Thursday, May 31, 2012

This one's a hoot

another piece of the Yupik quilt!

needs a good pressing, but I like this one two!

one more of these 16 by 16 inch squares to go then it's on to the bigger pieces

during yesterday's time at the sewing machine I sewed on a new pair of pants for the DH --- I'm slowly whittling away at those projects too

 I think I can! I think I can!

 this is moving right along too -- I hope to get it finished today so I can coat the back with fray check and then put it together tomorrow

which also means I'll get to start on the next piece

as I write this at 10:30 am, we've already been out and mowed the front yard, trimmed all the hedges out there and the DH cleaned up his garage wood shop ---- time to get into the studio!!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

it isn't easy being green

especially when my head is already thinking about the next piece

(it's a sort of "are we there yet?" whine!)

I just want to get this one finished so I can get on to the next one

yesterday the Hoffman Challenge piece went into the mail --- hurrah!

and I learned yesterday that I won a drawing on Nancy Cook's blog for a book on Japanese beading techniques --- I'm really excited about that, I'll be stalking the mail man!

before I get into the studio today we need to run a couple of errands ---- and move the 160 pounds of red mulch out of the back of the van (that was YESTERDAY's errand) --- fortunately the mulch is in 40 pound bags that I can move into the garden cart and wheel to the places I need it to be


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Up, up and away

when I got up this morning to let the dog out this was what I saw above the apartment building behind us

I know the folks that own the balloon --- they live just around the corner from us, and they used to take off and land in the field behind us before the apartments were built there

now days he takes off from the little park that is a little further down the street from his house

(I can't come back -- I don't know how it works!!)


over the weekend I worked on these two "bucket" hats

my daughter asked me to make one for her friend, and since I wasn't sure what her fabric preference would be I decided to make up two so her friend can choose

and I'll keep the other one for me

I've made a few of this style now (this makes six just since March!), so I'm getting the hang of it

here we have a progress picture

you can tell that this end is getting close to being complete

 I hope to get this end finished this afternoon and then move to the other end

yesterday afternoon I pulled out all of the crystals and clear beads I had in my stash and started planning another piece of jewelry --- this one is for a challenge issued by one of my beading groups, and I've known about it for a couple of months, but until the last week the theme just didn't "speak" to me --- uh, yeah, this is the usual deal here --- but since it is a "challenge" not a "competition", I'm going to go ahead and do it even if I don't make the deadline (which is June 30) --- we'll see how that all goes

Monday, May 28, 2012

"the time has come..."

"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot--
And whether pigs have wings."

 I do love that little bit of Lewis Carroll poetry

and last night I finished the second block of the Yupik quilt

started on the next block too --- an owl

during the watching of the Indy 500 race I worked on the malachite bracelet, so that piece is moving right along too

the sewing machine is humming right along on a couple of sun hats, and I've started working on another piece of jewelry

ok, sounds like business as usual here in the studio!!

today may be a holiday, but we won't be doing much different than our usual thing --- laundry, garden, grocery run, studio work


Sunday, May 27, 2012

progress and some gratuitous cuteness

this piece is slowly coming together

like many of the pieces that I have done that involve some kind of stone cabochons, I use the colors in the stone to define the rest of the piece

these two pieces of malachite are very dark green with only a bit of lighter green in them in a sort of "bulls eye" pattern, so I'm keeping the color palette in that monochromatic green

to get some texture into the design, I added some larger, carved frosted glass beads there on the left hand side (the DH referred to it as "the shamrock") -- in some ways it is more difficult to create a pleasing design when working in just one color, so it's been an artistic challenge

and here we have some gratuitous cuteness for the morning

he was attacking a big ladybug pillow and laughing when this picture was taken

so cute!

