Friday, January 30, 2009

NOT Mr. Ed

no, this is "Buckie"

the lovely orange and blue horse

once I got him all put together and added a mane and tail, he looks pretty cute!

amazing considering the oddity of parts that went into making him

so, last night I cast on the beginning of a zebra -- on needles two sizes smaller because I want the zebra to be a little smaller animal

meantime, after looking about for a giraffe pattern, I've decided I'll probably be using the "order from a Chinese menu" approach --- one from column A, two from column B (and with six we get egg roll)

The legs of the horse are the right shape, just too short, which can be easily fixed by working some extra rows between hoof and knee and again between knee and hip -- The one pattern I found that the body looked pretty good was worked up in stripes -- HUH??!! Last I looked giraffes were definately not striped -- perhaps there was a mix up between the zebras and the giraffes -- who knows -- anyway the giraffe will definately be "an adventure"

The repair of the block for the Unidentified Christmas Project has been completed, and now I'm back to working on the next block, so we're back on schedule there

The jewelry repair is complete and waiting for the mail man to come and pick it up, so today I'll be able to spend some time working on the Diva necklace again. Tomorrow will be the much anticipated unveiling of the latest batch of Rocky Mountain Beach Glass. It's been in the tumbler for a month, so we'll be washing it out -- woohoo!! Pictures to be revealed soon.

and so we're off!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

er, it's STILL odd

for those of you guessing at home --- no, it's not a camel

the rear end really resembles a pumpkin (hmmm, there's some design opportunity in there somewhere)

oddness abounds

I worked on it more last night after I took this picture, and it is looking much more recognizable, and I should get it finished today

on the Unidentified Christmas Project front, I thought I had completed another part, only to be told that the lettering I had added included a word that was spelled wrong ---- to say I was not pleased is an understatement. I'll be fixing that little issue today too.

Note: do not rough house with a labrador -- I was playing with our 80 pound "cutie" yesterday afternoon and our heads collided -- she hit me right in front of my right ear -- I saw STARS!! This morning there is a faintly blue shadow there, my jaw is still tender and there is a slight ringing in that ear. I'm going to survive, but I don't want to go there again.

guess it's time to get some work done!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

beginning to take shape

I got all the parts stitched up

odd, aren't they?


it's somewhat "rumply" around the back side -- I must have been the model

ok, I promise this will look more like something reasonable soon (I hope)

I began putting together the Diva necklace yesterday. This is sometimes the point at which I discover I was crazy when I did the original design -- as in "whatever made me think this would work", but so far this one has been a pleasure -- up to the point when one of the size 11 seed beads in the row I was attaching broke, meaning that I have to take out a couple of rows and rework them -- so that was the point that I put it aside to be returned to today. I have learned this is my best work approach. It generates less mumbling and swearing.

Meantime in yesterday's mail I got a little padded envelope with a beaded piece that I had made for a lady a while back that she had damaged and wants repaired. She also enclosed a check for the repair and the postage back to her. I'll be trying to get this repair done to go out in tomorrow's mail. Wow!!

Today, being our monthly pay day will include our monthly Costco trip where we purchase meat, coffee, fish oil capsules -- stuff we can get cheaper by buying in larger amounts. It's one of our little household games --- right along with using coupons and buying mark downs at the grocery store --- save whatever we can there so we can use the $$ for things like silver and beads and fabrics and yarn and clay --- it's all about priorities!!

time to get moving

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

really long knitting

quite a while ago I started working on a project called "The Wall of Linen" that was started over at
Mason Dixon Knitting.

the first blocks were pretty easy, and actually looked like blocks -- you know, roughly square or slightly rectangular.

this "block" however runs the whole width of the afgan -- it was done by casting on and knitting the center section (the one that looks like up and down stripes in the picture), then you pick up the stitches at each end and knit another section

by the time I got to the weaving in part, it had evolved into an all evening effort -- made more so by the fact that I am using up little odds and ends and pieces to make this out of -- some of it even yarn that was once part of a couple of different sweaters

so, now I'm about to go where even the Mason Dixon folks haven't gone yet -- there are still 6 blocks of this critter to be knit, and no directions posted, so I've decided to "wing it" and create some blocks of my own

Meantime, the stitching up of the odd orange knitting has commenced. Last night I did the large piece and one of the smaller ones, and let me tell you, this knitting (and stitching) on faith has its rewards --- the pieces look entirely different when they are stitched up, even resembling what they are supposed to be --- I'm so impressed I've decided to knit up another of these in different colors for another Christmas gift.

