Friday, June 30, 2006

1 bracelet done, 1 to go.....

finished this at about 9:30 last night.....looks pretty good! And, most importantly, it will be ready for our show on Tuesday. I hope we can have a repeat of the last time I finished one so close to the show!!

Now its on with the malachite/azurite one....I have already done the "bezels" around the stones on that one and drawn out the plan for the design of the field.....which sometimes gets changed as I go along, but at least I start with a plan!

I've been working on setting quilt blocks together. I have finished 3 sets of 3, so I have 5 more to go. This part isn't as fun as doing the applique was. I am starting to think more about the next quilt design.....collecting drawings/photos/sketches in a folder for when the real design work begins (soon I hope).

Spent an hour with the insurance agent filling in paperwork for a new health insurance plan.....if I get accepted it will freeze my premiums for 3 years which would be great. Should know by the end of July.

Time to get moving, we've got yard work to do, and a trip to the hardware store and the office supply place to get things we need there before I'll get to do any work in the studio.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Dixie/Trixie and other projects

I did three new art cards yesterday. These are all based on pictures of pieces of jewelry I had created (2 of which I don't have any more). I tried a different technique with the moon is made up of a layer of card stock then a layer of colored paper, then a layer of a non woven fabric that has the glitter stars printed on it.....I think I will try another one of these but with a dark background behind the stars....its real interesting material.

I did pick up some neat stuff to build frames around bear faces for some other art cards too....just have to print out the pictures of the bears!

The beading is done -- I think -- last time I thought I was finished, I cut it all out only to find that the work shrinks up in process, and I had to piece it to finish a piece long enough for the bracelet. This time I just made a paper copy of the piece which I can cut and fit then decide if its long to love technology!!

So I'll be digging about in the leather scraps looking for some purple leather to back this with to finish up the bracelet.....

Next piece will be the other bracelet.....working with greens, blues and some black for that one, and there is more pattern in the stone, so it may be more interesting that the rather bland background of this one.

Progress on another front: All 24 of the quilt blocks have the frames and sills on, now its time for ironing, trimming and setting the top together. Then I'll have to decide what kind of borders, etc., come next.

Trixie's Update

Well, here are my new pictures! Aren't they grand? I think I'm ready to be a star!

I hear there is a "Summer Bare (er...Bear)" contest on North Country Teddy Bears, so I think I'll be sending my best picture there....any votes on which one that should be? Drop me a comment and vote for your fav!!

TTFN!! Love, Trixie

And have we got attitude, or what?! Okay, time to get back to the everyday necessary stuff....

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Dixie's Make Over Day 6 and other projects.....

The bracelet is coming along. Just 2 more stones to work around to complete the end of this then it will be finished!! I'd like to have it done to put on the table at the July 4 show, and it looks like I have a good shot at it.

I have been working on the quilt some too.....there are now 15 blocks complete, so I have only 9 more to do, then I can start actually setting the blocks together and figuring out what I'm doing to it next (borders maybe?).

The auction for Daisy ended yesterday, with nary a bidder.....{sigh}, I just don't seem to be able to figure out how to get anyone to bid on bears....I can sell other stuff, just not my own.....frustrating!

Dixie's Update, Day 6

Well, the hard part is all over, the surgery is complete. I have a new nose, a trimmer chin, smaller ears....WOW, I can't believe how good I look!!

Only two more things to do before I leave the spa.....a new outfit seems absolutely necessary, after all, its a new me. And of course there will be the "after" pictures.....more time under the lights.

I've also decided to start using a new name, after all, I don't look anything like Dixie any more, so from now on, just call me Trixie!

More updates later!!

Love Trixie

time to go to work!!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Dixie's Extreme Make Over Update Day 5

Ta Da! Don't you just love my new eyes?!

It took some extra time and some extra procedures, but I just love the eyelashes, and my eyeliner is guaranteed never to be uneven again! YEAH!!

You'll also note that the first phase of the nose job has begun. I hear there were some "equipment issues" in the O.R. today, so my nose isn't done yet, but it's looking good!