Saturday, May 26, 2012


this piece actually got started a couple of weeks ago, then set aside while I worked on finishing the tile necklace

yesterday afternoon I pulled this back out and started working on it again

the finished piece will be a cuff bracelet, but the edges of the malachite will extend over the edges of the metal cuff to give it a more interesting form

so far I've used two different kinds of vintage bugle beads, delicas and some assorted larger round and square beads to cover the surface around those pieces of malachite ---  looking pretty good

I'm cruising along on the next quilt block --- the walrus --- more pieces than the whale, so a couple more hours needed before I finish it

Friday, May 25, 2012


all that is left to do is the paperwork that is required to enter this in the competition

now that it is finished I already see things that I would do differently if I were to do something like this again

I do like the way it came out, however

so now I'm at the paperwork stage for this piece and for the Hoffman quilt

and starting to think about the next projects -- its odd to have finished these two competition pieces at about the same time --- finishing just one piece always leaves a little hollow space in the creative routine for a day or so --- two is a somewhat bigger hole

not to worry, I'll fill it soon

time at the sewing machine yesterday afternoon gave me another finished object

this charity quilt top is number three of this pattern this year --- its a fun pattern to do

the scrap left from those three quilt tops I think is enough to create a fourth top

there is a list of four or five things that are stacking up to be done at the sewing machine, so I'll be back in there setting it humming again this afternoon

Thursday, May 24, 2012

a fish tale

here are pictures of the front and the back of the latest completed hot pad

during the time I worked on this one, the DH saw it laying on the table next to my chair and said it reminded him of a striped bass


I will say that I love the way the colorway progression created these interesting patterns over the surface

this one was done by starting with the very light blue for that center section then I worked one row of the variegated yarn alternated with one row of the navy yarn, then the last few rows with the navy

yesterday afternoon I started putting the tiles together for the necklace, and it's looking pretty good ----

and I've started appliquing the next block for the quilt --- a walrus

time for breakfast

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A whale of a tail

yup, it's on to the next project!

this is the first block of the lap quilt I'm working on right now (it's 16 inches square)

yesterday I stitched the label on the Hoffman piece and this morning I downloaded the entry form --- that will be heading off in the mail soon

meantime, all but the center tile of the bead work is now backed --- those projects are cruising right along

and this morning I've already mowed the back yard --- we will be making our monthly Costco trip sometime today, then it's back to work on projects!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A title decision and blowing my own horn

One of the most inexplicable things about creating pieces of art is how the pieces get their names.

Sometimes the title is pretty obvious from the start --- like Coneflower, or Back Yard Fence, but this year's Hoffman was not one of those.

For one thing, I was very deliberately trying to create a piece that looked like a still life painting, but the titles I had come up with left me flat.

Yesterday afternoon I was talking to my daughter and telling her that I'm thinking about using some of the left over roses from that piece to create a second "still life" --- one that would include a loaf of bread and one of the roses and something else (I'm not sure what yet) --- because I kept thinking about something my grandmother would say "if you have two loaves of bread, sell one and buy flowers to feed your soul"

At that point in the conversation my daughter said "well there's your title" ---

Today I'll be creating the label with the title " feed your soul" --- as usual my daughter cuts through the fog and helps me find the obvious

if you've been reading here for more than a day or so, you probably know that I make (at try to sell) bead embroidered pieces.

 I'm part of a Bead Embroidery Guild on Etsy, and our "blog master" has been doing a feature of the group's members on a rotating basis.

This morning I got the email telling me it's my turn --- cool --- (weird) --- I'd forgotten what I'd written (oh DUH!) If you'd like to take a look you can find it here

It's supposed to be HOT here today, so as I write this at 9:30 am, I have already been out and mowed the front yard --- which means I will be spending most of the rest of the day indoors doing other things --- like rearranging the family room so we can have the little portable swampy cooler running --- but I hope to get a lot of work done in the studio too

time for some breakfast!

Monday, May 21, 2012

What's in a name?

Actually the question is "what is it's name?"

