Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Shirts and dragons and squares and things.......

Along with finally getting around to taking down the Christmas tree (what can I say, I'd rather play in the studio that do that), I've been actually getting some items finished.

This one for instance!

After nearly a year of "futzin'" with it, I have declared it to be finished.

I really like the way the back of it looks -- like I'm being hugged by the tree!

And here is a close up of how I finally handled the clasp -- a skirt hook, a thread loop and 2 glass leaf beads -- yup, this is cool

Here's a close up of a section of the back that shows the "halo" behind the leaves.

So now its just a waiting game until it gets warm enough that I can wear this as a jacket and not have to cover it with a snow parka! (I can hardly wait!!)

This item is finished too.

In fact, this eye glass cord and the fuscha one I talked about earlier in the week will be going into my Etsy Shop. Watch for links to them at the top right of the blog soon.

As you may recall, I've been working on two squares to go to The Pink Artist charity effort.

This is the one I designed for my son-in-law's mother, who is doing well in her fight with breast cancer.

Now its on to doing the write ups on both of the squares and getting them into the mail!

its a DRAGON!!

Awesome isn't he......this is the centerpiece of the quilt I'm currently working on, and he has taken me about 2 weeks to finish (working about an hour a night)

As some of you may recall, this piece is a collaborative work of my husband and I, and last night, as we looked again at the drawing of the quilt, we decided that we are going to alter the right hand side of it a bit more.

We have decided that where the green island on the far right side is should really be more waves instead, so we will be doing some pattern revisions. Nothing about any of our designs is ever "set in stone" until we look at it and say "yup, its done" with the last stitch.

So, there will be more drawing before I start cutting fabric for that third panel of the quilt.

Meantime, I'm thinking of making the back of the quilt RED, since that is a color of good luck, and it had already been decided that it will be quilted from the back as I have a whole other "story" to tell in the quilting (more drawings have to be done for that).

It's looking good tho'!

So, today there will be more de-Christmas-ing, and a lengthy session at the kitchen table going through the inch thick stack of invitations for art shows that have accumulated in the past few weeks, then probably some more stitching of animals.....

time to get to it!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I'm going BALD!

Here's the deal folks -- all this hair is going to go!

On March 14 I will be having it all shaved off in support of Childrens Cancer. Because it is at least 10 inches long, the hair itself will go to Locks of Love to be made into wigs for cancer patients.

So, here's where you can do your part -- use this link, go to the site and make a little donation for the cause.

You'll feel good about it!

And I'll thank you!!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Odds and Ends of the Week

As I take pictures during the week, they don't always "make the cut" and actually get posted on the day I take them.

This, for instance, was the sunrise yesterday morning. Lovely bands of deep pink through the trees.....mmmmmm, yummy!

Its been a long time since I have felt the need to have a pin cushion.

For years I've been quite happy to use a tin (or two or three!) to keep my pins in, but as I have progressed on making more appliqued quilts, I have found it handy to have some place to have pins all nicely pointed with the head sides up for easy grabbing.

So, a while back on a blog I found a pattern for a pin cushion. It was supposed to be made up to measure about 5 inches square. Well, that's just a bit too big for my uses, so I changed the pattern a bit, and this is my version that measures just under 3 inches square. (I know, I know, its that never met a pattern I didn't want to change thing again!)

Anyway, this is made up of scraps of fabrics I had on hand. The pattern says to use a button for the center, but I didn't -- this is a vintage metal earring that I clipped the post off of and used a thread around each petal then down through the pin cushion to attach it.

Cool, huh?

Another project complete!

The plan is for this one (and several others) to go to the teddy bear show, so just above each eye glass loop is a mother of pearl fetish bear bead ---

It may sound silly, but there was a lot of discussion about which way the bears should go -- should they be right side up when the glasses are hanging down around the neck, or should they be right side up when the glasses are on the face?

This particular set will be right side up when the glasses are hanging down.

What do you think?

The last painting is done on the shirt.

Yesterday I even did the "halo" leaves on the cuffs, so now all that is left is to stitch on the hook and eye and the leaf bead on each side of the top edge and I can wear it.

The little extra weight of the paint on the edges of the leaves makes the whole motion of them even better than I envisioned.

The DH asked if he was going to have to follow me around with a leaf rake as the whole thing gives the impression of leaves moving and/or falling from the tree (funny man!).

That this came out even better than I imaged it, this is definately one of those "did I do that?" moments

Over at Girl Gone Thread Wild there is a project afoot that will be a fund raiser for breast cancer. (You can use this link to read all about the project.)