This is really starting to get exciting!!

Love, Dixie

"Surgeon's" note: The equipment issues that Dixie is talking about were that the mustache clippers that I have had for at least 6 years finally gave up the ghost and wouldn't work ..... I knew they were going as the rechargable battery in them had stopped taking a charge a while back .... {sigh!!} So, its off to Waliworld today to replace them, then a stop at the local quilt store for some perle cotton the right colour to finish Dixie's mouth.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Fabric on a traveling show, Dixie's update day 4

Well, the box FINALLY arrived! On June 11 I ordered 2 pieces of fabric and some eyes from my favorite mohair supplier, Intercal Trading Group in Costa Mesa, CA. Usually when I order from them, the box arrives within about 5 working days. This time, however, the package took quite a round about route. Fortunately, Intercal always sends me a tracking number as soon as the package is shipped, so I can tell exactly what is going on. Seems the package left Intercal's facility on Tuesday, June 13; then on June 14 it was in Cerritos, CA; on June 16 it was in Commerce City, CO, so far so good, but this is where it gets tricky! For some reason, instead of going on a truck to Colorado Springs on the 16th, it just sat in the UPS facility until June 19, then for some reason still unknown, they put it on a truck to Salina, KS! So then it went to Salina, KS; followed by a trip to Lenexa, Ks, then back to Salina, KS, then back again to Commerce City, CO; where it was finally put on a truck to Colorado Springs. The box looks like its been used to play soccer with (must be that world cup fever has taken over in the UPS facility), but the contents were fine. I guess the bears I make from the two pieces of fabric will have to be names Guilligan and Mary Ann.....(it was just to be a 2 hour cruise?)

Dixie's Update, Spa Day 4

Take a look at my wonderful new feet! The procedure took 2 hours on the "operating table", but they are amazing!

I also have new eyes (my lovely baby blues are back!!), but I'm still quite light sensitive as I have no eye lids yet. They say that will happen soon.

So far it hasn't been a painful experience, tho', so I'm trying to just relax and see what happens next.

Love, Dixie

And so, its time to bring this blog session to a close and get back to work!!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Beta blockers and high cholesterol

Ok, I'm officially PISSED! When I went to the doctor yesterday, he was not happy with how high my triglyceride levels were. He gave me samples of a medication called TriCor to see if I can tolerate it (since I can't take any of the other cholesterol medications).

As is my usual approach now days, I did some research this morning and discovered the following line on a site that talks about the side effects, etc.:

"...certain water pills and "beta-blocker" heart medications are capable of causing a massive increase in triglyceride levels."

Hmmmmmm, let's see, I've been on the beta blocker for about 5 years controls my blood pressure AND my, here we have a definate quality of life I give up the beta blocker so my triglycerides go down but the migraines return? I don't think so!!

I'm pissed tho' because if I'd been given that information 5 years ago when I went on the beta blockers, I could have drastically altered my diet then and possibly avoided the issue we have now.

Of course the attitude amongst the medical profession seems to be "its ok, we'll just give you another pill", unfortunately, I can't take those pills!

It certainly would be nice if the treatment of the whole person could happen, and right now, I'm totally unhappy about the whole experience I had at the doctor's office anyway .... he spent considerable time and effort listening to and discussing the issues that DH had, but I got the distinct impression that I was just an annoyance. Guess its time to try to find a doctor that will actually listen to me.

Progress on all fronts.....

I've been adding more beads to the bracelet. This one just isn't as exciting to work on as the malachite one was.....there isn't as much of a pattern in the stone, so its just adding a field of color to the background.....It is coming along tho' and at this point I'd just like to get it finished so I can get on with the next piece.

I didn't get any more work done on designing the new pieces because we had doctor appointments this afternoon and that took a big hunk of time out of the day. {sigh!}

The carousel horse is being worked on too. DH did the mane and the bridle, and has asked me to do the details on the eyes. I've done a couple of test runs on heavy card stock with the markers I will actually use, and we've decided on the right design, which I hope to get done today and then turn the project back to him for a while. I think the mane looks very realistic!

