Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

whatever you are doing

whoever you are with

have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Architectural beading

now that I have a bit of time to work on projects that don't have a deadline, I have been working on this project again

I really like the way the bottom of this looks -- the fabric that I used for the "glass" has that reflective quality one would expect of glass, and I think the brick work looks pretty cool too

so, I was feeling pretty smart about my ideas for the way this project should work out and the using of sort of off the wall materials

until I got to this part

the original idea was to use pieces of a foil baking pan cut up like tiles and build beaded bezels around them

and that all works, but I really don't like the way it looks

the bezel just looks too fussy and contrived when what I want is the same smooth look that the faux brick has in the bottom section

so, what to do?

for one thing, take this part out

then I think I'll try a sheet of heavy duty foil that I can actually stitch right through to make those narrow "rails" that are supposed to hold the metal panels

I'll be giving that a try -- and keep you posted!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

stuff still on the sticks

this project is getting close to being done

I have only the ribbing to do on the second sleeve then there will be stitching (NOT my favorite thing) and knitting of ribbing around the bottom -- oh yeah, and the weaving in of many, MANY ends since this is a "reconstituted" sweater

I just love the pattern stitch in this one, can't wait to think up another "something" to knit using it

and while I would not wear this color, it hasn't been bad to work on -- a lot easier than really dark colors that seem to just suck up the light and make it harder to see it the pattern stitch is correct

another afghan square complete

and I cast on what will be the last one in this box last night

it uses this same varigated yarn (this is called "crayon" I believe, or something like that for it's bright "raceway" of colors) and a bright orange

just the color alone should keep someone warm!

it will be good to get this box full of squares on its way and start on the next box full

and this project will soon be on the sticks

a vest for the DH

yet another "reconstituted" sweater project

it is one of the things I love about hand knits -- when you get tired of one or part of it gets damaged or it doesn't fit any more you can just ravel the whole thing and make something else out of it

I'm making real progress on the architectural beadwork piece I'm working on -- this one has a whole section that on the real building were big metal panels -- I'm about to reach the place where I will be starting into the pieces of aluminum foil pan that I'm going to use for those parts -- I hope it works!

meantime I'm starting to tidy up my working areas and the annual Christmas Cleanup is underway (wherein we put away some things to set up our decorations)

rollin' right along

Saturday, November 21, 2009

More complete projects

considering that I've not done very much lace knitting, I'm pretty pleased with this piece

I really love the lovely, light feeling of this great silk yarn

yesterday I pinned the edges (and that is a project that takes a while!) to block this lovely

I used the spray bottle to spritz the knitting and get it properly wet

for some reason I thought I was smelling raw pumpkin -- HUH? who knew wet silk would smell like raw pumpkin -- very strange indeed

anyway, I now have another project complete!!

my other project completed yesterday was that we got these planted

come Spring I should have a real riot of yellow loveliness (a site reminiscent of our prior year's trips to Nevada City)

one of the sweet things about this is that we got the package of bulbs for half price since the store is trying to move them all out to make room for Christmas decorations --- I'll take it!

I also finished cutting out all of the penguins for my Christmas cards yesterday afternoon -- moving right along!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I'm working, I'm working

its another afghan square!

only two more and the box is full and can be shipped off

meantime, the last two or three days I have spent hours taking pictures, doing research and writing descriptions for items that will be hitting my Ebay store on Tuesday, Nov 24

I'll be posting a "live" link so you can pick up a great bargin for Christmas!

Watch this space!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Finished project!

After quite a bit of time reworking, this project is now complete.

The original bag was nice, but sort of "flat"

When I decided to rework it, I took it completely apart -- the lining came out and the individual pieces of the outside were taken apart.

Now it has an extra lining that I stitched through then stuffed in places to make the flowers three dimensional.

I added beads for the centers of all the orange flowers. The lady bug bead was added to the flap (which has a really nice magnetic clasp). The handle/strap is even "stuffed" so it is a nice soft roll instead of a flat piece.

I think it looks 100% better!

Monday, November 16, 2009

a box of rocks?

I had good intentions of getting on with the brushes and shrubs yesterday, but cutting out the rocks took a lot longer than I thought it would -- who knew?

anyway, I did get the linings for the trees cut out too

it is moving along

spent a lot of time this morning taking pictures of the many things I want to put out on ebay for Black Wednesday --- anyone who thinks selling on ebay is just a lark just isn't doing it right! it takes a lot of time to get good pictures, write good descriptions, dig up shipping boxes, etc., etc., etc.

time to get back at it

Sunday, November 15, 2009

winter day activities

actually, these were found before the storm set in

on Friday we went to the grocery store to pick up what we would need over the weekend

in the ad they said there were persimmons -- I was not hopeful as all I've ever seen here are the other variety which will not work for the recipe I want to do

but they had these!


they will sit on the counter until they are so ripe that I can make an X in the top of them and squeeze out the pulp like toothpaste

we'll have one of our favorite California treats for this year's Christmas celebration!