I finished stitching on the sleeve last night, but it still needs a label

and to put on a label, I need to give it a name

"Still Life"?


any other ideas?  right now "Still Life" is leading the race for me

a heap of work got done putting the backing and the edges on the necklace tiles

these are looking really good

of course there is still a pretty good sized pile of them waiting for those back and edges

I'm feeling pretty good about the progress on this

there has been some outdoor work going on here

last summer, when we tore out the stairs that were between the two tiers in the garden, I started this little "board walk" with the scrap pieces

this year we were able to get some more landscape timbers that are almost the same size as those old ones, so we decided to finish the job

this has only been "dry fit" at this point --- the next step will be to take these up one section at a time, cut down all of the weeds/trees that are coming up underneath, spray the soil to retard further weed growth, put down weed block cloth then reinstall the wood pieces


I do think it's going to look really nice when we finally get that done and clear out the rest of that wood scrap there on the right side

time to get to the laundry!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

caution: gratuitous cuteness ahead

Ta Da!

the center medallion for the necklace is all beaded now

after some searching I was able to find a piece of leather big enough to do the backs of all of these

then I did some calculating and determined that I do have enough of the burnt orange beads I want to use to create the edges and hinges to finish this


yesterday we made a trip to Denver so I could help my mother with defrosting her freezer

we hadn't done that for a couple of years, but it wasn't nearly as difficult as it was when we did it the last time  --- guess we're getting smarter about it

of course that meant a couple of hours in the car up and back (actually a bit more than that since it was raining and that slows down the traffic) --- which means I knit

so here's another afghan square complete --  and I have another one about half finished too

it's been a while since I've posted a picture of the world's cutest little boy

this picture was taken a couple of weeks ago

and it's a little fuzzy --- it's not easy getting a clear picture in low light conditions of a perpetual motion machine!

he's just so CUTE!!

time to get to today's projects

Saturday, May 19, 2012

knit one, purl one, bead one?

so the fact that you are seeing a picture of a completed sweater should tell you that the piece of beading I was working on isn't quite done ---

meantime, this little sweater has been my "last thing of the evening" knitting for a while, and I finally finished it last night

I had spent a couple of hours working on the beading for the center tile of the necklace, but it just isn't quite finished!

today I hope to get the rest of the beads stitched on to that center tile so I can get on to the "putting together" thing --- I did search through my size 15 beads yesterday and found that I have a whole container of beads that size that are the same color as the size 11 ones I plan to use to frame each of these tiles --- how cool --- the hinges and the frames can match

time to get to work!

Friday, May 18, 2012

it's all about the tiles

after some ranting and minor household upheaval I finally located the pin vise so I could drill some little holes through this cool resin block --- required to be able to attach it to the bead work

I was able to drill 5 tiny little holes in places that were buried deep in the carving so that the tiny (size 15) beads that I used to help secure it are really hard to find in person -- and they don't show at all in the picture

once that part was done I started adding the beading around it --- I'm hoping to get most of the rest of this beading finished today

I spent time trimming all of the already completed tiles too

then laid them all out on the drawing that I had originally done to figure out how many and what shape these needed to be

I'm pretty amazed actually --- while I was focused on each individual tile it was pretty hard to visualize what the finished product would look like  --- couldn't see the necklace for the tiles!

now that all the trimming is done I can figure out which piece of leather is big enough to be the backing for all of this -- and I can start making all of the pieces for the hinging


Thursday, May 17, 2012

garden fences and bead work

I think we have finally finished with the fencing projects

when the back fence went down it took out the smaller fence that surrounded the garden

we were able to salvage pieces of 2x4s that we have used to create new fence posts for that garden fence

yesterday we strung the "wire" from post to post --- it should be safe from the marauding labrador --- no tomatoes or green beans for you!

today we hope to get the bottom tier of the area tilled to put in more veggies (bush beans and squash), but we've decided not to try to grow anything edible up there in that area right behind the garden gate --- we've tried several things there, but with the shade and the needle dropping of the pine tree in the neighbor's yard, nothing really works

I'm going to try a mix of wild flowers --- which I'm hoping will also give me some photo opportunities for other art work

when we finished this up yesterday I looked at that gate and thought "why didn't I paint on that before we hung it?" --- I still could paint sunflowers on it, but it would be a lot harder --- oh well

and now there is only one more piece of beading to be done on this project

I'm starting to get pretty excited about this!

today I hope to get all of the finished ones trimmed down to the size they will be and lay them all out on the table so I can get a better feel for what the finished piece will look like

and I still need to keep at this pretty steadily to get it finished by the May 31 deadline -- I still need to back and edge each tile then create all of the hinge pieces and the clasp and do all of the fringing --- YIKES!! 


