Monday, October 31, 2011

Treats and Tricks

TREAT: the sleeper for Mr Cute is complete

I'll be sending this off this week so his mom can let me know how it fits before I cut out another one (which I've already got the fabric for)

despite the fact that it's been quite a while since I was sewing clothing for a small child, it didn't take me long to remember that sometimes the order the pattern instructions tell you to do things in is not the most effective way

I remembered my shortcuts!

TREAT: next step of the quilt for my dad

these stripes are pretty intense, so working on this a little at a time is a good thing!

next step is strips down the side of the stripe stuff

TREAT: step two of the first two charity quilts is done

so now these are ready for the borders to be applied

TREAT: the third panel of the Four Seasons project now has branches on the tree

looking good!

now on to the winter panel

TREAT: the yellow hat is rolling right along

I really like the texture this pattern creates

I might use the idea for another project

this item should be done in a couple of days

TRICK: tried putting bezels around the tri-leaf piece in the center of this piece

it just covers up too much of the leaves

so this piece is on hold until I can figure out how to do something different on that

and given that this was something that was for a challenge that has a deadline, if I don't figure this out pretty quickly, it will probably be torn apart so I can use the pieces for something else

TRICK: it's been quite a month for things to break at our house -- the dryer (which has now been repaired); the van (which has also now been repaired) -- and on Saturday the refrigerator started sounding like the motor on the African Queen -- the repair man will be here tomorrow afternoon to let me know if it's worth repairing or if I'll be out trying to figure out how to afford replacing it

the Wicked Witch (and all her winged monkeys) here at Esmerldas Studio wishes you a Happy and Safe Halloween -- don't eat too much candy, and stay out of the street!!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

frozen in time

the last rose of summer

the snow on Wednesday froze it

this morning I decided to take some photos of it -- maybe I'll use them for something artful in the future

I have several CDs with this kind of pictures burned on them for future inspiration -- it's where a lot of the images I use in quilts come from

work time in the studio yesterday was pretty productive

here's the beginning of the lap quilt for my dad

next step here is to press these pieces and set them together with more of the stripe fabric

and here are two of the three charity quilts after the first step of the stitching process

these get pressed and re cut

because I'm making the third charity quilt out of the scraps from these two I can't start it until these two are finished

perhaps in a couple of days

in addition to those quilting projects, the blanket sleeper is nearly complete! I hope to get it finished today

I started this project last night -- another hat

I'm using a different pattern this time, the whole point of this one is the color and the style, not for warmth, so it will be a bit different from the last hat

looking good

today I have to make one last trip to the TriLakes Art Center to pick up the art work that has been on display there

then hopefully some studio time

Saturday, October 29, 2011

ah, that's better!

today's installment includes pictures!

the beading on the current collar continues

this is moving along nicely, the background surface being slowly covered with beads and in the area where the background is complete the vine work looks even better than it does elsewhere

today's work on it will probably include working bezels around that little 3 leaf grouping in the center

spent quite a bit of time in the studio at the cutting board

after Thursday's time with paper and pencil I knew what to cut for this project

I found the all of the fabric for this project in my stash when I did the wash and sort a couple of months ago, and I'm making my dad a lap quilt out of them

(he already has one lap quilt from me, but having one to wash and one to wear is a good thing I think)

this one is ready for the sewing machine

while I had the cutting board and the rotary cutter out I decided I might as well cut up the fabric for the charity quilts too

I never did get one done for October since I was hip deep in auction alligators earlier in the month

and I know how crazy the sewing projects can get between now and Christmas, so I went ahead and cut three -- one for each of the last months of the year

all ready for the sewing machine here too

after a trip to the fabric store, the blanket sleeper for Mr. Cute is also ready to go to the sewing machine

I still have 5 more projects to cut out, but I'm going to do some sewing before I do more cutting -- I'm out of trays to keep the projects in!

ta da!

the watch cap for Mr Cute is all finished!

I'll be putting this in an envelope and sending it off -- another "squishy" from grandma

today I'll be starting on the knitting of another project that has hopped in front of the Christmas sweater -- but its another quick project, so we'll be back to that cabled hood soon

time to get busy!!

Friday, October 28, 2011

what, no pictures?

seems the last couple of weeks I've been alternating days having lots of pictures and having none

sorry folks -- sometimes it just works out that way

yesterday, being the day after pay day, I spent time doing my least favorite thing in the world -- working on the budget -- today I'll be writing all the checks for the bills -- a necessary evil

I did work on some projects -- including spending a lot of time with paper and pencil trying to come up with a workable design for something I'm making for my dad for Christmas -- pictures of that soon

and cut out a blanket sleeper for Mr. Cute -- can't do the sewing on this until I get some ribbing fabric for the neck and cuffs (duh! I forgot about this requirement when I bought the fabric!!)

