Saturday, October 31, 2009

wherein we discuss artistic frustration

I've been working on a project for Christmas -- sort of -- that entails the use of small (about 11 x 17 inches) pieces of fabric in prints for various holidays in the year

a lot of this project is done, and I was thinking, "no problem, I can knock out the rest of this in a jiffy"

being as today is halloween and thanksgiving is right around the corner and birthdays go on all the time I figured I'd be able to find some fat quarters with appropriate print on them and finish this right up

au contraire mon ami -- it seems that no one has these, at least not in a scale that works (shall we say that pumpkins and corn that take half a yard to do a repeat are a bit on the over-large size!)

why is it no one else has telepathically understood that I would need these and had them at the ready?

this may mean that I will be dragging out all of the Copic markers and doing a bit of fabric creation of my very own

just saying....

Friday, October 30, 2009

winter weather pursuits

it has FINALLY stopped snowing

yesterday's only excursions out of the house were to haul the trash barrel out for pick up and to bring it (and the mail) back into the house

both trips required full winter gear and the application of the snow shovel

makes the time spent working on this little guy seem even more appropriate!

he's been stamped and colored and now scanned

the plan is to print sheets of card stock with as many of these little images on them as will fit (I'm guessing I can get 5 of them on a page) then they will be used on this year's Christmas cards

it's a work in progress

when I started on the knitting projects yesterday, I had 4 items on the sticks --

right now I only have 2

this afghan square is complete -- this makes 30, I really do need to get a box packed up!

I have finished the knitting of the scarf I'm making from the silk lace weight yarn -- or I should say I have finished the first scarf I'll be making out of that lovely stuff -- I haven't even used half of it yet -- more projects to come from that

progress on the gold sweater continues -- I have now done the cast on for the front and back, so it takes a bit longer to knit a row now -- it looks really good too

today we plan to venture out -- we want to make our monthly trip to walmart to pick up vitamins and a few other things that we buy there because it's the cheapest place in town to get them

time to get moving

Thursday, October 29, 2009

beading for the quilting

beaded leaves to accent the quilted wall hanging -- aspen and maple

haven't exactly figured out how I will attach these yet, but I'm working on it

I'm still waiting for the stick to dry out enough that I can finish this project

it's snowing -- in fact it has been snowing since yesterday morning, so we won't be going anywhere today -- good time to work on Christmas presents

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

more Africa pieces

more gazelles

since I was stamping things to send off to my friend in California, I did some more panels for me to play with

the one on the left is from the same stamp as the single stamping I had done earlier

the one on the right is the second stamp I cut -- slightly different

another elephant

the last one I did was the mama with her baby

this one is more the "big daddy"

it is a lot more difficult to do shading effectively on an animal that is already very dark

I may try using some lighter tones over the paint and see if I can actually create some highlights

this stamp amazes me every time I use it --- one of my better "did I do that?" moments

and I rather like the lion

when I first stamped it I was a little unhappy with it, but using the fabric markers improved him a lot

now it's on to putting them into some scenery -- stamping of bushes and trees will be on the list of to do items

yesterday I started working on the beaded aspen leaves for the fall wall hanging -- got the first one about 1/3 done

time to get moving -- we want to get our errands done before the snow really sets in

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

gold sweater

the sleeve is coming right along

I love that pattern up the center -- it might be fun to knit something with that pattern in larger areas

Christmas projects are moving right along

(which is why I have nothing else to show you right now!)

the binding on the leaf piece is now done, so I'm waiting for the stick to dry a bit before I seal it and put the whole piece together --- I pulled out the beads to make the brick stitch aspen leaves yesterday, so I can get those done

Monday, October 26, 2009

penguins marching?

ta da!

from the drawing to the stamp

a little bit of "clean up" needed to take off the lines at the tip of the beak and on the tummy then we're ready to move to the next phase

I've not made my Christmas cards from scratch before, and I have to say this is kind of fun!

yesterday I completed another project, so the box of Christmas goodies is growing, I just can't show you pictures yet!

today I'll be doing the last phase of the charity auction -- addressing the envelopes for the thank yous to the folks that purchased items from us -- time to start thinking about the next project

Sunday, October 25, 2009

stuff on the sticks (some literally!)

