Wednesday, December 31, 2008

the big "Reveal"

Now that Christmas is over and (most of) the gifts have been put into the hands of their intended receivers, I thought I'd show a few pictures of the finished items.

The parrot quilt was a BIG hit.

My quilts all go with a guarantee that covers them only if they are actually USED! I don't make them to be folded up and put away!! (otherwise what excuse would I have to make another one later??)

I was pleased to see this beauty be put to use right away.

and I did get advance permission to borrow it back in August so I can enter it in the State Fair.

Just before we went off to our daughter's I finished the vest for her friend's little girl

It's a little hard to see, but the yoke of this has kitties knit into it, complete with little tails on the back


and then there were the new doggie toys

these 3 designs were actually whipped up in the last couple of days before we headed off (and the "princess" has already been in her best "destructor" mode on them)

Future toys for the terrier will be made of very sturdy denim --- it doesn't stop her, but it does slow her down!!

Aren't they cute

don't be fooled, this was one of the peaceful moments when my dog (the big black lab) and my daughter's newest dog (wheat colored cairn terrier, aka "the Terrier-izer") were asleep

see this lovely lady?

yes, Ewe!

one of my presents for Christmas was the fleece of this beautiful Jacob Sheep -- her name is Dot -- and the box should arrive today

The plan is to use the many colors to do needle felting on teddy bears and other ideas

I'm looking forward to a lot of "play time" in the new year

there is actually some work going on, believe it or not

this is the second batch of beach glass

I've already started working up some jewelry from the purple pieces, and have some other pieces waiting from the yellow and the white

The glass that looks white here went into the tumbler red -- alas, the color was all in a "paint" on the outside which of course the tumbler took right off

I have found some genuine, through and through red glass, however, and it will be in the next batch

a while back I had started on this knitting project then set it aside because I had knitting that needed to be finished for Christmas

since we got back I've been working on this a bit, and just finished this last block last night

Yesterday we did the inventory of the jewelry and this morning I ran the necessary reports to do the taxes for 2008

I really hate tax season, but I've found that by spacing out the work it's less painful.

This is also the time of the year when I fiddle with the web site, apply to shows and design new pieces of jewelry and bears

Yup, it's good to be getting back in the flow of actually working --- maybe the forced time off was a good thing

onward and upward

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

and to all a good night

I know, it's been a long, L O N G, time since I last posted

I have been recovering from a seriously injured right arm, which basically means I have been doing nothing more than is absolutely required (I'm so right handed I can barely feed myself with my left, something that I'm thinking I should work on changing)

I'm enjoying time with the DH, my daughter and her hubby, 3 dogs (and a yard with no fence, so multiple daily walks are giving us free reign to enjoy some Christmas goodies!) and a bird at my daughter's new home. Yesterday the DH and my daughter did major baking projects (bar cookies and sticky buns) then my daughter and I made a pan of lasagna for dinner -- something Italian for Christmas Eve is pretty traditional for us. That was the first major cooking (anything other than heating in the microwave) that I've done for about 3 weeks -- so I am recovering

Lots of ideas are percolating for new projects in 2009 --- I'm just not rushing into anything right now

Merry Christmas to all of you!!!!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I've lost a day or two here

I'm slowly recovering

the arm still aches, but this morning I could actually get dressed without screaming, so we're improving

this of course has put a kink in my Christmas mojo -- like a major kink -- as in I still haven't gotten the cards mailed, and there are half a dozen projects in the works that are not yet finished


so, I need to do things in small steps (or crawling)

today I hope to get a little bit of knitting done -- we'll see

Thursday, December 11, 2008

a few more things

the last of the making for the giving tree

cute little sweater vest has bear fronts and bear backs on the yoke

Now we can wrap up the presents and take them over to the store where we picked up the tag

play apron for another child

this one has embroidery and button accents on the front (I'm having a lot of fun with the sewing machine!)

Picked up this cute item at Pier One for a dollar

image a cute little polar bear wearing this

you get the idea!

I'm not feeling all that great this morning, so I'm planning to lay low today --

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I can report that the bird quilt is complete!! Pictures will be posted later (just in case the person I made it for should visit here)

I finished another sewing project yesterday too, but I know the person that is for reads this, so there will be no pictures of it here either

In all of the many projects I've worked on in the last week or so, I've managed to develope an extremely sore right shoulder and upper arm -- even typing is a bit painful right now, so I'll be taking a couple of days to GO S L O W and try to let it heal itself

today I'm having lunch with a friend (that I haven't seen in over 10 years!!), and we have a few more house decorations we want to put up, and this morning I've already let my fingers do the shopping for some Christmas presents on line, but I'm not pushing anything else

fear not, I shall return!!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

and another one bites the dust

a project off the sticks!!

