Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Birthday Festivities

there's something fun about occasionally refusing to do what you are "supposed" to do -- like yesterday's small rebellion about the laundry, for instance

I did a lot of more interesting things instead (and yes, the laundry is running as I write this)

there are 10 of the blue and gold beads complete, and still no sign of the glass eye cabs, so I'm guessing I'll be on to the red ones soon

(where DID I put those???!)

A quick trip to the fabric store for some more gold metallic embroidery thread also yielded this lovely stash of fabrics to be used for the sunflowers on the Wild About Flowers project

(and yes, these are in that load of laundry I can hear going "slosh, slosh, slosh")

yesterday's mail included a copy of a magazine that had this most awesome picture of sunflowers in it -- and these are at an angle I couldn't get in the pictures I took in my own yard because of where the fence was --- great timing to add to the designing of the next step of this project

the Hoffman Challenge project is moving right along

here is a close up of the scales I'm working on that form the body of the fish -- and this is why I needed that additional skein of metallic floss!

each and every little scale is surrounded with it -- and it's put down like cording, full thickness which looks really amazing
proof that my daughter knows me REALLY well

the birthday card (hand made by here)

guess I'm not mature yet -- I still need to be told to TURN IT DOWN! -- what can I say, I like my music loud enough to FEEL it

it was warm here yesterday, so for dinner the DH did the first outdoor cooking of the season

nothing better than a little piece of steak and a nice salad for a birthday dinner -- oh yes, and there was chocolate cake!


about the best birthday I've had in a while

and I did my follow up visit to the dentist so he could check to make sure everything was healing properly

it is

and the dentist saga can be summed up like this:

first exam and x-rays: $32

pulling the bad tooth: $208

surprising the dental assistant with a baby afghan as a thank you for being so great: PRICELESS!

(and thank you to all of you who emailed, texted, called or mailed the birthday greetings!)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

mittnz again

these are the ones I've been working on with that strangely pooling yarn

the finished product is pretty neat actually

so this is pair number 9

after the shopping trip yesterday I actually spent some time working on beading and quilts too

I should be washing today, but I decided when the dog woke me at 5:55 that I was not going to spend my birthday doing that

I will be making a trip to the dentist just for him to make sure everything is healing properly (I'm pretty sure it is, I'm able to eat again), and there will be a short stop in the fabric store for another skein of that lovely metallic floss, but in general I want to work on projects today!

so I'm being a bit of a brat -- its my day, I should get to!!!

Monday, March 29, 2010

A tree grows in the studio

actually, one might say there are seven trees growing

after months of being diverted to other projects, I finally got back to this one yesterday

extra tables were brought in for the actual pinning (I'm just not doing that long on these old knees on the floor!!)

a few minor design tweeks were made in the process too -- which is only expected

like moving this rock

the original placement left it almost totally hidden by the tree, so I picked it out and moved it down

so now we are ready for the beginning of the stitching of trees

the sea turtle quilt is now officially complete

the binding got finished off yesterday


so I did the first stitching on the Wild About Flowers piece

and more work on the scales of the fish in the Hoffman Challenge piece -- I'm thinking I'm going to need another skein of that lovely metallic thread before that project is done

a bit of knitting done too

another charity afghan block for the box

and those mittnz I've been working on are down to needing one more thumb knit and then to be stitched together

yup, we're rollin' right along

headed off to do some needed shopping this morning then it's back at it

Sunday, March 28, 2010

things to do while recovering from a tooth extraction

1. create a useful (if not very artful) quilted case for the safety goggles recently purchased for the DH

2. stitched down half of the binding on the baby quilt

3. make a pot of potato soup -- about half of which will get frozen up to take to my dad

4. help mend a fence that the 50 mile an hour wind is trying to blow down

eh, yeah

that last one is probably not recommended

but sometimes you just do what has to be done

my jaw is still sore, but I'm actually starting to eat real food again, which helps my crabby state of mind a bit


