Thursday, December 31, 2009

a few more completed experiments/projects

my daughter asked me to add an embroidered name to the sock for the newest dog in the house

I finished this up yesterday afternoon

dark green rayon embroidery thread on the red and white dotted fabric

lookin' good

my daughter got a set of scrap booking scissors for Christmas (the kind that cut all kinds of fancy edges)

like with the colored pencils, she wanted some way to keep them organized and under control

while we were still at her house we went to the fabric store and she picked the fabric and I made the roll for her

(hey, I'm getting really good at this!)

bead work complete on another building!

the satin fabric for the metal siding worked pretty well

so now I could start on the next building -- if only I could remember what I did with the folder with all the drawings and notes that I put in a "safe place" when we cleaned up to decorate

this seems to happen to me every year about this time and it is really frustrating

I really need to have some organized place to keep things that doesn't need to be "cleaned and decorated" because other people might visit

anyway, as soon as I find the folder, I'll start on the next piece

I had started on this little "experiment" back around Thanksgiving, and finished it up when we were visiting at Christmas

the idea here was to test my idea about making the trees on the wall hanging actually stand out in a three dimensional look as well as seeing if I could get the "look" of both aspen bark and redwood bark

I'm pretty pleased with both

in the little picture you can actually see how the trees stand up from the background

so the next step is to experiment with the idea I have to create the look of leaves in the background of the piece -- I have airbrush ink in several colors and I'm going to try mixing it with some starch to give it some "body" so it will stay where I put it until it dries -- hopefully

we'll see how that goes

one more afghan square complete

I started a sort of sea foam green baby afghan just before Christmas -- it is one of those that is knit on the diagonal (started with 5 stitches, increased one stitch every row until there were 160 stitches on the needles) -- so yesterday afternoon I "turned the corner" and have started decreasing every row -- this part seems to be going a lot faster!

while we were away I did some design work for a new beaded piece -- looks like I'll finally be using that gift certificate I got for being a finalist in the Fire Mountain competition -- I'll need to order some beads to use for the design

So it's been an eventful year here at Esmerldas Studio -- we look forward to an even more productive year in 2010.

Happy New Year to you all -- party safely!!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas goodies revealed

there were goodies being made that I just couldn't talk about here before Christmas or there would have been no reason to wrap my daughter's presents -- she reads my blog!

here then is the case I made her to keep her colored pencils from being loose in the bottom of the plastic tub --- this is a pencil "book" --- pages within the case to hold each of the 50 colored pencils in its own secure slot

and this

throughout the year I mentioned the "Unidentified Christmas Project"

this is the project

a memory quilt, title "The Angel of Music" that includes blocks about her life

because she didn't get to read about the quilt as I went along, she also got a little book that talks about each block, why we used that image and what it meant to us

she liked it!

and there was a hat that is similar to the one I made for her husband and a pair of pink mittens (especially designed to be big enough to fit OVER her gloves for extra warmth when shoveling snow)

and of course there was the knitting of afghan squares in the car both ways, so there are 3 more for the box

I got a new camera for Christmas -- it's wonderful, 12 megapixels! And I have some great pictures already -- I just can't show them to you this morning!

Seems that even though I was able to download pictures successfully on to my laptop while I was away, no amount of installing, rebooting, pleading or swearing at the desktop computer will convince it that it should "talk nice" to the new camera.

At the risk of having the desktop computer totally stop working by saying this, this camera issue and the fact that my brother-in-law gave me a 60gig external hard drive for Christmas, is one more thing in the list of reasons why I'm considering doing away with the desktop.

In the meantime, I have to download pictures from the new camera to the laptop then write them to a click disc and carry the click disc to the desktop --- total P-I-T-A!


Monday, December 21, 2009

The Vest is done!

