Saturday, August 30, 2008

Leaf it alone

You may recall my talking about this piece of jewelry a while back

I had been putting it on my table at shows for a while, and although it drew a lot of positive comments, it had become apparent that it was just too pricey to find a buyer

After our last show in Canon City, I pulled it out of the inventory with the idea of taking it apart and doing something different with the leaves in it

This is the first necklace to be made from one of the leaves that was on that piece

I have already started on a second one using a brown and a yellow leaf

This is a pretty nice piece, and the second one is looking good already

the plan is to have 3 or 4 of these finished for the show we're doing next weekend -- I'll be spending a lot of time on this project this weekend!

Friday, August 29, 2008


Another bird complete!

notice the little flat spot on top of his head?

that's where the crest goes, and those feathers extend outside the block, so they will have to wait until the blocks are put together

I think I'm getting faster at this applique thing!

So now I can put together the colors for the next bird

Work has begun on the leaf necklaces -- the big collar has been all torn apart and I'm working on the individual leaf pieces -- got about half of the "chain" for the first one completed last night -- lookin' good

Thursday, August 28, 2008

another piece of jewelry complete

The center "stone" is actually a piece of petrified dinosaur bone

the patterning I did with beads came from my scanning and "blowing up" the bone and getting all of the variations of color and shape that is actually there in it

how cool is that?

So now it's on to other projects!

Since we have a show next weekend (Sept 5-7), I need to finish up some other jewelry pieces for that

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Caution! Bragging Zone Ahead

We went to the State Fair yesterday so I could see how we did on our entries and to check out the animals

I'm thrilled!

Here then are the results of the judging:

Winners of Blue Ribbons

Winners of Red Ribbons

Winners of White Ribbons

Each of these also has a cash premium that is paid, so we will also be getting a check for the prize money, which is cool

While I was looking around, I tried to figure out what my competition had been to see if I could figure out why my piece was placed where it was.

This bear was the blue ribbon winner that my piece finished second to -- you can decide if you think this one is better than mine

I had also entered and not made the jury cut for the fine art part of the fair. Because the piece I entered was a framed piece made of beads and gem stones and polymer clay, I entered it in mixed media

These two pieces were part of my competition

Next year I will make the trip down to the fair instead of trying to jury with photos -- I think I'll have a better shot of getting in

While I did not have an entry in this catagory, I thought this was one of the coolest art dolls I've seen in a while --- just amazing!!

as I was walking around taking pictures of my stuff I ran into one of the ladies that was checking in her pieces the same time I was so we chatted for a while which was fun -- she was doing the same thing I was -- taking pictures of the stuff she had entered and she had won ribbons too

I also talked to two ladies that were part of the information about beading in the Creative Arts building, and was invited to join their weekly "drag and brag" of beadwork -- no fee, just haul your stuff and chat and work. They meet on Friday mornings in a local bagel shop, and if I get enough stuff done the next couple of days I may go join them on Friday to check it out

These amazing critters are Jacob Sheep They are an ancient breed (as from the time of Jacob from the Old Testament) and both ewes and rams have horns -- as in at least 4 per sheep -- some have more than that!!

The gal that was trimming one of them for the show ring told me about them and gave me her business card -- she sells the fleece from the yearly sheering for a very reasonable price -- I may have to consider this as the staple for spinning is between 4 and 7 inches long -- mmmmmm, yummy for spinning

Oh yeah, it would probably be a real clean fleece too, since she has named all 40 head of these that they have and treats them like family members!!

So today we'll be doing our monthly Costco trip and I need to do some tidying in the living room and dining room

time to get to it

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

just peachy -- again

Lookie what I did!

at the end of putting up peach halves there are always some odds and ends and pieces that don't end up in the jars for one reason or another

this year (mostly because we had 4 boxes of peaches to deal with), there was enough to make a double batch of jam

So here we are, all cooked and sealed and washed (there's always the sticky factor) --- mmmmmmm, I'm ready for toast!!

Today we are headed to the State Fair to see if any of our entries won any ribbons and generally to look around -- we're going today because the entry will only be $1 each thanks to a local TV station sponsoring the day.

So maybe tomorrow there will be pictures with ribbons and other crowing!

and we're off!!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Miss Tangerine

Isn't she cute?

