Friday, August 31, 2007

stealth batwings and other oddities.......

I clipped this cartoon out of the paper the other day because it was cute....little did I realize that I would soon discover that the caption must have been written to apply to me!

This is supposed to be an afghan square.

hmmmmm, lets see, issue number 1 it isn't square! It looks more like a stealth plane, or a batwing, or a raglan sweater seriously run amuck!

Just what happened here?! Well, here's the issue.....this is a pattern for a mitered square that I decided to "tweek" (remember, I never met a pattern I didn't want to change!). When I followed the pattern and knit every row it came out just fine. When I made this one, I decided to try to do it in stockinette stitch (knit one row, purl one row) and guess what.....the guage is totally different so the square isn't -- well, SQUARE!


Okay, I ripped it all out and redid it in the all knit version and its square....

now, how can I figure out how to do this in the other style and have it come out square.....
something to ponder.....

Meantime, I did manage to finish this little shopping tote....even though I did tweek the pattern, it came out ok. My change was to make two straps, one on each side instead of the one strap from one side to the other that the pattern called for. It just seems like this version would be more convenient to use. We'll see how the "testing" goes.

And on a totally different topic, I would highly recommend this new item to all of you chocolate mint fans out there. I found it in my local King Soopers (Kroger store) yesterday, and it was DELISH!! Now I would suggest that they leave the center the same chocolate as the other ones, add the mint flavor and still cover with dark chocolate, but then it would be my recipe, and the candy people aren't listening to me.....even so, this was a great treat.

Progress has been made on the errant teddy bear. Yesterday afternoon he finally told me what to do about his ears, and today I'll be working on his feet (they're large and require some sort of art work to be done on them). Maybe we'll have pictures soon!


Thursday, August 30, 2007

Another critter finished.....

Awwww....isn't he cute?!

Now before you go all nuts on me and say "but it still looks like a mouse!" let me tell you that he looks like a mouse because he IS a mouse!


No, this is NOT the animal that was giving me fits --- that animal is still staring at me with blameful eyes (and no ears) while I go merrily along working on other animals. He's just not getting out of that basket until he tells me how to fix his ears!!

So, the new mousie looks pretty cute and I still have a sheep to work on and some other projects in the works......

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

no pictures today.....

the ears on the next bear are just NOT happenin'!

The idea was to make the ears "different" (ok, how many different styles of ears can you put on a bear and still have it at least vaguely resemble a bear?!), so I drew up the pattern (way back when I started on this guy, probably 2 months ago), cut them out, sewed them up --- all the usual yada yada......

then came the realization yesterday as I was FINALLY ready to stitch them on, that they were WAY too big....we're talking Mickey Mouse, Sally Field's Flying Nun big...he looked like he was ready to launch (and I considered launching him across the room!!)

So, I restitched the ears about 1/4 inch inside the old stitching line, retrimmed and tried again......nope, still wrong

at that point I decided to apply my usual tactic....set him back in the basket and think about it a while....something will come to me.....I just hope it happens before I need to be packing up these critters to go to Kansas City!!

maybe today will be better

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

the magic of a make over


and AFTER!

There was something just not quite right about the face on this little guy, and he had been sitting in a basket looking at me with those wistful eyes for quite a while.

Yesterday I took pity on him and gave him a make over.

I removed his tag and his bow, took off his ears and removed his eyes.

New, larger black eyes are set farther apart, and his face looks much better!!

This bear is much more of a traditional teddy than some of my more recent ones have been, but one needs to have variety in the inventory!!

Now that he's been "remade" he'll be making the trip to Kansas City for the Teddy Bear Jubilee.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

ready for the next step.....

now that the uproar of the wedding is done, I'm back to working on other projects.

The drawing that I will work from for the next quilt is complete. We made some changes to the dragon (only 3 toes per foot -- a proper dragon from Japan!), and adjusted some other things in the design so that it actually is square at the corners.

So sometime in the future (when its not so hot and I don't mind having the patio door closed), I can begin tracing the entire thing onto freezer paper.

Meantime, the quilting on the wedding quilt continues. My sister came down on Thursday and we spent several hours working on it.

