Wednesday, November 30, 2011

returning to projects

actually there are a whole lot of Christmas projects going on here, but nothing is at the stage where a picture is appropriate yet

I did spend some time with this yesterday -- having found some soft upholstery velour for the backing, I got the bead work cut out of the backing and the velour cut and I've started doing the beaded edging that holds the pieces together

I was surprised at how well this part went, and I'm feeling pretty sure I'll be able to get it finished by the deadline

the beads I'm using around the edge are the same style as the beads I used for the field, but I've chosen a silvery gray color for those and I plan to use them for the "chain" that will finish this piece

the leaves on the fall panel have been started

these are one of the green fabrics I used for the summer panel, but here I've used the back side of the fabric out

I'll be using some yellows, oranges and browns for more leaves both on the tree and on the ground below it

the two knitting projects I'm working on are moving along --

and over the weekend I got a lot of work done on my Christmas cards too

closing in on those projects!

no, we didn't send the little boy to doggie jail

someone neglected to latch the crate after letting the little dog out and Mr Cute put himself in there and pulled the door closed after himself

cute, very cute!

today we're going to do a couple of errands including a trip to the grocery store -- the weatherman is forecasting several days of frigid temperatures, and we would like to be in a position to just stay put during that

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

we're baaaaack!

over the weekend we were off to our daughter's house to share Thanksgiving dinner, some Christmas shopping and just generally enjoying one another

on Saturday afternoon, our son in law brought up the Christmas tree and the containers of ornaments

here we have Mr Cute crawling over the top of one of the containers

in the background is the tree

and that railing between him and the tree? heh, that was created by the DH in about half an hour on Tuesday afternoon

it is made up of the open railing sides of what was once my daughter's crib -- it had those now banned sliding sides, and we just couldn't toss the good wood -- and the DH trimmed it and hinged it and put some little "wing" supports on the bottom side to stabilize it

no climbing the Christmas tree this year little man!
while we were there I whipped up these

the yarn was left from the hat I had knit for him earlier

oh look, a matched set!

today we have errands to run and projects to work on

time to get to it!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

finished projects all around

direct from the garage workshop

the DH did the final coat of wax on this yesterday afternoon

it came out really nice!

so today when we pack the car I'll be wrapping it in a blanket and putting it in the back seat of the van held down with seat belts!

his next project is to finish refurbishing the wagon -- he's been working on it, but has had to create some additional wood pieces that he hadn't originally planned for

it is moving right along, and he should have no problem finishing it for Christmas

and I found buttons for Mr. Cute's first Christmas hoodie -- FINALLY!!

got this all finished last night -- yippee!!

so now it's on with the current secret Christmas project -- and I'm going to start on the mittens for Mr Cute as soon as I can measure his little hands

time to get rolling

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

beading is finished!

last night I put in the last bead on the face of this

WOW -- I can't believe I got here this fast (see, if I really need to get a piece done in a hurry I can)

I even spread the fray check on the back of it last night too, so hopefully today I'll get the backing cut and get started on putting it all together

one of the things I'm going to have to do is to create the "chain" that will attach to the ends and create the clasp at the back

I'm really please with the way this looks -- now hopefully the finishing work will go as well

I know, you're thinking "what are you doing with that?"

well, I'm using it to create a pattern for a quilt design that I'm working on

sometimes there is a real challenge to making a 2 dimensional surface look like a 3 dimensional object, so I'm working on that

today's plan includes unpacking the Christmas decorations that I'm going to put up and doing some organizing and getting ready for the cooking of the Thanksgiving dinner -- including a trip to the grocery store

time to get to it

Monday, November 21, 2011

butchering and other projects

yesterday was the day

the biggest pumpkin that we grew (which weighed 10 pounds and 8 ounces) was deemed the one to be made into this Thanksgiving's pumpkin pies

by the end of the day it had been reduced to these two little baggies of pulp

need to do one of your own? instructions for how we did it are here

pumpkin butchering has long waiting periods between steps, so I got a lot of work done on the beading project too

all of the beading on the right hand side is complete

and I've started working on the left side now

looking good!

and this hat is done -- and it's actually the size I need it to be!!


the knitting of hats is now done -- as far as I know

I started another knitting project last night, but I won't be showing you any pictures of it until after Christmas -- that's just how it goes this time of year

time to get to that laundry!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

more patched flannel

there was a bigger variety of pieces in the pink/purple flannel stash

but they were also smaller pieces

so the constructing of yardage from them took considerably more stitching to create

yesterday afternoon I finished making the finished object from this "made up" fabric

it feels pretty good to have been able to create these two items and spending very little for materials (I did have to buy some elastic)

these fabrics are the ones that just arrived for the next Keepsake Quilting challenge

the theme this time is celebration

and even before I saw the fabrics, I had been thinking about the theme and had created the pencil drawing (ok, it was a doodle on a piece of paper that is the size of a post it note!)

