Wednesday, August 31, 2011

when life gives you tomatoes

make sauce!

that tray of tomatoes (plus about half again that many) made all this

and we decided to do just plain sauce -- added a bit of salt and some lemon juice and put it up that way so we can use it for all kinds of things -- Italian cooking, Greek cooking -- even a batch of homemade tomato soup if that's what sounds good at the time

simple, easy, and beautiful -- not to mention the lovely sound of the jars going "ping!" as the sealed one by one

since I'm feeling so much better -- off the pain meds now that the bad tooth is out -- I got a lot more work done on the bracelet

almost finished!

and the work on the landscape quilt is moving right along too -- just one more small mountain to quilt before I move on to doing the sky -- and I'm pleased with the way it looks too

under the category of "don't pick up 400 stitches around a sweater while on pain meds" -- last night I got to rip the original pick up out and do it over -- wow were those weird looking -- tonight I'll get to actually start in on the ribbed band

time to get moving -- need to mow that front yard

Monday, August 29, 2011

beading as fast as I can

heh, well, maybe not quite as fast as I can, but this new piece is really moving along

there is only about 1/4 of the surface left to bead and then I can put the bracelet together

I'm hoping that I'll actually feel like working on this after today's dentist appointment -- when the tooth comes out

this piece of beading, however is totally finished

the team that I belong to on Etsy does monthly challenges, and the September challenge was titled "Lions and Tigers and Bears, OH My!"

this morning I listed this piece which is my entry in the challenge

voting for this month's challenge will be from September 9 to September 15 on the Etsy Bead Weavers Team blog

and in case you're now thinking "what happened to the quilts?", I'm still hand quilting the landscape piece that I started working on a few weeks ago -- it is about 2/3 finished, so we are heading down the home stretch!

work continues on the big trees piece as well -- and I finished knitting the hood of the Christmas sweater last night

lots being done, just no pictures to prove it!

and then there is this

yesterday's picking (except for the 3 green ones that we're eating for breakfast this morning) of tomatoes

a lot of these are from the heritage variety of roma tomatoes that we planted this year

the DH is going to turn these (and some others that were picked a bit earlier in the week) into pasta sauce which we will put up in pint jars

we'll be enjoying these all winter long

time to go get the laundry done before the trip to the dentist!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

old, new and back again

this has been one of those weeks that I felt like I was working hard, but for the most part there just wasn't anything to show for it -- partly because I spent several hours taking photos for a new sales venture for some of our more expensive jewelry and several more hours sorting, washing and ironing fabric in an attempt to organize the "stash" into a more usable form

toss in the monthly shopping trips and a visit to the dentist and you've got a recipe for a week that vanish with out a visible trace

yesterday was better

I got back to the bead work on this project and by the end of the session I have this now almost 2/3 of the way finished with the beading

and it looks really good

I've been fiddling with ideas for over a week trying to come up with an idea to put footprints on that yellow brick road

yesterday I cut two rubber stamps that I will experiment with on some other surfaces first to be sure I don't totally mess up what is already finished

I'm hoping to get to the next step later today to test this out

yesterday was day two of the two day machine quilting class -- and of the two was the more difficult

last week we were doing very simple shapes using the walking foot on the machine, and for the most part it was something that I got the hang of pretty quickly

yesterday's exercises were in free motion quilting -- and the best comparison I can give is the "pat your head and rub your tummy" thing --

when doing free motion the key seems to be "fast foot, slow hands", which for someone that has had the experience of breaking off a sewing machine needle in an index finger is a little intimidating

I think my best work was the little running horsie

and I'll be spending some time fiddling with this whole idea some more in the near future

in the mean time, while I don't feel confident to just jump into a whole quilt with free motion quilting, I do feel that I could do a small lap quilt with my walking foot without any problem, so I'll probably try that in the next couple of months

this photo is multi-purposed

first, I am absolutely amazed at the clarity and detail that I get with my new printer's scanning abilities -- wow, and wow again -- I'm just beginning to understand how great an addition to my art process it will be

second, this is a scan of an actual leaf that I picked up off the front lawn this morning -- a little reminder that although its still HOT here, fall really isn't far away (and the holiday season after that -- YIKES!)

