Sunday, October 31, 2010

we interupt the creative studio activity

for something much more mundane

since last winter's storms took down big chunks of fence we've been working a little at a time to repair and rebuild them

last week, before our daughter and her husband and their dogs came to visit we had replaced the little corner panel, so there was no chance of the little "houdini" terrier escaping the yard

when we did that we decided that the larger panel to the left of it really needed to be repaired too -- the 2x4 cross pieces were really warped and some of the fence boards were split

yesterday we went out and took out that panel board by board, replaced the 2x4s and put up the new fencing -- more "Zeeba" fencing -- I have a real problem with tossing usable fence slats in the trash, and I really like the variations in the boards even if other folks don't (which makes me wonder if that was why my neighbor decided to put up the new fence between her house and mine before I could get to it -- I'm thinking she didn't want zeeba fence) oh well

anyway, after all that physical work I just didn't feel up to doing a lot of work in the studio yesterday -- so I sat in my recliner and worked on the trees project (more and more little aspen branches being added) and quilted on the baby quilt (almost 3/4 of the way done) and knitted on the final "sweater for fencing" piece (I'm not quite half way up to the arm holes)

meantime, today is Halloween, so I'll be hanging out in the living room for a while this evening with the grates up so the dog can't get in there or out the front door

Halloween is NOT her favorite holiday -- or mine either

this little pumpkin that the squirrels planted for me is the extent of my decor -- along with the plastic container full of candy that is all pre-sorted -- I put the kind we like least on top to give out first (don't tell me you don't do that too!)

I'll be on the look out for small squirrels wearing masks and hauling pillowcases full of goodies -- they must have wanted to have their very own jack-o-lantern so they planted this (that's my story and I'm sticking to it!)

have a happy and safe Halloween!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

another finished project

its done

once again well ahead of the deadline (it has to be in the curator's hands by Dec 1)

I spent time yesterday taking good photos of it, and today I'll work on the paperwork that has to go with it

today I'm mailing off the Purple Fire piece to Fire Mountain

the plan for the rest of the day is to get some more work done on Christmas projects

and I've returned to working on the trees project -- there will be some machine work for Christmas and some "play time" at the machine to work out some techniques

into the fray!

Friday, October 29, 2010

the envelope please

when you apply to shows you want the reply envelope to be a thick envelope, not a thin one because the thick envelope has all of the contracts and other information you need when you are selected to get in -- while the thin envelope just says "thanks, but no thanks"

when submitted stuff for competition, this is not so true

back at the end of September I sent in my packet of entry information and photos to Fire Mountain Gems for the Swarovski Elements Jewelry-Making Contest

I hadn't originally intended to do that contest this year, but when one of the competition judges from last year called me and encouraged me to participate


so yesterday, when I got the mail, there was an envelope from Fire Mountain, and since the "good" envelope (yes you've been selected, please send us your actual piece of jewelry for the next stage of judging) and the "bad" envelope (thanks for entering, but your piece was not selected) look just the same in this case, it felt like a very long walk from the mail box to the house where I could get the letter opener to slice it open

I got the GOOD letter!!!
once again this year my design has made it through the first round of judging

and since a lot of rather you make it through this stage has to do with how well you photographed your piece, it says volumes about my improved photography as well as good things about my jewelry design!

I will be packing up the piece and shipping it off to Grant's Pass for the next round of judging

I'm pretty excited about doing this two years in a row!!

and because they split up their competitions this year so they end at different times during the year, I'm now in the designing stage for another piece that is due March 1, 2011 that is mostly seed beads -- and I hope it is equally well received

this is SO COOL!!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

shopping and stitching

design work on this year's Christmas cards is well under way

one of the things I needed was a new black stamp pad (the one I'd used for years was a cast off from an office I once worked in)

I went off to the local hobby supply store and spent some time looking at stamp pads

Oh My!