one of the bad things about living here in the mountains is that this time of year we are subject to frequent changes in the weather as cold fronts roll through

unfortunately, that also means that from time to time I must deal with a nasty sinus headache

yesterday was one of those days

so I didn't get as much done as I would have liked to, but I did work on this for a little while

this is the lovely fine silk yarn I bought while I was in California this summer, and now that I've finally gotten the hang of working with it (and having the right tools helps!), it's coming right along

the pattern instruction says I'm about half way done with it -- I may decide to make it longer (patterns just being a suggestion after all)

yesterday I had one of those "you are SUCH and idiot" moments and remembered that when you are knitting with a set of Denise needles, you can always take the tips off of one project and work on another

I did a swatch with the newly refreshed gold yarn and found out that my fussing about already having something on the size the pattern called for had been a gigantic waste of time and effort because that size worked up way too big for the guage anyway! (geesh!!)

so, here is the beginning of the sweater -- 2.5 inches of ribbed cuff (which the pattern does not call for, but the DH wants on his) and the first four rows of the patterning stitch (which is nice looking but there isn't enough of it to show up on the picture)

real progress!!

the quilting on the leave project is done and I'm working on the binding -- yesterday the DH suggested that I might want to use an actual piece of an aspen branch to create the hanger for this, and I think that's a cool idea -- he even went out and trimmed one off the tree for me -- he also suggested that I might want to use some of my brick stitched leaves and decor at the ends of the branch -- another great idea!

progress is being made on the album quilt too --- I only have 8 more blocks to quilt then I start the long border edges -- this really has gone much quicker than I thought it would

Saturday, October 24, 2009

afghan squares and penquins?

right now the afghan squares are the only knitting I can show you

(ok, I'm working on the silk thing, and I could take a picture, I just haven't done it!)

but seriously the other knitting I'm working on right now is a Christmas present for someone that reads this, so I'm not telling!!

after some of the other squares this one is kind of mutted, but nice

started another one too

I was going to start on the revised sweater, but I can't remember where I put the needles I need ---NUTS

still working on Christmas card ideas

check out this (very) rough drawing of a penquin

I'm thinking about turning him into a rubber stamp as a starting place then using beads, glitter, etc to make the cards

we'll see how that goes

Friday, October 23, 2009


here's what he looks like after I used several different Copic markers to put in details and shading

I'm rather pleased with him!

I still have another piece with 2 gazelles facing each other to do -- and the lion

I was a little worried how this would work since much of the black on this is done right over the brown paint that I stamped and I wasn't sure how well that would work, but it was not problem

the quilting on the leaves piece is in the home stretch -- just a little bit more in the third block then finish up the "viney" parts in the borders --- looking great!!

I've been fiddling with ideas for a Christmas card this year

this was one of the attempts -- I kind of liked the humor of having the giraffe put the star on the tree because he's so tall

today's idea has to do with penquins

I think I see more rubber stamp cutting in the near future!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

First item in a brand new store!

Meet Brillo.

Since I've been cleaning things out in the studio, I discovered that I had him all stitched and ready to stuff, so I went ahead and finished him.

(I know, I said I wasn't going to do any more "critters", but I'm not going to toss the ones that are complete or are "in process" either!)

Anyway, Brillo has been listed for sale in my brand new shop over at ArtFire.

You can see more pictures of him and read about it by using this link.

Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

more stamped animals

the "Out of Africa" series continues

yesterday I finally got to do the first stampings of these two animals

both of these need a lot of embellishing with other paints, markers, embroidery and beads, but on the whole I'm pleased with the stamps

and the gazelle has a "friend" -- I actually cut two gazelle stamps -- the other one faces the other way

so there will be more stamping today (I'm also stamping some panels for my friend in California who wants to include them in something she's working on)

and I've been playing with the idea of making a bigger panel that has all of the animals on it, so I'll be working with some paper cutouts of the stamps to figure out a design -- we'll see how that goes

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

carrots and weiner dogs

fresh from the garden!

the DH dug these up and put most of them in last nights soup (yummy!)

we also picked what little chard the frost didn't get and put it in the soup too

there will be more carrot digging -- the frost doesn't hurt them, so it's actually a good thing to leave them in the ground for now

in keeping with my recently announced cleaning up of the studio (and the entire house actually), I'm also working on reducing the number of unfinished objects that are hanging out here.

this little guy was one of them

he'll be posted for sale soon -- watch for the announcement!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Garage Sale

I'm cleaning things out.