I finished it about 11:00 last night

(an hour at which I am usually asleep, but we started watching a Christmas program at 10, and it was so good, I was still awake at midnight when it ended --- a really rare thing for me!)

so, I didn't have the heart to make him wait until Christmas -- I let him try it on and it fits PERFECTLY!!

and there is still a bit of this yarn left --- I'm thinking about combining it with some black yarn and trying to figure out the whole "knitting figurals" thing --- maybe hearts and flowers --- to make a vest for me (another rare thing when I make something for myself!)

today it's time to "pack the sleigh" for the trip over the mountain and through the town to our daughter's house we go!

meantime I need to do laundry!

time to move it!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Peguin riding a mouse?

almost done making presents!

this piece was a collaborative effort between the DH & I

he did the original drawing, the wood shaping work and the main paint

I did the detail work and created the needle felted penguin

(btw, the ears and tail of the mouse are leather and the whiskers are broom straw!)

this is a Christmas gift for my brother in law, our family computer guru, who has a little collection of penguins

I hope he likes it

from the looks of this picture, Santa has already been here

we've wrapped almost everything -- just a couple of things to finish -- like the penguin and the mouse

oh yeah, and just in case I might have gotten too smug, the project that I have been working on for literally MONTHS for my mother totally blew up in the final stages

let us say that there is still much for me to learn about being able to print 10 small images on both sides of a sheet of card stock and have them come out lined up correctly

this morning, as I was in that sort of "fugue" state between waking and sleep, another approach to this came to me, but it will be much more labor intensive than I have time for before Christmas, so that project will be deferred for next year's Christmas.

so this morning I'm working on printing a custom calendar (which I will need to take to my local office supply store and have bound)

finished another afghan square, and good progress is being made on the vest I'm working on

after months of having up to 5 things on the sticks at once, it's a little odd to only have the vest and the afghan squares

I may have to remedy that --- pronto

of course there are a couple of quilt projects in the works, and some beading/mixed media things, but at this time of the year when I'm trying not to create a lot of mess, knitting is a better bet

Friday, December 18, 2009

Gazelle pencil case

the inside -- using striped fabric makes the stitching for the pencil pockets SO much easier!

this is the outside

I used a piece I had stamped with the gazelle a while back -- and I only had to trim it only a little

and here it is closed

the button is a "one of a kind" from the button box that looks like a coiled hunk of rope

and the loop closure?

heh, well, you know those fuzzy, stretching hair bands -- the small ones?

it was just the right size, stretches just enough to go over the button with stuff inside the case

I hope he likes it!

finished two dog toys yesterday too, so Christmas projects are nearly done!

the DH told me about a week ago that he was in need of a new bathrobe

yesterday we made a trip to our local Hancock Fabrics because they were having a pattern sale

(when I can get patterns for $1.99, I go "stock up" on any I think I might need)

this is the robe pattern I got (it was not my first choice -- they were out of that one -- but this one is satisfactory

I actually bought 2 of these -- one of each size grouping -- I sense that there will be more than one robe made here soon -- my daughter has already said she wants to commission me to make one for her and her husband too

and while we were in there, I found this great sort of sea foam green fabric --- we plan to use this as the back ground for the sea turtle quilt we are working on

yup, here we are starting up new projects!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

one more done!

this one isn't a Christmas present, it's just a present for Christmas


I made this tree skirt for my son-in-law's "silver tree" -- and I have some ornaments that are going from my collection to his too

I hope he likes it

just a few more things to work on -----

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Officially Done

decorating that is!

the stockings are hung (just in the decorative sense)

the trees are up

lots of other little Christmas odds and ends are on display

it is amazing how much Christmas stuff one can accumulate in almost 40 years

some of the most memorable ones aren't even the most costly ones -- but the ones with the sweetest memories

I still have some more pictures to take and share with y'all tomorrow

and I'm still working on some sewing projects too, (even finished one yesterday that I can't show you yet!)

and another afghan square is complete

today, a bit more shopping, more Christmas projects and more gift wrapping --- but also some time to work on the beaded piece I'm doing and maybe some work on a wood project I started quite a while ago

time to get rolling!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


we're ready to do the penguin dance!

the rest of this piece (some wood working) is still in process, but this guy is pretty cute --- all 2 inches tall of him!