so, I settled on this one

my thought is that I'll be able to use it for fiber projects too -- unlike a pigment ink, which just sits on the surface, this one is a dye ink, which should actually go into the fiber when I use it for those things

now we'll see if I'm right
time at the sewing machine yesterday afternoon produced this piece of fabric that I plan to use for the cover of the paper doll book

I've decided that the right approach for the lettering is a piece of fabric across the cover (probably diagonally) that has the embroidery on it -- this decision based on the fact that there is too much dark color for the embroidery to show up well if I just embroider on the patchwork

so I'll be setting that up soon -- the nice thing about that is once I set it up the machine just runs along on its own while I get to work on something else -- the ultimate multi tasking!

and since we are approaching the Christmas season and I have still a few items to complete, being able to multi-task is a very good thing

yes, its another late night knitting photo

the baby sweater from the knitting for fencing project is all done except for the buttons

I've decided to wait on buying the buttons until I know how many I'll need for the size 5 version and get them all alike

so last night I cast on the required 136 stitches for the last of these -- and worked the first 5 rows too

rollin' right along

I'm off this morning to my applique group to show off the Dream Rocket project and the baby quilt even though both of them are not quite finished -- I just think it is the only chance I'll have to show these off to this group before they both go off to their respective places

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

one step closer to done

the quilting is done!

I ended up free form "writing" over the surface of the quilt with a single word -- "COEXIST"

after I took these shots I trimmed the edges all nice a square and cut the bias fabric to create the binding which I hope to get machine stitched to the back so I can work on the handwork tomorrow at my applique group meeting

it's pretty exciting that this piece came out pretty much as I imagined it in my head -- who knew that could happen?!

and while I was working on stuff yesterday I got all four pages of the paper dolls bound around the edges

time to start creating the patchwork fabric that will be the "cover" for this book

I'll be using the same floral prints that I used to do the backs and bindings of these pages and I'm thinking about using a pieced pattern called "Graham Crackers"

still trying to decide if I'll do the machine embroidery of the title on a separate strip that I can stitch across the pieced fabric or if I'll just embroider right on the piecing

and yesterday I baked the cookies for the cake I'm making for my daughter's baby shower

I won't need all of these for the cake, so of course there will be cookie munching between now and then (and these are one of my favorites -- give me half a dozen of these and a mug of milk and we'll call it breakfast, ok?)

so today we'll be making our monthly Costco run and maybe another errand or two

time to roll on out

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

much better

the first of the paper doll pages after the rework

aw, much better!

the other three pages are all pinned and waiting for me to do the top stitching on the machine -- then it will be on to the book's cover

today's adventures will include baking cookies and work on a project I can't show you just yet


Monday, October 25, 2010

another 11 p.m. photo

it just seems to be the trend with this project!

that is largely because the knitting (at least on these items) is easy enough that I can do it after 9 at night when I'm starting to wind down

so that is when the pieces are getting finished

the sleeves are complete, the fronts and back are complete -- tonight I'll start in on putting it together so I can pick up the stitches and do the band down the front and around the neck

yesterday I removed the beginning of the binding from all of the cloth paper doll pages, remeasured each one, re-cut each one, re-cut the binding (trimmed it so it was all exactly the same size) -- then stitched the binding on one to the point that it is ready to be pressed and top stitched -- it seems like it will be much better now -- worth the work it took

that was about as much as I got done -- for some reason my lower back decided it was time to hurt and I spent quite a bit of time in the recliner putting heat on it -- I'm still aching this morning, so I'm not sure just how much I'll get done today -- the washer and dryer are running as I type this, but there may not be a lot more than that and some hand work projects -- we'll see

Sunday, October 24, 2010


could not believe I was able to capture this unbelievable moment with the camera

the black dog is my big lab

the red dog is my daughter's dog that was here with them Friday and yesterday

they are laying side by side on a small love seat

this shot is especially amazing because the red dog hardly ever lets another animal this close to her -- people are good, but I guess she missed having siblings

love this picture!!

