Monday, March 31, 2008

Pouch For My Camera

I almost forgot to tell you! I am still craving for spring, so I decide to make something with flowers yesterday. It is small pouch for the camera I have in my purse. Now it is protected and covered with some roses. Just for spring! Isn’t it lovely?

I also choose to make another pouch for camera, with the pockets for an extra batteries and cord – I think it will handy to have for travel! There it is new roses start growing on the blue linen! It will also some ribbons, lilac and bunny!
And finally I made pillow with birds and some tartan-like fabric on the back of it. Oh, I love red and gray!!! I still continue to look for new ideas and designs…

Pet-Friendly Book Store in Ann Arbor

Sunday, after church we drove to the Ann Arbor, to have lunch with our daughter, and spent some time together… It was rainy and we didn’t feel like to walk outside after lunch, we just landed in Borders Book, Music, Movies and Café, reading magazines, having coffee and some sweet pastry.

We always loved this place and what a surprise!
It is pet-friendly now!!! We spotted few people coming with dogs and having good time, while kids, and even some crazy foreigns like me were able to pet and hug dogs! What a brilliant idea to open book store for pet-lovers!

Look at this cute 145lb. dog- he was so sweet and polite! He let us kiss his sweet nose, we shake his hand (or whoever they call it), and little girl after us came to hug him! He was gentle and let her enjoy the moment! I just can’t resist and made few photos of him and my daughter! Isn’t it cutest dog ever?

And then we have sushi for Irka in her dorm. This part of post made especially for her grand parents in Russia – they so worry all the time we didn’t feet our baby! There is a proof – she eat sometimes! She show us video of the lesson she teaches few days ago. You can see my husband with daughter watching it. I love them both so much - it is one of my favorite moments, to see them together!

It was simple day, but a happy one!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Two Hours Project

A biscornu is an eight-sided embroidered pillow that can be used as a pinch cushion, ornament, or key chain. Sometimes they filled with dry flower petals or herbs to make a sachet... Not mine - but it is good idea!
There are step by step instructions. It took for me about two hours to make small biscornu, but I took time to make tea, talk, walk, watch TV in between – I wasn’t busy, I just enjoy to do something new.
First step – I stitched two squares, they suppose to have same size. It is important!Then I cross-stitched two designs. The designs do not have to be identical; in fact it is better, if they are not. More excitement!

Next step is to find a middle of top design and joining the corner of one side to the middle of the edge of the other side is what creates the shape of a biscornu. (It was hardest part of the project!)

Then I made a stitch by passing threaded needle underneath the backstitch of the previously-marked center of the second square. When assembling a biscornu, the needle should always be passed through the backstitching without ever piercing the fabric – that’s what somebody told me! But… It is not easy… I missed a target couple of times… Please, keep the secret!

I stuffed my biscornu and make sure to push stuffing into the corners. And finally I sew on buttons. The thread should go from one button, pass all the way through the center of the biscornu, and then go thorough the other button. Simple!

And voila – my first in the life biscornu hanged next to the others broderie rouge – not like I speak French! I just love sound of it - broderie rouge… Fancy, ha?

PS. It is no snow in Russia – all snow immigrated to the Michigan! We woke up in the winter wonderland! What a lovely gift for my husband’s birthday!
Next week I will have b’day also, and together we will 100 years old!!!! I can’t get it out of my mind! I still feel like 15… I will three times 15, actually!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Lovely Lousy Day

esterday was lousy day. But a lovely one!

My cold almost gone, even so - I am still too lazy to start any new projects. I return home, collapsed on the couch in front of TV and pretended to be blooming couch potato!
Actually, I love it! Despite my usual attempt to keep busy, I always happy to have time for doing nothing…
Doing nothing really means to me to have time to write (and I did! I wrote two new articles for the Russian magazine!); it is also meant to exercise in painting – and I did it also!

It's turn to be not too good - but oh, well... I do it for pleasure, not for being famous. And I truly enjoy making mess on paper! I want to learn how to paint roses now.
I also continued to stitch my cherubs. They have more vines now and soon I will need to find more room for birds in between vines.
But the biggest pleasure of yesterday’s evening came from the animated film version of Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf. We spent lovely evening in front of TV, and I want to share it with you.

Amazing music together with the stop-frame film, directed by Breakthru Films and director Suzie Templeton, offers new and intriguing interpretation of the story… Poor duck didn’t survive, but you still can listen her quacking inside wolf’s stomach! Two hunters look like a maniacs, so Peter decide to safe life of wolf and let him go… Most of all I was surprised to see unbelievable beautiful puppets – in some way it is hard to imagine they are not alive! You can watch part of trailer on-line and read more about how the animation was made.
We are often spent time watching PBC or University of Michigan channels – what a source of good music, art, and entertainment! It is coming to blame on TV for low-cultural events and bad taste. I can’t – these two stations like a fresh air for us…

Monday, March 24, 2008

Fairy of Sewing Machine and Muse of Stitching

airy of Sewing Machine and Muse of Stitching visited me last weekend.

