Tuesday, November 30, 2010

a new something to work on

at one time my son-in-law's family had cattle

this is the brand they marked them with (this particular version is cut into the bottom of a small steel skillet and hangs in my daughter's house)

my new project -- embroider this on some onesies for the coming baby -- something small that shouldn't take too long to do

we got home safely yesterday, so of course today I'm up to my eyebrows in laundry (load #3 is running as I type this and there are 2 more to do!)

still need to get some groceries today, then it's on to the wrapping of Christmas presents and some other odds and ends of projects


Monday, November 29, 2010

branching out

the applying of branches to this piece is done

I finished stitching the last of the redwood ones on yesterday -- carefully stitching little short pieces so it looks like the ones that are on the left hand side are entwined with the aspen branches

I still need to do some painting on the aspen branches, but the stitching part is done

after I finished that sewing I starting working on aspen leaves -- stitching around the outline of each one -- being careful to leave a opening big enough that I'll be able to turn them right side out

got 10 of them stitched -- lots more to do, and I may do some of that on the machine -- we'll see -- if I need some handwork to fiddle with, the leaves are the perfect project -- if I just want to crank 'em out, I'll draw out a bunch of them and head to the machine later this week

these lovelies are now complete

when I finally got into the groove, fussing with the double pointed needles got less annoying and more productive

so it took me about half the time to do the second one

and I like this pattern so well I'm thinking about actually knitting a pair for myself

after I finish a couple of other projects

and since I had finished the leg warmers, I have moved on to the next knitting project

this odd looking object is a hat

you knit it up out of double strand felt-able wool, throw it in the washer to felt it and shape it over a form (I'll be using the styrofoam wig stand that I've used for several other hat projects)

I'll be doing some felted flowers to decorate it too

and there's a good chance I'll get a lot of this project done today in the car as we'll be heading home this morning

time to go finish packing stuff up!

Friday, November 26, 2010

never a dull moment

or almost never

while the chicken roasted yesterday afternoon I set my sewing machine on my daughter's kitchen table and hemmed up the flannel she bought earlier in the week

really nice flannel (with very cute turtle families on one and other cute animals on the other)

which makes really nice receiving blankets

I spent some time with the trees project spread out over the bed yesterday, and have begun stitching the red wood branches on now -- moving right along!!

and the second half of that leg warmer project is now 50% complete too

like I said, never a dull moment!

so today there actually be some shopping (not a big amount, but a little bit), then tonight the decorating of a tree or two -- should be fun

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

over the river

and through the purls

one of the good things that happens when we travel outside our little village and the DH can drive is that I get uninterrupted knitting time

and since I'm still cranking along with Christmas projects, that was greatly appreciated yesterday

this then is half of the pair, all finished, the ends woven in even

the nice thing about knitting in the round is that when you're done -- you're done!

the down side to knitting in the round is something this size is done the old fashioned way -- on double pointed needles which for me is slower

oh well

with any luck by the time we get back home after Thanksgiving I'll have the other one finished

today there will be baking of pies and making of cranberry fluff -- yum!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

you know you're tired when

you fall asleep in your chair with your knitting still in your hands!

I'm hoping when I pick it up again later today that I won't find that I messed something up -- fortunately what I'm working on is an easy pattern and I would be able to fix it pretty quickly

yesterday was a busy day -- laundry, shopping, packing -- the DH was supposed to have a doctor's visit with his primary care doctor to sign off on his pending surgery, but the doctor was sick (unheard of!), so that has been rescheduled adding something extra for us to do next Monday

I was able to spend some time working on the tree piece in the early evening -- now that I'm back to working on this piece every day I'm getting really excited about getting it finished -- I'm thinking it will be a good piece to take with me as a work in progress for the trunk show (I know I won't have it done by mid-January!)

