Wednesday, July 30, 2008

it has begun!

After some time with the iron, making all of the fabrics as wrinkle free as possible, the work on the first of the bird blocks has begun!

4 pieces down, only 587 to go!!

Work on scanning family photos continues.

This sturdy looking bunch are relatives on my dad's side of the family

(perhaps there's some genetic component to our battle with weight?)

The man standing in the center of the picture is my great grandfather, Isaiah "Rade" Ross. The rest of them are the other Ross "clan" members: Jeremiah ("Mood"), Sarah, Amos, Silas, Susanah (Wall), Vashti, Esher, Mariah, Lodema and Sarah (don't you love the names!) I know who is who of the fellows, and Susanah is the mother of this brood (second from the right, seated), but the which girl is which is anyone's guess.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The sound of hovering wings?

Complete at last

all of the patterns for the bird quilt -- including the 2 totally new ones that we decided yesterday needed to be added!

Nice that we're now at the stitching point

this is the colorway for the first bird that I will be working on

we've decided to start at the top right and work downward -- just something a little different from other pieces

today I will be ironing all of the fabrics and hopefully starting the first block

Oh yes, and a countdown for all 591 pieces will be added to the side bar soon

Here is the first harvest from our little garden

one crookneck squash and 4 peppers

the DH cooked the squash in a little oil and garlic powder for dinner last night, and it was wonderful --

he also used the little peppers in a "salsa sauce" that he created to cook over the pork chops


its really nice to know that with these veggies there will be no questions of getting sick because they have some nasty bacteria!

so today there will be ironing and and beading and stitching and quilting (only 3 more rows to do on the lambs!) and knitting and tweeking of patterns for bears -- the usual stuff in the studio!

up an at 'em!

Monday, July 28, 2008

another day, another bird

yup, another pattern all drawn and colored and ready to be cut into

I have 3 more to do -- one more of these big ones in the blocks and then two others that will be "flying loose" so to speak

this has been kind of fun -- finding the pictures so I can see the colors, tracing the drawings (after several trips through the scanner to "bigger" them) onto the freezer paper, then playing with the colored pencils

Soon the selection of which fabrics for which pieces will begin -- the real fun part

oh yes, with the addition of these 95 pieces we're now up to 353 -- and countin'

Saturday, July 26, 2008

June Bearry, Raphael and more

Here is the result of yesterday's work with ribbons and eyelet and glue (ACK!)

Most of the time glue is a forbidden substance in the bear studio, but for certain things it is required

like attaching fabric/beads/ribbon and bees to a plastic basket

(note the bee in the basket with the berries and the one on the handle)

and this morning we had the photo shoot

30 pictures from many, many angles

("I'm ready for my close up, Mr DeMille"!)

and yes, there is a bee on her right shoulder, and one on the end of the ribbon on the left of her face

Yes, she's standing up on her own!!

I don't know if its the weight of all those glass beads I stitched to her feet

or the fact that she has really BIG feet

or if I just got lucky when I tries this

(don't you love the way the dress stands out from the waist?!)

and here we are, stitting down to investigate that basket full of berries

we just have to watch out for the bees!

The bear was not the only accomplishment yesterday, however

This is the third and final panel of the angels

Raphael is complete

now I have to figure out how to put these together to give them the illusion of being a 3 dimensional panel even though it is actually flat

finished another block in the recycled afghan project

I cheated a bit on the CroKay edging -- I used a crochet hook instead of two knitting needles -- it went much quicker

I'll be starting block 6 soon

and another of the patterns is now ready, which means I'm now half way with the birdies

This block has 69 pieces which brings us up to a total of 258 so far

Meantime, the quilting on the lambie quilt is half done!! I'm so excited (and tell me, who but a crazy person would sit UNDER a quilt when it's 90+ degrees outside!?)


Friday, July 25, 2008

its too darn hot...

(can you hear the Cole Porter music?)

We've had several days of 90 degree heat (and over), so I'm spending a lot of my studio creating time sitting in front of the little portable swampy cooler in our family room!