and third, it's clear that I'm not done yet with this theme as inspiration for art work as I just can't seem to walk away from a leaf like this, but must bring it in the house, dry the surface and stick it in the scanner!

and clearly this might be a good them to pursue with the free motion quilting techniques

an ongoing source of inspiration for art work is a good thing

Thursday, August 25, 2011

more beading

radio silence yesterday because I had a dentist appointment at 9 am -- before the time I usually get to this

and the dentist is not my favorite thing -- no change happening there -- but next Monday afternoon I'll be back in there to have the offending (and currently being treated with antibiotics) tooth pulled

oh joy -- NOT

finally got back to actually going something creative late yesterday afternoon

this is moving along -- slowly, but I am really pleased with how it looks

I'm hoping to get back to this today too, but we have errands to run first


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

new bird resident and a trip amongst the produce

the last week or so I've been hearing a new song out in the garden

yesterday I finally saw the bird making the sound

he is amazing calm about me being out there, as he let me get close enough this morning to take this series of pictures

we have a spotted towhee (aka rufus towhee)
so cool!

the reason I was out there with the camera in the first place was to take pictures of the riot of color happening in the garden right now

the squash patch has suddenly burst into bloom and when you get close you can literally hear it buzzing

as I was snooping around I found this pumpkin in amongst the leaves -- when did that happen!?

I've also seen two hubbards and four butternuts out there, and after finding this pumpkin, I'm pretty sure there's another one out there -- maybe more than that

we planted a heritage variety of roma tomatoes this year and they are doing really well

unlike the newer type, these are all going to ripen much closer together instead of the onesie, twosies we get from the other plant

these are longer and more pointy on the bottom too

right now it's really pretty

while we were in the grocery store yesterday I discovered a bit of interesting art

or perhaps its one of those things for kids where they say "one of these things is not like the others"

but it took a moment or two for it to register on me

after it did, I took a picture with my cell phone and used my usual work around to get it to my computer so I could show it to you (take picture with cell phone, text photo to my daughter's smart phone and ask her to email it back to me -- which she does, from her smart phone, then I can download it to my desktop) -- if only for the photo abilities I love to have a smart phone, but can't justify what it would cost!

perhaps this picture is the reason we have such political issues right now -- we aren't trying to converse about apples and oranges, we're conversing about apples and lemons!

I do love this photo though and it may have potential as inspiration for a small art quilt

there were great plans for getting a lot of things done in the studio yesterday afternoon, but about half an hour after I could actually get to them our power went off -- and stayed off until 9 last night

we had what the DH calls a "hobo" dinner -- a piece of meat and a can of beans -- all cooked on the grill -- he just peeled the label off the can, opened it up and stuck it in the grill at the same time he was cooking the meat -- hey, it works!

hopefully today we'll do better

Monday, August 22, 2011

bead it

the bracelet that is

it's coming along nicely

meantime, I'm trying to clean out and reorganize my fabric stash -- in with this morning's laundry there are two complete loads of fabric that had been in the storage shed for a long time -- there is a lot of ironing in my future

time to get to it

Sunday, August 21, 2011

animals and art work

this is Elphie

she is the big black dog that lives at our house

the past few days she has taken on a new moniker -- Mr. McGregor

seems we have a new yard visitor

I've seen a little cottontail out there -- though so far he doesn't seem to have figured out how to get into the garden because of the fencing we put up to keep Elphie out of there

I think Elphie just doesn't want to share the carrots that are growing out there

I can tell when the rabbit is there -- Elphie goes into her best "I'm a big dog" act, complete with hair standing up and growling

and when I let her out the door she runs full tilt toward the rabbit -- which of course runs faster

its a good exercise program for the dog
this morning I went out to turn on the water in the garden

as I was hooking up the hose I could hear a bird in the tree above me so I paused and turned around to take a closer look

one of these birds hopped down onto the fence, less than three feet away from me

I stood still and just watched until he decided he'd seen enough of me and flew off to another tree