Because of the overlapping rings in the design structure its much harder to tell how much progress has been made....its not like you can say "ok, that block is finished" because every block shares at least 2 sides with another one. I can say that work above the center monogram is progressing nicely.

I'm making progress on building the bezels around the stones for the next piece of of the stones is a round piece about 2 1/2 inches in diameter, and it took quite a while to work all around that. The current plan is to use a netting structure similar to the last piece I did for this one, we'll see how that goes.

time to get to work!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Back to work!

Well, I survived the weekend!

On Saturday evening my daughter got married, and my 6 month stint as "wedding coordinator" was complete. We don't have professional pictures yet, but there are a couple of snap shots of the happy couple on my "Random Thoughts" blog which you can view by clicking here. More pictures will be coming later when I get all of the photo CDs from everyone that was there.

She was a beautiful bride, and he's a wonderful guy. For the rest of this week we're keeping their dog, so we're having fun playing with 2 dogs! (pictures of the dogs on the "Random Thoughts" blog too!)

I have managed to get a necklace completed!!

This is one of those "did I do that?" moments when I take the photos of the piece and then have that sort of "out of body" experience that makes me wonder how I managed it.

I think this one is awesome!!

Last night I started working on ideas for another multi stone piece with this kind of open net work as the background. I don't know yet what sort of beads I will use to put it together -- the stones are greens and browns, so I don't think I'll be using silver like I did on this one.

Spending a lot of time in the van last weekend did allow me to do a lot of knitting and crocheting. I finished a lot of things on that front!

Another all cotton hotpad (I'm getting all kinds of requests for these things, so there will be many of these made as Christmas gifts!)

This is all cotton too.....just love this pattern....its right out of the Mason Dixon Knitting book, and I've now knit it enough times that I no longer need the that's the power of repetition!!

I started another of these in the car too, and its about half done.

Then there is this oddity. In case you haven't been reading my blathering for a long time, this is a cover for a wet jet swiffer. My daughter shares my objection to needlessly adding to the land fills, so a while back I did an experimental model of this for her, and it worked really well. Having one to wash and one to use is a good thing!!

This is, by the way, an adaptation of that wash rag pattern that I was talking about, and I used up some buttons that I already had in the house.

And of course afghan squares. I now have 11 of these done, so after only 2 more a box will be ready to be shipped.

I did finish the quilt top for my daughter and the center medallion was all quilted before the wedding. I'll be spending time every day working on the quilting now until I get it finished -- in fact, I invited my sister to come and work on it too.

Well, guess its time to get back to work. I still have laundry to finish and I'm washing up punch bowls and serving trays to go back into storage or back to the people I borrowed them from.....

better get moving!

Monday, August 13, 2007

things brewing......

there will probably be "radio silence" for much of this week here in the studio as my daughter is getting married on Saturday (yes, THIS coming Saturday), and I will be busy with figuring out table set ups, decorating a wedding cake and doing flowers...I probably will not get a lot of other things done.

I'm still working on the quilting of the wedding quilt. Last night when I sat down to work on it I discovered that at some point I had gotten a little spot of blood on it (not sure how), so now we're trying various remedies to remove it without damaging the quilt ---- AAAAARRRRRGGGGGHHHHH!!!!! Any good hints here would be gratefully accepted!!

Time to get to it

Friday, August 10, 2007

A completed bear!

And isn't she cute?

Such an odd little critter with short arms and legs and a loooonnnngggg body.

And what a face! Don't you love the look of mischief?

She's wearing a necklace made up of odds and ends of glass beads strung on a piece of pearle cotton. The big bead at the bottom is one I made at the torch. It just seemed to fit her.

She has no name yet. Sometimes it takes the critters a while to tell us who they are.

The drawing is complete.

All of this will be surrounded with a 3.5 inch border.

Now that the drawing is finished, the next step will be to tape it to the patio door and trace it in sections onto freezer paper so I can cut the freezer paper for the patterns.

This one will be a lot of fun to make -- lots of challenging paper piecing, a smattering of applique, using new and unusual fabrics, and developing a quilting pattern that will also tell a story that augments the story told in the piecing.

