Monday, May 16, 2022

Embroidered Doll Ornaments


Hi everybody, I just wanted to jump in today and share about some hand embroidered doll ornaments I just finished up.  These were kits for embroidered dolls put out by kiriki press, and they are all adorable.  I don't usually buy kits, but one of these was a present a friend gave and one was one my mom bought for Anna to make, but she wasn't interested.  If she gets more into hand sewing later, I'll definitely get her another one.

The kits are great, all adorable little animals, and the kit includes everything you need to make the doll except a needle, scissors, and embroidery hoop.  In addition to the materials, each kit also includes an instruction sheet and little colored card with photographs of the finished doll.

The instructions don't have directions for the individual stitches, so if you're new to embroidery, you'd need to go online and find instructions.  However, the kiriki website has a good downloadable stitch dictionary and of course there are many online.  The kits are staged by level based on the amount of the doll covered in stitches and I happened to have a level 1 and level 3 kit.

The dolls finish at about 4.5" high, and I like that the shape to embroider is printed on a fairly large piece of fabric so it fits well in a 6" embroidery hoop.  I hate when the fabric is too small and you have to stitch on extra bits to fit it in the hoop.

Here you can see the otter in-progress.

Here's the finished koala. You can see he isn't too covered in stitching, and he stitched up pretty fast.  They are meant to finish up as stuffed dolls, but I don't really need any dolls so I added a little hanging ribbon so I can use him as a Christmas ornament.

The backs are just plain, but I decided to stitch the year since I like to have that on my ornaments.

And here's the otter.  You can se he's entirely covered in stitching, so of course he took a bit longer, but even so it wasn't difficult.  None of the stitches were particularly complicated and the instructions were clear.  I'm not that great about sewing smooth curves (during assembly) but that's just me.

These were fun to work on, a good evening project while watching TV.  I am glad to have made them and not have unused kits for things in my studio!

Thursday, May 12, 2022

I Like #257

 Welcome to another week of things to like!  I drove home to New Mexico this weekend to return my mom's car to her after finally getting mine back.  She was glad to have it and it was great to see my parents and other family.

Lovely sunset on the drive home.

It was a short trip, but we still had time for a morning hike with the dogs.

My parents always have the best flowers; right now that means wonderful iris and some flourishing and fragrant lilacs.

I helped my mom plant the rest of her container garden; unfortunately the wind there is so bad right now I'm not sure anything we planted will survive.  Hopefully the stuff from seeds will be ok at least.

We transplanted and separated this barrel cactus.  It's one of the ones I started from seed and then gave to my mom.  It really really loves the room where she has it; hers is at least five times bigger than any of the ones I still have growing.  It was bursting out of the pot; I hope it survives having been transplanted.

I was thrilled to get to go down and see my Grandma; my Aunt hosted a lovely Mother's day lunch for the family and it was good to visit and catch up with everyone.

Blue and Spooky are staying in New Mexico for a few weeks while I have some work-related travel.  They love it there (more than at home for sure), but I really miss them.

One final exciting thing, I received this wonderful fish sculpture from the "Fresh Fish" exhibit that was part of SAQA's annual conference.  I'm so excited, it's called "Mermaid Snack" and is by artist Karen-Eve Bayne, from North Carolina.  It's so delightfully fun and there are so many wonderful things to see the more you look at it.

It was lovely to see family this week, and I hope there have been good things in your life this week too. Click over to Lee Anna's for more things to like!

Thursday, May 5, 2022

I Like #256

 Welcome to another week of things to like!

It's a bit hard to like anything right now after the horrifying (but I guess not surprising) leaked draft Supreme Court Ruling.  Let's just set the clock back 50 years why don't we?  It's just horrible horrible horrible horrible.

In other news,  this week has been the annual SAQA virtual conference, and that has been wonderful.  It kicked off with an amazing keynote speech by artist Janet Echelman.  Her work is absolutely amazing, and if you haven't seen it before, I encourage you to check it out.

Janet Echelman, Earthtime 1.78 Vienna (

The SAQA conference in general has been really great.  Lots of great talks, studio tours, lightning talks, chatting/networking/friend making sessions, etc.

