Friday, March 30, 2012

little bits of progress

look quick here

this is the only glimpse of this project you're going to get until after Christmas

I finished this swatch last night so now I can start the actual project

(and the color in this picture isn't all that good)

I'm going to celebrate my birthday by taking the weekend away from the computer -- I've even taken the drastic step of putting both of my Etsy stores in vacation mode because I just don't want to think about checking stuff every day

see ya next week

Thursday, March 29, 2012

finished projects from the garage workshop

the DH has recovered sufficiently from his surgery that he is spending some time in the garage workshop working on projects again

in the last couple of weeks, he created me a printer stand that is sturdy enough to sit my all in one printer on along with a drawer unit that I have under it that holds printer cartridges and envelopes -- and a shelf there underneath that I can set an open package of printer paper on


this project was originally started last fall

it's hard to believe that the wagon in the picture on the left side is the same wagon in the picture on the right

he did a beautiful job -- the wagon should be good for another generation!

he still has a decorative windmill in pieces that he's working on (we hope to get that taken to our daughter for her yard later this spring), and he's got some bed side tables on his drawing board too


the sweater I've been working on for myself is finished

I think

I may decide to add some patch pockets on it (the pattern doesn't call for pockets, and I didn't think of it when I was doing the initial knitting -- DUH on my part)

it fits well and it's warm

so of course it will probably now get too warm to wear it -- heh, right

so now the swatching has begun on the next knitting project

three beaded star fish and an anemone are finished -- and all of those pieces are attached to the netting

the little strip of beading on the left is the beginning of the "chain" -- which I'm creating all out of size 15 beads --- that will take a little longer to do, but it will make a lovely narrow chain to hang this beaded seascape from

and of course there will fringing on the bottom two sides

it's looking very good

time to get busy

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

third time's the charm

or at least I hope so!

this bit of beaded netting has been through three different permutations, and this one finally lays flat (which the first one wouldn't do) and is stiff enough to serve as the "canvas" for the rest of the piece (which the second one wouldn't)

so the next step is to try out making star fish with the little orange-y beads I've pulled out of the box

we'll see how that goes

I've been working on drawings for the next quilt

it's moving right along

the first quilting stitches have been put in the Hoffman piece --- I really like this cotton/bamboo batting -- it quilts so much better than the polyester stuff does!

and apparently Mr Cute is enjoying the drawing activity too!

my daughter sent me this picture of him sitting at their dining room table playing with his crayons

his interest doesn't really surprise me -- his daddy has done some neat landscape paintings, and there's some "artistic" genetic from my side


Monday, March 26, 2012

overcoming the fear factor

if you've been reading here for very long you might remember this piece

or not -- it's been a long time

this was the first piece of bead embroidery that I did that was not intended to be jewelry

inspired by the style of Russian icons from the 1700s, it's relatively small -- only a little over 3 inches by 5 inches, and it is truly a mixed media piece -- the faces of the Madonna and Child are polymer clay and the "trim" around the neck of the baby's robe includes three real rubies set in gold settings

after I finished this piece it traveled to several art shows (back in the day when we were still doing quite a lot of that) and got pretty positive responses there, but I've never tried putting it in my Etsy store

recently I realized that there was another non-jewelry bead embroiderer in one of the groups I belong to on Etsy, so after some thought, I decided to just put it out there

it will be interesting to see what sort of response it gets there

yesterday afternoon I spent a little over an hour basting the "sandwich"

I think it will probably take about another half hour to finish (I'm running a grid of basting lines about 2 inches apart over the entire top)

after that I can start with the actual quilting -- probably beginning there between the two vases since that is about the center of the piece

but first laundry and errands -- time to get to it

Sunday, March 25, 2012

progress of work and new ideas

I conquered the fear factor and used the water color pencils on the Hoffman piece yesterday afternoon

the picture on the left is the "before" and the picture on the right is the "after"

the addition of the shading behind the flowers and vases gives the piece the look of more depth

today I hope to get the quilt "sandwich" put together -- I'll be using a bamboo/cotton batting for this (I still have a piece left from the baby quilt I made for my grandson)
the redwood fronds are beginning to get stitched down

I pinned all 90 of them to the quilt the other day, and so far I've attached 25 of them --- moving right along

I do like the way these look

and I've figured out a way to do some that will be attached only by the "stem" much like the aspen leaves that I will be attaching

I'm starting to get pretty excited about this piece as I'm seeing (at long last) the real potential of getting it finished in the near future

and since those two quilting projects are moving along nicely to their finished state, it's not too soon to start thinking about the next quilt on the drawing board

and I'm fiddling with some ideas

a lot of work and planning still to come on this, but I like the direction it's going

think cool colors --- blues and silvers and whites


I'm working on two different beaded pieces at the same time right now (ok, maybe three since I'm also thinking about another Gee's Bend Tribute piece)

I've done a couple of "seascape" themed beaded pieces, and this will be another of those

this is the "netting" that I plan to use as the "canvas" of the seascape and it is about half finished

I have plans to create beaded star fish and to use some tiny silver dolphin charms that I have on hand

meantime, I'm waiting for an order of brass pieces to arrive so I can work on the other piece that is in process -- which will be a piece that is more warm tones
hatz number 9 is finished

and I started number 10 last night -- it is two shades of blue -- the ribbing is all done

the ripping out of the entire front band of the sweater I'm trying to finish for myself went pretty well -- I've re-knit about half of it, so it should be finished this week -- I think

time to go have some breakfast

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Natural World --- book review

When I came home the other day from leaving my van at the shop there was a padded envelope laying on my front step.

