Saturday, June 30, 2012

back to productive work

because the last skirt I made for my daughter was such a big hit, she asked me if I could make her another

she picked out this nice black fabric with a white floral print and I knocked out this skirt for her in about an hour

(yes, I know, the last one was black and white too -- but it's so versitile -- she can wear anything else she wants with it!)

the DH had a doctor's appointment this week, so I got some more work done on an afghan square

this one is number 12 for the year

moving along slowly

Friday, June 29, 2012

trying to feel normal

spent some time at the sewing machine yesterday afternoon

that fabric I got to make pants for the DH has made the transition -- project complete!

then there were other normal things --- like the van having to go to the shop again -- the little engine light on the dash board kept coming on, going off, coming on -- difficult to know if I could trust it or not -- I took it in and they replaced the sensor that had told me that the repair back in May was necessary -- the little computer chip had lost it's mind -- another $170 --- but it could have been a lot worse

the update this morning on the fire -- it's still very hazy here, but no real strong smoke smell at least at our house --- in some areas, people were allowed to go home last night

and we now know that 346 homes are gone -- we also know that one person didn't get out -- and that both of those numbers may get bigger 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

linky, linky

yesterday afternoon, for the first time in a couple days I actually got some creative work done

these are the first 3 links that will be part of the chain for the necklace I've been working on for the past couple of weeks --- it took me three different tries at getting this far, but now that I've figured it out I think the rest of them will move along more quickly

this week has been difficult

the last time I can remember being this affected by something in my community was October 17, 1989 -- we survived the Loma Prieta Earthquake -- we knew people that were injured, and people that lost their homes in that natural disaster

like then, we know people in this community that have been evacuated because of the fire -- we may know people that have lost their homes -- we're not sure of that yet, because no lists have yet been released of the hundreds of homes that were burned on Tuesday night

unlike Loma Prieta which was unavoidable, the Waldo Canyon fire appears to have been deliberately set --- unbelievable

I am thinking about doing a series of art quilts as a way to help myself deal with how I feel about this whole thing -- images of the fire are flickering in the back of my head

today I hope to get some work done

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

this must be what Dante saw

this is what it looked like last night at about 5:30 pm

what looks like a big black rain cloud over the apartment building behind us is actually an enormous plume of smoke from the fire burning across the valley from us -- just 10 miles away

since Saturday, when the fire started, it had been burning in the canyons on the west side of the city

yesterday afternoon the winds shifted and drove the fire over the ridge and into the thousands of homes that were built in one of the largest urban/wild land interfaces in the country

it was, to quote a local reporter, "a firestorm of epic proportion"

the sky glowed orange all night -- it was like looking into hell

the 65 mph winds that drove the flames over that ridge also carried ash across to us

on the left side of this picture is the biggest piece that I was able to pick up in the yard -- its about 3.5 inches long

and this morning the wading pool that we set up to help the dog keep cool has a film of fine black ash over it's surface
the sky this morning is hazy and everything continues to look orange-y

it smells smoky here

we had planned to mow the yards this morning, but in these conditions we have decided to wait --

the advisory for folks our age is to not do anything that requires a lot of physical exertion

I have to say I have not gotten a lot done on projects the last couple of days --- knowing that there are people I know that have probably lost their homes is unnerving

praying for rain --- and safety for everyone directly touched by this fire

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

more sewing

finished another pair of shorts for Mr Cute!

these are more "dressy" and should make his mama happy because they will go well with all those cute printed t shirts he has

and since these were to be made from the same fabric as the new pair of pants I'm making for the DH, that pair of pants got cut out too -- guess that tells you what the next item to go to the sewing machine will be

since I have now finished the Christmas sweater, I needed to find a new knitting project

this is a very old pattern that I was able to download from a source on line

I'll be creating the lion for a friend

an ADULT friend for whom in the past I've made teddy bears and knitted zebras

this should be fun

 this is what the smoke from the Waldo Canyon Fire looked like from our back yard last night

this morning it's hazy and smells very smoky

words fail me

Monday, June 25, 2012

what the best dressed toddler wears

designer shorts made by grandma!