yup, there's lots happening, just nothing to show you today

Thursday, October 27, 2011

progress on all fronts

yesterday my morning began with my daughter calling me to let me know she and Mr Cute were having a snow day -- since she lives at the north end of the state, they got hit with the snow long before we did and the school district she works for called off school --

at my end of the state, however, we were able to make our monthly run to Costco before the heavy snow set in
I spent the afternoon working on projects

the detailing on the lion is complete -- at least the detailing that I'll be doing with the markers

so now it's on to the beading and other stitching on him and the other panels that have already been stamped and painted

I really need to get a handle on just how many more animals I'm going to put in this piece -- which means I need to figure out what the "big picture" looks like --- heh, right --- this is the hard part because so much of my work is a "happening" as I go along ---

the fill work on this piece is coming along nicely

it takes lots of time to do this part, but so far I've not hit the "are we done yet" feeling in the slogging along

yesterday the DH asked me if I was sure I had enough beads to do all of the fill on this since I didn't order any new things to do this

I'm pretty sure I do

uh, I hope I do

think positive and bead faster!

half of the trees have branches!

similar, but not identical

looking very good

so now it's on to the third panel

the hat for Mr Cute is progressing

this pattern calls for 20 rows of ribbing then a straight knit row and 7 more rows of ribbing

last night I finished the 20th row of rib

looking very nice and moving along nicely

meantime I have a new pair of "secret" projects to work on --

I know, I know, don't I have enough projects already?

well, apparently not, because these two just must be done -- I'll show them to you eventually!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


yesterday afternoon I took this picture of the passage way that runs between the neighbor's fence and our storage shed just outside the garage door

during the summer the DH built the gate so we can keep the dog in the yard when we have the big front gate open

yup, yesterday it was fall

this morning everything is covered with snow

winter arrived over night -- but it probably won't last long -- back into the 60s is forecast in a couple of days

rescue work on the great ape piece continues

added some more to the foliage around him

now its ready for some thread and bead embellishment

and since I had the paints out I decided I might as well stamp the other animal that I hadn't done yet even though the stamp has been done for a long time (I actually used this stamp for my Christmas cards last year)

this is one that gets lots of additions with the markers after the first stamping

perhaps today

the package with the stamp cutting materials arrived yesterday

3 big sheets of nice material for the cutting of lots more stamps

now I can work on some drawings for the rhino - and maybe a hornbill

cool, very cool!

after the big leaves were all surrounded with beads the stitching of the background has been begun

just a little bit along the bottom edge

filling the background will take a while

and the next panel in the Four challenge has one and a half tree limb stitched down

a lot of work got done in the studio while I was waiting for the mechanic to call and tell me the van's work was done

yesterday afternoon as I was talking to my daughter she told me that Mr Cute is in need of a new hat

this picture, taken in March, shows him wearing the first hat I knit for him

he's grown a lot in seven months

fortunately, the pattern has several sizes -- last night I started a new one

these don't take a lot of time to knit, so I should be able to get it done pretty quickly

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

nothing to show for it

I have nothing to show you this morning

not that I did nothing yesterday, but 5 loads of laundry is unremarkable aside from the speed with which the drying happened -- guess the dryer had been slowly dying for a while -- after last week's repair, it's much better, thank you

this morning I took the van over to the mechanic to have the work done on it -- that will be a big ouch to the bank account, but less of one than if we don't have the work done now

we also worked out in the yard some yesterday, rolling up all the hoses and putting them in the shed

work on the descriptions for the quilts continues -- today I'll be printing them on card stock so I can laminate them -- that way I can use them for both showings

time to get to that

Monday, October 24, 2011

harvest time

its been mostly very warm for fall this year, but we could tell by the way all of the soft garden plants had turned brown and wrinkly that it was time to clean out the garden and get ready for winter (which we're supposed to get a taste of on Wednesday -- 4 inches of snow forecast)

because we actually planned to do this, we had watered the area so it was easier to dig

it was a pretty good harvest -- almost 3 pounds each of potatoes and onions (which we had planted this year) and carrots (which were the "volunteer" veggie of the summer)

all of the foliage and vines from everything have been cleaned up, the tomato baskets stacked and put in the shed, the green bean trellis taken down and the whole area raked

we're ready for the snow -- it looks really bare out there

and after this little snow storm, we're going to finish repairing the back fence

beading has begun on this piece

the little "vine" running all over the surface of the piece is stitched with matte finish size 13 seed beads that I've had in my stash of beads for about 10 years --

now its on to the surrounding of the leaves

the tree on the first panel is all stitched

and I'm very pleased with the way it looks

three more trees to do!

the big project for this week is to get the signs for my quilts made -- next week I'll be hanging my first solo show and I need to have those signs ready

time to get to it

Saturday, October 22, 2011

small successes

the first two parts of the stitching on this project were easy enough that I could do all four panels in one sitting

heh, we won't be doing that again now that we're into the real details of the project!

cutting the shape, clipping the curves and hand stitching on this branch was the only accomplishment on this yesterday -- and you'll notice the pins on the bottom edge of the branch where it's not all stitched down yet

but I really like the way this looks -- I think this is going to be really awesome

just because I hate to throw anything away that can be rescued, I decided to try to save the panel that I had tried to stamp the Great Ape on

since there was damage to the stamp the bottom part of the stamping just did not look good

my solution?