I will have to get the fabric that will be the back drop for this design, but I think this will be fun to work on

after I finish a couple of other things

the bead work is moving right along

on this side of the piece I have almost finished the bead "fill", which means the next time I sit down to work on this I should be able to finish this side and move to the other side

I'm feeling much better now about actually being able to get this done in time to enter it in the challenge

and I'm very pleased with the way it looks

because I don't do a lot of detailed drawings before I do a piece (that post it note doodle for the quilt is about as complex as it gets usually), its always a great feeling when the piece actually resembles what I see in my head!

last night I finished the straight knit rows on this project

so when I pick it up again I will be doing the decrease rows that form the shaping at the top of the head

nice, very nice

yesterday afternoon we took advantage of the nice weather to do some clean up work in the back yard -- we had a lot of wind the last couple of weeks, so the leaves are pretty much all off of the trees -- a good time to rake them all up and haul them up behind the garden fencing -- where they will keep the weed growth down and they will become part of the compost that will get turned into the soil in the spring

today we will be "butchering" a pumpkin so there will be prepared puree for Thursday's pies -- because my daughter has pumpkins of her own that need to be prepared too, I'll be taking photos as we move through how we do this to be posted over at Hattie's Kitchen -- and I'll post a link here when I get that post up

time to get busy

Saturday, November 19, 2011

orphan yarns and persimmons

yesterday I was back in one of my favorite little yarn stores

the original plan was for us to go to the alpaca holiday festival, but somehow we got that all confused (yes, it is this weekend, but the flyer I saw said Nov 18 & 19, but it is actually on Saturday and Sunday -- the 19th and 20th -- go figure!)

anyway the yarn store had a basket full of "Orphan yarn" -- I'm hoping there is enough of that great black and white to make a hat for my Etsy store -- and the rainbow yarn will make very attractive mittens!

on the way back from that excursion, we stopped off at our local Sunflower market to pick up the pre-ordered capon that will be Thanksgiving dinner

and found these too

right now they are very firm -- sort of like an unripe plum

I've put them in an aluminum tray on the counter where for the next week or 10 days they will slowly ripen to the point that I can cut an "X" in the top and squeeze the pulp out like toothpaste to make us one of the winter treats that we had every year in California -- persimmon bars! yummy!!

I'll have to make sure some of them go into the freezer to be taken to my daughter

just a little sneak peek at the blue flannel yardage I
"created" from the scrap pile in my stash

I will not reveal what I've now finished creating out of this until after Christmas, but I thought it would be fun to show off the fabric

(and for those of you who do dressmaking, no, I did not use my serger to put the pieces together -- I stitched the pieces together and flat felled the seams to reinforce them)

it's been fun playing with these fabrics and remembering who I made the original items for

and Mammy would be proud of this "re purposing"

work continues on the bead piece

here is a close up of one of the side portions of the piece that shows the little "x" marks that are areas that I plan to leave as cut out areas -- when the piece is finished those will be open areas, giving the piece a sort of lace like look

I hope

it is going very well now that I've finally figured out where I'm heading!

the hat is growing

last night I finished the ribbing and started into the crown of the hat which is just row after row of knitting around

the DH said he could tell when I reached that point -- the knitting shifted into "auto pilot"

since this is the 8th of these hats I've made in 2 years, uh, yeah, it's definitely auto pilot!

today I hope to finish the other "patchwork flannel" project and do some rearranging in the family room as well as working on a couple of new drawings for two new quilt projects -- things are hoppin'!

Friday, November 18, 2011

about that deadline

as you may recall, I started this piece originally because I want to enter it in a challenge for one of the beading groups I belong to

then I got side tracked because I was having an issue with the bigger glass pieces popping off the backing -- which has now been solved

but now I'm much closer to the entry deadline than I'm comfortable with -- the deadline to get it finished and entered is Dec 9, and while that is 3 weeks away, there will be some days over the Thanksgiving holiday that I won't be able to work on it (tiny seed beads and very small children -- ie Mr Cute -- are not a good combination!)

