Saturday, February 28, 2009

zebras and birdhouses

The zebra knitting is done!!

Oh joy

Love those back legs with the cute curves of stripes

The ears (center of the picture) are not actually knit. For something that size I couldn't figure out a way I could do stripes and hide the weave ins and do the curves and --- well, you get the picture. They're crocheted

So now there will be stitching and turning (which will probably mean some mumbling) and stuffing

Pictures to follow my pretties!

This also means I now need to get serious about charting the back legs and the body and the head of the giraffe

More painting has been going on, as well as a little bit of sandpaper being applied

The green and blue ones are now ready for the staining (which will be done when the DH is using the stain -- no point opening the can twice).

The red one had started out as pink, but I decided that the crackle finish just wouldn't show that much if I put white over pink.

The new idea is to use white over the red and red over the white and with the crackle medium it should look pretty cool -- I hope

Oh, and don't you love the blue "spires" on each one? These all have a nice rope hanger that I don't want to "contaminate" with paint or stain, so I wrapped them in painters tape. What a nice side benefit -- they stand up out of the way all by themselves!

The new "black magic" necklace has been started --- there has been some "voodoo" already. The backs of the stones are very uneven and don't lend themselves well to being netted, so I've glued them down to a backing and will do bead embroidery around them. More about that later.

time to get a move on!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Purple Leaf complete!


And I really like the look of this one!

I really didn't think I'd complete this yesterday, but the "chain" parts went together so easily I just kept on working and suddenly it was done.

Funny how once the right materials all come together how easy it is to get a piece finished.

So, after I finished this I pulled out some pieces of black stone and I'm fiddling with another design idea.

If you remember the Diva necklace (if not, you can go here to check it out), I was playing with the idea of asymetrical balance. My plan is to take what I learned with that piece and what I learned doing the purple leaf piece and combine some of those techniques for the new one.

Right now the working title for the new one is "Black Magic" --- we'll see if it's actually magic or if it turns out to be voodoo!

You may recall the mention a while back of a bench being built by the DH to go with my loom. Yesterday we went off to the hardware store and picked up the rest of the materials needed to complete it. It's going to be WAY COOL!! The legs and the materials for the little shelf he's building under the seat cost more that all of the rest of it, but since the top is oak, the legs needed to be something better than cheap pine. No doubt the dog will have to go out and do more supervising while he works on it.

Work on the Unidentified Christmas Project is progressing, as is the zebra knitting.

Time to go get some breakfast!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Angels complete, and other works

If you've been reading here for a long time, you may remember this project.

When I first had the idea I wanted to make it all out of beads with no backing so the light could come through it like a stained glass window (in fact, I'm still fascinated with that idea, but haven't yet figured out how to carry it off).

Anyway, this is finally quilted and complete.

It's intended to be a wall hanging (I stitched in loops on the back so it can be hung from a rod or a wire).

As I've worked on it I've thought of it as a kind of worship piece --- something to contemplate about angels as I've stitched.

Now that it is complete, I'm not entirely sure what I will do with it (after I enter it in the State Fair, that is).

I'm hoping some inspiration for that will occur.

The last dog toy of this style stood up pretty well to those super sharp teeth of my daughter's "terrior-izer", so I whipped up another one yesterday.

It will go in the box I'll be sending them soon

All of the components are now stitched together!

The idea of using the twisted cord to put the leaf on really worked well, and I've got the crystals all arranged and connected together

There at the top is the beginning of the rest of the cord that will make up the necklace. I'll be making 2 of these and "zipping" them up then attaching them to each side to make the rest of the necklace.

Lookin' good!

Lookie what came in the mail yesterday.

