Monday, April 9, 2018


All Over Again.....

The mistake in the stitching, Dear Readers, was even farther back than I had thought! I unpicked the stitching all the way back to the spot where it branches off for a little bud, where I was absolutely Certain the count was correct and started over again. Yes it is amazing the difference one tiny stitch can make in the entire pattern! It was not difficult to re-do the vine to the correct position for the blossom. This time I had got it right!

You can see how the curve of the vines run much closer
 to each other and have a more harmonious feel to them...
 (go ahead and look at the picture from my last post....)

Here I have begun the blue blossom over again 
and this time it is centered right in the vine....

Here you can see I have completed all the blossoms
 on this piece and now all I have left to do
 are the leaves on the lower vines and then the background.
I am sort of dreading working the background
 as it is cream colored which is difficult to sew on a white mesh....
 but I will persevere!

And the Other blossoms that I have been dreading for a while, 
Dear Readers, are the Lilac blossoms for my Lilac shrub!
Some of you might remember that it was several years ago
 that I first started to work on my lilac shrubs for The Folly Garden.
 I had started with making the blossoms partly because 
it was Lilac season and I wanted to see if I Could make them... 
and partly because I had not yet figured out 
how I was going to make the shrub part.
(You can read about those first blossoms HERE)
Here you can see an example of one of the blossoms I made.
 At first I thought the blossoms were wonderful..... 
but the longer I worked at them the less I liked 
the way the florets were joined to the stem...
and I realized I should have been using green thread instead of white....
and while I pondered this stem problem.... several years went by!

But now that I was finally working on the Shrub part of the Lilacs, 
I decided it was Time to revisit the problem of the blossoms... 
to see whether I could make them a little more realistic.
And so I started a whole new "batch" of blossoms...

The florets are made from paper... 
each punched circle cut into thirds....

And then the edges of each section cut into four petals.....
(You might have to poke the pictures to see the details.....)

Each "floret" is then cupped and glued to a thread (green this time!)

After the stem is firmly attached, another drop of glue is added
 and the "floret" is curled around the thread,
 making sure the petals open flat.....

It just takes a very deft twist of the thumb and forefinger....
(practice makes perfect!)
 and the tweezers to make sure the petals don't get glued closed.....!

And then the florets each get a coat of paint! 
Lilac, of course!
And in case anyone wonders why I don't start with colored paper... 
there are two reasons...
Colored paper is too uniform in color, 
while paint can be varied a bit as it is in nature... 
and also the cut edges of the paper remain white... 
and are often a noticeable distraction!
So paint it is! (Besides, I love to paint!)
So now the really challenging part begins, Dear Readers.....
discovering whether a different method
 of "assembling" the florets will work!
Way back in my initial efforts, 
when I was examining the lone blossom cluster on my RL shrub... 
I noticed that the florets made clusters before joining the main stem... 
sort of "sub sets" of blossoms.... and they tended to cluster in fours....
So I decided to see whether that would work in mini....

So I began by gluing some of the stems together....
and then trimmed off the extra threads, 
leaving only one long "stem" thread....

Here they have had the threads trimmed.....

And making more clusters......
(There is a lot of waiting for glue to dry in this stage....)

And here you can see the clusters slowly being added to the main stem.....
Which I forgot to mention has a bunch of "unopened buds" at the tip...
 and several single florets surrounding them.... then the clustered florets....
The tail of the thread is trimmed close to the stem once the glue is dry.

Here you can see it is "growing" slowly!
But now I am running out of florets...
there are Thirty in this blossom so far.... 
perhaps it should be more like forty or fifty per blossom!

While we are still building the "prototype" 
I will add florets until it looks right....!

Here you can see the "old" blossom along side the "new" blossom.....

I really think I have managed to get that "lacier" feel I was looking for!

The blossom still needs a few more clusters
 of florets added to reach the ideal size...
But I think I have finally got it!
And if I can make one or two blossoms in a week-end.....
Making tiny florets Over and over again....
Who knows, Dear Readers, 
maybe by this time next year... 
the Lilac Shrub might be covered in blossoms!


  1. What a lot of work on those lilac florets. But they do look amazing!

    1. Thanks Megan! They do get easier when you do a lot of them... ! :)

  2. Your blossom jobs are blooming in full glory, Betsy,both of them look gorgeous: the embroidered and the lilac one!! Yes, as you know, I know it's alot of work, but if you can persevere, it's worth every minute spending on this job of repeating again the same proces of building the flowers. Your latest lilac blossom looks absolutely gorgeous, so pesevere and hold on!! And yes, for filling your lilac shrub with these selfmade blossoms, it will take you many months.....
    I love the embroidered pillow, the pattern is wonderful.
    Hugs, Ilona

    1. Hi Ilona! Yes, it will take me many many months... it is a good thing I am not in a hurry! LOL! So often this is the way my projects go.... but I am persistent! I know that someday the lilacs will be done! :)

  3. an embroidery and fantastic flowers. What a wonderful work!
    I love!

