beck's blog

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Time For Peace

Last year I found a needlepoint for sale that had barely been started. It had no thread or instructions with it; only the canvas.
The canvas had a small square cut out of the bottom left and, (I believe), was used to "patch" a spot in the middle of the canvas where someone had spilled something on it or poked a hole in it.

ANYWAY, I saw this needlepoint for sale and I knew I just had to get it and finish it.

I recognized the artwork as something I had seen on the wall in the office of my children's old pediatrician. I remember staring up at it many times and thinking how beautiful it was. Here is a picture of the actual painting. (Click on the photo to enlarge it).


I googled the painting and found it to be called
Mother and Child by
Artist - Irene Awret

I was surprised when I got the canvas that it had been started with 6-strand floss, (like you would use for cross stitch projects), and not wool tapestry thread like I expected. I have made a million cross stitch pictures and had saved every used card of floss since I started so I was happy to finally get the chance to use all this left-over floss.

So, here is my finished needlepoint version of Mother and Child by Irene Awret.


As you can see, I took liberties with the colors. I thought, since her sweater looked kind of Nordic, (as with the beautiful intarsia knitting patterns you see), that I'd give her red-gold hair and green eyes. I pictured the child with lots and lots of curly hair. I had to make his sweater striped since I didn't have enough of one red color to complete it all in that same red. Also with the mother's skin. Lots of peachy colors.

The "frame" of the picture was really fun. I used Many different colors instead of the all-gold for the background behind the words for Peace. (There are four words meaning Peace here. The top is Peace in English, French on the bottom, Hebrew on the left, and I'm not positive about the right side. It's hard to find a translation from a language that doesn't resemble the English alphabet, (like Chinese for example). But I think it may be Arabic.


Here's the horrible-looking back along with a photo of the front alongside my bag of left-over thread floss, (still overflowing).
Hmm, maybe she has other needlepoints. I know she has a whole series of artwork on "Peace".

I'd love to do the girl with flute I saw here on a blog which I believe her grandson has created to sell art prints of her work. I didn't see any needlework kits offered. Maybe it was sold as a kit back in the 70's when it was first made.

According to that site, there's one of her prints hanging in the White House. During the Jimmy Carter years I think.
Artist Irene Awret has also written a biography called, "They'll Have To Catch Me First" published by the University of Wisconsin Press.
This page has a brief description of the book.
The life-saving power of art

Berlin 1939. A few months after Kristallnacht, eighteen-year old Irene Spicker tries to flee to Belgium but ends up in a Nazi prison. Freed after a few weeks, she tries again—this time, in the dark of night, she successfully crosses the frontier. The Germans invaded Belgium, and Irene was forced into hiding. Constantly on the move, she worked as a farmhand, at one point using false identity papers. Arrested by the Gestapo, she sat in a cellar prison cell destined for transport to Auschwitz. To calm her fears, she made a small detailed drawing of her hand which was to save her life. Incarcerated in the concentration camp in Mechlen, she was assigned to paint signs, posters and numbers for her co-prisoners to wear around their necks. This is Irene Awret's story of her first twenty-five years, from coming of age in a middle-class Jewish family to Mechlen where she met the young sculptor Azriel Awret, to liberation and freedom once more.

I'll have to see if I can find this book at the library. I read the small snippet from the grandson's blog link above and it sounds very interesting.

I hope she doesn't mind my changing of the colors of her artwork.
I really love this painting and her work. I can't wait to frame it!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Smithers, Release the Hounds!

Smithers, release the hounds!!

Houndstooth; that is.

I thought the tapestry crochet technique was a perfect way to crochet a houndstooth pattern. I had looked around on the web and didn't find anyone doing it that way. Maybe there is some folks out there and I just didn't find them. Anyway, I used Sinphonia yarn again because I just love it for tapestry crochet. It's great!!! (But expensive. I buy it at Hobby Lobby and it's $4.99 a skein so I buy one at a time using the 40% off one item coupon each week they offer it).

Anyway, I didn't have black and white at the time. So I used black and rust colors.
(Please click on the photos to enlarge them).


Here it is right-side out.


This is inside-out which I thought might even look houndstoothier (lol!) because it's a little more "jaggeddy" looking.


And finally, here it is with the drawstrings pulled along with a black AND white skein, (for I plan to make a black and white version because, let's face it, houndstooth looks best in black and white.)

For this project I used a small sized D hook and this pattern I found on the internet...


And now, you'll really want to call the dogs on me after I bore you with some projects that I've finished and were Christmas gifts so I couldn't post them until today.

Tyler lions

I finished the Tyler Lion pillows. The backs of the pillows are blue or red flannel. I see my husband loves his so much that, as I look across the room, it is barely noticeable peeking out from underneath the bed. Sigh. Why do I bother?


