Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Week 22 Project 12, SD Sampler

The day after I started making cards, a friend asked me to make a sampler for her. She needed a gift for a special occasion, and had an idea for something that would be very special - but it needed to be stitched, and she didn't have the skills for that.

We quickly came to an agreement, and decided that the sampler would include a monogram, the date of the celebration, and the Austrian greeting GrĂ¼ss Gott that the friend knew from a trip to Vienna, and had really liked. The areas of text would be separated by rows of beading.

I had been looking for a chance to try out Jane Davis's Bead Embroidery: The Complete Guide which I bought in Vermont in January. Yes! I had to try out each stitch on a piece of waste band to get just the effect I wanted, but the book is just as good in use as it was fun to read. Another friend had sent me some Dinky Dye silks to try out, so I used those threads. As I had been promised, they are a real pleasure to work with. I also used some Swarovski crystals in the fringes.

The picture doesn't do the beads justice, but you get the general idea. I think the recipient will enjoy the sampler, don't you? I certainly enjoyed stitching it. (BTW, yes I have the permission of my friend to include this here.)

Thursday, 24 May 2007

Outings: Schlosshof and Burg Kreuzenstein

We've also been on a few outings.

On May 1, we went out to Schlosshof. We have been very curious to see how the renovations have been done. We have known the palace of Schlosshof just north of the Danube a the Eastern edge of Austria for decades, and while loving it's beauty, we were saddened by its condition. Not just age- like many such buildings, WWII and its aftermath were very hard on it. Prince Eugine of Savoy's lovely gardens had gone wild, the fountains in ruins... (Yes, the same Prince Eugene who also owned Belvedere.) When we read that not only was the palace itself being fixed up with a grant from the EU, but that original furniture was being found, and even the original working plans for creating the gardens, and that these also were to be restored, we were very pleased.

The gardens are not anywhere near being done, of course. But they are beginning to be again what they were meant to be. The palace itself is wonderful to see - and I hope they continue to leave the first room unrestored as a reminder. Also the home farm (Meierei) has been recreated, and the kitchen gardens are fun to wander through. There was also a small parade of the animals when we were there. Since then the orangerie has been reopened, so the work goes on.

There were too many visitors there the day we went, as a Vienna newspaper had just written about it. This didn't make any difference in the palace or grounds, however, we were not able to get a meal at the Meierei restaurant. There are nice playgraounds, mostly aimed at the younger set. There is also a petting zoo. Schlosshof is organizing several special events this year. Also stop at the smaller hunting palaces of Ernstbrunn and Niederweiden while you are in the area.


I'm a big fan of birds of prey, so it's rather surprising that we hadn't been to the show at Burg Kreuzenstein before. It has been running for 10 years now, and we have considered it many times, but never at the right time of day. Sunday we decided it was time to do it. We really needed a fun outing after the flea market!

The show at Kreuzenstein includes falkons, owls, a bald eagle, vultures... (all breed in captivity).
Having seen several other such shows, most of it is fairly standard, although I never get tired of seein these lovely birds. And yes, I do mean the vultures, too. They are special favorites of mine. Special to Kreuzenstein are the location - seeing the birds flying against the backdrop of the castle is really beautiful; the way the birds are flown very low over the audience. Choose a front corner seat if you want to duck a lot. We were front left, and Steven and I both felt the wings of the birds. The sportsteam at front right had to duck even more than we did. Of course, if you don't want to duck as much, sit further back. Back right probably ducked the least. And the special treat to the end of the show - an owl who no longer flies in the show is held at the exit for pictures and patting! Have you ever felt the feathers on a live owl? I have now. So soft!

Take the Korneuburg West exit off the Stockerau Schnellstrasse to get there. Most of the way is well posted, and you can see it, so it's not too hard to find. Do visit the castle as well, it you can handle stairs. I wasn't up to it this time, but we've done this many times before. Kreuzenstein is a real museum, having been put together out of parts of several buildings from around Europe in the late 19th century as many medieval buildings were being torn down. Of course suitable furnishings were also collected. For energetic people it also makes a nice hike from the Schnellbahn. At least you have the uphill behind you in the first half of your day. There is a gasthaus, but we haven't eaten there in decades.

Afterwards we went off to Illmitz to relax at the beach. Steven and Jerry say the water is still very cold. The sun was warm. Illmitzer had its usual good food. The baby geese are now mostly in adult feathers, just about half the size of their parents.

Week 21; Projects 9, 10 Cards; Project 11 Bags

I see I have not blogged for a month. Shame on me! But it is not that I haven't been stitching. In fact within an hour of writing that I wasn't being creative, I had realized that the offcuts from my quilt were perfect for small paper piecing projects, and that cards made with such projects might be a nice addition to our flea market table.

I've lost track of how many cards I made. I'll count the original cards as two projects - the first being pictures made by the piecing, the second a series of cards framing small images on the central bit of cloth. The piecework is nicely finished and sewn onto the card so that it can be easily taken off and used to decorate a shirt, or hung, or whatever. I also decided to make a few gift bags, both plain ones (I got some really cheap Christmas material from IKEA), and appliqued ones.

At the flea market itself, I sold one card. Three more were reserved, and I expect the buyers to ask me for them soon (but they may want to look at what I have made since, as several more are in the works). I have also sold one of the appliqued bags.

Anyway, between working like crazy to get a good selection of cards done, and sorting books for the rest of the table I was just too busy to blog. Or to get much more done on my quilt, for that matter. However I did go to the class, and I am at about the same place as everyone else. What's more, when the teacher saw the bit I had put together she exclaimed, 'Look! Someone got the borders right!' Now I need to find the discipline to work on the quilt, and not just the cards, even though they are more fun.