This bear has been hanging around, not even making it to the table for quite a while because I just wasn't happy with her "look"

So I gave her a new nose (ooooo, rhinoplasty!), did some needle sculpting, added "claws" to her feet and made her a hat (out of handmade felt) and matching bow scarf

MUCH improved!!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Tending to our knitting ---

Notice the BIG bandage he's sporting

Freeing the tendon was a bigger project than the doctor anticipated -- not only did he cut that band of tissue that was keeping the tendon from moving (which was the original plan), but he also had to repair the tendon because it had become attached to that ring of tissue and was starting to fray

A couple more weeks or so and it might have ruptured the tendon too

Considering all that, he's had very little pain, and is taking only the extra strength tylenol -- not the RX the doctor gave him

So, while the doctor was doing his stitching, I was working on this

Moving right along on another vest that will be sent off to Warm Woolies

Because I wanted to use up some odds and ends of pieces, I'm doing this one in stripes

Easier to do for the vest pattern because it is worked in a circle

Lookin' good!

Thursday evening I got this bird block finished as far as it can be before I set it into the rest of the quilt

His tail will extend down into the color that will be around the bird blocks, so that will be added once the blocks are set together

Pretty awesome I think

So this is the group of colors for the next bird block.

I actually started stitching on that block last night

According to my piece count, I am now 1/3 of the way to having this top finished -- amazing!

So of course as I'm working away on this one, I have designs for TWO more floating around in my head -- there will be sketching and planning and coloring and solving of "how do I {insert some technique here}? to follow I'm sure.

Today I'm going to make a pass at mowing the front yard -- we probably should have done that before the DH had surgery, but we used the time to put up the rest of the peaches instead.

time to get to it!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

"Free the Tendon!"

You know you've been spending a lot of time in a waiting room when you finish half of an afghan square before 1 pm.

Ok, here I am again with no photos to show for yesterday's "accomplishments" -- be patient with me here, I really AM working on things, just haven't got anything to show for it!!

We spent most of yesterday morning attending to medical things -- about 7 weeks ago the DH started having a lot of trouble with his right thumb, and it finally got bad enough that he mentioned it to our "primary care physician" (aka: The Gate Keeper) -- anyway, she referred him to a specialist (fortunately we knew one to request or who knows what we might have gotten), and yesterday was his appointment with the specialist.

The bad news: he needs to have surgery

The good news: he's having it on Friday morning, and aside from some post operative pain, he will be better almost instantly (according to the doctor)

The red arrow shows where the cut will be made -- after that the tendon that is supposed to be able to slide through there will be free to move

(we're making little signs to march around with that say "free the tendon"!)

So, because the doctor is a "one stop shop" of sorts (his surgical suite is in the same building as his office), we took care of all of his pre-op stuff right there.

Friday morning, bright and early we'll be off to have it taken care of -- I'll be packing my knitting and my coffee mug

Speaking of knitting -- I have a new definition of frustration: casting on 362 stitches, knitting (or K2, P2 ing) 3 rows, THEN discovering that back on row 1, when you connected it in a circle, that you twisted the stitches -- TWICE! This of course means that all of that work must be frogged and I must begin again. Part of the problem is that I really don't have a long enough cable to be able to spread it all out to be sure its not twisted. I have decided that the best approach is to cast on the stitches and work the ribbing in rows, then join and work the rest of it in rounds. That way I'll be sure it is not twisted, and it is pretty easy to make a small seam in the ribbing on one side. I am growling, however.

So, I'm guessing that today I will be trying to finish something --- ANYTHING!

into the fray!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Ok cupcake, what's your story?

You're probably thinking "where is that crazy woman going now?"

Actually, I worked on a lot of things yesterday, but these are the only thing I have to show for it right now (and they'll be gone soon I'm sure!)

One year ago today I was busy with much, MUCH, bigger cake, this being my daughter's anniversary.

Because she didn't have the space to keep it frozen (or the desire to eat year old cake), we opted to use the top layer as something that was actually eaten at the reception with the promise that I would bake them an anniversary cake.

I baked the cakes yesterday. Exactly the same mix, and the same size as the top layer of the cake they had. Those two layers are all securely wrapped and in the freezer, so that I can do the icing and have it all ready when they come down to visit over Labor Day (good heaven's is that actually just 2 weeks away?)

