Thursday, April 30, 2009

Back to the card tricks

Ha! I'll bet you thought I'd forgotten all about this project

Nope, just don't get to it every day

So here are a few more of the ladybug suit

closing in on half done with the number cards for the deck

I have now finished all of the blocks for the afghan (OPPS!, I forgot to take a picture of that very last, very skinny block) -- anyway, it is all stitched together now and I picked up the stitches along one narrow edge and knit two rows across it last night (no, I don't know how many stitches, counting wasn't required because I was just picking up the crocheted edges of the blocks --- I promise to count later)

Yesterday afternoon, the DH cut the piece of PVC pipe that I'll be using as the "spine" of the giraffe, and this morning I found the piece of batting I needed to wrap it, so today I'll be working on the finishing of the giraffe.

After several attempts to encircle one particular piece of brown beach glass, I have accepted defeat -- this piece is particularly difficult because it is roughly triangular as well as being curved -- so I'll probably break it in one more place and toss it back in the tumbler for the next batch of glass. Today, a new piece to try.

rollin' along

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

turning over a new leaf?

not exactly

just enjoying the delicous design possibilities of two new ones picked up in the garden area of the hardware store over the weekend

I have fiddled with maple leaves before, but this one seems much "sharper" (and therefore may be much more difficult to make into a rubber stamp)

The other leaf is a dogwood --- lovely ripply edges, interesting shape --- very cool

Meantime I'm reading up on the how to's of submitting something to be made into a yard of cloth, which is pretty exciting too

Other projects are being worked on --- needle felting of a robin, building a bezel for a piece of brown glass, getting dodos for a special order ready to go out the door and nearing completion of the afghan I've been working on for what seems like forever

time to get to it!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

back to work after the weekend

Another piece of Rocky Mountain Beach Glass complete.

This one includes a little silver sea gull suspended in front of it, which I really like the look of.

I used the blue thread inside the clear beads again, so the whole piece looks like a sort of shimmery ice blue

The next one in line to work on is a piece of brown glass, so there will be some gold beads involved in it

In terms of keeping an accurate record of what we did over the weekend, I'm pathetic!

This is the only picture that got taken, and it was taken about noon on Saturday. By the time the guys had to quit working on Sunday (rain and power tools are NOT a good mix), about a third of the deck planks had been put down.

Because there are no stairs yet and the deck is about 30 inches off the ground at the far edge, we had a fun time getting three dogs in and out on Sunday evening in the rain.

It's looking great though, and by the time it's finished up with the rail on one side for hanging planters, etc., it will be a lovely addition for their back yard.

So today, it's back to working on projects --- time to get to it!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

New Items in the shop and other finished objects

The yellow bird and his birdhouse are available for sale in my Etsy shop!

You can use this link to go take a look.

and the cardinal and his birdhouse are also out there on the Etsy shop.

You can use this link to see that listing

The bunny and the tulips are done!

I'm very pleased with the way this piece came out --- being the first time for using needle felting on the face and to create the floral accents, it's amazing that there has been so little ranting over this one.

This bunny does not yet have a name, however

We're thinking about it

(perhaps I should name it "resistance is futile" since that is what my sister told me about needle felting!)

There was merry stamping yesterday.

The nice thing about stamping with acrylics is that they dry really quickly, so I was able to to the "layered leaf" look that I wanted to try without waiting forever in between stamping sessions.

Notice how some of the leaves overlap one another

I was afraid using the acrylics would make the fabric too stiff to do much with it, but again I was pleasantly surprised.

The real trick to some of these projects, of course, is knowing when you are "done"

There is always the temptation to keep messing with it until you've done just one thing too many and ruined it

This piece is officially DONE. Now on to making it into the object I had in mind all along.

The giraffe now has four legs!

Finished up the last of the back legs last night

Now it's on to the body --- and solving the puzzle of the knitting that must have a back bone --- makes me wish I could figure out how to build things from the inside out like Lisa Lichtenfels does. (If you aren't familiar with her work, I highly recommend you go look at her work --- you can use this link --- it's amazing what can be made out of pantyhose and pvc pipe!)

Anyway, I'll be working on the "engineering" part of the giraffe next.

time to get rolling

stamping, stuffing, felting, breaking(?!)

After much fiddling with spraying of dye stuffs, etc., I decided we had reached the "point of no return" and it was time to stamp.

