Sunday, December 31, 2006

Bracelet complete!

Yup, its done -- and before the new year!

I'm pleased with the way this one came out. The edging is a big improvement over past one I think.

And so its on to the next piece! I started doing the beading on a sunburst shape with a piece of tigereye in the center. Not sure yet if it will be a necklace or a brooch, but I'm thinking it will be a brooch. On this one I'm testing an idea that I hope to use on another cross piece I have in mind.....always learning!

Yesterday afternoon, the dog and the DH went out onto the patio and cleared off the snow that the wind hadn't taken care of.

The dog loves this activity. She grabs mouthfuls of snow and runs around the patio like she's foaming at the mouth.

(Maybe one of these days I'll actually READ the manual for my camera -- as opposed to just looking up what I need at the moment -- and figure out how to take video clips with it to put out here ---- or not)

This is the working drawing for the quilt design.

The center will be a monogram, and the rings around the outside are double wedding ring patterns.

You'll note the ticker above. This is what makes up the ticker:
96 arcs x 11 pieces each (1056 total)
192 squares or triangles for arc ends
96 "football" centers
96 circle centers
1 monogram block

1441 total

Last night I put together another arc using the new freezer paper method.....MUCH faster! And so here it is.....only 93 more arcs to go (and we'll let the ticker do the other math!)

Time to get moving.....

Saturday, December 30, 2006

ok, I'm really tired of the snow already......

the storming goes on.....not so much that it continues to snow (although it has done some of that too) but the wind just howls and blows the stuff around.

So, here are today's early morning snow pictures (there's really no sunrise in this weather, just the dark gray going to lighter gray)

To the right, our front yard. Someone (we don't know who) came in the middle of the day yesterday and shovelled out our driveway for us, but as you can see, we'll have to do it again when the wind stops.

To the left here, the back yard of the house next to us....their fence has disappeared under that 6 foot drift of snow

And this one is our back yard, where our little windmill is nearly buried in snow, but is still spinning madly into the north wind.

Part of what is creating this lovely drifting is the open field behind us. Yesterday afternoon I could watch the wind picking up the snow in the field and swirl it up into the air over the top edge of the fence for it to be deposited on our side of the fence in that drift.

And this is the other corner of the front yard. There is about 2 foot of snow piled up under that little aspen tree (and over the sidewalk beyond it).

As I said, I'm really tired of the snow already, so can we please just STOP?!

The weather man says its the first time in recorded weather history that we have had two storms like this back to why did I need to witness this history?

I am, however, working on projects!

These are the first 2 arcs of the 96 for the outside edge of the quilt for my daughter (that means there are only 94 arcs to go ----- wheeeee!) (okay, for those who don't know, that's a paraphrase of a lyric from Ragtime --- now go listen to that awesome soundtrack!)

These two were done in the old traditional way (draw the pattern on the back of the fabric, cut out and stitch) which took a long time to accomplish. Yesterday, I decided I would try a new approach, so I created a sheet of paper with 2 complete sets of the finished size pieces drawn on the page with a little space between them. Then I copied that page onto 2 precut sheets of freezer paper (isn't technology wonderful!).

After printing on the freezer paper, I cut out all the little templates -- enough for 4 arcs. Then I ironed all of the little templates (oh JOY!, I got to use my new iron, it was wonderful, no sputtering, no "its cold, its hot" phases) to the fabrics and now I have a little packet of fabrics all ready to go for the next sewing session.

I also finished all of the field beading for the bracelet. Last night I started putting it all together, but its not quite done, so no finished picture yet. I'm using the double bead edging I had discovered on the last pin I did, and it looks amazing, almost like a piece of metal braid had been attached to the edge.

Today I will finish it and start on another new piece.

Well, time's a wastin', so I'm off to have some breakfast and get back to the projects!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Here You Come Again......

yes, I can hear Dolly singing, and that's how I feel about this all over again!
It snowed most of yesterday and then the wind blew a lot last night, so "Here you come again!" {sigh}

I woke up yesterday morning feeling kind of "icky", so I didn't get as much done as I would have liked to.

This is the time of the year that I start in on the tax mess.....we have now done our studio inventory, which included pulling some pieces of inventory that we'd been schleping about for more than a year, and setting it aside to be taken apart. Yesterday I managed to get all the rest of that done, so today there will be adjusting of spread sheets and printing of reports. Then its on to recording the expenses for the month of December and getting other paperwork organized....the first tax form arrived daughter's federal tax form.....BLEAH!