This is the Christmas sock I did for the new grand dog

I've only been working on this in little bits and pieces over the past month or so (started it right after they got the new dog)

I also finished the quilting on the log cabin quilt I've been working on for my sister --- YIPEE!!

Still working on lots of other "for Christmas" projects too

so there is still sewing and knitting and paper crafts to work on a plenty!

(and of course this is where my mind starts "going to the punch bowl" and thinking about new bead designs and other goodies I want to start on but just can't right now!)

My daughter asked me for one of the bear ornaments I had made to give to a friend, so I'll be shipping that off to her shortly, but digging those out made me consider the idea of listing some of them on Etsy, so I'm hoping to get that done sometime today.

time to get rollin'

Monday, December 08, 2008

I think I can, I think I can

Ta Da!

Just before the delivery man brings me the new printer cartridges so I can start making the note cards, I FINALLY finished the last of the planned drawings for the quilt series.

For whatever reason, I just could not get this one done until last night ---

Now I can move on to other projects!!


Sunday, December 07, 2008

ooooooh -- GOODIES!

This folks, is better than getting the biggest new box of crayons that is made

This is my new bead order, freshly dumped out of the box, still all in it's plastic wrappers, just waiting for me to do who knows what with them!!

Of course before I get to do that, I must do the "business" stuff with them -- checking the order, recording the inventory, etc., etc., but just knowing they are there, just waiting for me to turn them into wonderful things is enough to make me impatient with the pace of finishing current things that must be done first

This is the first order that has included so many different colors and styles of beads --- and the first one that includes all of the beads for a piece I've been designing for quite some time -- it's sort of like custom ordering that box of crayons for only coloring sunsets

Yesterday, we had planned to decorate the tree, but we ended up going to 2 different Christmas boutiques instead -- one in a home in our neighborhood and one at the local high school -- the high school trip confirmed for me that I had made the right choice in NOT participating --- there were several jewelry booths and most of them had big "Everything 50% to 75% Off" signs on them

I can not understand folks that do that unless they are going out of business --- as far as I'm concerned, the jewelry is worth the same as it was at the beginning of the show season -- there's still the same amount of materials and work in it -- I just don't get it!!

So, today to the tree trimming, then some sewing, and Christmas cards to sign --- the usual December stuff

time to dash away!!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

orders filled, more snow flakes and a quilt

see, the order that I got on Etsy yesterday is all ready to be shipped off

I have to say you could have knocked me over with a feather when I got this order, since it is the first one in over a year on Etsy, but I guess I finally posted something someone wanted!

Anyway, this will be off in the mail today

Since I had the machine up and running, I decided to do a few more of the snowflakes.

I really like the way the glittering looks on the blue one, and I think it will be even more awesome on the white

It takes nearly as long to do all the trimming as it does the machine to do the stitching!

So, just to not be simply twiddling my thumbs, I worked on this quilt drawing

I have 5 of these done now, and have one more started, so hopefully when the new printer cartridges arrive on Monday I'll be ready to start printing off the note cards


Yesterday we put up the family room tree -- that is we rearranged the furniture, put the tree together (unlike the living room tree, this one has to be put up branch by branch) and put the lights on

Today we'll do ornaments

I'm doing the blind stitching on the top side of the quilt binding -- this has got to be the part that seems to take F O R E V E R!!! (maybe it's just because I'm really wanting it to be finished!!)

So, it's off to make merry -- and then get some other projects done

Thursday, December 04, 2008

something that is dead

this would be my phone

somehow it got wet

water + electronic anything = getting to play taps as you toss whatever it is into the trash

fortunately, we try to always have a backup plan -- in this case an older model of a cell phone that I could just activate

the tech guy says it may actually come back on after it dries out and if it does he can transfer all of my contacts

I can get an upgrade in January anyway, so I'm thinking I'll just wait until then to get a new phone

These lovelies are Christmas aprons that I will be listing on Etsy this week (there are actually going to be 4 available for sale as I have 2 of the ones with the roses and poinsettias)

I made these back in the late 1970s for a boutique, then put them away. When I was cleaning out some stuff last week, I found them.

They are very nice fabric, so I thought I'd give it a try.

Last night I finished the quilting on the bird quilt. Today I hope to get the sewing machine set up to do the binding and also to whip up a couple of pairs of sweat pants to go with the sweater I'm knitting for the Giving Tree gift.

time to get to it!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

it's Christmas Count Down

The many, many projects are progressing

Finally completed the body of the knitting on this project, so this evening I will be stitching up the shoulder seams and starting on the ribbed bands around the arms and the neck

Moving right along!