This is the first stamping, using the aspen leaf stamp that I cut and shading the paint from very pale yellow at one end to a sort of rusty brown at the other end.

The plan for today is to use the maple leaf, start at the dark end and stamp using a pale yellow green graduating to a sort of brick red. And to overstamp some of the aspen leafs -- at least to have some of the edges of leaves overlap.

It occured to me that if I really, really like the finished product, I can submit it to SpoonFlower and have yardage made up --- how cool is that!

No, this is not both back legs --- just one from two different angles.

The one on the left is the "side view", the one on the right is the "front view" of the first of the back legs to be stitched and stuffed.

So we now have the proverbial 3 legged stool arrangement --- I'll be working on the forth leg today

Work on the tulips for the bunny continues

The yellow one is now complete

It's a bit smaller than the first one was, and more tightly closed

And here we have the petals of the last one, all laid out on the foam felting "board" with the little white edging and the green in the center of each petal.

I'll be putting that one together today, so the bunny will be finished very, very soon!

This picture could be labeled "unintentional beach glass beginnings"

This was a bottle that got pushed to the back of the refridgerator.

It got cold enough that it froze

and broke the bottle

When everything defrosts I'll be able to pick through the glass, soak off the paper and put some of this in the tumbler in the next batch.

And the clean up wasn't too bad

I'll be packing stuff preparatory to traveling tomorrow to our daughter's house --- we hope to build a deck --- or at least get the foundation of it firmly in place --- this weekend (weather permitting!)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


This was one of the pieces that got pulled during last year's inventory for reworking.

The "old" version is on the left, the "new" version on the right.

The problem with the old version was that it would twist when it was worn, which just was not a comfortable arrangement.

I'd been putting off dealing with this because I was afraid when I snipped the thread that was the old "bail" that a lot of the fringe on the top stone would unravel too.

Yesterday I decided it was time to do something, so after making careful notes and having in hand an enlarged photo, I snipped.

Fortunately, only 2 of the fringe came loose and I was able to work everything back in securely. Meantime, the bail has been changed to a two loop bail that allows the chain to run in the proper direction so the piece doesn't twist.

Hurrah for rework!

The second of the giraffe's front legs is now complete.

Notice the variation in the spotting pattern from one leg to another --- very cool

Later today I'll work on one of the back legs, and see how well that patterning works out.

Spent some time yesterday attempting to do the next layer of color on the complex cloth project --- it was not a successful attempt.

There are two apparent problems with this last patterning: 1) I think the resist medium was too thick and didn't soak through the fabric well enough, but just sat on top, and 2) there was not enough contrast in the color previously dyed and the color I was using next.

So, now I'm not sure what the next step will be --- time to let it rest and think about it.

Today we'll be off for our monthly shopping trip, so best get moving

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Painting and stamping and knitting (OH MY!)

The last batch of pots has been dipped and hung to dry.

So the next step will be to put the chunks of oasis in each pot and start thinking about the flowers.

The first coat of paint has been put on the cart too --- a sort of goldenrod yellow (sorry folks no picture of that yet!)

See the sort of darker spots on the fabric?

Those are the places where I stamped the resist.

I used one of my newly cut rubber stamps and did a sort of random pattern.

Today I plan to take this out on the patio table and do a fine misting with more of the concentrated orange Kool Aid.

Yesterday I saw two different things about pattern with resist --- one was an article in the last quilt magazine I got where the writer had used pieces of freezer paper cut in the desired shapes and ironed down to the fabric. The second one was on Martha Stewart where they were doing color patterning with paint --- possibly useful for items where the "hand" of the fabric isn't that important.

And then there is this

the first of the giraffe legs all stitched up and stuffed and ready to go

On the other animals I had stitched on the inside then turned and stuffed, but because this leg is so long and so narrow, I figured that technique would be a study in frustration!

So, I used a ladder stitch technique, and did alternating stitching and stuffing.

It's all ready to be attached to the body

Only 3 more to go!!

and so we're off and running on more projects --- I need to do some more wool washing so I can do some more dying for needle felting projects, so there needs to be stick picking and combing first

time to move along

Monday, April 20, 2009

More Rocky Mountain Beach Glass

The red piece is complete

Once again I used the colored thread inside the clear beads to get that "hint" of color in the chain

The left hand picture is the front, and shows the neat texture that is right in the glass, and the right hand picture shows the back.

Because this is such a long narrow piece of glass I needed a "cross piece" to keep the bezel in place.