I headed straight to the bird book because I hadn't seen one of these before

the bird book says this is a Baltimore Oriole

way cool!!
yesterday I spent 4 hours in part one of a machine quilting class

what a blast!

this half of the class (the other half is next Saturday) was about the materials -- especially the different battings that are currently available -- and how to use that newly acquired walking foot -- I love the walking foot! and my favorite thing was the pseudo free motion work we did at the end of the class with it

next week we'll be doing true free motion quilting -- which, while more difficult (I'm told) gives you a lot more artistic flexibility and control

can't wait

after all that fussing about what to do next to this I decided that the best thing to do was just turn that bead embroidery work into a cuff bracelet

sometimes less is more

I'll be working on the competition entry information today

and since that piece had been declared "done", I started on a new beaded piece

another bracelet in the Africa series -- this one is giraffe

we'll see how quickly I can stitch this one up

Saturday, August 20, 2011

new jewelry

for my name badge lanyard anyway

the box arrived yesterday with this year's Hoffman challenge quilt in it

since it didn't make the cut for the show it has returned home

(which means I have it in hand to hang in the solo shows later in the year -- a good thing)

in the box with it was this cool cloisonne pin that I put right on to the lanyard that the name badge I wear for guild activities is on -- its kind of like merit badges for Girl Scouts

the pin was not the only thing in the box with the quilt however

there was also a fat quarter of this cool fabric and two spools of Sulky thread

the NEW Sulky thread that is variegated


not sure yet what I'll use that fabric for, but I'm sure it will be useful somewhere

this morning I'm heading off to a class at my local quilt store -- going to learn about using my sewing machine and the newly acquired walking foot to do machine quilting

time to get moving!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Pounds of Produce

from the garden at least

cucumbers, ripe tomatoes, zucchini, a basket full of beans, a test carrot (to see how they are doing and it went to the dog as a treat)

and three green tomatoes

which are being fried for breakfast as I write this -- mmmmm, I love fried green tomatoes!

produce from the studio -- meh, not so much --

I am working on the trees -- the new trunk is stitched down and I've started on the added branches

and the quilting on the window landscape is moving along nicely too

Christmas sweater knitting is going well -- finished the second sleeve last night so now it's on to the hood

the bead work has been set aside for now -- I have not yet been able to solve the "how to" issue of what should be the next step, which means it probably won't get finished for the competition deadline -- {sigh}

for the last week I've been dealing with insurance agents and roofers trying to figure out how we'll ever be able to afford how to put on a roof after the HUGE deductible that we didn't even know we had -- it applies only to wind or hail damage, which of course is what we have -- figures (and don't you know that the insurance company knows that about this area which is why they write the policies that way!)

time to go eat those green tomatoes

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

cooking in the rain

platter? check
spatula? check
tongs? check

umbrella?! huh??

the DH was the chief cook last night and just as he had gotten everything on to the grill it started pouring down rain (we ended up getting 1/4 inch according to our front yard gauge)

so the cooking on the grill got done and while I put things on the plates, he put on dry clothes before dinner

and the up side of that little downpour is that there will be more zucchini and tomatoes to grill without my having to water them today


Monday, August 15, 2011

design repair, new beginnings and frustration

my idea to run another tree trunk in the redwoods worked!

after fiddling with size and spacing I settled on this arrangement, and I've actually started stitching the branches down now

it feels much better

the thread for doing the quilting on this project took a while to select

the spools for the landscape were pretty easy -- shades of blues and grays for the sky, mountain and water; white for the snow; browns, oranges, rust and tans for the vegetation

the wood framing --- not so much

it looks like old weathered wood and other than the dark brown that separates the planks, it is an unusual combination of purples, greens and a sort of silvery beige