The tube creation on the beaded piece is 4/5ths complete. I'm really looking forward to moving on to the "putting it all together" portion of the project which include using silver French wire to attach the clasp (a very cool hook clasp with a pearl on it -- probably the most expensive single clasp I've ever used, but it's so perfect I had to do it). And there will be fringing off each and every one of the components.

Of course, since I'm nearing the end of a beading project, I'm already thinking what the next one will be. As I type this I'm listening to the rhythmic turning of the tumbler that is polishing up a new batch of Rocky Mountain Beach Glass. This batch includes some genuinely red glass (not that stuff that was just painted red that was in the last batch) which I'm really looking forward to making some new necklaces out of -- and maybe a bracelet -- the idea for the bracelet is in the tiny, baby stage, so I'm just letting it grow.

Valentine's day is coming, and that always marks one of the two high points of my paper crafting during the year. I have some ideas for some very cool valentine cards, but until my new printer cartridges arrive, there is no printing going on at my house --- boooooooo! They should be here on Thursday, then LOOK OUT!!

and so it is in the studio

Monday, January 26, 2009

parts and pieces

I actually like doing really big projects -- the kind that take time to plan and calculate and organize
the problem with that is that it takes a while to have anything to show for the work being done

so today, pictures of two projects in process

these are the pieces for the beaded necklace I'm working on right now

slices of shell and pieces of pink quartz encircled with size 11 and size 15 seed beads

so far I've used right angle weave, peyote stitch and 2 different kinds of netting

I'm hoping to get to the "putting it together" stage by the end of the week.

and these are the last pieces of the odd orange knitting

today's work on this will be starting the stitching up so it will actually begin to look like something recognizable (hopefully!)

I'm turning cartwheels for having completed another project -- a huge power point presentation that will allow a community opera company to project the subtitles for their production. I had hoped to have it ready for them to review by February 1, and I'm a week ahead of myself --- YIPPEE!! (oh yes, I'm going to get paid for this one too --- which means more art supplies and show fees --- hurrah!)

Today (being Monday) I'll be working on projects between loads of laundry and watching the snow fall --- it's too cold to venture out for anything further than the mail.

What will your day bring?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A new necklace

Most of the necklaces that come out of the sudio and involve metals and facetted stones are made by the DH.

The past year or so I've been experimenting a bit with learning something about that side of the projects too.

A couple of days ago the post man brought a backorder package of supplies.

The lovely pear shaped "basket" setting was in it.

Originally the DH had ordered this setting for a specific stone -- problem was, that stone wouldn't fit!

So we went through all of the pear shaped stones we had on hand and found this really nice 2.1 carat blue topaz.

Not only did I put the stone in, I cut the bulk chain and attached the lobster clasp and the jump ring to complete the chain.

Nice, no?

Last night I finished the second piece of the Unidentified Christmas Project --- I have decided that this project really calls for a journal that will go along with it, and I just happened to have a suitable blank book on hand, so I'll be spending some time working on that too.

And the odd orange knitting continues too --- I'll probably get the last pieces of this finished today.

moving right along!!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

One World - One Heart Giveaway

What a wonderful response I had from all of you, my blogging buddies this year!!

Early this morning, the random number fairy (ok, I had my DH do it) selected two numbers.

The winners this year are from these two blogs: Simple~Needs and "Stampgram". I'll be sending out the goodies as soon as they respond to the emails I have already sent.

I'll be stopping by the blogs of all of those that responded over the coming weeks (and trying to revisit the blogs of all 911 (!) participants). Thanks to you all, and happy blogging!!

Last year I participated in the One World - One Heart Giveaway, and it was a lot of fun.

So, this year, we're doing it again!!

Here's how this works:

I'm going to be giving away 2 items from my studio.

Item #1

This is a bead embroidered heart pin.