So, you're wondering, "what's with the cupcakes?"

When I baked the wedding cakes I did two different sizes in each batch (for instance a 6" layer and a 10" layer) so there was no need to waste any batter. When you bake two 6" layers, however, you can't put all of the batter in those two pans -- unless you have a real desire to clean up a big mess afterwards and start over (just say we've had experience with too much batter in a pan).

My solution was the cupcakes. The DH was responsible for the frosting -- whipping together some butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and cocoa powder, he frosted them while I was busy doing something else as a surprise.

I can tell you that there were originally 6 of them -- we ate 2 of them as desert with our Sunday dinner.

Meantime, yesterday I also worked on the scrapbook that is nearing completion, stitched on a bunny I'm making for a September show, added beads to a bracelet that is in progress, quilted on the log cabin quilt, appliqued more feathers on a bird block, knitted on a Christmas project, and cast on 362 stitches on size 3 needles and successfully did one row of K2,P2 ribbing on another Christmas project.

Not a bad day's accomplishments.

Today, being Monday, there is laundry to do, and more project progress (I hope!)

time to be movin' it!!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Meet Calabash

This is the latest "lab animal" to be redone

I wanted to try out the nose technique, and because I liked the way that came out, I decided to go ahead and finish him up

The hat is made of wool felt that I made by knitting some red wool and hand felting it. I used some of that same red wool to do the embroidery on his paws

The vest and the travel sack are made of fabrics directly out of my "stash" -- no new purchases here! In fact, the vest back and its lining as well as the top of the bag are red because there wasn't quite enough of the black and white check to do both.

But I do like that red with it!

So, now that I know the nose technique works, I'll be using it on a couple of other bears that are sitting in the studio looking like blind harp seals because the faces aren't done yet!! Perhaps today!

(by the way, anyone got any guesses where his name came from?)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

what happened to summer?

I know, there's just no pleasing me

for several weeks you heard me whine and complain about how hot it was

well, yesterday we set a record for the LOWEST high temperature ever


it was rainy and cool and gray

but what better weather can you possibly ask for to put up peaches?

this is yesterday's work

all lovely, pretty colors, lovingly preserved for winter eating

and sticky!!

today's chore will be getting the outsides all washed off, labeling the jars and packing them into a box to go off to my dad -- all of these are for him --

we still have some to put up for us, but I'll be doing those in a different syrup

this is what my sewing machine SHOULD be doing

imagine my frustration when I got all ready to do some embroidery only to discover that the touch screen (the rectangular box on the right side) which controls EVERYTHING is dead

so basically right now I have a very pricey sewing machine that is stuck on the stitch configuration that I used the last time the touch screen worked -- which is a basic straight stitch, about 11 to the inch, suitable for doing simple seams on cotton fabric

meantime I'm told it will cost in the neighborhood of $250 to have it repaired -- the issue being that I can't take it to just anybody because Viking will not sell the touch screen part to someone who is not an authorized Viking dealer -- no garage mechanics allowed here -- so it also means I will have to deal with a store that I am less than fond of

to say I am not a happy camper is an understatement -- all things considered, I wonder if I should have put the $$ I spent on this machine somewhere else

(Ever notice how sewing machines have come to resemble automobiles? The more bells and whistles we get the more it requires a "certified" mechanic at higher and higher prices. I have a Brothers sewing machine which was my high school graduation present. I've made hundreds of things on it and it's never had to go to the shop because it was simple enough for me to clean it and oil it and replace it's belts. The days of being able to do that are long gone.)

ok, I'll get off my soap box now and go see if the rain has let up enough that we can go to the farmer's market!

Friday, August 15, 2008

another "finished" item really finished -- I think

Are you confused by this?

I know, you think you've seen this bear before with a big "IT'S DONE" flag waving over it.

well, not so much

In the effort to not just have things "finished" but also have them be "complete" this bear came back out of the bag and I added the flowers

Aren't they nice?

these are made out of the felt I hand made a while back for another project

(on another felting note, the red piece I did the other day is now being used to rework another of these "lab animals" -- hopefully soon I'll have pictures of it!)

The bees are busy!

