Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Packing for move in.....

Well, yesterday morning we decided it would be a good idea if we did the packing for the show we set up for tomorrow.

This is one of those central cashier things and we only have an 8 foot table (usually when I take my jewelry to a show I have a 10 foot by 10 foot booth to arrange as I like). Anyway, this smaller space requires me to really think about what display pieces, etc., I need to take.

Add to that the fact that the show promoter wants you to label every display piece with a sticker that has your name and phone number on, why, when I'll be there to set up and to tear down, do they need me to do that? I still haven't figured it out, but we dutifully applied stickers to everything except the lamp shades and the bed risers we put under the table legs.

I'm still unsure about rather I'll actually want to be on site for the whole thing -- one of the reasons I'm considering it (aside from to keep a close eye on my stuff and hopefully not have anything more stolen) is that the only way I can take a special order is to actually BE there to talk to the customer.

As a reward for having accomplished all of that, I took yesterday afternoon off of working on old projects and started a new one. Ok, the design work on this was already done, but I started sorted fabrics, selecting specific pieces and stitching them together. So, yes there is a new "ticker" on the side bar!

Its that day of the year when we invite our children to go out and beg for candy (this part must have been come up with by the dentists!) Anyway, I'll be manning the door this evening for the little goblins in the neighborhood. Our poor labrador really hates this holiday -- all those kids but she can't go out to play with them, and she gets none of the treats because they're all chocolate (I only buy things that I'll use the left overs from --- not that I need to eat any of it!!)

We have this cute plastic pumpkin that serves as our only Halloween decoration this year. I've just been to busy with other stuff to decorate windows, etc., and since we have no kids at home anymore, I'm just not that into it.

Happy Halloween to you all -- here's hoping you get more Treats than Tricks!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Reward for Persistence.....

TA DA! A COMPLETED project!!!!!

It seems like this one has been a part of my world for a long time -- actually I started it last December, having taken a month or two after our daughter announced her engagement to design it (in among the other commitments).

I finished the last stitch in the binding last night just before the news at 10. This is not a great picture, but it gives you the idea. It is queen size with that lovely curved traditional edge used on double wedding ring quilts, and I'm pleased that it came out so well.

I ran it through a cold rinse this morning in the washer to take out the last of the quilting pattern markings (just cold water, no soap!), ran it through the dryer for about 40 minutes and now its hanging over the clothes line in the basement to finish drying. This is my usual procedure for a finished quilt -- if there are going to be any issues with washing I want to be the one to find them -- not the receiver of the quilt!!

Anyway, I'm feeling pretty proud of myself.

There's something about completing a really big project that gives you the right (for about a day) to strut around feeling good about yourself before diving into the next big project.

For some reason, big projects appeal to me. When I read a novel, I like really thick ones best. This has been going on since I was in junior high school and used to spend a lot of my summer's reading -- I'd go to the library and get the fattest books I could find that had interesting titles. If they were well written I hated it when I finished. I read a lot of Mitchner that way. (Right now I'm reading Pillars of the Earth, which is almost 1000 pages, so nothing has changed!)

So, now its on to other projects. I already have another quilt in the wings (and an idea for another one behind that); but I'll probably be working on some smaller projects first.

Today we'll start packing up the display pieces for this weekend's show. I'm still nervous about this one since it is a central cashier set up and supposedly we don't have to be there the whole time. Trouble is, since we had almost $400 worth of jewelry stolen off our table at the last show (with both of us standing right there!), I'm not thrilled to trust anyone else with my stuff.......if we don't feel good about the situation while we are setting up I will be working the whole thing even though we're not required to.

Time to get busy.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Remember high school geometry?

You know, that class you HAD to take to graduate and you spent hours doing proofs and wondering just WHAT you would EVER use any of this for?

May I present the answer (at long last) to that question!

I have been making a quilt for my daughter and her new husband. The center is a large monogram for their names, and the outside is a traditional double wedding ring.

Now a lot of the new wedding ring quilts I have seen have taken the easy way out, squaring off all of the blocks so there is a nice neat rectangle outside edge which makes calculating the required binding a snap.

