Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Stella is featured in Teeny Project Runway!

Over at Mason-Dixon Knitting they have been featuring a contest to knit a piece of clothing for an animal other than a bear.

On a whim, I entered Stella, and she is in the fashion show!

If you'd like to see her strut her stuff (and vote on her to win!), use this link.

No other pictures today my pretties ... we're still in the slogging stage {sigh}

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

slog, slog, slog

its February

the cold, ugly part of winter -- perhaps one could say the dog days (my lab hates it as much as I do) of winter -- when its still gray but there's no snow to cover the dead looking grass

and another month of winter to go -- ick!

I'm looking forward to trying to get a picture of the eclipse -- but that will depend on the weather -- if its clear I may get a chance -- I think it would be a cool image to play with

I did finish this piece yesterday. It will be posted on my Etsy Shop sometime in the next couple of days.

The next few items will probably be badge lanyards -- we'll see

The redesign (it only took 5 tries!) on the new penguin's head is finally complete, so I'll be laying out the pattern on the mohair today. Probably be able to lay out the new bear too as I think the fabric is finally dry after Monday's dye escapades!

As I have knit a few sweaters, I found this cartoon from yesterday's paper really funny --

I have knit about 5 inches of the current sweater -- I'm amazed it seems to be going so fast, but I guess since its knit one row, purl one row, I'm actually knitting it on "auto pilot" while I'm watching TV (Jericho is back!! I'm a happy camper!!!!)

anyway, its time to get slogging

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

we're a bit "dippy"

As I mentioned in a prior post, the DH has designed a new bear.

Because we have put in place a "don't buy more stuff unless there's is an absolute need" policy here in the studio, we went through the tubs of mohair to see if we had something big enough to make his new design.

This piece of mohair had been purchased many (MANY!) years ago (ok, back in the day when we built big editions of bears I bought 2 yards of this stuff).

Nice feel, but not quite what he had in mind for color.

So ---- I dipped it!

I used food color in a mixture of vinegar and salt (to set the color). First I soaked the fabric so it was nice and wet and ready to accept the new color. Then I dunked it in the pot and let it soak a while.


And while we had the pot of dye all mixed and waiting, I gave the "lab animal" a dunking too

She came out this lovely soft light pink.

Now I'm waiting for her to dry which will probably take another couple of days.

Remember the altered shirt I spent months working on?

Well, when I visited my folks last week, she gave me several of these that my dad no longer wears.

Two of them will fit me -- I'm thinking of them as fresh canvas to paint on -- perhaps literally!

no firm ideas yet, but I'm working on it

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Another lab animal begins the great make over!

Here is the third of the animals selected for "The Great Make Over"!

I have already begun working on her, having picked out the stitching on her feet, her nose and clipped off her wings.

Since the DH is designing a new big bear, he has asked me to over dye some mohair for his project, and I'm thinking that this little lab animal will get a dip in the dye pot too. I've not done a dye dip of a stuffed animal before, so this will be interesting to say the least!

Pictures to follow I'm sure!!

Yesterday I got the second toucan and the second dodo stuffed and stitched closed, so now I have in the bin a puffin, a sheep, an anteater and a small bear. I've found some heavy cotton fabric to cut my pegasus out of, and have located a bottle of copper shot that will serve to weight the back legs. Moving right along!

Still working on tax stuff -- sure wish I could figure out a more efficient method to handle these, but so far that has eluded me -- bummer

I've begun working on a new design for hang tags on my animals -- this is always an interesting experiment!

on ward!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Here, have a Latte

All together now, say "AWWWWWWW"

Cute isn't she?

Well, yesterday afternoon I was fiddling around with some of my hand made felt and made up this little flower and decided that was a good thing for her to be holding.

(what were you expecting, a Starbucks cup?)

Ok, then I found this cool fabric with little latte colored bears holding (what else) flowers! This stuff had been in my stash since my daughter was about 2 -- mmmm, that makes it about 23 years old, I'm thinking they don't make this print any more!!