Nice stuff -- not so difficult that a semi accomplished knitter like me can't figure it out -- hopefully

And of course as soon as I saw some of the patterns I immediately began to think "hmmm, this one could be made into ___ (insert something other than what the original pattern is for here)"

Guess we'll never escape that whole "a pattern is just a suggestion" thing

Speaking of knitting, the back legs of the zebra are slowly taking shape. For some reason, each knitting session is an ordeal of *knit one row, purl one row, untangle 4 strands of yarn, repeat from * It's enough to make one contemplate the virtues of bobbins --- like the kind I used once when I knit a pair of argyle socks (never mind, it's too ugly to return to). It also makes me think that those bobbin thingies will be REQUIRED when I start into the great giraffe project.

Yesterday we did shopping and I worked on taxes, so I never did get to the bird house project, and today I need to make the living room look like something other than a warehouse as we have someone coming by to visit this evening, but I'm hoping to get some project work done!

time to roll out!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Filing orders

As I said in yesterday's blog, I sold another item from my Etsy store.

It's interesting that I put this particular item out there as a sort of joke, thinking that no one would be interested, but it has been the one thing that has been a slow but steady fund raiser.

The yellow dog toy is the one for the order received -- the other one is for my doctor's new dog (a rescued german shepard) that hangs out in her office. (I figured if I was going to set up the machine, I might as well do both of them at the same time!)

So, that's what I did yesterday --- set up the embroidery machine, do the embroidery, do the standard stitching and the finishing.

The yellow one will be in the mail today, off to Brooklyn.

I did also work on the purple crystals -- the idea of using that twisted herringbone tube as the "cord" to hang the leaf on worked pretty well --- now I'm working on stitching all of the crystals and the leaf together before I start on the right angle weave that will make up the rest of the necklace. I'm pretty sure this one will also be going into that contest that has an April 15 deadline.

Today, being pay day, we will be doing our monthly Costco run and a stop at the grocery store, so not as much will get done in the studio --- but hey, a girl's gotta eat!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Crystals and Birdhouse Paint

The first real "color" coat of paint is on the birdhouses.

A bright spring green, a shade of blue the color of the painter's tape and a pale pink that I mixed and probably won't be able to match again

The DH and I had a long talk about what the basic shapes are that I need to make the little felted birds.

The next layer of paint will be added today

All of the crystals have their netted bezels (I left the working threads attached so I can just pick them up and use them to do the attachments later.

This is the basic layout I'm going to use for the necklace, and now that I have the actual materials laid out I like it even better than I thought I would.

Next step is the herring bone cord to go through the leave and attach to the big crystals

Yesterday I sold another item from my Etsy store --- so today I'll be setting up the machine to embroider another dog toy or two.

Monday, February 23, 2009

New Jewelry Project and Old Knitting

I started a new necklace.

Back quite a while ago I had purchased a really neat purple lamp glass leaf shaped "bead". I've tried several different ways to string it up with other beads, but just was not happy with the way it looked --- it just looked --- well, like a leaf bead with a bunch of other glass beads -- bleah!

Recently, one of my favorite suppliers has started carrying this new item. They're big (I bought 12mm and 14mm sizes) and they are "pointy" on both sides -- crystals that are sort of facetted.

So, here is the beginning of the new idea for that leaf. I'm using netting to "bezel" each of the crystals, then I'll be doing a thick herring bone tube to string through the leaf so it doesn't "flop", and attach the crystals in a pattern at each end of that tube. Then right angle weave from the other edge of the crystals around the neck.

At least that's the plan right now!

I spent quite a bit of time in the car over the weekend as we made a trip to our daughter's house.

These two blocks for the Wall of Linen afghan are now complete.

Only two more of these (or one if I decide to just pick up stitches along the edge and go sideways) before I'll be deciding if I'm ready to start putting it together or want another row of blocks first.

Looking pretty good here.

So, today it's laundry and taxes for my daughter and a friend then hopefully work on birdhouses and beading and quilts and ---- well, you get the picture

Friday, February 20, 2009

Mardi Gras Mask Earrings

from the front and from the back

These are on a post with a nice leather backing

I think they look pretty good, and they're a nice match to the pin

I haven't decided yet if I'm pleased enough with them to enter them in the competition with the supplier.