Mr Cute is going to be the best dressed kid at school

these two pair of shorts took less than an hour from the pulling out of the fabric to the final press

and both of them were made out of fabric left over from the making of sun hats -- the green fabric with the jungle print was last year's sun hat for Mr Cute and the blue "choo choo" print was left from the making of the sun hat for his friend earlier this year

over the weekend we got some fabric to make another pair of custom scrubs for the DH and I got enough fabric that I'll be able to make another pair of shorts for Mr Cute from that too

it's funny that I'm back in the clothing business again -- in the last week or so one of my art quilt groups has been talking about how many of us came from a sewing background --- yup, I'd be part of that faction!  and I can tell you that this is like riding a bike -- once you know how you don't forget (although that is not so true of my bike riding skills)

last night, as I sat in my recliner with the cooler running full blast over me, I finished the annual Christmas sweater for my daughter --- here's hoping all this summer heat will keep her warm when she wears it this winter!

as I write this at about 9am, it is 81 degrees -- we've already been out to do the garden chores, so we'll be trying to avoid the heat and the smoky air for the rest of the day --- soon as I get the laundry done I can work on projects in the studio --- nice!

time for some breakfast

Sunday, June 24, 2012

practical repair work

foam head phone covers don't last forever

this is a perfectly usable set of head phones, but that hole there in one of them (and a smaller hole in the other one that doesn't show) meant they weren't getting used

after all, every time you touched that foam you came away with little black flakes all over your fingers, so putting them on your ears just seemed really wrong

my daughter had asked if I had a spare pair for Mr Cute to use to listen to his music when they fly, and these were good -- except for those covers

yes, I know you can buy replacement foam covers, but that would have meant a trip to a store and the spending of money and in a year or so we'd be right back in this same place

let's not go there

so, I raided the rag bag for the sleeve of a worn out locker gray t shirt

cut out two ovals, gathered them with strong thread and covered those head phones with custom, grandma made covers

no more icky, flaky foam thingies

these will be going to Mr Cute for his big airplane ride along with the Busy Book

I worked on projects a bit yesterday, but my usual evening, in my recliner in front of the TV work didn't amount to much -- I was actually watching the TV

across the valley from us a wild fire started around noon yesterday -- by evening it was over 1000 acres and growing -- we could see the column of smoke (in fact the whole sky was a weird orange-y color) -- and they had evacuated several areas of the city itself --- scary stuff

and as for a restful night?  forget it -- between the heat (at 10:30 pm it was still 89 degrees) and the wild life coming out of the high country (there were bear sightings less than 5 miles away from our house) the dogs in our neighborhood - including ours - were going nuts

I think I already need a nap -- as I write this at 9:20 am, it's already 92 degrees -- we'll now have a chorus of a Cole Porter song -- "it's too darn hot"!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

From the garage workshop

the completion of a project!

the DH has been working right along on these two bed side tables

the furniture in our bedroom is all circa 1890-1900 -- big solid red oak furniture -- except there were no bed side tables that came with the set

over the years we've used an odd assortment of different tables for the lamps and to set the clock and our glasses on, but all of them were really too short to look like they belonged in there

the DH built these from his own drawings of oak that he used the red oak stain on so they are a perfect match to that antique furniture

and the "drawers" are actually deep baskets with old style colonial looking pulls and they're big enough to actually put things in

awesome!   what they need now are the doilies on top!

and he has already started on his next project -- rebuilding a toy box for Mr Cute

on Wednesday I was talking about the fabric packet that arrived for the fall quilt challenge

since then I've been thinking about a design that uses those fabrics

the restriction is that the quilt is to be 30 inches square

and square is not the usual choice I make for my quilt format -- I'm more a rectangle -- either vertically or horizontally

this, however, is my rough sketch for this challenge -- and now I need to figure out if I actually have enough fabric in hand to make the whole top, or if I need to order a bit more of one of the fabrics

I'll be working on that when I get into the studio today

yesterday I finished the knitting of the Christmas sweater project and started with the assembly -- knocking those projects off one by one!

and I have finally finished the beaded edging both around the outside edge and around the openings in the inside of the white and silver beading piece, and I've started on the right angle weave tube that will be the "chain" for that piece

as I write this at 8:30 am, it is already 81 degrees here -- we'll be holing up with the cooler  for most of the day -- right after I make a quick trip to the store for bread and a couple of other things


