Saturday, April 30, 2011

Being at loose ends

the rock garden necklace is finished -- in fact, today I'll be doing the entry in the contest and then we'll be back to the waiting

so now I'm trying to figure out what I can work on that will not require any purchasing of materials

when I was photographing some pieces for the Etsy shop, I found this necklace in the tray

I really like the design of this, but it's another of those pieces that still doesn't feel "finished"

back when I knew I was going to do this necklace because I had collected all of these pieces of stone, I decided that I wanted to use a black bead with an iridescent finish and use only one bead for the entire surface (unusual for me), so I bought a quarter of a pound of the beads

given that seed beads are basically a thin layer of glass surrounding a hole, a quarter of a pound is a lot of beads, so I still have quite a few of them left

and I've decided that the required "finish" is some fringe -- so I'll be working on that soon

it has not been a real good week here

Wednesday I wrote a check for almost $400 to have my van repaired (and I'm grateful that was all it needed!)

Thursday morning I discovered that among the aging appliances in my house, the dishwasher had won the race to dropping dead

so yesterday I went to my local store and picked up this item -- it's been over 30 years since I had to hand wash dishes -- but replacing the dishwasher is just not happening any time soon

the original plan for today was to travel to Denver to the Mancuso Quilt Show where my quilt is on display -- I wanted to take pictures and otherwise hob nob with my fellow wizards - er, quilters

it's not happening

my back is still just too painful to manage the ride that far, much less be able to walk around the big show

my sister may go and take pictures for me if she can

I'm pouting -- think I'll go work on the Hoffman piece (the feathers are almost done)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Mission Accomplished!!

it's finished!

all of the edges neatly covered with beads

and I still have plenty of time to finished up the paper work that is required to enter it in the competition

and I really like the way this one came out

today I'll start in on the list of materials that has to accompany the entry form -- that will take a while!

despite several days of thunder snow and waking up to about 3 inches of snow on the ground yesterday, the robin thinks it's time to build a nest

I was talking to a friend on the phone yesterday afternoon when I spotted this robin pulling up the dead grass in the front yard and taking it off into the big blue spruce tree that stands at the corner of our house

the lighting was pretty dim, since it was cloudy, but I still managed to get this shot of the robin with its beak full of dry grass

pretty neat

time to run the vacuum again and gather up some nice soft dog hair for them

this photo should be titled "monkey business"

a quick trip to my local store yesterday afternoon and now I'm ready to start in on the toy for Mr. Cute -- and it was nice to reach for the gift card from my daughter when I got to the check out!

the van has been repaired -- almost $400 worth, but the light on the dashboard is off now -- seems there was a leak in the intake manifold gasket which could have gone on to be an even bigger and more expensive repair if I hadn't had it taken care of -- it will be a very tight month, $400 takes a huge bite out of our already tight budget

my back continues to be a problem -- our scheduled trip to Denver on Saturday for the quilt show where my piece will be on display may not happen -- no point to my going when I can barely walk around the house


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

no, we're not there yet

even though I spent some more time on the rock garden beading yesterday, it's going to need another day to be complete

maybe today

the afghan, however, has another section complete -- 85% finished --- yippee

and I have begun stitching on the last color of the last feather on the Hoffman piece

yesterday the DH had his appointment with his surgeon and he is now starting to do exercises to build strength in the repaired arm and shoulder -- a big step forward -- and because his surgeon is a "full service operation" (my words), he will still be doing these things every day at home under their instruction instead of going somewhere else two or three times a week -- not only does he get more exercise and progress faster, it is much easier on our budget

this morning I took our only vehicle to the mechanic -- they are going to try to figure out why the little light that looks like a motor on the dashboard is on -- I'll be waiting for them to call and tell me what the problem is and what needs to be done to fix it

ok, I'm going back to my recliner now to resume the alternating ice and heat on my back while I wait for that phone call from the mechanic -- the back is still yelling that it's not happy, so I'll be moving slowly for a while longer

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Mr Cute and the Killer Bunny

my daughter sent me this picture of Mr. Cute

he's laying on a texture blanket that I made for his mommy when she was about this age (it's kind of cool to be able to see it in use again)

and that blue rabbit? -- I knit that for my daughter two or three years ago --- it's totally kid safe, so why not?

a request has been put in by his mommy for me to knit him a monkey toy since they refer to him as the "lil' monkey" -- can do!

