Monday, May 30, 2011

new project, finished block and a big CRASH

its ready for the stitching

based on the sketch I did at lunch during the Visioning Conference, the outlines have been transferred to the stabilizer and it has been sandwiched with the batting

yesterday morning I went through the box of black beads and the box of white beads and pulled out all of the tubes of beads to do the stitching --- hoping to get it started today

right after I posted my blog yesterday, we had a serious CRASH

when I went back to my computer to do some more work, all I had was a black screen with the following words in white: "no operating system found"


I tried restarting --- nope, same message

so I asked the DH if I could use his computer -- only to discover that his had reverted to the BSOD (Blue Screen Of Death) -- FATAL ERROR

insert here the appropriate screeching and gnashing of teeth

I put in a call to my sister -- could I bring the two corpses to her for my brother-in-law to take a look at?

we arranged a meeting place and I packed them up

fortunately they had a computer I could have on loan while he tries to resurrect them

I have no idea what happened, but it must have come in on the wireless network -- even though it is a secured network (password required), even though neither one of us was on line at the time, even though I run SpyBot and a virus scan religiously every week

and the biggest ouch is that I had just pulled a lot of stuff onto my desktop because I was going to burn a lot of back up CDs -- including all of the pictures from the SAQA "This Is A Quilt" exhibit, and all my progress shots for the month of May, and who knows what else because I'm sure I'll be remembering some file or another for a while and then discovering it was on the crashed computer

I'm hoping he can rescue my data, and get the computers back to operational, and I think I'm officially DONE with wireless -- yes it's convenient not to be tethered, but I can't do this crashing thing

I'll also be looking into an off site place to back up my data on a DAILY basis -- its obvious that my current weekly or monthly burning to CDs plan is not working
and this would be the upside of having to make an emergency run to Denver

the opportunity for some unplanned charity knitting

finished another afghan square!

today's plan involves mowing the back yard, setting up a watering system in the garden and a run to the fabric store (they're having a big sale today) to try to find some coordinating fabric to put with the fabric I got from the put and take table at guild meeting to make some charity quilts

time to get to it

Sunday, May 29, 2011

more about the Visioning Conference

one of the things that was especially interesting about the Thursday evening events was getting to see all of the pieces from the SAQA exhibit titled "This Is A Quilt"

they were awesome

the lighting on them? - eh, not so much

and these are small pieces, in mats, under plastic to protect them, so I was not able to get pictures of all of them, and the quality of the ones I did get are not up to my usual standards

but it's better than nothing

you can see all 65 photos that I took by using this link

you'll notice that they are not labeled with any information -- except for this piece -- which was done by Nancy G. Cook

I knew how to label this one because I had the distinct pleasure of talking with Nancy during the conference

you can see more about Nancy's work here

and if you happen to be able to identify any of the other artists by looking at the pictures, please use the comment feature and add the information


Saturday, May 28, 2011

tipping the hat

the many, many flower petals on this hat are all quilted -- finally!

and the back brim of the hat is done too

rolling right along!

the quilting on the front brim of the hat is next -- unlike the back brim, where I had to do major changes before I could quilt, this on is all ready to go

I'm definitely starting to feel better about this piece actually being done by the deadline

the vest is moving right along -- after I took this picture last night I did the row that split it for the armholes

as I'm starting to sort through some of my beading supplies to start some new projects (mmmmmm, new projects -- yippee!!!) I've pulled out some strings of stone chips that I bought about 7 years ago, and I'm pretty sure I won't be using again, so I'll be adding them to the "supplies" part of my Etsy store soon

this morning I've already been to the hardware store and to Walmart to pick up stuff for projects (and a little something to mail to Mr Cute)

time to get to it!!

Friday, May 27, 2011

trying something new

being a hand quilter means that a really well fitting thimble is mandatory

trouble is, about a year ago my favorite one became unusable because after years of use, it had developed a hole right through the metal from being used

since then I've had a variety of inexpensive ones that I've taken for a "test drive" and either found them to be inadequate, or have already had a hole develop in them

yesterday when I was in my local quilt store to sign up for a class that I will be taking in August, I was having the whole thimble discussion with one of the gals that was working in the store

she told me about something that she has been recently using -- it's in the picture there on the right hand side

they are these little ovals of sticky backed plastic like stuff that you put on the area of your finger that you want to protect

they stick well, come off clean, stand up to being taken off and put back on multiple times (I tried all of that yesterday afternoon when I spent quite a bit of time quilting on the Hoffman piece)

there are 64 of these little sticky things in the package and it was inexpensive -- I think for now these will do

