Saturday, May 31, 2008

a wing and a prayer?

or perhaps flying in circles!

Work is progressing nicely on the center panel -- this one is Gabriel -- and one wing is complete! I'm definately getting quicker at putting in these "feather" pieces.

The challenge of this panel will be the piecing of the trim on the robe -- its a very Greek looking series of stacked rectangles -- just something to learn new techniques from!

Yesterday we spent some time in the yard working

The little, barely visable green bits in the picture are tomato plants.

We put in 6 of them and installed the wire baskets to keep the dog from sitting on them (she likes to go out and sit any place that the ground is damp)

Today I will be trying to figure out a "hail shield" we can rig in case of nasty weather (which in this area is a normal part of summer) I'm thinking an old sheet with some modifications -- we'll see how that works

The plan is to also plant some green beans out on this tier of the terraces of the back yard -- but we have to build a trellis system first

While we were out in the yard I spotted this interesting item.

I've been complaining about the cottonwood this year, and here is a good example of how bad its been

I'm thinking this is not what the busy little spider had in mind when this web was built, but its done a great job catching a lot of cottonwood that's blowing around!

(made for an interesting picture against the grey of the tool shed!)

And I guess it's nap time here

After being out in the yard,

barking at the neighbor's cat,

running through the hose

time to snooooooozzzzzzeeeeee!

For the past couple of days, the back of my right hand just below the thumb has been bothering me

Until last night I couldn't tell what was going on

Here's the picture -- OUCH!

(don't ask, I have absolutely NO IDEA what I did here -- which is typical)

So today there will be more yard work (there's a bush by the front door that wants to grab you on the way into the house that I need to trim back!)

Then I'm going to try a new approach to the issue of finishing the black and white over wood beads piece -- the first go at spacer beads just didn't work, so I'm hoping the new idea will

time to get to it!

Friday, May 30, 2008

knitting along

on the recycled afghan squares

This is the second one -- heather grey acrylic and white cotton -- with the "mattress ticking" look going on because of the way the yarn changes were done

I'm still not real good at the CroKay work around the edges, but I promise to press on

So after I spent about 20 minutes weaving in all the ends of the yarn from the color changes (I'm still not sure carrying those up the side wouldn't be easier), I started the next block -- 5 equal sized stripes -- in this order: light blue, grey, red, grey and white -- I'm aiming at making this a colorful piece, just using that grey to tie it all together (because that's the one color I have a lot of, and can get more if I absolutely must)

So, now there are some outdoor chores to be done, and other miscellanous chores then back to a project of some sort......who knows what!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

One done, 2 to go

here we have the first panel -- the color rendering to the left -- the completed fabric piece to the right

there will be additional details added when we get to the quilting stage -- especially in the armor, the hair and the wings

So, what do you think?

Monday, May 26, 2008

I'll have maple, thank you

No, I don't mean syrup (although that sounds pretty good right now, as I'm writing before breakfast!)

Last night we had wind, and the red maple tree down the street sent down a rain of these little goodies

more for the maple art that I've been thinking about!

I also found this

It looks like auto glass -- like from a headlight

I'm thinking it would be a good "focal" piece in with the other glass pieces I have to make into a necklace

(Now where is that instruction about tumbling glass......)

Today we're actually going to do that yard work I was talking about last Friday, then its back to work on projects....

Friday, May 23, 2008

jewelry and angels and maples (oh no, another new project?)

Since we'll be doing a show with our jewelry in about a month, I figured I should get moving on finishing some of the pieces that I've just been futsing with.

Finished up this little lovely yesterday afternoon (the 3rd time being the charm for the netting around the glass -- for some reason it took that long to get it right!)

More details about this piece can be seen here

The "wing work" on this panel is officially finished!

All 81 little feather pieces clipped and turned and stitched ---- I am getting quicker at it tho'

So now its on to the bigger pieces in the panel

While I was out walking this morning I found these on the street

There are a few maple trees along my route, and evidently one was still shedding some of these ---

I'm not at all sure what I will do with the pictures or the seeds, but the shape intrigues me

it may become jewelry -- or part of a quilt -- or an altered piece of clothing -- or who knows......

stay tuned

Oh yes, thanks to my daughter's clear instructions over the phone, I'm happily walking (and this morning typing) to "tunes" on the MP3 player ---- I'm smiling!!