Stage One of the bird house painting

All three of these were painted with a paint that is "white"

From left to right the labels on the paint bottles were: white, icy white, antique white -- more like white, blue, tan

anyway, today I'll be trying to decide what the color of the next coat of paint will be. I'm pretty sure the square one will be a shade of pink and I'm thinking that one will have a "crackle" finish too. The other two I'm not so sure about yet except I'm trying to keep the paint off the roofs and perches so those will be stained later -- the wood grain on those roofs is too pretty to cover up.

I have finished the quilting on the guardian angel wall hanging, so yesterday I went to the fabric store to get something to use as the binding.

I found a very nice piece that was on their 30% off sale, which was a good thing.

While I was in there, I found this magazine.

What cool stuff --- and I'm not really all that into Asian design, but there are some amazing techniques in here.

For instance, those camillas on the cover -- there is a full size pattern for them in the magazine (it covers an entire 8.5 by 11 page). The first thing that went through my head when I saw it was "I wonder if you could make those 3 dimensional?"

I've bought several issues of this magazine (when ever I can find it on the newstand), and loved them all --- I think it's time to subscribe --- it will be less expensive!

This picture could be labeled "The Great Speckled Dog -- or Why Labradors Aren't Allowed to Use Sand Paper"

The DH is building me a bench

A while back the piano that has lived at our house for a long time went to my daughter's new house. And of course the piano bench went with it.

Thing is, I used to also use that bench at the loom.

So, like I said, the DH is building me a bench

He has the top all done and was doing some sanding yesterday when Elphie decided she needed to help -- as in put her nose right up to where the saw dust was flying around.

Oh yes, the bench is oak, so the saw dust is light colored. Hence the great speckled dog.


ok, today there will be painting and sewing and selecting of a new beading project and no doubt other things too --- like a trip to the pet store for a bag of dog food!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Beads and bird houses

The embroidery part of the beaded Mardi Gras mask earrings is complete!


In an attempt to make these look as close to a mirror image pair as I could, I did the embroidery on both in sequence --- first the eyes on both, then the green, then the purple, then the gold.

Today I will cut the leather for the backing and start putting them together.

Zebra's front legs are all complete

snazzy looking, aren't they?

I knit them at the same time, and I have to say that dealing with 4 strands of yarn coming directly off balls of yarn and such narrow knitting made for some spontaneous basket weaving looking stuff in the back ground ---


So now it's on to the back legs, which are (as I remember from knitting the horse) a really strange shape.

The stripe pattern could get even odder

and this is the beginning of the next animal to be knit

The yarns were on sale at the local fabric store, so I decided to go ahead and get them now, knowing I was going to make this project

Oh, yes, and that chart is just the beginning of the charts to be drawn for giraffe parts -- this one is the front leg, but just the portion from the knee to the hip -- below that the giraffe has no patterning

Remember the bird houses from the other day?

Since I want to actually perch a little felted bird on the wood rod, it was pretty clear the original rods were not going to be adequate for the job.

That little piece of wood between the center and right side bird houses is the rod I removed from one of the houses, and they were all that short.

I used the little back saw to cut the rods off flush with the front of the bird house, then the DH used his drill to make the holes and insert the new, much longer rods.

Most of the sanding is done, so today I should be able to start painting! Fun!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A new sort of dog toy

Since my daughter got her new dog (a Cairn Terrier), I've been making various styles of dog toys in an attempt to find something that the "terrier-izer" doesn't instantly destroy.

We've tried squeeky toys of several different materials, but it takes very little time for her to disembowel them.

This is my latest idea.

It's made out of 4 long strips of plush fabric woven together in that square braid technique we all learned by making plastic whistle lanyards when we were kids.

I can report that my labrador, who loves squeeky toys, is totally disinterested in this one, probably because it doesn't sqeek.

We'll see what the "terrier-izer" thinks.