This is the vest I started over the weekend for a little girl who is our daughter's friend's child

I'm almost to the point where it gets split for the arms, and this pattern has the cutest little animal faces (and backsides) that are knit into them in the yoke

I will be putting this aside for a few days, however to do some knitting for something else

The local grocery store has a giving tree this year

We've been dropping extra cans or packages in the food drop since those appeared in the stores, but yesterday was the first time I had noticed the tree

This is the tag we pulled

It specifically requests clothing for a size 3T/4T girl

So, there will be a bit of stitching and knitting in the next week or so for this project

Those of you that know me really well know about the Christmas t-shirts

I used to have a pretty good size collection of these as I would try to wear a different one every Friday to work during the holiday season (what could be better on casual Friday than jeans and a t-shirt with a jacket?)

Anyway, I haven't bought myself a new one for about 8 years -- but when we were in Walmart yesterday, this was on the $5 rack, and I fell in love with it

What it says in smaller letters under the "World Tour" is this: "One Million Cities, One Night Only, 12-24-08"

This will be my Christmas Day attire this year!!

Ok, time to stop babbling and get busy with all those projects!!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

not dead yet

although I have to admit I still have some very sore muscles!!

I had forgotten just how much hard work moving is

On Saturday morning my daughter and her husband appeared at our house with a big pick up truck and a 2 horse trailer in tow

Having had advanced notice, I had called a couple of friends for help, and within an hour all of the furniture that was to go with them was all loaded into the truck, the trailer and the back of our van.

After a lunch break we headed out in a fine dusting of snow over Monument Pass and on to their new house

Let me tell you, their house is very nice. A sensible cafe au lait colored carpet, hardwood in the kitchen, dining area and entry hall and very nice textured vinyl in the baths and laundry room -- even an in kitchen pantry closet -- mmmmmmm!!!

At that end we unloaded all of the goodies we had loaded at our end, plus the washer and dryer and spent the rest of Saturday and all of Sunday setting things up and putting things away.

The washer and dryer were a special challenge as we had to install a new cord on the dryer before it could be used as the plug would not fit the new outlet, and it was decided that new water supply hoses were a good idea for the washer.

And there were lights and ceiling fans to be installed in the bedroom ceilings and beds to be put together -- giving a whole new meaning to the phrase "make the bed"!

Yesterday morning they went back to work (to rest, as my daughter said) and we came home -- and had to shovel the driveway, the sidewalks and the back patio of about 4 inches of heavy wet snow --- seems we were in the right window to get things out!!

While I was gone I did get quite a bit of knitting done on a sweater vest I'm making for one of my daughter's friends kids -- little sweaters go a lot quicker

So today it's back to what resembles normal -- laundry to do, more Christmas projects to work on -- maybe some pictures tomorrow!!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Experimental snowflakes

Now that I have FINALLY figured out how to use at least some of the software for the sewing machine, I decided to play with some of the "Bonus" designs that I had on a CD.

This was one of them, and though it's hard to tell from the picture, what you're seeing here is ONLY the embroidery -- so it actually looks like a stitched snowflake with all the open spaces, etc.

I figured if I used a tear away stabilizer and several layers of water soluable stabilizer to stitch through then remove all of the visable stabilizers afterwards, that I might get something that could be used as an ornament

I was right! The plan next is to attach a thread loop, then use spray adhesive and some glitter

Pictures forthcoming if it works!

It has been a tradition at our house for a number of years that the Christmas tree goes up on Thanksgiving day.

This began when we decided we were going to use artificial trees, and there really wasn't any reason not to put up a tree that early, before that the tree had usually gone up around Dec 15.

This is the "tree glow" of the living room tree with it's newly acquired strings of L.E.D. lights.

I notice that they have a slightly "pinker" look than the old incandescent ones, but they have many, many advantages -- like I'll actually be willing to turn them on because they won't send the electric meter twirling!

We did get a little bit of snow last night -- I doubt if it will stick around very long as the temperatures will be in the 40's again -- it's ok with me!

time to get moving -- literally as our daughter and her husband will be here to pick up the furniture we're giving them for their new house!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Mission Accomplished!

another quilt drawing complete -- after trying VERY unsuccessfully to do a Double Irish Chain (I tried 3 different times!), I settled on this one that I call "Spoolie"

All this was being done while I sat in the room with the sewing machine and it embroidered Kokopelli on "things"

I also cleaned up the living room and organized a tub full of Christmas gifts while that was happening

On the whole a very productive day with the sewing machine

The next plan involves a lot of pale blue thread and water soluable stabilizer -- and a trip back to the computer to create a disc

Have you seen these on the newstand yet?