No pictures, but I've begun stitching the "sills" on the quilt blocks (got all of the "frames" on last week). The sills are a bit tricker as there is a 45 degree angle between the sill and the frame on the lower left corner of each block. So far I have 2 of the 24 blocks done, used a technique I saw demonstrated for doing something else that had a 45 degree angle, and it worked really well. So, I'll just keep plodding along and soon I'll be able to put the whole top together!

Dixie's Update, Day 3

I'm looking pretty scary here! Not to worry, I will actually have my baby blues back when the treatment is done. I'm going to have eyelashes too when we're done, which will be very cool (no other bear in the den has ever had those....I'm feeling very special)

My feet are getting "acupuncture" treatments, and my new toes will be wonderful.

Got to get back to the treatment room. More updates tomorrow

Love, Dixie

And so, its time for the work to begin.......

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

New Projects and Dixie's Day 2

Well, I have a few new projects in the works. As I said the other day, I have 2 bracelets and a small necklace that have everything glued down and beading can be done.

This is the charolite and pink quartz cuff bracelet. I've already done a bit of beading on this one, and its coming along nicely.

This is a piece of sea jasper that I'm making into a fish. This one will have layers of scales that are made in brick stitch then attached so they actually stand away from the body. Something quite different from other pieces.

This piece is the malachite and azurite cuff bracelet, all ready for beads.

Dixie's Extreme Make Over -- Day 2

Well, they say we must begin with a clean slate, so here I am after Day 2 work....

I will be having an eye lid lift, a nose job, ear remodeling and foot sculpting...YIKES!! Maybe its better I can see what's going on right now.

More updates tomorrow

Love, Dixie

And so, its time for me to get busy!!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

A blog within a blog OR Dixie's Extreme Makeover

I have chosen a bear to do a make over on, and so we will be recording Dixie's experiences here as a sort of blog within a blog.

Day One at the Spa

Today was check in day. I have decided to go for the full treatment, so pictures were required (boy, those studio lights are HOT!)

Anyway, they took pictures of my feet, my face (from two angles) and my full body. I hear that if my make over is successful I will get to have my "before and after" pictures submitted to a online magazine.....feature me a celebrity!

I'll be reporting more as things progress

Love, Dixie

Check out the pictures Dixie had taken and watch this space for the changes

Monday, June 19, 2006

Listing on Ebay

after a long break from listing my art on Ebay, this morning I listed one of our new One Of A Kind pieces.

The auction for Daisy and her prince is available by using this link:

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that someone will just have to have her in their collection.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Beadwork finished!!

I finished the beadwork on the farm at sunrise about 11 pm last night.....way past my usual working time, but I was on a roll, and SOOOOO close that I decided to go for it! It looks pretty good. Now to do the finishing work and get it in the frame...the hardest part is weighing all the tubes of beads and figuring out the cost of materials so I can keep the inventory straight.

The next projects on the list are the two bracelets and the fish necklace, all of which have been laid out and prepared for beading, so its just which one to start.

Yesterday, DH strung up some really pretty necklaces from some of the new stone beads he got at the gem show.....a little pricer that some of our other pieces, but really nice.

We've also been working on several new display pieces. I got a nice finished box that I think I will be able to adapt to display bracelets in.....trying to look more like a high end art boutique, less like Walmart!!

Well, time to get busy, we're headed off to see my dad today.....the whole bunch of us will be there which should be quite mom says we're loud because we lived too close to the railroad tracks and had to shout over the trails......I'm not so sure about that, but we do tend to all talk at once.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Update from the studio

Ok, I haven't been out here for a couple of days, so there are things to catch up on!

Yes, that picture is a bird foot.....we've been working on the designing of a toucan, so we've begun with the feet! Another artist that we know (Sue Ann Holcomb) makes some truly awesome chickens, and she shared with us how she creates the feet for them. So, off we went to the hardware store (our second favorite place to find materials after our mohair supplier!) and got some very stiff covered 4 wire cable to create the foot. Note that is standing up on its own, and we're confident that it will carry the weight of the bird without needing additional support. The next step from here involves paint and glaze and then I guess we'll have to actually build the bird (no one will buy the emperor's new toucan I suspect!)