Meantime, I seem to be in the "slog along" stage of several other projects --

the beading on the Mardi Gras mask earrings is progressing, I hope to get the last of the bead embroidery finished today so I can start putting them together

the front legs of the zebra have been worked up above the very cute knobby knees

another part of the Unidentified Christmas Project is complete

yesterday the DH found me some sandpaper so I can start smoothing the bird houses and another wood project I've got in the hopper

rollin' along!

Monday, February 16, 2009

A block complete and a new idea

Here is my first "make it up yourself" block for the Wall of Linen Afghan that I started by following the idea over at Mason-Dixon Knitting.

So now I actually have 3 full rows of blocks complete

I'll be moving on to the last row soon -- I need to spend some time with paper and pencil to figure out what configuration that next row of blocks will take -- what colors, how many ridges in a stripe, etc.

I was in that "den of iniquity" known as Michaels over the weekend and found these adorable little wood bird houses --- only $1.00 each!!

I just love the round ones, and the little heart shaped opening in the middle one is cute too.

The plan for these so far is to paint/stain them (after liberal application of sand paper!), then to create some little needle felted birds to set on the perch of each one.

This should be interesting.

This morning I made the final copies and my taxes are officially DONE!! I'm really happy about that. I'm going to make some changes to the way I keep track of things for 2009 which should make this process easier next year, but I have to say it was not as painful as it's been in the past.

So today, between loads of laundry and a quick trip to the store for coffee, I'll be working on beading and stitching and knitting and who knows what else --- time to move along

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Web ponderings

Just when I was wondering if it was worth while to keep paying for my domain name and the monthly hosting

I actually made a sale from my web site!!

I'm amazed and truly pleased.

The goodie will be on it's way post haste of course

So now I'm thinking it's time to actually put some more stuff out there --- like maybe some of the new jewelry?

I'll keep you posted!!!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Beach Glass and Zebras

It's done!

The pendant is more of my Rocky Mountain Beach Glass, but this piece is so different it hardly looks like the same materials.

Because the glass was such an erratic shape, I never could figure out a way to just frame it with beads, so I decided to make it a little netted bag.

Then of course it needed embellishments.

This "chain" is that twisted herring bone stitch that I'm happy to say I can now do quite well, and because of the style of the pendant it looks good on this piece.

I won't be using it for the smaller pieces that are just framed though -- it's just not as flexible as the right angle weave -- which also helps account for the metal (actually magnetic) clasp on this piece --- the chain is too stiff to curl around into a small loop like the right angle weave ones.

But I do like the looks of this piece.

Yesterday I put a new batch of glass into the tumbler.

This batch includes pieces of purple, red and gold that are part of the glass that we had broken before.

There are also some pieces of brown glass that were part of a beer bottle -- and we can tell you beer bottles are very thin! When the DH hit it some of it just turned into tiny little glass dust.

There are also 2 pieces of "found" glass in this batch -- one that is clear and has a very deep pattern running across it and one piece that is green.

Both of these were laying on the street, and I just picked them up and carried them home.

I'm especially excited about the green piece as I have not yet been able to find any pretty green glass object to break (most of what I've seen has been sort of olivine, which is ok, but not what I'm really looking for).

So for the next month I'll be listening to the tumbler hum and slosh and turn these into more "treasures" to make into new jewelry.

Oh the joy of having the proper tools!

Last night I finished up the body of the zebra!!

I know, right now it just looks like an odd rumply piece of knitting, but you need to just use your imagination -- the bottom edge of the picture is his nose, the top edge is his rump

Trust me, this will all work out!!

So now it's on to the ears and legs.

And I've been thinking about the giraffe. I need to get started on the charts for knitting that one --- I want to knit in each and every spot --- none of that embroidering over the knitting stuff.

Recently, I have seen a picture of something knitted that was said to be a giraffe, but it had stripes and we know that's not right, so mine will be properly reticulated. Ooooh! Intarsa knitting!! {Scary!!!}

time to get to it, I'm oh so close to having all of the tax stuff complete, and now that I'm close I just want to get it done and out of here!! Onward

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Finished Pin, and winners of the drawing

I finished up the pin!