The entire thing measures about 2 inches wide by 3.5 inches tall, with an opening in the center.

It is made entirely of size 15 seed beads, except for the flower and leaf beads at the bottom of the fringe.

The back of the pin has a soft covering, and it has a safety clasp pin.

Item #2

A set of 4 notecards that include four seasonal backgrounds and my hand drawn bird and bear.

The notecards are printed on nice card stock and are accompanied by a quality envelope for each.

So, now you're asking, "how do I win"?

Leave a comment on this post (only comments on this post will count), and make sure you include a way for me to contact you.

The winners (2, one for each item) will be chosen by random drawing. The drawing will take place on the morning of Thursday, February 12th, and will be announced here on my blog.

As I am posting this, there are already 475 other artists around the world that are participating in this event.

If you'd like to go check them all out, use this link.

Happy blogging!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Meet Cupcake

and aren't we cute?

no, that's not dirt on her nose -- it's "sugar" from the cupcake!

this bear was completed for a challenge over at Mohair Divas, and I'm pretty pleased with how she looks.

Cupcake is 13 inches tall. She is made of white mohair that has a dark gray backing. Fully jointed, she has glass eyes and is stuffed with polyfil.

Her footpads, nose and inside of her mouth are made of a very nice upholstery velour and I used needlefelting to give her the chubby cheeks and the fat tummy (one of the cool things about needlefelting is I could even give her a belly button).

Her "cupcake" is also needlefelted then put into a foil fluted candy paper so it looks like a cupcake with sparkly sugar on top -- I used very fine iridescent glitter for the sugar on top of the cupcake and on the bear's face.

What do you think?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

mystery orange knitting

two more pieces complete

2 more pieces to go

interesting and odd

part 1 of the unidentified Christmas project is done too

crawling along!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

work in process

Finally remembered to take a picture of this project.

The color is pretty washed out, but then it's hard to take a photo of shiny things that are pastel and white

On the far left is the tube that is half of the "chain" --- this was created using a technique that makes a fat, flexible tube --- there are 300 3mm silver beads in there along with 20 3mm pearls, some size 11 seed beads and a lot of size 15 seed beads.

Next to the tube is the blister pearl, and next to it the shaped sheet of beads I did in right angle weave to back the blister pearl.

Next step is to weave the netting bezel around the edges.

Fabrics for the Unidentified Christmas Project.

mmmmm, lovely marble-y, shimmer-y goodness!

progress continues on the odd orange knitting too

yup, we're moving right along

Saturday, January 17, 2009

more of the "knitting on faith" project

here's the next picture of this peculiar object

actually there are three pieces here --- one big one and two idential little ones (at the bottom right edge, stacked on top of each other)

notice that these are now "off the sticks"

I'm moving on to the next instruction that begins with the blue yarn again

Very interesting

Meantime, work continues on the new Diva necklace. I have half of the "chain" done, and am now on the third try at "framing" a really big (and extremely nice) slice of shell that has a good sized blister pearl on it.

I decided last night that trying to use the ordinary netting frame around it just would not work --- it's too big, so now I'm building a right angle weave backing that I will create a net from that will go around the edges -- almost as if it were glued down to a backing and I could just stitch around it, but I can't do with this piece because it is curved and would not lie flat for that treatment.

So far this has been a challenging piece, but not outside the vision, so I'm still happy with it.

I'll try to remember to take a picture or two of the "in process" steps.

time to roll

Friday, January 16, 2009

U. C. P.

The UCO (unidentified Christmas project) has begun.

Drawings are being made.

Scanning and printing is being done.

I like this part of a project as much as I like the finished product. (Sometimes I'm not so crazy about the parts in between!)

Meantime, quilting has actually begun on the angel panel, I'm still knitting along on the strange orange object, and the beading on the Diva necklace is moving, although slowly, in the right direction.

pictures of something soon, my pretties!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

ready to go quilting

Yup, I finished putting the panels together

The idea was to make these look like stained glass windows in a stone wall, and I'm pretty pleased with the effect

Today I will be putting the backing/batting/top sandwich together so I can start in on the quilting.

The quilting in the "glass panels" will be right along each appliqued piece to accent the shapes and in the gray panels will loosely follow the variations in color to make it look more like stone.