as I was working on pinning the branches of the aspen trees the other day I pulled out the original drawing again

its interesting how the branches are not quite the same as the original drawing, but they look very real

the redwood trees will be a bit more challenging because they are bigger and the "bark" is more uneven and rippled -- it should be interesting to do the blending where the two meet

this project is rolled up and stuffed into a large pillowcase to travel with me

so just a few more odds and ends of things to do (like pack up my computer!) and we'll be ready to go


Monday, November 22, 2010

its beginning to look a lot like Christmas

this weekend was just about the only opportunity we had to do this

tomorrow we'll be off to our daughter's for the Thanksgiving holiday -- we have volunteered to go and cook and help out as her husband will be working every day except Thursday from "open to close" -- the joys of being the assistant manager of a retail business

we will return just in time to do a bit of shopping and arranging before the DH has the surgery on his shoulder

so if we were going to have a tree we needed to do it!

this one has ornaments on it that I first got in 1973, as well as some icicles that I bought from an antique dealer that are probably at least 100 years old

after finishing the tree decorating I worked on the second layer of glitter on the lions

they are now all complete -- each one slightly different because the glitter is all hand applied -- now I'm ready to start actually putting the cards together, so that is a project that I'll be taking to my daughter's house to work on while she works on her cards

yesterday afternoon I delivered the boxes with the knitting to the neighbor -- according to my calculations I still owed her $36 for the fence -- she said "no you don't", so I can officially say the fence is paid for -- hurrah!

progress is being made on the other knitting I'm working on, and I'm down to only 5 aspen branches left to stitch to the trees before I can start on the redwoods

today will be busy with laundry and packing and a doctor's appointment and gassing up the car for the trip

time to get rollin'

Saturday, November 20, 2010

for the nursery

one more finished project

this is a pillow cover for the "Boppy" pillow

the top edge (that looks a little wonky) has a zipper all along it (that's what makes it look wonky)

and this is the last of the dinosaur fabric that we bought for making of nursery projects

if this one works well I'll make her another one with some other fabric from my stash

I did finish another project yesterday too, but its another "Christmas surprise" so no pictures now

and I'm ripping right along putting branches on those trees

today I hope to get more glitter on those lion manes, and who knows what else -- it's that time of year!

Friday, November 19, 2010

red sky at morning

I woke this morning to a room flooded with red light --

by the time I could stumble around out of the blankets, get my glasses and my slippers and my camera the red glow had faded, but these beautiful cloud formations were still visible


the weather man says these are "mountain wave clouds"

no matter what they are called, they were spectacular (and a textile artist's big challenge -- how to portray them in cloth)

we're ready for our close up Mr. DeMille!

actually they're ready to be packaged up for Christmas

the paint finally dried so I could add the black and the little white "dot" yesterday

two more things scratched off my "to do for Christmas" list!

and we've some pride here

the first step of the mane glittering completed for the cards

this was the easy step as the glitter was actually in the glue -- the next step is a much finer glitter and involves a glue pen -- we'll see how all that goes

quite a while ago I cut this rubber stamp to use on a wall hanging I was working on

and I took it out yesterday because I'm going to use it again on the trees piece

this morning I stuck it in the scanner and scanned it then created a sheet of prints that are several different sizes -- I'll be using those as patterns for the leaves I want to make that will be stitched on -- and some of them will be free hanging -- attached only by their stems (just like the real thing)

I'm not really ready for those yet, since I still have quite a few aspen branches to stitch down and I need to do some redwood branches too, but the leaves are pretty portable, and I'm planning on taking them with me when I travel to my daughter's next week

today a bit more house cleaning, a quick trip to the grocery store for milk and fruit then hopefully back to work on the projects!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Raccoons named "Annie"?

hmm, so it would appear

this was the eye painting project day 1

I used a micron pen to draw around a template so the eyes would all be the same size and shape

each of these has had two coats of white paint (mixed with textile medium) applied

this picture was taken when I set them aside to dry (since the temperature in our house is only about 62 degrees, it takes paint a while to dry)

I hope to get the rest of the eye painting done today

there has been some playing around with the embroidery stitches on my sewing machine