Anyway, as my Aunt Janie was taken too early from us by this disease, and my daughter's mother in law is battling it, I thought the least I could do was spend a little time creating a couple of squares for this effort.

This is the block I created as a memorial to my Aunt Janie. She had been a piano teacher (listed in the Who's Who of American Music back in the 1970's), and music is always one of the things I think of when I think about her.

So, here the music lives on with angel's wing.

And so today there will be laundry and other projects to work on....time to get with it

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Miss Emma in Etsy Shop

Isn't she just adorable?!!

This is the first of the "lab animals" to have a complete make over and be ready to venture out into the world!

You can use the Etsy Shop link on the right of my blog to go take a look at more pictures, or use this link which will take you directly to her listing.

She's looking forward to traveling to a new home soon!!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

enough rope?

Ok, it just LOOKS like rope

This is the beaded lanyard for the next project -- this will be an eye glass cord, but a bit different than the last few I've done -- when I string this one up it will also include some little bear fetish beads between the beaded part and the loops for the glasses.

My plan here is to make up a few of these in different colors to take to the bear show that we will be doing in April.

I may also put some of them on my Etsy store.

More painting!

I think with one more session I will have all of the "halos" done. Then its on to the cuffs.

While I was looking for bear shaped beads to work on the eye glass cord projects I found a few large leaf shaped beads too, so now I know how I will make the clasp on the top of the shirt!

Isn't serendipity wonderful?!

Elphie here is posing for one of those posters labeled

The Dog

Cute Elphie!

guess its time to get busy on projects!!

Friday, January 25, 2008

more Felt fun

Despite my contention that I was not going to put my hands in boiling water, etc., etc., I just couldn't wait to try to get this done!!

(and I wish I'd read the comment from Nancy on yesterday's blog before I got so impatient, because I think her idea about using the potato masher is a great one which I will test out at the next felting session!)

anyway, after we had made our little trip to the post office to mail a box and to the pet food store to pick up dog food (the head of security must be feed after all), I decided to have a go at felting in a dish pan at the kitchen counter

and here are my lovely results -- a little dish soap, a kettle of boiling water and a pair of rubber gloves later --- mmmmmmm, yummy, FELT!!

So today it will be back to the "lab animal" to finish converting her into a new and wonderous piece.

and progress is being made on the shirt -- I got all of the "halo" painting done on the right front yesterday

I think I will be cutting some leaf shapes out of cardboard or plastic and doing just the halos on the cuffs using the same technique

and then there are about a dozen other things to work on today ...... but I should have more time to do them as no "out of the house" trips are planned ...... YEAH!!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

NOT felt and giving it all the birds

As you may recall from reading yesterday's post, I was going along thinking I had this whole felt thing under control, that I was going to be able to get started on finishing up the project, etc., etc., etc.

Well, NOT

While each of the pieces of knitting came out of the wash/dry cycle having shrunk, they are NOT felt

what the ...???

Now I'm in the "what happened and how do I fix it?" mode -- the last bit of felting went just fine. I put the chunk of knitting and/or wool fabric in the pillow case in the washer with the same jeans and they all came out beautifully felted.

So, is it that the pieces were too small? Should I put them all in one bag, not individual ones? Is the water not as hot? (We've had the whole water heater issue in the interim, we'll not dwell on that here.) Was there not enough agitation? (Although I can tell you, I was plenty agitated when they were not felt!)

So, its back to the drawing board on this one. The DH suggested trying the process with boiling water in a dish pan in the sink, but I have no idea how to do that since I know that felting usually requires agitating the fibers too and I'm not sticking my hands in boiling water, thank you!


meantime, we had to go off on our last ever long distance Costco run -- our shiny new Costco will be opening (less than 2 miles away!) on Feb 21, so our next run will be after our next payday to that location.

While in the car for this trip, however, I finished stitching up the dark toucan.

So, now both of the toucans I had planned to have ready for the show in April are ready to be stuffed and finished. Yeah!!

Next bird on the block is the first every puffin -- we'll see how that goes.

off to the coup!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

painting on feet and shirts and knitting for felt

The bird feet are all painted with their final coat of color, so some time in the next few days the clear coating of all the projects will begin.

So, while I was in the swing of painting, I did the edging on the leaves on one side of the shirt.

The picture doesn't really do it justice -- I used a glittery gold fabric paint and ran an outline bead of paint around the outside of each leaf. Then I used a short, stiff brush (almost like a stencil brush) and brushed the line of paint off the edge of the leaf onto the shirt fabric.

I looks like little gold glittery halos around each one -- very neat!

