Saturday, June 30, 2007

see, I TOLD you I was working.....

and I finished up this little lovely last night.

Pictures of him are going to the lady that wants him (she was at last Sunday's show), then I'll just be waiting to receive the $$ for him before he gets shipped.

and this picture (along with some close ups of each critter) will be going to the store owner that expressed an interest in having me do some items for her -- she has a large Alice in Wonderland clientele, and these little guys fit right in with that {you do remember Alice and the Queen of Hearts and the crochet match don't you????}

I have finally finished all of the tube beads for the necklace I've been working on (practically F O R E V E R), so hopefully today I'll get it strung up so I can move on to some new design of some sort -- or back to the River piece perhaps -- or ?????

We're going to the farmer's market this morning to check it out....we've been invited to participate on some Saturday's but I want to see it first -- if its just a flea market in terms of the non-food vendors, I'm better off spending my time working on other stuff.

Finished up the application to be in the Junior League's Christmas show yesterday too. Nice that they don't require a fee to be juried. Now I just get to wait and see if they think we're good enough (I hate that part). The next application is more like an artist's jury packet for a gallery in the Denver that would be a sweet set up!

Time to get moving---the farmer's market awaits!

Friday, June 29, 2007

I'm working on stuff ... Honest I am.....

Its just that when a lot of what I'm working on are proposals for stores and applications to show my work in galleries, there isn't much demonstrable progress to show y'all. Be assured, tho' that if I actually see one of these proposals work out, there will be stuff to show for it!

This is the current status of the felt critter. I have about 2/3 of the second skein of wool knit up and its looking very nice. I did work on this a bit in the car on Sunday when we were traveling up to the show.

This is coming along nicely too.

Its always fun when making a bag that eventually the bag gets big enough to hold your balls of material that you're working into the bag....sort of like a sheep knitting herself....ok, that may be a bit vague....sorry folks

I did finish this afghan square on Sunday too.....this one looks like spimoni ice cream to know, sort of pinkish with bright bits of orange, yellow and red in it...mmmmmmm, yummy!

time to get to work!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Flower cake?


I finished the last session of the Cake Decorating II class last night.

This is an oval cake (the cool pans came in my class kit!) and I spent the better part of the 2 hour class putting all the basket weave icing on the side. (my hands are a bit sore this morning.....cake decorating uses different muscles than the other things I do with my hands)

My peace roses and poppies were a one else had done anything like that.

Class III starts mid July and will be finished just in time for me to be in mid-wedding cake madness.....

This morning we had another deer visitor in the back field. A doe was just peering over the back fence into the yard. Unfortunately I didn't get to the camera in time to get a picture of her before the dog's barking told her it was time to move on. Deer don't so much walk as they was fascinating to watch her. Amazingly enormous ears....beautiful

Today (being pay day) we will be making our run to Costco for things like toilet paper and dog treats, etc., so I'll be doing some hand sewing on animals in the car.

Monday, June 25, 2007

thoughts on being too bright for the room.....

this should be subtitled and its not over 'til the last lady buys

once again this weekend we found ourselves in the position of being too bright for the room.

We set up our normal way -- raising the tables, nice drape to the floor black table cloths, full spectrum lighting (yes we were literally brighter than the room!).

What passes for a doll and bear show in this case was largely a flea market of used dolls, doll clothes and doll parts.

There were only 3 of 46 booths that were bears that had been hand made (and there were probably only 1 or 2 more that were displaying any kind of item actually made by the seller--one vendor was actually bragging about how she had bought all these doll clothes at Walmart for $0.50 each and had marked them up and was selling them at $6.00 each.)

Most of the rest of the tables held plastic bins or battered cardboard boxes full of doll clothes, metal toys, odds and ends of accessories, paper dolls and books. Some of the booths could have had a sign reading "Bare Naked Ladies" for all the nude dolls on the tables.

It is at this kind of show that I see the following senario: A couple strolls past my booth and says "Oh, Steiffs". Now while I'm pleased to be considered to be in that company; I must then patiently explain that all of the animals are designed and made by my husband and myself. (A side "talking point" is that a lot of the materials we use come out of the same mill in Germany that the materials Steiff uses do.)

For most of the day I'm watching plenty of $2 and $3 sales going on all around me, but as usual, I'm just one sale away from having a really great show (when the cheapest item on the table is $25, I don't have to make a lot of sales to catch up on those $2 and $3 ones).