We're trying to make the transistion from using just spreadsheets to using a real "accounting" program, and I can tell you its painful....mostly because someone else's "canned" program doesn't really meld well with the way we keep track of raw materials and finished pieces......{sigh} This truly is the part of being self employed that I hate the most, but just can't justify having someone else do it, especially since I spent so many years doing it for corporate.....NUTS!

Here is my exercise in self-discipline......must work on the paperwork first then I can play --- ie: work on the new projects.

Last night I worked on the bracelet some more.....the bead work looks great, and I may be able to get it finished by the time the weekend is over.

Also worked on pinning new critters for stitching.

And 2 of the 96 arcs of the wedding rings are done and ready for the squares at the ends (pictures of those soon)....

So, its off to the tax stuff.......

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Getting ready for the storm.......

We still have hugh piles of snow in our yard and our street still hasn't seen a plow from last week's hugh storm, and now we're being told to brace ourselves for another one.

Yesterday we spent a couple of hours over at the local hospital so DH could have the xrays taken that his doctor ordered before he sees the lung specialist on Jan 11, but after that we went to the grocery store to pick up what we'll need for a few days. I can tell you the grocery stores have not yet recovered from the last storm either.....there was NO milk in the case, and much of the produce area had been picked clean too.....a sad situation indeed, this next storm could really create a lot of problems.

Once we returned home from that excursion, I spent some time working on the new tigereye bracelet, and its looking pretty good. I have finished the butterfly shape and I'm now working out from there to the ends and edges. The new light I'm working under certainly makes the work easier!!

As I was watching the Kennedy Center Awards last night (SO AWEWOME!!!!!), I started stitching the new little doggie pattern we've been working on.

I also finished another afghan square to send off to Squares4Survivors. I'll probably get it into the mail tomorrow morning. This picture is what the latest one looks like.

Today we'll be making a quick trip to the fabric store so I can start working on the required 96 arcs for the wedding ring portion of the quilt for my daughter. I set up a piece of card stock with 1 inch squares of all of the blue prints I have on hand to take along with me to match colors too. I notice that I'm real short on light colored prints, so that is what I'm looking for. I also need to get a pale yellow to use for the squares at the end of each arc.

After the fabric store, we'll fill the gas tank in the car as we don't like it to get much below half full in a storm situation.

And I just remembered this morning that when we did our jewelry inventory, we pulled some pieces to be scrapped and I need to get them torn apart and returned to the raw materials inventory for the year end books, so I'll be spending some time there today too.

And so we're off!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

New Bears!

And aren't they just adorable?

The two bigger ones are the new ones. The little yellow one is one of the standard issue Shreddies that I've made dozens of.

During the show season, a lady bought one of the small size ones then she came back at another show and asked if I ever made bigger ones. So, here you are, from left to right: Shreddie, Shreddie II, and Shreddie III

Today I emailed her a picture of them, and I'm hoping that she will email me back and tell me she wants them both. If not, they'll go into the standard inventory for our next bear show (which is in April).

Meantime, we do have a number of other critters in process. Over the weekend, we either laid out (which entails drawing the pattern pieces on the back of the fabric for the cutting) or cut out the following:

small dog (new pattern)
mouse (DH's new pattern)
small wolf (new pattern)
flamingo (modified pattern)
open mouth bear (modified pattern)
black sheep
white sheep
open mouth polar bear (new pattern)

I still need to get another toucan done, but since that is the most complex because of the many colors and types of fur, I saved it for last, and haven't gotten there yet.

Yesterday afternoon I worked on the narrow tiger eye cuff bracelet. After doing those two pieces with the size 15 beads, this one seemed to fly in the size 11s! I have 2/3 of the butterfly pattern in the center finished. I'm thinking I'll be trying the 2 bead edging on this one when I attach the back, especially because I have to "sandwich" the brass cuff between the beading layer and the leather backing.

Meantime today, its also those mundane things to do: put away the good china from Christmas dinner, do laundry, run out for a bag of melt because another storm is on its way.....time to get to it

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Working until the last minute.....but not on Christmas!

Nope, yesterday we baked and made candy, but I wasn't frantically working to finish a present for anyone.....quite an unusual occurance for me.....I keep feeling like I'm not doing something....

Anyway, I was able to finish this lovely little pin. This is the second of the series made with the smaller beads and the center is a very nice piece of rose quartz. This piece measures 1 1/2 inches square. The back is covered with a soft rose colored upholstry velour.

I tried out a new technique on the edge of this one. Usually I edge with just one bead, but on this one I strung 2 at a time and I really like the finish better.