Considering I just guessed on how much fabric to buy for the back (it's that same gray) and the stripping, I did pretty well --- I have enough left to do the loops for the hanging and a small piece for the stash

Yesterday the last of Christmas got put away (well, ok, except for the candles, which don't go to the garage storage, and still need to be carried down to the basement), so it's onward to projects!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

FO, and why knitting involves faith

I finished this up last night.

This is a troop hat -- I will be sending it off to the Denver Library for the "Knitting for Our Troops" marathon --- helping to add to their goal of getting 5280 hats by the end of January 24.

Want more information? Use this link

I'm knitting along on a Christmas project -- yes, already!!

and let me tell you, this is a pattern that makes me wonder how the designer ever came up with it

it also reminds me that knitting to a pattern is a huge leap of faith -- a trust that who ever the designer was, they knew the right path and they have your best interest at heart.

I can usually understand how a pattern for a piece of clothing works (in fact, I usually understand those well enough to "tweek" them to my liking), but this one is a real mystery.

Updates to follow!

Friday, January 09, 2009

A bracelet completed

I've been fiddling with this thing for months, and I'm happy to report it is FINALLY off my work table!!

The stones in this were originally part of the now defunct "let the river run" project, but the form of the bracelet itself is a whole new thing -- formed on the same kind of materials that I use when I'm making a bracelet with a metal cuff inside -- only without the cuff.

It has a magnetic clasp, another first for any piece I've done

Then there is the whole "texture" of this piece. Instead of stitching the beads in patterns on their sides, each bead is standing upright with another small bead at the top, so they all stand up away from the cuff at different heights -- sort of like a Psychedelic Porcupine -- LOVE this technique, and I'll be using it again!!

The edges of this bracelet are not "regular", but sort of curve and flow, and there are openings between the other stones -- a kind of "negative space" that also adds to the "irregularness"

This is definately an "out of the box" style for my work, and I really like it

So, who knows what I'll work on next -- there are some more of the stones from the river project just hanging around -- and there is beach glass to play with -- oh, and tomorrow the box of goodies I ordered should arrive so I can start on the piece I designed on New Year's Eve --

ahhhhhh, so many ideas --- so little time in the day

Thursday, January 08, 2009

One more angel and a shopping trip

I finished the embroidery on the last angel panel last night

It was fun doing the hair of each angel a different color and style -- this is Raphael, and I did the embroidery with a rayon floss which has a lovely sheen to it, but is a real pain to work with as it wants to turn every which way and tie itself in knots!

The next plan for the three panels is to do some additional highlighting and shading with the fabric markers to give a little more depth to the faces, then I'll be ready to actually put the whole thing together so I can start quilting

Work progresses on the UCP -- the DH is working on the first of the drawings which will then be scanned and blown up to create full size patterns --- we're finally getting this process down to something familiar so that the drawing/pattern stage moves along much quicker.

I spent quite a bit of time working on a bracelet yesterday. I had started this one a while back but when I got to the clasp stage I was stalled because the usual methods didn't work. As usual, putting something aside and working on something else gives my brain a chance to come up with alternate ideas. We found some magnetic clasps in the bargin bin at the local craft store and I decided to try one of those (I've never worked with them before), and it's going to be great on this piece. Hopefully I finish this one today.

The shopping trip yesterday included purchasing the bright orange and blue yarn for the Christmas knitting project, and last night I started in on it --- the snoot has been knit of bright blue and I have just started into the first of the orange yarn --- pictures of the project "on the sticks" to follow soon

We've started taking down our Christmas decorations -- a little each day for about a week makes this a lot less stressful than trying to do it all at once.

time to get busy!!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Beach Glass, Angels and Christmas Future

Completed project #3 for 2009

another piece of Rocky Mountain Beach Glass made up into a necklace

This piece began as a purple plate

breaking, tumbling and bead work later, it is ready for wearing

What I think is especially cool about this is the was the pattern in the plate is actually still visable in the glass, though not as deep and the color is muted


The embroidery on two of the three angels is complete

And I'm working on the third one

meantime, drawings for an UCP (unidentified Christmas project) are in the works -- it's nice to have one quilt to be quilting on and one to be piecing/appliquing on at the same time

This is also a Christmas 2009 project --- picture this cutie knit up in bright orange and royal blue

I found the pattern on a free pattern web site, and now I need to figure out how much yarn it takes and see if I have enough on hand or if I need to go shopping

It's kind of fun to do these 3 dimensional knittting projects along with the knitting of clothing and afgan squares --- keeps things interesting!