Towards the end of the day I had sold only 2 small sales, and I was thinking I should have just hit the snooze button when the alarm went off at 4:45 a.m.!

In the last half hour, however, something different happen. I took an order for 2 special pieces from a lady, had an inquiry from a store owner for a special edition for her store (I'll be preparing a proposal this week) and after the show was actually supposed to be closed and we were packing up our inventory, a lady came back and bought 2 of my more expensive pieces (paid with what we call "green card"--you know, pieces of green paper with pictures of dead presidents!).

It was nice that in the end the show turned out to have been worth while, but I have to say I was exhausted by the end of the day, and I still feel pretty tired today.

While I was in the car up and back, I finished another afghan square.

Worked some more on the piece for the knitted/felted critter. I am now about half way through the second skein of yarn.

As I was looking at the skein wrappers for the two yarns I'm using for the felt project, I was amazed to discover that they are both the same brand of yarn. That may sound crazy, but one of the skeins (the dark one) was given to me by my sister about 2 years ago while the other one was purchased in California during our most recent show trip there. The labels aren't even made out of the same kind of material--one is paper, the other one is Tyvek (or something like it)--WEIRD!

Today I will be doing laundry and all the usual post-show paperwork (tax filing, writing thank you notes, etc) and maybe even catch a nap somewhere along the line...we'll see

Friday, June 22, 2007

its show time......

I'm almost afraid to announce this sort of thing, since the last time I did, we didn't actually get to do the show....ok, so I'm clutching my lucky rabbit's foot (why is that lucky? wasn't for the rabbit!) and making the announcement anyway!!

We will be doing a show in the Denver area on Sunday, June 24. For detailed information about the location, use this link to get all the details about the location and the show hours.

If you come to the show and bring a print out of that page with you, we'll give you a 10% discount on any item on our table over $20.

Its amazing that we still have 2 days before the show and I already have all the tubs of bears packed up....its almost scary to be ready this far in advance!

Yesterday I worked for quite a while on the new piece of jewelry I'm doing and I'm now to the embellishment stage. So, out came all the boxes of assorted turquoise and coral beads and the silver charms (hearts, feathers, etc) to be used as accents in the fringing. I even have some little "spikes" of coral pieces to add an accent color. I'll be working on that part today.

The mail man brought me a stone I had purchased on Ebay, and its even more awesome than it looked like it would be. Its an 11mm round sunstone cab that has really nice color. Since I also had two nice pear shaped sunstone cabs (bought from the same Ebay-er in the last year or so), I will be thinking about a design for these soon.

About once a year I look at our Artists' Statement (which we have to send off with most of the show applications) and think about rewriting it. Since I'm working on packets for 2 show promoters and a gallery, I decided this was a good time to do so. It took me about an hour to revise it so it reflects the direction our work is going, and to include in it some information about our inspiration and direction. An interesting exercise.

I finished printing up one packet this morning, so I will be assembling it today for mailing down, 2 to go!

Finished another afghan square last night, this one is that lovely fiesta varigated yarn with a strand of red.

I started another one too....same fiesta yarn with a bright orange....amazing what you can use with a varigated yarn.....yellow would be good too, but I don't have anything yellow, so I'll probably do peach next.

I'm going to be baking today (cake for class next Tuesday; cupcakes for us so we'll have some to take to our show for lunch), and working on the jewelry.

time to get to it

Thursday, June 21, 2007

nothing much at all, thank you.....

at least nothing that I can show off yet, got done in the studio yesterday.

I spent a lot of time yesterday working on flowers for my cake decorating class, including this one that I made up all on my own. To see a bit more of those activities, use this link to go to Hattie's Kitchen and check it out.

meantime, work progresses on the new piece of jewelry. I have finished working the bezels around the 5 pieces of stone and have even finished backing one of them. Sometimes it amazes me how much faster this bezel and backing process goes than it did when I first started....practice makes perfect I guess!