meantime, while my daughter and her husband were here we finished pulling up the rest of the garden and worked on designing baby announcements and made a batch of cookie dough and played with designs for Christmas cards

oh yes, and yesterday evening I reached the half way mark on the quilting of the baby quilt -- having finished stitching the cross hatching all the way across the entire quilt one way, I was able to trim the edges and now I can start the stitching the other way

and that Christmas project from the other day? I took the entire binding off it it -- it just was not straight enough to meet the galloping horse test, so I will try again with maybe a slightly different approach (hate to frog stitch on sewing as much as anything else, but sometimes it is required!)

Friday, October 22, 2010

one of the new projects

fabric paper dolls

I'm backing each sheet then binding the edges

when I get all done with the 4 pages I'll created a patchwork cover and put the whole thing together like a book

this one is a Christmas project

oh yes, and I took pictures of every box of beads yesterday -- now to the cataloging

Thursday, October 21, 2010

more winterizing -- and presents!

we've been trying to get little odds and ends of outdoor projects finished around the house

over the past week we've done fence repair and putting away of lawn furniture and hoses

yesterday we got the last bag of gravel swept in between the new stone walkway that our son-in-law helped us put in this summer

its hard to tell really what we did because the leaves from the neighbor's tree are falling there too, but it's nice to know that there won't be a big mud hole out there when the snows come

and it looks really nice too

after the yard work early yesterday morning we took off to visit with my folks for a while

I took along some containers of frozen tuna casserole leftovers (for my dad) and some pictures of the family's newest arrived baby -- my cousin's daughter had a little boy recently

my mother had been saying for a while that she had beads that she would give me "some day"

yesterday was the day

there are 35 of these divided plastic boxes of beads that have been sorted by color and type

(she used to go to the second hand store and buy quart jars full of broken jewelry, etc., and take them all apart)

it's going to take me a while to inventory these!

she also gave me some paperwork on family history to go through and check on web sites -- that will take a little time too

and since I was in the car up to Denver and back, I did some knitting

this is the back and fronts of the smallest of the "sweaters for fencing" projects

I'm about 10 rows from having the back totally complete there too, then on to the sleeves

(sorry for the picture quality -- it was taken in available light at about 11 pm last night!)

it looks like today I'll get to spend some time working on those projects I still haven't taken any pictures of -- it's a good thing!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

new projects

heh, yeah, but not the ones I was already working on (which I still haven't take pictures of -- sorry)

so maybe it should be NEW new projects

the cookie cutters are for the animals I'll be putting around the cake I'm making for my daughter's baby shower -- we're doing a very non-traditional cake for this event (go figure!) and decided that little animal shaped cookies as the "decor" would be perfect

I'll be mixing up the dough tomorrow and doing some baking on Friday -- oh, and I'll be doing more cookies than I need for the cake -- some just for us to enjoy!!
this is how a lot of quilt projects begin here in the studio

with photo research done on the computer

because I know that the Hoffman fabric will be available to me soon (like mid-November), we're starting to play with ideas for the Hoffman Challenge quilt for next year

something about the fabric makes me think of the Kentucky Derby -- we'll see where this all goes

so today I'm making a quick run to Denver to pick up some stuff from my mother and drop off some stuff at her house -- not much else will get done, but sometimes that's just what we need to do!


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

totally dog proofed and ready for winter

during the summer my next door neighbor had a new fence installed between our properties

but the connection between the new side fence and the older back fence just never got made

since winter is coming we decided that we would rather go work on the fence while it was still above freezing and there was no wind or snow involved

so yesterday we rebuilt that short strip right next to the new side fence -- and yes, I once again recycled fence slats that were usable

so now that corner should be good for the winter

and the next time my daughter comes to visit with her little dog we won't have to worry about escape routes!

so while we're talking about fencing

here is the latest knitting for fencing

we are now down to two items left to be knit -- off white sweaters for a 6 month old baby and a 5 year old girl that are basically the same pattern

piece of cake!