Last night I finally finished the apron for the bear.

geesh!! aprons are a lot more "fiddly" than even the dress was -- all those edges to be hemmed

So today I'll pull out the fabric glue and stuff to finish up her basket

I'm aiming to be able to do a lengthy photo shoot with her tomorrow

The pattern for the second panel of the bird quilt is now ready.

This one has 83 pattern pieces, so the total for the quilt so far is 189.

I'll be adding a "progress counter" on the side bar soon.

Meantime, I'm half finished with the quilting on the lamb quilt.

While I am not happy with the heat, my tomato plants and the little crookneck squash are -- we'll probably be eating the first 2 squash in the next few days (I like 'em little!)

I've also been trying to spend at least half an hour every afternoon putting family history information into the program -- the goal is to get it input so I can share it and so I can get rid of a lot of paper! (Not the pictures or original documents, but the reams and reams of notes, pages copied out of books, census reading sheets, etc) Did I mention that I like big projects? This certainly is one as I've been working on family history (off and on) since about 1980 -- more than 25 years -- amazing!

So, its time to get to it!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

ooooo -- bloomers!

Yup, got these finished last night!

lovely little eyelet fabric with lace edging that matches the lace on the dress


now it's on to the apron

Have worked about 1/4 of the way around the beaded piece, so that's progressing nicely too

Today, being pay day, we'll be off to make our monthly Costco run, then I'll be back working on the bear and stuff

and we're off!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

the little ol' dress maker -- ME

Finished the first step in the dressing process yesterday afternoon

I'm pleased with the way the dress came out, but as soon as I put it on her and sat her down it became obvious that bloomers are required!

See how she has pulled the skirt down in the middle? You understand what I mean here!!

So, eyelet bloomers are in process, then it's on to the apron -- also eyelet -- and a liner for her basket

Meantime, since clothing was on my mind I started the repair of one of the two items my daughter asked me to repair. Haven't lost my touch, one zipper nearly finished!! (and one more to go)

The work in the field behind us is in full swing. By 7:30 this morning the water truck was spraying and the scrapper was picking up dirt and moving it.

At least they are doing aggressive dust abatement! Even so, we're dealing with dirt in the house and scratchy throats.

Today I'm planning to spend some time with a friend working on a quilt that she has a deadline for, and hoping to get started putting the back on the latest bead work

time to get busy

Monday, July 21, 2008

ready for the backing

I finished up the bead work on the front of this piece yesterday afternoon

I'm real pleased with the way it looks

So today I will be doing the next steps preparing to put the leather backing on this

Lookin' good!!

Worked on the dress for the pink beaded bear too -- its now ready to be put on her so now I need to work on creating the apron (more gathering, more eyelet, some stringing of ribbon through beader eyelet -- lots of "frew, frew"!)

today, being monday means I'm spending a good deal of time in the laundry room -- between loads I'm planning on hanging out in front of the portable swampy (90 degrees is TOO HOT!) working on projecs

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Catching up on things

It's been a busy time here for the past few days.

We picked up a great deal at the grocery store and bought 5 pounds of blueberries.

Now I like blueberries in my cereal and my muffins and my pancakes, but 5 pounds is A LOT of blueberries

So, out came the jars and the sugar and the Certo

(I know, there is some sort of fruit mojo that has us working over a hot stove when it's 95 degrees outside!!)

Here then, the results of our labors

beautiful, sweet, yummy jam

(too bad we can't trap the warmth for releasing in the middle of winter when I'll be spreading some of this on toast!)

On Friday I went off to my quilting group and spent the entire morning with the ladies. This group is rather like the old quilting bee -- except that each of us has our own little projects we're working on.

We each have a table to work on that is big enough for a sewing machine (there were several of those running) or to put a cutting mat on (some of that happening) or to spread out a quilt to mark and quilt on (my choice for this time)

While we are a very diverse group by age and background, there is a genuine sense of caring about one another's problems and concerns that is quite refreshing

While there I got a lot of quilting done on the baby quilt, and I'm already looking forward to next month's meeting.

This piece of equipment has arrived in the lot behind us.

Guess this means that we have dust and noise to look forward to this week

The construction company left a notice on our door asking for our patience with their work and telling us that the retirement living center they are building is scheduled to open in Fall of 2009.