I, however, opted for the more traditional edge, and since I had seriously adapted for the monogram block in the center, I was going to have to figure out just how much bias binding I needed (yes, it HAD to be bias binding --- all those curves afterall).

So, I measured one of the "corner" blocks and one of the regular blocks and calculated how many inches of binding I needed to go around the quilt -- rounding up at every turn to make sure I had enough.

And then is when I put that old geometry class to work -- remember the formula for figuring the length of the hypotenuse of a right triangle (you do remember what the hypotenuse is don't you?) ok, A squared plus B squared equals C squared

After measuring the fabric I had to make the binding out of, I knew that I had a right triangle with 42 inch sides when I started which meant the hypotenuse was about 59 inches -- on the FIRST cut, well, several calculations later, I knew that all I needed was that triangle to make my 400 inches of binding.

So, yesterday I did the machine stitching to the back of the edge. Then it took me about 2 hours to roll the edge, miter each inside point where the rings come together and pin it. Today I begin stitching.

Wow, who knew? We actually do use some of that high school math stuff!!

Friday, October 26, 2007

and the answer is.......

Its a turtle!

Having taken a bit of creative license here, this little gal is intended as a Christmas gift for the child of one of my daughter's friends.....since there will be a corresponding item for the little boy in that household, I needed to do something to differentiate between the two of them, so I did this one with a very pretty pink/rose varigated shell.

The next one will be tones of golds and blues.

I did make some changes to the face --- like my teddy bears (most of them), I decided that this little critter needed to SMILE!!

This was an easy pattern to make up. I did it in worsted weight yarn with bigger needles than the original because I figured bigger was okay for kids, and I had everything I needed to make them on hand that way.

Oh yes, the eyes are embroidered on, so this is a totally washable, child safe toy (no Mattel type issues here!)

Meanwhile, just in time for next weekend's show, I finished the black and white jasper necklace that I had been working on.

For more details, you can go here and see the whole piece.

Today I will be doing step one of the binding on my daughter's quilt. I finished the last quilting on it last night and trimmed up the edge. Binding this will be interesting as it is ALL curves! Wish me luck.....

time to get busy

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

this 'n that...

I know, I said I wasn't doing any more bags for a while, but this one I just couldn't resist!

Its big enough to hold a laptop computer, and has a very cool quilted lining.

For more details, go here and take a look.

Meantime, I finally figured out how to finish up the necklace I've been working on (on and off anyway), and should get that done soon -- definately in time for the next show which isn't until a week from Saturday.

Progress is begin made on the unidentified green object and a re-knit of sweater cuffs on a sweater for the DH as well.

Today is our shopping day, so probably not much will get done in the studio -- but we must have groceries!

Friday, October 19, 2007

new "found" objects and a "what is it?"

The fun thing about making multi media pieces is that it is also an exercise in "living green".

and it gives new meaning to the phrase "one man's trash is another man's treasure"!

This lovely tray of goodies came all the way from Florida (thank you Charlotte!) to my house. Made of plastics and metals these mostly vintage pieces are basically black and white with an occasional splash of orange or some other 1950-ish color (but mostly orange).

My plan is to use some of these to create some new pieces of jewelry -- necklaces and bracelets with a "history".....should be fun!

Meantime, observant readers will notice that my UFO counter seems to be moving in the wrong direction the last few days. Thing is, UFOs have this habit of flying in under the radar and hidding out in odd places, only to be discovered again with the influance of serendipity (or perhaps bad luck!).

Actually, I've decided that so far my growing list of UFOs (with the possible exception of one I located yesterday afternoon) might actually be better described as WIPs in various states of hibernation.

Ok, that's my story and I'm sticking to it!

And then there is this.

Yes, it is on the list of UFOs, tho' it truly is WIP as I have been trying to work on it every day for the last week or so.

We will entertain guesses in the comment section, and I'll be adding "hints" as it moves along.

