Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Vacation Doings

It's been cold and snowy here, so my temari have been reflecting that. This one is stitched with a crochet cotton, wrapped in a sparkly filament; the two parts of the thread did not play nicely together for stitching. They probably would have been nice for crochet, but for temari, not so much. This is a c8 with additional markings, and it looks nicer in person than in the picture. It has a real sparkle to it.


This one (again, sorry for the poor picture, my camera hates sparkly thread!) is also a c8 but with 2 sets of additional markings. This one is very fun to hold in your hand and study. It's not a complete success though; I think I will redo it with much brighter (flower) colors. It was fun to stitch.


Yesterday we all went out for lunch to (as P says) a train place. They have a train layout that kids are allowed to operate (kids have to keep punching buttons to keep the trains moving). There's a passenger train, a Christmas train, and a Thomas train, plenty to look at.


The food is interesting, aimed at parents (and grandparents) with plenty of selections on the kid's menu. After eating, the kids went for a ride on the train; P picked the engine. The conductor told him he should ring the bell, and he took his responsibility seriously.


Do you think they liked it?


Check out both of those smiles! P's still ringing the bell! but he did take turns with C. After this we went to Barnes and Noble and spent our Christmas gift cards. It was a very fun day!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Second Day of Christmas

After further checking, I discovered that I only finished 2 squares for the Advent Calendar this past year:


This is the story of Ruth becoming a believer and follower of God. It's one of my favorites from the Old Testament.

The fact that there are only two completed squares from this past year brings me to my resolve for the new year:

Drum-roll Please!

I will finish more than 2 squares in 2010! I realize that I used some of my cross-stitch time to work on the Quaker turtles (which aren't finished yet). So I will have to concentrate more on these, and maybe stitch on them at home once in a while.

Last Saturday I finished this temari, after a suggestion from Moonsilk Stitches to treat it like a Assisi design, concentrating on the background for the design, more than the stitching. It is not a complete success, but this is a very traditional way of looking at a temari design.


I'm on vacation, which is why my posting has been a little erratic. I'm having fun with my audio books and I've been stitching. I also got a computer game for a Christmas present, and couldn't pull myself away from it all day yesterday. I have a couple more temari to talk about, and a fun outing today.

Friday, December 25, 2009

1st Day of Christmas

I will share the 3 pages from the Advent Calendar that I finished this year. They won't be in perfect order. If you want to see the pages I spoke about last year, you can look here and earlier.

This is from the story of David and Goliath. The reason David was successful is because he trusted in the Lord, and because Goliath was "dissing" the God of Israel. I really like the little sheep on the hillside. This one took a long time because I had to so much frogging (unstitching). The whole sky is a stitch sideways, and I had to redo Goliath a couple of times, and the tree on the right was a challenge. But I am very happy with final result.


I think I only finished 3 this past year.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Z is for Zoo and Zebra

The last page in the book is this gate for the zoo. The gate is held closed by a cord that wraps around a button.


When you open the gate, you can see the zebra. The gate needs a little repair work.


I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas. I hope you are enjoying the holiday with your loved ones and family. Our Christmas eve celebration has been very nice, and we still have the day tomorrow as well. Tomorrow and the next couple of days I will post the couple of advent pages I have finished this past year.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Y is for Yak

I do assure you, this is a yak! My family seems to think it is a silly looking donkey, but a donkey wouldn't work for "y" at all, would it?

The activity for this page is to braid and unbraid the tail, which is made out of embroidery floss. This is like the laces page... learning to braid takes a little more focus than is usually available when reading/playing with this book. But I like to braid, and I really like the fabric of this page.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

X is for Xmas (Make that Christmas)

I think this page is one of the reasons it took so long to finish this book. I hate using "Xmas" to describe the season we are in, mostly because in math "x" means an unknown, and in Christmas, the Christ part is very known. However, when I was working on this, I read an article that said that the "x" stood for the cross, adding extra meaning to the description of the season. So I went ahead and made the Christmas tree, specially since I couldn't work out how to make any other activity with X. I considered Xylophone, and X-ray, but it was getting way too complicated.

This is another page the kids like to play with (like the acorns on the tree). The ornaments can be hidden in the present. I did let myself go a little bit, and I made the ribbon on the package out of real silk ribbon. I don't know how well it will hold up, but it is very soft and special.