Anyway, Miss Latte will be going on my Etsy Store either today or tomorrow, so if you'd like to have her come and live at your house, she'll be happy to oblige!

I have another glass cord just about finished too, so that will probably be revealed tomorrow (and also added to my Etsy shop).

One of the dodos got all stuffed and closed yesterday, so today I'll be working on the second dodo and a puffin (did I mention that we've got birds in the belfry? -- no bats tho'!!)

I have successfully enlarged the pattern we had originally designed for a horse -- usually I do this sort of painful stuff by just using my scanner/copier to enlarge by whatever amount I need, but this pattern was already bigger than the scanner screen, which would have been more hassel than drawing the grids -- once as one inch squares over the original pattern pieces, once as 1.5 inch squares on blank paper so I could transfer the design. So now I'll be going looking for some sturdy, plain, light colored fabric to make him out of as the plan is to build the horse then gesso and paint and add wings -- watch for updates here

time to go get some breakfast and get to those birds

Friday, February 15, 2008

Don't bother me, I'm working.......

I've been working on taxes.

Not exactly my favorite thing, but important anyway. I have all the sorting and entering of data on my spread sheets complete, now I just have to spend a few hours plunking numbers into the forms and double checking the math.

I'll be glad to be finished!

This is what the tree in my back yard looked like this morning.

Yesterday the wind howled most of the day, but we had almost no snow (the good thing -- no shovels required!!)

Last night the fog rolled in, and all of the branches of the pine trees are all frosted over

It's pretty

bird doodles again......

picture him with lovely iridescent blue green feathers

peacocks are beautiful, but their "screach" sounds are annoying (there were peacocks in the area where my daughter used to take voice lessons -- such an amazing contrast -- her lovely singing, their ugly squalking)

Seems the birds are taking over the house tho', I have a flamingo and a white toucan all stuffed and closed and waiting for their feet and eyes. Today we'll be dealing with dodos.....'nuf said

This, at long last, is the hat I did to go with the altered shirt.

This began as a little sock hat that I knit out of a cotton yarn (see, its NOT just for dishcloths!)

Then I took all of the leaves I had left from the shirt and put an edge of gold glitter paint around each one (that seals them so they won't ravel, and it looks pretty)

Then each and every leaf (no, I actually didn't count them!) is hand stitched to the hat.


the latest "lab animal" is progressing --

I have stitched beads on to the feet (heart shaped paw pads, no less!) and the hands (just little ovals there) and given her a beaded heart.

Now I'm trying to figure out how to give her some kind of appropriate accessory, and I still need to find fabric to make her a carry sack -- I have a nice cream color that has little brown bears on it that might do nicely

I think she whispered that her name is Latte (guess its the coffee dye)

Last night I finished the ribbing on the sweater I'm knitting for the DH -- already this pattern has been "altered" as he wanted a bit more rib at the bottom than the pattern called for -- no problem sweetie, I'll just work a few more rows of this rib pattern that is now firmly engrained in my brain! And so we are now entering the "slog along" portion -- 17.5 inches of knit one row, purl one row with a ribbed band along each side -- oh yes, must keep track of where the button holes go so we get those right (and the pattern is very "fuzzy" on this subject -- I worked it out on graph paper and found that in my guage for the length we want to do I will be working one about every 10 rows)

time to get to it!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Another finished object!

I had been fiddling with making something with bigger beads and came up with this piece.

This one is made with the same technique that the eye glass lanyards are, but instead of size 11 seed beads I used 'E' beads (which are about a size 6 or bigger).

This morning I sent off pictures to a magazine to see if they might be interested in the project for publication.

And this project is all packed up, ready to go out to the mail box tomorrow morning -- complete package includes complete instructions, a bio, a photo of me (ACK!), etc., etc., in the hope of having this one published in a magazine too.

meantime, back in the studio, the slogging continues -- one bear being stitched together, one having beads applied to the feet, and all those birds awaiting their closing and finishing -- time to add a count down to the show to my side bar!