Today we will be doing yard work in the back (Oh joy, my most favorite thing -- or NOT!)

Then it will be back to working on the black and white bead piece, and maybe starting the prep work on a whole new bead embroidered collar I've been working on the drawings for.....

Thursday, May 22, 2008

too old to figure out the technology?

My daughter gave me this little lovely so I could have music while I'm taking my walk every morning

Trouble is, either every battery I have is no good, or I'm too old to figure out this new fangled stuff ---

guess I'll have to ask the 6 year old across the street

some progress on projects was made yesterday

the main section of wings on both sides of the face is now complete

looking good!

A while back over at Mason Dixon Knitting they started a project that I thought looked pretty cool, so I saved the instructions and have been making a version of my own.

The yarns in use here are all recycled -- as in yarn that has previously been a sweater, has been raveled out and is now being knit into this

This is the first "block"

Oh yes, and the plan (at least right now) is that this is actually for me (SHOCK!)

and this unrevealed project for Christmas is now complete

moving right along

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

nothing much.....

I spent most of yesterday recovering from our trip

The laundry is done, the van unloaded and stuff put away, the paperwork complete (ok, I do still have a couple of thank you's to write, but its NEARLY done)

I did finish up this little wool vest for the Warm Woolies folks. I especially like the "button" on the little pocket -- Its also made out of the wool yarn by crocheting very tightly around and around a chain -- I learned this technique from a pattern for a baby sweater, and I like using it on these as well because it means the button ALWAYS matches!

So today its back to the routine things -- up and feed the dog, empty the dishwasher, take my walk (the knee is feeling better, thank goodness), do my computer work then into the studio to do something -- I'm just not sure just what yet

we'll see

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

home again, the travel log concludes!

We can begin by saying that a knowledgeable hotel clerk is worth her weight in gold!

While we were out and about on Saturday, the "low air" tire light on the van came on. I was dreading the idea of actually checking them again myself as the last time I did it I had to actually remove the hubcaps to get to the valve stem and I just didn't really want to get so dirty that I couldn't work on anything while we traveled.

So, I asked the hotel clerk that checked us out and she sent us to the place where the hotel has the work done on their shuttles, and they took care of the tire pressures all around, at no charge!, and we were quite quickly on our way.

This was the sign posted in the rest stop we were in in northern New Mexico.

Another handmade sign said something about the nitrate levels in the water being determined to be to high and that the water is hazardous.

Its a scary thought -- not being able to drink the water has long been a running joke when talking about going to other countries, but most of us here in the U.S. take clean water very much as something that is always there

The little restaurant we stopped at for lunch was in Colorado City.

This was the window that ran all the way across the front of the place (I told you it was little!). There was art work on every wall.

The food was good, and very reasonable.

Oh yes, and they have a sense of humor too! This sign was posted over the towel dispenser in the ladies room....

If you're ever in Colorado City, stop by Max's Place and have a bite!!

Coming out of Colorado City and headed towards Colorado Springs, we passed a long train of cars that looked like this -- those folks are tanks

All of these are coming back to Ft Carson for refurbishing after being with the group of troups that have just returned from Iraq

And as we returned from Ft Collins after picking up our dog from our daughter there, we passed 7 trucks like this, hauling huge highway I-beams that are headed for a big interstate project south of us

all in all an interesting, but uneventful (thank goodness!!) trip home

while I was hanging out in the motel room in the evening I finished the first of the angel wings.

After having pulled out all of the first attempt, I must say I'm pretty pleased with how this went the second time. I've even started on the second wing now.

There were 4 New Mexico Memorial afghan squares knit in the car -- all in oranges and reds and turquoise and purple -- mmmmmm, very colorful

and so today there is the van to unpack, laundry, paperwork and a run for a few groceries

I'm still pretty tired, so I'm not rushing into anything --- all the time on the road yesterday wore me out!

time to go do something.....

