Thursday, July 31, 2008

Well - where do I begin? Life has had some challenges lately on several fronts and has taken me away from my daily routine. But - here I am - and glad to be back.

Today, I am going to share a couple of projects with you that I have worked on recently.
The first one is a CD pin cushion. Yes, you take an old cd and use it as the base for a pin cushion. Actually I used two cds. One for the base of the cushion as you form it and one to cover with fabric and use as the finished base. Basically, you make about a 9" circle that you piece and embellish for a regularly sized cd. When you have finished your embellishing, take a running stitch around the circle (with some very strong thread) and gather the fabric loosely to start forming the cushion. Begin to fill with polyfil until you have a nice domed shape - then add the first cd to the bottom and gather the fabric more snugly - just so you have about 1/2" of fabric gathered around the entire bottom edge of the cd. You then begin to push polyfill in through the hole in the cd until you are happy with the firmness and the shape (you will be surprised how much you can get in there!). I stitched across the bottom of the cd to keep the fabric where I wanted it and to help hold the circular shape. Cover the second cd with felt or whatever you would like and glue it to the bottom of the cushion. To secure, blanket stitch around the entire edge where the felt covered cd meets the upper cushion as you can see in the picture on the right. You may want to add a nice trim over the stitching. Instead of stopping there (which you definitely can do for a nice pin cushion), I decided to add mine to a glass base I found at a resale shop and add lace around the edges as you can see below. I felt it gave it a more Victorian look.

Now, I will tell you a secret. Because I didn't want to lose needles by them going too far into the pin cushion - I made a small bag out of muslin, filled it with emery powder and put a small piece of round plastic in the bottom of it. I then put that small bag up in the very top center of the cd pin cushion before I started filling it with polyfill. Now, when I put needles in the top of the pin cushion, they are sharpened with the emery and they stop at the plastic base of the smaller bag inside the cushion. With the miniature cds you wouldn't have to do this because you could actually fill the whole cushion with emery, sawdust, crushed walnuts, or sand. It just wasn't feasible to do that with the larger cd. I have a picture here of two different friend's cushions so you can see the size difference between the larger cd and the miniature ones.

The next project is a small needlecase tuffet made from an Altoid tin. This was fun too! I purchased the kit from RibbonSmyth. It has a little tomato of velvet inside the tin with two leaves and the inside lid has some pieces of felt to hold pins and needles. The outside of the tin was finished with trims and the top with an embellished silk photo on some peach dupioni silk and the legs are little spools that I embellished with trim.

I don't know if you can see the little swarovski stones that I have added to both of these projects, but I just love them and think they add so much. But then I love sparkle! Anyway, here is the link to the site where you can find these loose stones. Jan's Jewels I get the tiny stones because that is my preference, but they have all different sizes and shapes. They do have to be glued into place, not stitched, but using E6000 glue works very well.

Just for fun:
As I age, I have found that I don't like heights as much as I used to, especially unsafe ones. However, a sweet friend sent this link to me to watch a most interesting hike high on a part of El Chorro in southern Spain known as Caminito del Rey (The King's little path). As you will see it is a very dangerous path and official access was removed in 2000 after a tourist died trying to cross it. It is best viewed full screen - when you get to the link site, just put your cursor in the video and right click, you can then choose full screen. Watching this video is the ONLY way I would take this hike.
Solemn Assembly

Recently our church pastor called for a Solemn Assembly. I wasn't real sure what this meant exactly, but as I participated, I found it a true heartwarming and spiritual experience. It definitely renewed our spirits and strengthened us.

I. Purposes of the Assembly
a. to humble ourselves before God with prayer and fasting;
b. to seek God’s presence;
c. to listen to God’s Word;
d. to turn away from things that displease God;
e. to confess spiritual apathy and seek renewal;
f. to pledge a new commitment to our Covenant with God;
g. to dedicate ourselves to being God’s vessels in the world.

This service was separate from our regular church service and other activities. We gathered together solemnly and with contrite hearts, we felt the spirit of the Lord with us as we asked for the Holy Spirit to come - confessing our sins and reliance on Christ, and solemnly praying for the concerns of the church, individuals, our country, and our world. God says that wherever two or more are gathered in His name, He is with us. So imagine the strength in an assembly of many who gather in His name to confess and solemnly pray together! With so many challenges facing our churches, our country and our world right now - prayer and fellowship with Christ needs to most definitely be a priority.
If we take a good look at ourselves as Christians - are we indistinquishable from those around us or have we taken God for granted, adopted customs and actions of surrounding cultures, compromised instead of following God's commands. For me, I know I am guilty. I often take the easier path. I definitely have good intentions each and every day, but I am human and fail. However:

Joel 2:12-13

12 'Even now,' declares the Lord,
'return to me with all your heart,
with fasting and weeping and mourning.'

13 Rend your heart
and not your garments.
Return to the Lord your God,
for he is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love,
and he relents from sending calamity.

God encourages us to always return to Him with all our hearts. To do this, we must reject our self-centeredness, our arrogance, our stubborness, our apathy and choose to be attentive and obedient to God. Let us encourage each other, our brothers and sisters in Christ, to always return to Him with all our hearts, each and every day.


Judy Morphis said...

Oh my, this is goregous! I've been attempting a cd pincushion and this is going to inspire me to carry it a bit farther!!
Your inspirational words always inspire my soul and bring joy to my heart! Thanks so much..

Judith said...

Hi Jules, how wonderful to have you back in blogland. I have missed your posts and you.
Your two projects are absolutely gorgeous.
Sincerely hope averything is OK with you.

Allison Ann Aller said...

So glad to have you back, Jules!
Your pin cushions are the emery secret filling, too!
Big Hugs,

Lisa said...

thanks so much for posting the instructions on how to make the CD pincushions! I had so much fun making one!

Jane said...

There you are Jules! It was nice to see some posts from you in my Google reader..... welcome back! Time has a way of flying, doesn't it? Lovely stitching on your CD needleholder...

Susan said...

I really like the pincushions. I will have to look around for an aol CD. LOL! I used to have lots of useless CDs - used them as bathroom passes in my classroom. =)

The solemn assembly sounds like a wonderful renewal event.

Pat Winter said...

Each one is very beautiful. Love your work.

Threadhead said...

I love your blog and ideas. That El Camino Del Rey video was absolutely incredible. I'd never even think twice about doing it... ABSOLUTELY NOT! You'd find me at the bottom praying for the silly ones doing it! My heart was in my throat watching it.

Ruth Rae said...

what a stunning work you do! I adore both of these projects but I must say the pin cushion has stolen my heart!

Best of luck with your family!

Creative Blessings of "J O Y" - by Templates para novo blogger