I went out yesterday to take a look at the many blooms on the pumpkin plant and snapped this shot of one of the bees being friendly with this blossom

Go Bees!! We want pumpkin!!

We went to turn in the last of the entries for the State Fair yesterday. As I was walking out of the building I think I saw one of the items I had taken in last week with a ribbon on it --- I'm jazzed!! Can't wait to go down to visit after it opens and take pictures of all my stuff actually on display.

Time to get to work -- peaches are waiting to be canned!! At least we got a nice cool day to do it on.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

NOW its done

Remember this ?

Yes, a couple of days ago I was fussing about how I wasn't sure I liked it and it didn't look finished to me, etc., etc.

Well, I decided to "fiddle" with it and see if I could make it better

in my eyes anyway!

So, here is the revised version

I used some of the same shimmery glass "leaf" beads that I had used for the angel wings to make the dangles

then I did a truly simple thing to shorten the length

I tied the "cords" in a simple overhand knot

This idea had never occurred to me before, but I actually like the look of it and since the "cords" were made with right angle weave, it was flexible enough to be able to do this without worry of breaking either the beads or the thread

Ok, so NOW its done -- I'm pretty sure

what do you think?

Yesterday the new supplies I had ordered arrived -- a few odds and ends to finish up some projects in process, and one really cool piece to build a whole necklace around -- of course there were a couple of items backordered (naturally, some of the ones really mandatory to finish one project), but there were plenty of goodies to keep me going for a while

and then when I went to run some errands, I picked up the latest issue of Bead and Button. It has several techniques that I hadn't seen before (one especially cool "chain" technique) and I want to try some of them out -- I know, like I needed another project!!

This morning as I was doing my walk I came up with an idea for another quilt too --- ok, just one more iron in the fire

So today we take the last things to the State Fair -- a quilt, a jacket and a sweater -- it should be interesting -- last week reception was great, so I hope today's will be as well

time to get movin'

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Finished -- maybe

the "cords" are attached and it's done

or not

I like the way the beadwork looks, but I'm thinking the "cords" are too long

and I'm not sure I like the starkness of the edges -- thinking it needs some kind of "drop" from the sides and maybe even the middle

so, like I said, it's finished -- maybe

I reserve the right to "tweek" it some more even if it means removing the "cords" and making them shorter

this, on the other hand, is done

and I'm pleased with it

this is one of the 2 "head only" blocks in the bird quilt

it went really quickly (not nearly so many pieces)

so, it's on to the colors for the next block

as you can see, there are a lot more colors in this one than the little cockatoo face, so this one will take a bit longer -- there are 95 pieces in it

We've been working on the faces of some new bears

yesterday I spent some time doing some bead embroidery on one of them that was supposed to look like teeth

It does -- like a beaver's teeth

today I'll be picking those out!!

meantime, the "felting" that I was trying to get done didn't really "felt" -- it shrunk, but it didn't truly take on the "all one piece of fabric" look that I had hoped for. Today I will be trying to improve on that with some boiling water in a dish pan (and heavy rubber gloves!)

such are the usual ups and downs of things in the studio!!

Monday, August 11, 2008

birds and knitting on a lazy Sunday

As I said yesterday, I just wasn't feeling "top notch".

I did, however, manage to get quite a bit of work done on various projects.

This one, for instance.

This is the first block for the bird quilt, and it is as complete as I can make it before setting it into the background.

The plan is for the rest of the "branch" and the tail and other toes to actually extend out of the block into the border

I do really like the look of him tho' -- quite colorful!

So as soon as I finished that bird as far as I could, I went and pulled out this group of fabrics.

These will be the next bird

actually, I have nearly finished that one as well

I should be able to put out a picture of it tomorrow

I FINALLY finished this sweater

This is going to Warm Woolies to keep a small child warm this winter.

It looks pretty good, but it seemed like it took F-O-R-E-V-E-R to finish!!

The next piece for Warm Woolies will be a vest -- they go quicker, and its easier to make them with small pieces of left over yarns since they are knit around and around

and then there was this knitting

just a plain garter stitch block of bright red wool

it is in the washer with extremely hot water and half a dozen pair of old blue jeans as we "speak", being turned into felt so I can make a beret for the latest lab animal

So despite, not feeling my best, I did get quite a lot done --