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Show report on Albuquerque

This was our table at today's show

All set up and ready to "meet and greet"

remember this one from earlier in the week?

remember I said he needed to go to a new home so I wouldn't have to face a rework?


I do want to have another go with this new head pattern tho', as it is rather interesting to work with one with 2 gussets instead of just one -- it changes the entire shape of the head

So, tonight having set up, worked all day and torn down the display, I'm a bit weary.

We're staying here tonight and heading home in the morning -- just couldn't handle driving home in the dark tonight

time to go pack

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Eating at the owl?

Here we are in Albuquerque, where we will be doing our show tomorrow --

One of the things that we enjoy about this show is the chance to get together with the other artists the evening before to share a meal and catch up on what's happening in each other's lives.

The selected restaurant this year was The Owl Cafe --- yes folks, this picture is the outside of the building!!

I was a bit concerned about being able to find anything on the menu I could eat since the big advertised thing is a big green chili cheese burger. And there are a lot of "no nos" on the menu, but they did have a veggie quesidilla that looked like a good thing for me to try and it was excellent

The inside of the restaurant is standard chrome craft 1950s style decor (if you've watched Diners, Drive Ins and Dives on Food TV you've seen this kind of interior!!), but the outside is pretty cool -- this huge stucco owl head (oh yeah, lots of owl things inside too)

It was definately a pleasant evening

one of the things I do when we're traveling is work on charity knitting, these two squares (one completed on the way down, one in process) are in honor of being in New Mexico -- the red, yellow and green of the chilis on every sign everywhere, and the purples and turquoises for the great way they paint the railings and color the concrete of their highway bridges --- the landscape is pretty much desert, and the sun sort of leaches the color out of anything pastel, so bright colors are the order of the day. A lot of the highway overpasses, etc., are these lovely terra cotta, salmon and turquoise colors with some purple thrown in for fun --- who says highways are boring?!

And as we drove down we had a couple of little showers and we had the lovely fragrance of wet cedar ---- mmmmmmm, a delight in deed

so now its time to get my stuff organized for the morning ---- and we're hoping for a good show ----

Friday, May 16, 2008

Oh look, a finished piece of jewelry!

After having had this piece of agate for quite a while, I finally did something with it.

When I first got the stone, I had no idea how to create something to hang it by without covering the back of it, and since its such a cool stone, I wanted to be able to suspend it so light would still come through it

Well, I've finally figured that out!

The stone is in a net with a loop bail, the "chain" is right angle weave with a peyote stitched toggle bead.

So, I'm pleased with the way this came out -- and while I was messing with this one (it only took a couple of days to do it), I came up with an idea for a new piece that will take some planning and figuring to design -- (about time!)

Meantime I've finished all of the black and white beads over the wood shapes, and its time to start in on the beaded spacer beads that will go between them -- except I need to get some black and white delicas to make those from. Here's the deal -- for working in peyote stitch over a curved shape, regular ol' seed beads work really well because they are NOT all alike -- there are always thicker and thinner ones in each batch, which work to one's advantage covering a curve (thicker ones at the "equator", thinner ones at the "poles"). The spacer beads, however need to be made up of beads that are all the same size and shape so the results are smooth and even.

I'm actually hoping to get what I need while we're in Albuquerque this weekend. There is an area in Albuquerque called Old Town that we're hoping to go check out before we go to dinner with the group tomorrow night, and I just happen to know that there is a bead store in Old Town (ok, I do read the ads in the back of the bead magazine!)

And on a whole other subject: I had to take the van over to the shop this morning because it had developed this "noise", and I was concerned about the safety of taking it to Albuquerque. The guy there gave it a VERY complete going over, checking out the tires, struts, etc., and pronounced it safe to drive -- and hopefully we have eliminated the noise --- there was a piece of rubber trim around the windshield that was loose, and might have been the "flapping" I was hearing -- until we get it out on the highway I won't know for sure, but at least I know the underside is safe for driving.

While I was in the waiting area of the shop, I watched the staff work their way through the morning "chores". Let me tell you folks, my world has been turned upside down! I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own two eyes! I actually saw a guy cleaning a bathroom!!! OMG, who knew?