I will not tell they came in time! I have cold and chills, and my stomach is hurting, I sound like a wolf in the morning, my nose is red from constant whipping; my eyes are crying and red also (in celebration of Easter Bunny, of course!).
All what I can do last few days - just sneeze and snooze.
But Muse and Fairy didn’t ask my opinion, they just came! They made me open my Singer (oh, how dear they are!), they made me to take out of closet all my linens and stock of fabric and start working. I wasn’t happy about it – but what can I do???
We canceled Easter dinner with our dearest friend Marian, because I don’t want to give her my cold. It is only time when I am greedy and not able to share joy of getting sick with my friends. So my hubby ordered perfect Easter dinner from Chinese restaurant near, and we didn’t kill for food any Easter baby lamb, bunny or chicken – I am so proud of us! We had sweet-and-sour pork and the hottest soup in the menu.
I took leftover of soup with me to the office today and will continue my treatment – nothing, believe me, nothing can be better then hot and spicy soup now! I still have cold and chills, but I feel slightly better…
Is it soup or Muses helped me? I have no idea… But there are photo’s of some new staff I made. Unfortunately the Muse of Camera left me, in danger of get infection, and I made really lousy photos. Even worse – I can’t find half of them… Sorry… I will wait when she will back and make more pictures!

I made four pillows, using mix of vintage and new linens. Muse left me on the middle of making them – first two turn to be much better looking then second two. Oh, well – it is all her fault! I just try to do my best!

A few bowl fillers, shaped as a heart (of course!) with birds and blooms.

And two last red embroidered hearts finally stitced and staffed. Then Muse and Fairy left me for good.... I slept like a baby after all!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Time to Appreciate Routines

es, it is time, when I finally solve another small part of happy-life equation! I think the key to it in routines.

I should tell you first, of course I love, I absolutely LOVE un-expectable (seems like I misspell it, sorry!) nice and good things happens to me. Things like a first flowers in the garden, kiss of the very first winter frost on my cheek, phone call from my friend, good book…
But lately my life became more stressful, much more stressful then I really can handle. My car starts smoking once and I swear! Oh, gosh – it was the most horrific and dreadful swears in Russian! Likely, it was nobody around who can understand it! Then I found myself crying in the shower one morning few months ago. After all I found I can’t see local news anymore – story of Kwame Kilpatrick finally rich a point, when it is time to make a Hollywood thriller. I even wrote series of articles on Scandal for my Russian audience! But I can’t and I don’t want to know about it anymore!
Economy going down, gas prices up, war is still here, president’s campaign having crazy twists every single day, our medical bills coming every second like a snow flakes at Christmas morning, my daughter’s car have recall, bla-bla-bla… NO!!! Stop it! I want routine! I don’t want any changes in my life anymore!

And I do have routines, which give me comfort and illusion of static life! I worship them!
I brush my teeth every morning (just joking!). Not THAT kind of routines I talking about!
Tea for example! I love to came home and make a tea – not from tiny bags, (Shhh, I call them “Tea in the condoms”) but real, reach in flavor and color loose tea I keep in the special tea-box, decorated with roses and blooms. I love time of tea!
It is ritual. I boil water, I preheat my old green teapot form Prague
(I just realize, this teapot already 23 years old and travel with me thru the countless places all over the world!), I carefully measure small spoon of tea, I wait precisely 3 minutes, then I remove leafs of tea. I took off the shelf my favorite green cup, put in two slices of paper-thin sliced lemon, add spoon of sugar and … ahhh… it is my time after all! I repeat ritual once more very late in evening. And so on – every day of my life.

And sure, my needlepoint is another routine. I sip my tea and make few stitches, more sip and more stitches… It is almost perfect time of the day, what can be more pleasant!

However it can!

Another routine – treasure hunt! But it is guilty pleasure... I try to give up an addiction of checking thrift stores and flea markets around. Anyway I can’t buy all linens and china I love ( don’t get me wrong – I want to! I just can’t afford to buy ALL of them!) But I still do shopping, and still feel guilty...
There is some new treasures I found Monday - honest, I didn't mean to buy them, but I can’t resist! And who would be?
Who can resist having prettiest small tea-set? It is smaller then posy next to it! And each cup, and creamer, and saucer decorated with roses! Look at this!

Who can resist having $2.00 crispy clean runner – blue and cherry-red! It promised me endless possibilities – I can make bag for pajama, two tote bags or I cover my diary in lovely linen… I must have it!

The routine of ironing vintage linens – ahhh… It is only time when I enjoy to take an iron in my hands. Well – I think it is normal… I think… Do you think so? Who would be happy to iron piles of shorts or pants?
But linens - Oh, I love ironing linens!

That’s why I didn’t move too much with my needlework yesterday – I only have time to stitch tiny bird in the bottom and fall asleep early…
Happy Routines to you too, my dear-dear friends!

Another Gray Day

nother gray and weird day woke me up in the morning. No sun light, not even memory of it on the dark, colorless sky. Branches of trees in front of my window creates odd pattern, rain drops make every brunch dark and glossy. Branches moves, and moves without any sign of wing. Seems like they alive and not too happy… Red cardinal started his song, and suddenly stopped and run away. Gray fog gets closer and covered ground. “Shhhh….. Shhh….” – it is sound of cars driving somewhere around, but I can’t see them, seems like all planet covered in heavy mist today… Silent and monochromatic picture…
And then came wind and colors became lighter. It is still gray, but now I can see trees, and fields, and cars again. Then came one of our engineers with slice of cheese cake from his wife Tomoko - and world don’t look so gray to me anymore! I shawl cake with cup of coffee before I realize I have to make photo! Oh, what a shame! Then came another guy and gave me tiny bottle of cognac for cooking – hey, did I tell you before how much I love my job??? I can handle cheese cakes and others gifts every single day! Well… Sometimes I made for them home-made staff too, so it is two-way road! Not like I just taking, I am happy to give to… But it always feels like I didn’t tell or show enough back to the good people HOW much I appreciate their kindness…