Thursday, August 31, 2006

Today's "what is it?"

We have begun a new project.

Today's question: what are these objects?

And on another note:

We now have "wheels"!

These are pictures of our new vehicle to get to shows (and other places) in.

It is a 2002 Ford Windstar, FWD (yippee!), 3.8L V6 engine. It goes back to the dealer on Wednesday for the cruise control to be installed (a MUST HAVE -- otherwise "smoky" lives in the back!)

Ok, I'm really glad we're done looking, and now we start figuring out how we load this one. It is big enough that if we're doing a show where we only have to take a box of lights and a box of plush, we could sleep in the back of it for one night.

Ok, now its time for me to get some work done!!


Finally got some time to work on this piece last night.

On the left side I have completed most of the blue and will move on to the greys and blacks next.

Still have blues to do on the right side.

Decided that I need to add the "astroid belt", but I'm going to do that by using size 15 beads (WAY little!) like "dust" over the top after the other beading is done.

I'm still trying to come up with a workable pattern for the sun rays that I want to add, but so far I'm just not happy with what it looks like. Probably will end up just pouring out some beads and trying a couple of different things before I finally get something that will work.

Got the track attached to the in field for the car quilt and have now pinned the top section with the road, mountains, etc., to the top of the track for the next stitching.

We were again out looking at vehicles yesterday, and will be again today....I'll be glad when this process is over, but its really important that we get it right since we'll have to deal with the decision every time we load up for a show!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

working slowly

This is the latest afghan square to be donated to Squares4Survivors.

This one actually got knit twice. I started with the blue and had about 2/3 of it done before I realized that there wasn't enough blue to finish it.

So, instead of adding the white at the end which would YELL "I didn't plan this very well!", I frogged it back and reknit it in thirds so that it looks like its supposed to be that way....much better!

Today its going off to North Carolina to the lady that's doing the next afghan assembly, and I get to scrounge about in my yarn stash to find the next yarns to work with.

(Can you tell I've spent a bit of time in the car the last few days, that's the only time I work on these!)

We've been out looking for a vehicle to buy. Since ours blew up in April it seems that we've had to clear a lot of hurdles to get to this stage, but at least I can say that it has been completely researched! Yesterday we were in and out of about a dozen vans of various brands, as well as a couple of SUVs. The verdict is that a van would be a much better fit! We hope to have this process over with soon.

The solar power piece is being worked on, I'm now into the blue sections on each side. If I actually get some time to work on it, it should go pretty fast. I'm hoping to have the beading done by Monday evening. There are a number of other beaded pieces I want to get to, and I need to do some more basic pieces to add to the inventory before we get into the fall show schedule (I sold a number of those pieces in St Joseph, so I need to replenish the stock).

I now have 7 blocks of the Cat Quilt complete. Got some of this done yesterday while I was sitting with my mom and sister while my dad had a medical procedure done...he's doing fine.

The Car Quilt is my current frustration. I pieced the brick track and I have the "infield" section pieced, but I haven't been able to get the two to match up for connecting. I'm going to have to spread out both pieces on the dining room table and work out the issues and make whatever adjustments are needed.

Only problem is right now the dining room table is covered with display pieces that need to be cleaned/glued/etc., after their little journey through the damp at our last show. {sigh!} I guess there's no avoiding this project if I want to get to that quilt.

Last night I made the leap again of entering a short writing piece in an on line contest. If you'd like to see what I wrote, go here:

Its kind of fun to share my writing with other people!

Anyway, I've got lots of things to do today, so I guess I better get busy!

Friday, August 25, 2006

afghan squares, ribbons and progress

This is my first square for the group that makes afghans for survivors of Katryna...I sent it off today to the lady that is putting together the current afghan.

I hope when she gets it that it will work in the plan she has!

This is the ribbon that we won in St Joseph last weekend.

We're pretty proud of it.

Things are returning to normal here, and I'm getting back to working on projects.

This is the progress made on the Solar Power piece. All of the purple is done, and on the right side I've started with the pale blue beads.

Worked on the Car Quilt today....finally finished the design of the center block with the trophy, got it all drawn onto the freezer paper and ironed onto the fabrics. Tomorrow I hope to get started on the stitching.

