Sunday, June 29, 2008

A Floral Sunday

Nothing much to blog about this weekend, so I decided to take some pictures of the flowers in my yard. The sunflowers are a result of the black oil sunflower seeds that I put out for the birds and squirrels. They were not planned, but I let them grow, as the finches love to eat the leaves! I'm hoping they will eat the seeds out of the flower head when they're ready. I used the "cartoon effect" option in my Kodak EasyShare Software that came with my digital camera for some of the photos. I don't have Photoshop on this computer, so my editing of pictures is rather limited. Hope you enjoy these pictures. I think the hydrangea bloom almost looks like a heart, and I love the swirl design in the middle of the sunflower where the seeds will develop in the top photo that I left untouched.

Here's wishing everyone a lovely Sunday!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Cross Stitch Love

Today I'm going to share two cross stitch projects - one finished, one in progress. The finished cross stitch project is a sampler from The Vanessa-Ann Collection ("Folk Tales, cross-stich from The Vanessa-Ann Collection"), whose designs I absolutely adore. Their designs are so whimsical and I love the colors that they choose - muted, soft, beautiful colors. I especially love the ones that include beads. I did this sampler way back in 1994 - I can't believe it's been that long ago. I remember stitching it and finishing while watching the U.S. Open Tennis Championships that year! What seems incredible to me now is that I was able to do it without wearing glasses, which is not an option now! I have it mounted in a wooden box that I display atop a chest of drawers in my bedroom. I had bought the box while going to school at CSUN at a great needlework store that unfortunately no longer exists.

My second cross stich project is about 3/4 of the way finished. It is "House Blessing" by Neddi Beltz from "Jo Sonja's Counted Designs", Book 2. This was one of the very first cross stitch books that I bought at Thumbelina Needlework Shop in Solvang, CA while on a day trip with my dear friend Carol. She is the one who got me started in cross stitch and I will be forever grateful. Most of the main stitching is done and then it's on to the outlining in backstitch. The fabric has a crease in it due to the fact that it was folded when packaged (I hate when that happens). I'm pretty sure I will be able to get it out. Has anyone else had this problem? What did you do to remove the crease? It will eventually be displayed in a wooden plate frame that I have for it. I'm still not sure where I will be displaying it, but I think I will put it in my dining room. This is one of those projects that I pick up from time-to-time and do some stitching on. I really need to sit down and finish it! I seem to always have more than a few different craft projects going on at the same time, but they all eventually get finished. What project(s) are you working on?

I hope you enjoy looking them. Have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

So Tweet!

I was so excited to see and hear a family of Bewick's Wrens in my backyard. Their trilling song is so pretty to listen to. There are five of them and they are absolutely adorable. I'm not very good with my photography skills yet, but these two photos are the best out of a bunch I took. It was hard to get a good picture, as they were in the shade of a huge oak tree most of the time and the fact that they blend in with the surroundings. The momma wren was finding bugs and feeding them to her baby, who is just about as big as she is! Their tails give them such personality - too cute! I read that their numbers have severely declined in the eastern United States to where there are relatively nonexistant (, so I am excited to see them here in my little corner of the world in Southern California and that they seem to be doing well here in the west and hopefully will re-emerge in the east.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Hot Time, Summer in the City!

Summer is officially here as of 4:59 PDT! I think these pictures say it all - feeling hot, hot, hot! Here's wishing everyone (in the Northern Hemisphere) Happy Summer! For all of you in the Southern Hemisphere, Happy Winter!

I must say that my thoughts are with all of those suffering from all the flooding going on here in the U.S. Seeing the pictures on the news is really heartbreaking.

I hope everyone enjoys their first weekend of Summer. Try and stay cool!

ETA: We officially tied a heat record. In the last 15 minutes, the temperature has risen to 106. Phew! (I tried to add the picture below, but it ended up at the top of this post.)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Embroidery Fun!

Well, I finally have some crafty fun to share with you. I've been working on an embroidery piece using Sublime Stitching's ( "Dia De Los Muertos" embroidery transfer of a "sugar skull". I'm really partial to anything that has to do with Day of the Dead artwork. You'll have to excuse the lousy lighting - I took this picture out on my porch earlier this morning before the light was optimum, mainly because it's hot already and I wanted to get a picture before it gets really hot here today (it's going to be 101).