I actually started working on the quilting of this last night by stitching vertical lines of dark brown in the yellow orange band so it looks like the trunks of little scrub oaks -- I'll use the oranges and yellow to do swirly quilting around those to finish those little shrubs

a nice beginning

the bead work project is just making me crazy -- the original idea of what was to happen next is just not working -- I know, another design opportunity -- just haven't found the work around yet

time to get to that laundry

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Hawaii is finished

the last stitch went in last night


still need to take some "entry" quality photos, but I can move on to the next project now

how cool is that?

now I just hope that I get some bright sun shine in the next couple of days so I can do the photos I need to do

and this is the next piece that goes with all that yellow stuff I've been beading

the pieces are slowly coming together!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

stepping forward

yesterday I finished the quilting on the Hawaii piece and did the steam pressing to smooth it all out

this morning I plan to cut the edges (bring on the carpenter's square!) and hopefully get the facing on as well as preparing the sleeve and the label

this is definitely one of those "did I do that?" pieces

as soon as the hand work on Hawaii is complete I'll be headed full steam into the quilting of the next landscape piece

so I'll probably be searching through the boxes of quilting thread to pull out what I'll need for that today too

the yellow beads are all completed on this piece

after I put in what I though were the last beads I measured it against the metal bracelet blank this will go over and found a strip on one edge that needed a few more added -- better to find those at this stage than later when it would be much harder to fix

so today I'll start on the paws

step one of the required changes have been completed

all of the branches that had not yet been attached have been turned so they grow downward as they should

now there is just one little problem -- the branches on the left side of the big tree that had already been stitched down and are intertwined with the aspen branches -- with leaves stitched over that

the best solution I can think of is to run another redwood "trunk" up the right hand side of that closest aspen tree to account for those branches

I think that will work -- I'll try the pinning and see how it goes

think "design opportunity"

most people do this sort of experimental design work on small pieces -- heh, well, think Moonlight Sonata as a beginning piano piece!

Friday, August 12, 2011

yellow beads -- and more

or just more yellow beads -- you decide

I might have actually finished this yesterday except I needed to get ready for the guild meeting

so that will probably happen today

I have a hard time just sitting still in any setting, so I usually take something with me to my guild meetings (and I'm not the only one in the group that sits and knits!)

here we have a completed afghan square -- I can do these practically without looking at them, which makes them ideal meeting knitting (unlike the sweater I'm working on that requires a bit more counting and keeping track)

we had a great speaker and I finished this block and did almost half of another one too

have you ever seen what happens when the caretaker comes with the fish food and dumps it into the koi pond?

last night as I was standing at the put and take table chatting with someone a guild member came in with a large shopping bag full of quilting fabrics and started dumping them onto the table

I can tell you it looked just like the feeding frenzy at the koi pond

I got some very lovely fat quarters as well as some smaller pieces that will be good to use in art quilts

there really wasn't anything that would be good for charity quilts this month, so I'll be taking a walk through my personal stash for that purpose this month

seems it was a good thing that I didn't start in on the stitching of these newly added branches

it has been pointed out to me (thank you Alison!) that these are growing the wrong way

so today I'll be pinning them turned the correct way

(and perhaps that's why I hadn't started stitching yet -- they just didn't look quite right to me yet, but I couldn't figure out why)

ok -- DUH!

time to get busy

Thursday, August 11, 2011

climbing into the trees

and maybe swinging from the branches!

after looking at the tree for a while yesterday and fiddling with strips of paper I worked out how many more branches it needed and cut them out of the fabrics

I even included a circle that is where a branch came off the tree and the trunk has "healed"

so now I have lots and lots of stitching to do to attach these

I worked on the Hawaii piece some too -- I had hoped to have all of the quilting finished by last night so I could take it for show and tell at tonight's quilt guild meeting, but that just didn't happen

oh well, there's always next month

work continues on this too -- should be finished soon