And this truly is a collabrative work between the DH and I.

Yesterday I finished my blouse for the wedding. It went together really easily and the fabric was a breeze to work with. (I think some of the scrap will end up in the dragon quilt).

We discovered yesterday that these had to be put up right away, so we (mostly DH, I just helped a little) took care of them.

To see a bit about that project, go here and take a look.

Today there are lots of 'around the house' chores to be done as we have California company arriving tomorrow.

Time to get to it!!!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

work in the studio too....

Even though the wedding "madness" continues, I have found some time to work on things in the studio too. (Perhaps taking refuge there to help clear my head between cakes and sewing and all).

Nothing is finished yet, but here is a peek at what we're working on:

The latest 2 bears -- each with its own distinct "open mouth" style.

What you can't see in the picture are the ENORMOUS feet on the taller one and the very cute short legged pigeon toed legs on the other one.

Both "One of a Kind" animals to be sure as we are still experimenting with the face and leg styles.

Then there is the new sheep (made of alpaca, which of course will require me to knit her a homespun WOOL sweater to keep down the crankiness). I need to make another black sheep too, but I'll have to get some black alpaca fabric first.

The sheep's companion here is another version of the DH's now famous Mousie design.

All of these critters are ready for noses and eyes and ears and such, but right now the table I usually use for that project is taken up with a sewing machine being used for other things. Soon tho'

I've actually been working on a necklace of the style I've just started doing bracelets in.

All of the stones have been bezeled and backed, so now I'm struggling with how best to string them all together. I've been thinking about using a sort of beaded netting to run them all together that would also allow me to add other embellishments between the stones....a sort of beaded collar but not all embroidery like some of the others have been.

And that idea has me thinking about maybe doing another one where I would build the net first and then add the bezels from that base instead of backing the stones with fabric....which might mean I could use some facetted stones too....and just who knows where all that might lead.....

In this case, I'm just playing with the materials to see where they take me!

This is the reason the sewing machine is on the work table.

I bought this lovely periwinkle colored Poly Shantung fabric to make my top for the wedding. The buttons are a sort of mother-of-pearl, iridescent looking that pick up the lovely periwinkle color. The fabric looks like Shantung Silk with its little nubby feel, but because its polyester, it is totally (GASP!) WASHABLE!! I love the look and feel of it, and it was a breeze to cut out the blouse.

I'm hoping to get a lot of the sewing done today.

Wedding work continues:
All of the cake is baked and safely stashed in the freezer.
The menu for the reception has been settled upon.
The flowers have been ordered.
The photographer has been confirmed.
The announcements have been addressed.

The quilting on the wedding ring quilt continues. I have about 1/4 of the center block quilted. I would love to have that entire center block finished by the wedding so we can "artfully display" it with that much done.

Meantime, there are peaches to be canned in the next couple of days, and I'm readying 2 rooms for the use of our friends from California that will arrive on Saturday.

Time to get to it -- we'll be making a trip to Walmart today to pick up some things we need (and can only get there) -- I'll be getting the Hershey kisses to be tied up in little tulle baggies while I'm there -- its the best price in town

Monday, August 06, 2007

Christmas in August!!

When we arrived home from Denver on Saturday afternoon, the post man had left me a package on the front porch (nice guy that he is, he put it where it wouldn't get wet, which was good since it had been raining for a while).

This is what I found inside:

Sixteen balls (some of them totally untouched!) of the lovely cotton that I have been making into dish rags and hotpads. And such a nice assortment of colors....mmmmmmm, hot pink, bright orange, lovely shades of blues. I have already begun using some of this little treasure trove!

And, plastic bags -- green ones and blue ones and several with purples and reds -- yummy good stuff to be cut into strips -- a good project for an evening when I'm feeling too "brain dead" to do anything requiring heavy thought!!

Then there are these wonderful things!! Just in time for me to use them for long quilting sessions and long cake decorating sessions!!

All of this bounty came from my sister -- just a busy little "Christmas" elf she's been sending this to me!!