I bought a cotton napkin that was on clearance at Pier 1 to try out and it's working rather nicely. I bought two new embroidery hoops at JoAnn Fabrics (they have 50% off coupons now) made by Clover that come in two sizes - small (4-3/4 inches round, $10.49) and large (7 inches round, $11.99). They are more expensive than the cheaper plastic and wood ones (usually starting around $2.50) that they have, but well worth it and especially nice to get 50% off! They hold the fabric nice and taut; much more so than the cheaper hoops. These Clover ones are made really well. I bought these because the hoops that I have don't hold the fabric as well. I haven't done embroidery in years; however, I have done some cross stitch and have a piece that I did many years ago that I absolutely love. I'll share that with you one of these days.

Anyway, I'm using DMC's "Flourescent Effects" floss which is 100% polyester and has taken a little getting used to. I think the vibrant colors are perfect for this piece. I'm going to use this as a topper on my chest of drawers in my office/craft room for Halloween and Day of the Dead. I'm thinking I may add some beads and blanket stitch around the outside. I have some really cool skull beads in colors that would be the absolutely perfect accent! I'll keep you posted on my progress. I hope to have the main embroidery done today and then I will start the edging and adding the skull beads! Stay tuned!

Monday, June 9, 2008

What's in a Name?

Well, I decided to change the title of my blog. I've decided on "susabella's creative pursuits", as I want to include not only knitting (as I had originally planned) but also the other interests that I have and whatever else inspires me. I also wanted to keep the cohesiveness of my Etsy shop's name "susabella" in the title.

I've been reading quite a few blogs that I really enjoy, one of my favorites being "feeling stitchy!" ( Floresita's talents simply amaze me. She started a Flickr group and blog for embroidery enthusiasts and I've learned so much in the short time that I've been reading it. She did a whole series of blog posts dealing with starting a blog, where to blog, choosing a template, creating a blog name and header, etc. It gives such good information, mainly aimed at us crafty types with blogs, but could be applied to anyone's blog. You should really check it out. Besides this blog, she also has a Flicker group, "Vintage Transfer Finds" ( dealing with vintage embroidery transfers that I love, and her blog "things I've made" ( Perusing the patterns that Floresita and other members have graciously scanned and uploaded on Flickr (there are no copyright issues, as the companies no longer exist) for everyone to enjoy has brought back such fond memories for me, as I remember seeing embroidered linens when I was growing up that my great-grandmothers had stitched. My grandfather even did some embroidery - talk about a man who wasn't afraid to pick up a needle and stitch! I just wish they had all lived long enough to share this with me.

Well, I just thought I'd explain why the name of my blog has changed, just in case anyone noticed!

Have a great week!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Eye Candy Friday

Since I don't have anything of the crafty persuasion to share today, I thought I'd at least share these beautiful pictures with you. I took these recently in nearby Eaton Canyon ( My cousin and I go on weekly hikes around the area where we live. We have found some beautiful hiking trails and are always looking for new ones to try. This particular hike was three miles roundtrip with approximately 12 stream crossings. I was more worried about dropping my camera in the stream than I was of slipping and falling into the water. I wouldn't have minded if I had gotten wet - now my camera is a different story! It was a close call a couple of times, but I handed my camera to "C" after she had gotten almost across just in case I fell. We repeated this little ritual most of the way up to the falls and on the way back. We didn't go all the way up to Eaton Falls, as there was a group of about ten guys who kept looking back at us and we both had a very uncomfortable feeling about the whole thing, so we decided that we would make it another time. We made it close enough that we could see part of the waterfall at least. We'll definitely go back.

I hope to have some jewelry items made soon for my Etsy shop and will share those with you when I do. I've been busy with work lately and when I've had any spare time, I've been out in my garden since the weather has been so nice. I also have a room that I must finish painting, which has been a little bit of an overwhelming job. So, needless to say, my jewelry-making has been put on the back burner recently. I'm looking forward to getting back to it and getting some items made and into my Etsy shop, which is a rather lonely place at the moment (it's empty).

I hope everyone enjoys their weekend. Can you believe it? Next Saturday (the 21st) is the first day of Summer! I must say that I am not looking forward to the hot weather. It seems that the older I get, the more the heat bothers me!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Hooray for the Red, White and Blue!

Since tonight is an historic night in U.S. history and due to the fact that the Fourth of July is only one month away (where has the time gone?), I was feeling extra patriotic and came up with this charm bracelet celebrating the red, white and blue!