Friday, June 22, 2012

more finished objects

another hot pad

this is number 9 in the ongoing stack

since I only work on these when I'm on the phone for more than a quick phone call, it takes a while to do one

this one looks like cool summer sorbet

and the new purse is finished!

this one is slightly wider and considerably deeper

and on the inside I included a loop with a clasp that can hold my keys and keep them from going to the bottom of the bag -- I used a repurposed piece of pink ribbon to stitch it into the lining

and there are two good sized pockets on the sides to put little things in -- like my phone and my business card holder

hope this one stands up as well as the last one did

we're supposed to have another spell of hot weather --- lets see what I can get done in the studio while I'm avoiding the heat

Thursday, June 21, 2012

another piece of the puzzle

finished this one last night

love the big polar bear

and now there is only one more of these ivory on blue blocks to do

which means I'm also going to spend some time looking for the fabrics that I need to do the big center block of the malamute 

spent some time yesterday stitching on my new bag, and I think I'll have that finished today

and I have now finished the outside edge of the beading project, so now it's on to the openings in the body of the piece

today's priority is getting the lawn's mowed -- time to get to it

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

because there's nothing else going on

I started a new project - heh, right!

but seriously, while my sister was here last week she was making herself a new tote bag which reminded me I needed to get busy on a new bag for me

the summer purse I made a couple of years ago is starting to fray, and I knew I needed to replace it, so I already had all of the materials right here in hand

but just a plain fabric bag was not going to get it

so yesterday I drug out the paint and the stamps and all of the necessary messy parts and stamped these

the plan is to stitch them to the outside of the bag to give it some "art-y" interest

now that the paint is dry, it shouldn't take too long to get the bag done

while I was in the studio, I did get the memories of summer quilt sandwich pinned together, so it is ready to be stitched on

meantime, I got this packet of fabrics in the mail

it is for a fall quilt challenge

I'm thinking about what I can do with it

I can add some fabric to it if I need to

right now I'm just thinking about a design

after several days of very hot weather it was a pleasure to wake up this morning to a cool breeze from the north -- today and tomorrow are supposed to be cooler then the temperatures go up again --- we've decided to take advantage of the cool by doing some yard work -- then we won't have to do that when it gets hotter again over the weekend

time to get to it

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

where the back took almost as long as the front

yesterday's studio time was mostly spent creating this

before I can start quilting the summer quilt, it needed a back and I try to make the backs of the quilts coordinate with the fronts

these fabrics were part of a challenge packet that I got last summer, but the quilt never happen -- they just seem right for this piece

the theme for this competition is "what does summer mean to you", and I'm considering using the white stripes to write words that answer that question

so what does summer mean to you?

the busy book is finished!

I used the setting on my sewing machine that stitches an embroidered eyelet to create the "holes" spaced like a sheet of notebook paper

then big sharp needle with some 1/8 inch ribbon to create the rings

and those handles were created with the rest of the belt that I used for the buckle page

I hope he likes it!

and at long last, another finished charity sweater

this one is bigger than the first two I did, so it took a bit longer to make

I have the necessary yarn to make another one, which might get started tonight

it was very hot here yesterday, and will be again today --- not my favorite thing --- time to go get the necessary errands run then hole up with the cooler again!

Monday, June 18, 2012

a finished object and two nearly so

its summer (or nearly) and Mr Cute is wearing shorts

and have you noticed that a simple little pair of shorts is as expensive as the longer, heavier pants?

grandma and her sewing machine to the rescue!

this pair of shorts were whipped up in about 30 minutes from some fabric left over from a pair of scrubs I made for the DH last summer (oh look, he can match grandpa!)

these are going in the mail this morning (a "squishy" for Mr Cute!) -- his mama will let me know if we need any pattern adjustments before I whip up a couple more pair for him

and I'll be going through the pattern drawer for the pattern I have for sweat pants and sweat shirts for the cool weather
got the letters stitched on the cover of the busy book

it was fun cutting each letter out of a different color felt

I've started stitching the pages together -- I hope to have this project finished in the next few days

not quite finished with the beading on this, but its very, very close

while I was digging through the big tub that the felt for the busy book was in I found several more pieces of the kind of suede and upholstery velour that I use to back these pieces --- which was wonderful, since the little box I had with the beads was getting pretty empty

it's supposed to be 100 degrees here today -- and I do not do heat well, so I'm trying to get things done early today so I can hole up with the portable swampy cooler and work on projects