I actually like the look of the back really well, and on some future piece that isn't textured, I may use this as a design feature on the front of a piece.

The second set of pots has been dipped and is hanging to dry

Today I hope to get the third set done and perhaps start painting on the cart itself

We have achieved giraffe!

Last night I bound off the end of this, to many "Hurrahs"!

Next step is to measure so we can scout about in the garage for a piece of PVC pipe to reinforce the neck of this critter ---

long floppy legs are cute, a long floppy neck -- not so much

While I was in the thick of this I had moments of wondering "what ARE you thinking?!"

Now that we're here, I'm all excited again about this

Still have to do ears and "horns", but those are going to be crocheted, and I need to put him together first to get the scale correct.

I predict he's going to be cute!

and so we go, into another week full of projects --- but today a short pause to do laundry

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Gone a bit "pottie"

Sometimes coming up with a way to do something without spending any money is as challenging and fun and the end results of the project!

If you've been reading along with the flower cart project, you might remember that I wanted to dip the pots in glaze, just like you might with real pottery -- and I didn't want to put my fingers in the stuff.

Here is my solution!

I took Tinkertoys and built a frame. Then I cut little pieces off of a bamboo skewer, tied thread around them and threaded it through the holes in the bottoms of the pots with the skewer piece inside the pot. Next I tied the other end of the thread to the top beam of the Tinkertoy frame. Dip each pot in the can of glaze/sealer --- and there ya go!

Here are the first batch of pots drying over a few sheets of newspaper. Makes the whole thing look like a little swing set sitting there on the table.

This picture should give you an idea of why this little bear is the "chosen one" to go with the flower cart.

After all, the bear is fairly small, so it doesn't over power the cart.

This picture of just the bear helps show why I will be doing some serious reworking on the bear before this project is over.

Here is my list of "faults" for this critter: 1) one leg is longer than the other; 2) the eyes are uneven; 3) the nose and mouth are crooked and 4)there are no ears!

This bear was part of an edition in progress back in the days (oh, about 10 years ago) when I did editions of bears, and has been sitting in a plastic storage container (along with several other bears) for a long time. (Last year I actually scrapped out a number of these "in progress" bears and recycled the materials into other projects.)

So, the plan is to fix the problems, and use needlefelting to change the face (and probably add ears). This fabric is one of the few pieces of wool pile I've ever used, so felting to it should be easy.

Let the make over begin!

It's Spring!

See the tulip?

This is the first of three that are planned to go with the gray rabbit. They are deliberately oversized, because I like the sort of comedic contrast that gives.

I'm planning to do a yellow one and a sort of purple-y one.

And while I was fiddling with the needle felting, I did the core of the bird that I'm planning for the next birdhouse --- this one will be a robin, so it is a slightly different shape (and I forgot to take a picture before I put it away last night) Pictures soon, I promise!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

More time with the complex cloth

I decided to try to add another layer of color on the fabric since I was really not that thrilled with the very pale "mango" color that resulted after the first go round

So of course I also decided to play with a whole different technique

This is a piece of 4 inch PVC pipe

I folded the fabric in half length wise and rolled it around the pipe, then I wrapped it with thread in various places

The new "test dye" was a very strong orange mixture.

1 Tbls vinegar, 1 packet of orange Kool Aid and 24 ounces of hot water in a sports bottle

This is what it looked like after pouring the dye down the pipe

Then I bundled it up in a plastic bag and let it set for 2 hours before I rinsed and removed it from the pipe

the result is a sort of orange sherbert with some lighter sort of mango-y looking stripes

I was hoping for a more cross-hatched patterning, but that didn't happen

Possibly because there was not enough contrast in the dye colors, possibly because the tied places around the post were too narrow

While the pipe was "steeping", I mixed up a batch of potato starch resist "batter". I'm planning to use some of it and my new rubber stamps to stamp on the fabric, then I'm going to set up my airbrush and airbrush over the resist.

Should be interesting

Have finished putting the bezel around the red beach glass --- this one is another sharply angled piece, so I used the peyote band again. Today I'll start on the chain.

Friday, April 17, 2009

another piece of beach glass

Another piece of Rocky Mountain Beach Glass jewelry complete!

This was a piece of brown glass, and because the shape had more "gentle" angles, I was able to use the netting technique around it.

The DH has dubbed this one "rootbeer float" --- as the beads I used are mostly rootbeer or frosted rootbeer color.

