Monday, November 21, 2011

Bunnies in my yard

Last year, we moved into our new house before the landscaping was complete. Our yard was lacking in shrubs and flowers, and I could not bear the thought of wasting the beautiful summer sunshine so I planted a small watermelon plant which eventually grew to take over the entire garden area. A little jack rabbit found his way to our unkempt garden, and selected a watermelon, taking breaks to nibble on the fruit as it ran around the house all day. He had the discipline to return to the same watermelon every day, leaving the remaining melons for us to enjoy! This summer he has returned once again, this time accompanied by a family of 5 cute jack rabbit children.
This draft was written and the embroidery was completed early this summer. However, I kept procrastinating on the mitered border, which would add the finishing touch to the project. This was mainly due to my lack of confidence about the process of mitering.
Finally, I found this excellent tutorial that has tips on precise measurements that never let you go wrong. With a little bit more practice, which could mean more placemats or more pillowcases, I will master this technique. And guess what - the ruler that I had been using for so many years also had the 45 degree angle  marked which I had never noticed before!
This is a medley of designs from Dainty Stitches, and lots of freebies from different sites collected over the years.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Orange Cranberry bread and more ...

One of my most tried and true recipes is for orange cranberry bread. I've lost count of how many times I have made this bread, and every time it has been received with much enthusiasm. Last week I was invited to a garden club meeting in our neighborhood, and I decided to make this fruity treat for the wonderful ladies.
Orange cranberry bread

2 cups all-purpose flour sifted

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. baking powder

1/8 tsp. salt

1/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature or oil

1 cup granulated sugar

2 Tbsp. grated orange zest

1 egg

1/2 cups chopped walnuts

1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries

1/4 cup chopped dried apple

3/4 cup orange juice

Stir flour,sugar,baking powder,baking soda and salt in a bowl.Add the dry fruits and nuts and mix.
Beat egg, stir in orange juice and oil. Mix with the dry ingredients. Pour the batter in a greased 9x5x3 baking loaf pan. Bake at 350 degree Fahrenheit for 50 minutes or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean.

.Of course, no treat of mine is complete without an embroidered accompaniment.

I used a vintage design from for the bread bag. Although I liked the designs, it seems like the stitches are kind of loose. I am afraid that the stitches might come off after a few washes. I may try to edit the design.

The wine bottle apron is from with a design from ABC embroidery and SewBeautiful. Coasters are from I decided to add the pocket to place the coasters.

The black bag with the fruit design is again one of my experiments in fancy fill design.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Rendition of my individual expression

Today is 'Panchami', the fifth day of Navaratri. Durga Puja starts tomorrow, on the sixth day. Since the Austin community is small, we celebrate this festival over the weekend because the celebration depends on the availability of the rental hall, which is booked far in advance and cannot always coincide with the exact date. However, we always manage to celebrate somewhat in the proximity of the auspicious calendar. It is our attempt to unite as a part of a bigger family, to pass on to our kids our heritage, and to spend a day in merry making.

Personally, I do not miss the Puja so much, but I miss the excitement of the days and months of preparation in anticipation of this big day. My Ma would spend days planning, designing and shopping for fabrics, laces and buttons. She would stay up late in order to finish new clothes for all four sisters (we had a new dress to wear everyday for all four days of puja, and sometimes one for the morning and another for night). The house was scrubbed and cleaned, all furniture dusted and realigned. Finally, on the morning of ''panchami, we would put up our clean sets of curtains, heirloom table and bed linens; all created so lovingly by my great grandmother and aunts, carefully preserved over the years. The house would dazzle with the fresh new look. Every year this was our ritual. I feel dizzy thinking about it, and the nostalgia drives my creativity.

Here is my rendition of my individual expression.

Finger towels - A freebie from
                              Bath towel set - Endless Elegance from

Patio cushions - combination of freebie and designs from

Saturday, September 24, 2011

My love for line art continues...

One of my previous digitizing class was creation of simple line design and using the technique of copy and paste to create a juxtaposed look in a contrasting color. While the first line art started at the bottom and finished at the top, the process of copy and paste created a huge jump stich  when I pasted the design. I was able to exchange the start and end position to create the final version thus eliminating the jump stitch.The lesson also involved using a color stop, deleting the stop,changing color, changing stitch type, working with different designs, and understanding parameter settings.

 On one of my recent trips to Quebec city I was lucky to get hold of a book by Vale'rie Caterin -
L'atelier de Lilie. It is full of beautiful art work suitable for redwork embroidery.
Here is one that I have digitized. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A design out of Mains Merveiles

Last night, I was browsing through the pages of Mains Merveiles, and this cute design caught my attention.

I immediately started digitizing it, which is not a norm because I am a big hoarder; I always save things for later, waiting for the right moment. But, I try to remind myself these days that I need to create my happy moments.

The design came out perfect and I made it into a door hanger. My dh is coming back after a long trip and I will not be home to receive him, so it will serve as my welcome note - wink!

Read more about this magazine here:

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Fancy Fills in Machine Embroidery

When Mary asked me to offer a class in fancy fills with PSW2.0 I was ecstatic. Way back in late 80's, one evening as I was browsing through some clearance sales of books at a local grocery store, I found this book that had a picture of a beautiful shadow work embroidery on white cotton organdy. This design alone was worth the price of the book. I would have started on the embroidery right away except that I did not have the white organdy. Remember, this was before the internet era where you could google 'organdy fabric' and pull out your credit card and place a mail order. Coming weekend and every other weekend after that whenever I would call up my mil I would remind her to buy several mitres of the material. A couple of years later my dh had an opportunity to visit home and he brought back my treasure. My mind was at peace at last!

Shadow work from the book

In the last 20+ years I have done a lot of embroidery work, but I never got around to do this fall shadow work simply because I had the material and I kept telling myself - I can start any day! Long past are the days when I would work meticulously on hand embroidery.  I am now a proud owner of SingerXL 6000 and armed with the digitizing software. I finally took upon the task of creating the design - just that this was a mock shadow work. The digitizing was rather simple with some amount of editing, but it took 20+ hoopings to finish the project.

Finally I have my white organdy runner with fall leaves scattered all over ready for fall decoration. This will also be my tutorial for the upcoming design class at the local store.

My table runner