so last night I spent more time working on this than I have been (actually used up my quilting time too) -- and I'll be doing this for the next few days to try to get this close to finished before it must be put aside for a few days

the sewing machine is whirring again -- I actually have at least 5 more sewing machine projects to finish before Christmas, so I need to keep doing a little every day there -- the creation of flannel yardage is complete now, and the items cut out, so good progress is being made there

progress on the second green hat

looking very good -- and this one appears to be much better in the size department

today we're making a little trip up the way to visit the Llamas Holiday Boutique -- and yes, the llamas will actually be on site -- very cool! then to the store to pick up the pre-ordered capon for next Thursday's dinner

time to get to it

Thursday, November 17, 2011

the end of canning season

here we are a week before Thanksgiving and I can say that the gardening and canning season is now officially over

yesterday we put up tomato sauce out of the very last of the tomatoes that we gleaned off the plants before the frost came

there will be some very good pasta sauce out of these jars!

we still have 5 pumpkins, a small Hubbard squash and some butternut squash just hanging out until we decide to use them

this is the time of the year when I'm really happy we did all that work all summer

three of the four panels are all finished

this project is definitely giving me that "did I do that?" feeling

today I hope to start on the fall panel

I didn't have to rip out the hat after all

it fit the DH perfectly, so he'll be getting a hat and here is the beginning of the next one -- made the smaller size so it will fit the son in law

by the time I get all of these finished I'll be able to knit these in my sleep

today we have errands to run, then it's back to work on those Christmas projects!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

progress - and finished (or not)

well, at least this piece is now going well

the fill work is slowly creeping up around the butterflies and before long I'll be working my way up the sides -- at which point it will seem to go really quickly!

looking good!

the leaves on the summer tree panel are going well -- I hope to have those finished either tonight or tomorrow

and my studio time yesterday I was creating flannel yardage -- over the 10 years we've been in this house I've made a lot of things out of flannel, and I always save the pieces that are bigger than 6 inches square (the stash of flannel from before this house got donated before we moved here) -- anyway, I've been putting pieces together and now I have enough put together to make another pair of pj pants -- which I hope to get finished in the next couple of days -- YEAH!

and then there is this

it looks like a finished object

but it's really not

because it's too big for the intended recipient

which means I'll probably be frogging the whole thing and starting over -- either fewer stitches or smaller needles -- or both


today we're going to turn the last of the garden tomatoes into tomato sauce -- yummy -- messy -- but yummy

time to get to it!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

we interrupt the project reports

for this Mr Cute photo

my daughter sent me this last week -- he is 11 months old today, and already he looks very much like a little boy, not a baby

here he is in his long sleeved shirt and his blue jeans playing on the floor --

what a cutie!!

can you believe that next Thursday is Thanksgiving?!

I have a lot of work to get done ---!

Monday, November 14, 2011

slogging continues

spent some time working on the three projects that are in the works right now

the beading on this is moving right along now, and there has been no repeat of the problem of the pieces popping off the background

apparently the glue does have a "shelf life" and the old tube had exceeded it

you'll notice that there are still a lot of pins in the leaves toward the bottom of the tree

I got a little carried away with the cut and pin process and just didn't get all of them stitched down

this is looking really good

and the ribbing is finished!

which means that the hat is rolling right along

time to get to that laundry!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

a new department in the store

I've been listing my bead work on my Etsy store for quite a while now

this week I've started listing some of the very cool silver work that the DH creates

this piece, for example, is a hand formed fine silver (.999 silver) open work heart with a small yellow sapphire (natural stone) set in it

really neat, one of a kind piece, and because it was made a while back when the price of the raw materials were a lot less expensive, the price is nice too

we're hoping some of these pieces will be Christmas presents for someone somewhere

remember this?

seems the solution for my problem was just to use a new tube of glue

I've now removed the "bezels" around the flower and the big glass leaves and have gone back to filling the background

and I'm much happier with the way this looks now

now I just need to move it along to get it finished by the deadline for the challenge that I originally started it for

and then of course it will go in the store

tree leaf-ing continues

this is really good activity to do while watching musical specials on PBS

which is what I was doing last night

cut, pin, stitch, repeat

there will be at least twice as many leaves as this when I'm finished -- maybe even more

slogging along

seems the slog along is an ongoing thing

I've got about a third of the ribbing done on this project

and it is also a good thing to work on while listening to music

k, p, p, repeat

and we go around in circles ('til we're very, very dizzy!)

looking good though

Saturday, November 12, 2011

summer tree and new stuff on the sticks

since I had finished the spring panel, last night I started working on the summer one

I'm using the same technique to do the leaves, but there will be a lot more leaves and they are darker green on this panel

looking good

I finished another Christmas project yesterday that also can not be revealed until after it has been given to its designated recipient -- check back here after Christmas!

and a new Christmas project on the sticks!

a hat for my son in law

I wanted to use the same yarn I used for the sweater I just finished for his son, but there just wasn't enough left over to do that

this green will have to do

the last couple of days I've spent a lot of hours taking photos and tweeking photos to load up a lot of new stuff on the Etsy store -- glad to have that part done, now it's on to the loading parts

time to get to it

Friday, November 11, 2011

thinking about spring

the panel is ready to be quilted!