Since I hadn't ordered anything recently, I couldn't imagine why someone had sent me something.

When I opened the envelope I found this book and then remembered that I had volunteered a year ago or so to review books that Martha Sielman writes.

This one is awesome.

A slim volume on quality paper, it is packed full of amazing photos of quilts made on the various themes of the Natural World -- trees, animals, water, flowers and more.

Nineteen individual artists have been profiled and many of their pieces of work shown, and many more artists are represented in the pages and pages of what I can best describe as "Eye Candy".

In the individual profiles, Martha has begun with her own impressions of the artist, but has also allowed each artist's voice to speak for herself in discussing her roots with the fiber world, her process and her inspirations.

One thing that struck me as I read was that each artist may have their own approach and methods, but I felt a connection to the person behind the art.

I read through this book in less than a week so I could write this, but I will be returning to it again and again for inspiration of my own -- and I can't wait to see the books to come in this series.

Friday, March 23, 2012

charity quilts and a "did I do that?" moment

since the fabric arrived on Wednesday, I decided that yesterday was a good time to just go ahead and finish up the charity quilt top that I was working on

the 8 inch squares for this were all finished from a sewing session last week, but I needed that fabric to use as stripping to set this together

I'm pleased with the way this came out

it's a bit bigger than some of the ones I've done, so it will be a good one for an older child

today's work in the studio will include some time with the water color pencils to start putting in the shadows and highlights on this piece

yes, this is a photograph of the quilt so far

it looks like a painting to me

exactly what I was hoping for

hence the "did I do that?" feeling

now I just hope I don't mess it up in the next step!

the van is home -- and it must have been having issues for a while that I just couldn't hear -- I'm told that my gas mileage should be better now too -- a good thing!

today after a quick run to the grocery store I'll be working on a new bead project and the quilt -- rolling along

Thursday, March 22, 2012


let the stitching begin

I finished cutting out all 90 of the redwood fronds

so now it's time to pull the trees out of the pillow case and start arranging these on it so I can tell if this is enough or if I'll need to cut more

these arrived in the mail yesterday

I order the two on the left side to put into the charity quilts along with the jelly roll fabrics I got at the guild meeting

the other two I ordered to use for other projects -- probably one of them will end up being the backing for the Hoffman Challenge quilt (which is now down to needing only 1 bud and 1 full flower to be stitched on before I'll be making that quilting "sandwich")

yesterday's saga of the vehicle repairs continues -- at the end of the day the alternator wasn't the issue either, so today they are replacing the part that was the real issue -- the cost will end up being about the same by the end of the day --- it should be finished today

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


so this morning I took my van over to the shop

for the last week or so it had sounded like I had a whole flock of birds under the hood cheeping away

at first they thought it was a pulley, a mere $115 repair

uh, not so much

they're replacing the alternator --- the total bill will be almost $400

I'm bummed

I did finish this afghan square while the replaced the pulley only to discover that wasn't the problem

now I'm at home so I can do other things -- they'll call me later and someone will pick me up to go get it


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

more finished work

I just finished this bracelet last night

originally I had planned to use this larger carved piece as the center piece of the bracelet, but it is just too big to work comfortably as part of a bracelet

which means that now that carved piece will be the center medallion in a necklace -- which I now need to figure out the rest of -- figures!

I do really like the bracelet though -- it's the first piece I've done that could possibly be called "steam punk", which is a hot thing right now -- we'll see if it gets any attention in my Etsy store

finished another of the 12 hatz

I think I should call this one "lemon aide"

this is number 8

progress on the Hoffman challenge piece is being made -- I have half of the flowers stitched down!

this book is going to the top of my "WANT" list

the whole "painterly" look is the direction that I want my art quilts to take, and I especially like impressionist work, so I think this would be a good addition to my reference library

time to get moving --- need to run some errands before I can get back to projects

Saturday, March 17, 2012

hatz link II

I know, you've seen this headline before

well, that's just where I am right now

this is the first of the "adult" size hatz -- I really love the way each of these is so individual even when I use the same yarn

I started another one last night that is yarn that is hand dyed with Koolaid -- nice colors

another link for the bracelet is finished

I hope to get the two smallest links finished today which will mean I can start putting on the backings and stringing the piece together

I spent some time yesterday working on a sewing project that is for Christmas, so all I can say about that is I'll show you those pictures after Dec 25th!

time to get busy

Friday, March 16, 2012

off the sticks!