I don't have any pictures of work done yesterday -- the laundry got finished, and I worked on the rock garden

and I spent a lot of time in my recliner with alternating ice and heat on my back -- when I got up yesterday it felt a little sore and it just got worse as the day went on -- totally frustrating

today's "must do" list includes taking the DH for his 3 month after surgery appointment, where the doctor may start him on strength training if he feels the healing has progressed far enough -- baby steps!!

back to the ice packs

Monday, April 25, 2011

being edge-y

this is a close up of the way I usually finish off the edges of the bead embroidery pieces I do

its clean, orderly and is a nice smooth line along all of the edges of the piece

the rock garden, however seems to not be the place to use that smooth finish

after all that Fray Check on the back dried, I cut the bead work free of the rest of the stitching fabric, added the upholstery fabric backing and started working my way around the edges with a whip stitch -- picking up two seed beads with each stitch

usually I work all the way around the piece this way then go back and run another thread through each of the beads on the bottom layer and the top layer to create that smooth edge like the orange one above

but I really like this look on this piece -- the edge is still covered (which was why I started using this technique in the first place), but on this piece it just looks like the rock garden is surrounded with a field of nice grass

who knew?

this does mean there won't be any fringe (because that gets added with the thread that runs through to line up the edges), but I'm okay with that because I like the way this edge looks

if things go well I should have this piece all finished in then next couple of days -- all ready for the photo session

I've been adding stuff to my Etsy store every day, and this morning I decided it was time to go ahead and put some of my original quilt pieces out there too -- after all, no one is getting to see them while they are sitting in a box in my studio!

we'll see how that goes

it's Monday, it's wash day -- and I need to pick up milk and a prescription and some stamps (time to write the monthly bills again) -- then hopefully back to work on that grass edge

Sunday, April 24, 2011

I'm Dreaming of a White Easter?

somehow that lyric just doesn't sound right!

but never the less, we woke this morning to about 2 inches of heavy wet snow on all the grassy surfaces

since we had just planted potatoes and onions out in our garden, I'm happy to have the moisture

and happy that the sidewalks and streets are just damp -- not icy and not requiring shoveling!

yesterday I finished the beading on the rock garden

before I cut into the fabric, I always coat the back of the bead work with Fray Check to seal off all of the threads

so while that was drying I created the beaded toggle that will be half of the clasp

hopefully today I'll be able to start attaching the beading to the backing

this is the exciting part -- we're getting closer to being done!

I had entered this quilt for a show titled "Sacred Threads"

yesterday I got the email telling me that it didn't get in

while I'm disappointed, I have to say I'm not totally surprised

this was one of my first applique pieces and as I look at it even in this photo I can see lots of things that need to be improved -- and when I made it I did it for personal reasons, not really with the idea it would ever be entered in a national show

I've seen some photos of some of the quilts that did get in to the show, and I think the curator of this show was looking for pieces more symbolic and not so literal

so this quilt goes back in the box of the items that I will hang at Christmas in my home, and I'm still thinking about a whole new piece that I may do to enter in this show two years from now

Saturday, April 23, 2011

almost there

two hours of stitching yesterday afternoon and I'm nearly finished with the bead work on the surface of the rock garden


today I should get this finished and started on making the clasp pieces -- so cool

we had planned to replant the areas of winter killed grass in our front yard this morning, but its just too cold for that activity -- I'll do that kind of stuff when the temperatures are in the 50s, but its all of 37 degrees -- not the kind of temperature that I want to potentially get wet in!