since the weather was cold and snowy yesterday, the DH decided it was a good time to cook up the rest of the squash stash

those are the last three of the acorn squash we grew in our garden this summer

the pumpkin was one we picked up at the grocery before Halloween when they were on sale

he made a pumpkin pie out of half of the pumpkin and we put the other half in the freezer to be made into pie for Thanksgiving

we'll be eating squash some this week and freezing the leftovers

to go with the piece of fabric stamped to be rocks from yesterday's post, here is the piece I stamped with different shades of green

these will be cut into shapes then I'll use a fabric marker to put in the "branches" and these will become low bushes and shrubs in the Trees piece

since I needed to pull out all of the other fabrics I have on hand for this project, I went through four of the tubs of fabric I had sitting out in the "studio"

after two more loads of laundry for the pieces I'm working on, I have 2 small tubs (one for the Trees project, one for the Out of Africa project) and the other tubs are ready to go out to the storage shed until after Christmas

today I start doing the backing for the trees themselves

and one more afghan square complete!

I have only 3 more to do to have this box full

I'm not sure I'll have that done before Thanksgiving, but if not, I'm sure I'll have that and more done when we return from our daughter's

when I was in the store picking up fabrics and foam the other day I did get a skein of brighter variegated yarn to do the next few squares --- a bit more color is required!!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

it's a rock

or actually, a whole lot of rocks!

this is a piece of unbleached muslin that I used sea sponges to paint "rocks" on

a variety of color combinations and sizes

these are for the Trees project

today this will get ironed to "set" the color then I can start figuring out the cutting and placement

and there will be similarly painted "bushes"

Friday, November 13, 2009

seeing the trees in the forest

the stitching has begun

we realize there is no such forest anywhere --- redwood trees and aspens just don't grow together in the same climate

we're making it happen in fabric

yesterday, after the washing of all the fabrics there was a marathon ironing session -- it took me back to my childhood, ironing my grandfather's shirts -- except there was no starch involved yesterday, just the smell of freshly washed, warm cotton

the fabrics I had dyed the day before were specifically for the sky and the dirt, and after the ironing and cutting, those first two pieces have been stitched together

today I hope to do some marking of where the trees will go on that, and perhaps begin the painting of the rocks on the dirt

we also did this yesterday

this is the foam for the seat of the chair we are recovering

the DH did the measuring, pattern cutting and marking -- I got to use the knife and cut it to shape -- reminded me of the hours with the drywall saw when we remodeled a house --- {shudder}

there was enough of the foam left over to make the pad for a small ottoman, so the DH has begun working on the framework for that (we actually had wood furniture legs from some previous low slung piece of furniture on hand that will go pretty well with the chair)

this morning we're making a grocery store run so we don't have to go out again for a few days -- we have a big storm forecast for the weekend

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Projects to dye for

this is the dye pot -- located at long last

we have spent several hours looking for this item -- and where was it? right there in plain site!!

the last time I used this was before we left California

and we had two pots that looked just alike --- one to can in and one to dye in (yes, I'm sure this is the dye pot -- I had packed it with a quarter of a paper barrel bag of black walnut hulls inside for a future dye project!)

now the question is -- what happened to the canning kettle? the jar rack is here, but the kettle is not, and I know I was here when we moved --- it's a puzzlement!

so these were the fabrics that needed to be dyed

I had not previously used this particular kind of dye

for one thing the fiber reactive sort of dye is relatively new in the local fabric store -- you used to have to order it from someplace like Dharma Trading

the coolest thing about these dyes is that the fabrics actually came out the colors they were supposed to! (having worked with Rit dyes quite a bit, I was prepared to be disappointed with these) I used the China Blue on a 2 yard chunk of bleached muslin, and the Terracotta on a 3 yard chunk of unbleached muslin

because I will be using the blue for the sky of the next piece, I wanted it to be an even color, so I paid a lot of attention to proper stirring technique

the terracotta will be part of the "dirt" and part of the tree bark, so even color was a lot less desirable, so the fabric was just sort of "bunched" and stirred around without trying to get something homogeneous

so the dying got done yesterday then each color was put in a plastic bag and allowed to sit overnight to develop

this morning I washed this batch of fabrics (which are also for the Trees project

then I rinsed out both of the dye batches (one at a time of course to avoid cross contamination)

there will be a major ironing project to be worked on after breakfast

this aluminum foil pan is all marked up for the cutting

it is going to become the big metal panels at the top of this building -- now I just have to go through the box of gray beads and find the right ones to build all those bezels that will surround each piece

I had been experimenting with different things to be the scarves around the necks of the penguins on my Christmas cards, but so far everything was too bulky

I found these wired garlands in the drugstore

I think they will work really well -- they're fluffy and sparkly and will stay where I want them and because they are basically wired mylar they aren't too bulky around the back of the penguin's neck where I need it to lay flat

since I have almost finished the book that goes with the mystery Christmas quilt, I'll be working on the cards a lot more now

like this?