I decided that even tho' the last piece I had submitted to Bead and Button was rejected, that I would send in something else. So, this morning a letter and a photo of the iolite and sunstone necklace is out in the box waiting for the postman to pick it up. Perhaps if I just bury them in pictures they'll eventually see on that they actually like! (I'm told that persistance pays off, so I'm putting it to the test)

work on the quilt and the plastic bag tote continue as well

as I was knitting away on the wool that we're going to felt and make into an animal I decided that we should perhaps name the animal Cafe au lait since it is a dark coffee brown and a warm beige color....interesting thought

its hot. As I predicted would happen; we went from cooler than normal, rainy weather to the upper 90s without much space in between. And I don't do heat very well, so I will be staying indoors with the fan and a cool glass of iced tea today! Maybe I'll get a lot of work done on that necklace!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

chugging along on projects......

After having finished the iolite and sunstone piece of jewelry on Monday, yesterday I started working on a piece that is turquoise and coral.

One of the pieces of turquoise had a hairline crack across it that had been repaired, but I decided to cover the repair with beads and make that one of the design elements in the piece.

Pictures of this piece in the future (I promise!)

Last night was the 3rd of my Class II in cake decorating.

This is just a little sample of what we did last night. If you'd like to see more, use this link to go to Hattie's Cookbook.

After class I came home and worked on this a bit. Yes, its a plastic bag TOTE BAG....this piece is the bottom of the tote bag. Its sort of fun seeing all the different colors of bags that went into it.

The next step is to pick up stitches across the other 3 sides and the rest of the bag is knit around and around to the desired height.

The original pattern called for lining this thing with a fabric liner. I haven't decided yet if I'm actually going to do that.

And I FINALLY reached the end of the first skein of wool. It knit up to 23 inches!

As you can see at the very top edge, I joined the other skein last night and knit one row before I was falling asleep.

Because I am going to felt this piece I decided that I wanted the change of colors to happen at the beginning of a row, so there is still a little piece of the dark wool (about 12 inches) that I have put away with the skein label to use in the "art book" that will go with the little critter when its done.

Work on the center block of the quilt has begun. I got everything set up and have started working on stitching the monogram. So far, this part is going much easier than I thought it would....its a good thing!

Lots of things to do today....including playing with the dog in the wading pool because its supposed to be HOT today.....

we're off!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Its Finished!!

Persistance paid off, I finally finished the tube beads and got this piece strung together.

This is another smaller piece (measures 4 inches tall by 1 1/2 inches wide across the widest point).

I really like making the beads to go with it because then it looks a lot like a complete "concept" was in place, not just someone stringing beads.

I will be printing some 4x6 photos of this one to use for jurying.

I did a lot of knitting on the piece for the bear felt last night and I haven't yet reached the end of the first skein of yarn (WOW!), but I'm very, very close. Hopefully I'll be into the second skein tonight (or not, since I'll be in class for 2 hours)

All of the piecing on the quilt is done. Today I will work on setting up the applique block for the center. I'm turning cart wheels here folks!!

back to work now....

Monday, June 18, 2007

odds & ends....

It always catches me off guard when I open a magazine and see my own work looking back at me!

We get this local advertising magazine, and there in the center was this ad.

On the right hand side are two of my pieces (that I sold to the store owner a while back).

The pink heart shaped piece and the red oval piece (next to it) are both my work.

Its hard for me to look at those and remember that only a year ago or so I thought these were to most wonderful pieces ever. Now I look at them and think "gee, I could have done the fringe with branching, I could have used more beads between the pieces", etc., etc.

Guess that just means my style is continuing to change and grow and I'm learning new things (and making some up as I go along!)

Another afghan square complete!

On Saturday we did go up to Denver for the gem show. I went "bargain hunting" with a sheet of paper in hand where I had printed a scan of the pieces of stone I wanted to find pieces to go with. I did find some nice pieces and didn't spend a whole lot.

I'll be posting pictures of those as I get the designs into production.

Meantime, I'm nearly done with the tube beads for the iolite/sunstone piece I've been working on.....I needed to do 34 of these and I have 29 finished! Should be able to string this up soon.

Along with the afghan square, I worked on the recycling knitting project and the felting piece in the car up and back (can't waste the 2 hours in the car!!)

The bottom of the plastic bag is half done now, and I've not yet worked my way through a whole ball of strips. Who knew a little plastic bag could stretch so far!

The felting piece is moving along, I still haven't used up all of the first skein of yarn and the piece is about 15 inches tall....WOW! As I was admiring the label of the skein I decided that I should hang on to it. Instead of just putting a hang tag on this critter I want to do a little booklet (in Art Card style) that describes how he/she was created. This should be a fun project too!