I'd like to see those get finished by the 15th of November

we'll see

I'm working on some Christmas projects, and since I just got started on one of them there are no pictures of it while the other one can not be shown here until after Christmas

the quilting on the Dream Rocket (Blue Planet) piece got started yesterday -- and I like how well that is going --

time to get moving so I can get into the studio!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

done and done again

after the lengthy process of getting the actual instructions to finish it, it took me less than 10 minutes to do the job

so -- TA DA!!

the diaper bag is finished -- all customized to my daughter's specifications and ready to be loaded up with all of the necessary items

this was actually a good exercise in discipline for me -- I don't follow instructions real well (and in my defense I've been sewing for over 50 years, and most of the time I know what I'm doing and have learned the short cuts to get there long ago!)

so now I'm ready to be "off leash"!
yesterday afternoon I finished the embroidery of the symbols on this piece

so now we're on to making the quilt "sandwich" and starting in on the quilting -- which should be interesting

moving right along!

it looks like I'll have this finished well within the deadline for submissions

I'm getting near to having the baby quilt half way quilted as well

and about half of the second vest for fencing knitting is done too

we picked these up at the store yesterday

the outside of them was so pretty I had to take pictures

and while they look like apples in color and patterning, they are actually late season peaches


very, very strange

Saturday, October 16, 2010

finished -- and not (Rant warning!)

the first of the vests for fencing projects is complete

this one went really quickly (it helps that I've made this pattern several times!)

and last night after I finished this one, I cast on the second one right away

so now there is one more vest and two sweaters left to do

this project, however, is NOT finished

why not? well, because the pattern designer did one of the things that I hate most about the internet

when I got to the next to the last step in the process I encountered the following instruction: "Understitch the seam allowance to the zipper section. See my website for Understitching directions."

let me tell you there was a whole of of stomping and mumbling -- and even more so this morning because the URL she referenced in the pattern does not work

I did eventually find the instruction, but the whole thing really is very annoying - my computer and my sewing studio do not inhabit the same room -- or even the same floor -- of my house, and I only do computer work first thing in the morning (unless it is a dire emergency) because that fits my work habits the best (I might add that this whole "once a day" computer thing is also why I have no interest in Twitter)

so even though I intended to get the bag done yesterday, it got put aside to finish today because I didn't have the complete instructions

and what if I didn't have internet access? not everyone that sews and purchases patterns has internet access -- and I think it is extremely rude to make me go elsewhere to get the rest of the instructions that I already paid for!!


RANT OVER (thanks for listening!)

so how about this little guy?

I'm starting to think about Christmas cards

I already had a really cool lion stamp cut

I did this stamp yesterday -- he came out pretty well

now on to the card designing!

Friday, October 15, 2010

and the inside

got the lining all finished yesterday

today I hope to get the zipper panel that goes on top done -- then we'll be all finished -- Yippee!!

(I think I can, I think I can!!)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

"turn right side out and admire"

that was the instruction in the pattern after the final seams on the outside part of the bag

I followed it -- even took pictures to share before I went right on into the beginning of the lining

one side of the lining has had it's pockets installed

hopefully more work will get done on this today
and the people are all stitched down around the blue planet -- notice how they are all holding hands

the next step is to start embroidering on each of those little paper doll shapes

I have a group of symbols that will be used for that purpose

moving along nicely

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

meantime, back in the studio

work on the bag continues

yesterday I finished the back section -- large pocket installed, bottom panel attached --

and the two side panels with their pleated bottom pockets -- which is where I made the only deviation from the pattern so far -- the pattern called for the installation of cord and cord locks at the top edge of those two pockets and my daughter asked me to just use elastic instead, which I was happy to do

today I should get the entire outside of the bag completed -- then I have to figure out what I'm going to use as the lining (our joint shopping trip didn't consider that little detail) -- I'll be prowling through my stash to find something appropriate -- poppies would be good, but I know I don't have any fabric that fits that description, so we'll see what I can come up with

the last of the hats for fencing caps is complete

this hat is even more attractive in this color than it was in the navy that I used for the first one

so, now that all of these are complete, its on to the vests/sweaters that are the last of the required knitting project