The next piece of glass that I'm going to tackle is a deep red with patterning in the glass --- I'll probably be starting on that one this afternoon.

A Victim of Multi Tasking?

Quite a while ago I started this mixed media piece

The box is about an 8 inch cube, and the critter is a bear (well, it has a bear's head) and is intented to be dressed (that's why only the head and the paws are fur)

This thing has been through several variations already --- originally we were aiming at trying to make him actually spring out of the box (you know, jack in the box style), but the inability to get the mechanics of that brought us to this stage

Trouble is, I don't remember what I was thinking about dressing him --- at one time it was a sort of wizard idea, but that just doesn't fit with the box

So now I'm thinking about going clown

hmmmmmmm, guess this is why he fell out of the multi-tasking rotation ----- more thinking required

About now I should be packing for a venture to my daughter's house for the weekend --- the trouble is, even though it's mid-April, it's SNOWING!!! And between us and our daughter's house, there is a little thing called Monument Pass, on which it has been snowing for most of the night and there is down to the roadway fog. Oh yes, it's supposed to continue snowing for most of today and into tomorrow afternoon.

We'd been hearing all week that this storm was coming, but sometimes they forecast it and it misses us entirely --- not so this time

nuts! --- I guess we'll be shifting the plans to next weekend instead

guess I'll console myself by working on projects

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Another birdhouse complete!

Here it is, finally finished!

This is my little yellow bird (sorry, no banana tree) sitting on the perch of his little green birdhouse.

As I've been babbling about, he's all needle felted, as are the flower petals around the "door" to his house.

The other flowers around the house and on the roof are glass beads that I tied together in groups then glued to the house.

I'm pretty pleased with this little guy.

So now it's on to the robin for the blue bird house.

As I was saying yesterday, I want to "test drive" the new leaf rubber stamps now that I have them glued down to the wood "handles".

To do that I needed to create something interesting to stamp them on!

This is a piece of unbleached muslin that I pleat folded then tied with thread.

It was then soaked for an hour in a glass jar containing 1.5 quarts of very hot water, 1 Tbls of vinegar and 1 package of Mango Kool Aid.

It created a somewhat pale but interesting stripe pattern along the edge of each pleat.

Mango Kool Aid is not a flavor that I have any memory of from my childhood, and I can tell you, if I was presented with a glass of it today, I'd run screaming from the room --- this was the nastiest smelling stuff I've encountered in a while -- which may explain why I was able to get packages of it on sale at the end of last summer!)

Anyway, my next plan is to try another dying technique which involves wrapping the fabric around a 4 inch PVC pipe then spraying it with a dye --- probably orange Kool Aid, then letting it "steep" for 24 hours.

And then I'll be mixing up a batch of potato starch resist for the first of the stamping.

Yes, this will indeed be "complex" cloth (and yes, I'm keeping records every step of the way!)

Loom Repair 101

You may remember me saying (or did I just think I said it?) that I need to replace the outside treadles on each side of my loom. (seems the movers were not kind to my baby and we only discovered that when we moved it again ourselves and started working on setting it up)

Anyway, I called Harrisville (lovely folks there!) and explained to them what I needed.

These arrived yesterday afternoon --- the proper 2 treadles (each one is drilled differently, so it matters!), the sandpaper to smooth any rough edges (there are hardly any!) and there in that little plastic baggie, a can of oil finish. So not only will I be able to oil the new treadles, but I'll give the whole loom a "once over" while I'm at it.

Now I'm thinking that the old treadles, which I will be removing, could be used as the bases for more rubber stamps.

Have I mentioned that I'm a 4th generation pack rat? (use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without!)

We did some yard work yesterday.

On one corner of the front yard we have had consistant issues with getting anything to grow, and decided that at least part of it would do nicely with some clumps of ornamental grass surrounded with decorative mulch.

First though, we needed to prepare the whole area, including the spots behind that which we needed to reseed with grass.

As we were digging and running the little tiller, we came across these two chunks of tree root -- each of them about 2.5 to 3 inches in diameter!

At one time there was another tree on that side of the yard, and when the previous owners removed the tree, they didn't do anything below the ground.

We have done the planting now, and hopefully today we'll get the mulch in around the little ornamentals.

At least I know why I've got sore arms and legs today -- but I have once again succeeded in doing yard work without hurting my back --- YIPEE!!

Ok, time to stop babbling and get busy