Sunday, June 17, 2012

stitching along

ta da!

this is the second (and last) of the 16 by 24 pieces that runs horizontally on the quilt

which means today I might get started on the two 16 by 24 pieces that run vertically --- one of those is a bear and the other is an otter


and this is the progress photo of the newest art quilt

not only did I manage to get the little silhouette figures fused at the bottom edge of the piece, I also got all of the exploding fireworks fused on too

the next step on this is to put the sandwich together and start on the quilting and embellishing --- and I have a piece of sheer fabric that has a gold shimmer that I plan to use as the top layer, which I think will give the piece a "glow"

other time in the studio included work on the cover for the busy book -- I'll be stitching the letters to the cover next and starting to stitch the pages together and making the eyelets at the edge so it can be strung together

and I have a pair of shorts for Mr Cute cut out that I hope to get stitched together and shipped off so his mommy can tell me if I need to alter the pattern before I make another pair

the beading on the white piece is getting closer -- I hope to have the beading done on that in the next couple of days

seems like the more projects I have in the works, the more ideas just spring into my head!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

new quilted piece started

earlier in the week I got a call for entries with a "memories of summer" theme

sometimes a theme just clicks and I'm off and running

yesterday I created this back ground for the piece I'm doing

I also prepared the fabric with Wonder Under to fuse the figures I want to add across the bottom -- because they are pretty small I decided to fuse instead of doing needle turn applique

and as usual, I'm enjoying tossing one more club into the ongoing juggling act!

even with all that time spent on the new quilt, I did do the page for the busy book that I had planned after Thursday's scavenging for a belt

since it was a white belt I decided it needed to be on a pair of light blue, summer pants

I think I'm done making pages now (unless, of course, I think of something else I need to add), which means its time to start putting the whole thing together

guess it's time to figure out what I want the cover to look like

Friday, June 15, 2012

the word for today -- Orange!

the orange shoe laces just make it, don't they?

this one took quite a lot of prep work before I could start putting it together

I love the way it looks

yesterday's scavenger hunt yielded a belt that has a buckle on it and that was obviously from an outfit I had a LONG time ago (let's just say I can no longer wear it) -- I'll be creating a page that has a buckle to do up


Thursday, June 14, 2012

tick tock, tick tock

in all of the pictures of busy books I've seen, I've not seen this

this was a little more complex than some of the other pages -- I used some fusible pelon on the back of the felt for the clock face so I could freehand machine embroider the numbers

the clock hands (and a corresponding "washer" for the back of the clock face)  were cut out of the side of a gallon milk carton

once I got the entire clock face done, I stitched it to the page with the ring around it  -- sort of like a school wall clock

yesterday when I was at the grocery store I found a pair of bright orange shoe laces --- so next up will be the tennis shoe that has laces --- I'm thinking a green background with a mostly white tennis shoe with orange trim --- we'll see how all of that color works together when I get into the studio

more beading is being done on this piece

the right hand side is mostly done -- I know, it's hard to tell in this picture, you'll just have to take my word for it right now

last week I put in an order for supplies to a couple of places for the next piece I'm planning --- let me say the operative words for that piece are orange crystal

and I've started on a design for another competition quilt piece

rolling right along!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

the wheel keeps turning

this was yesterday's activity at the sewing machine

a new page for the busy book

my sister is here to visit for a few days -- who knows what kind of mischief we'll get into  --  there has already been washing of fabric for a sewing project


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

crawling along

work continues on the quilt

I finished the "crawling bear" block last night

only 3 more of this size to do

the bead work is moving right along too -- now that all of the bezels are complete, I'm just working on filling the background

everything I wanted to do to prepare for my sister's arrival is done except vacuuming the family room, which I will do after breakfast

time to get to that

Monday, June 11, 2012

stars in our eyes

another page of the busy book -- or actually a pair of pages -- complete

this was fun --- each shape's outline is stitched on the page, and a Velcro strip is stitched in the center, then the shapes had the Velcro attached and were stitched then they were cut out


I still want to do a color wheel, a shoe that laces, something that buckles and a clock with hands that turn (time to search for a shoe lace of the proper length, and I need to remember to hang on to the next milk jug that gets emptied so I can cut out clock hands!)

