Monday, February 16, 2015

A progress report

last week was busier for showings, but I still got some work done on projects!

the beading continues

it actually surprises me how much this actually looks like brick in the picture!

I got two more of the shed doors painted

this has been fun as each one has given me a new challenge in getting the "look" I want

the silk organza finally arrived late in the week and I got the sky finished on this piece

looking at the picture of this gives me that "did I do that?" chill -- it looks very like the vision in my head

today I plan to trim this piece and get it ready for quilting

there have been a few evenings of working on this piece too

I can put together 6 "blocks" in an hour --- setting them in with all those "Y" seams takes a bit longer, but I'm very pleased with how this looks

when I first saw this year's Hoffman Challenge fabric last August, it didn't do much for me -- I just didn't have an instant "vision" for what could be done with it

on Saturday we had to be out of the house for about five hours while people tromped through to take a look

we decided to make a stop in our local quilt shop to take another look at the fabric

one of the good things about this shop is that they cut fat quarters of both the challenge fabric and the coordinates so you don't have to buy a whole yard of the stuff

it also has no problem with you spending a long time putting pieces of fabric side by side to try out ideas

in the end I only bought a fat quarter of this fabric, and I plan to cut it in very small pieces to be part of the decoration on these lovely onion domes

yesterday the DH spent quite a while working with different onion dome shapes and arrangements and this is the one that I decided I would do

looking forward to starting on this project ---- as soon as the piece for Sacred Threads is finished!

Monday, February 09, 2015

its all about the art

since we are in waiting mode here on the house, I have time between episodes of grabbing the dog and "bugging out" so strangers can walk through to work on projects
this project for instance

that's the "before" on the left side and the "after" on the right

it's amazing what a little well placed color can do

making progress on this piece too

I'm into the creating of the sunrise sky, and last week I ordered a piece of silk organza to put over that sky which will slightly mute the color and give it the sort of "glow" that I'm looking for

the silk should get here tomorrow, which should be just about the right time for me to put it to use

after some considerable fiddling, the quilt top for the new queen size quilt for my daughter's house has been begun

these three blocks took me about an hour to stitch up by hand in front of the TV (and the fabrics are really a lot more attractive than this picture shows --- I'll get a better picture for the next posting!)

looking good!

one of the surprise "finds" came when I was looking for a container to put the queen size quilt pieces in 

I like using those 13x13x3 plastic containers that were developed for scrapbookers (something my daughter introduced me to a couple of years ago), and right now most of mine are packed

the one I decided to appropriate for that quilt project had a zip lock bag in it with two of these pieces in it

this is a project I started back in 2005 based on some photos I took at an art show we did in Atchison, Kansas

these pieces use paint, fabric and beads to create the bank, the restaurant  and the boutique 

yesterday I decided that since I wasn't working on any other beading project and I don't want to buy any new materials, that I could work on the boutique and that I should think about where these are going

I'm thinking these are going to get mounted on stretcher bars --- they are mixed media art

we'll see how this all goes

time to get back to those projects!

Friday, February 06, 2015

still testing

after I made that first "block", (there on the left)  I really did not like how big it was

sure, the quilt top would have gone together really quick, but it just looked like the lazy way out

so, here we have block size number 3 (number 2 was, um, something not to be discussed!)

I like this size much better, and while it will be quicker than a double wedding ring to piece, it doesn't look like I'm being lazy

there's something about a pieced quilt top that just calls out for a certain "look", and I think we've reached it

I think we're ready to cut into the fabric that I bought for the project now -- hurrah!

the "anniversary quilt" (which is what I have dubbed that pieced piece) is not the only thing I'm working on

this week I have started creating the sky behind this piece

along the way I decided I wanted to put a layer of silk organza over the top of it to give it the "glow" that I see in my "vision" of this piece, and right now I'm waiting for that piece of fabric to arrive in the mail

I think I'm going to be pleased with the result of this

this piece of bead work is all done (and it's available for sale in my Etsy store)

I haven't started another beaded piece yet -- just haven't come up with an idea that seems worth the work

we'll see what ideas develop

in the evenings I've been working on another pair of slipper socks -- for the DH this time

one sock is knit and the second one has just had the heel turned -- moving right along

and yesterday I ordered materials for a Christmas project -- it's never too early to do that!

just keep chugging along

Monday, February 02, 2015

the end of an era

taking a little trip down memory lane this morning

all the way back to the early 1980's when I decided that if I was going to do a dozen in home boutiques (remember those?) every fall, that it would be a good idea to run it like a business

so I did all the business stuff --- registered a fictitious name, got a sales tax permit, kept records and reported the income and expenses on Schedule C of my taxes every year

when I first started I was making the usual home boutique crafty stuff -- Christmas ornaments, hot pads, place mat -- and I started making soft dolls

during the Cabbage Patch craze I made and sold as many outfits as I could squeeze in between working a full time job and taking care of a toddler

along the way I started making bears

but not toys

these bears were made out of mohair pile fabric that came from England or Germany -- and these bears were for adults