Saturday, March 27, 2010

staying alive and saying thanks

yup, I survived it

the tooth is OUT!! (so much better than waiting until Tuesday -- less days to dread it)

this morning my jaw is sore, and I'm really hungry, but I didn't need anything more than an ice pack and some advil to get through the night

I'm happy about that
if you've been reading here a while you might remember that I've been building a little stash of baby gifts to keep on hand for that odd invite to a baby shower

this soft yellow afghan is going with me to the dentist's office on Tuesday when I go to have the socket checked

the assistant that worked with the dentist was a real angel

she knew I was afraid and she patiently talked to me and even held my hand while he wiggled and pulled to get the tooth out

and she's having a baby, so this just seems right

(cool, an excuse to knit up another one for the stash -- wonder what color I might have enough of)

its snowing and blowing again this morning, so I'm glad we went and bought that brand new METAL snow shovel yesterday

time to go try to find something I can eat

and get busy on that quilt binding

Friday, March 26, 2010

turtle quilts and yarn pools and snow shovels

ta da!

the quilting on the turtle quilt is complete and it has been trimmed (and yes, I know, this is NOT a good picture of anything except the trimming)

today I hope to get the binding stitched to the back so I can work on the handwork over the weekend -- then I promise a better picture!

I'm working on a new pair of mittnz

this yarn has the most unusual colorway I've ever seen

for one, I would not have thought of running from pale tan through dark brown through a navy to a teal

and it pools in strange ways too

they are going to be nice mittnz though

another afghan square complete -- and this picture is the evidence that I have my scanner working again!!

for this last little while I've been taking a picture with my camera, but that doesn't give you the same depth of the knitting stitches that the scanner does

I'm happy to have this ability back

now you're probably asking -- what is that?

well, this is all that is left of our snow shovel

while the DH was shoveling the 7 inches of heavy wet spring snow out of the driveway a couple of days ago, the plastic scoop part broke

he put it in the recycle bin

I guess we can't complain too loudly, we bought it back in January of 2002 when we moved into the house, and it has been standing on the front porch through heat of summer and cold of winter ever since, and well, plastic does get brittle

the sad part is that the hardware stores here seem to think that winter is over (I know the CALENDAR says it is), but we're supposed to get slammed with another heavy wet snow again tonight

guess I'll be out searching for a new shovel today

Thursday, March 25, 2010

wherein I get to cancel a debit card

Call me a fanatic.

Partly because we live on such a tight budget, I check the balances in my bank accounts and in my PayPal account at least 3 times a week

This morning I was doing that when I discovered 2 charges on my PayPal debit card that I did not recognize

I did some research

Let me tell you, I am not now, nor have I ever been, in Florida, which is where both of these charges originated

Two separate companies, both in Florida, interestingly enough with the same (invalid) phone number listed on their websites

I called PayPal

They cancelled the card which will put an instant stop to any other attempts to run fraudulent charges against it

So now I get to wait for the new card to arrive, and I will have to do the whole dispute on a transaction thing with both of them

Fortunately this card was not connected to my bank account, so the amount they would be able to steal is relatively small potatoes by most accounts, but it really ticks me off anyway

So, now go check on all of YOUR accounts

the better to see them with

here is the progress on the big block for the Hoffman Challenge

you have to use your imagination here

that big open spot is the body of the fish

I have all of the fins and tail complete

now its on to the many rows of scales -- each and every one carefully cut to center a flower from the challenge fabric, then appliqued down

oh yeah, and I'm thinking about doing the gold thread couching around each and every one of those little scales

just call me crazy
step one of the Wild About Flowers piece

I laid out the blue fabric and started ripping and cutting the other fabrics to create what will the background of this piece

all of these have raw edges -- in fact, I tore the wood grain fabric and raveled out the edges to get that whole weathered fence look

after I was happy with the way that looked, I put the layer of dark blue tulle over the top of it and did the pinning with quilting safety pins

the tulle mutes the colors and has a handy way of holding all of the pieces in place (with the pinning of course)

the next step will be to stitch around each piece of grass and of the fence to secure them to the backing

unlike with the fish, however, there is no batting or backing on this yet -- I won't be adding that until I do all of the flowers on top of this background

so far, I really like the look of this
other projects got worked on yesterday too

here is the third strip of the afghan I'm working on

nice color pooling and I really like the open lacy pattern of it too

I have only a little of the quilting left to do on the turtle quilt too -- whoo hooo!!