A lot of time has been spent putting in the little pieces that go around the center block of the quilt this week. I've got only 2 more little corner blocks to go (16 pieces to those 2), then the center block, the batting, the back and the binding. Yes, its moving right along.

So today its laundry and a trip to the pharmacy and hopefully getting that necklace finished.

time to get to it

Friday, June 15, 2007

felt bear and a Friday sunrise...

The dog decided that 5:15 was a good time to be awake this morning....not really my idea of a good time, but

I was rewarded with this most awesome sunrise
the humidity was way up and we had a bit of ground fog which gave the whole thing a sort of misty, hazy look....pretty!

Its scenes like this that make me wish I could paint....ah well

I spent quite a bit of time working on the beads for the new piece of jewelry. I need to do 34 of the peyote tubes and I have 13 finished....its moving along!

This is the progress on the knitting for the felt bear.

All this worked up already, and I'm only about half way through the first skein of yarn. I feel like I'm working with "magic wool" .... the kind that never gets used up! It does make me feel that there will be enough to make a nice little bear when we get the felting done tho'

Finished another hot pad last night.....its looking good for that growing stack of Christmas presents completed!

Progress being made on the quilt too.....just a few more odd shaped pieces to complete before I begin on the center appliqued block....I'll definately have the top finished before the wedding!

Time to get moving....lots of stuff to get done today!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

toward living "green"

Here in the land where folks still think global warming is a myth, one can easily be buried in the ubiquitous plastic bags.

We get two newspapers every day, and rain or shine they come in a plastic bag.

I keep some of them for the necessary "poop patrol" one does as a dog owner, (and for those I'm definately wanting the ones with only the hole that is supposed to be there).

That does leave a lot of plastic bags still to deal with.

And for the most part I don't acquire any bags when shopping -- even my local Walmart has resigned themselves to putting my purchase in the cloth bag I carry in with me.

So then, I've been thinking on the possibilties for these bags.

When I was a kid, my grandmother used to save the worn out underwear and support hose, cut them into strips and make round crocheted rugs out of them. Those things wore like iron....I still have a couple of them 50 years later!

Since I use bags to put projects in (knitting for in the car, etc., etc.), I thought I might convert my bags into BAGS!

So here you see 3 balls of plastic where I have cut the bags in a continuous strip about 2 inches wide, tied the ends together and I'm now just about ready to start knitting up a bag pattern that my sister shared with me.

I'll keep you posted on its progress....

Meantime, back in the studio, I have finished the main part of the new necklace and I'm now working on making the little peyote tube beads I need to string it up. I should be able to get this one done in the next couple of days.

This weekend there is a gem show that I may get to go to, so today I'm going to dump out my entire stone box and see if there are any pieces in there that I need to find "companion" stones for to work up some new pieces. That should be interesting.

and so we're off and running!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Its just like Christmas!!

Yesterday afternoon as I was working along on the new jewelry piece I'm doing, the door bell rang and the postman handed me a box.

Now usually when a box is on its way, I know about it, having ordered something from somewhere (I swear I think sometimes I keep the local post office running single handed with all the incoming supplies and the occasional outgoing orders!).

This box, however, was a total surprise!
and lookie at what was inside!!

My sister (who had been here for a week end recently) sent along some more goodies she thought I could use.

To the left are two packets of ultrasuede pieces in a whole variety of colors. This is the stuff I use on the backs of most of my jewelry pieces, and these two bundles are WONDERFUL!!! This should keep me in materials to back things for quite a while.

Also in the box was another large skein of varigated yarn for knitting afghan squares and a ball of cotton blend yarn (all re-wound from its skein for easier working without tangles -- or "yarn vomit" as we call it) to put with some other pieces of similar yarn that I'm working up into some hot pads.

She also sent along 2 more afghan squares that she had finished to go in the box that I will be sending off soon.

What a treat!! There is nothing quite as uplifting as an unexpected present!!

Here, then, is my latest completed afghan square.

With the squares from my sister I think I have enough to send off a box now! I'll be testing for size in my box of choice today.

Real progress was made on the jewelry piece yesterday. I did finally figure out how to connect the two pieces of stone and have begun the branched fringing on the bottom edge. Another very different piece.

time to get to work!!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

seen from the "studio" window.....