The books that I can not list on Amazon are going out on my website and dirt cheap prices!

Pop by and see if any of these are something you'd like to have.

Just click on the garage sale sign and be magically transported there.

actual finished objects!

the kitty quilt is now complete -- finished the last stitches in the binding yesterday, so now it's ready to be mailed off

which means I can start quilting on the leaf wall hanging!

as I'm typing this I can hear the washing machine sloshing around, doing the load of laundry that includes the bleached muslin we picked up to be the "sky" of the tree piece

there is definately fabric dying on the agenda for this week (now let's hope I can stick to the agenda!)

another finished afghan square -- not nearly so colorful as the last few have been, but I'm working with what I have here

one half of the latest mystery Christmas knitting is complete -- rolling right along

today's "To Do" list includes laundry and a trip for the annual "smash and flash" -- have you had your mammogram done yet this year?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Puppy at the computer


It's me, Elphie, at mom's computer

Mom's not feeling that great this morning, so I'm the stand in blogger

The other day mom wrote about her Winter Garden and the lights

Here's the picture of what it looks like at night

See that row of three round lights?

It looks like a three eyed monster to me, so every night I have to go out and bark at it to make sure it stays away from mom and dad.

I'll let you know when it's safe


Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Elephant in the Room

just as I suspected, spending some time organizing the work area did the trick

the ball of cord surfaced, I got the scrap pieces organized, and 6 more ideas got added to the list of "pieces I'd like to do"

the most important thing is that the elephants are now done!


yesterday I mounted the new animal stamps, but the glue is not yet dry, so stamping will need to wait until at least this afternoon, or maybe tomorrow

I did machine work on a Christmas project and attached the binding to the baby quilt, so it is now ready for the final handwork

rollin' along

Friday, October 16, 2009

odd assorted projects

at long last the winding is complete -- now we're ready to knit

the pattern has been picked out -- one with a very slight textured pattern (just enough patterning to keep it interesting for the knitter), I do have a couple of other projects to finish first though (Christmas is coming after all)

last night I finished quilting the baby quilt, so today I will be trimming the edges then cutting and attaching the binding

48 of 110 blocks are quilted on the album quilt

I have finished cutting the rubber stamps of the lion and the 2 gazelles --- today the DH will cut the plastic for me to mount them --- so maybe tomorrow there can be stamping!

and I've officially lost my mind -- or at least the ball of cord -- back when I finished the zebra piece and tied the beads and the dowel together with the cord, I put the ball of cord in a "safe place" so I would have it when I finished the elephant -- HA! now that I need it, I have no idea where it is, and I'm thinking about either using something totally different that I already have on hand or going and buying a new ball --- you know, so I'll have one to use and one to loose! definately evidence that I need to spend some time cleaning and organizing

it was warmer yesterday, so the DH did the last painting on the garden shed

as in, now even the hardware has a new coat of paint (instead of just little splashes of gray and white and pink)

it now looks like a brand new shed -- better than it did when we moved here 8 years ago (oh yeah, and the door actually seals and the latch actually works!)


we planted the "winter garden" yesterday

I originally had these in the front yard

and originally there were 6 of those little solar powered lights

but after they had been out there for about a week, 3 of the little lights were stolen

since the wooden pieces were made by my friend in California and can't be easily replaced, we decided to relocate this little "garden" to the back yard

when we put them out yesterday afternoon, I told the DH that I was pretty sure our spooky labrador would bark at them as soon as it got dark enough for the lights to come on -- sure enough, about 7:30 she had to go out in the yard to "ward off the strangers" -- some days she's too much of a sight hound!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

another project to quilt!

got all of this piece stitched together

(as usual the most difficult part was the mitered corners!)