If I get a chance, I will begin on a bracelet today, but first I have to put ears and noses on 2 bears that need to be "whole" for Christmas (just my own goal)

This was this morning's sunrise. Lovely pinky, salmony against the bluish gray of the clouds and all reflected in the snow below
May each of you have a Merry Christmas, and take time in all of the chaos of presents and food and people to remember the reason for the season.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Done before Christmas!

the quilt is finished.....I finished stitching the binding about 9 last night, and I'm happy to say it looks pretty good.

In one of these pictures you can see the checkered flags quilted into the green area.

I tried to get a picture of the "ghost" cars quilted between the pieced ones on the highway, but it doesn't show up well here.

I'll be taking some more pictures later, but I just had to put these out and brag!

Today we will be baking and cleaning, having done all of our running around yesterday (HURRAH!)

Friday, December 22, 2006

Its time to Vote!

If you were reading this blog back in May, you may remember that we created this piece to enter in a contest.

Well, I got the announcement yesterday afternoon that the voting for the winner is now open. There are 8 other entries in the finalists.

Here is the link to use for voting:

There are no restrictions on who can vote, or how often, so consider this a shameless plug for you to all "stuff the ballot box" for us! (I'll be voting daily!)

Much of yesterday was spent "digging out" of the snow. At some places on our property we had only 1/4 of a inch of snow, and other places still sport a 7 foot drift......the wind truly worked its magic!

This morning I have some sore muscles, but nothing major, and we managed to get the job done without anyone falling down, which is a good thing!

I did get some work done on the new pin I'm beading. Right now it is about half finished.

Some work was done on the quilt binding too, but its not done yet.

Today we will venture out around noon to get dog food and the necessary groceries and tomorrow we will have to go out to the drug store for my meds......we had planned for a trip to the northern part of the state to take some furniture to our daughter yesterday, but that will have to wait until the roads are a lot better....this morning they are saying it has been taking 2 1/2 hours to go from where we live to Denver, which is usually a trip of just under an hour......

Time to get to it...........

Thursday, December 21, 2006


We live in the area that is surviving the great Blizzard of '06!

It began snowing here yesterday morning and it has just kept snowing ever since. The snow, however is not the worst part of this. The bad part is the wind. We've had reported gusts of 65 mph. At one point yesterday afternoon, we couldn't even see the back fence from the house, and there was one gust early this morning that was so strong it woke my husband .

Being a "dedicated blogger", however, I fetched out the camera and ventured about the house to take pictures (all from the inside of the house of course, I'm not going out in 5 degree - that's with the wind chill - weather).
This picture is right outside the door from the garage that leads to the shed where I store display pieces, and other stuff for shows. The snow has drifted half way up the door right in front of it, but you can see on the far right of the picture that the stone walk way between the shed and the fence looks like its been swept clean.

This picture is in the same little "court yard" between the fence, the garage and the storage shed. Now this is a drift deep enough to loose a large dog in!
In the front yard, the van doesn't even look it needs much cleaning off, but notice on the left side the line of snow almost even with the van's bumper.....that's a snow drift about 2 feet deep.

This is our back yard. Just to the left of center there is a windmill that is about as tall as I am, and its up on the second step up of about a foot. The snow has just drifted up and around it about half way up the windmill.
This shot is my neighbor's back yard.....they've got a drift from the center of the yard to the top of the back fence.....WOW!

Fortunately, all this doesn't keep me from getting some things done inside!

Yesterday I started a new little pin using a square cab of rose quartz, and its coming along nicely.

The quilting on dad's quilt is done. I got all of the names put in on the green area, and quilted the outlines of "ghost" vehicles on the roadways. I got the binding pinned on, and today I should be able to get it all stitched. So this afternoon, I will probably be doing a "photo shoot" of it.

I have also begun designing a new quilt. This one is for my daughter, and she probably won't get it until next Christmas, but I've decided that in this case, its better to get her "yeah, I like it" early one since it will be (I hope) an "heirloom" piece. I sorted out the fabrics I have on hand yesterday, and I've been playing with tracing paper and colored of this project to follow too!

Guess its time to get moving!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Ta Da!

Yes folks, its done!

I can see things that I want to improve on when I do the next one, but its not bad for the first try.

I ended up using a red upholstry velour on the back because the red leather I had was just not the right color, but hey, it works just as well and gives the back a nice finish.

So now its onward to create another one.

The quilting is almost done!! Today I will be making the binding pieces and hopefully getting the binding stitched on to the edge so I can finish this up in the next couple of days.

And so, I have begun the design phase of the next quilt....this should be fun!