There is nothing quite like being awakened by loud barking of a labrador at 5:55 a.m.
I'll grant that this morning she had something to tell us, however
I stumbled out of bed, finally found my glasses and went to the window to see what she thought was worth all the commotion....
there in the field behind our yard were two deer!
with antlers no a 3 point (on each side), their antlers are still all covered with velvet....beautiful animals.
It had rained gently through the night and it was cool and overcast still, so there wasn't a great amount of light to get these pictures with my little digital camera, but they're still amazing to me
during the time we have lived here I've seen bunnies and foxes and a lot of different birds, but this is the first time we've had deer in the back yard
or nearly (a 6 foot fence being something of a deterent). I am officially amazed!!

Yesterday's work in the studio was pretty lean....I tried 3 different things putting together the jewelry, but none of them actually worked....I'll try something else today (not sure what). Meantime I got flyers for my upcoming show addressed and ready when the stamps arrive. Oh yes, and the laundry and shopping. Today I need to mix up the frosting for my class tonight before I get all involved in something else.

time to get to it....

Monday, June 11, 2007

odds and ends and garage sales....

Even tho' I spent most of Thursday and Friday getting ready for the garage sale and all day Saturday actually doing the sale, I did manage to get these pants finished for DH.

I had started them the weekend before and had everything finished except for the elastic in the top, which I had to visit the fabric store to get.

This is another of those seriously altered began as a pattern for a pair of scrubs with just the in-seam side pockets. My new and improved version has two in-seam side pockets, a back patch pocket and a large pocket with a fastening flap on the outside of one leg at the knee. DH prefers this arrangement so he can put his wallet somewhere that he doesn't have to sit on it when he drives for long distances....much more comfy!

Anyway, these came out very nicely.

For a while now we've been talking about making a bear out of fabric that we create ourselves.

We've decided that we'll have a go at making one that is felt....and these two skeins of wool yarn have been chosen to be knit up and then felted to create this critter.

Over the weekend I actually started in working on the knitting....very boring stuff this....knit a row of 55 stitches, purl a row of 55 stitches....which will continue until I get all of both skeins all knit up. Consequently, I don't work on this until the last thing in the evening as I'm on auto pilot during the 10 p.m. news...its pretty brainless!

We'll see where this all goes.

On Saturday, while I was hanging out in my garage, taking people's money for carting off my junk (smile!), I was also doing my own version of celebrating National Knit in Public Day, and got some very interesting reactions.

I did manage to finish 3 more afghan squares for Close Knit Hugs, so I'm getting close to having enough to ship off another box full.

These last three are made of the new yarns that my sister brought me last weekend except for the solid blue half which was the last of the old stuff.

Pretty snazzy!

Progress on the quilt too. I thought I had all of the pieces laid out but discovered last night that I had miscalculated on the little wedge shaped pieces that make the arcs, so I will have to have one more trip to the scrap pieces to lay out a few more....I'll sketch it all out this time instead of doing it in my head!

Today I'm doing laundry (every Monday!), but I'm hoping to make some progress on the new piece of jewelry I'm working on...its one rectangular piece of sunstone and one oval piece of iolite/sunstone that I have worked beads around and now have to figure out how to connect and "finish". These last few pieces of jewelry have been a whole new kind of thing....its exciting to have them come out so well.

Time to get to it!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

As promised....

Pictures of the Royal Icing mums I did in class Tuesday evening.

Here they are all lined up in their drying rack. I think they look pretty awesome!

Now I just have to find a box I can keep them in safely until we do our final class in three weeks.

I baked a cake and did some experimenting with new things, you can read about that adventure over at Hatties Kitchen.

While I probably should have been working on other things yesterday, I spent a lot of time working on the altered shirt that I am making into a jacket.

I trimmed off the bottom edge to make it a straight edge, and split the front. Then I cut out the lining fabric and a bias strip to back the knitted edge.

This picture is the end of the day shot that shows what the band at the bottom looks like now that it is sewed on. Pretty cool!

And I finished another hotpad....these pictures show the front and back.

Its always fascinating to me how the pattern develops when you crochet around and around switching yarn back and forth every round or so....

more progress on the quilt too....

Today we need to get things organized for the garage sale we are doing on Saturday. Every year one of our local real estate agents organizes this sale and the "entry fee" he charges goes to the local Children's Hospital. So, I'm collecting up whatever household and clothing stuff that hasn't sold on Ebay and we're getting rid of some furniture and tools that we don't need as well.....

and so we're off and moving!