Oh my!!

I don't buy these on a regular basis -- in fact the last December issue of Martha Stewart Living that I purchased was in 2001 (don't tell Martha!)

But these are just amazing this year

there are at least a dozen projects between the two that I want to try/adapt/fiddle with -- a sort of reward/incentive to finish up some other projects!!

So now I'm off to get two new tires on the van --

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

nothin' ta see here

seems that while I was quite busy yesterday, there is just nothing that had a picture taken of it!

Even so, despite still being wiped out from the show, I did manage to accomplish the following:

4 loads of laundry washed, dried and folded

a trip to the hardware store for sand (and a bucket to keep it in) so I can load up the tumbler with glass and get it started (and while we were there, I got a can of paint for the compost bin we've been building -- it was originally a $12.50 quart can of exterior paint, but someone did the color mixing wrong, so it was marked down to $3.24! -- my favorite way to buy paint for this kind of project!!)

a trip to the craft store for thread and water soluable stabilizer for some Christmas projects -- while we were in there we also picked up some sculpy clay for the DH to play with for his latest project

a trip to the grocery store

all of the alignment markings have been basted into the fabrics of my next machine embroidery project, so that today I can start hooping and stitching -- while I'm "babysitting" the machine (I just need to be there to keep an eye on it and to change the thread when it "beeps") I'll be working on more quilt drawings for the note card project

I discovered last night that I've done a lot more on the bird quilt than I thought I had -- it looks like that will be finished in the next week to 10 days -- even with the time out to help my daughter move -- wow!

so, on the whole, things are progressing nicely

I'm thinking about starting to address Christmas cards (yes folks, it's time!) and writing the Christmas letter (stop groaning out there!!)

onward and upward

Monday, November 24, 2008

Cartwheels and back flips

After several years of struggle I can finally say that I have outsmarted the machine

As I was trying to figure this out on Thursday I was able to get (FINALLY) a key piece of information that helped me solve the problem of how to get the embroidery files from the CD they came on to the floppy disc that fits in the machine. In a conversation I had with the place that repaired my machine, I learned that it was necessary to write the file out of the program DIRECTLY on to the floppy, it can not be copied and pasted from another source (can we say those Viking programmers are totally paranoid?!)

Anyway, after a conversation with my brother in law (the ever wonderful family computer doctor and hardware source), and my sister's visit at the craft show on Saturday (bringing the needed external USB floppy device) I was able to sit down yesterday afternoon with the laptop (where the program resides) and create the file that stitched this piece.

We have achieved Kokopelli!!!

We are thrilled. The work on Christmas projects can continue!!


And there is nothing quite so satisfying as the sound of breaking glass -- especially when you have big plans for the broken pieces!!

Since the beach glass pieces were such a big hit at the show on Saturday, I decided that we needed to do some pieces with some of the other recently "found" glass.

We experimented a bit with how to actually do the breaking, but in the end we have these three containers full of pieces that can be tumbled for making of jewelry. I'll be getting that tumbler rolling sometime this afternoon.

After breakfast this morning we'll be making a trip to the hardware store for a bucket and some sand for the tumbler, followed by a stop at the Hobby Lobby for some thread to match the items I want to stitch on -- whoo hoo

time to roll!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Home Sweet Booth

Here was our booth yesterday at the craft show.

Instead of trying to cram 3 tables into an 8x10 space, we went with just our 2 larger ones

We can't put out quite so much stuff, but the display features a lot more "walk in" space, which means the customers will actually stay long enough to see something they might buy

It's a good thing

I have to say that I did not have high hopes for this show, last year it was the last show in that area after two other semi-successful ones, and this one was a bust then

Given the state of the economy, I was seriously thinking it was a waste of time

I was pleasantly surprised -- perhaps it was the fact that we are literally the brightest booth in the room (you just can't see the colors of what I do properly in gym lighting, so I carry my own), perhaps it was the fact that we had a better layout for the booth, perhaps it was that I picked the right stuff to put out (the Rocky Mountain Beach Glass was a big HIT!!), maybe it was just our day to make a little on our efforts

While it wasn't a great show money wise, we did make a little profit, so I can order some more materials to go with the beach glass things

My sister came out in the afternoon and visited for a while -- when she attends these things she usually come late in the day and helps out with the packing up and hauling out -- I can not tell you just how much I appreciate both the opportunity to visit with her and the extra pair of hands at the end of a long day (we'd been up since 4 a.m.!) -- so a big hug and a bigger thank you to my sister!!