Have now completed the quilting of 5 blocks on the Cat Quilt.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

hats and scissors

Yesterday was a big day.....the guy that does scissors sharpening was at our local fabric store, so I took in 4 pair to have them done. So exciting to have some of our most important tools in really good working order again.

While in the fabric store waiting for the sharpening to be done, I picked up some patterns (at the price of commercial patterns now days -- I can actually remember paying only 25 cents for one -- ok, I'm OLD!), its always nice to stock up on usable ones when they are on sale. This brand was on sale for 99 cents, so now there are a whole variety to use (after reducing) on future bears. I especially like the ones with roses and feathers, so watch for one of those to show up on a new bear soon!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Travel Log -- St Joe show

Wednesday, travel day #1

After spending the morning packing the car and working on other work and household stuff, we set off to our daughter's house to spend the evening.

We had originally intended to stop by and visit with my folks, but on our way through Denver we got caught in 3 different traffic jams, and it ended up taking almost 5 hours to go a distance that normally would take 2 1/2.....not a particularly great start.

Once at our daughter's we had dinner and visited for a while before going to bed about 10 pm.

Thursday, travel day #2

We managed to sneak out of our daughter's house without disturbing her and the dogs and headed out about 5 am.

Drove most of the day, across Nebraska, through about 6 miles of Iowa and into Missouri, arriving in St. Joseph about 4....we had time to drive to the show grounds to see where we would be setting up and pick up our packet of information for the weekend.

While we were driving, I got an entire dodo stitched and prepared for stuffing.

Her feet are the dark color on the bottom and the light color on the top and there are wires inside each one.

The wings are all ready for attaching too.

After seeing where we would be, we settled into the hotel where I found that the only place in the hotel that I could actually use the wireless network was in the lobby ... not what we had been told, and definately not convenient.

Friday -- Set up day and first day of the show

Woke up to rain.

This is not my idea of the kind of weather for successful show setup.

We did get set up, and the booth looked pretty good.

We had nice neighbors, a couple from Missouri that make some really attractive humming bird feeders with neat copper tubing and "recycled" glass.

Not a very good afternoon. The show opened at 2 pm and was open for us until 7 pm, and we made one sale....

Saturday --

The rain continues.

Opened at 10 am and it rained until about 3 pm....then we were open until 7 pm.

The up side of today was that we won the blue ribbon as first place in the craft division.

The ribbon did translate to good "press" as we displayed it right out in front and it attracted attention.

Sales were better once the rain stopped.


Show opened at noon today and closed for us at 5. There was to be a concert afterwards, and we were told we could stay open if we wanted to, but the crowd was not really interested in buying.

While we had been allowed to drive right into the park to set up, we had to haul all our stuff out to the sidewalk outside the park to load out...after 2 days of rain, the warm temperatures (in the upper 80s) made this work like lifting weights in a sauna....we were definately worn out by the time we got done!

Monday -- travel home

Instead of getting up at the "crack of dawn", we decided to get a good night's sleep before heading out.

We drove back the way we had gone out, which we will probably not do again. We got better mileage and cheaper gas driving across Kansas than we did in Nebraska where we had to pay as much as $3.09 per gallon for gas.

On the road, I got the new bear I've been working on all sewed and ready to be jointed.

The picture is his head. This will be another totally different style.

I also finished stitching the last two sets of brick track together for the Car quilt in the car, as well as almost finishing the first afghan block for a group that I'm going to be donating squares to.

And so we have returned home, and will have to spend the next few days trying to get all the mud off of everything and letting all the display pieces get dry.

Each show is its own adventure!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

hockety, pockety, wockety, wack.....

odds and ends (but no brick a brack!)

Spent a lot of time yesterday packing jewelry, packing clothes, packing work kits.

The packets of pictures, descriptions and the CDs with .jps for the two bear magazines are complete and mailed off. The hard part about this is that once this is done we begin the worst part....waiting to see if anything gets published. This whole business of really putting ourselves out there is new, and I suspect we should have been doing it years ago, but I just didn't have my stuff together enough. Besides that, its only recently that I have more often felt that "did I do that" feeling that means that a piece is really, really good. Anyway, now we're waiting for publication on those 4 and on to working on more.