I have finished the polymer pieces for the sun and moon pieces. They look pretty good....the sun is especially nice, I wasn't sure about that piece as yellow is not a color I usually work with much, but the lemon yellow polymer with several layers of gold glitter nail polish over it looks great. The beads have arrived too, so I have spent some time creating full size drawings for both of these pieces. The sun piece will entail 45 brick stitched "sun rays" that will be free standing from the face. The moon one is just beginning to take shape in my head, so I'm not sure exactly where it is going.

Progress is being made on the stipping around the quilt blocks. This part is machine sewing, so it shouldn't take too long to have the entire quilt top finished and ready for backing (the next big issue will be trying to find cat print fabric for the back).

Yesterday we made an excursion to the Gem Show to look for pieces that we can include in future work. We actually had a list of findings that we had on hand that we needed stones to fit and were successful with 2 of them. Since the malachite bracelet sold so quickly in Columbia, I got a new malachite cab and a string of flat triangular malachite beads that I can put into some new malachite pieces (I also sold the malachite collar I had last summer, so I need to make a new one of those as well.) The guy that sells the rhodochrosite knows me on site now, and since I was actually wearing one of my smaller pieces, he got to see an example of what I do with the stones I get from him. He had some very nice crystaline round cabs this time, so I'll try a design with a round of them is small enough to do a bracelet. I was actually looking for some additional wide (at least 1 1/2") bracelet blanks, but no one had any, so I'll have to go back to the internet to search for them.

We got up early this morning and went looking for the Farmer's Market in the location that it was all last summer, and there isn't one this year.....we're bummed! Unless we can find one locally, even summer is lousy for produce since most of the stores here don't know how to handle most of the stuff. Last summer there was a little stand close by too, but they've built a Waffle House there now, so it remains to be seen if that one will be open this year.....{sigh!}

I'm contemplating making a complete change to our website. Since much of what we are now making is One Of A Kind, it doesn't make much sense to have the website work like a catalog......I haven't really come up with a clear vision of what it should look like, so if anyone has any ideas, just leave me a comment with your thoughts! (if you haven't been on our website, here is the link:

This morning, as the DH was fertilizing the lawn, the dog was trying to get out to "taste" whatever he was working with. We're wondering if charcoal has become her new favorite treat of choice! Not to worry, he shut her into the house and kept her out of it!

Well, that about brings everything up to date.....time to go get some work done

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Carousel horses

yup, that's the picture for today.

The wood horse is the one that DH is painting up for his bear. I finished dressing the little bear a lavendar sunsuit. Today I will brush her fur and trim any out of place hairs, then she will wait for her mighty steed to be completed. She's really quite cute!

I'm making progress with the polymer faces for the new collars. Need to apply one more coat of glitter glaze to each one then I'll be ready for actually designing the shape of the final pieces.

Have started working on the design of a sea shore piece that is worked around a piece of dyed shell. I'm trying to figure out how to work in some other pieces of shell, so that one is taking some time.

Beading is progressing on the sunrise. Except for the 1/4 inch strip down one side that I need to add, I'm down to just using blue beads, all of the clouds are finished for the most part.

And on the quilt, I have 1 more block to finish the embroidery on and I've started trimming the finished blocks for the setting strips. I'm going to try to do attic window set with dark brown "sills" and white "frames"....there is so much other pattern and color that I think this is the best way to present the blocks.

Well, lots to get done today, so I better get to it!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

odds & ends (and funny pictures)

Well, I'm doing this a bit later than usual this morning. We had to run over to the lab and have blood drawn so the DH can keep his doctor's appointment next week. I'm spared feeding this vampire as I did all that at the health fair.

I had hoped to avoid 2 doctor's visits (and the attendent $$ to be paid out) by just making an appointment with the GYN and having her write the RX I need.....not so easy as it seems.....I can't get an appointment with her until August sometime....sigh!