I learned several things while doing this

1. these use a lot more thread than you would think just looking at them

2. its not all that easy to keep them exactly straight in line with the edge of the fabric because there is so much motion built into the program that creates these

3. there are a lot of these stitches all built into the machine itself -- I've barely scratched the surface is seeing what they are

the biggest upside of this exercise is that I have another Christmas project complete -- I'll explain more of what it is after I give it to the intended recipient

this is the result of my picking apart the red coat

as I write this these pieces are going around and around in the dryer having already been through a hot wash with a lot of blue jeans that I keep on hand for just such projects

when they come out I'll iron the pieces and start thinking more seriously what else I'll put in with them to create that hand bag

the picking apart wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be -- I got it done pretty quickly between finishing the knitting on one Christmas project and starting another one last night in front of the TV

I'm not sure exactly what I'll be working on today -- more on the trees, more on the Christmas cards, more on the knitting, and thinking about some other items that have been on the back burner for a while since I wanted to finish the Christmas projects first

into the fray!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

lost in the trees

with the completion of the baby quilt, I'm back to working on this large project that has been in and out of the que half a dozen times

yesterday I finished stitching on the medium size branches

here it is laid out on the dining room table with the next (and last) set of branches fastened down with safety pins

(and yes, because it is so large, it's impossible to get a good photo of the whole thing -- I really need a design wall!!)

so today I will start stitching those branches down then it will be on to the leaves on this piece

I also spent a bit of time yesterday at the sewing machine -- I'm working on a Christmas project that is also giving me a chance to test out different embroidery stitches on the machine, which is pretty neat. By the time I had done 2 of the 6 items I knew I was going to need more thread -- a quick trip to the fabric store and I'm back in business for today's stitching

the plan for today is more stitching, some painting, some stamping, some knitting, and possibly rearranging some furniture in the living room -- I need to transform it back into a living room from a studio for the next couple of months, so I'll be putting on my "furniture mover" hat (and my back support!)


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Animal Quilt

it's all finished except for the label -- which can't be done until the baby actually gets here since I want to put a date on it

this came out amazingly well -- especially considering that the layout ended up being totally changed (which also explains why it is in no way any kind of standard size!)

the batting that I used was 50% cotton and 50% bamboo, and it quilted up beautifully -- now we just hope it stands up as well as the Warm and Natural batting I have used in several other quilts

since this one is done, I have started spending time on the Trees project again -- good to get back to it and to think about the new techniques I'll be experimenting with to finish it

I'm also working on creating patterns for a couple of our designs since I've had several people ask -- this is a whole other project that I'm struggling with -- especially since I don't generally use this kind of pattern, and I'm not real sure what all does (or does not) need to be included

yesterday afternoon I pulled out my newest scrap booking tool and ran all of the little lambies for my Christmas cards through it to create the stickers I need

this is a Xyron Sticker Maker (and don't you love the zebra print!!)

pretty cool -- makes these much easier than trying to get glue on all those little bitty pieces!

so now it's on to stamping the message on the inside of the cards so I can do the glue and sticker work on the fronts

and just in case I might run out of projects to work on (heh, right, like that will EVER happen), here is the beginning of a new one

when I was a little girl my father's mother made me this coat -- it is the only thing I clearly remember her making for me and I can tell by the wear on the sleeve edges that I obviously wore it a lot

I've decided to pick it apart, felt the wool and use it in making myself a new handbag (the one I made myself from a pair of blue jeans about 5 years ago is starting to wear out)

somehow I think my grandmother would approve

so today I'll be working on more Christmas projects -- after I take the DH to get his pre-surgery chest x-ray

during the waiting time I'll be knitting on still other Christmas projects -- keeping these hands busy!

Monday, November 15, 2010

more project progress

2 blind raccoons just doesn't have the same lyric quality as 3 blind mice, but it's the best I can do

got these cuties all stuffed and closed yesterday (had just enough fiber fill in the bag to do it without an extra trip to the basement storage -- yippee!)

today I hope to get their eyes and mouths painted on, then they will be officially "finished"

the last of the "knitting for fences" is DONE!!!