So the cotton yarns arrived just in time, as I finished up this hotpad on Saturday in the car, and was left with only a little bit of the blue cotton in my "stash".

This is my Salute to the Gees Bend Quilters in crochet form (notice the little odd patches of blues here and there.

Sadly there is no more of this soft "heathery" reddish yarn left, but we'll be moving on to other cottons.

As always when I'm in the car, I got some afghan squares done too.

Yesterday I worked on the "sample" blouse to make sure my pattern worked properly, and did the laundry. Today I will be making the trip to the fabric store to find something to make up for the wedding.

and so we're off and running......

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Final cake class...

Ta Da!

Last night was our last night of class, and this is what I put together. This is my first ever stacked cake, and I learned lots about using dowel rods to put it together.

On the way out of class it was raining, and in trying to keep the frosting from getting wet, I damaged the back edge of the top cake's edging, but it still looks pretty good.

So now I don't get to go back to class until January -- there's one more Wilton class (on fondant and gum paste) but between now that January I'm going to be a bit busy!

Today we're going to visit with my folks and see my sister, so I'll be knitting no doubt

time to hit the road!

Friday, August 03, 2007

blouses and quilts.....

Before I cut into fabric for the wedding outfit, I wanted to test out the pattern I did for the top.

This is the fabric I had on hand, which is kind of cool, so I cut one out of this yesterday, just to test. If it goes well, I will have gained an extra top that I can use for indoor shows or other occassions that call for something nicer than a T-shirt --- like the rehearsal dinner!

This has been the week of the quilt back saga. About 2 weeks ago, my sister (bless her!!) volunteered to purchase the fabric for the back of the wedding quilt and have it shipped to me.

After that, things got crazy. It took the company 8 days from when it supposedly shipped it to get the fabric to me, then, when I opened the package, they had sent the wrong was pretty, but definately GREEN, which didn't go with anything on the quilt.

So, my sister called them and asked them to correct the situation. On Wednesday, early in the morning, the FedEx guy arrived to pick up the stuff they had sent in error.

Later in the day, a second FedEx guy brought the correct stuff. (why they couldn't use one truck and make one trip is beyond me, but there you go....)

Anyway, the newly arrived fabric was a shock on its own in that the picture in the catalog of this fabric shows only yellow and blue while the real thing has a healthy dose of pinkish-purple in it too. Its not exactly what I thought it would be, but because the prints I had used on the top do include some pinks and lavendars and because the binding will be a totally seperate fabric, it will work.

Yesterday I got the whole quilt pin basted (I use those lovely little curved safety pins to do this -- they're a wonderful thing!), and last night I started quilting (just what everyone wants to do in the humidity and heat -- sit with a quilt over their lap!!)

At least we're now making progress!

Meantime, while I was waiting, I got another afghan square done!

the gladiolas in my front yard are blooming --- beautiful! Right now I have 3 different colors in bloom, this lovely one, a deep purple and an orange and yellow one.

I admit that weeks of cake decorating class have changed the way I look at flowers....I look at this one and think "hmmm, with some royal icing and the largest lilly nail I might be able to make some of these"

Tonight is my last cake decorating class, and I have a lot to do to get ready for it, so its time to get hopping!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

We're in a new publication.....

I was notified today by Violette Reid over at Peach Publishing that she has included one of my beading pieces in her current issue. If you'd like to take a look, you can click here to check it out.

We've spent a lot of time in the kitchen the past few days.

We put up a little batch of pickle relish (aren't those jars pretty?). You can read more about this adventure (and get our recipe) by going to Hattie's Kitchen.

I can also report that I have all of my cakes for my Friday class (which is the last one) and 3/4 of the cakes for the wedding in the freezer.

This little lovely is my latest completed knitting. Made up of 2 different kinds of cotton yarn, it has a wonderfully "nubby" texture and should be ideal for scrubbing those bits of food off the plates.

I have managed to get 2 bears stuffed and ready for finishing too....just so you know I'm not just sittin' in front of the cooler, drinkin' sweet tea!

Well, its time to get moving, places to go, people to annoy!!