Today's chore is to load up the van for our show tomorrow. Nothing like getting up at 0 dark hundred to lug tables into a high school gym in the cold although we are getting a break this week -- its not supposed to start with the really cold and the snow until Sunday morning -- we're keeping our fingers crossed that the weather man is right on that score.

into the fray!!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

One more bag.....

completed last night .... you can use this
link to take a closer look!

Today I will be packing up the jewelry to be taken to the show and getting all the display pieces put together -- fun -- or not!

time to get busy

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

more work for the weekend show

you can check out the whole project by using this link.

Today I have out of the house projects to work on, so not much will be done in the studio today.

I've been thinking about my current UFOs (un finished objects) -- prompted possibly by someone else's blog talking about their UFOs. So today I have added a new count down on my side bar to try and work off some of these projects! Anyone else want to join me?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

show sneek peek

all of the completed work the last few days has been the DH busily finishing up some truly awesome pieces of silver work.

you can click here to go and see all of the ones he's finished so far!

We will be doing a show at the Green Mountain High School in Lakewood, CO, on Saturday. If you live in the Denver area, come on by and visit!!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

another bag complete!

Finished last night!

Check out more details at Mamarose's Reincarnations.

Meantime, work continues on animal projects.....I laid out the new flamingo yesterday and have done all of the basic stitching on the bear that will be the "Bear in the Box".

I felt like I was speeding right along on the royal white toucan, only to discover last night that I had inserted a piece incorrectly -- TWICE! (once on each side), and will now have to make a major trip to the frog pond (rip it, rip it)....and this ripping has to be done carefully since I don't have any more of the fabric --- talk about feeling stupid!! Oh well.....these things happen.....

Into the fray!!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Dye Pot Part Deux

After having so much fun dying the last batch of mohair (yes Nancy, it IS mohair to dye for!!), I did "scrounging" around to find enough fabric to create one more flamingo.

Flamingo fabric, by virtue of the fact that no one makes a pink that I really like, is always a hand dying project.

I have used a lot of different things to dye the white "feather finish" mohair pink, including cherry koolaid and RIT dye.

This batch was dyed using Wilton cake color! (If you've ever done anything with the rose pink color, you know it didn't take much of that stuff to make this lovely color!)

The work on the "test head" is coming along, so it looks like the Bear-in-the-box that we had started a while back will get finished soon.

I finished a tote bag yesterday too. If you would like to see more about the bag use this link.

And so today there are bags and bears and beads to work on.....never a dull moment!!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Playing in the dye pot.....

Once upon a time, in another place and time, I used to make whole editions of a particular bear. In the days when I was juggling 2 other full time jobs, it was easier to do some of the bears as a sort of production line.

So, back then I used to buy mohair in 1 and 2 yard pieces so I could do quite a number of bears all at once.

This was one of those pieces that was bought that way.

I had used it for a lot of one particular bear, but that style has gone out of fashion now, and I had a piece that was about 1/3 of a yard (but not even a full width).

I should explain here too that this year I have made a concerted effort to only buy mohair that I actually NEED for an order or a project that is currently being made. I've challenged myself to work out of my "stash" when creating new one of a kind pieces.

The problem with this piece of fur was that while it was a nice pile length, I just didn't have cream with lavendar tips in mind for the next bear!

Ok, enter (stage left?) a package of RIT dye -- Dark Brown, and off we go to the washing machine.

Step one - wash the piece of mohair in warm water with a little laundry soap -- its really important when doing dyes that the fabric to be colored be WET when you start

Step two - fill washer with water, mix the dye (don't forget the extra salt) and add the dye to the water

Step three - put fabric into washer and watch -- After the first 10 minutes of the cycle, I pulled out the piece and took a look --- nope, not dark enough -- back into the dye -- finally after about half an hour the color was as dark as it was going to get, so I let the washer finish the cycle including a double rinse

Step four - toss the mohair into the dryer on low heat with a dryer sheet and run a full hot load with lots of bleach through the washer (just because I wanted the mohair this color does not mean the DH wants all his underwear that color!)