I used this same yarn to cast on the first of those last night -- and got about a third of the way through the ribbing -- the pattern is one of those standard "knit all the pieces and sew it together" types, but I made a little modification and will be knitting it in the round -- no seams except at the shoulder

when we got home last week I stripped the tomato plants and we had a couple of flats of tomatoes sitting around ripening for the last week

yesterday the DH made it into some very tasty pasta sauce which we put up in 8 pint jars

we'll be enjoying this summer bounty for a while during the coming cold weather


today I hope to finish stitching the paper doll people on the blue planet piece and maybe get started on the embroidery work

and the quilting on the baby quilt continues too


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

bagging it

work on the bag continues

this is essentially the entire front panel, ready for the next steps

it's quite an event when I actually follow the step by step directions for anything, but in this case I'm deferring to the pattern designers greater experience (which doesn't mean I won't make another altered bag!)

so today I hope to get the back panel this far

work on the blue planet piece continues too -- I have only 4 more of the little paper doll figures to stitch down -- looking good -- after further consideration I decided to leave them the size I originally cut -- it will make it a lot easier to do the embroidery that comes next if they are that size not smaller

last night I tested the hypothesis regarding the quilting thread and the new thimble and confirmed it -- I'll be finishing the quilting with the soft thimble

yesterday morning I took the DH to see the specialist to have his shoulder looked at -- they took a number of X-rays and did some physical examination -- after which they gave him a cortisone shot in the shoulder -- he goes back in four weeks and they will re-evaluate the situation -- this doctor was actually concerned by the lack of flexibility and mobility in the other (supposedly repaired) shoulder too -- and the DH liked him -- a positive sign too! we'll see how this all works out

Monday, October 11, 2010

beginning a new project

so I knew that the last piece of fabric that I needed for the project was in the stuff for today's laundry (I can't justify running a whole load for half a yard of fabric!!)

but I decided to start working on the project anyway

the straps are complete -- one long continuous piece of lovely blue and white checks all interfaced with a remnant of quilt batting (oh, yes -- that piece of fabric is left over from a Halloween costume I made many years ago)

and the zipper has been installed in the front pocket

the next instruction says to put on the contrast fabric band along the top edge of the zipper

er, uh - right

just as soon as the load of laundry that is in the dryer as I type this gets dry!

I do like the pocket -- the yellow bricks with the red shoes -- very cool

having reached that stopping point I worked on the blue planet piece -- 5 of the little people are now attached

and quilted more on the baby quilt -- wherein I solved the puzzle of why my thread kept breaking -- as I worked on it yesterday I recalled that I had not had the thread breakage problem before the new thimble -- huh? it must be that the "slip stop" texture on the thimble is contributing to the excessive wear on the thread -- the choice then is longer thread with the old (soft) thimble and the occasional poking of the finger through it or no poking but much more stopping, starting, threading, etc. -- I'm going for some poking -- it speeds up the quilting considerably --

the new thimble, however, is most excellent for everything else!

finished the ribbing on the final hats for fencing hat last night -- I'll be taking that project along with me when we head off to the doctor's office this morning (where the DH will finally get to have his shoulder looked at)

time to get moving!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

moving on

I finished stitching the planet to the background yesterday

and then I cut out the little paper doll people that I wanted to use to encircle the planet

and now that I'm looking at the photo, I'm wondering if I should have made them smaller