Thursday, May 26, 2011

thinking about a new project

I work best if I've got a lot of different things in process at different stages

some of my pieces are things that just come to me and seem to create their own patterns full blown in my head

and some of them are collaborative work that involve the DH doing drawings of ideas that we discuss then I create the patterns from there

so the DH asked me yesterday if I was ready for him to start on the drawings for a piece we've been discussing for a while

it involves onion domes and bears pulling a troika

let the drawing begin!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Back to getting some work done

as much as I'd like to just go and play with all the new toys I got over the weekend, I do have some impending deadlines, so it was important to actually do some work

and the weather was so nasty yesterday that it really wasn't hard to just settle into my recliner and stitch and stitch and STITCH until I finally finished the quilting on the curtains down the left side of the Hoffman piece

now that these are done I'm really happy I paid attention to that off handed remark in my applique group, because I love the way that quilting gave the piece texture

when I finished that I was going to just start in on the hat that is right there against the curtain

except I still just didn't like the way it looked -- it was too "puffy"

so I carefully picked out the stitching around the brim, trimmed down the fabric and by the end of the session yesterday I had reattached it

and quilted that entire piece in concentric rings -- sort of like the pattern you would see in a straw hat

I'm much happier about the way it looks now

I'll be tackling the detail in the flower petals next -- I'm thinking that will be another one of those "it takes forever" things since there are so many, but there's no going back on this detail now!
design ideas come in may disguises

its "stone fruit" season -- and our store had apricots and cherries that we got on Monday when we went to pick up a few things

this was this morning's fruit bowl that I was preparing to take with me to the computer

"Fruit Sundae"

this might be a fun thing to make into a small quilted piece either for my Etsy store or perhaps to donate for the SAQA auction (something I was asked about over the weekend, but I admit I don't know a lot about)

today I need to run a couple of errands before I can settle back into the stitching -- time to get moving

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

more about the conference plus gratuitous cuteness

conference registrations are all different, but most all of them have something in common -- the goodies -- and the SAQA conference was no different

the goodies were AWESOME

inside the lovely tote bag (donated by Dharma Trading Co.) was this cardboard box with three bottles of Stewart Gill paint (in those lovely sea and sky colors that I like working with!) and what looks like Easter basket grass there in the box is actually Angelina fiber -- which is also in that color family

then there was this package of five spools of Aurifil thread -- in those same colors with some warm contrast colors added

one of these spools says "wool"

all of these goodies are things that I've heard a lot about, but not had the chance to try, so I'm looking forward to some future "play dates" with them

also in the tote bag were copies of a couple of magazines (Quilters Newsletter and Machine Quilter) a conference schedule, a note pad and pen and several postcards that were for local groups and exhibits
at our final banquet, there were clear plastic boxes of fabric that served as center pieces

after dessert, they were given away

I was thrilled to win the box on our table

each piece is a full yard of one of the new Robert Kaufman batik prints

mmmmmmm, more fabric stash!!

the dark one looks very much like redwood fronds, so some of this may end up getting used on the Trees piece


during the lunch breaks I did a bit of designing

my plan for each of these patterns is to create a 3 inch wide beaded cuff bracelet

the pattern on the left will be in browns/rusts/creams -- giraffe like, and the one on the right will be black and white -- the last zebra like bracelet sold pretty quickly, and I'm hoping another one will do likewise
between sessions of the conference and on Sunday I got to spend time with Mr Cute!

since I had last seen him, he had learned to roll himself over when ever he wants to, and he has figured out how to hold himself up on his elbows or hold up his backside on his knees

I predict it won't be long before he figures out how to do both at once, which will put him nose to nose with his mama's little dog

which should be a lot of fun

sooooooooo cute!!

besides doing a few little stitching projects for my daughter on Sunday and continuing to work on the Hoffman piece (more about that soon) I managed to finish one charity afghan square and get another one about half done

this morning I was awakened by the sound of thunder and small hail hitting the windows -- it is supposed to continue to rain off and on today and tomorrow, so I may get more done inside that I originally thought I would

laundry is underway, more work will get done on the Hoffman piece and I still have many pictures to download of the Thursday night quilt show

time to get moving!

Monday, May 23, 2011

where I've been

I've reconfirmed something I already knew

when I'm at a conference or a show most days I'm too exhausted either mentally or physically to write a blog post that is coherent enough to let anyone see!