I've been working on this project for almost three months, and last night bound off the last of the band around the front ---

it will now take several evenings to weave in all the ends and finish the front -- including making the loops for the buttons and sewing on the buttons

I did slip it on over my pjs, and it fits very nicely


the completion of this project means I'll be doing swatch knitting for a Christmas project soon

this is "off the sticks" too

link number 4 for the current bracelet project

these smaller links go pretty quickly and are pretty much a "happening" -- I just start picking up beads and stitching them down in patterns until the space is filled up then I added some embellishment on top of the beading

I have a few more of these to do, and I'm trying to make each one different

the first flower has been placed in the vase

a couple of years ago I would not have been confident enough of my applique skills to even think about fussy cutting such a complex flower and stitching it down like this

practice makes perfect!

next step is to fill the taller vases

studio security is taking a nap

with her tongue sticking out just a tiny bit

and one eye partly open

silly --- very silly

time to make a quick grocery run then get to work on projects

Thursday, March 15, 2012

still life

after all the picking out and restitching, I'm back where I was a week ago

except I'm a lot happier about how it looks

the only things that didn't get taken off were the pieces that are now the inside of the vases at the top (and probably very little of that will actually be visible after I get the flowers added to this

now begins the fussy cutting of flowers out of the challenge fabric

finished another link for the bracelet

the brass flowers on this were a "freebie" that came with an order of other jewelry supplies, and they worked out really well for this

the next bracelet links will be smaller than these, so they should go quickly ---

once I figure out what I'm doing with them

time to get busy

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

hatz link?

ok, I admit, sometimes the hardest thing about a blog post is coming up with some catchy, witty headline

here is the latest finished link for the bracelet I'm fiddling with -- this came out much better than I thought it would when I started it

the next link involves covering the background with beading then adding a couple of brass flowers and some crystals -- that link will be a bit smaller than this one is, so it probably will go faster

we'll see

here is latest hat

this one is the last of the black and white yarn, the last of the light blue yarn and the last of the red yarn (these are excellent "stash busters")

I started the first of the bigger one last night -- it will be that mauve/mulberry combo that I did one of this size from

I admit that I have a love/hate relationship with Spring --- I love the longer days, the warmer weather, the flowers, the return of the robins (I saw the first one this morning!) --- the pollen and the yard work? not so much ---- yesterday we did the first watering in the back yard -- it's been a dry winter, and unless we want to entertain the idea of replacing the lawn, watering it is necessary already --- nuts!

Monday, March 12, 2012

a little bit about failure

which could be subtitled "why I don't do piecing"

this is a quilt block that I've been fiddling with for over a week

problem is there's that big gap and this is supposed to be all of the pieces

uh, not working

the daytime guild I belong to did this block in January and sent me the instructions via email -- it's based on a pattern created by Paula Nadelstern -- a few years ago I had borrowed one of her books from the library and decided after a couple of weeks of frustration that I'm too much of a math moron to be able to figure it out

guess I still am

now I'll need to decide what I'm doing about the project that group has decided to work on this year

so after feeling a bit defeated by that exercise, I spent some time with the jelly roll that I got at the guild meeting last week

one of the handouts at that meeting was a pattern that makes these neat little blocks that can all be made from the 2 1/2 inch strips that make up a jelly roll

it takes 16 of these blocks to make a crib size quilt, so I'll be stitching up 14 more, then deciding how to set them all together

work on the big trees piece has resumed

the next thing that needs to be done is adding all the "leaves" on the redwood

after trying several experiments, I figured out that if I used my custom cut rubber stamps to stamp on the "sticky" side of the iron on pelon, I could then iron that to the back of the fabric and use that as the guide to cut out the little fronds

I have about 90 of these stamped and ironed on, so when I'm on the phone for the next week or so I'll be cutting these out and getting them ready to be stitched on to the quilt

still working on this

the big floral link is finished, and I've started on the first of the side links

the piece of brass doesn't have any holes in it, so I used strands of size 15 beads to create a net that will hold it in place

more experimenting to follow

time to go get the laundry done, then back to projects

Sunday, March 11, 2012

now THAT'S better

the first of the new vases stitched down

I am much happier with this color as the one for this vase -- the darker color for this one, like the lighter color for the other one, just didn't work well -- in both cases the vases just disappeared against the background

there has been a small change made in the shape of the bottom edge of the vase too, making it more curved, which improves the 3 dimensional look of the vase against the table and the wall

there is still the cording trim to be done, but I've decided to do this vase and the second one at the same time since they don't overlap

rolling along

I started working on the next bracelet yesterday

this will be the center link, and it is 2 inches square

most of the surface of this link is this carved floral piece, that I am now embellishing with bronze crystals around the edges

there are some stamped brass flower pieces in my box of odds and ends that I also plan to use on one of the links

I'm experimenting with non-identical link sizes and shapes too -- we'll see how that all works

and another hat complete

mulberry and mauve --

this is number 5 -- 7 more to do

last night I started the next one too, which is going to be made of some of the left over pieces from the earlier ones

I have started working on the band around the front of the hooded sweater I'm knitting for myself -- the original pattern called for the sweater to have a zipper, but I don't have one that is long enough and I don't want to buy one, so I'm using the same band/button/loop idea that was part of the pattern I made for my grandson for Christmas on the front of my sweater -- so the row of knitting is 398 stitches -- takes a while to get a row done! I'm excited that this is getting so close to finished