We're leaving today for our show. Tonight we'll stay with our daugher and leave our dog with her (this will be the first time in her new house, so I hope this works out well for her). Tomorrow we drive to St Joseph, MO, where the show will be.

I've packed up my laptop and its wireless card along with some information I need to get written up to list things on Ebay, the newest stuff I need to get out on my website and a folder to read for my accounting client. This is "evening in the hotel" fare.

In the car work I have packets to work on a dodo, a new bear design and the last two segments of the brick track for the car quilt.

I also have 3 partial skeins of yarn, a pair of #9 knitting needles, a plastic ruler and 3 index cards with pattern stitches written on them. This is for a project where I'm making afgan squares that are going to a charity...its a small way that I can "give back", and a good way to clear out the stash of left over yarns.

The Solar Power beadwork is also packed, but it will only come out at the show, basically so people can see the work in process....I hope to be to busy writing receipts to actually work on it.

So, its time to go have breakfast, pack the car, etc.! I'll be bloggin on the road, but I can't promise pictures until I return next week.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

moving along

This is a sample of the piecing for the brick track for the car quilt.

I have completed half of the track now....the top half and the bottom half.

The pieces for the two sides are all cut and organized and ready to go into a zip bag to take on the road.

Hopefully when I get back they will be all sewed!

This is the latest progress on the Solar piece.

All of the red portions are now complete.

Tonight I will pour out the purples and start on the next section.

There are now 2 1/2 blocks of the cat quilt completed, and I'm about 1/3 of the way through the last step in the current knitting project.

Spent a bit of time yesterday working on submissions to a magazine of our last 4 animals. I'm realizing that the reason I do this so infrequently is that it is a major pain in the ***! However, if I don't do it, no one will ever know we're out here working away, so I'll continue on. Hope to have packets ready to send off for both magazines today.

Also worked on getting everything organized for final packing.....more of that today!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Work from KISA

He has completed his first bear!!

Isn’t Dale adorable???

The bear is mohair, all hand stitched. She is fully jointed, filled with polyfil. She has glass eyes (with our newly developed eye lids) and a waxed nose.

He also did all of the painting on her carousel rocking horse.

I think the whole package is just wonderful.

And the flamingo is now done too.

This is Fern.

I just love the way her toes turn out, and she stands up all on her own.

I can’t say thank you enough to Sun Ann Holcolm for sharing her techniques for the feet with us!!

Fern’s first public showing will be this weekend in St. Joseph, MO, as a display piece to hang jewelry on, so it will be interesting to see what people think of her.

Busy day yesterday working on laying out a new bear design to work on while we’re on the road. I’ll also be taking the dodo for in car work.

I had a meeting with my new consulting client yesterday afternoon, and when I returned I almost drove right past the house as I usually key on the mail box as the place to turn. In my absence KISA had replaced the old bear up teal colored mail box with a brand shiny new bright white one!! It needed to be done, I just didn’t expect it to happen while I was away. It looks just grand.

Work progresses on the Solar piece, I’ve finished the red on one side and am now working on the other side where the read is a much larger segment.

Now have almost 2 blocks of the cat quilt complete, and I’m half way around the piecing of the track for the car quilt.

Well, today we have quite a list of household chores and packing for the show, and I do want to get some more work done on other things, so I need to get started!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

creating and packing

Work is progressing slowly.

Here is the latest on the solar piece.

The flamingo is sewed, turned, stuffed and closed. I need to sew on his wings, put on his eyes and attach his legs.....he's pretty cool!!

I have the dodo all laid out on the fabric, and I think she will be one of my travel projects.

Now have 2 sections of the car quilt's track stitched together, and have 1 1/2 blocks quilted on the next cat quilt.

In the process of planning how we will set stuff up for the coming show, we bought some small wood "furniture" which we have painted and stained. I have made custom "pillows" to fit inside each trunk or drawer so that we can display our pieces like "treasure"....this was a lot of fun actually.