Thursday, Friday and Saturday I was in the SAQA Visioning Conference

It was held in the Brown Palace Hotel in downtown Denver

it is a very old, historic hotel

this is the atrium of the hotel -- open in the center from the lobby all the way up through the floors to the awesome glass ceiling

the ceiling is stained glass -- it was cloudy and rainy on Thursday afternoon when I took these pictures -- I'd like to know what is on the outside of this ceiling that keeps it from being destroyed by the hail that we frequently get in the summer

on the second floor, where the arch shaped structures are, each arch has pillars that are decorated like this

you can see here how thick the railings are that surround the open area

and this is what each of the metal panels looks like

I heard someone talking about these panels -- supposedly there are a few of them that are installed upside down

I'm thinking someone had WAY too much time on their hands if they had time to find that among all those floors!

and I'm pretty sure they were all installed properly when the hotel was originally built

but it's also pretty clear that these have been very carefully maintained, so that might have happened in a cleaning or maintenance operation

and the carpets! all of them bold patterns and beautiful colors

want to mail a postcard home? (I know, who does that any more, but just in case)

this is the mail slot

I wonder if any letters have gotten "stuck" in the works somewhere and are still waiting to be discovered and delivered

this was the crown molding around the ceiling of one of the class rooms that I took a workshop in

this is the wallpaper in the ladies room

the last time I was in this hotel was 40 years ago (ok, I confess, I was cutting school with a friend and we were exploring downtown)

back then the wall paper in the ladies room was red with FLOCKED patterns --- it was Victorian Bordello style --- hey, it was the 1960s!

much more sedate and elegant now

and this may well be the only place left where rotary phones are the norm

all of the "House Phones" look like this

and yes -- these work

this is the church that is right across the street from the hotel

this picture was taken from the "sky bridge" that runs between the hotel and the banquet rooms that are actually across the street (another direction) from the hotel

on Saturday morning, just as I got out of my car the carillon at the church began playing, so I had lovely music for my walk from the car to the hotel

(and that was after I had driven the highway from my daughter's into Denver and at one point been surrounded by about 2 dozen hot air balloons that were just taking off from the field along the highway -- they were so close I could actually see exactly how many people were in the baskets -- it was amazing!)

I have a whole bunch of pictures of the quilt exhibit that was on display on Thursday afternoon, but I need to get them ready before I can show them to you, so they'll be here in a day or so, and I'll be talking a bit about what I learned during the conference too

now I just need to get back into the routine --- got to get into the studio and do some work!!

Friday, May 20, 2011

a finished project!

the monkey toy is done!!

and I just love the little blue hoody (and kind of proud of myself for creating the pattern for that)

and my grandson likes it

(look out for flying monkeys!

and more happy dancing

I sold this piece of jewelry today

its been a very good week

more about the conference and other projects coming soon (I have a lot of pictures to download!)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

happy dancing

yesterday I got the email

the one that has the words "Etsy Order Confirmation" in the subject line

heh! YEAH!!

so this piece (the one that didn't make the finals!) is on its way to someone that saw it and loved it and bought it

whoot whoot

I could get used to that

so this morning I'm getting my stuff together and finishing last minute things before I head off to the first of 3 days of meetings with the SAQA Visioning Conference

(hob nobbing with my fellow art quilting wizards!)

happy dance!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

ruminating, designing and gratuitous cuteness

alpacas are ruminates

they are also really cute and soft and a wonderful fiber to work with

and this one looks like he's flying -- or at least trying to lift off

which is sort of how I feel right now

last week blogger crashed us and a long post that I had written on Thursday morning was one of the many that they took down in the rebuild

and even though things seem to have returned to normal, that post never reappeared in their "fix"

in addition to that, I've been "ruminating" about redoing my website and feeling sort of like I had no clue where to start (not to mention that I didn't want to spend all those many, many hours of "code crunching")

this week I was offered the opportunity to consider doing a complete overhaul of the website and transfer my daily postings to that domain as well -- every artist's dream -- complete control over my work!

so, I'm feeling like my feet are off the ground

I'm sure there will be some bumps along the way, but I'm really excited about the whole idea

and if you are thinking about doing this too, I highly recommend Carol to help you out -- you can find her at
this week I've been thinking about doing some new jewelry pieces

one of the designs I've been fiddling with is a smaller version of the piece that made the finals of the Fire Mountain Gems competition

the other day the DH took a browse through the box of cabochons that I have on hand and told me there are still some pretty good pieces of stone in there

so probably next week (after we get paid) I'll be putting in an order for some bracelet cuffs and maybe some other stuff so I can make up some more stuff to put out on my Etsy store and maybe enter in a competition or two

and I'm hoping my daughter won't mind that I lifted this photo off of her page to show it off here

this is gratuitous cuteness if ever I saw it

makes me think of a John Lennon lyric

"beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful boy"