Time to get moving, we have a winter storm moving in and I want to run to the drug store to pick up meds for DH just in case we're snowed in for a couple of days.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

good things in small packages

this idea was one that just couldn't wait until all the other projects were done!

While it may look like a big piece in the picture, it only measures 1 1/4 inches across. The center is a lampglass heart bead that is red with a gold irridesant wash and the beads around it are all size 15s (which are considerably smaller than the size 11s I usually work with).

The piece is all stitched and will be mounted on a red leather backing with a pin finding.

The idea for this was a sort of collision between the idea that we will be doing a show in Des Moines, Iowa, just shortly before Valentine's Day and its good to have some less expensive pieces when going into an area we've never been in before.

Now that I have taken this little break to create this new idea, I can go back to finishing the quilt! Actually, I'm now quilting in the border section (which looks like a checkered flag), and then I can put together the binding (which I think is going to be the left over pieces of the brick work I built for the race track.

Time to get busy!

Friday, December 15, 2006

beauty in the morning.....

One thing about being up early is you get to see the beautiful colors in the sky as the sun comes up. I'm starting to think of sunrise as my favorite time of day

.....followed by that sweet time in the evening when the dishes are being washed in the dishwasher and I can settle into my recliner to work on a project uninterrupted (at least until I fall asleep with my thimble on and the project in hand)

these are the pictures I took between 6:30 and 6:45 this morning......beautiful pinks and blues and that amazing first picture of almost purples as the sky was just beginning to lighten.

My mother called last night to ask me to send up an extra prayer for my sister. She has had a migraine since Sunday night. The doctor gave her vicadin, which knocked her out of course, but as I know from cruel experience, you have to wake up, and sometimes, the pain meds have had no lasting effect and the headache goes on. These things are such a frustrating mystery, and unfortunately, what worked to do away with mine didn't work for hers.
So, my dear readers, as you are enjoying these pictures, please send up a prayer to your higher power.....and I'm grateful for you doing so

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

more new things.....

Like I said, I never start just one new project, partly because the prep work on these is better done in batches.

So, these are the other two bracelets. The top one is a piece of jasper and I just followed along with the pattern in the stone for the design lines.

The bottom one is a very nice piece of deep blue lapis. There will be 6 mm lapis beads stitched on where the little circles are, and after that, other lapis and glass bead patterns around them.
This is another of the new smaller necklaces. These pieces are also lapis, and I thought I'd try an asymetrical pattern for this one.

And this is another piece of tigereye (a really nice piece). I haven't decided yet if this will be a necklace or a pin. This is also a test of technique. If I like the way this one comes out, I'll use this new technique idea on the cross that I'm designing.

I'm off this morning to meet with my accounting client. Then we have some around the house chores to do this afternoon.

Quilting is moving right along, have half of the green field complete!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

New beginnings......

As usual, I don't start just one project at a time.

These two pieces will be beaded necklaces something like the collars I have made in the past, but these will be a little smaller.

The top one is three pieces of a stone called Primavera and a little oval of turquoise

The bottom one is a really clear piece of rose quartz (so clear that I don't understand why they didn't facet it) and two tear drop shaped pieces of Russian Charoite

These should be fun to do, and will go a lot faster than the really big collars do.

Since the cuff bracelets have been such a big hit (I'm down to only one in the inventory again), and I was able to make a good buy on a "bulk" lot of the brass cuffs I use inside, I have also laid out three new one to work on.

The top one has 5 pieces of tigereye in it. Notice how the lines around it look like a stylized butterfly? Since there is no matrix in tigereye, I use other ideas to create a pattern to bead with.

The middle one is all rhodochrosite pieces and the biggest piece has some great matrix to create patterns spreading over the bracelet.

And the bottom on is the hot seller of the year -- malachite. I sold every one of these I have been able to get finished, so I figure I should have another one in the inventory.

I have another cross, a small round pendent, and a third bracelet in the planning stages and there is still Let The River Run and a beaded Easter Lilly egg too.....

Meantime, I have begun quilting crossed checkered flags and names into the green field around the track on the car quilt. Didn't spend much time on that yesterday as we worked on show planning for 2007, the layout of the new bead work, did laundry and grocery shopping.

Today we're going out to finish the shopping that needs to get mailed out of town, then I will only have a few more items to do before Christmas.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

I finished the necklace!

A while back (Oct 13, to be exact) I blogged about a bracelet that I had completed.

The companion necklace is now complete too!

The necklace measures 21 inches long from end to end, but the effective "wearing" measurement is about 18 or 19 due to the size of the large round beads that are the base of this creation.

I have some ideas about doing some of this kind of work with just black and white and some very tight patterning, but that is "down the list" a way on the things to complete.