Ok, enough levity for this morning, time to go pack and all that!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

where creating ends and smithing begins

the white bear is done

at least that is the rumor

while I had really loved the look of the feet, the face leaves me cold

however, since this is a design the DH created and he likes it, its going to the show (where frankly I hope someone falls in love with it so I don't have to deal with some future rework)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

the white bear -- and thanks, but no thanks

I always thought black bears were the hardest to photograph, but by the time this one is finished I may revise my thinking on that issue

Here are the hands and feet of the last bear that I'm trying to finish before we go to Albuquerque this weekend.

The bear is this really interesting string finish mohair, and I did the paw pads with a white upholstry velour (its close in color, but isn't exactly the same)

When I got ready to do the paw pads yesterday I realized that I didn't have any embroidery floss or perle cotton that was the right color, so I took the bear down to the local Hancock fabrics and found some nice perle cotton that matched the color of the mohair -- perfect!

Its subtle -- that classy white on white thing is pretty cool

So today I'll be doing the face. The plan is to also do the nose with this perle cotton -- I'm not sure yet exactly what the eyes will be like -- its a work in progress

And as a side note: have you seen the new, very cool stuff that DMC is doing in the area of embroidery floss? They have rayon where the colors practically glow in the dark; and linen which is very soft, matte finish; and a bunch of metallics and other very cool stuff --- I'd like to go back and get some of those "glow in the dark" things to do bright floral embroidery all over one the of the "lab animal" bears I've been remaking --- if I get time

Thanks, but no thanks:

On the issue of shows, I did something yesterday that I have never done before.

About a month ago I had sent in my application for a show that takes place in August. This show is one of those that has one area for the Fine Art booths and another for the Folk Art booths.

I have done this show before, and last time, even though I applied under Fine Art, they put me in the Folk Art area and for the entire weekend I had practically everyone that stopped in my booth (including their show staff) asking me why I wasn't over in the other area.

When I send in my application this time I once again filled out the Fine Art application, and when my acceptance letter came on Saturday, they had once again put me in the Folk Art area.

I called them and told them I did not want to be in that area, and that if they were going to put me there they should have contacted me first, and that I wanted my money back.

I realize that this probably sounds silly, but my experience at shows in the past 4 years has taught me that my bead work and the DH's silver work so not sell well when we are grouped with the crocheted potholders and wood-on-a-stick yard art. And frankly if we're going to spend what it costs to pay for a booth, drive 2 states away, stay in a motel, etc., etc., I want to be in the part of the show that at least gives me the opportunity to at least recoup my expenses.

Besides, I was annoyed with the condesending attitude when I asked about the change. Like I needed a few crumbs tossed my way, so they gave me the consulation prize and put me there.....judge me fairly, even tell me what I need to change to fit the catagory, but DO NOT talk down to me!!

Ok, I'm stepping off my soap box now and returning to our normally scheduled programming .....

time to get to that bear!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Cheri (the "remade" bear), and going to H*## for sure

Well, the pink bear is FINALLY done (I think)

After the first foot took almost 2 hours to do, the other 3 were a bit easier, but still time consuming.

Turns out that was the EASY part.

3 tries at the nose/mouth combination, uncounted "re-dos" on the eye placement and a couple of goes at the ears and a lot of muttering about "you better find a new home!"

I named her Cheri

I'm hoping to NOT bring her home from Albuquerque!

when they drum angels out, do they pluck off their wing feathers?

am I now going to hell for sure?

After several attempts with individual double sided feathers and rows of double sided feathers, I have decided that this is not a technique that will work in this case.

So, yesterday I removed all but the very first foundation row and returned to plan A -- individual feathers appliqued in layers, but not free floating at the edges.

The one thing that upsets me the most about this is that I'm loosing that little metalic gold glint on the edge of each feather because I had put that in when I top stitched each turned feather edge. Guess I'll be trying to figure out a new way to get some "glitter" on those edges.

so today I have one more bear that needs to be finished for this coming weekend's show (I have 3 others that it would be nice if they were finished, but I'm not going to stress over those), and there is the usual laundry and other household stuff to do

and away we go.....

