Friday, March 30, 2007

photos as promised

of the leaf band for the altered couture project

I've knit about 21 inches of the pattern, so I'm not quite half way, needing to have 45 inches to go around the bottom of the jacket.

Notice the nice metalic thread than runs through it? This has been the challenge of the project so far....trying to keep it even and not put so much pressure on it that it breaks.

Looking good!

Spent a lot of time on animals yesterday. The kangaroo version 2 and the second mouse are now in the hands of DH for jointing. I'm still working on the new puppy...this one taking a bit longer since its being patchworked. On the whole the group looks pretty good!

Lots to do today....time to get moving!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Just when we thought we were done.....

it turns out we're not!

We usually have in mind how many animals we want to have for a show, and I was on the home stretch, down to only 2 bears to put faces on. All this with a couple of weeks to spare. It was too good to be true!

Yup, it was!!

We got the bright idea to do a kangaroo. Well, I'm now working on version 2 of the kangaroo....the first one was sort of a cross between a kangaroo and a wooly mamouth, the fur being WAY too long for the critter. The new version is a much shorter pile.

Then there is the mousie. The first mousie is soooooo cute! So we decided it would be good to have a second mousie (a different color) for the show too.

And just because things seem to come in threes, yesterday morning I got the good news, bad news phone call.

Good News! Someone that had seen the puppy I finished earlier in the month wants to buy him, and will pick him up sometime next week.

Bad News! Now I have to do another puppy (and I HATED doing this one, because the pieces are small and it is difficult to finish the face, etc., etc) so we'll have one for the show. So I started in on it, and discovered that the fabric I wanted to make him out of (which was left over from the anniversary bear -- which isn't finished yet) wasn't big enough. So, he's being "patch worked", so he'll look like a little black and grey "mutt" dog. I also did some MAJOR changes to the pattern. At least this time its interesting!!

We made our monthly treck to Denver to shop yesterday, which means about an hour in the car each way.

On the way up I finished this block for Close Knit Hugs. Tomorrow I will be shipping off the 6 blocks I have done this month.

On the way back I worked on the leaf band I'm knitting for my altered couture project. (I really must get a picture of this shoot and posted!)

I have finished ALL of the complete footballs. Now its on to the half footballs.

Time to get to work......

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

why is a toucan like a writing desk, and a sheep because a vest has no sleeves

This is the latest toucan.

Each one of these that I make is quite different from the others. Its one of the places on the animal making that allows me to really play with color.

Notice that the wing tips are blue and the wing shoulders are red on this one. I also used a bright red fabric to do the undersides of his tail.

I wasn't really thinking about it when I cut the yellow piece that is just behind his eyes, but that piece of fur is longer that the others and stands up almost like a crest around the back of his eyes and up on the top of his head which is pretty cool too.

The toucan is made of mohair and upholstry fabrics, has glass eyes and wire feet. He stands up all on his own quite well.

And this is Stella the Black Sheep.

Because I know about sheep getting cranky when they aren't made of wool -- or even mohair -- I decided right at the beginning that she would have a wool sweater!

This Stella is made out of a textured rayon pile fabric and wool felt. Her arms and legs are jointed, but her neck isn't -- something I will be changing when I make the next one.

Stella's sweater is hand knit of 2 different wool yarns that I also hand dyed (and the blue gray in the stripe is yarn I spun).

No wonder this Stella has a smile on her face!

As I said a day or so ago, I've been revamping the entire website.

This is a sneak preview of the kind of pages I'm going to for the animals on the site.

I spent a lot of time yesterday afternoon figuring out how to create these pages using two or three different software packages.

I like the new look! Now its on to the HTML coding to make them all internet interactive.

We also decided that the enty to the home page will be just our animals, but there will be a link to our jewelry studio too.

Today we have errands to run, etc., so I probably won't get as much done on web work, etc., as I did yesterday....

....into the fray!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Daisy is in the magazine!

I got my copy of the newest Teddy Bear and Friends magazine yesterday, and there, on page 55, second row, far left is the picture I submitted for the Face Book.

I'm excited, Daisy looks really good. And I'm in good company here, over 600 artists from all over the world are represented!!

The timing of this issue is nice, just before our show in Nevada City -- ONLY 17 DAYS AWAY!

I've been working on the buttons for the show this week. Yesterday I addressed all of my flyers for this show and got them ready to be mailed.

Today I will be working on faces of unfinished critters -- a toucan, a sheep, and a couple of bears.

Finished another square for Close Knit Hugs....I'm going to mail off whatever I have finished at the end of the week and then start on another group.