We have started packing up the stuff we will take to the show....I spent some time yesterday retagging the jewelry that is stones set in silver.....there'll be no more wondering what the stone is and where I had the information how big the stone is.

We're still working on the bear on the carousel horse, a pig with polymer face and feet and an open mouth fur bear (a whole new approach).

Today's plan is the move some furniture around (the first dresser that we being refinished is done, time to move it upstairs so he can start on the second one) and start putting things we will take to the show in the spot right next to the garage door.

And in the midst of all that, I have an appointment with my new client to review their current system so I can plan the necessary changes (homework to do in the evenings during the show perhaps).

Time to get to work.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

a bear with no name.....

Another bear complete!

And isn't he sweet?

But he has no name!!

We will intertain suggestions until he picks one
(or he tells us who he is!!)

Solar power -- its coming along!

Started in working on the quilting of the second Cat Quilt, have one block almost done. Have 1/4 of the brick track on the Car Quilt pieced. Have begun stitching the flamingo together.

Need to get some shirts ready for us to wear next weekend at the show in St Joseph, MO, so I'll be working on those today.

Time to get with it!!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

toucans and peaches and quilts (OH MY!)

TA DA!!!

The Toucan is complete!!!

And I do think he came out quite well. Its amazing to me that he stands so well on those wonderful feet. A bit "THANK YOU" to Sue Ann Holcomb for sharing her technique with us that gave us the final piece in the "how do I..." puzzle for this creation.

Next job on this is to get him posted on our website and about half a dozen other places.

And TA DA! again.....

Finished the last of the binding on this quilt last night.

Ran it through a cold rinse in the washer this morning and took out all the blue marker.

Its now hanging in the laundry room on a clip hanger to dry --- its just too hot to put anything that isn't needed right away through the dryer.

Now its on to the next one of these.

MMMMMMMMMM! Yummmy peaches.

We got 2 boxes of fresh peaches on Sunday, and yesterday morning we put up about half of them.

Aren't these lovely? 12 full pints and a "mini pint" (that front jar is only about 12 ounces.

Most of these are going to my dad, with a few jars to my daughter.

Sure heats up the house doing them, but the results are wonderful.

Solar Power

All of the orange beads are on, now its on to the reds!

And here is what else got done yesterday:

Flamingo -- glazing is done, now its on to the fabric parts

Hobby Horse and Bear -- the horse is now done, we're going to try waxing the nose of the bear

Apricot bear -- painting of the eyes is complete, working on the eyelids and thinking about how to do the feet

Car Quilt -- pieced together half of the first section of track....its so exciting when an idea actually works

Started knitting on a hot pad from the unraveled sweater.....I can do knitting in the dark with this one since its just knit all rows.....guaranteed to put me to sleep unless I'm watching a good TV show at the same time

Well, its time to go see what kind of trouble I can get into today!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Progress report for work done.....

In yesterday's post I had a long list of things that I wanted to get done.

As usual, other things happened too, so not everything on the list got completed.

So here's the progress on the list:

1. Flamingo -- coat number one has been applied, laid out the pattern pieces on the fabric for the body, wings, etc.

2. Put together the toucan -- his body is stuffed and his feet have been inserted and glued

3. Glue jewels on hobby horse -- KISA is working on this, its almost done

4. New Apricot bear -- his nose is on, I've started the many layers of paint on the eyes

5. Car Quilt -- got all of the brick wedges cut for the "track", ready to start sewing

6. Solar piece -- got all of the orange finished on one side of the piece, hope to get the rest done today

7. Cat Quilt -- about 2/3 of the binding is complete

Along with that I also laid out a dodo bird on the fabric, unraveled a sweater that had gotten too worn to be presentable (I'll be making hot pads and dish rags out of the yarn since its cotton), talked with a local real estate agent about doing "virtual tours" of houses she has for sale, worked on some future show applications (local Christmas/Holiday ones) and did 5 loads of laundry. Not a bad day's work.

Today we will be canning peaches, then I'll get back to the projects. Sorry folks, no pictures today as I had to spend some time dealing with some other office issues this morning.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Up, Up and Away?

This is the first drawing for the balloon beading project.