Amazing things happen to a long pile mohair when subjected to this treatment. For one thing, this fabric originally had a sort of compressed, swirly finish to it. After all that agitating and rolling, its quite fluffy!

Today I'm going to do a "test head" out of part of this to see if I like the new pattern I just designed.

This should be fun!!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Bracelet and toucan and new projects -- OH MY!

I finished the bracelet that I had been working see the details and bigger photos, go here.

Today it goes off to Belle Armoire Jewelry for consideration....

Also waiting on the porch for the mail man is Toucan IV, which I sold over the weekend to a lady in Kansas.....

So yesterday (aside from finishing the bracelet), I started pulling out the fabrics to work on new birds -- dodos, a puffin (a whole new design!), a new toucan (and a white toucan too), and the DH is working on a new penguin design. There is also a black sheep to be cut, and I'm starting to think about a new bear ---

Ok, its time to get busy!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Bracelet nears completion!

Even though I spent a lot of time "playing" yesterday, I did manage to get the field work on the bracelet finished (well, pretty much, there is always some "tweeking" that goes on when I put it together).

So today I will be searching my "stash" for the right beads to do the edging. (They need to be the same color as part of the field, but they need to all be the same size, the random thing doesn't work on the edges!)

I haven't decided yet which suede I will use as the backing on this one.....but I'm thinking about red.....

Fall has really arrived.

The deciduous tree in the yard next door is growing through the branches of our lodge pole pine, but this is the only time of year you really notice it!

It does make for a pretty picture.

Our lab doesn't really care about the trees turning colors, what she's interested in is trying to catch those squirrels that keep coming into her yard!

Here she has just done a mad dash across the yard only to have the squirrels sit up in the tree and make chattering noises at her. (Actually I'm glad she isn't quick enough to catch one! The idea of having to "finish the job" for her isn't my idea of a good time.)

I spent a lot of my play time yesterday tracing the pattern for the next quilt I will be starting. Much fewer pieces in this one -- only about 200 -- but a new and interesting challenge.

Along the way I had to stop to take a phone order for a Toucan which I will be shipping out tomorrow (no mail service today -- Thanks Columbus!). This means that I really will need to get busy on some animals -- we now have no dodos, no toucans, only one penquin -- seems the birds have all "flown the coop" (hehehe).

So, today between loads of laundry, I will start in looking for patterns and fabrics to start in on new projects......

Oh yes, did you notice? I've finally figured out how to get my counters for projects to stay at the top of the blog so I don't have to keep cutting and pasting them! I can't take credit for being smart enough to have done it on my own, tho' -- thanks to my sister for walking me through it on the phone!!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Bracelet work continues.....

See? Its coming right along!

This is the first time that I have used a random assortment of sizes to create the "field" of a bracelet, and I rather like the look.

I think its right on target to get this finished and out of here to meet the deadline!

I'm going to have another go at a play day and see if we can actually make it happen today!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Back to working

This is going to be a bracelet that I intend to send to Belle Amoire for consideration in their upcoming jewelry edition.....I got all of the bezels built and started the field yesterday ---- moving right along!!

Meantime, the magnetic clasps I had ordered arrived yesterday, so I should be able to work on the hand bag today too.

And another square is done!!

time to get to it!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Feeling better.....

After spending most of the day snoozing in the recliner yesterday, I'm feeling almost human again.....

I actually managed to get some work done on a handbag and a bead piece, and knit one more square.

(I mailed off another box of 13 squares on Monday, and we're moving right along)

Hopefully in the next day or so I'll get back on track for finishing some things....

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

a day or two of sick leave....

the studio is still here, but I'm feeling a bit under the weather.....seems somewhere I picked up some little "bug" that has me running to toss my cookies....ICK! and generally feeling like the van has run over me, so I'll be "out" for a day or two.....

updates later on projects........

Monday, October 01, 2007

Website Update!

This morning I loaded up some new pages on my website (and archived the animals that we sent to new homes when we were in Kansas City!).

It took several hours to get all of the new pages written, but I think it looks pretty good.

Check out the newest stuff on Esmereldas.