On the show scene, we were notified yesterday that we have been accepted into the show in Des Moines in February. This will be our first show in that area, and we are excited to see what sort of reception our work will get.

And so, now I'm working on getting Christmas projects complete.....the quilt is moving right along, the track and 3 1/2 of the cars are quilted, so today I will probably move into the green field area.....the list from my mom arrived yesterday.

We also need to do a complete inventory of our jewelry for taxes, and there are probably are some pieces that will be pulled for "re-work", that will take up some time to.

Guess its time to get busy

Thursday, December 07, 2006

another gift complete

finished these 3 hot pads for my friend in California....

We took an excursion to do some other shopping yesterday, and through the wonders of online shopping, most of my "have to buy" shopping is I just wait for the delivery trucks to bring it to nice is that?!

DH and I had a lovely time walking around the mall, picking up a few gifts and having lunch out.

Lunch turned into a "deisgn session" (I always say some of our best stuff was designed on a paper napkin!), and I came home with a list of "to dos" as well as the presents we went out for. We'll make one more trip out early next week for sock gifts and so DH can do his shopping for me, then the only store we'll have to visit between then and Christmas will be the grocery.

I'm moving right along on the quilting, making my way over the brick track right now. Talked to my mom yesterday and asked her to send me a list of all the drivers, etc., that my dad worked with when he built race cars. The idea is to quilt all those names into the grass around the outside of the track......actually borrowing the word idea from my friend in California and the content (those names) was the idea of the DH....COOL! Anyway, hopefully by the time I'm done with the track and the 6 cars on it, the list will be here and away we'll go.

Must spend some time today finishing up the decorating in the house and working on a bank reconciliation for my accounting client.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

working toward Christmas, and new order possibilities

I'm working along on the quilt for my dad. Since I don't quilt in a frame, I always begin at the center of the quilt and work my way out from there. In this case, that means several rounds of "rays" out from the center.

I'm now working on the brick track, first all the lines from the center out, then I'll do the cross lines, then around the details of each of the cars. After that I will have to figure out what to do with the rather large area around the track which is just a plain dark green fabric.....more car outlines? something that resembles blades of grass? swirly irregular patterns? I think I have a couple more days of track work to think about it in.

The knitting project (that can not be named) is moving right along. I'll have to remember to take pictures of it to share after Christmas.

When I went to my email the other day I had a note from someone that has asked us to create a custom dog that will look like a dog she once owned. Needless to say, this was a real thrill, because it means that somewhere my website is being seen and accessed.....hurrah! So now we're working on some design ideas, and doing research into materials.

Today we're going out to do some Christmas shopping. So while I'm in the car I'll be working on the special order bears we need to get finished (the small ones are all stitched by hand, so where ever I can get to this, I do it!)

got to get going!

Monday, December 04, 2006

The show season is over.....

for this year.

This past weekend we did what is probably the easiest of our fall season in a little church in Denver.

Here is the picture of the booth all set up on Saturday morning. Just one 8 foot table (that is already in the room, so we don't have to haul it in!). We do have to rethink how we set up and just which pieces get put out after weeks of having a 10' by 10' booth, but I think we chose well.

This picture shows the 2 newest pieces that I had done, along with the Madonna and Child icon that I had finished earlier. The necklace shown here sold this weekend, so I will be designing another one using a different stone.

This was a good show for us, and a nice way to close out the show season.

And I always enjoy the people at this show too.

On Saturday there were some slow times, since it was quite cold and snowy, which gave me some time to work on some more stones for the Let the River Run piece. These are the 2 newest parts of that work.

Yesterday morning's sunrise was beautiful. It had been gray, cloudy and snowing most of Saturday, so sunrise was just a gradual lightening of the gray sky, but Sunday's was wonderful (and REALLY COLD!). Here are some pictures from my front and back windows (I didn't take any pictures outdoors, it was just too cold to go outside in my pjs and socks).

I discovered last night that one of the articles I had written has been published in an on line magazine. I was thrilled!! Gives me more incentive to submit some more articles. If you
d like to take a look at the article that is out there right now, you can go to this address on the web:

Even tho' we were gone most of Saturday and Sunday, I have managed to get the quilt top (the one with all the cars) for my dad finished. I will be going today to get the fabric for the back (probably unbleached muslin since there is som much color and pattern to the front). Hopefully by tomorrow I can start in on the quilting.

Meantime today I need to pay bills, do laundry, file the tax forms for this weekend's show and unload the van....after which I hope to spend some time working on prjects, so I need to get busy!