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Tortoise or Hare?

sometimes it feels like the tortoise and the hare here in the studio

this project for instance, is definitely a "plod along" thing

I do think this one is rather spectacular however --- it has been added to the "Christmas Gifts" stash box

between a bit of outdoor work, running errands and a long conversation with a friend, I didn't get much beading done yesterday

and the quilt project is also in the "plodding along" stage of hand stitching the binding

what we need here is a new project to spice things up ---- preferably one that runs more at Hare speed ---- heh, right, what we need is a NEW project --- or not

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

and two to go

the companion tile that mirrors this one and then the center piece are the last two tiles that need to be beaded

this one includes one of the cool copper enameled flowers that I picked up at the quilt show from a vendor named Lillypilly Designs -- she had a variety of awesome materials that are great for both jewelry/bead work projects and to use with larger fiber pieces

after working on this piece I spent some time with the Hoffman piece --- I'm working on the "frame" --- moving along

today's plan includes some yard work and a trip to the grocery store --- then back to work on those projects!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

more project progress

back to work on the tiles for that necklace!

the point of these two was to create a beaded background to showcase those vintage brass floral pieces

the beading was done with four different beads -- a yellow and brown with a matte finish and a yellow and brown with an AB finish -- worked in rows alternating over the entire surface --- up close it looks somewhat like beaded gingham, but the overall look is a sort of butterscotch blend

I'm pleased with how these two came out

there is one more pair of these side tiles and then the center medallion ---- rolling along!

yesterday afternoon I made a trip to the local quilt store to search for some fabric to use for the frame of my Hoffman Challenge piece

after pulling several bolts and testing them around the quilt, this is the piece I picked

my first thought was to use a black, but even batiks or blenders that were black were just too stark against the piece

this fabric is much darker than the background of the piece, but not just a solid "blah" piece

the binding of this piece will essentially be the "frame" around the "painting", and because of that it will be wider than I usually do, which will be it's own interesting challenge

and under the category of "I know I've seen that fabric before", when I opened the project box for the next quilt project last night, I had put a fat quarter of that same swirly brown fabric in there to be used on the new quilt --- hmmmm --- I may have had this image in my mind when I started looking for that binding in the first place

Saturday, May 12, 2012


Last night I had a chance to watch an episode of Craft in America on our local PBS station.

This episode, titled "Threads" was right up my creative alley --- it focused on four artists that work in fiber ---

I was already familiar with the work of two of them:   Terese Agnew  and Faith Ringgold

Both of these women came to the "quilt" as an art form after doing other forms of art, but have helped to bring the quilt to the wider art world

Watching this program (just one little hour!) set my brain on fire --- it took me a while to "wind down" enough to sleep --- and when I woke in the middle of the night I had a hard time going back to sleep as my mind was still working on these themes

If you are involved in art of any kind, I highly recommend this series --- and if you work in textiles, this particular episode is excellent.

Friday, May 11, 2012

and five to go

finished two more pieces of the necklace that feels like it is taking forever!

and perhaps it feels that way right now because I've decided that I want to enter this in a competition ---- that has a May 31 deadline

uh, need to step this up a bit to meet that

the big metal pieces that are beaded around are metal brads from the scrap booking section of the craft store, and the added metal pieces on top are from a package of watch parts -- also picked up at the craft store

so now I have two more pairs of panels and the center to work on ---

last night I finished the quilting on the Hoffman challenge piece --- time to figure out the "framing"

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

voting on a challenge and other projects

Remember this piece?