The idea is to have the smallest balloon actually stitched to the background then each of the other 3 "suspended" inside the frame.

This means that the back layer will be the usual procedure for stitching on the backing and the other 3 will have to be created in brick stitch then attached to the frame only at the top and bottom, probably on a clear thread....

All in all, an interesting design challenge.

More rows done on the Solar piece.

Notice the smallest little planet (Mercury) on the right side now has a bezel worked around it.

Coming along nicely.

Basically took the day off yesterday to visit with my sister and brother-in-law. Yeah for the B-I-L.....also known in our family as the Computer Doc.....he got my ethernet card and my wireless internet working....YIPEEEE! (see me doing happy dances all over the room?!) This will make my life much easier by letting me work just about any place in the house.....I feel like I've shed my leash!

Anyway, today is the day to do laundry and ship off Ebay packages (or at least the most of them), and in between I hope to get these things done:

1. Glaze on the flamingo feet
2. Begin putting together the toucan
3. Glue the last "jewels" on the hobby horse for KISA's new bear
4. Trim the face on the new apricot bear
5. Cut the brick wedges for the Car Quilt
6. Finish the orange rows on the Solar piece
7. Finish the binding on the Cat Quilt

Sounds like I better get to it!!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Here they are in all their pink glory....

The bodyless flamingo in all its splendor.

After spending quite a bit of time fiddling with the paint, I think I got the color right....let's see, a little red, a little violet, a little cappachino, a lot of white.....a batch of paint that can never be duplicated of course.

I guess the next step is to glaze these legs, then its on to the bird himself.

And here are the wings for the toucan.

These did not take as much time as the tail feathers, although they did present a challenge stitching and turning that little pointed wing tip.

Now we begin the challenge of putting this all together, especially installing the feet. I have cut some upholstry fabric pieces that are shaped like little cones to fit over the intersection between the feet and the body. I'm thinking there will have to be glue involved here somewhere.

Devoted some time last night to adding a few more rows of color around the sun rays.

Interestingly, these take less time each row, which of course makes me feel like I'm really accomplishing a lot of work!

We're now into the oranges, so my pallete is full of all these lovely shades that run right into the rusty red tones.

Looking good!

I have finished the quilting on the Cat Quilt. Got the edges all trimmed and the binding pinned to the back for the machine stitching. This one will definately be done very soon. Guess that means I'll be starting on the next one soon.

Work on the Car quilt was mainly cutting the first of the strips to create the bricks. Since I'll be getting out the sewing machine to stitch the binding onto the Cat Quilt, I'll also do some strip stitching (and hemming a pair of pants, and a couple other mending chores).

Need to do some house work today (once a week with some chores is absolutely necessary -- some more often), so need to get moving so I have time to get to the projects.

Friday, August 04, 2006

and the winner is.....

Dorothy again!! She correctly identified these as flamingo feet.....even with out the pale pink coat of paint they are sporting now.

Methinks she spent WAY too many hours listening to her mother babble about animal creations.....

What I can say now is that there will be a lot of paint mixing done before the next coat of paint goes on since I need to match the color of the fur the bird will be made from.

And so on to a bird of a different feather!

These three wedge shaped pieces are the tail feathers for the toucan.

Each of them is the same front and back, but it took a while to get them sewn properly what with the narrow top edge and the scalloped bottom edge. Not bad looking tho'

The next step is wings......

More rows have been applied here.

Now we're to the beginning of the oranges, so I had to spend some time putting away yellow beads from the palette and pulling out the orange shades to do the next few rows.

It is looking pretty amazing.

My original thought was to make the edges pretty much an even curve around the edges, but the pattern of the rays is creating a lovely rippled edge that I rather like, so I may just "let it happen"!

Work yesterday on the Car Quilt consisted of making a trip to the fabric stash, followed by a trip to the local fabric store (they were having a truckload sale) to find enough yellow/red/orange/brown tones to create the bricks for the track.

After trying to figure out how to piece the track from the drawing and finding there were well over 600 pieces (ok, I gave up counting at that point) if I tried to cut them individually, I was ready to tear hair and throw things.