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Show Invitation

If you're going to be in the Albuquerque, NM, area next Sunday, stop by and visit us at this show!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

one foot in front of the other

the picture is a bit overexposed, but this is the new foot on that big pink bear that had the "gender reassignment" surgery last week

this foot took me almost 2 hours to do, but since it was the first one and I was "fiddling" with the idea, I'm hoping the other 3 will go a bit faster -- like hopefully getting them done today as I'm quickly running up against a show deadline (this time next week we'll be on our way to Albuquerque for a show on Sunday, May 18)

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Goldie's Extreme Make Over

Remember this face from last week's posts?

Yeah, we thought this was was done and just looking for a name

Until the photo shoot, and then I just didn't like the whole look of the thing


The new and improved bear!!

Oh yeah, and while she was in a "drug induced" fog (we don't operate while they're awake after all!!), she told me her name was Goldie

much improved after having her eyes, mouth and ears redone!!

Got a few more beads done too --- these are coming out even better than I thought they would

and so, its back to work.....

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Unveiling "Love Squared"

If you've been reading my blog for very long, you may remember that back in February I was working on some beaded squares to donate to The Pink Artist Project.

This is the doll that was created from the many, MANY!, squares donated by artists from everywhere. In the smaller, close up picture, in the yellow square (added by me) is one of the two blocks that I contributed. I spotted it in one of the pictures of the back of the skirt of the doll that Monica posted on her blog (see link below), and I was so tickled by being able to pick one of mine out, I decided to show off here.

(to see more pictures and read about the process that created the doll, use this link)

This doll, titled "Love Squared" will appear in the Autumn 2008 issue of Art Doll Quarterly which should be on the news stands on August 1.

There will be raffle tickets available for winning this lovely piece of art. I will put up the info as soon as I have it so you can have a chance at owning this great piece, and proceeds of the raffle will be donated to the Susan B. Komen Foundation.

I'm proud to be a part of the group that created this piece.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Mission Accomplished

I have now met the Mittnz challenge

This is the 8th, smallest and final pair of mittnz for the great mittnz mailing which will take place the last week of September.

And here is my Kaleidoscope Mittnz picture (ok, think of the elaborate dance routines from those old black and white movies -- or the end credits from Sister Act II)

I'm frankly amazed how quickly I was able to get these all done. It helped that I actually ended up using basically the same pattern for them all so that by the time I got to the last pair yesterday, all I needed was the proper row count numbers, and I didn't really need the pattern any more -- I had it memorized!

Now the charity knitting will return to afghan squares (I need to do 20 more to fill the box I'm working up), and vests or sweaters for the Warm Woolies group.

Meantime I'm also knitting on some Christmas projects and an experimental "blankie" for me that is made out of scrapped sweaters -- we'll see how all that goes.

Today, amongst the trips to the laundry room I'll be trying to get the face back on the little yellow bear.

onward and upward!!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

meantime, back in the surgical center.....

remember this?

As you can see, the issues have been resolved

and we're sitting up!!

the need for an adjustment here was not so clear, except the face just didn't look right to me

notice the line that runs across the picture -- that is lined up (approximately) with the underside of the top jaw

and here we have a line in approximately the same spot

notice the totally different angle?

AH! much better!!

So now both of these bears will be getting faces a bit later in the week.

moving along on the angel panel.....I had never used the markers to create details in a quilted piece before

In fact, I was nervous enough about the "wash safety" that I used a piece of the peach fabric to create a "test" with the markers which I then washed by hand to make sure they didn't "bleed" -- ok, paranoia reigns, but when I put in this much work, I want to be sure it won't get ruined when I cold rinse it to take out the quilting marks!!

Everything that is done with the markers will also be quilted for additional definition and texture -- I'm liking it!!

This is the quiz for the day.

What is this object?

Ok, enough blathering for this morning, we're heading out to visit with my dad who was hospitalized yesterday (after spending about 9 hours sitting around in the ER!!! -- but that's a rant for another place)

and we're off.......