just cut that part off and make this panel more of a square -- about the same size and shape as the elephant is

after that I used the sea sponge to put some "foliage" around and even over the animal

I think this is going to work, and I'm pretty happy with that

after taking a "walk" through all of my beads that were leaf shapes and flower shapes and animal shapes I'm all ready to start the beading on this collar style necklace

the "vine-y" looking line will be stitched with tiny size 15 seed beads, then the "field" will get filled with some slightly bigger beads that have a sort of pearlized finish

this is a departure from the pieces I've done recently, so I think it will be a fun challenge

yesterday the new skein of yarn arrived for the Christmas sweater, and while it is not the same dye lot that the others were, a test swatch of knitting alternate rows with the two yarns indicated that there won't be any color demarcation line -- yippee -- so last night I picked up the stitches and started on the hood

this morning I should be getting ready to go do a second demonstration session, but I woke up with an intestinal tract issue (about 5:30 am), so I'm sipping tea to settle my tummy -- bummer -- guess it will be a lot more low key day than I though it would be

Friday, October 21, 2011

the only progress to show you

the tree trunks have sprung up from the ground on all four of the panels

I have to say that right now the winter panel is my favorite, but that may change as it goes on

the next framing of the purple glass is also moving along -- when I get it finished I'll take a picture

yesterday I went to my local store to get some more material to cut stamps for the Africa series, only to discover they no longer carry the large size mats that I need -- I was not pleased -- this morning I found what I needed on line at a much cheaper price -- ok, its a good thing/bad thing -- saving money is always good -- but I have to wait for the product to arrive -- guess I'll be working on something else for a few days

like trees

or another piece of jewelery

Thursday, October 20, 2011

a fun field trip and figuring out new things

yesterday we decided that it really was time to make sure we knew how to get to the library where my solo show will hang for the month of November -- after all I'll be doing the hanging in less than two weeks (yikes!)

our excursion to check out the library sort of morphed into an extended artist field trip

for one thing, when we were driving to the library we went past a quilt store that I knew about (one of the store's owners had been a speaker at a guild meeting) but had never been in, so of course a side trip to visit was required

her store is in a very cool old building, and the back door is nothing short of amazing!

I took pictures of it from several angles

there's something about this door that just "speaks" to me -- it's already creating an art quilt in my head

once I could quit snapping pictures and got inside the store there was a whole lot more that got me excited

for one thing the inside of the building is just as cool as the outside, and they have used vintage and antique show cases and furniture to create a warm, welcoming atmosphere

in one corner she has her work area where she had the ironing board, the long arm quilter and a very inventive design wall -- she had picked up two extra large flannel backed vinyl table covers that were stapled to the wall side by side -- inexpensive and very effective! when I rearrange things to set up studio in a more "user friendly" layout, I'm going to borrow this idea!

I found this amazing group of fabrics -- bright colors, whimsical prints (both this bird one and one that has equally cool reindeer) and a good amount of metallics -- I couldn't say no -- I had already picked up 4 of the individual fat quarters when I found the bundle, so I just bought the bundle

I'm thinking about a Christmas runner to use over my entertainment center

just down the street, in another character filled building was a rock store

so we walked down to take a look at what they might have

I really wasn't planning on buying anything, but I have long ago learned that when you find something unique at a reasonable price you probably won't get a second chance at it

the two "shells" are ammonites - it was one piece that had been perfectly sliced then polished, and some of the chambers are full of tiny little crystals -- like druzie

I've been looking for something like this for a while because I have an idea for a necklace that involves shells and a mermaid that I've been collecting pieces for for quite a while -- I've never seen a perfect pair like this for such a reasonable price -- less than half of what it would be for just one at a show

and that strand of crystal beads is to go with that peacock necklace I'm working on the design for

on the whole a very serendipitous trip!

this morning I learned how to get this look in a different piece of software than I usually use

usually I do the cropping and sizing in my Photoshop software then take the result into the Printshop software to play with the colors

with the help of some pointers from someone on one of my email lists, I did this all in Photoshop

I'm delighted -- the fewer places the photo has to go, the less you loose in the translation

and after several hours of fiddling with this piece of beach glass I finally figured out a technique to put a ring around it

all of the usual methods just don't work with these odd shapes with multiple sides, so I just kept messing with it until I got something that would

now I'm hoping the rest of the necklace will move right along

(especially since I have a couple more ideas crowding up in my head to be the next one on the production board!)

the sleeves for the Christmas sweater are done!

so tonight I'll start stitching the parts together while I wait for the skein of yarn that I ordered to arrive -- and hope the dye lot will be close enough that it will work for the hood

I had hoped to get to the art supply store to pick up more material to cut another Great Ape stamp yesterday, but we just spent too much time in other places, so that's top of the list for this morning's errands