enough people who want them to make it profitable.

Has anyone been to the actual Morris Graves Museum of Art in California (Humboldt County)?

I'm especially attracted to his series of birds (Waking, Walking, Singing in the Next Dimension), and those featuring "white noise."

The other museum collections (Asian) that featured samurai outfits, intricate Chinese enameled hairpieces, and and hand-painted screens were magnificent. I reveled in seeing the embroidered clothing (silk thread in satin stitch) so closely that I could see the actual stitches.

Summer Quaker

This is the jewelry pouch that I stitched for April for the HOE Summer Quaker Exchange. The eight-petal flowers, the enclosed swan and the enclosed birds/flowerpot are from a freebie, "Six Mains," by A Mon Ami Pierre. I chose to fill in the swan and make the background look like a pond, just to add variety.

The vase is my own design; the key, initials and letters from a book of charted designs by Dover Publication.

The interior is of the finest silk, from the blouse (choli) piece of an Indian silk sari. I've had this silk for years and use it sparingly for special projects. I stuffed it with flat quilt filler and added buckram for stiffening.