We will be taking the dog for her follow up appointment this afternoon....she seems fine, even the "poop patrol" has returned to normal, no more charcoal will be good to see what she weighs at this visit. Now that she has lost the weight that the vet wanted her to, we just have to figure out how to maintain it.

Packaged up 2 items today for shipping, one an Ebay sale (from May!) and the other a book off my Amazon store. Every little bit of income helps.

Today's picture is of a Royal Anne cherry that we found in a bag we bought in Columbia when we were doing the show there....I couldn't resist the pix

Progress is being made on the horse for the new bear. I'm working on polymer clay faces for 2 new beaded collars, experimenting with colors of clay and layers of sparkle nail polish.

Well, I guess I'd better get with it.....

Monday, June 12, 2006

back to work....

ok, now that the excitement has died down over our making the ACE finals, and the mess of holding a garage sale has been cleaned up, we're back to work on projects.

DH has been working on his very first bear...he used an adapted pattern of one of my designs and did the layout, cutting, stitching, jointing and stuffing all by himself. I did the closing for him, then he put on the nose and marked the spots he wanted eyes and ears on which I finished up for him. Now he is working on a carousel rocking horse for the bear to ride, and I'm working on an outfit for her (made to his specifications). This is going to be a very cute piece. Pictures soon we hope!

I have been working on the sunrise beaded piece. The frame is ready. I did it in several layers, the first coat of paint was candy bar brown, then a coat of crackle medium, followed by a coat of soft grey then 2 coats of sealer. It looks like old barn wood (which is what I was trying to get). The beading is coming along, but I discovered after the frame was done that my measurements were a little off, and I actually need to work another 1/4 inch of beading along one narrow end to fill the frame time I'll use the actual frame I'm going to use to draw the outline for the design!! At least this isn't an error that will be painful to recover from.

We have a pretty busy week ahead, taking the dog to the vet for a follow up check, a visit to the gem show for a few items that it is easier to get there than to order, then we will be visiting my folks on Sunday (we're taking them dinner to celebrate Father's Day). And today I'm trying to get laundry done as well as get several items written up for ebay listings.

So, its time to get crackin'

Sunday, June 11, 2006

We made the finals!!

I have been notified that we are the May finalist for the ACE award!! I'm so excited!!! We had entered the piece titled "Ice Buddies" (pictured here), and now we will be part of the voting for the final ACE award in February 2007 where viewers get to vote. (I'll be sure to put a link for voting up when its time). Yippee!!

Meantime, we have been busy this weekend. We participated in our Community Garage Sale and brought in a little money which will make it possible for us to go to the gem show this coming week.

I'm impatiently waiting for the arrival of beads that have been ordered so I can start on two more cuff bracelets. One of them is purples, the center stone being Russian Charolite and the other will be blues and greens, the center stone is a piece of malachite/azurite. The bead order also includes beads for another collar that will feature a polymer clay sun face with free form beaded 'rays'.....

I have finished the applique on the last 2 blocks of the cat quilts, and now I'm working on the embroidery on each block. Because I spent a lot of time sitting outside on Friday and Saturday for the garage sale, I have finished the embroidery on 14 of the 24, so its coming right along.

I can report that the dog is doing fine after her excursion to the vet, and she has learned a new trick. After nearly 2 years with us, she has figured out that she can jump up onto our bed.....NUTS!

Well, I guess I should get moving, lots of projects to work on!

Friday, June 09, 2006

1 dog + 1 ant trap = $$ to the vet

Yes folks, we have discovered that the labrador in our life thinks she's a giant 4 legged ant!

Wednesday we had gone to the hardware store and purchased some ant traps because we are suddenly being invaded by the little critters trying to escape the heat.

In preparation for finding a dog safe place to locate the traps, I had removed one from the package and set it on the counter in the bathroom while I put the others away.

Imagine my surprise when I found that self same ant trap in the dog's mouth!! Quick as a flash I removed the plastic pieces from her mouth and reached for the phone to call the vet, QUICK!