Today we're going off to visit with my folks and pick up RX and get ready for the possibility of snow starting late tonight ..... at least I have lots of things to work on!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Slogging along......

We spent a couple of hours yesterday sitting at the dining room table (the "studio de jour") turning and stuffing the animals that I've been steadily stitching up over the past few weeks.

This is where we reach that "are we there yet" whine stage -- doing the designs is fun (well, at least mentally challenging), selecting fabrics is fun, having the animal done is fun -- some of the stuff in the middle? Not so much.

Anyway, by the end of our little session I had 5 birds and a sheep waiting for my attention in terms of needing to stitched shut. (I know, I know, we started out making bears, but now every other animal on earth seems to be waiting in line to be made in our studio -- I swear we should rename ourselves something that has to do with Noah and the Ark!)

The project I was talking about yesterday involves these two items.

I know, its crazy, but somehow all the surfing to other artists' blogs and reading the new books I got at Christmas and just somehow giving myself permission to HAVE FUN has evolved into this wildness.

I'll keep you posted!

Oh yeah, after having swatched for guage and tested for button hole size, the new sweater (which arrived last week as a box full of yarn with a note saying "some assembly required" -- which had me rolling on the floor laughing) has been cast on and I have knit the first pattern row -- all of which I did twice to get it right. Its that deal of breaking old knitting habits -- I've done lots of ribbing, but the patterns have always been K1, P1 or K2, P2 -- or some other even pattern, but this one is K2, P1 === WHAT?! Hence getting to do it twice -- after this it will be easier since I'll be able to "read" the row below.

time to get to it

Monday, February 11, 2008

Catching up -- or "odds & ends & brick a brack"

Having taken the week end off to play a bit, we need to catch up here in the studio.

Elphie (The Big Black Dog) is auditioning for the part of "Chief Hand Cleaner"

We had quick and easy, out of the tube, cinnamon rolls, and here she is licking the frosting off of the fingers of the DH

This is a rare thing for us, as we don't buy much in the way of prepared foods, but every once in a while.....

And this is Soma, auditioning for the part of "Snuggle Bunny"

She's in my daughter's lap, but I cropped it so you can only see the dog.....too early in the morning for other close ups!

Here are a few of the valentine cards my daughter and I created while she was here to visit.

We had glue and glitter and markers and colored pencils and stickers and lace and ribbons and all sorts of other goodies to work with.

(I'm not quite done making mine, so the dining room table still has all of the goodies spread out for working!)

The selection of the next "lab animal" to undergo a make over has been made.

This is a smaller bear than the last one, and as you can see by this "Before" picture, is a sort of tanish off white.

And the make over has begun!

I picked out the perle cotton on the feet, but left the nose and mouth as I think those look good.

Next step -- she has been spritzed with a solution of strong coffee, giving her a deep carmel-y brown overtone (and she smells great!)

Now we wait until she dries completely to do stitching of beads on hands, feet, and to give her a heart.....

Looking forward to this one!

Meantime, another project is coming into focus that is a marriage of two projects that had been begun and not yet finished -- think flying, think mythical, think BIG! All in good time my pretties, all in good time........

Friday, February 08, 2008

How's your French?

Your word for the day is: chatelaine

Wikipedia defines this word as "a set of short chains on a belt worn by women and men for carrying keys"

In more recent use among folks that quilt it has become a decorative necklace that has places to hang the necessary tools for quilting so they are in easy reach and don't get lost among the items being worked on.

After posting a picture of my badge lanyard, my sister asked if I could make something for her to use for scissors, etc., hence my French lesson for today.

I'm working on a design.

Over at The Big Black Dog Studio we're hosting a Valentine's Day give away of this pin as part of the One World One Heart group.

Head on over to the Black Dog and leave your comment to be included in the drawing!

Another glass cord complete!

This one is 22" long, made up of green/teal/goldish beads with little bear beads at each end.