just means more work gets done in the studio!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth Day worthy recycling

these wood steps up to the second terrace of the garden came with the house

so they had been out there in the sun and the snow for at least ten years

and they were starting to get really dangerous

last week we decided that we would move the gate into the garden area down to the other end of the garden where there is a gentle slope up to that top level

and we would take these steps out entirely

and this is what I did with the wood after we managed to pull those steps all apart

in this little area between the fence and the side of the garage we've never been able to get anything except weeds to grow

last summer our son in law helped up put down the stone pathway there on the left side, which cut down on the area that I had to keep after the weeds in

I'm hoping my "boardwalk" will help that in that area too

using wood that was otherwise going to end up in the land fill --- PRICELESS!

yesterday we planted the first things in the garden -- Yukon gold potatoes, red and yellow onions, beets and swiss chard -- lots more to do, but these will tolerate the chilly weather we're still likely to get in the next few weeks

this garden however is going great!

the first side is all beaded around the stones, and I started in on the second side yesterday

while I've been stitching along I've been thinking about the clasp that this piece will need, and I think I've finally solved how to do that --- I'll be making a cylinder of beads to use as the bar and a loop of beads as the other half of a toggle clasp, and I can do the attaching before I put the backing on

I've also decided that this piece will need some beaded fringe -- with flower "drops" at the ends -- that will add to the time needed to do the finishing, but I'm pretty sure it wouldn't look "finished" with out it

like I've said ---- Must.Stitch.Faster

the second of the feathers on the little hat is done

I have one more to do

then it's on to the quilting of this piece

still doing that chant:


time to get stitching!

Thursday, April 21, 2011


the quilt got delivered this morning

so next week our regional SAQA rep will be helping with the hanging

if you live in the Denver area or will be visiting there next week, here is the link to the show information (if you scroll down the page, it's part of the "Art at Altitude" exhibit)

so exciting!!

and this morning I added this bracelet to the Etsy store

you may notice a new look there on the right hand side of the blog page

just trying to make that store more visible!

time to get busy -- yard work to do before I can get into the studio

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

totally unexpected

the box arrived yesterday

I knew it was coming soon since the Fire Mountain folks had notified me about the posting of the winners on the competition

along with my piece of jewelry (which was wrapped in YARDS of bubble wrap which I totally appreciate!) was a gift certificate that I can use when I make my next supply order

and the certificate that says I was a finalist in the Swarovski Elements design competition
what I didn't expect was the second certificate that actually looks like one of the advertisements they run on the back covers of magazines

and the little card that says my piece might actually get used for one of those back cover ads


I'm so thrilled

(and that website work I've been procrastinating on -- I need to get to that -- because my website would be right out there on that ad!)

so after that I worked for quite a while on the next piece I'm doing for one of the Fire Mountain competitions

and I'm almost to the end of this side of the necklace

hopefully today I'll get this edge done and get on with the other side

I went through my bin of upholstery fabric and picked out a sort of cocoa colored piece that I will use as the back of this piece --

I'm definitely getting excited about having this finished

still working on the Christmas project afghan in the evenings

it is now 80% complete

and last night I finished the knitting of the blue lace piece, so it is ready to be bound off now

one more cuff bracelet added to Etsy

I want to put the piece that just came home out there too, but I need to take some new photographs and it's been too cloudy and gray to do that

maybe tomorrow

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

doing the part I hate

this quilt is going to be in at the Mancuso Quilt Show in Denver the end of the month

I'm really delighted that it will finally get to be seen in a public venue

but between now and tomorrow evening when I hand it to my regional SAQA representative (who will take it up for the "hanging") I have to write my Artist Statement that will go in the binder with the other ones for the exhibit

uh, I really hate this part

and I admit to being a bit intimidated by knowing that some of the other artist statements in that binder will be from "known" quilt artists, and I don't want to look like a dope on paper

can't my work just speak for itself? apparently not

so I'll be working on that today
meantime, in keeping with my new attempt to keep putting things in my Etsy store, this bracelet was listed this morning

over the weekend, after debating the pros and cons right up to the last minute, I paid the fee to renew my domain registration, so the website will stand for another year

and for the first time in about 10 years I'm thinking about a major overhaul that will completely change to whole approach of the site (yeah, I needed another big project to work on -- heh)

time to go to work!