I've decided to do the back in that same bright purple that the front is, then do the binding with either the bright gold or the sort of mahogany colored fabric

right now I'm leaning toward using the mahogany color because it would actually look like a wood frame around the piece

we'll see

three of the kitties in the baby quilt are quilted -- only 9 more to go before it's ready to bind

the quilting of the album quilt is progressing too

and another charity afghan block is complete

this morning before I came down to my computer I started a batch of bread -- testing out a new recipe

updates tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

what I did while the laundry washed

the dying is done

as you can tell in this picture each hank of yarn took the color in a slightly different way

in fact, there are areas in each hank that are a slightly different color

very irregular varigated yarn!

and just how does one turn those hanks of yarn into balls without a swift?

my solution was to turn two dining room chairs back to back and adjust the distance to keep the yarn from sliding all the way down to the seat

(I wonder how many hanks of yarn these 100+ year old chairs have seen)

I managed to get 2 of the 10 done yesterday -- like before, I need to do these a bit at a time so I don't end up unable to do anything else because of the pain in my shoulder

Finally got this done

It's a texture stamp, and it's all made out of scrap pieces left over from cutting out the many rubber stamps I've done this year

Mammy would be proud -- she always taught me not to waste the materials from any project (come to think of it, she'd be proud of that recycled yarn project too)

This is either giraffe patterning or random stone, and ideas for using it are starting to form

Yesterday I went to the local Hobby Lobby and got another chunk of the lovely stuff that I cut stamps from --- I had enough on hand to cut my lion, but not enough for the gazelles, so the trip was necessary. I had know that since last week, but I was waiting for the 40% off coupon to appear in the Sunday paper (as it does a couple of times a month) before I went and bought the stuff. This trip was possible thanks to my daughter's present to me of a gift card, and using the coupon just stretches it that much further!

The quilting is moving along -- all of the stiles and rails of the baby quilt are done, so now I'll start on the outlining of the 12 cats. And I have quilted 30 of the 110 blocks of the album quilt. Yup, making progress

Monday, October 12, 2009

My quilt is going to to Houston!

I am so thrilled!

Earlier this year, I donated this little art quilt to The Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative.

They are taking 1077 of these little quilts to the Houston International Quilt Festival which takes place this coming weekend.

My little offering is one of them.

I am so thrilled! They are going to try to post pictures of the folks that purchase each of these 1077 quilts, and I'm looking forward to seeing who gets mine.

I experimented with a new recipe.

If you'd like to try this yourself, you can use this link to see the recipe over in Hattie's Kitchen.

After two days of fog and really cold temperatures, this is what the whole yard looks like.

Each and every blade of grass totally encased in a coat of ice making them look twice as big as they are and somehow fuzzy

I am happy to say that we have sunshine this morning -- I can only handle so many days of that gray before I start feeling "gray" too

Today being Monday I'm working on the usual chores -- laundry especially (when we hit cold weather there are at least 4 loads a week and sometimes more) and in between I hope to start getting the newly dyed wool rolled into balls for knitting.

Last night I started yet another Christmas knitting project -- moving right along!

time to get to it

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Prizes and projects

Look what the mail man brought me!

In the Mittnz 2009 challenge, Ann over at Sheep Shots drew names for prizes. Imagine my surprise that I won one of them (even stranger, my sister did too --- cue the Twilight Zone music!).

They arrived yesterday. Two very cool books on knitting -- one very basic with some wonderful simple knit sweater patterns and one with some great knitted toys (including a horse that looks a lot like the one I down loaded earlier in the year).

Great stuff! So now we can start on Mittnz 2010!

you may remember that I was working on a project that involved fall leaves (or not -- it's been a while, in fact I nearly forgot!)

anyway, this is the last block with the applique work all completed -- next it gets embroidery then all of the blocks get put together


I'm ready to put together the Elephants in the "Out of Africa" series, but in this mess that I call a "studio" I can not find the ball of cord I was using on these --- GRRRRR!! So I will work on some other things while I think about it -- and maybe actually do some cleaning to help the "finding" process

The gold wool yarn has been dyed and is hanging again from the shower rod -- sometime in the next couple of days I'll be able to take pictures (after it drys), then I will be rolling it into balls and starting on the sweater pattern the DH has selected

We're having snow and ice still this morning -- it's definately gray and very COLD!

I woke up with a sort of scratchy throat and just generally feeling draggy, so I'll be laying low today. Maybe some knitting and quilting, but definately some snoozing in the chair.