(insert cart wheels here!!)

I stitched the buttons on last night

this afternoon I plan to run all of the knitting through the dryer with a fabric softener sheet and a couple of damp towels to take out all the pet hair, then I'll be putting these in the gift boxes with tissue paper, etc., to make them look all pretty

I wanted to have all of these done by Nov 15 -- made it even with all the other projects I've been working on

some other items are finished too, but no pictures on those until Christmas time

this morning the DH need to go have blood work done, so its time for me to get rollin'

Sunday, November 14, 2010

some finished objects!

ok, so this one isn't quite finished

this would be a "box o' raccoon"

exploded raccoon at that

heh, yeah, well I'm working on stitching these little beasties and I'm wondering now if they will actually be able to stand up on their own because of the tails when they are all finished

it has amazed me that even though I had not used this pattern for years, I really did not need the notes I had made to put it all together -- guess I made enough of them back in the day for the whole process to be deeply embedded in the brain's memory banks
and here is the baby sweater from the "knitting for fences" projects

I got the buttons stitched on last night, so this one is officially "DONE"!

and the bigger sweater is now all stitched together, the neck band is complete and I'm starting in on the button bands


finished this item yesterday too

pj pants for a tall thin person

very cool fabric with "The Grinch's perennially-cheerful little brothers" (as was commented by Alison when I posted the original picture of just the fabric)

love it

also finished on Friday -- the belt for the robe I made as a Christmas gift (just a plain dark blue wide sash, so nothing "picture worthy")

as I said, I'm trying to get all of this Christmas project stuff done --

December promises to be a very busy month -- my daughter's baby is due on the 18th and the DH has surgery on the 1st to repair his damaged rotor cuff (on his right arm)

hope to get more things done today!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

pieces and parts

as always I have several projects that I'm working on all at once, so I use cardboard "flats" (like soda pop comes in) or box lids (like the ones from a box of printer paper) to organize things

this one is the raccoon project

I'm making a stuffed raccoon for my friend's son "the raccoon wrangler"

after about 40 minutes at the sewing machine I had a lot of pieces that needed to be pinned together for the next step in the process

these are ready to go back to the machine today

lions and lambs figure prominently in the construction of this year's Christmas cards

the cutting out is moving along --

this morning I printed off the last two sheets of animals that will need to be cut out, so the next step can begin soon -- the gluing of the lions to the cards and running the little lamb cutouts through the sticker making machine

the actual card stock with the front wording has already been printed too, so I'm ready to start stamping the insides as well

and the last of the quilting on the baby quilt is finished

today I will do the machine stitching of the binding to the front so I can finish it

then the only thing left to do will be the label, which probably won't get stitched on until the baby comes (just in case the ultrasound tech was wrong and this baby isn't a boy -- I want to get the right name on here!!)

tonight is quilt guild meeting, which I will go to if it isn't snowing when I should be leaving (we're meeting in a different location, more in the foothills, and I'm not wild about driving somewhere that I'm not familiar with in bad weather)

meantime, there should be lots of time to spend in the studio working down that Christmas project list!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

laying around

the dog is anyway -- with her favorite teddy bear squeaky toy tucked under her chin

mom was boring

mom was sewing

I finished another project yesterday afternoon (after I did 3 loads of wash and made a trip to the fabric store for buttons and did some grocery shopping)

trouble is I can't show it to you yet -- you'll just have to take my word for it

until after Christmas

it snowed last night -- the first snow of the season, and this morning it's cold -- the snow is pretty

today's plan is to get some more sewing done


Tuesday, November 09, 2010

returning to projects

finished up the body of the last sweater last night

and started on the sleeves


I wanted to have all of these done by the 15th

meantime, even though I was able to find the buttons I really like on line, I have decided not to buy them there because the shipping charge makes them cost about $1.05 each! not happening folks

I'll be visiting all of my local outlets searching for them instead

so today there is laundry to be done and grocery shopping then back into the studio to work on some sewing machine projects that I want to get finished before we take off for the Thanksgiving holiday -- just 2 weeks from today! ACK!!