  4. Hello Betsy,
    I am glad you were able to figure out the stitching problem and get it fixed. It really is a beautiful pattern! As for the Lilac buds, my fingers hurt just thinking about it. I would go absolutely bananas. The end result is worth all the effort and time. They look so incredibly realistic and lifelike. I cannot wait to see the shrub come together. Hang in there.
    Big hug

    1. Thank you Giac! I know I sometimes feel a bit crazy... but that is the fun of these projects... the challenge and then seeing the results when finished! We all know how satisfying that can be! It will take a long time, but I know it will be worth it!

  5. As someone who grew up with lilac bushes in the backyard I can say the color looks wonderful and you're right, a few more flowerets to increase the length and it'll be perfect.

    I miss lilac bushes. They don't do well down in Texas.

    1. Hi Sheila! I guess there are some benefits to being in the North.... (although right now we could use some Spring!) I hope the mini version will look good enough when I get it done! I still have a few construction challenges to solve.... but I am determined! :)

  6. It is truly a labor of love, both the stitched blossoms and the paper lilacs! Thank goodness, though, only three of the four lilac shrubs will need them. You can take the winter off! :o)

    1. Hi Jodi! Actually... lilacs bloom for such a short spell.... it is only one of the shrubs that will need the blossoms! :) (I think I would have quit if I needed them for three seasons!) Still.... it is a Loooooong stretch of making blossoms ahead of me! :)

  7. Your lilac sprigs look absolutely beautiful. Very very realistic. Just love their scent.

    And good for you for sticking with the needlepoint. It will be worth it. Carol :)

    1. Thank you Carol! I am very glad I corrected the mistake with the stitching! It looks so much better! And the same for the lilac blossoms..... I knew I would have to try something else when my first attempts didn't look right! I am really glad I did!

  8. Hi, Betsy - Congratulations on getting the stitches right on your beautiful needlework piece! I thought you had reached the height of patience and sheer persistence with that project - then I read the rest of your post about the lilac blossoms. Oh my. You're doing such wonderful work on those lilacs - but I'm feeling overwhelmed just reading about each step. I think you're wise to break the task down to thinking of a certain number per weekend rather than thinking of the whole lilac bush at once! And then there are two more to fill with blossoms! I've really been dreading my first attempt at flower making, but I need lots of geraniums for my villa, so I've finally decided to just do it. Compared to those lilac blossoms, the geranium-making project seems not nearly so daunting; now I'm feeling much more confident and ready to take it on! I thank you for that. I cannot wait to see those lilac bushes. (But I'm in no hurry!)

    1. Hi Marjorie! I am so glad to provide you with some inspiration! :) And yes, I am very good at breaking a project down into little "bites".... otherwise I would never have the courage to start! But little by little it gets done! (As I am sure you know from making those roof tiles!!!) Someday the lilac shrub will "bloom"! :)

  9. Ok, now I know ! you are nuts! about lilac of course:) how can you have so much patience literally runs away from me!But I do agree that a cream backgroung is a bore.... all backgrounds are abut light coloured ones are even worst. The pattern instead is lovely and you have given it justice, it's truly cute and pretty

    1. Hi Rosanna! I am glad you like the pattern! I hope you are finding time for stitching these days! And yes, I must be a bit "nuts" to try to make the lilacs this way... but it is one of those things I just had to see if I could make it work! :)

  10. Well Betsy, the needlework looks beautiful now, and I admire your perseverence. I am not sure I would have the patience to undo all that work to fix it! But then it would probably bug me until it was right! And as for the background, I guess you could always use a slightly darker colour for the background. Your lilacs - wow! What was that I just wrote about your perseverence?? Go you! The lilacs will look amazing on your shrubs.

    1. Thank you Shannon! I have used a different background color on some of her other kits... usually after I have made the first version according to instructions. I might do the same with this one too... but I do like to complete at least one with the colors given. And yes, the lilacs are going to be a real test of my perseverance! We shall see how well I do..... eventually! LOL!