It will probably take 3 more days to get all of it done, then I still have to figure out what else to do to the cuffs (I'm thinking about painting glitter leaves there) and some kind of fastener at the neck (I decided not to put fasteners all down the front as this is intended to be a decorative jacket, not for warmth necessarily) A leaf shaped metal hook and eye type thing would be very cool here, so I guess I'll be looking for something like that.

I finished knitting up the swatches for felting last night. In fact, I can hear the washer going "chugga, chugga, chugga" as I type this. Each of them is tied up in a seperate pillow case and I throw in 4 pairs of jeans in a very low water, high agitation hot load.

this one looks like fruit punch

this one is lemon

this must be orange -- or maybe tangerine

and this one looks like pink lemonade

I'm thinking about making a little bouquet of felt flowers for the bear to hold -- or at least one flower -- we'll see

Last night the big black dog proved that she is a reliable watch dog even tho' we laugh about her being a big couch potato.

About 4 a.m., she began barking. After a couple of attempts on my part to get her to be quiet, I got up and said to her "show me". She led me to a smoke alarm which was doing that annoying "Beep.....Beep.....Beep" that these things do when their batteries go dead.

So, even tho' I was not happy at being awakened at 4 a.m., she was told that she was a very good dog.

(I'll be sleep walking later today -- it took me a while to doze off again, and interrupted sleep is not a real good thing)

Its off to Denver for a shopping trip today (TP and other bulk items that we purchase at Costco)......

time to get moving

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

a complete project? Or Not

A while back I started thinking about doing a piece of jewelry that I could submit to a magazine.

After several conversations via email with the submissions editor of the magazine in question, I came up with this lovely 2 strand necklace made up of pearls, blue topaz and sterling silver.

I really like the look of this piece (although my picture -- as usual -- doesn't do it justice).

Just one little problem however -- in order to submit it to the magazine, I have to be able to tell them where they can obtain the necessary supplies to make it. Obviously I bought them somewhere (ok, DUH!), and I even know where for each and every piece! Problem is, I bought most of these pieces at least 2 years ago, and the catalog no longer includes them!! AAAAARRRRRGGGGHHHHHH!!!! (here I want to run screaming from the room!!!)

Ok, take a D E E P breath and think -- I'll be doing a bit of on line research to see if I can find these things -- otherwise, it'll be back to the drawing board -- {sigh}

Oh yeah, I also finished the new eye glass cord that I was working on for an order, but in my joy of having it ready to ship, I got it all boxed up before I realized I never took a picture of it -- oh well, let me just say it was nice (and maybe the recipient will take a picture of it when it arrives.)

Finally finished stitching the bead "veins" in the leaves on the shirt yesterday.

Between the added paint in the second color and the extra leaves, I'm a lot happier with the way this looks.

I had originally thought about sending this off to Bella Armoire, but I really, REALLY want to wear it when we go to Nevada City in April, so I think I'll wait to submit the second shirt when I get it finished.

Yup, you heard it -- I said SECOND SHIRT! Seems there is a similar shirt in green that will be coming my way when the cold weather is over. I'm thinking fairies, or maybe mermaids and fish -- we'll see.

Remember the lovely yarn that arrived on my porch last week?

Well, as you can see, I've been busy knitting up little pieces to be felted for accessorizing the new bears.

So far I have a fairly large piece of pink knit up from the Black Sheep, commercially dyed stuff that I intend to use cut in a heart shape along with a silver or mother of pearl heart charm on the chest of each of those "primitive" bears.

The other yarns were hand dyed with Koolaid by my sister, and are the most wonderful colors. Shown here are the grape and the lime (I think, they weren't labeled, so I'm just guessing based on what I know about Koolaid!). I'm now working on a yellow which I'm thinking is probably lemon (it looks like a sunshine yellow crayon), then there is an orange and a sort of fruit punch and a variagated that goes from pale yellow to sort of tangerine -- wonder what that flavor was!) More pictures to come of the rest of the knit squares, then we'll see what they all look like when they come out of the washer!

Time to get moving!!

Monday, January 21, 2008


I hate wasting paint, and one of the ways I try to cut down on possible waste is to do a bunch of projects all at once.