Also a couple of really good things on the forefront for some of my artist friends:

Kathy Suprenant (also a cell biologist scientist) currently has a solo show at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum called What Did Ming Miss.  I'm so excited for her, it's a really great group of pieces, and she's giving a free, open-to-the-public Zoom talk about it this Sunday May 8, at 3PM ET.   I'd encourage you to go if you're available, it should be really cool!  You can read more about the series and pieces in the show here.

Mother’s Day Tribute to Ming the Clam (even clams have mothers)

Sunday at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum

Date:  Sunday, May 8, 2022 

Time: 3:00 PM Central Time

Zoom Link:

In European quilt news, my friend Jette Clover has a solo show for the month of May at the Galerie Zone-Galerie Voor Kunst en Vormgeving in Leiden in the Netherlands.  If any of you are going to be traveling in that area this month, definitely stop in and see it, her work is wonderful.

In more local news,  Cash came over to play with Spooky this week and all three dogs had a great time.  Spooky and Blue are going to New Mexico this weekend to stay for the rest of the month while I have some work travel, so it was good to get to play with Cash some more before going.  Blue was there too- he just didn't get in the picture.

I made very tasty cupcakes for the occasion, I love this chocolate cake recipe.

We've had three days with severe/tornado weather this week, and I just got my TV fixed so I can watch regular local channels (rather than just netflix) which is nice, because on severe weather nights you just leave the live weather guy on for hours in case you need to go to the shelter.  We've been lucky so far, but there were several tornados causing quite a bit of damage last night, but not very close to us.

The dahlias in this garden bed are growing pretty well.  It'll still be quite a while before they bloom, but I'm glad they'd gotten fairly established before this week of terrible storms.

And! The most exciting thing to happen was I got my car back this week!  I'm so excited!  I had to clean out my garage so I could get both cars in there (see above tornado/hail weather), but I'm just glad to have it back.  I'll be returning my mom's car to her soon.

I hope you guys are finding some things to keep your days a little bright if you can!  Click over to LeeAnna's to join the group.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

I Like #255

 Welcome to another week of things to like!

This has been a week of catching up on the home front which has been great.

I blogged about a quilt I finished a few weeks ago, you can more about it here

I was also pleased to have two pieces in shows that opened in Colorado this week.  My piece Cloud Rim: Summer 1991 is part of Evolutions at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum in Golden, and luckily my mom was able to attend the opening reception and two of our friends (pictured with mom below), Diana Fox and Bev Haring won big awards (CONGRATS!!!!!!!).

This is my mom with her piece

Mom and I also had pieces in the invitational show Slopes, Shapes, and Landscapes at the Lincoln Center in Fort Collins, and Mom was able to go by and see it too.  Both of these will be hanging for the next couple of months, so if you're in the area, stop in an check them out.

My piece, Topography II: Crest trail is there in the middle of that wall below.

That's one of my mom's quilts above on the left, and all three of the quilts below are hers.  She had quite a few pieces in the show.  I only had one, but I don't make identifiable landscapes all that often.

Lots of things are blooming, these small poppy things are outside my building at work.

In my garden the dahlias are just starting to come up, but my petunias are doing great.  Such a blast of bright color.

I got my garage cleaned out this week; in theory I'm supposed to be getting my car back sometime soon and we're in the middle of storm season so I needed to be able to get both my car and my mom's car in my garage until I can get her car back to her.

The boys are doing well, I did a fair amount of knitting this week and they both wanted me to stop and play.

I hope you're all having good things in your lives this week.  Click over to LeeAnna's for more things to like!

Monday, April 25, 2022

New Quilt: Alleluia Alleluia

A couple months ago, while I was working on some more complicated quilt designs I decided to start something simpler so I could just have something to sew on.  It was right around the time when I was really trying to get used to my new longarm so a lot of quilting was appealing to me.  

I started it right at the time when Russia invaded Ukraine, and it was so heartbreaking (it's still heartbreaking), and I wanted to try to do something colorful and hopeful.  I decided to start with the phrase we use as our dismissal in church, which seemed fitting since going into the world in peace seemed like something we needed. 