36 of 40 footballs done

Time to get to it

Monday, March 26, 2007

rework complete!!

If you've been reading this blog for long, you probably know by now that I'm not big on reworking anything .... after all, its much more fun to make something new! Besides, once I finish a piece, its hard for me to get back to the state of mind that created the original.

It does become necessary once in a while tho'.

The piece on the beige background is the original piece that I had done. The piece on the blue background is the new version.

I think its a big improvement. And I'm glad to be done with reworking for now.

We had an idea to try to do earrings over little styrofoam eggs, but it has been deemed impossible. The styrofoam just will not take the pressure of getting the peyote started, so if I'm going to do eggs that small I'll have to do them free form and stuff them with something....

We have accomplished cables! This is the swatching piece for a sweater I'm knitting for my daughter. I finally figured out how to knit the cables from a chart, so I'm feeling pretty smug! (yes, I know, that's dangerous, now I'll probably fall flat on my face!)

time to get to the laundry and other things

Saturday, March 24, 2007

another square, another bear, another football.....

I finished this square yesterday for the knitting charity (Close Knit Hugs)....the picture is WAY off on the color register (comes from my just tossing it in the scanner instead of turning on the lights in the photo studio), but this is actually made of 2 yarns, one is a sort of pea green with a kind of "glow thread" and the other is a pea green to deep teal-y blue varigated....looks nicer than the picture shows

I got the anniversary bear all closed after DH stuffed him.

My bear work has been slowed a bit by the fact that I managed to hurt myself trying to turn the tiny little arm of the kangaroo baby.....I somehow turned my left thumb wrong and now when I put any stress on it I get a shooting pain up through the wrist....probably some kind of tendonitus I'm doing the R.I.C.E. thing for another day or so (that's Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation) I'm wearing an elastic wrist sleeve and trying not to injure it more....NUTS!

One more football done -- that makes 31. I got the last fabric I needed for the top when I went out shopping yesterday. Nice -- purchased now because it was on sale, and I'll need it in the next week or so anyway.

I've been redesigning our website once again. This is the time when I ask myself why do I have one, but its basically just "revision whining" at work.....revising is harder than just starting from scratch, so I'm sort of doing a combined thing....soon as I get it done and loaded I'll be asking y'all to take a look and tell me what ya think!

Time to get to it.....

Friday, March 23, 2007

daffodills and lillies....

Just outside my front door the daffodills are merrily celebrating spring!

The egg is done.

Finished up the stand yesterday (a very simple combination of PVC pipe and faux fur did the trick).

Pretty good.....there are some places I'm not entirely happy with but it has to do with the type of beads that I used....a lesson learned for the next one!

Most of yesterday we worked on animals....sorting out which ones go to California, that is. Now my dining room table is covered with animals that have been selected and I spent some time this morning making the cards that will be the signs on the table with their names.

There are still about half a dozen animals that we want to finish before we leave...the show begins in ONLY 21 DAYS!

I now have 30 footballs done.

Our new poplar trees arrived yesterday, so there will be digging and watering and fertilizing in the plans for today...

time to get to it

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

amazed by nature's internal calendar.....

Spring arrived yesterday a bit after 6 pm according to our local news channel.

I was delighted this morning to walk out my front door and see that my daffodills can read the calendar and obligingly were in bloom for the first full day of spring!

The grass is beginning to green up too (Drat, that means mowing isn't far behind). And I'm not fooled, I know we will probably get one more winter blast before we can safely put away snow shovels, mittens and thick jackets, but for today, its Spring!

This was the second piece of jewelry I retreived from the local store the other day, in its new incarnation.

This is the only pin of this shape I've ever done, and I rather like it. Its better now I think because I really like the "dangles" .... no, that's not fringe, not dense enough...

I think I have finally figured out what I'm doing with the heart shaped piece too, so I'll be getting busy on that one today.

This is the third block to be sent to Close Knit Hugs.

I rather like the effect of the red with the heather gray yarn....looks pretty good.

Now its on to number 4, what fun combo can I pull out of the bag this time?

26 footballs complete.....

Last night was not a good one (one of those "white nights" .... I feel like the horse ran over me!), so I don't know how much work will get done today....we'll see.

Monday, March 19, 2007

another FO and the rework blues.....

The earrings are done!

These actually went fairly quickly, and came out pretty well.

The stone in the center is pink quartz, and they measure 1 1/8 inch square.

Then there is this piece and another piece that I finally retreived from a local shop.

Back about 18 months ago this new shop opened in our area and she was very anxious to have me come and teach a class about what I was doing, etc., etc., so I made up these two samples and she put me on her class schedule, but nothing ever came of it.