I do

the DH is working on a design to be used to make new needlepoint seat covers for our dining room chairs

this is the original line drawing

I've done him a couple of copies so he can play with the color

after he gets that to what he wants I'll scan the colored image and create a graph with my beading software (got to love all the many things you can do with something laid out on a square graph!)

yup, we've got projects aplenty!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

more Christmas projects complete, new art begun

and here it is -- a garden hat!

hoping to help protect my son-in-law's head from the sun and the heat while he grows some more of those hot chili peppers next summer

oh yes, and note the colorful top stitching in the brim that matches the embroidery on the front of the hat too

and you may be wondering what that paper is that is under the hat that looks like a blue print

it is the full size pattern for the next project

and these are part of the next project too

now that I have all of the pattern put together I'll be working on dying some fabrics for the background of this piece -- one light blue dye pot, one terra cotta dye pot

and these threads are for the redwood trees

the idea is to digitize the redwood "leaves" (they are really more like fat, soft pine needles) so that I can create some of them with the embroidery program on water soluble stabilizer -- then they can be attached to the quilt only at the stem end -- sort of like a real tree would be with the "leaves" loose and moveable

(Ok, I'm probably not explaining this real well, but I can see it in my head!)

Progress on other Christmas projects is going well, and I've also been working on the hand bag I've been improving and started on the next beaded architectural piece.

Oh yeah, and working on Christmas cards --- just rolling along!!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

auto knitting

both in the "auto" and sort of on "auto"-pilot!

one thing that happens when we travel any farther than just a local errand is that I get a bit of knitting done on projects that don't require a lot of counting or close attention to details

yesterday we went to visit with my folks, so I did knitting

two afghan squares complete! I need to do only 4 more to have the box full so I can mail it off --- and I want to do that before Thanksgiving -- looking good!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

It's done!

after a lot of adjusting and tweeking I have declared this piece officially finished

and I'm pretty pleased with it!

here are some close ups of the individual blocks

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

a visit from the (computer) doctor

it's almost as good as a visit from Santa! My sister and her husband (whom we refer to as the family computer doctor) came to visit yesterday, so now my computers have both been checked out and scanned and the most current versions of everything loaded --- whooo hoooo!! (who says doctors don't make house calls any more?!)

the lace scarf is all finished -- blocking one of these is amazing -- almost like magic

so now this is all ready to be wrapped for my friend in California, and it's on to the next project

fabric (brought to me by my sister) for another mystery project in process

the drawings are done --- now it's on to the coloring (got to LOVE coloring!)

then it will be time to print and laminate

lookin' good

Monday, November 02, 2009

NOW it's done -- and other progress reports

right to left we have the first beaded aspen leaf, the second beaded aspen leaf and the third beaded aspen leaf

third time is the charm!

now I can finish the autumn wall hanging and move on to a new quilting project!

more chilis

I've been fiddling with the embroidery features on my sewing machine

(about time, I've only had the thing for almost 10 years!)

on this one I discovered how to use the rotate mode

I thought I would run out of pins before I got this all pinned down!

this is my first excursion with blocking lace, and let me tell you, there has to be an easier way (no doubt all of those class-smart, experienced lace knitters know all about it)

anyway, it's drying, so I'll so be able to count another project as complete!

and here we have the templates for the king (the one with the bear's head) and the Jack (with a bird's head)

this whole project has been an interesting blend of old fashioned drawing combined with using the graphics software on my computer

I've learned a lot and it's been fun

and we're getting close to the home stretch!

this morning I'm off to the doctor for my annual "would you please write my prescriptions" visit -- time to get rollin'

Sunday, November 01, 2009

No tricks, just treats

keeping busy on a Saturday Halloween!

earlier in the week I had done this beaded aspen leaf to finish the embellishment of the fall wall hanging, but it just didn't look "leaf-y" enough

so the last couple of days I did this one

but I'm not completely happy with it either

I think the veins are too dark

there is a possibility that I will be pulling this one apart too and restitching with a more muted green for the veins

this system of redoing something until it's right is a new thing here in the past couple of years

since the pressure of getting things finished while juggling too many other things is off, I have learned to step back from each piece and let ideas "perk"

I think it has resulted in much better work

since I'm trying to get Christmas projects complete, I worked on this one yesterday

(if you have forgotten, I'm making a deck of playing cards for my mother's collection for Christmas)

I have finished all of the numbered cards and the aces, which leaves only the face cards (and the joker) to be completed

this is the template I did for the queens in the deck

each one will be a bit different (for each suit)

it's coming along

and this is the fabric for one of the other Christmas projects

one that I actually finished yesterday

a new record has been set for the earliest date to have the Christmas PJs complete

on Halloween!!

since I had the machine out, I decided to do some embroidery work for another Christmas project

got to love those chilis!!

these are part of a bigger "in process" item

I finished the silk lace knit scarf last night, so today it will be on to the blocking of that piece -- oh yes, and I went ahead and cast on the next one -- a totally different (and easier!) pattern {this is SO like me to do the hard thing first -- like wanting to learn to play the piano by learning Moonlight Sonata!}

projects are definately moving along!