I'll be adding this one to my Etsy store soon

As you may remember, I'll be having my head shaved in March (go here if you need more info on this), so I've been working on some hats to wear while the hair grows back.

This may look like a strange animal has crawled up on the table, but its one of the new hats --- very fetching I think!

For a lot of years my daughter and I made Valentine's together, and this year I have invited her (and her new hubbie) to come down for the weekend so she and I can "play".

I got some fresh supplies

Note to self: do not store glue sticks and glitter glue pens in the outdoor shed in the future -- my previous supply of these goodies (admittedly pretty old ones anyway) FROZE!!

time to get the house clean enough for use to work on projects!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Dali's Dog?

This cartoon was in yesterday's paper which made me laugh -- cats seem to do this whole "I'm draped over the furniture" thing really well

This is Elphie's version of Dali's Dog -- see her drape out of the chair into the futon

In hot weather she drapes herself out so far that she slithers off the front edge of the futon too

Now we know where Dali got inspiration for draped watches?

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

In case I have to show those stinkin' badges....

I now have someplace to hang them from!

I hate doing a show and having credentials that I have to wear all the time and having to figure out where to pin them on my clothes so they don't bug me or get damaged or whatever

This is my solution

Lovely loop of a blend of red size 11 seed beads whipped together with right angle weave with the lovely little loop at the end to accomodate the clip on a badge holder

mmmmmmmm, no more pinning to my clothes! and its the length I want it to be.....

yup, its a GOOD thing!!

oh yeah, if you want one for your very own (in any color you like!), drop me a note and we'll get 'er done!

Monday, February 04, 2008

Fencing -- its not about sword play

After all of her adventures, Elphie is sacked out on the couch!

And what a good dog she was!

When we got out into the yard yesterday morning to check out the fence issue, here is what we saw.

From the fact that there was snow all over the surface of the fallen section, it was clear that it had actually fallen sometime early Saturday morning.

Why we didn't notice it then is beyond me --- chalk it up to being totally brain dead, or just frozen in place.

After trimming away tree branches (most of them not from our tree, but the neighbor's) and doing bracing and hammering and then literally using cord to tie some pieces together, the fence section is now standing upright again.

We have no idea just how old this fence is as it was here when we moved here in January 2002 (OMG -- 6 years ago!), but it is becoming clear that its going to be a problem now. We've heard from neighbors that the prior owner had collected on an insurance claim for the fence before she put the house on the market, but all she did was have someone do a piece meal repair, not replace it which is probably why we're having to deal with these issues now --- {sigh}

I guess at some point when warm weather arrives we'll have to do something about rebuilding parts of it ---

Sunday, February 03, 2008

A word from the Big Black Dog

Good morning people, Elphie here, sitting in for mom this cold Sunday morning

For some reason mom is busy putting folders in cardboard boxes and mumbling about "end of year tax sh**"

And then earlier there was other mumbling and swearing, something about a section of the back fence falling down. Mom says we'll go out later and see about that problem -- she says it needs to be warmer -- its supposed to get to 40 degrees today -- guess that's warmer

Ok, got to scram before mom catches me at the 'puter!

Friday, February 01, 2008

New Stuff in Etsy Shop

Both of these eye glass cords are now available from my Etsy Shop.

You can use the link at the top right of the blog to go take a look!

Yesterday we did "de-Christmas-ing" in the living room -- the tree will come down today and the boxes of ornaments will be packed so I can use the big table again (hurrah!)

Can't wait to get back to the quilt project, but I need that table!!

Meantime I started on a badge lanyard for me so I have somewhere to hang my id when we do shows -- the eye glass cords gave me the idea, but I'm making this a bit thicker -- and of course, since its for me, its RED!

Finished stitching another animal yesterday too. I now have a flamingo and a black sheep left to sew (oh yeah, and 18 little shreddie bears), so I'll be into the stuffing/finishing stage on animals soon!!

Need to do a little shopping, pick up RX and maybe a printer cartridge today.

Time to get rollin'