Tuesday, November 24, 2015

getting ready for Holidays

for the first time in many years, we will not be traveling for Thanksgiving

in the past, when we lived in Colorado Springs and our daughter's family lived 2 hours away, we would pack up food and projects and head off to her house for this week because our son-in-law's job needed him to be at work the day before and the day after Thanksgiving

this year could be titled "the year everything changed" -- for one thing, his job changed, so they have had this whole week off together (Yeah!!)

and then there was that whole thing where we moved -- cool!

so I spent some time over the weekend NOT packing us up

instead, we butchered this 25 pound (!!!!!) pumpkin that grew in my daughter's garden this summer

it has been neatly reduced to 8 bags of pumpkin puree that will become pies in the next few months - yummy

and I finished these

when I first started working on them they looked too big, so I took them down a size

now that they are finished, they look too small -- hmmmm, is it an illusion because of the little Ninja face mask?

I'll find out soon -- and it may mean I'm knitting two more pair if they are too small

I've been doing a little stone and bead doodling

the large aqua colored stone is one that I picked up at the gem show, and it was not the piece I originally thought I'd be working with first, but then I found all these other pieces that went so well with it, and well -- it just seemed to be calling me

unlike other pieces I've done, there is no master plan for this one -- usually I glue down all of the stones first and then work the beading

instead, I started by gluing down the big stone, working around it then adding another piece of stone, etc.

it is a whole different approach, and I like it -- at least for this piece which is made up of all these differently shaped and sized pieces of stone

I'm making progress on the background of the next piece of quilt art --

much of my sewing this week has been split between trying to get 3 pair of pants finished for the DH and doing the hand quilting on the queen sized bed quilt I'm working on for my daughter --- not much to see here!

we had out first measurable snow this week

the evergreen tree in the yard behind us made for a pretty picture against the sunset oranges and pinks

and in preparation for the coming Christmas season, we've been setting up trees inside the house

we've not had all the trees up in the house for about 7 years -- it will be interesting to see where things fit in this house

time to get to it!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

time flies when you are having fun

last weekend was a gem show in the Merchandise Mart in Denver

this event takes place several times a year, but I had not been to any of them as we were kind of busy with moving and remodeling when the other shows were here, so we made a quickie trip to check it out on Friday

my plan was to try to find something that would just reach out and speak to me in terms of creating a new piece of jewelry

this is a piece of bumble bee jasper -- to me it looks like a landscape painting

I'm pretty sure it will be the first of the pieces I brought home that I will be turning into a necklace -- or maybe not, I did bring home 14 polished stone cabs to work with

my local quilt guild hosted an "in town retreat" last weekend too

it was a nice way to get to know some of the members a bit better

and the first evening was devoted to a charity sew in

I finished this little quilt top and added it to the pile that will go to the long arm quilter that does the pieces for the guild and then it will go to a local child who has been hospitalized for some reason

it was kind of fun to work with pink for a change!

 my goal for personal work was to get the rest of the shed doors quilted

I didn't get all of that done, but I did finish this one completely -- I really love how cool the mortar on the brick section looks
and this piece is ready to have the edge done

this is what it looked like before -- and I just felt like the background color was much too strong

my solution to that was to put a layer of silk organza over the entire piece, do some stitching and then cut away the silk over the lock parts

pretty cool technique -- I'll probably use it again

on Sunday my daughter was here, and I helped her make up a stack of pillow cases

my grandson's birthday is right around the corner, and she decided that instead of giving each kid that attends his party a plastic bag of stuff that will end up in the trash in a week she would give each one a pillowcase with a print that is the party theme

so that top case is the odd, random one she made for Mr Cute that has a Star Wars theme, but the other 5 are all Ninja Turtles, which will be the party theme

pretty cool idea if you ask me!

and then there was the less fun portion of the program

what do these 3 pieces have in common (other than being my work)?

each and every one of them received the dreaded "thanks, but no thanks" rejection letter from the show in which they were entered


there is definitely a sting to feeling like your work isn't good enough even when you know you are up against stiff competition and that only a few pieces get in and that it's all based on one person's opinion of the moment

even so, it's not fun to get 3 rejections in 10 days


time to get on with the next project

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

time for true confessions

no matter how you may think you will keep a normal schedule, when you have more people in the house, some things just don't happen

for me the past two weeks, it has been this blog that has gone wanting

I don't regret that for a moment

and here's why:

I've had a visitor from California here with me -- a dear friend, adopted mom and amazing woman!

which also meant that Mr Cute and his mom and dad here almost every day to spend time and share a meal

it has been a very special time for me, and a privilege to have her here

all that said, it wasn't that we didn't do anything!

for instance, there was Halloween

which involved the making of some interesting faux pumpkins out of 1 gallon plastic jugs with a big Sharpie marker

then we filled those with water and dropped a glow stick inside

instant spook factor!