On the whole I'm pretty pleased with it.

The biggest problem was working the bead edging around the eye holes (which don't even show up very well in the picture)

The finished size is 2.5 inches from side to side and 3 inches from top to bottom.

So, provided the weather is ok on Sunday (I'm not driving if it's ugly!), I'll be taking this to my beading meeting to enter in the Mardi Gras competition.

I did the layout of a pair of earrings using the same design, just smaller that I'll be starting on as soon as I finish the never ending herring bone twist chain I'm working on.

The earrings will NOT have open eyes, I'm going to fill that area with black instead (geesh, I'm crazy but not THAT crazy!!). I'm thinking that I might enter all three pieces as a set in the supplier's competition -- we'll see how they come out -- I have until April 15 to get that done.

I can also report that I have 101 pieces in the Unidentified Christmas Project -- whooot!

Today was the official end of the One World, One Heart drawing. 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).

This has been a lot of fun, and I'll be doing it again next year!!

Meantime, I'm considering doing some other random prize drawings during the year, so stay tuned!

time now to return to the tax forms ---- Pfffftttt!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Beadwork and zebras

Ta Da!

I finished up the bead embroidery on this piece yesterday afternoon.

This morning I'll be looking for a piece of leather to do the backing with

I'm thinking about doing a pair of earrings to go with this --- slightly smaller and mirror images

(Ok, like this isn't small enough, but I like the challenge, and smaller goes quicker!)

And, I'm happy to report that I have FINALLY succeeded in teaching myself how to do a twisted herringbone chain, so I'm working on finishing the latest piece of beach glass using that technique. Hopefully that will be completed in the next couple of days so I can get some pictures.

Thanks to my sister getting a package in the mail and the post office delivering it FAST, I was able to return to work on the striped Christmas knitting

The circular needle is so much easier --- in the time it had been taking me to knit 2 or 3 rows on the straight needles, I did 7 last night!! Oh JOY!! Oh yes, and no shoulder pain either.

But wait --

there was something else knitting related in the box --

a really LLLLOOOONNNNGG cord for my set of Denise Interchangeable Knitting Needles

Which means when I start in on the sweaters I'll be knitting for this year's Christmas, I won't have to string together all of my shorter cords together, which also means I can have more than one project on the sticks at a time (oh yeah, like I needed THAT encouragement!)

It will make the project easier though, and I'm quite delighted to get it, as I'm thinking about ordering up the yarn for the first project here in the next couple of weeks.

time to get to the laundry then back to work!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

New stuff in the Etsy store

Valentine's Day is coming up fast!

So today I've listed several heart themed pieces of jewelry on my Etsy shop.

If you order in the next couple of days, these pieces can be in your hands for Valentine's day!

Use this link to go see all the new stuff!!

A new beading project

I belong to a local bead group.

For the February meeting, there is a Mardi Gras beading challenge.

The meeting is next Sunday.

Originally I had planned to use a full size mask and entirely cover it with beads, but I just didn't get to it.

Yesterday the idea to do this came to me.

The plan is to use a finding I have that will make this wearable either as a pin or a necklace.

I'm using size 15 seed beads in just 3 colors -- green, gold and purple --- the colors of Mardi Gras, and I'll use a piece of leather in one of those colors for the back (I don't know which yet, 'cuz I haven't been in the box of leather yet to check it out, but I know I'll have at least one of them!).

Actually this is probably a better project than the original one was -- I could put this on my table at a show and possibly sell it, and because all of the materials came from that supplier that is hosting a design contest, I can enter it there to --- hey, that's THREE birds with one stone -- gotta love that

Meantime, the striped knitting has been set aside until a substitute tool arrives.

Let me explain.