Since this item is now ready for the final sealer coats (clear polymer paint), I thought I would get the other items that will need sealer ready and do them all at once.

ok, to the "untrained" eye, these may look like random chunks of wire, but actually this is three pair of feet for some birds that I'm working on

The 2 pair at the left (one black, one white) are for the 2 new toucans I've been stitching together (off and on) for a while now

The taller pair with web feet are for the new flamingo

all three pair of these need another coat of "color" before I'll be ready to do the clear coat

then there is this project

This is actually a 7 inch wood box that I have painted side a different color, then used crackle medium (which didn't do what I wanted it to), then its been rubbed with a warm oak stain, and then finally yesterday I used some rough sandpaper all over it to get it to where I'm actually happy with it

So now the box is actually ready for the clear coat

Then there is the bear -- a "stump" critter (has no legs) that I intend to fully dress as a sort of "sorcerer's apprentice" type character -- the fur is a piece that I hand dyed (the original was a cream with lavendar tips), and the head pattern is the first one I cut from the new design that I'm also using for the pink bear I'm working on.

(This is a sort of departure in approach for me as I usually make the animals entirely out of the mohair, but I figured if its going to be glued into the box and totally dressed in a costume that is stitched on, why waste the expensive material?)

The idea is to use this face as the experiment for the shaving/lower jaw building/etc. before I start on the pink one -- I have more of this fabric, but not more of the pink, so that one needs to be right the first time.

I spent time yesterday knitting up some of the yarn that came in the "gift box" (and after talking to my sister, who sent the box, found out that ALL of them are feltable, so I'll be knitting up little swatches of all of them to felt and use as accents on projects!!)

I also returned to working on the shirt/jacket -- having added about 18 more leaves all over it, I need to do the beaded veining on each of those -- then it will be on to the "glitter paint"

Yup, just like normal, a dozen "irons in the fire" and not much to show for it yet!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

cold dogs, lab animals and beads (OH MY!)

Its been COLD this week. And I can tell you that our "head of security" is not at all pleased with this turn of events -- she has been telling me (repeatedly!) that just because she is a labrador, she does not want Labrador type weather -- and would I turn up the heat please.

So here she is at the back door peaking out at the snow and being comforted by her favorite toy de jour

For the projects I have at hand, however, the cold is no deterrent.

Here we have the strand of right angle weave beads ready to be "zipped" up into a round cord, suitable for hanging glasses around one's neck.

This project should be complete today!

And then there is the "lab animal"

Here she is, all brushed up from her adventures with the tea spritzing and I have done the "darning" in the spots I had shaved

In all, there are seven different places that I decorated with embroidery floss, using the same technique that one would use to darn a sock -- remember darning socks? No? Ah well, guess that shows my age!!

It does make for a colorful decoration on her. Sort of like woven plaid appearing before your eyes.

I used peach, coral, blue and a dark purple for her darnings, which makes for a nice combo on the tea dyed mohair.

Next step is to make the polymer heart beads and to create a collar of some kind for her.

This is moving along much faster than I thought it would!

This lovely box appeared on my door step yesterday afternoon with the mail.

Don't you love the wonderful color? The solid pink at the far right is a feltable wool which I can knit pieces of and make embellishments for bags or bears or whatever other project is at hand.

I'm not sure which of the other colors might be feltable -- I'll have to consult with the gifter of the box!

And so today there will be more work on bears and beads and, oh yeah, perhaps another go at the website

Stay tuned!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Bare Bear Feet

I finished her feet last night!

And I just love the "claws" -- red bugle beads were just the thing to finish the feet up.

Maybe its the red beads, but I think she looks even more pink that I thought she would.

Now that I have her feet done, I need to figure out what I'm doing to her face -- a shave is definately in order, and I'm thinking about making her an open mouth bear if I can get the lower jaw right --- maybe even use some more beads to give her "teeth" -- we'll see

I spent some time working on the "lab animal" yesterday -- after removing the wings from her back (she had been a "cupid" at one time) and picking out all of the stitching on her nose, I used the electric clippers and just randomly shaved some places bare all over her. (now THAT was a little scary!) After that I brewed up some really strong Celestial Seasonings Black Raspberry tea and "spritzed" her with it, rubbing it in to the fur.

Today she is a lovely sort of pinkish tan color (darker in some spots than others, and ready for a good brushing and on to the "darning" parts that I'll be doing in those spots I shaved.

I wanted to put a heart shaped button on her chest, but discovered I didn't have any, but I do have a couple of metal beads that are heart shaped, so I'm going to try making a polymer clay mold of them then make clay hearts to be used instead of a commercial button -- if it works out well, it will be even better than buying something would have been

We've already made our "out of the house" trip for today, picking up our Shares food package this morning after having to shovel about 3 inches of snow out of the driveway. The Shares package is always interesting, sort of reminds me of the Dinner Impossible show on Food TV -- we never know for sure exactly what will be in the package, and its a challenge sometimes to figure out how to use it.

Well, guess its time to get moving!