Anyway, last week we finally made connections and I was able to retrieve the pieces.

Now at the time I made these I thought they were pretty good (and they are), but compared to the latest ones, 18 months and a lot of practice and new techniques later, I strongly feel they need to be reworked.

Soooooo, yesterday I took a trip to the frog pond and ripped out the edges of both of I just have to figure out what it is I'm doing with them next. Whatever it turns out to be, I'm sure it will be different!

24 footballs done.........

today we need to run some errands, pick up RX at the drug store, find a new pair of work gloves for DH (who has been destroying his hands trying to dig out the roots of the lilac bush we're taking out), pick up the joint pieces for the PVC trash bag holder he built me for the yard work (pictures to follow), do laundry....all of the mundane stuff.....

into the fray..........

Sunday, March 18, 2007

slogging along.....

We worked in the yard yesterday, preparing for trees. On our back terrace there was a decorative windmill and a metal arch, left by the previous owner. We moved the windmill to the side yard -- when we have our annual garage sale, we'll set it out there and see if anyone wants it. We were going to do likewise with the arch, but when I started to move it I discovered it was very rusted, so we've just dismantalled it and will throw it in the trash.

After all that, I'm a bit sore this morning....ah yes, the "I've been in the house working on art and turning into a jelly fish all winter" soreness of spring! We'll be doing a bit more this afternoon.

This morning there was a hot air balloon taking off from the field just in back of our house....unfortunately I didn't have my camera close at hand, so I missed memorializing the event.....I was also surprised that our dog didn't pitch a fit....maybe with the name of Elphaba she's properly respectful of hot air balloons....afraid that someone will drop a house on her perhaps....

I finished another square for the afghan project. Its amazing the change in color from the variagated yarn all by itself to when its combined with something else. Since I pulled apart a gray sweater not long ago, there will be a lot of gray and some other color squares for a while.

Meantime, I have decided that the knitted leaf pattern is NOT working....ending up with a HUGH! tangle when I tried to work into the second section, so its back to the drawing board for that project......NUTS!

Another football complete......rooooolllllling sllllloooooowwwwwlllllyyy!

time to get some breakfast!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

quiet in the studio, laughter in the house.....

As I said yesterday, my sister and family were down to visit us yesterday.

What with work schedules, surgery (my brother in law's), nasty weather, etc., etc., we had not yet exchanged CHRISTMAS!!

Needless to say, it was long overdue.

Here are the wrist warmers my sis made for me....lovely hand knit, warm to wear and warm to look at! No more sore wrists from the cold, and NO, its not too late in the season for me to need them! (see my post from the Ides of March to understand the fits and starts of spring at 6000 feet)

and there are these little goodies.....a full set of knitting needles/cables/ends, etc, in there own case.

These are the other end of the scale from the ones that DH got for me at Christmas, so now I'm really ready to have half a dozen knitting projects in the works, even if 2 of them need the same needles.

I'm so sold on circular needles that I'm thinking of getting rid of all of my old straight ones (except the double points and the ones my grandfather hand made me when I was a kid).

And there is this great book!

As I may have mentioned, knitting has changed and evolved a lot in the 30 some years I was busy in corporate America and not paying attention! They write patterns in a language I don't understand!

This book explains (and shows with PICTURES!!) what all those new strange abreviations mean....oh joy!

And then there was the software. Wonderful stuff! This little program will let me draw up my beading patterns and then help me calculate how many tubes of each color of bead I need. It will also let me create a usable pattern, which may be extremely helpful in the developement of the idea for the beading book.

Under the catagory of "just in time" this will be an unbelievably wonderful tool to help in the designing of the Archangel Icon that I have been doing the research and planning of.

I'm also thinking it may be useful for designing quilts....mosaic quilts....picture quilts pieced with straight lines.....mmmmmmmmmmm!

We had a great time visiting too.....we made a big batch of red clam chowder, a salad and some great artisan bread.....topped off with a freshly made lemon cake (which we ate half of!)

It was a lot of fun.

So today, its back to work.....we need to do some work in the yard (oh joy, I get to pick up after the dog) as we have ordered some little trees for the back terrace and they are on the way, and the sewing machine beckons with some bears waiting to be stitched.....

hi ho, hi ho, its off to work I go!

Friday, March 16, 2007

of finished objects.....

its really fun to finish something that has taken a long time to do.

I finished this yesterday afternoon....shouts of hurrah!! There was dancing about and other foolishness in the studio....