I know for me it seems like forever ago that I finished it

it has been entered in a challenge over on Etsy

if you have a moment, take a visit to this link and vote for your favorite piece

after a couple of days of cool, rainy weather, we were back out in the yard yesterday

the top level of the garden has been tilled up and is waiting for us to put in the tomato plants but before we could do that, we needed to get a gate put back up --- the planned gardening does not include having the dog either lay on the plantings or eat the fruit!

the DH built this lovely garden gate --- suitable to keep both Peter Rabbit and the resident labrador out of the garden!

 work on the beading continues!

the other side tile should get started on today

I picked up this shell pendant at the show over the weekend too

the plan is to string this up with some stone beads to make a necklace for my daughter -- something that she can wear to work -- maybe with that black and white skirt I made her recently

I hope to pull out those boxes of beads in the next couple of days and try out some different combinations for this so I can get it strung

time to get busy --- work to get done outside so I can get back in the studio

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

long overdue update

it's been a very busy few days!

on Friday we headed off to Denver to go to the Mancuso Quilt show

last year I had a piece hanging in that show, but I never got there because I had hurt my back

this year I managed to not hurt my back!

it's pretty cool to see my work hanging in a show like the Mancuso -- where the work of other, much more well known artists are also hung

one of the neat things about this show (aside from the awesome quilts --- and I'll probably be talking about this for a few days --- I took a lot of pictures!) is the shopping opportunity

I had planned to pick up some batting for future quilt projects, which I did, but I also picked up some things I can use in some jewelry pieces

like these artist made glass cabochons

and I picked up these metal flower "charms" from a vendor I had bought things from before

my plan for those flowers is to use them on this piece of jewelry that I've been working on

they are the perfect color and size!

I also got some seed bead soup mixes that I will use with the malachite piece I've been working on

time to get to work --- lots of projects to get done

Thursday, May 03, 2012

hot! hot! hot!

another hot pad complete!

these go slowly since I only work on them while I'm talking on the phone, but the stock pile is slowly building to be all distributed at Christmas time

more work got done in the yard yesterday --- we did some trimming of the ornamental grasses in the front yard -- and discovered that the two new ones we put in last year didn't survive the winter --- nuts!  guess we'll be looking for something to replace those with

today I hope to get some more work done on the Hoffman quilting -- after doing sufficient picking out, the re-quilting is going well and I'm getting anxious to get that piece finished so I can get to the next piece!

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

finding a new routine

the routine of my days changes from season to season

in the winter there is less light, and fewer outside maintenance projects, so I have bigger chunks of time to work in the studio

in the spring and summer the outdoor work increases -- lawns to mow, gardens to put in and tend -- (we'll discount that whole fence issue -- I think we're done with that now!)

so yesterday  it was time -- after several weeks of watering and a dose of fertilizer -- the back yard needed to be mowed

I'm happy to report that the old mower actually did start, and the mowing proceeded without too much trouble

even with that going on, I managed to finish the second of the number 5 tiles for the necklace -- I like the way this looks!

today we'll be working in the front yard some and I need to make a run to the local craft store for supplies (there's always a new project brewing!)

time to get to it!!

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

from the garage workshop -- and a delivery from the yarn fairy

the DH has been working on this project in the garage workshop for a while

this table was originally built by the DH for our daughter

now it has brand new legs and a shiny new coat of paint

it's all ready to go to Mr Cute!

since I've finished the Gees Bend bracelet, I'm back to working on the tiles necklace

this one has a metal brad as the focal "bead"

 the package of brads had twelve different ones in it, and I'll be using another one for the tile that is the "mirror" image of of this one

you may recall that I talked about purchasing a jelly roll of fabric last week

this is what the fabrics look like when the jelly roll is unrolled

not only are these bright, colorful fabrics, but the pinks and greens go really well with the pieces of fabric I have left over from the other fabrics I've been using for charity quilts -- neat!

this is the sweater I'm working on right now to add to that box of hatz

 I'm using the same pattern I used before, and the same technique for the color flow

looking good!

yesterday the post man brought me a box (actually, he left it on the front porch while I was away from the house picking up a gallon of milk)

I knew this box was coming (although I didn't expect it until today), because my sister had told me it was

I love these packages --- they are always full of little surprises --- like the plastic containers -- these are perfect for some of the beads that my mother gave me

and all of this cotton yarn --- no two alike --- this is a great group to continue working on the hot pad project

some of these color blends I've never seen --- and some of these must have come out of a stash somewhere!

she's also provided enough wool yarn that there will be a few more sweaters!

these are neat colors!

let the projects continue!!!