Here are the two balls I wrapped on Sunday, and the finished stitching on one of them. After discussing the rayon thread I received for Christmas with my friend, I decided it was too fine to use to embroider a ball, I would have to use it to wrap a mari. I knew that using rayon for wrapping would be a challenge, and I was right. Every time I would let up on the tension on the thread a little bit, I would face several rows of thread unwinding while I watched. I learned that when I slowed down, I had to hold the thread down that I had just wrapped, and even so, several times the thread would just slide off. I stopped trying to unwind to a point where everything was tight, and just started winding over anything that was coming apart; it seemed to work okay. I do like the color and the shine of the base, and once the mari was marked I didn't have to worry about things coming un-done any more.


This is a copy of the GITS I made for Anne. I liked (and was intrigued by) the pattern so much that I wanted one for myself, and the other is for Moonsilk Stitches, who gave me the thread (plus she guessed quilt squares). It is a c10, that ends up having a c8 pattern on it. Having the base shinier than the stitching gives it a very different look... I would have to get used to that. For the stitching I used the Pearle #8 on spools that I got. It is not DMC, but is labeled with DMC color numbers, and I have enjoyed stitching with it a lot.

Monday, December 21, 2009

W is for Wings

This page is not very dramatic. The wings move up and down a little bit. This is one of the last pages I made, and by this time I was flying (wings... get it?).


I was going to copy the temari I posted on December 14, so I could give one away. I sat down to mark a c8 division, but I got distracted and marked a c10 instead. So, after the pins were in I didn't want to undo all my work, and I decided to make a companion ball instead of a copy. This is made with the thread challenge threads we received. I should have made the kiku stitches for the stars inside the points of the neighboring stars instead of around them. This gives a knob at the tips of the stars instead of a nice sharp point. I don't mind the way it looks, it's just not what I was expecting. I do like, very much, the way the star and the pentagon weave around each other.


Thank you for commenting on the Q is for Quilt post. I will be sending out temari to everyone who responded. Chloe Patricia, please send me your address to jcompeau at gmail dot com. I know where to find everyone else!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

V is for Valentine

I think this is one of my favorite pages. The ribbons are fun to weave, and make a very pretty pattern when you get them right. One of my daughters made a valentine in this pattern when she was in grade school. I don't know if I got the idea from that or from the original book, but this one is a winner. I like the colors too.


Saturday, December 19, 2009

U is for Ukelele

The concept for this page is cute, but it doesn't "play out" as well as you would think. There is a popsicle stick in the neck of the ukelele to keep it stiff, but it tends to shift about. I do like the background fabric for this one, though. This is one of the most recent pages.


Friday, December 18, 2009

T is for Tree

I think this is now, and always has been, the favorite activity in the book. The acorns snap on to the tree, and when you take them off, they can be hidden in the tree trunk. In fact, this page is so popular the acorns are starting to unravel, and one of them is missing!


I finished a GITS temari last night, but I won't be able to show you until next year! It is the New Year GITS, and the people participating are asked to have the new gift in the hands of the person they are swapping with by December 31, but the box is not to be opened until January 1... usually a couple of minutes past midnight. I think seeing a new temari minutes into the new year is a wonderful way to start the year. I will share with you then the one I made, and the one I receive.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

S is for Spider

Today's page has two spiders with the predictable number of legs. Since the legs are pipe-cleaners they are bendable and movable, but this page doesn't get much attention because of what is coming tomorrow.


I stopped the other day and took pictures of our Homewood Guild display in the Irwin Center. Here's a close-up of one of the shelves.


I picked this picture because it has two of my temari visible. You can see a more extensive post, with more pictures here: Homewood Guild This display is an annual activity for our guild, and people look forward to it, as they should, because it is really beautiful. I'm ashamed to say that I don't always participate, but this year these are my temari for the JTA level one that I did in Christmas colors.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

R is for Rabbit

The page today is a rabbit in a hat. He's a cute rabbit, and when he's all the way in the hat only the tips of his ears show. He's not attached to the page, but so far he's been fine. Of course, he does not compare in cuteness to the real baby bunnies that were born to Peter and White-tail. (Peter is the mom; should have been named Peta!) C & P are in love.


I met my friend for hot cocoa last night, and we exchanged gifts (even though she had already given me presents on the night of our guild Christmas party!) I made several pot holders in the past couple of weeks, and I gave her her choice. She picked the two big ones... they didn't felt up as much as they should have, but she will give it another try. The green/brown one is crocheted from three strands of cotton thread, and is nice and heavy, I will be glad to add it to my drawer. The woven one was designed by DD1, and I did the edging. I think she may want it for her home.


The present was in this cute bag, a knitting cat, and a dish cloth knit with cotton thread. She gave it to me because as she was knitting it, she was thinking it was in my colors. So true, and so pretty! Thank you!