I tried a totally new way to attach the necklace to the medallion, and I'm very pleased with the result. This way there is no visable "link", it looks like a continuous string of beads...very cool.

I also got the opportunity to use the new tool I got recently to do crimps where connecting the clasp. Its really neat...the old tool just squashed the crimps tube flat (if you were very careful you could make it look like a flat rectangular bead, but most of the time it just looked squashed)...the new tool makes the crimp into a round that looks like a 2mm sterling silver nice!

These are the earrings that will go with the necklace.

I have all of the beading done on the front, so now its on to the edges. These will have fringe drops that will be similiar to the necklace, just not so many or as long.

Basically these took about 90 minutes to do....I'm getting quicker at this.

I recently got a copy of a book that is on making jewelry pieces with many of the same materials that I use. Her techniques, however, are completely different! I'm wondering if there is a market for my version out there. So, I'm going to do a bit of research and see just how many books are out there about this. This would be a fun book to write and a combination of two of my passions....writing and beading.

A while back the charity that I had been knitting for was disbanded, and I had been looking for someone else to donate to. This has not been an easy task, feeling strongly that charity should begin at home, I wanted to donate to something that was helping people here in the USA....and I found Close Knit Hugs.

This is the first square I've done for them. Whipped it up in about an hour last night while I was watching the news and the first of the Letterman show....

The requirements are a bit different (smaller squares, different yarns), but the afghans are still going to folks in the Gulf Coast region as they try to put their lives back together.

I'm going to enjoy shipping things off to them!

2 more footballs done....that makes 21, we're on the downhill side!!

My sister and her family are coming to visit with us this afternoon. Since I haven't seen her since the first weekend in December, we should have lots to talk about!

Time to go vacuum the family room and ice a cake!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

walking about in the fog.....

spring is coming, but here at an altitude of over 6000 feet, it comes in fits and starts

yesterday was beautiful....sunny, warm....I walked around in and out of stores in a T shirt! I had my hair cut!! Oh joy, could sandal wearing be far behind?

I even saw the very first robin on the back fence in the afternoon!!

woke this morning to ... FOG! cold, dreary fog....and the furnace is on again....RATS!

this change of weather does explain the low grade ache behind my eyes this morning tho' sinusus do not like the weather shifts

yesterday, during our outing I went into one of our many quilt stores to browse around (while the software on my cell phone was being upgraded)

As I have discussed briefly before, I'm working on creating an embellished jacket from what was previously a long sleeved shirt that belonged to DH.

During the past week I have begun knitting the band to go around the bottom of the jacket, and had begun to consider what other embellishment would be nice. Since the knitting has oak leaves worked in it, I thought a fabric with autumn leaves that I could fussy cut and applique would be great....but its really the wrong season.

Not so in a well stocked quilt store!

Here is a scan of the lovelyness! Notice the great greens and oranges and a surprise color I had not thought about using until!

I bought a quarter yard of this wonderful stuff (the most expensive quilt fabric I've ever bought--- $9.39 a yard! -- but a quarter yard was affordable) Now there will be planning and plotting how to get the most out of the stuff and how to arrange it all on the shirt, etc., etc.

In the same strip mall with the quilt store, there is a Catholic book store which I had not previously been in. Since we were still killing time waiting for the cell phone upgrades, we went in there too. They had a little niche with a number of icons on display which I spent some time looking at. We got into a conversation with one of the ladies in the store which lead to a conversation with one of the buyers for the store, and now I may have a chance to put some of my beaded framed work somewhere that it might actually find a receptive audience.

I also picked up a card that gave me an idea for another piece that will entail DH doing some silver work for me.

Just a side bar about working on these pieces....there is something quite different for me when I'm working on these from the planning to the last stitch....people pray in a lot of ways, and for me these are a version of that. The whole feel of working on them is a lot more peaceful and uplifting than anything else I do.

2 more footballs complete.....almost half way there

time to go do some work.....

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

rolling, rolling, rolling.....

this was the sunrise this morning.......amazing!

The DH has been busy with the silver work again.

These two pieces were originally intended to be a pair of earrings....

but after they were fired they were too different to be put together (even on either side of someone's head!)

One of them is a tiny bit thicker, and so shrunk to a slightly smaller size when it was fired....strange....

Oh well, it does add two really nice new style necklaces to the stock!

We're celebrating 25 years of making bears (and other animals) this year, so I have designed some pins to be given to each person that purchases a bear this year.

We're also working on a one of a kind silver bear for the occassion.

Two more footballs complete! Yes, they are rollin' rollin' rollin'

Time to get moving --- places to go (people to annoy?)