these would be my Christmas cards for this year

they are all ready to be signed, letters inserted and then sealed and stamped -- while my daughter was here working on her scrap book pages and my friend did some wonderful watercolors, I got these all finished

and this is finished too

I really like the way this bib style necklace fits around the neckline -- one of the best ones I've done in a while

work on this project has resumed too

the bead embroidered triangular medallion is all finished, and now I'm working on the peyote stitched "beads" that will make up the rest of the piece

I started out making long straight pieces, but it was clear that was not going to work to create a smooth curve around the neck

so I took those all apart and have started making some more cone shaped pieces that I like much better

this piece is finished and has been entered for jurying in the show I made it for

now we wait to see if it gets in

so I've started working on the next piece which is in the "create the background" stage where I put together all the mixed colors for sky, mountains and field before I start adding trees, a barn and an awesome rusty old pick up truck

these were the last roses of summer --- earlier this week we had a real frost, and I spotted these when I went to the mail box -- beautiful, but sad, we've had a long warm fall, and I'm sorry to see that go

and this arrived in my mail box yesterday

if there was any prior doubt, evidence that the federal government thinks I'm getting older!

actually I'm really, REALLY happy to get this card -- it means a net impact of giving me a $439 a month raise in my income because of one single factor -- my cost for health insurance will go down

that factor alone is letting me entertain the idea that I might be able to replace our aging van with something smaller and newer -- I'm pretty happy about that

time to get back to work on projects -- at this time of a year there are a whole lot of them that I can't show you yet!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

wait -- how did it get to be Tuesday already?!

normally I write this post on Sunday morning, but I just didn't get there!

I was busy doing things like entering these two quilts in a Regional SAQA show -- a process that sometimes makes me a little crazy since each show seems to have it's own idea of what the photos should look like!

In order to take these two pictures (and the two detail shots that go with them), I wanted to get my design wall hung -- FINALLY!

we managed to accomplish that last week -- hurrah!

this piece is finished and has gone to the professional photographer to have pictures taken so I can enter it in a national competition -- because of the shiny surfaces and the light colors I just didn't feel like I had the expertise to take the kind of quality photos it will take for this piece to be accepted in that competition

the deadline for entering this piece is Saturday (Happy Halloween!), so I'm sliding in right under the wire with this -- a little too close for my comfort

and this is the beginning of the next big piece I'll be working on -- working title is "out to pasture", and I'm just fiddling with line drawings right now, but I'm getting excited to start working on it

the edge of this piece is finally finished!  so now I'm working on the fringe -- which is proceeding in the usual two steps forward, one step back approach -- it's getting there

meantime, I'm working on a couple of Christmas presents that I can't show you here, but they are moving along too

and these hats are the beginning of my Christmas card creating -- stamped the pattern four times on a piece of card stock and colored each hat differently then scanned them into my computer and printed out 5 pages -- 140 little hats to be cut out, and I'm over half way done with the cutting ---- moving right along!

time to get back to work

Monday, October 19, 2015

Winter's coming and we're getting ready

if I had any doubt about fall being in full glory and winter on it's way, I'm reminded every day when I look out my office window at these two trees that are across the street from our house

beautiful color!

because that is true, we've been getting ready for winter too

last week we moved everything off of the deck and I put on a fresh coat of stain/sealer on the floor and the top of the railing all the way around

we thought we were going to have to buy the stuff to do this with, but found that the previous owner had left about half of a 5 gallon bucket here after that did this in the spring -- YEAH!

when we do the process next spring I'll have to pay for it, but that was a savings of about $65 and I'm happy to do that

this was a big accomplishment for last week too --- the van being parked in the garage!  

there are still a few items that we have yet to decide where they will go, and all 35 plus boxes of Christmas items are out there in the garage, but it's nice to put the vehicle inside

we turned the last of the garden's tomato harvest into 6 pint containers of pasta sauce that went into the freezer

we used some of it the night the DH created it, and it was really good stuff

I'm looking forward to the taste of summer in these containers during the winter months

this is the last big thing that needs to happen in my studio

the piece of soundproofing board that will be my design wall is all covered and ready to hang 

I used an old white cotton blanket right over the soundproofing board and a layer of white flannel over that -- oh look!  it's a quilt!!

we'll get this hung this week and the new secret project I'm working on can be worked on more extensively

right after we moved here I joined the local quilt guild

I love this group -- they are diverse and interesting and welcoming -- it's a wonderful thing

last weekend was their annual show and boutique at the local fair grounds and each of us was invited to enter 3 pieces in the show

these are the 3 that I entered

it was pretty exciting to see pieces from this series all hanging together!

even with all the around the house work, I still managed to get some art time

the edge beading of this piece is moving right along -- as I suspected, using the tiny size 15 beads is a lot more time consuming, but the edge is beautiful!  

this week I hope to get to the fringing

even though I don't have an updated photo of this piece, I can report that the quilting is complete and yesterday afternoon I cut the edges so I can put on the binding

running right up to the deadline on this, which makes me really nervous, but it is going to be amazing

and then there is this

the beginning of a brand new piece that I'm working on the design for

I've been fiddling with the idea in my head for a couple of months, and now that the  Tsalagi piece is close to finished, it's time to start putting it on paper

looking good so far