I made my brother-in-law this deer needlepoint pillow. The kit was from a Spoon Size Shredded Wheat cereal box offer in the 70's. I got it on e-bay to make. It's a Mule Deer. I used flannel for the back and this time I cut the edges all around, stitched some flannel to the sides of the needlepoint and cut those edges too, and knotted the raggedy edges like those purse kits you see people make.It looks rustic and it's very soft on the flannel side. The pillow almost looks like you are looking out the window of a cabin or maybe some sort of tree stand at a deer out in the open.

Anyway, I also embroidered these two felt picture books for my sister's grandkids.
The kits suggested you color the animals with actual crayons and ironed them. But do I ever do anything simple???

Photobucket PhotobucketPhotobucket Photobucket Photobucket

About half-way through the embroidery part I thought, "Good Lord! These kids will be,....graduating college before I finishe these things. Where are those damn crayons? Is it too late to go back and use them?" LOL!!!!

Now I must flee before those hounds tackle me to the ground and chew me up with their sharp houndsteeth!!!!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

One Harry Afghan

About a month ago I received a really nice e-mail from someone named Megan who had just finished up making an afghan for her friend for Christmas. (It blew me away it was so awesome!)
So I asked her if I could post it in my blog for all of you here who also appreciate crocheting and Harry Potter.

She wrote back asking if I'd wait until after she gives it to her friend around January 7th or 8th.
So, it's now the 11th and I am so happy to be posting this amazing afghan...(Please click on the picture to enlarge it)...

Harry completed

One Harry Afghan

Isn't it fabulous!!!!!
I wonder what her friend said and did when she unwrapped this baby.
(Maybe she's still out cold from the shock of it's beauty) LOL!!

Megan doesn't have a blog or else I'd give you all the link but she does belong to Ravelry which is a knitting/crocheting community so I'm sure you can find her there. What a talent! (And what a great friend too!!!)

Sunday, January 04, 2009

There And Back Again - Snape visits North & Central America

Singapore Snape has finally returned from his trip to North and Central America!
I received a wonderful travelogue e-mail chocked full of Snape photos and happenings as told by Snape's flatmate and begrudgingly-turned-luggage handler Karen whose e-mail I am now posting here for you all to enjoy.
(Please note that I didn't receive the last 8 photos mentioned at the end of the letter so, if and when I do, I'll be sure and add them to this post!). As always, to maximize the photo, please click on it. It will magically enlarge so you can properly see all of Snape's escapades.

Dear Becky, Happy New Year! Snape and I have gotten back from our trip to North and Central America, so as promised I’m sending you some photos. For maximum allowable attachment reasons, I’ll probably have to send several e-mails, but I’ll keep the story all together here.

First of all, you should know that Snape reluctantly invited me along on his potions gathering trip, because he needed a research assistant and, as he put it, I was “the closest thing to a qualified applicant (he) could find.” I replied that I didn’t recall having applied for the job at all, but was happy to assist if meant I could get a free trip. Little did I know that most of the ‘research’ work would entail carrying his substantial luggage from airport to airport. As you can see from the first photo, he certainly has a lot of luggage for someone who’s less than a foot tall, AND always wears the same outfit. Photobucket

Anyway, our first stop was a brief layover in Tokyo. The flight was largely uneventful, though Snape had to hide from the covetous stares of the many small children sitting near us. They seemed to think he was nice and cuddly, despite his vehement protests that he was neither. If you look really close in this photo, you can kind of make out Mt. Fuji out the plane window beside him. Photobucket

We next visited Calgary, Alberta because Snape wanted to see a Calgary Flames – Dallas Stars game, not because he’s a hockey fan, but because he likes Sean Avery. Again, not because of Avery’s mad hockey skillz, but because of the snide remarks he makes to the press. “It’s nice to see another snarky git doing so well for himself,” he said. Needless to say, Snape was terribly disappointed that Sean Avery was barred from the game, though otherwise we had a nice time. As you can see I convinced him to wear a Jarome Iginla jersey, so that he wouldn’t be lynched by the Calgary fans for supporting Avery. Snape at hockey game

This is Becky here again just wanting to comment that this photo is so adorable and I absolutely LOVE it!!! Now back to Karen...

We then left for Fort Lauderdale to catch a ship bound for several ports of call around the Caribbean and Central America Photobucket Photobucket

Imagines Snape singing....."The Loooooove Boat......Exciting and new.....come aboard.... we're expecting you.....

where Snape hoped to pick up his potions ingredients. I asked him again what ingredients he was planning on obtaining, and his reply was suspiciously vague. He again mentioned some type of crustacean, but he also referred to certain “local potions composed mainly of barley and hops, which, if brewed correctly, have several beneficial effects, including increasing one’s confidence with the opposite sex, increasing dancing abilities, making otherwise ordinary comments seem hilarious, and giving the user a sense of invulnerability in fights. If used improperly however, these potions can induce nausea, terrible headaches, and can lead to unwanted pregnancies.” He said that he would need to test several of these potions for efficacy during our travels, and that I would have to be close at hand at all times in case he required assistance to get back to his cabin, or needed someone to hold his hair in the bathroom. I didn’t understand his little joke at first, but I finally figured it out on our first night at sea, when I came across him cavorting with some rowdies at the ship’s bar. Locally brewed potions indeed! Photobucket PhotobucketPhotobucket

Our sailing voyage was quite pleasant. As you can see from the photo, Snape used the time when he wasn’t testing potions (ha ha) to catch up on his ‘academic’ reading. Photobucket

Our first port of call was Aruba Photobucket, DSC00240).
(I don't have photo DSC00240) The only potions ingredient we had to get here was Aloe, which Snape needed to soothe the sunburn he got from spending 3 days sitting on deck and reading Cosmo all day.