  11. I'm GOB-SMACKED by the Beauty of your blossom projects Betsy! ❀❧
    Of course I Greatly Admire your needlework and I always will, however the efforts of those lilac blossoms AND the volumes which you will have to make for all of your shrubs has my head spinning at the very thought!
    Even so, if ANYONE would do justice to a job like this it will be YOU!
    You have proved your zealous pursuit of the most minute of details i.e. your 144th Christmas House as well as those Amazing embroidered bed curtains in your treehouse , your saints on castle ceiling, moon maidens, hand-painted tiles in the conservatory etc. etc. ...- so to me,
    you are and will always be-
    the QUEEN of the TEENY TINY ❤

    1. Thank you, Elizabeth!!! :) I am certainly willing to undertake some "challenging" projects! LOL! I still have to "complete" most of the above.... but I'm working on it! LOL! I truly appreciate your words of faith in my abilities! :):) I know it will take a while.... a Loooooong while.... but I will get it done eventually! :):)

  12. I admire your perseverance ! the results are beautiful !

    1. Thank you Margot! I know it will take me along time.... but I have made a start! :)

  13. Oh my! I am getting a headache just by the thought of all the work you have ahead. And you will have to fill not one but 3 bushes!! I admire your patient and determination, I take my hat off to you. Something here for me to learn, as I am always looking for shortcuts. Your new lilacs are incredible, the old ones are pretty too, but the new ones are so realistic and beautiful, it´s like seeing the real thing, wow. It will take time for sure, but you´ll get there and all the effort will be worth it. We will be here too, to admire and enjoy your work as we do enjoy and admire the process.

    1. Thank you Alexandra! I know it sounds crazy... but making the tiny blossoms a few at a time is very "meditative" for me! LOL! It will take a long time, but I can do a little at a time. And just to ease your overwhelmed feelings... I only need one bush to have blossoms because lilacs bloom for a very short time each year! :) Now the job feels so easy! LOL!

  14. Okay... let's see if I got this right into my head: So you punched those typical circles and cut them in thirds. Yes, I can follow. But shaping each third to imitate four petals - that's far beyond my brain capacity!!! With a bit of effort I can imagine to cut something so tiny - but even if I try as hard as I can I can't imagine to do this many, many and even many hundred times more! You're my hero, you truly are! And the result speaks for itself - your "improved version" of a lilac blossom is simply awesome. It's totally impressive how you've done it - putting your method up to that special Betsy standard. ;O) Ehm... are you in need of some comfort? A little motivation to keep going on with shaping, painting and gluing teeny tiny thirds of a circle punch? Well, then I remind you that you will have to do this only for the spring shrub! Hooray!!! Happy Dance!!! But... ahem... of course this is just about the blossoms... the leaves will be needed for three shrubs... oh my... And you will have to find a way to imitate those brown inflorescences preparing for seeds after the blossom time for the summer and autumn shrub... Either this or take my gardener's advice: It's better to cut the blossoms of a lilac when it's finished flowering to preserve it from wasting strength into producing seeds. Honestly, I've always done this with my beloved lilac. *wink* - And not to forget your stitching is beautiful. I could tell many tales about the difference one wrong stitch can make... and also about how annoying it is to stitch white on white. *sigh* But on the plus side this is "just" a cushion - it would be worse if it was a big rug. (Yes, I'm very motivational today! Go, Betsy, go!) And I already know by now that it will look fantastic once it'll be finished! ;O)


    1. Dear Birgit, you are "motivating" me into ever more challenging steps as usual! LOL! (I was going to "overlook" those brown inflorescences! LOL!) Now I might have to make a few of them....! As for the Spring shrub being the only flowering one... this I was keenly aware of... it is the reason for my "seasonal" garden idea in the first place! I could not imagine keeping a "flowering lilac" on display all year long! LOL! And I will confess, that the "seasonal gardens" are going to represent the four quarters of the year... and here the lilacs have no leaves for six months of the year!! I will leave you to imagine the changes that can happen in those six months.... and they won't need leaves!!! LOL!
      As for the embroidery... I am slowly working up my skills to try a rug! :):):)

  15. Betsy you have such patience! Between the tiny stitches and the tiny petals I would get so frustrated with all those minuscule details! The flowers are coming along beautifully. Really all your time and effort is evident in both projects :)

    1. Hi Kristine! I do love teeny tiny details! LOL! It is one of my favorite things ever!!! I am enjoying the challenge of these blossoms.... more now that they are looking right! It will take a long time, but I will persevere! :)

  16. Well, real lilac season will be here soon! Tho I hear your part of the world is about to get another snowstorm. Well when spring comes finally, it will be amazing. As your patience is amazing.
    Love, Mom

    1. Hi Mom! Yes, we got more snow...:(
      They are starting to hint that we might be done with snow now..... but it is still cold and windy!
      Making tiny flowers indoors is pure therapy! :)