The sun came out yesterday during the day, and it is like a switch for me! I got home, and the needle jumped into my hand to finish this temari. It is the first one I made with floss, and it will not be the last. In this picture there is a white thread that was used for marking, that will come out.


You can compare the two here. The one using floss is much fuller with much better coverage. For all-over designs, I think floss is the way to go.


If you are interested in receiving a temari, go ahead and post on the entry for yesterday, even though Moonsilk Stitches seems to have nailed the number of squares.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Q is for Quilt

This page was one of the orphans from the first try at making a book. I don't even remember what the original activity was supposed to be... I think it had something to do with a crown for a queen. This is an actual quilt, about 5 inches square. The activity, that you can read under the quilt, is to count the squares. So far no one has counted all of them, not even DD2 when she is reading with the kids. Of course, I haven't done it either, 4-year-olds can't count very high.


I noticed this is my 250th post for my blog. To celebrate, I think I will run a give-away/contest. I will send you a temari if you can tell me how many squares there are in this quilt. If there is more than one right answer, I will pick one at random. If there are no right answers, I will pick the one that is the closest.

I will have to make you a temari if you win, so give me a hint of the patterns and colors you like.

Monday, December 14, 2009

P is for Pelican

This activity is a puzzle, put together with snaps and a button for the eye.


As you can see from the disassembled picture, it looks quite complicated. The upper beak is attached to the background, but everything else comes apart.


Here's a better picture of my Temari Challenge thread challenge. The black mari and the velvet-like threads sucked up the light in my last picture. This one was taken in front of the storm door, and even so, it is not over-exposed. I think it is simple but effective. If anything, it could use a strand of the purple metallic around the triangles, but I think I am going to leave it.


My all-over re-do is coming along, just half of one band left. It still isn't perfect, but I like it more. I'll show it along with the original so you can judge for yourself.

Friday, December 11, 2009

O is for Owl

Here's another poor picture. This is an owl, the activity is to "button" and "un-button" his eyes to make them look open or shut. In the picture you can almost see that his left eye is shut, and his right eye is open, making him a blinky bird.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

N is for Nose

This page is fun! You can make a lot of funny noses with the shape of the chain, and so playing here often leads to giggling.


While perusing different sites on the Internet today, I ran across this one: Embroidery and Embroider which has an abundance of Assisi patterns and other goodies on it. I started the Master craftsman Program through EGA for counted thread several years ago, and got to the second step. At that point I came to a screeching halt, because I couldn't find an Assisi pattern to work. Now that I have found these, I might send in step number 2.

I added a couple more rows of Very Velvet to my thread challenge temari last night, and I think it looks a little better. It is a very pretty ball, that didn't photograph well at all. I think I will try to get a picture tomorrow in the daylight. I started a re-make of the previous temari, with a gray base and floss, but still in the same colors. It shocked me by how much I was enjoying the stitching; I like floss! All I had heard was that floss is so finicky to stitch with on temari, but I should have known that my enjoyment of stitching with floss would come through on temari as well as in cross stitch. This discovery opens up all kinds of doors (and windows) with the color range that is available with floss. My mind is racing!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

M is for Mirror

The page today is a face where you unbutton the eyes and find:


A Mirror! This isn't a very good picture. I didn't want to get the flash or me, so I got the very dark ceiling. This is the page I am most worried about breaking, but so far it has lasted without a problem.


I finished this temari last night. C likes the sparkly purple thread I marked with. This is from a thread challenge from the Temari Challenge group. We all received the same threads, and the challenge was to use them in a temari. I only used 3 of the 5 threads we received. The petite velvet thread was interesting to use, I think I will be buying more of that.


I still have to use the other two threads, and I may add some more stitching to the triangles on this one.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

L is for Laces

No, not that kind of laces. This page turned out really well, but I don't think anyone has learned to tie their laces using it. It is usually younger kids who are using the book, and older kids are bored, but it is the older ones who need to learn to tie their shoes. Of course, most kids shoes now have Velcro, so tying your shoes is becoming a lost art.


Monday, December 7, 2009

K is for Kite

For the kite, you have to tie the ribbon into a knot. It is a very quick activity, and I don't think it is any one's favorite, even though I love the ribbon used for the tail.


I had a very nice weekend. It was not as restful as some, but I accomplished quite a bit. On Saturday afternoon I had a temari class, so all morning I was filled with adrenaline. I got quite a bit of cleaning done. The class went very well. All five students almost finished their temari, and I love looking at all the colors. I did remember to get a picture this time.


