Sew Mama Sew Softie Contest

Unfortunately I did not escape this winter's round of horrible viruses. My activities for the last week and a half have mostly been blowing my nose, sucking on cough drops and napping. I'm happy to report I'm nearing the end of all of that but alas, not much to report on. While I was sick, I was still checking my e-mail on my tablet and I kept seeing great posts from Sew Mama Sew (one of my favorite places). They are sponsoring a softie contest with some amazing prizes. In addition to the contest you will find posts by designers, some free patterns and tutorials, and lots of fun. Go here to check out what they have going on. While you are there notice their background full of pins and needles.  It's darling!


Circles in the Squares

Circles in the Squares
Circles in the Squares is now complete!  The last time you saw this the circles had been stitched down and shortly after that I added some detail hand embroidery work which gives some movement to the piece.  
Embroidery detail

This is the first time I had tried doing the quilting on the small blocks before putting it all together.  I am quite pleased with it, especially the part about not having to manhandle a large, heavy pile of fabric through the sewing machine.  It is a bold statement piece but it is only 25 inches square so it would fit perfectly on a small wall, perhaps an entryway. Now I get to decide what my next piece will be....
Circles in the Squares detail


Reubens Tapestry Series

Detail Triumph of the Eucharist Series
While in art school I wrote a paper on the influence of Italian Renaissance painters, particularly Raphael and Peter Paul Reubens, on Flemish tapestry weavers.  In a nutshell, the painters guild lobbied to have all tapestry cartoons designed by painters.  The style of tapestries went from colorful lively hangings with jumbles of figures and small floral bands to powerful figures and designs that could be woven and interchanged.  This change  lessened the power of the weavers and changed tapestry weaving forever.  I had only seen images of these weavings in books but while we were in Florida a visit to the Ringling Museum of Art gave me a great surprise.
Detail Triumph of the Eucharist Series
Upon entering was a 14 foot tall tapestry designed by Reubens from the Triumph of the Eucharist Series which had been commissioned by the Infanta Isabella Claire Eugenia of Spain.  While not one of the original twenty tapestries (which hang in the Convent of Descales Reales in Madrid) this tapestry was made from the original Reubens cartoon   To see the delicate threads and perfect color changes up close and personal was a highlight of my trip.  In addition to the tapestry the cartoons of four of the tapestries from the series were also on display.  If you would like to read a bit more about the history of these works in the museum go here.
Tapestry from Triumph of the Eucharist Series
If you find yourself in Sarasota, Florida you will not be disappointed by the Ringling Art Museum.



When I return from vacation and look at the photos I've taken they are usually filled with close up shots of foliage and textures.  Our recent trip to Florida was no different.  Close ups are so compelling and offer inspiration for textiles.  Textiles are informed so much by texture, no wonder my camera is filled with these. When you travel what  inspires you?

Bombax tree with enormous red flowers and interesting flower pods that resemble nuts.

Colorful Berries

Swirls in the trunk of a felled Banyan tree


And the Winner Is...

Posting has taken a bit of a backseat while my sweetie and I were driving from the horrible cold and snow of the upper midwest to Florida.  Today was the first day we sat on the beach.  To say it was wonderful to feel the breezes and sun on my skin is an understatement!

Also today is the day to announce who won the pincushion prize from the Grow Your Blog party!  And the winner is Threadpainter's Art.  Congratulations!


Imperfect Circles


If you are looking for the Grow Your Blog post scroll down or go here.

Two weeks ago I posted about some squares to be stitched up for a stash busting project.  So far there are 25 of them with concentric circles of assorted fabrics. In the past I have spent a lot of time and energy making things look perfect and being frustrated. In that frame of mind it is hard to be satisfied with anything so I chose another way.  My work is still a bit tidy but the lines are a little wonky and the stitches uneven, but I like it.  It is easier to work this way and I smile a lot more.




12 Cute Valentine Tutorials

If you are looking for the Grow Your Blog post scroll down or go here.

There are so many darling Valentine's projects out there! Searching for some ideas was a lot of fun and I couldn't resist trying my hand at this cute rose kissing ball.  It was easy and needed very few materials - just two rolls of crepe paper, a Styrofoam ball and a glue gun.  The directions are linked below along with links for some other really great Valentine's Day decorating and gift ideas.  I hope you have fun checking them out and making one or two. Which one is your favorite?

Swedish heart
Vintage Valentine Collage sheet (free download)
Confetti Hearts
My Funky Valentines
DIY Felt Valentine Envelopes
Kiss Flip Book
Crochet Heart Garland
Hearts and Buttons Hanging Decoration
Tissue Rosette Kissing Ball
A Wall of Paper Hearts
Felt Heart Garland
Paper Heart Garland