Monday, April 18, 2011

itty bitty beads

I know, "are we there yet"

heh, not so much

but the garden is slowly engulfing the stepping stones

I've been trying to get more stuff out in my Etsy shop --

I listed this bracelet this morning

more details are available by clicking the picture there at the top of the right hand side of the blog

for a while I've been afraid to put my more expensive jewelry pieces out there on Etsy, but after spending some time looking around at some other shops, I've decided that's silly

more of the bigger pieces will be appearing shortly

so, today is Monday - which means laundry is being done and I need to run to the store for milk and there are some other chores to do -- then into the studio to do some work!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Mr. Cute and other pursuits

I have several pictures of Mr. Cute with his daddy

this is the most recent one

he is such a good daddy

(which, I might add, did not surprise me, since he's such a great guy!)

and Mr. Cute here looks curious about what we're doing here around him

(and honestly, I don't remember what that was, but who cares, we got this nice picture of the kid!)

yesterday we spent some time working in the garden -- spreading out the compost, tilling the first corner that we're going to plant (I used the new tiller -- so much easier than the old one, I had that area done in no time) -- beginning the process of removing some very damaged steps that were in the garden area (I used the chain saw -- what can I say)

it was nice to come in the house and work on a garden that didn't require so much heavy lifting!

almost finished covering the area around those two stones

I've been working on this project for quite a while now

and because I've never knit one of these before I'm not sure how to measure it to figure out if I'm done yet

(yes, I know, it pretty much looks like a "blob" right now, but I have great trust in the author of the pattern, so I believe this will actually come out correctly)

I have definitely reached the "are we there yet" stage with this one however

just listed this cuff bracelet out on my Etsy store

I've yet to be able to manage to list something every day, but I'm getting closer

if you want to take a look at the details, use the link by clicking on the photo at the top right of the blog

Saturday, April 16, 2011

NOW it's done

about a week ago I posted this picture thinking I had finished that feather and I was ready to move on to the last one

except it just didn't look --


ok, NOW it looks finished

I went back to it and added a lot more thread painting over the last week

and it does look a lot better

and that means I can move on to the last little feathered area now and hopefully I'll soon be able to get to the quilting too

working in the beaded garden is going well, moving along up the sides of the necklace

hoping to get some more pieces out on my Etsy store today

time to get to it!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Did it again!

last fall I wrote a bit about this project (if you missed that post you can read it here)

this was the piece that I put together at the last minute and submitted it for a competition and made the finals

today as I was opening my emails, I got the notice that while I didn't win a prize, I will once again be in the Fire Mountain Gems catalog as a finalist for this piece


a prize would be nice, but for now, getting this much is incentive enough to keep me entering things in that competition

like this piece, for instance

which is the piece I'm working on for the next competition

and I'm liking how it's going

just need to get it finished by the deadline which is the first week in May

Thursday, April 14, 2011

don't call me Mary

I have not yet begun to be contrary!

work continues on the rock garden

the beading is now starting to run up the narrow sides

because I believe that even a piece of this size should actually be wearable, I'm now having to pay closer attention to the size of the beads that I use on the inside edge of the stitching --- don't want to use anything that would scratch the neck along there

I spent a considerable amount of time yesterday afternoon taking some new pictures of some of the bracelets -- when I list them on Etsy, just one little quick snap shot isn't enough -- I need to let the viewer get a real feel of the piece without being able to touch it -- I needed to have pictures that show each piece from every direction so you can see the patterning all around and see what the edges and the inside look like too

I'm pretty pleased with how these came out, so now I need to get some of these out there!

another pattern section is now complete on the afghan

it is now 75% complete

this evening is my guild meeting, which will be fun -- tonight's speaker is going to talk about using up our scraps -- and since I'm pretty guilty of keeping anything bigger than a postage stamp "just in case", it will be good to see some creative ways to use these

I'm hoping for some ideas for pieces smaller than 6 inch squares to make into charity quilts that don't take forever to complete

time to get busy on the things I need to do before that meeting