Our next stop was Cartagena in Colombia.

Oooohh, Romancing the Stone territory!!!!
PhotobucketPhotobucket PhotobucketPhotobucket Snape said he needed to visit his friend Pablo to obtain a “very special potions ingredient, which gives the user a sense of alertness and euphoria, and is widely available in the mountains of Colombia.” As I’m sure you understand, I was quite worried at this description, particularly because I would be the one carrying this mystery substance in our luggage. When he came back to the ship carrying nothing more than a bag of Colombian coffee, I was noticeably relieved. “Why?” he said, “What did you think it would be?”

We next sailed through the Panama Canal. Photobucket Photobucket Snape said he would use the opportunity to get some fresh crocodile scales from a Gatun Lake crocodile. As you can see, I got a picture of the crocodile he picked out Photobucket( it’s on the shore), but wouldn’t you know it, my camera battery died just as he leapt off the ship’s rail, swam over to the crocodile, wrestled it into submission, plucked off a handful of scales, and swam back to the ship. What rotten luck there are no pictures of that!

We didn’t stay long in Costa Rica.Photobucket

Me again. OMG!!!! Look at his greasy hair flying in the breeze!!!! LOVE!
Snape said that he was tired from all the hard work of potions sampling, which I guess is Potions Master for ‘hungover.’ He was really off his game that afternoon too: even though until this point he had successfully evaded all the children who were chasing after him and his Hello Kitty beach towel, that afternoon one of them finally captured him.
PhotobucketHe screamed and screamed for me to “save (him) from this monster! It’s got me like a Devil’s Snare!”, but I just laughed.

Snape with Devil's Snare. LOL!!!!

Snape was cranky and snippy for the next few days, and spent pretty much our entire time in Nicaragua sampling another one of those locally brewed potions, this time called Tona. PhotobucketWhen we got to Guatemala Photobucket he disappeared early from the ship. I went to find him in the nearby town, and was shocked to discover that at 10:15 in the morning Photobucket (see watch) he was already drunk on Gallo beer. I loudly berated him for his undignified behaviour, and he succinctly told me to stuff it. I left him, but the Guatemalan police soon found me and asked me to escort him back to the ship after he was found trespassing on some sacred Mayan ruins. Photobucket He was pretty drunk by this point. We had to stop a couple times for him to be sick behind a tree Photobucket – this is my favourite picture of all).
“I’ve never been so embarrassed!” I told him.
“Oh I find that hard to believe,” was his slurred reply.

Our last few days were pleasant though. We swam Photobucket and stopped in Mexico Photobucket for a few days R&R on the beachPhotobucket Photobucket before heading back to Asia.

To my annoyance, we missed our flight out of Tokyo, so we had to spend a night in Japan. Snape was quite pleased though. I thought our hotel room was terribly cramped Photobucket but he thought it was ‘just right.’ “Like your opinion matters!” I snapped. “You’re only ten inches tall, AND you used to live in a dungeon. You’re hardly a good judge of what constitutes adequate living space! “That night while I struggled to wedge myself into the tiny bathtub, he went to the Karaoke clubs and hit on Japanese women Photobucket It was all going well until one lady’s boyfriend – who happened to be a ninja – got ticked off at Snape’s flirting Photobucket and he ran back to the hotel.

We got home the next day. All in all, it was a successful trip, insofar as Snape got to try a lot of ‘potions’ and neither of us killed the other. Snape’s next trip probably won’t be until spring or summer, but I’ll keep sending photos of his local adventures. Best, Karen

And there it is folks. A fabulous entry from Karen and I want to thank her for including us on her trip with Snape by sending us this e-mail. I'm dying to see the photo of Snape being sick behind the tree as well as the angry ninja chasing after him. I'm also looking forward to more of Singapore Snape's adventures and travels!!!!
Thank you soooo much, Karen!!!!!!

Edit: I finally managed to get the other photos. (My computer was not cooperating for a while there). I'm still missing #DSC00240 but I'm going to look again and see if it's lurking somewhere on here.
ANYWAY, I love the sun bathing Snape! The photo of him on the beach with the people in the background underneath the umbrella is so great! I can't believe they weren't staring at him!!!
Snape swimming is fabulous! I want to jump in there with him and give him a good scrubbing. (It looks like he needed to get a lot of sand off his feet there in that one photo!)