I'm thinking about that

meantime I'm working on collecting the symbols I will be embroidering on them

it's moving along nicely

and more quilting was done on the baby quilt -- I'm still dealing with the frustration of getting used to the new thread that I picked to do the quilting on this piece -- I love the color and the sheen of it, but I've still not adapted to the idea that I can't wheel off 24 inches of thread and stitch away like I could with the threads I've used before -- more like 12 inches which means twice as much starting, stopping, threading, knotting -- {sigh}

all of that stitched done on both projects AFTER I made a trip to the local fabric store and purchased a new thimble -- it was nice to work right along and not get stuck!

and while I was in the fabric store I spotted this fabric on the marked down table

it will fit right in with the other fabrics my daughter selected for the diaper bag I'll be making for her -- Oz themed!

so it needs to go into the washer when I launder tomorrow then I'll be starting on that project

the furnace kicked on this morning for the first time -- never mind that it's been warm enough that I had to water the front yard yesterday -- ah the joys of living above 6000 feet -- this week I'll be mowing the back and front yards then putting the mower away for the winter -- along with rolling up the hoses and putting away all the assorted sprinkler heads -- fall is an interesting transition time

Saturday, October 09, 2010

squirrelly all around

you may recall during the heat of summer I was puzzling over a plant that was growing outside the garden fence

I knew it was a melon or a squash -- distinctive leaf shapes -- but since the squirrels planted it, I had no idea what it was

for a while I thought it was a cantaloupe

nope, its an ornamental white pumpkin!

while I was picking tomatoes I picked it too

I have no idea where these seeds came from -- obviously carried by the squirrel from somewhere else in the neighborhood since I've never had one of these -- either the fruit or the seed -- that I know of

it's kind of cute

now I'm trying to figure out what to do with it (besides take pictures of it and babble here about it)

we'll see
the thimble problem has returned

on the right hand side of this picture is a sterling silver thimble that I bought back in the 1970s and used for years

the center thimble is just metal -- I bought it about 3 years ago

and the thimble on the left hand side is made of some flexible new tech material that I bought in July (of this year)

what do they all have in common? they all have a hole (or more than one) in the side of the thimble

which means that as I'm sewing I'm getting stuck because I push the needle with the side of the thimble, not the tip

it also means that I need yet another new thimble

I'd love to be able to go buy one to replace that first one, it lasted a long time -- but it also cost me $25 at 1970s prices -- I can't even consider being able to do that at today's prices

guess I'll be getting another cheap metal one and just knowing that in about 3 years I'll have to replace it again
finished the third of the four hats for fencing

this one is a watch cap style for the oldest of the boys -- nice hat!

so today I'll be casting on the light blue one which will be the same style, just slightly smaller

I've finished stitching down the land masses and the clouds on the blue planet and I'm about half way around stitching the edges of the circle -- yippee!! -- little paper doll people can be cut out -- and then the embroidery of the different symbols that I want to put on there too -- we're doing well on getting this one done

time to get to the studio!

Friday, October 08, 2010

not your grandma's antimacassar

we bought the DH a new chair

the point was to get him a chair that the springs in the seat weren't all broken

(I was having nightmares about finding him and the dog both stuck in the old one with their backsides on the floor through the chair and all their appendages sticking straight up in the air!)

this chair, a very nice Lane, was on sale, which was why we ended up with this color

heh, but he reads the newspaper sitting here -- actually two or three of them a day -- hmmm, light colored microfiber upholstery plus newsprint -- not a good mix

so I went to my scrap box and pulled out some left over velour from another project earlier in the year -- there was just enough to create these covers for the arms of the chair (including a double thickness on the top edge) and since they are velour they stick nicely to the microfiber fabric of the chair so there were no pins needed to hold them in place

and while I was at the sewing machine, I finished up two more baby buntings for Asher -- he will have a nice assortment of these when he gets here

stitching on the Dream Rocket project is going really well -- I should be able to start on the little paper doll figures soon --

and I'm about a quarter of the way through quilting the baby quilt

need to go get some groceries today, but there should be lots of studio time after that