Nice to have a time frame!

After several good soakings and an application of fertilizer the green beans seem to be taking off

there are still a few scrawny stragglers, but they look a lot better

The little anaheim chilis are getting bigger

and we have the first crooknecks -- two little babies (and LOTS of other blooms)

the pumpkin is putting out lots of male blooms and starting to crawl across the back of the garden behind the bean patch

this is a good thing -- I really don't want the pumpkins to set too soon as they make for better eating if they ripen when its cooler

and we have tomatoes!

probably about a dozen of various sizes

lookin' good

My daughter, my sister and I converged on my mother's house yesterday morning for a "let's defrost grandma's freezer" party

The upright freezer needs this every now and then, so we went armed with a hair dryer, a case knife, an assortment of odd plastic buckets and a pile of towels.

Its been about 20 years since I had to do this project this way (I have a friend whose upright freezer is at the street end of her garage, and when we defrosted it we just emptied it and brought in the garden hose!)

Anyway, its all done now, so she's set for another couple of years.

My daughter decided that we needed refreshments for this chore and brought along a great summer time desert.

We ate about half of it and left the rest for my folks.

(I have posted the recipe on Hatties Kitchen if you want to give it a try)

When all 4 of us women are together there is always the general exchanging of items ("look, I got this recipe"; "here's your jar/pan/bowl that you brought jam/pie/salad in to the last gathering"; "I cut this coupon/article/picture out for you"; etc., etc.)

This trip my sister totally stunned me by handing me the item in this picture

this is a roll of fabrics that includes every color that was available at the time of its purchase of that wonderful marbly looking fabric that I absolutely LOVE to work with when I'm doing appliqued quilts

She knew about the bird quilt we've been designing and offered these up for me to use parts of

It never fails to amaze (and humble) me that she is so generous with materials that help me make my various projects

It brings to mind a lyric from The Sound of Music -- "somewhere in my youth or childhood, I must have done something good"

Thank you sis!

And under the catagory of "Mom is a Geek"

my daughter brought me the software and the cable for the MP3 player she had given me so I can add more music (probably off of CDs she's made me!)

I'll be tackling this project a bit later in the week.

Well, that about wraps it up -- guess its time to go do something

Friday, July 18, 2008

We're LIVE!

Introducing -- the new website!!!

Its alive (like Frankenstein's monster?!) -- and I'm ahead of my deadline

There will be more updates and additional buttons added as soon as I finish the next parts, but for now, the bears (and critters) and the jewelry is out there


Click Here to go and check it out.

(and PLEASE! -- if you find anything that doesn't work, please let me know right away)


Thursday, July 17, 2008

this and that

A while back I started this project

If you were with me then you may recall that it is an afghan knit in pieces

I'm using recycled yarn -- cotton from a sweater that was the DH's and acrylic from a sweater that was my daughter's


anyway, I hadn't worked on it much for a while -- a row here, a row there -- usually the last thing I picked up in the evening and then promptly feel asleep mid-row!

so last night I finished this block -- its number 4

on to block 5 soon -- maybe

This is my wild and riotous spending for the month

A whole $11.97 (including shipping)

it arrived yesterday -- YIPPEE!!

the plan is to use it as my exclusive repository for the family history data that I'm entering on the computer program

I had in hand already a 256MB one and a 128MB one, but I wanted a dedicated place just for the family history stuff, and since the 256MB was already in heavy use and the 128MB was just not big enough for all those files, photos, documents, etc., I decided to treat myself.

so -- I'm off and running!!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

from the "I'm not done with this project yet" list

Remember this?

Way back in January I was working on this pink bear with the cool beaded feet

and I reached a certain point (as I do some times) and got STUCK!

Could not figure out what to do next.

(suffering from that "I know what I want it to look like I just don't know how to get there" thing)

Well, yesterday afternoon I decided to have a go at putting a face on her.

Here she is!

I used amber glass eyes, and the nose was done in the usual way first then I added all the beads over that.

and had to re-make the ears to get them to a size and shape that I liked

looking good!!