Today there will of course be paperwork to do and the unloading of the van and after today all of the display pieces, etc., can be put away. Soon I will be doing the end of year inventories and all of that as this was our last show for the year. My on line stores are open all the time, but I do the accounting for those a different way. Ah, December -- Christmas and taxes -- Pffffftt!

time to get to it

Friday, November 21, 2008

2 done and more on the sticks

Ah, the sweet sensation of a successful project!

The kitty sweat shirt got all stitched yesterday!

this picture was taken right after I removed the hoop and before I had trimmed all of the little threads and basting stitches

5 kitties -- siamese, orange tiger, tabby, white (with orange tail and ears) and black

Hopefully my dad will enjoy these

Now it goes in a cold rinse to remove all the blue marking pen and it will be ready to wrap up

While I was "babysitting" the machine stitching away, I finished the second of the drawings for note cards

This one is call Snowball

and yes, those stripes are all carefully hand drawn in!

So now I have started one that is a Double Irish Chain -- all in shades of green and white

The last of the sunflower hotpad project.

These are all done and ready for gift wrapping too

(I spent some of the kitty stitching time weaving in the many, many ends that are involved with these)

So now there are 3 hotpads and 2 dishrags and that gift is all complete!

So of course as soon as one thing is off the sticks, I put another one on!

Right now this is on a pair of straight needles, because when I started it about 10 last night I didn't want to get up out of my chair and go find the Denise set to change the needle tips from the last project and these needls just happened to be in the cup on the table next to my chair

This is the beginning of the Christmas stocking I'm making for my new grand dog

Meantime, I have only about 3 1/2 inches left before I graft the shoulder seams on the blue vest.

And the quilts are moving right along too -- I'm now half finished with quilting the bird quilt and 70% of the log cabin is done -- woo hoo!!

Today we'll be loading up the van for our show tomorrow -- guess I better get to it!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A different sort of quilt

A while back I decided I was going to try to come up with some new notecards to use, and maybe to share as gifts too.

This is the first drawing (Titled Christmas Quilt I) for that idea

It was done with markers and colored pencils on white paper and if you look closely at the "spotted" blocks, they have tiny tree like shapes drawn in them

This was not the project I intended to work on yesterday. The original plan was that I would finish up the cat embroideries on the sweat shirt, but I spent a LOT of time on hold with insurance companies yesterday for the DH, and the drawing was something I could do while listening to the awful Musak (why they can't have something better is beyond me, but I digress)

I'm hoping to do several more quilt drawings so there is an assortment of 4 or 6 designs that could become a "set". And I'm thinking about trying out printing them on a rough kind of water color style paper -- we'll see

hopefully today I'll get a bit more done

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Ode on the embroidered cat --

Since the embroidery machine has returned, I figured I'd use it to do some other Christmas projects.

Now days my dad wears sweat shirts quite a bit, so I decided to make one special just for him.

Being the "what if I screw it up" type, I decided I would do a "dry run" on the picture I want to put on that shirt. And as I watched the machine crank along, I also figured out that I can change the colors of the cats to suit my whims

Step 1

Now I know this is hard to see, but it's an off white on a white background

This bit of stitching creates the lighter coloring of the inside of the legs and the chest of the kitty

Step 2

now for the darker shadowing on the head and ears

Step 3

Now the main body of the cat -- the way the machine does this is to stitch the tail first, then the body and legs and the face last

All of that is important when considering the changing of colors

Step 4

Extra highlighting on the back of the kitty

This will be great especially on stripped kitties

Step 5

Outlining every little detail, putting in whiskers, eyes, nose and mouth

The program is very systematic about this, which again will be very useful for making different color cats

The plan now is to do 5 kitties across the front of that sweatshirt -- a black cat, a marmalade cat, a siamese cat, a tabby cat and a white cat with orange tail and ear markings

Today I plan to get the stitching done -- I did all of the marking prep last night

I'm beginning to think I will soon be wondering what to do with the sample blocks I'm stitching .

On the other side of this whole machine pleasure is the "dark side" of owning one of these machines -- actually the issue began with the salesman (think used car type!) that I bought the machine from in the first place -- he extolled the joys of the machine, let me play with it, told me it would do all the things I wanted to do -- he just neglected to tell me that there were a whole web of strings attached --

Anyway, since the machine is now working again, I've gone back to playing with the software that does digitizing and such, only to discover that I now need to obtain a floppy drive for my laptop -- fortunately for me, I have an in family computer help desk/hardware source, so this problem will soon be solved too.

Meantime, today while the cats are stitching, I'll be playing with the software to set up some new projects!

into the fray-----