Today I will be spending some time working on a HUGE power point presentation that I'm actually getting paid for --- nice to know it's worth putting the time in on it.

into the fray

Monday, January 05, 2009

Playing with the Christmas present

As you may recall, I got the fleece of a Jacob Sheep for Christmas --

Actually, when the box arrived, not only was there the fleece I had discussed with the lady, as promised, but another entire fleece and a small bundle of prepared roving from a mix of other sheep as well. To say I was extremely pleased and surprised would be an understatement.

If you are ever in the market for fleece, I highly recommend Moose Mtn. Ranch!

I decided that this little guy just needed "something" -- I've not been really happy with him, and even though I had redone his feet back in September, and I like the look of the feet now, I still just didn't like the finished product.

As I mentioned, one of the things in the package with the fleece was a package of roving, a sort of soft, heather-y gray tone (a blend of several of the Moose Mtn Ranch's sheep)

The roving was the same color as the backing of the fabric I used to make this bear --- an idea was forming! After some discussion with the DH, getting his ideas too, he did a drawing for me and I was ready to begin.

A while later, after shaving all of the white mohair pile off his tummy and spending about an hour and a half with the felting needle, he has a whole new tummy look

While you can't really tell from this picture, he even has a belly button!

Now I'm thinking about doing some other things to spruce up his face (I hate the look of that seam right above his right eye) and maybe create some other accessories to go with him

Considering the fact that I had for several years resisted the whole idea of needle felting, I'm learning to like it --- probably because I'm discovering I can actually do it (I guess I just wasn't sure I could).

Meantime, yesterday I spent some time working on a piece of Rocky Mountain Beach Glass jewelry (one of the pieces of purple glass being made into a necklace) and some time doing embroidery on one of the angel panels.

Pretty much a low stress, laid back day all around.

Today we're back to what mascarades as normal here --- laundry, mending, projects --- life in the "fast lane" no doubt!

Friday, January 02, 2009

What are you doing New Year's?

I don't do resolutions

My experience is that I don't keep them very well, and who needs the extra guilt?

I do start, complete and return to projects however!

These Christmas socks were made by my daughter and I last year for her house

This year she asked me if I could embroider their names on them

So yesterday, after the Rose Parade, I set up my machine and did the embroidery

The original plan was to do it right on the sock cuff, but even the smallest embroidery hoop for the machine was too wide to work, so I embroidered the names on some of the fabric left over from the sock lining (reason #2,954 of why you never throw away fabric pieces), then attached those embroidered strips to the cuff of the socks

It's probably acually better than the original plan since it's hard to work lettering over a patterned fabric and be able to read it

So, project #1 for 2009, all complete

Yesterday morning this was a t-shirt

A while back, when my daughter went off to finish college and live away from home she had several t-shirts that had been acquired at performances of things like Phantom of the Opera and Beauty and the Beast -- cool shirts but she didn't want to ruin them by wearing them (beside that, they were size XL, and she wears a smaller size). So, I made them into throw pillows for her.

When we were up visiting over Christmas, she asked me to make one of her husband's t-shirts into a pillow too.

A quick trip to the closest fabric store and about an hour's work later, the t-shirt is a pillow!

I'm thinking this might be a service I could add to my Etsy store too.

Ok, project #2 for 2009 complete!

If you've been with me a while, you may remember these .

I had gotten them all pieced/appliqued then put them away to make the big "get those Christmas projects done" push in the fall

Yesterday I pulled them out and looked them over

and decided that I want to do some embellishment with embroidery before I put the panel together to do the quilting

So hopefully today I'll get to work on them a bit after we run some errands

I guess if I have a resolution it's that I want to finish a lot of projects this year -- in fact, I think I'll start a list so that at the end of 2009 I can review and see how I did

How about you? What are you doing in the New Year?