today it's off to do our monthly Costco run, then hopefully back to some projects

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Nothing to see today

I really did work on some projects yesterday, between loads of laundry and doses of big time antibiotics

I just forgot to use the camera


give me a break, the tooth is still sore (although I'm not having to take Oxycodone just now), eating is a challenge, my brain isn't working well

(that's my story, I'm sticking to it!)

ok, so here's what I worked on:

one more complete and part of another gold and blue bead

quilting on the turtle quilt (I'm on the home stretch -- I see binding in the near future!)

more fins on the Hoffman Challenge fish (this one is taking twice as long to do as the others did because of the metallic thread couching, and I promise to take an "in process" picture soon)

knitting on the afghan Christmas present

knitting on charity mittnz

knitting on charity afghan square

and I started working on the Wild About Flowers design which is the special contest for the State Fair in August -- I'm using the technique I learned doing the fish wall hanging -- sort of -- in process pictures of that one soon too

and after almost two months of "crutching" my computer set up, the desktop computer has been officially deemed "DEAD" and I have succeeded in getting a USB hub set up to my laptop so I can use my printer AND my scanner AND the external hard drive AND the zip drive AND.... well, I'm an extremely happy camper on this point, because I use that printer/scanner combo to aid in a lot of my art projects, and being without it has been a real pain in the butt

we're having a snow day today -- we got about 7 inches of heavy wet spring snow last night and it was still lightly snowing this morning -- we're going no where today --

guess I'll work on projects!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

catching up and a big OUCH

on Friday I did two more of these beads

every one gets easier, and I like them more and more

and no, I didn't find the "eyes" yet

so yes, I'll probably more right on into doing the red and pewter ones as soon as I finished all of these

(mumble, mumble)

this is the second hot mat that I did for my daughter

I love the stripes

this and the blue one went home with them this weekend when they were here

having them here over the weekend was a good thing ---

the entire garden got turned up and is ready for planting even though we had snow on Friday

another afghan square completed yesterday through a fog

on Friday night I developed a bad tooth ache -- a new and unfamiliar thing for me

having my daughter here over the weekend, and the carefully spaced taking of pain killers (and "spaced" would be the operative word for how I felt!) got me through to yesterday morning when I could go to the dentist

yesterday morning I went in -- they took an x-ray -- yup, I've got a tooth with a big infection -- so there will be a week of antibiotics then it comes out (oh yipee, I get to spend my birthday having a tooth pulled)

meantime this week I hope to get something done

Friday, March 19, 2010

charity quilt tops

after some "fiddling" with the purple one, these two quilt tops are all stitched (the copyright printing on the print fabric there was about 2 inches into the edge, which made it hard to get the full 6 inch blocks all across, so I had to "fudge" it a bit)

now they just need pressing then they'll be ready to go for the next meeting

while I was working on the Hoffman Challenge quilt on Wednesday, I decided the "fins" on the fish that is the center block would be improved if I couched some gold thread around the edges

I didn't know that DMC had started putting out these lovelies!

this was definitely a case of going looking for one thing and finding something much better

last night I started on the tail, and got two of the fins done -- one of the best things about this thread is that I could split the strands and use one strand of the metallic to couch down the thicker thread -- a perfect thread match!!