Time for a cup of throat soothers tea

Friday, October 09, 2009

and now we have snow

at least for a few hours this morning, along with the fog

it is supposed to clear off later today, then it will be back again tomorrow


the beads for the elephant wall hanging are all complete

I'm pretty pleased with these, especially since I learned a couple of new things doing these

lookie --- zig zag patterns!

so now I'm waiting for the DH to cut the dowel rod and I will be able to finish this one up and move on to the next piece

finished another afghan square

yesterday I washed all the yellow wool and it is hanging in the tub -- I hope to get the dying done soon

Thursday, October 08, 2009

of garden sheds and quilting

Yesterday was a pretty warm day, so the DH painted the trim on the garden shed

I think it looks pretty good -- almost like a brand new shed

If we get another warm day, he plans to paint all of the hardware with a really dark gray paint

Not sure when that will be -- we might actually get some snow by tomorrow morning

While the DH was painting, I cleaned up in the garden -- bagged up two big bags of corn stalks (the only way I can keep the dog from eating the stuff is to just get it out of the yard), pulled up the tomato baskets. While I was up in the garden I noticed there are two more panels in the fence that need to be repaired, so we'll be picking up about a dozen more fence boards to do that -- more for the zebra fence!

Outside work wasn't all I did yesterday either --- I got both of the quilts pin basted and have begun quilting on them

Four of the five beads for the elephant piece are done too, and I finally found the weights so I can wash the gold wool

When I was in the fabric store picking up the quilt batts, I got into a conversation with one of the ladies that works there. As I was telling her about the projects I was getting materials for she asked me if I had ever talked to a quilt guild. Well, uh, no -- not that I would mind doing that. So far I've had a hard time finding a quilt guild that I felt comfortable in -- I would like to not be the only art quilter in the group. She invited me to come a visit their group, which meets this evening at the Senior Center. If the weather isn't too evil, I'm going.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

projects and shopping trips

Since two quilt tops are waiting to be quilted, yesterday I made a trip to the fabric store to pick up the battings.

I had planned to use a blue and white striped fabric that I had on hand for the back of the kitty quilt, but this fabric just reached out and grabbed me, and since it was on sale, I decided it would make a perfect back for the kitty quilt.

And the battings were on sale too! WHOOO HOOO!!

and while I was in there I found some more pieces that will be used in the Trees project -- redwood bark and "leaves" and leaves for the aspen trees

I'm still working on "blowing up" the pattern drawings --- something that is 8 foot long has a lot of little 4x4 inch blocks in it! I'm about half way through that process, but we are about ready to do the coloring of the sky which will involve applying blue dye with sea sponges

this is an actual finished object!

I started this back in January using some of the yarn that was left over from making a sweater for my daughter for last Christmas.

It's a hooded scarf --- for me (ok, shocker!!)

The deal is that, like my daughter (or maybe vice versa), I like "hoodies" because they keep the wind from blowing down my neck.

There are times, however, that I need to be a bit more dressed up.

This bit of clever designing includes the best parts of a scarf and a hoodie

ok, winter is coming, and I guess I'm ready -- except now I'm thinking I might want to knit myself a pair of mittens that match this -- we'll see

I actually finished another project last night too -- the Christmas sweater project is DONE!

and all of the gold yarn is now all turned into skeins that are tied and ready for the washing

this morning I got several free men's sweater patterns online, so I need to be moving along on the washing and dying on this project

later today there will be pinning of quilt sandwiches -- I'm really glad I have two big boxes of "bent" safety pins so I can actually pin up both quilts while I'm at it

yes, there's nothing sweeter than progress!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

quilts aplenty!

the last block of the kitty quilt is done!

and last night the DH set my sewing machine up on the table so I could put the top all together

and this quilt top arrived in the mail

back in June when we went to visit a friend for her 80th birthday, we had everyone that came to the party sign a block

her youngest daughter put the whole quilt top together and mailed it (along with the backing, the binding and the $$ for the batting) to me for the quilting

good timing, given that I had just finished the mystery project!

today when we're out running errands I'll be picking up batts for both of these quilts!

since the elephants are nearly done, it was time to think about new animals to be added to the "out of aftrica" series

yesterday the DH did these two drawings for me

guess there is stamp cutting in my near future!

yarn winding continues on the yellow sweater remodel project, and last night I finished everything except sewing on the buttons on the mystery sweater project

yup, things are progressing!