Monday, November 08, 2010

baby shower

Saturday's main activity (and the biggest reason for our trip to our daughter's this weekend) was the baby shower her friend and I hosted

her nursery theme is little forest animals and instead of the traditional cake we did a variation on the yule log -- only without the snow part -- using sugar cookies for the decoration

it came out pretty neat (I put it all together on Friday while she was at work)

we had rave reviews on the food too -- easy, tasty and affordable was our theme

and now I can show you some of those projects I've been working on that I didn't want her to see ahead of the shower (there's been very little I've been able to surprise her with, so I wanted to keep a couple back!)

this is a fleece bunting

I just couldn't resist the fabric -- so cute with the polar bears and the snowflakes on it

and this was last week's find -- a basket the right size to fit on the dresser to keep things organized

I bought the plain basket very reasonably then made up the liner to match other things we've been making for the nursery (and whipping that up only took me about an hour from measuring to putting it in the basket!)

today we're headed home where I can start in on serious work on Christmas projects --

while I've been here I've been continuing to work on the quilting of the baby quilt, and last night I turned the corner and have about 75% of the quilting done -- and each row of quilting from now on will be slightly shorter since I'm working on the diagonal -- I'm hoping to have all of the quilting done and the binding on by this time next week

and I got to knit some in the car, so I've almost finished the body of the last "knitting for fencing" sweater

oh yes, the fabric for the 2011 Hoffman Challenge should arrive soon in my quilting shop -- and I'm already working on design ideas

Thursday, November 04, 2010

let the Christmas sewing begin

heh, yeah!

I picked up this very nice quality flannel this week (along with some other items)

I just love these frogs!!

so when I get back on Monday the push to get Christmas projects finished will begin (I'd like to get most of them done by Thanksgiving -- clearing the decks for being grandma in December)

of course every time I think I have that Christmas to do list under control I think of something else that should be on it -- figures!

so today we're off to my daughter's where a friend of hers and I will be hosting a baby shower for her on Saturday -- this evening I'll be baking the cake at her house -- I have to say it's a lot easier to transport a boxed mix, a jar of jam, a bag of powdered sugar and a cube of shortening than it is to transport an entire finished cake!

time to get it in gear

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

cookies finished!

ok, we're ready for these to go on the cake

which will get baked Thursday afternoon when I get to my daughter's house (we decided that made better sense!)

I worked on some other projects too, but you can't see those yet -- after the shower on Saturday!

today there is organizing and packing to do -- time to step out smartly!

Monday, November 01, 2010

a finished Christmas project -- and more cookies

completed yesterday

the fabric book of "paper dolls" that I did for my mother for Christmas

I admit, this may seem like a strange present, but she collects paper dolls and has many, many totally uncut books full

so it gets harder and harder to find an actual PAPER book that she doesn't already have

hence the fabric one -- I know she doesn't have this one

the panel with the paper dolls printed on it didn't have anything I could use for a cover, so I did this patchwork (using the same fabrics I had used to back the pages plus a couple other ones) and did the embroidery of what they are from the printed strip along the selvage

I hope she'll like these

and stage one of the cookie decorating is done

these are the ones I frosted with white icing -- ducks and bunnies
these are the green ones -- frogs and turtles
and these are the brown ones -- squirrels, owls and bears

today I'll be mixing up colors to do the detail piping -- pink (bunny eyes and noses); yellow (duck beaks, owl and frog eyes) and black (detail and eyes on everything else)

all of these will be used to decorate the cake for the baby shower

last night between answering the door for the trick-or-treaters I worked on a couple of other projects that I can't show you right now -- and even though we had more kids last night than we've had in three years combined (nothing like warm weather to bring them out!), I did get quite a bit done on those

the Monday laundry is running as I type this, and as soon as that is done I'll be off to run some errands and then back to work on cookies and those other projects