I really like the way this one came out

now it's on to the summer panel

I did some other sewing yesterday, but I can't show you that item until after Christmas

we worked in the front yard yesterday -- trying to get the heavy layer of leaves up off the lawn so the grass will survive the winter -- many, many trips with the garden cart full of leaves hauled from the front yard to the garden area (where the layer of leaves killing weeds is a good thing), then running the lawn mower one last time before winter -- this morning my legs and my back are telling me I did too much

maybe today I'll take it easy

Thursday, November 10, 2011

FINALLY off the sticks

finished knitting the hood last night

whoot! whoot!

still have to stitch up the under arm seams and the top of the hood

and weave in all the ends

and do the loops and buttons

but having this off the sticks means I can put something else on (and yes, I know, I could have more than one thing on sticks at a time, but I find this approach works better for me -- just sayin' that finishing stuff is important in the grand scheme of things here)

and this is done

I stitched the last of the binding yesterday afternoon

ta da!

which means one more thing crossed of the Christmas To Do list -- a very good thing

and I can take it for show and tell at tonight's quilt guild meeting too

the tree has begun to flower!

I decided to use the Copic marker to draw the little flowers in pink on the white fabric before I cut them out

this had the unexpected benefit of acting almost like a sealer on the fabric, so the edges didn't fray when I cut them out

and I like the pink beads in the center of each of the flowers too

lots more to stitch down, looking very good

progress -- our most important product

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

a little Christmas stitching

time at the sewing machine well spent yesterday

got these pj pants finished in record time -- despite having to piece the bottom 6 inches of the legs because the flannel shrunk so much

I'm really glad I had washed the fabric before I made the pants!

more sewing projects will continue today after the errands are done

the binding on the lap quilt is about 2/3 complete --- should be done today --- YIPPEE!!

and all of the leaves have been stitched onto the spring panel, so today I'll be starting to put on the flowers

in the process of getting the leaves done, I made a change in the plan to the flowers -- I had originally planned to use a little yellow bead in the center of each one, but as I've stitched and thought about what the spring trees look like, I've decided that a pale pink one is a better idea

this ability to change direction in mid-stream is one of the up sides to doing so much of this as hand work

my daughter sent me a text this morning with the needed information so I can finish up the hood on the sweater I'm knitting -- just at the right time -- if things go well, this evening I'll be binding that off and stitching the sweater together --- hmmm, this means I need to do something about finding some buttons!

time to get to it

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

projects current and future

the stitching of the spring leaves is moving right along

probably after today's leaf stitching I'll be ready to move on to putting on the flowers

the quilting on the lap quilt for my dad is all complete and the binding is being worked on

this one should definitely be finished in time for the quilt guild meeting on Thursday

paid a visit to my local quilt shop yesterday

and came home with the materials to start working on the 2012 Hoffman challenge

the challenge fabric is the floral there on the left

the fabric on the right and the ones at the bottom are some of the many coordinate fabrics

there are also 2 hanks of silk embroidery thread in the same purple/pink/green colorway as well as two spools of thread for doing quilting and applique work -- also in that same colorway

let the fiddling begin!

work on Christmas sewing is progressing too, and the hood of the Christmas hoodie is moving right along -- I'm just trying to figure out if its actually long enough

breakfast is calling!!

Monday, November 07, 2011

the seasons are flying by

I finished the snow on the winter panel

the stark contrast of the white against the dark "bark" of the tree looks pretty neat

this panel is now ready to be quilted, and when the quilting is finished I'll be attaching a single enameled leaf charm

so I've moved on to the spring panel -- cutting the little leaves and attaching them by stitching a line down the center like the vein in a leaf

once all the leaves are attached I'll be going back and adding flowers

this is moving along nicely

meantime, in the studio yesterday I did some quilting on the lap quilt -- the quilting is almost finished -- yippee!! then I can do the binding -- and I might be able to get that done by Thursday's quilt guild meeting

I have always enjoyed coloring, so having an excuse to pull out the big tin of colored pencils and color the sheet of little mice was great

I decided to make each little mouse slightly different, so there is a white mouse, a gray mouse, a brunette mouse and a red headed mouse

once I finished coloring, I scanned this sheet and tweaked with the graphics software and printed out enough sheets to do my cards -- now it's on to the cutting of the ovals around these -- real progress toward the cards

the local quilt store called and told me that the Hoffman Challenge 2012 fabric has arrived -- this is very exciting because I've already been fiddling with some ideas for the project -- I hope to get there this morning to get a piece of the fabric so I can start figuring out the scale of what I have in mind

laundry is calling -- time to get to it