So today we begin the process of creating her "frock"

the plan is to dress her in a dress made of a lovely floral print (that had pink and sort of teal patterning) with a white eyelet apron, then there is the basket of beaded berries and the amazingly realistic if unusually large and bright colored bees to add to the whole effect

So no doubt you're thinking "you haven't worked on this thing since January -- why now?"

well, there's nothing like creating a deadline for yourself to get you moving

I've been filling in forms to enter things in the State Fair, and it occurred to me that there might be a category that I could enter a bear/animal in -- and there is, in the same area that dolls go in

VoilĂ ! Instant self imposed deadline

(and I think I was just ready to work on it again)

The baby quilt got "sandwiched" together yesterday too, so I can begin with the quilting today -- it’s a good thing

time to get moving

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

goin' to the birds

The first of the patterns has been drawn up on freezer paper -- let the stitchin' begin!!

This folks is supposed to represent a Pionus Parrot (if you'd like to see some AMAZING pictures of the growth of one of these, check out this site and go to the baby bird section. When they are hatched they are all beak! Fascinating.

but I digress -- the color coding is a new item on the actual freezer paper patterns -- I'm hoping it will be helpful in keeping the piecing straight.

Only 102 pieces in this block!!

Raphael now has both wings

Finished up the last piecing on this last night, so now its on to some much larger pieces that should go quicker

I find that the more of this I do the better I get at it. When I first started working on the wings of the first of the angels panels I thought I would never get it finished

(Hopefully this is also good preparation for all those feathers I'll be putting on birds!)

the name's not Mary
I may be contrary
and my garden does certainly grow!

what we have here are the two little rows of green beans (ok, some of them are wax beans and until they make beans we don't know which is which, but it's alright); the biggest of the anaheim chilis (there are about half a dozen of them on the two plants); the first (male) blooms on the pumpkin and one of the several (about 5) tomatoes

Last night we had the first "harvesting" out of the plantings -- the DH used some of the basil in a great fish dish (Yes, I'll be posting the recipe on Hattie's Kitchen today!)

Today we'll be doing mowing of the back yard and spraying for insects -- it seems there is some kind of little lawn bug that is investing our area and turning the grass brown, so we're going to try to head it off before we have to replant the whole back yard!

into the fray!!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Why I need a design wall

to make it easier to take these kinds of pictures! These were taken on the living room floor, which means they appear foreshortened, and there is always the danger of a big black dog wandering through and laying down on them!

The top for the baby quilt is complete.

It is actually a crib size quilt, a bit bigger than the standard baby quilt.

The backing is all seamed together too and ready for me to do the "sandwich". I hope to get that all done before quilt group on Friday so I can take it with me to work on there.

And work has begun on this one too!

I'm still working on fabric selections of course, but I'm ready to start making the freezer paper patterns for this one now. (this entails taping the drawings to the patio door, taping the freezer paper over it and tracing)

Nearly finished the second wing on Raphael last night, and one of the two new openings in the Angel Lace necklace is surrounded with beads and the other one started.

Yes, the projects are moving right along!

This morning after several days of treating the back pain I did walk a short distance (about half of what I had been doing). Hopefully by the end of the week I'll be back to my full distance again.

But for today there is laundry to do -- time to get to it

Sunday, July 13, 2008

fabrics for backing -- and to "paint" with

This is the fabric I bought to put on the back of the baby quilt -- I just love the whimsical print with the pigs and cows and chickens and SHEEP!!

Yes, and here are close ups of the two different sheep poses -- AWWWWW! aren't they cute -- and so "kid like", that I think this is going to make a great back for the lambs

Yesterday I started cutting the yellow strips so I can get the top all pieced together -- maybe today!

While I was in the store picking up the quilt backing, I found these lovelies too -- more "paint" for the parrot quilt.

And I can report that I'm now joined at the hip to my scanner as I've been cutting and enlarging and printing out parts of the pattern for each of the many birds that are in planning for this project.

mmmmmm, I don't know what part of a project I like best -- the planning or the finishing!

Fortunately my back is beginning to feel better, so hopefully soon things will return to what resembles normal around here

time to get back to the web site work------