I made bears for just over 25 years and did a lot of shows

but markets change, and bears were not so profitable anymore

and about the time I retired from that day job and the now grown up toddler went off to college, I started making jewelry

 at first it was simple stuff -- strings of stone beads, earrings and bracelets

then I rediscovered seed beads and started doing bead embroidery and bead weaving to make those necklaces and bracelets

and that took me all over the country doing summer art fairs for several years

but like I said, markets change, and it was not so easy any more to do the physical part of setting up tents and working for several days in a row in the heat

and about that time Etsy came along, and I opened an Etsy store to sell some of the stuff I still had that was not jewelry

and then I opened a shop that I put my jewelry in

along the way there I made a quilted piece

and then I made a few more

which took me into a whole new adventure

every year I still did that Schedule C tax thing --- but Uncle Sam has certain rules about what you can call a business and what they decide is actually just a hobby that you are trying to write off the expenses for

one of those rules has to do with showing a profit a certain number of years

and that brings us to the end of the era -- the past few years the business has not shown a profit --

and so this year I will not be filing that Schedule C --- I no longer have a business

but I don't consider this just a hobby either

I am still serious about making art

I will still keep those receipts and price my work as if it was a business, but until I sell enough to make a profit, there will be no more tax schedules

it feels odd

just one more twist in the journey

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Testing, 1, 2, 3........

my daughter needs a new quilt for her queen size bed

for several months I've been fiddling with ideas and colors and I recently bought the fabric to construct this piece

but before I cut into that fabric, I want to be sure of the pattern

so I took the original pattern and made up a sample from some other fabric that I had on hand -- and it creates a block that is almost 10 inches -- and I just think that is too big

there will be some additional testing

working on some new beading this week has been kind of fun

the "dividing lines" in this heart design are pieces of crystal "chain" that creates that little "sparkle" and the center section is all beaded in a texture technique

 this little texture trick takes a lot longer than just covering the surface of the piece, but it creates such an amazing mix of color and shape that it is worth doing

another of the shed door pieces has been worked on this week -- a bit of InkTense pencil here and there and now this one is ready to be stitched

and working on another piece

so far this one looks like what I hoped it would -- now I have to figure out how to do the sky -- hope it works the way I think it will

while I was knitting slipper socks for my daughter, the DH told me he'd like to have a pair -- so apparently, my sock knitting isn't over yet

I mailed the pair to my daughter, and as soon as they arrived at her house and she put them on, Mr Cute went running for the pair I made for him and put them right on -- I was right, he just had never seen a pair and wasn't sure about the whole thing -- and now I hear the his daddy wants to know where HIS pair is --- hmmmm, considering the fact that I had not previously made a pair of socks that I was happy with, I guess it was all about having the right pattern

the waiting on the house showings continues -- things are slow and I'm really tired of waiting -- testing my word for the year -- persevere

Saturday, January 24, 2015

and so we wait.....

waiting is not my strong suit

in fact, I'm really bad at it -- I fidget, I pace, I grumble

and since we are now in week six of the waiting, the natives are getting restless - so to speak

so I'm trying to get back to working on some art projects that don't make too big of a mess

a little bit of beading here

I finished this bracelet yesterday -- I just need to take some good photos so I can list it in my Etsy store

I made these slipper socks for my grandson for Christmas

but kids are funny, and sometimes a four year old doesn't want to have anything to do with something that is different from anything they are familiar with

so I decided it might help if he saw his mama wearing a pair

I intended to make these all of the red yarn, only to discover after I got the first cuff and heel done that I didn't have enough of that yarn, but I had another skein of the same yarn in another color

ok, it's a design opportunity --- and that whole striped sock thing seems appropriate here!

I finished sewing the non-slip gripper stuff on the bottom of them last night and I'll be sending them off on Monday

and then there is this project -- actually this is one of 12 that need to be finished in the shed door series, and yesterday I decided to pull them out along with the InkTense pencils and do some shading and highlighting

the pictures are the before and after yesterday's art session

this piece is now ready for the thread painting

the fabric is here! 

these three pieces of fabric are what I plan to make into a brand new quilt for my daughter and son-in-law's bed

they are all heading into the washer today

let the piecing begin!

Monday, January 19, 2015

back to projects

we're just hanging out now, waiting for the right person to walk through the house and decide it is where they want to live

I've been working on taxes and spending more than the usual amount of time mopping the floors and vacuuming the carpets, but there has been time to work on new things

after working on this piece off and on since last summer, I finally finished it last week

it is listed in my Etsy store if you'd like to see more pictures, and you can get there from the link at the top right hand side of my blog

once the necklace was finished, I decided to do a bracelet in the same color palette -- after all those beads are already out!

this piece is coming along nicely -- the copper pieces are things that I found in a box of miscellaneous junk when I cleaned out my studio -- most of the stuff in the box went in the trash or got given away, but these cool, vintage pieces of stamped copper seemed to be something I could put to use

looking good!

this is the quilted piece I'm working on right now -- I hope to have it finished in time to enter it in Sacred Threads -- the deadline is March 9 --

so far it is going really well, so I'm feeling hopeful that I will make that deadline

and a little bit of knitting too

I started out to make my daughter a pair of slipper socks, and was merrily knitting along with the red yarn until I realized I didn't have another skein of that yarn to finish both socks


I did had a skein of the same yarn in another color, so these will be coordinated, colorful, and unique

and I'm already more than half finished with this pair because I decided to "catch up" with the second color before I finished the first sock

never a dull moment!