Thank you, dear readers

My life has certainly changed since my mother suffered a stroke. She lived through it and is now in a nursing home. She lost use of the right side of her body: she can’t walk or talk. However, she is responding well to therapy and retained her ability to swallow.

My time is divided between work and the nursing home, which is about 20 minutes from my home. I’ve missed blogging as well as having some free time to experiment with all the wonderful fabrics and fibers out there. I gave some thought to retiring Fembellish Journal, but I’m not willing to take that step just yet. I hope to carve out a little time here and there to continue working on tutorials, just at a slower pace than before.

I want to thank all of you who wrote me and left comments concerning my mother. Each one meant so much to me. For the first few weeks while my mother was in the hospital, I would come home late at night and read your comforting words. They really lifted my spirit.

I also want to thank Tami at Lemon Tree Tales and Eefje Kaasjager for the Nice Matters Award. You are both so kind to consider me worthy of the award, and I’m pleased that you enjoy the blog.

At present, I’m not able to personally answer your emails or answer questions within comments. I hope you can understand that my plate is full at the moment and time simply doesn’t permit it.

I hope all of you are exploring, creating, and honing your skills. I look forward to doing the same again soon.

Blessings, Rene

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Time Treasured

I took this picture of my mother and my grandson last Christmas. My mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s type dementia 4 1/2 years ago. Although she hasn’t known who I am for some time, she never forgot how to embroider (that’s an embroidery hoop in her hands).

On Sunday, she suffered a serious stroke. As you can imagine, my family is dealing with many difficult issues at the moment. Please keep us in your prayers.

Rene

Tips – How to Secure Bobbin Threads

Happy Mother’s Day! I plan on spending a wonderful extended weekend surrounded by my children and grandchildren. If you read some of my previous posts, you know that I was blessed with two grandsons in March and April. I made photo transfer gift pillows this week to commemorate their births, which I will be giving to my children on Sunday.

Additionally, I created the little pink flower in the opening photo and will share the directions with you next week.

While working on the embroidery for the pillows, it came to me that some of you may like to try my method for securing those pesky thread ends on your bobbins. You can obtain products commercially that accomplish the same result, but I have a lot of bobbins to secure, so cost would be a factor.

Instead, I purchase a length of clear tubing at the hardware store. You can take a bobbin sample with you to make sure you buy the correct size. (I believe mine is about 3/8″ circumference.)

With a pair of heavy duty kitchen or utility shears, cut pieces of tubing the interior width of your bobbin. Next, cut through the circle to create an opening.

Simply slip the tubes around your bobbins and thread tails will be a thing of the past.

Blessings to you and have a wonderful weekend.

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N. Rene West
Time Treasured

Think, Dream, Create

This has been a whirlwind week. My grandson was scheduled for a Tuesday morning delivery via C-Section, so we left for Augusta on Monday. On the way, we stopped to make a delivery of handbags to a new boutique in the Greer/Spartanburg area. When I checked the blog Monday night, I saw the links from several sites regarding the Thinking Blogger Award, but knew I wouldn’t be able to post my five nominees until I returned home.

Tuesday through Thursday I was busy cuddling my grandson! I then returned home only to find my washing machine had sprung a leak, the kind that makes for very clean floors after it’s all cleaned up. That means today will be spent shopping for a new washer and dryer. Although I explained to my husband that this purchase musters the kind of excitement I would have over receiving a new broom and dust pan on Christmas, these really are important items considering all the fabric that gets prewashed, all the fabrics that need to be PDF, and all the items that need to be heat set. So maybe my excitement is one notch above a new broom and dust pan.

There are so many wonderful blogs that deserve the Thinking Blogger Award, but the guidelines state five. My thanks again to all those who tagged Fembellish Journal.

The first three blogs belong to talented fiber artists that live and write their passion. Spending time on their blogs is time richly rewarded and mentally stimulating.

The fourth blog, Posie Gets Cozy, finds itself in the sidebar of countless other blogs for good reason. Alicia Paulson designs creative nostalgia. However, she is as gifted at writing as she is at designing. If you ever find yourself stressed, visit this blog. I would describe it as everything a blog should be and then some.

The fifth blog is total inspiration. These are artists who paint one picture and day and post them on their blogs. I would love to create one finished piece of art a day! But alas, fiber isn’t always submissive to time. You will give a lot of thought to color after visiting this blog.

Downunderdale
http://downunderdale.blogspot.com/

Fibermania
http://fibermania.blogspot.com/

Painted Threads
http://judyperez.blogspot.com/

Posie Gets Cozy
http://rosylittlethings.typepad.com/posie_gets_cozy/

Daily Painters Blog
http://dailypainters.blogspot.com/

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N. Rene West
Time Treasured

I Think, Therefore I Embellish

I have the honor of being tagged by Elaine at http://http://stitchtherapy.blogspot.com, Terri at http://http://lavenderbetweenthecracks.blogspot.com, and Emmy at http://emmyschoonbeek.blogspot.com for the Thinking Blogger Award (http://www.thethinkingblog.com/2007/02/thinking-blogger-awards_11.html).

Wow, what can I say except thank you very, very much for placing Fembellish Journal in the company of so many wonderful blogs.

This honor comes at the same time as the birth of my grandson Joshua , who arrived today weighing in at the cutest 9.5 pounds you’ve ever seen.  When I get back home (and get a good night’s sleep), I will honor five blogs who make me think.

Thank you Elaine, Terri, and Emmy for considering my blog worthy of your recognition.