After drafting the pattern, I pinned it down to a quilt sandwich and stitched around the letters in light grey thread.  You can see in the picture below, the very light thread outlining the word And between love and serve.  After outline stitching the words, I tore off the pattern and started quilting.  Instead of regular quilting, I decided to try out free-motion couching using some of my stash yarn.  It was so much fun and worked really well with the free-motion couching foot on my machine.  All the freedom of free-motion quilting but with the bright thick line of color you'd usually associated with fabric and paint.

The color story was largely dictated by the yarn I had on hand, but you'll notice the same blue and yellow we've been seeing all over recently.  After doing the letters I started outlining them and then just kept filling in.  I didn't really care about the color of the background fabric since I planned to cover the whole thing with yarn.

You can actually see in the picture on the left that there's a bunch of regular quilting along the left side; that's because this started out as a big practice quilt sandwich that I decided to use for a real quilt!

After steadily filling and filling and filling until it was all covered, here's the final piece. The edges were finished with zig-zagged couched yarn.  It took a long time to fill in the background, but it was very restful.  Easy to quilt on for 20 or 30 minutes at a time.  All the extra yarn makes it fairly heavy, heavier than you'd think from the size of it (it's 39" x 25")

Here are a few closeups.

Alleluia, Alleluia, c. 2022 Shannon Conley

I really enjoyed this couching process and I'll probably use it again in future.  And now this slightly psychedelic quilt can take its place in my series of liturgical quilts.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

I Like #254

 Welcome to another week of things to like!

Before I start, I wanted to say I just realized that the service that usually emails me when I have blog comments hasn't been working for the past couple of months!  I thought I just hadn't been getting any comments but it turns out the notifications just weren't working!  I came to the actual blog for some reason the other day and saw several, and now I feel terrible for not having responded!  Thanks to everyone who has been commenting and I'll check now on the blog so I can reply to you all until I get this sorted out.

This was a crazy week, last Tuesday we learned that there was a huge forest fire right in my parent's town, so all week through until Easter we were in a constant state of worry about them and their community.  Finally over the weekend they started being able to get it contained, but it was devastating for so many (two fatalities and 200 homes lost).  It was a blessing that my parents were safe and did not have to evacuate.  We heard harrowing stories of those evacuating from Gavilan canyon (where the fire was the worst), truly racing for their lives.

Thursday was Maundy Thursday so as part of our Holy Week celebrations we had wonderful church services on Thursday and Friday, culminating in the beautiful Easter Vigil Saturday night and then the joyful Easter morning celebrations on Sunday.   I love Easter and the Easter celebrations at our church.  We always have a big reception on Easter Sunday morning, so I made a bunch of tasty Easter cookies.  I love the chance to get out and use (after polishing) my big silver serving tray since it doesn't get used for anything else.

And then to follow up on the chaos, on Sunday afternoon I drove to Albuquerque (about 8 hours), stayed overnight with some dear family friends, and then got up Monday morning to drive to Santa Fe where I had to drop off eleven pieces of my artwork for a show at the New Mexico State Capitol.   The show had been put of for two years due to COVID so I'm so excited it's finally opening. The show is a mixed media show with about seven or eight artists.  There's so much cool stuff. My car was very full!

These amazing honeycomb pieces are by Stephanie Lerma.  They're so cool in person.

It was wonderful to see good friends Gale Oppenheim and Betty Busby- Betty is the one who organized this exhibition.

I had to leave before the installation was finished, but hopefully next week I can share some pictures of the final show.

The Capitol is a beautiful building and had lovely blooming trees all around it!

After dropping the work off, I rushed over to another friend's house because I had a three hour zoom meeting before I had to drive back to OKC.  She has four small dogs that were delightful companions during the meeting.  Sadly I only got pictures with two of them.

And of course, mine were excited to see me when I got home,  I just love how angelic Spooky looks here.  In case anyone is wondering, he is not actually angelic at all. They're both currently a little miffed at me because I gave them baths Tuesday night.

As a final thing, this week I blogged about a small embroidery project I recently finished, click
here to read about it:

I hope everyone who celebrates had a special and meaningful Easter and for more things to like, just click over to LeeAnna's!