Monday, December 14, 2009


it's in a new place

for years my nativity scene had been on top of the piano, and you know once you start doing something one way, it takes major change to do it another way

and I find that I like this even better than the old way --

who knew?

meantime, project work continues -- the ongoing sewing projects are coming along

one of them involved cutting a circle with a 42 inch diameter then stretching the brain and doing math to figure out how much bias binding I needed to cut to go around that circle

there are still several hours of time for the sewing machine (some of which I can just "supervise" while the embroidery program works its magic)

and on the whole the big black dog that lives here is just trying to catch some sleep

I loved this shot where she is using one of her "mom made" squeeky toys as a pillow


today's work list includes laundry, finally finishing the decorating, some errands, gift wrapping and more on the projects

are we done yet?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

more trees, more completed projects!

the last of the trees (for this year) are complete!

this one is the tree that is all hand blown figural ornaments (a lot of Radko ones)

the tree itself was originally a display tree in a store and it is great to display these ornaments

and this is a twin sister tree but all of the ornaments on this one are bears

coca cola bears, hand made by me bears, blown glass bears, resin bears, wood bears -- you get the idea

now that the trees are all done we'll be working on the mantle in the family room and the other "surface" decorating

(I have ornaments for 2 more trees, but we're not putting those up this year!)

looking good

here is a close up of the completed lion stamp

I'm pretty pleased with the way he looks

stamping with light inks or paints on a dark surface has a lot of tricky parts

I think this is a technique that needs more work, but the finished product will be good for it's intended purpose

this is what the inside of the pencil roll looks like

each "pocket" is double stitched so hopefully it will stand up to the use of having pencils put in and taken out repeatedly

and this is what the outside looks like after I finished all the stitching

there are artist pencils and charcoals that are going along with this case, as well as a nice sketch book

I hope he likes it

and I finished the mittens to go with the hat

these came together in record time!

tomorrow we'll go get the rest of the items needed for this gift and get it packaged up

I hope the young teenager that gets these likes purple!

so the list of items to be completed is slowly shrinking -- still have some more sewing to complete for my daughter and her husband, and the deck of cards for my mother isn't quite done

and I'm at that antsy stage -- want to get this stuff finished so I can work on something else!

(oh yeah, I found a free pattern for a little bird ornament, so now I'm wanting to learn how to do crocheting with beads on the thread -- a crocheting is something I don't do much of because it bothers my wrist -- but I have this idea, and its not going to leave me alone until I at least TRY it)

time to get movin'

Saturday, December 12, 2009

starting over and actual finished work

so since the first attempt at the pencil roll was a total disaster, I decided to just make it more complicated all around (doesn't that just figure?)

I found I had this nice dark blue fabric that is heavy enough without the whole lining and batting and quilting thing

but it was just so "blah"

nothing to do but to break out the rubber stamps from the other ongoing project and make some cool fabric

so I stamped a very pale gold lion on the dark blue, which will require some additional "tweeking" but is a good start

in order to stamp the wall around the lion, I put some of that blue painter's tape right over the lion stamp so I could stamp over it

then I decided a sort of rock wall overall print would be good for the rest of the fabric, so I used the stamp I created for that

and I mixed in some gray paint with the gold I had used for the lion and did the rest of the fabric

after breakfast I'll be able to peal the tape and iron the fabric to set the color

then it's on to making the pencil roll

we went to Denver yesterday to do some Christmas shopping that we can't do here in our little village

while I was in the car I did almost all of the knitting of this hat (the top 10 rows or so have to be on double point needles which I finished last night)

this hat will go with the items we purchased for a girl whose name we got from the local Giving Tree

and this is the beginning of the pair of mittens which will go with the hat

at this stage the DH says these look like a shark

(use your imagination here --- see the fin?)

one more mitten to knit then stitch them up and we'll be ready to start putting that package together too

and another project is in the works too --- we've just learned that a friend is having a baby next summer, so we're working on the design of a new quilt --- watch this space for the progress!

time to go finish that pencil case