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N. Rene West
Time Treasured

A day of tactile pleasure

Greetings from beautiful Charlotte North Carolina! I’m on a buying trip this week and experienced the pure joy of spending the entire day at Mary Jo’s Cloth Store yesterday. Mary Jo’s is so large that it takes a whole day to work your way through all the fabrics. I spent most of my time looking at (and buying) silks – silk organza, silk charmeuse, china silk, and hand dyed silks. So many projects run through my mind as I touch these luxurious fabrics.

Before I left, I was working on a project with the April/May Project Spectrum colors of pink, yellow, and green.  I should have the tutorial posted in the next few days. I hope you are all busy with new and wonderful fiber art projects of your own.

I want to thank you again for all your kind, encouraging,and inspiring comments. They each mean so much to me and definitely energize my work in the studio.   As much as I love shopping for new fabrics and fibers, I can’t wait to get home and back to work.

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N. Rene West

Time Treasured – Making time for the things you love

April Showers

I’m taking a bit of a detour with this post so that I can share with you two special events that were supposed to happen in April. One will probably go as planned, but the other completely surprised all of us by happening a month early. Noah Christian, my new little grandson, decided March was a much better month to be born!So I’ve been busy making a few things to celebrate his arrival and the expected arrival of my other grandson later this month.

Baby Carrier

I designed this carrier for my daughter-in-law because her home office is upstairs. I placed elasticized pockets across both sides for bottles, pacifiers, toys, and all the other little items that babies need. For diapers and wipes, I put a large pocket on one end.

There is a safety belt in the middle and the strap is fully adjustable. I also included a swivel hook for a cell phone case or whatever else might be needed.

My other daughter-in-law loves Beatrix Potter so I made four sets of bibs and burp cloths for her. I still have quite a bit more to make, but I love every minute of it.

Saturday evening I spent painting (fabric and fiber, of course), snipping, fusing, and doing other fun stuff in the studio. The result was a very interesting “fabric” that I’m presently incorporating into a quilt. I should have a tutorial explaining the process posted in the next day or so. Until then, I hope you are busy creating lots of wonderful things!

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N. Rene West
Time Treasured

Beginnings, part 3

Taking pictures of your work is very important. First, it provides you with a visual diary of your progress. Second, looking back at the things you have accomlished can be very motivating. Third, if you don’t, someday you will wish that you had. There are quilts and other fiber art gifts that I made and gave away without taking photos, and now I’m very sorry for it. However, I did take some photos which I would like to share with you.

Sunbonnet Sue

My handsome husband flirting with Sue (1993)

Delectible Mountains

Delectible Mountains (from Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress, one of my favorite books)

Nine for Nathan

Nine for Nathan

Applique Quit

Wee Sweet Applique

Baby Bright

Baby Bright Log Cabin

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N. Rene West
Time Treasured

Beginnings, part 2

Rather than taking things one step at a time, my second quilt project involved flying geese, squares in a square, border math, and all sorts of challenging techniques. It didn’t take long before I realized I was in over my head. But I learned a lot from that experience, especially about the importance of precision.

Second Quilt

Second quilt project (1991)

Third Quilt

Third quilt project

When we moved to the mountains of North Carolina (1992), I immediately set up my studio. It was much smaller than my previous work area, but I loved it just the same. We’ve gone through several phases of room additions since then, and I’m now in a much larger space, but not large enough!

First Moutain Studio

My first mountain studio with the Bernina 1230

From the very beginning, I loved making baby quilts for family and friends. I seem to have a way of interjecting complexity into everything I design, so I have to work at making things simple. Baby quilts provide a medium where I can relax and adopt a minimalist approach. They’re also a great place to experiment with traditional patterns if you normally produce contemporary work.

First baby quilt

First baby quilt (gift for a friend – 1991)

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N. Rene West
Time Treasured

Beginnings

My mother put a needle in my hand when I was six years old. I loved taking her scraps and constructing doll clothes (at least in my mind that’s what they were) and mixing together all those wonderful colors and textures. The sewing machine was off limits owing to my parents fear that I would sew my fingers together or some such thing. By fourth grade, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I figured that if I showed them I could sew without incident, they would let me go at it. So, I cut out a wrap-around skirt, set myself in front of my mother’s Necchi, and the rest is history. My parents were so impressed that they never restricted me again from what would become a lifelong passion.

Although reading often competed with my love of sewing (I consumed Nancy Drew Mystery Stories like there was no tomorrow), I made time for both and continued honing my skills little by little.

When I was sixteen, my mother presented me with a new Singer sewing machine for Christmas. You could have knocked me over with a feather! I can’t tell you how much I loved that machine. Compared to my mother’s old Nechhi, it was state of the art. It’s one of those memories I will always hold dear. I only wish I had a picture of it, but I don’t think one was every taken.

Happily, the Singer was not to be the only sewing machine I received as a gift. Advancing a couple of decades, my husband presented me with a new Bernina 1230 for one of those milestone birthdays that come every ten years. The 1230 marked my initiation into the world of quilting. Anyone who has owned a Bernina 1230 knows how special this machine is. Every owner I talk with says the same thing: they’ll never part with it. I’ve only had one repair done on it in fifteen years, and it continues to operate as it did right out of the box. Of course, it’s not an only child any more, but that’s a subject for another time.

First Quilt - Spool Pattern

I chose the spool pattern for my first quilt to commemorate the special gift

I had received. It proudly hangs on a wall in our guest bedroom.

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N. Rene West
Time Treasured