The size 3 needles I have are LONG -- about 16 inches maybe -- which is a good thing and a bad thing

It's a good thing because they are actually long enough for when I get, oh, 80 stitches on there

It's a bad thing because I do most of my knitting sitting in my recliner, and it's almost impossible to manuver those long needles in the recliner without putting my shoulder at in very odd position and causing some pain -- and having spent most of the month of December dealing with a lot of shoulder pain, I don't want to go there again

So yesterday I called my sister --- my usual source of knitting rescue --- and ask her if she might have a size 3 circular needle that I could borrow for the duration of this project --- and she does, and she's going to mail it to me --- OH JOY!!!

Ok, so now I have a slot in my knitting rotation to figure out the pattern requirements for another Christmas project --- since this one is a "wearable", guage really does matter -- as does having enough of the same color yarn -- so I really do need to figure this out BEFORE I order the yarn. Oh yeah, and I'll be "blending" 2 or 3 different patterns (a pattern is just a suggestion after all), I need to do some extra calculating. It's just part of the process!!

Time to get to it!!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Golden Beach Glass

Finished this piece yesterday.

This is the first piece of the gold glass that I've worked into a piece of jewelry. Notice the texture in the glass? I love the way that looks.

The piece of glass is about 1.25 inches across and 1 inch up and down, and it is slightly curved (since it was a piece of a drinking glass).

The "bezel", bail, chain and clasp are all made of gold colored seed beads, so there is no metal in this entire piece.

Today I'm going to start working on another piece of beach glass -- this one was originally clear glass, and now looks kind of frosted as a result of the tumbling. I'm going to use red beads with it, and try a new technique for the "chain" -- the right angle weave I used on the last few is really nice, but variety is cool too!

Zebra knitting and both quilt projects are progressing too.

Remember Cupcake?

Yesterday I put her out on my Etsy shop, so if you would like her to come and live at your house, use this link to check out how to make that happen.

There is less than a week left to enter my give away for this year's One World One Heart gypsy caravan.

Use this link to go to my announcement post and enter.

EVERYONE is welcome to enter, just make sure I can contact you when I do the drawing next Thursday morning!

Time to get back to those pesky tax forms

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

next Christmas knitting

more oddities

it's black and white stripes!

using the same pattern from the orange horse on needles 2 sizes smaller (the orange horse is really big!)

this is my version of the zebra

notice the irregular striping -- much more interesting that even rows

the DH wanted to know why I wasn't doing the stripes in "V" shapes --- OMG!

not to fear, there will be plenty of intarsa knitting when I start in on the giraffe later

I'm working on a necklace with the gold beach glass, and it's looking really good --- I'll be "zipping" up the chain today, so with any luck it will be all finished tomorrow.

Work on both quilt projects continues, and I'm making good progress on the afghan block that I'm making up as I go along

and of course it's tax time, so I'm filling in forms (about my least favorite thing to do!) -- fortunately I was a bit more organized last year, so it's been a bit easier than past years -- and it's nice to know that while there will not be a refund coming our way, I also will not have to write a check to the IRS!

time to get moving

Monday, February 02, 2009

It's a DIVA Necklace

This piece has to set a record for shortest time between idea and completion.

The idea for this necklace came from watching a concert on TV on New Year's Eve.

The soprano that performed had on this amazing necklace, and it's general form gave me the idea for this piece (hence the DIVA necklace).

It also gave me the chance to work with some materials I've been wanting to try out for a while, so on the whole, I've very happy with the results.

And, because I had to order a lot of the pieces to put this together, I will be entering it in a competition that is sponsored by the company I bought the stuff from. Now the challenge for that will be getting a photo that I'm really happy with. These three are a sampling -- perhaps more to come.

Which picture do you like?

Sunday, February 01, 2009

New Stuff in Etsy Shop

Yes, I FINALLY got some new stuff listed in my Etsy store.

Two very nice sets of notecards with matching envelopes all ready to ship out!

Use this link to go check them out (and maybe order a set!).