oh, and have I mentioned how much I dislike working with metallic thread -- grrrr! but the results here are worth it
another of the blue and gold beads is complete

as I thought would happen, I didn't even have to look at the pattern to do this one

and now I'm thinking about taking this whole technique another direction -- maybe making some longer beads, putting them together with loops and making a bracelet

or working the back side to match the front and making them into earrings

meantime I still haven't found those glass cabs I was looking for --

when I went out to get the paper this morning, there was a robin sitting right on my front step, all huddled up in the shelter of the bush that grows there, trying to stay warm and out of the snow

the dog went out and had to have a rub down to remove the snow when she came in

yesterday it was 71 degrees here, today we'll be lucky to hit 30 --- such are the ways of Spring in the Rockies (and all this on the same date as the 2003 blizzard that shut things down for almost a week!)

so even thought about now I should be zipping around the house gathering my things and getting ready to head out the door for a quilt meeting, but it's not happening today folks

back to working on projects

Thursday, March 18, 2010


when I decided to buy these particular beads for this project I was thinking gold and lapis -- those typical materials for an Egyptian style design

all of these beads are glass, but the "look" is right

I'm getting better at these -- the third one just cranked right along

so now I'm making myself nuts trying to remember where I stashed the eye cabs that I want to use for the focal bead


I'm going to keep working on these until I get as many of them done as I think I'm going to need, then if I still haven't found the cabs, I'll just work on the next project until I do (I have red glass seed beads and pewter cubes to do another piece using this idea)

but it is frustrating

meantime, I'm stitching up the two charity quilt kits that I picked up at the guild meeting, and tomorrow is the meeting for one of my other groups -- but it is supposed to snow over tonight and into tomorrow morning, so my attendance will depend on just how bad that snow is

time to get to work

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

more beads (and stuff)

like with most of these beading projects, the second one goes quicker

(and I dare say, each one after that will go quicker still)

I'm starting to think about what the focal piece on this will be -- the original idea was an Eye of Horus type bead embroidered piece that would include one of the glass cab eyes I got from an artist in Missouri

I'm still thinking that is a good idea -- time to start working on a full size drawing to get that moving along

one of the things that happens when you clean and organize is you find long forgotten unfinished objects

to be fair here, this was started with the idea that it would become a sign for my craft booth at shows, but that just never came together

so now I'm thinking about using some stamping and painting and maybe more applique and some beading to turn this into a wall handing

meantime, the very first piece has been appliqued on the center block for the Hoffman Challenge -- its actually pretty cool to be able to actually see the fabric through the pattern -- I kind of like using this clear plastic for a pattern --- too bad its kind of pricey for using on everything
Mittnz #8 complete

(and here as I was working on them the last couple of days I was thinking this was only pair #6!)

time to get out another skein of yarn and start on pair #9!

only one more to do to meet the minimum standard for this year

finished another afghan square too

this one is number 19 for the year, number 5 for this box (which means the box is a third full)

we went to our caucus meeting last night and while I listened I worked on another pot holder -- fiber arts in public ---- quick, run!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

zippers and hot pads and quilt backs (oh my?)

having made 2 trips to the fabric store to get the RIGHT length zipper (and for a few minutes I thought I'd have to make a third trip when I couldn't find the navy blue thread!), I finally got the zipper installed yesterday afternoon

making the jacket useful for a while longer? Priceless!

as I write this it is in the dryer -- along with half a dozen tennis balls enclosed in socks -- being dried and "fluffed"

finished up this object last night while I was watching TV

my daughter let me know that there was a need for some hot pads (pot holders) at her house, and as I recall, I hadn't made her any for about 3 years

these things do wear out

I plan to make at least one more of these for her (bigger!) and I hope to get that finished before the weekend is over so I can just send it home with her
made a trip back to the (only) local quilt store in our little village that has the Hoffman Challenge fabrics yesterday

while they are out of the actual challenge fabric (good thing I bought it when I did), they did still have many of the coordinates that go with it

I needed something to be the stripping and the backing and the binding

this is the one

it is dark enough to give some contrast on the front for the stripping and binding and I like using prints on the backs of my quilts too

today I hope to get that pattern onto the plastic so I can start on the big fish!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Swooshy necklace complete!