The vet's office instructed us to bring the dog and the package the stuff came out of and get to their office right away, so off we went to the car -- dog, package and a zip lock baggie of the pieces in hand

Once at the vet, they told us they would "induce vomiting" -- oh grand! and then give her some activated charcoal to neutralize whatever she didn't throw up, and that we should leave her for a couple of hours and let them deal with it instead of taking the chance of her making a mess in the car (how sweet, just what I needed in a vehicle that doesn't even belong to us!!)

When we came back to get her, she was still damp from the bath they had to give her after she made a hugh mess.....guess I'm glad she's a BLACK lab, if there was still some charcoal lurking on her, it didn't show.

So as of today we're still doing "poop patrol" to make sure she didn't swallow any of the plastic pieces and puncture anything in the digestive tract, and she goes back for a follow up next week.

Once again we can say she lives up to the "3 year old in a dog suit" just never know what unexpected thing she will do next.

As for the ants, I'm just squirting them with clorox cleaner and mopping them up in the mornings, being afraid to try to put any thing else any where that the dog can even possibly reach.

Guess there's never a dull moment when you have children or pets. Anyway, she's home and doing well.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Show review -- Columbia

What a weekend it was. Yes, I know, its now THURSDAY!, and this report is a little late, but better late than never!!

After the exhausting set up on Friday evening, the show went pretty well.

After starting the morning by having to mop the tables dry of condensation from the heavy dew, Saturday was HOT, needed to use the neck "koolaroos" and between us we drank most of a case of water. It was a good thing that I had taken the few pictures of the malachite bracelet just before we left, because I sold it on Saturday afternoon...YIPEE!! (means I get to make some more)

Sunday morning it was cooler, and we had a high thin cloud cover....much easier temperature wise. Never even took the koolaroos out of the ice chest, but we did still drink a lot of water. A couple that had been in the booth on Saturday admiring the Moonshine collar came back and bought it. Needless to say, I was!!

The end result of the show was that we actually made a little money, and had lots of good comments about our work. I sold 4 of DHs art clay pieces (now he has to make more aspen leaf necklaces!), which pleased him as well. Hopefully we'll be able to do this show again next year and do even better.

When we set up we used the "less is more" principle again, and it seems to help with the jewelry pieces too.....people could actually see what was there.

The pictures show shots of our booth at the show (even some with customers)

Friday, June 02, 2006

Travel Log, Columbia, MO

here we are in Columbia, MO, to do a show that we have been trying to get into for 3 years.

We left the house at 4:30 am, drove straight east into the sunrise -- beautiful pinks, purples, oranges.....then on across Kansas, literally through "amber waves of grain" as the fields are beginning to ripen...and then leaving the flatness of the plains to go into the Ozarks with the rolling green hills. Along the highway you can see where they cut through the rock to build the road and slowly the trees and grasses and vining plants are reclaiming the slopes and covering the cuts in the rocks with green

The "road kill" count goes on. We saw 3 deer, 6 racoons (outside of Colorado they don't blow up either), a large turtle and dozens of "peeled cats" (an explanation of that last item: when our daughter was little we used to travel and her dad would announce from time to time that someone had "peeled a CAP", as in the rubber off the outside of a tire. Our daughter thought he said "peeled a CAT", and the phrase has stuck in the family ever since)

Set up today was terrible. We arrived about 5:30 and found the vendor parking lot. Then had to walk all the way to the other end of the part to find the booth where we were supposed to pick up our packets. Bad news, the closest we could get to our booth was where we were parked in the one was allowed to drive into the park itself even to unload. We had to haul the tent, weights, tables, etc., etc. from the parking lot up and down little hills in the damp grass to our spot, then set everything up. I found out by talking to artists that had done this show before that this is the first time they have used this park for the show. It used to be right on the college campus. I just hope that doesn't kill it for attendance, and I'm definately NOT looking forward to tear down and hauling all that stuff out again.

On the up side, before we left, I finished the bracelet, and I think it is awesome!! Check out the pictures.

Well, its now almost 11 pm, and I think its time for some sleep, keeping all our fingers, toes, etc. crossed for a good day tomorrow.