(and the mommy is no slouch either!!)

time for me to get busy!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Finished Christmas Project

it took me a couple of hours to tie off the fringing that runs all along both sides of this

then I spread it out on the dining room table so I could trim that fringe so it was all the same length

this is a Christmas gift for a friend's son -- but it's going to the State Fair in August first

I'm glad to have this finished now, before the weather actually gets warm enough that I just wouldn't want to work on it

which means there is more time to work on other things

like knitting a sweater for the monkey toy -- I finished up the body of that and started the sleeves last night

and yesterday afternoon, after all the laundry was done, I cut out dozens of aspen leaves for the trees project

time to get to work

Monday, May 16, 2011

stormy weather

that's what we've had for days

and it's what the Hawaii piece looks like too

the sky is mostly done, as is most of the water -- getting close to adding the mountain


this week will be a whirl of activity -- lots of things to do here at home before I head off to the SAQA conference, then 3 busy days at the conference

today I'm trying to get all of the laundry done and if it clears off a bit, we have some plants we want to put in the ground, and the lawn needs to be mowed before we go -- and there is ironing to do, and packing, and, and

somewhere in there I hope to get some work done in the studio too

Sunday, May 15, 2011

new associations and more monkey business

A while back I entered this piece in a competition

yesterday I got the letter telling me it didn't make the finals

I'm not totally surprised -- its just too "basic" a design -- it is an original design, but I'm sure other things that were entered were much more elaborate

never mind -- its a quality piece, and as soon as the letter arrived I went right to my Etsy store and listed it for sale (at a very reasonable price)
and speaking of Etsy, I am now a member of a team of beadweavers out there

after being an Etsy store owner for several years, I am finally figuring out how some of the finer points work -- its kind of exciting to open my email and find a note telling me someone has added me to a Treasury

the Beadweavers team runs a monthly challenge, and I'm looking forward to participating in some of those soon

"we're gonna monkey, monkey around"

heh -- I finished sewing him all together last night, and as much as I dislike the sock monkey toys, I like this little guy --- sooooo cute!

now I have a few days to get a little blue sweater made for him and I can take him to my grandson

this morning its cool and rainy -- no outdoor work today -- maybe I can get some more work done on things in the studio

Saturday, May 14, 2011

returning to work

I'm trusting that eventually the last post I did here (on Thursday morning) will actually reappear out of whatever depths of cyberspace it went to when Blogger had it's "issue" -- fortunately one of the things I do every day just before I hit the "Publish Post" button is print out my post so I have a record!

One of the things that I needed to find out before I went very far on this piece that I wanted to do was find out how much it would cost me to get a mat cut for it

I made a visit to one of my local framing places and was pleased to find out that it wouldn't be too expensive to do, so I'm going to start working on the pieces for it
some of these pieces are actually well on their way

this pair of gazelles, for instance

they've already been stamped and I've done all of the Copic marker "embellishment"

so these guys are ready for me to do their background scene

the elephant has been stamped too

and I've just begun to do the embellishment on him (got as far as the end of his trunk before I got int erupted)

I would like to get everything to this stage before I move on to the next one

the giraffe and the zebras haven't been stamped yet -- these are just paper cutouts that I used as "place markers" so I could plan what I was going to do with the piece

and then there is the center block

the plan is to put the trunk of the tree in the center block and have the branches spread out over the mat across the whole top of the piece


it's pretty exciting!

these are the fabrics I was able to pick up this month at the guild meeting

the winter themed ones with a bit more added out of my personal stash should be enough to make one quilt top, and the floral is big enough to be part of more than one when put with some other fabrics -- neat

I've started working on the sky of the Hawaii piece, and it's moving right along

as is the quilting on the Hoffman piece -- I had a brief moment of "what am I doing here?", but after all the nice comments I got at the guild meeting (where I was again working on the curtain swirl quilting), I'm feeling better about it

today I hope to finish the monkey toy I've been knitting so I can move on to making his sweater, I have 6 rows left on the afghan, and the vest is moving along nicely too

meantime, I've been redesigning one necklace and looking for a source of materials for another one

things are definitely moving right along

and SAQA Visioning Conference begins on Thursday

whooooo hoooooo