this came out nicely

and it looks different depending on what it is with

I'm still considering using the technique to create a pin too

we'll see how that goes

but meantime, since the swooshy piece was done, I got out the beads I bought to create what I'm thinking of as the Egyptian

let me tell you, working those gold beads up into 3 layers of right angle weave just about had me tearing my hair

not that the stitch is difficult, no, just that those little beads are all reflective, so by the time you get to the third layer, everything is a blur even with the brand new glasses and the full spectrum light

I do love the look of this bead however, so I'm going to keep working on the project
another strip for the afghan is complete

this one is another fairly plain pattern, but it is the right size!

I started another strip last night, but it is a variegated yarn, so it may look a lot different

the cuff and base of another mitten is complete too

these are the four corner fish for the Hoffman Challenge piece

the original drawing included appliqued eyes, but that was just too much

if they get eyes it will be beads added when I'm doing the finishing

so now it's on to the big fish block that goes in the center

I took a piece of the laminating plastic that I had on hand and just fused it together so I have a light weight sheet of plastic that I can draw on with a sharpie marker

the plan is to draw the fish for the big block on that and cut the pieces apart as I go, then use the clear plastic pattern to select where in the challenge fabric I will cut each and every little scale

this design is a challenge to my frugal nature -- I will be fussy cutting which of course means some fabric will be wasted

so today there will be laundry and mending (still need to get that zipper into that jacket!) and working on charity quilt tops (I picked up two more kits at the guild meeting) and who knows what else

time to get to it!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

1000 Posts Give Away

To celebrate having written 1000 posts on this blog, I'm giving away a piece of my hand work.

This necklace is from the Rocky Mountain Beach Glass collection.

This piece of tomato red glass is encircled with white glass seed beads.

The "chain" is also made up of white glass seed beads and has a toggle clasp.

There is no metal in this necklace, so it is ideal for those with sensitivities to nickle.

So, this is how you can win the necklace -- leave a comment on this blog post that includes a way that I can contact you.

On Monday, March 22, I will select (at random) someone to receive the necklace.

Easy as that.

So go leave that comment!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

quilt sleeves and pillows

NOW the fish quilt is complete

I had never done a sleeve like this on the back of a quilt, and since it is a requirement on a couple of competition pieces, I decided I should learn how to do it correctly

it went well

my daughter asked me to repair the ticking on a pillow for her

uh -- no --

but I did put the pillow "guts" in a brand new ticking

ta da!

work continues on projects, including the taxes for a friend

and tomorrow's post will be number 1000, so be sure to check in for the introduction of the prizes and how to enter

Friday, March 12, 2010

of odds and ends and zippers

ok, busy few days, so I've been out of touch

but I have been working on things

this is afghan square #18 for the year -- nice sort of aqua colors

the box I'm filling up this time will take 15 squares (as far as I can tell right now) so this is number four for the box -- only 11 more to go

the turtle toy that I had been working on is all finished

I stitched the legs on and embroidered the face yesterday afternoon, and I'm pretty pleased with the way he came out

its nice to create a little something special to go with these baby quilts

the quilt this goes with is in the quilting stage -- I've finished about a quarter of it (which of course means I'm getting impatient to have it finished!)

and since the turtle is done, it was time to start a new knitting project

these are the first two strips of an afghan I'm making for a friend for Christmas

the disclaimer here is that I actually made 4 strips to get two that were acceptable -- the first one was just too bland to be worth doing more of (and I will need to do more of each one) and the next one was about 6 inches shorter even though it was the same number of stitches -- so I'll be doing these two and one more that is in process with several coordinated yarns to make this up

and there is this little sewing project

my son-in-law has a favorite jacket for wearing in the cold weather

the zipper pull (which was made out of some sort of pot metal) broke in half

I'm going to put a brand new sport zipper in it for him

time to get to work