I was very proud of all of them. My teaching improved as well, so practice makes perfect for that too. It did help to have a smaller class.

Sunday was as usual until the afternoon. Then I accompanied C to practice for her first Sunday School pageant. She was thrilled to find out she would be wearing a costume, and totally happy to be a shepherd. (She's in green in the center of this picture.) I really like this picture, this is the whole Sunday school all dressed up: Mary & Joseph, 2 sheep and 4 shepherds, 2 wise men, and 3 angels. The two girls who don't have costumes on are narrators. The older kids participated as well, and they all did a wonderful job. Next Sunday is the program, and C is so excited! She was worried at first about going up "on stage," I think mostly because she didn't know what that meant.


She loved her costume. Here she is getting ready to take it off afterwards, along with P who came with to supervise.


Saturday, December 5, 2009

J is for Jack-in-the-Box

This is activity is very quick.


Just lift the flap of the box, and here's another weird clown. His eyes are two different buttons.


(Sorry about the pictures.)

Friday, December 4, 2009

I is for Igloo

I'm quite sure that this activity has never been done. The reader tends to flip over this page quickly. It involves unpinning a each puzzle piece, which is held in place by a safety pin. DD asked if I was going to modify this page, and I hadn't thought of it, but since then I've been thinking of making small eyelets in the background, and cutting or filing off the sharp points of the pins. That way little fingers could get practice with safety pins without worrying about the sharp points. We shall see if that comes to pass. (I think the bear paw prints at the bottom are cute!)


No stitching last night. I was finishing up a Christmas present, and preparing supplies for my temari class on Saturday. I stopped at JoAnn's and picked up fabric for a Cinderella dress (can anyone say wrapped around a little finger?), grey thread to wrap a mari to try the last temari over again, and some interfacing to make a purse organizer. It takes forever to find anything in my purse/bag, and something has to be done about it.

I also had to stop at the grocery store. I can't believe how fast I can spend that much money... over $100 was a fortune when I was a kid, and I can spend it in half an hour! DH and DD have been trying out the new (redeemed w/ credit card points) food processor by making hummus. Their first try was pretty good, now they will be trying variations.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

H is for Hands

The page for today features a clock with people hands as it's time-piece hands.


DH and I have noticed that many kids do not learn to tell time any more from a clock-face; they depend on digital clocks. When I was a kid I do remember my confusion about a toy clock that had the 1-12 numbers in front, and the minute numbers behind. I could not figure out what that second set of numbers was for. My grand kids don't get this page either. They swipe at the hands and go on.

I mentioned yesterday that I got a very generous gift from my friend from Moonsilk Stitches. She was not at the party, but sent everyone her gifts with a friend. This is a box of antique threads suitable for temari. The threads are rayon, made in India.


Here's the view inside the box. Four of the spools contain 1,000 meters of thread, but the smaller spools, containing variegated thread, contain 550 meters.


I tried to get pictures of the end of the spools so you could see the variegation.


I gave away the temari ball I made with autumn leaves on it. I'm so intrigued by the pattern and the c8 coming through on a c10 ball that I think I will use these threads to make myself another one of those. Even though I could look at it for ages, it didn't take long to make, perfect for this season.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

G is for Game

This game actually works! I played it a couple of weeks ago with C. I think she won.


I got a lovely Christmas present last night from a friend, and I took pictures of it this morning, but my camera doesn't have the card in it, the picture went on to the internal memory. Now the only way to get it out is with a cable, which is elsewhere. I will take pictures again and share tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

F is for Flowers

On the page for today the spring-time flowers grow (about 2 inches). This activity is easy, and seems to always be a favorite. Felt is glued to cardboard shapes to keep the flowers rigid.


After my inspiring temari day last Friday, I finished this temari. I don't think it is a great success. The colors are too dark for the pattern, or I should have had a dark base; the white shows through too much and distracts from the pattern. I like the colors themselves, Anne pulled out a color wheel, and this is a spot-on triad, 3 colors equidistant around the wheel. The stitching (and the photography) needs a little improvement.


This is a combination 8: 6 hollow squares stitched at the 6 faces, and then bands interweaving around each dimension. I really like the arrangement of the colors, just not these colors, so much.

Monday, November 30, 2009

E is for Earring

Here's a pirate wearing an earring. I think the earring is too big, it is supposed to fit into the pocket that forms his eye patch. But a big earring is more fun.


This guy was fun to make. The face is traced on to the felt and colored in with markers, but the beard and the eye-patch string are added by machine. The felt did not originally hold up, so the earring actually pierces the backing fabric as well.