For some reason, however, the approach was perfectly clear to the DH, so KISA came to the rescue again, and I think I've figured out an approach to doing this. At least I'm not throwing things any more.

The Cat Quilt border is almost finished. I have just a little over one side to finish quilting then its on to the binding!!

Guess its time to get to work!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

clue #2

Ok, since no one took a guess yesterday, here is clue #2 in the latest What Is it?

So, what's your guess now?

And now for today's project update:

Toucan: got the gusset inserted and the beak attached without too much swearing....YEAH! Now I'm thinking he looks pretty good.

Next step is the do the tail and wing pieces......

Solar Power piece: finished the 3rd round of the beads....moving along slowing, but didn't spend a lot of time on this yesterday

Car Quilt: working on the full size pattern pieces to do the bricks....the brick section is a fairly large oval ring. I have split it into 4 pie wedge shaped pieces to make it easy to insert the "infield". So far I have transfered 2 of the track sections onto freezer paper....there must be hundreds of little pieces here....should be very interesting to put it all together {here I go off mumbling senselessly, "blither, blither, blither" I may be certifiably crazy}

Cat Quilt: found the dark brown and cut it into bias and got all of the strips sewn together. I'm not sure if there will be enough to bind both quilts, but there is definately enough for the first one! Still working on the border quilting, about 1/3 done I think.

Today is our day to mow the lawn, then we need to run a couple of errands, so we'll see what I can accomplish today.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Todays "what is it"

This is the quiz for today.....what are these?

Congratulations to Dorothy for correctly identifing the picture from Sunday's post. It is a spider web between a bush and the house, and that picture was taken right after a rain storm so the web was all covered with water droplets.

Didn't post yesterday as I didn't want to do another day without pictures, and I couldn't get my pictures to load up!

So, here's the progress report:


Cute the sealer coats on, and they look pretty neat. The greatest thing is that they stand up on their own and they are sturdy enough to hold up the body of the bird.

I now have the tummy gusset and the body sides pieced together too, there was some picking out and recutting involved here, but I'm now satisfied with the way the "feathers" lie, and I think it will look good when I get it sewn together.

Finally got the beak right after picking it out twice.

Still have the challenge of getting the beak properly attached, but it looks like it's going to be a good fit.

Solar Power

There are now 2 and 1/2 rounds done on the sun rays. I had to add another row to the "bezel" around the face as it wasn't quite secure enough around the edge. I discovered yesterday that I get more done on this sitting at the table in the kitchen with natural light coming in from my left side than I do sitting in the chair with the artificial light over my right least I didn't have to take off my glasses and hold it 2 inches from my nose that way......{sigh}....such fun being "blind as a bat"! ah well, having discovered that, I guess I'll just try to do more work that way.

Car Quilt is progressing along. Got the grass strip attached and the curb between the grass and the road applied (its a long strip of bias about 3/8 inch wide, so I first stitched it down on one side in the "ditch", then slip stitched the other edge) Next thing to do is the track, which I want to do in something that looks like bricks....I'm not sure exactly how I will go about doing that, but I definately don't want to just use a brick printed fabric.....I did have another idea as I was working on this about the race cars....I'm going to stay with the designs of the cars I started with, but I'm going to paint and number them for the cars he built....purple 76, red and silver 59, this should be fun!

Cat Quilt: all 12 blocks are quilted and I'm 1/4 of the way done quilting the borders. I had originally intended to bind this one by just rolling the back over the edge and top stitching. However, since I failed to get it properly centered on the backing, there is not enough fabric at one edge to do it that way.....back to the drawing board as now I will have to figure out what to use as the binding.....perhaps more of the dark brown I used for "sills" around the cats if I have enough of it left.

Magazine article: Finished and waiting to be picked up by the mail man! Now we just wait to see what happens.

The Christmas animals have been photographed, digitalized, written up, printed and will be mailed off to the magazine today. I hope at least one of them gets used! I did 3: Bill the Penguin, Santa (the very cool bear with the polymer face) and Santa's Helper in Training. Now we just keep our fingers crossed.

Today we have to go and do shopping, etc., so I don't expect to get much done on projects, but who knows.....