more about those star bezels -- I had seen this technique in a photo of a piece someone else had done, and I liked it

originally I was timid about even trying it, but I decided why not -- if it didn't work out I could just pick it out  -- of course there might be mumbling and grumbling, but hey -- it might actually work!

let's remember that math is NOT my strong suit, but I can do these primitive little drawings --- and it worked!

so now I'm thinking about trying this technique around an oval stone -- and I'd like to do an even bigger round one with even more points


along with the lawn work and laundry, today's activities include some shopping and getting a room ready for my sister, who is coming to visit tomorrow

time to get busy

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sunday Sillies

last Sunday I let the big black dog do the blog

after a busy week, its good to do something just for fun

earlier in the week, the DH tucked her blanket into her collar like a cape

she actually sat still long enough for me to grab the camera and take a picture

this morning I did some fiddling with it in the software and created the "Super Dog" picture

yesterday she found a dead mouse in the garage and carried it into the house for me --- EWWWW!!

another page for the busy book got finished yesterday

this was a more complex page --- more parts

this shoe has Velcro fasteners -- like the shoes Mr Cute wears (and I hear can remove on his own!)

I'll also be doing a shoe that gets laced, so I kept the pattern pieces for this one

a successful trip to the craft store yesterday resulted in my bringing home two packages of little mirrors (one that includes squares and rectangles and one that were various sizes of rounds) and some clear twisted bugles

I'd been wanting to try building a bezel that was more than just a smooth edged frame, and with the larger round mirror I was able to give that a try --- and I like the results!

this is moving right along, and I hope to get most of the beading finished by the time the supply order I just put in arrives (that order is to do a piece for another challenge I wasn't going to do, then changed my mind -- go figure!)

we had strong north wind from about 4 this morning -- we're smelling the smoke from the enormous fire in northern Colorado --- and praying that there are no fatalities in this one

Saturday, June 09, 2012

After the storms

inspiration comes in many guises

one of the things I've learned about my own process of making art in the past few years is that nature inspires me

I did a series of small pieces that are leaves

which is probably why this leaf caught my eye when it got brought into the house on the bottom of a shoe this week after all the storms

I'm intrigued by the shape of the leaf and by the pattern of the little moldy spots across it's surface

being able to scan it and create a file means I can use it for some art project in the future

more progress was made yesterday on the busy book for Mr Cute

this was one of the pages that necessitated the trip to the fabric store --- I had teeny, tiny snaps and I had enormous snaps but nothing in between --

like these, for instance, that I stitched on to the coat


and time spent on the Snow Queen yesterday

I still want to add some little pieces of mirror to this, but I'm really anti breaking a mirror

so today I'm going to the local hobby store and see if I can find any little pieces of mirror that are intended for some other kind of crafting

time to get to it

Friday, June 08, 2012

wherein Mother Nature has the last word

and an exclamation point!

as if we hadn't had enough of the scary weather, last night brought another big storm --- with bigger hail and the added feature of some tornados --- YIKES!

I have to say this is the biggest hail stone I have ever seen -- and I found it fascinating that while the smaller ones are round, this one is more like a little flying saucer -- oval and somewhat flattened

it also has a distinct "whirl" pattern in top surface and a little "dip" in the center

fortunately there were not a lot of these (this one fell near the edge of the patio so I was able to dash out and grab it without being in too much danger), and those that came down missed my car and my garden --- Thank Goodness!!!

this morning we still have gray, cloudy skies and a lot of humidity ---
yesterday I did another pair of pages for Mr Cute's book

I also made a trip to the fabric store to pick up some brighter colored felt, some snaps and some Velcro -- things I need for some planned pages that I didn't have on hand

after driving around to different locations yesterday we found a store that accepts our insurance and actually had affordable prices --- the DH got his new glasses on the spot (within an hour) and with new, stylish frames and the thin polycarbonate lenses the total price was $40

price for my glasses will be less than $200 --- for the same thing that I was quoted $450 for elsewhere --- and mine will take 10 days --- progressive bifocals are made custom for the individual, so there's no one hour service for them  -- I'll be glad to get them

ordinarily today would be about time to mow lawns, but everything is still so flattened from the rain and hail, that chore will have to wait a day or two -- I'm hoping to get more done on projects than I have the last two days

Thursday, June 07, 2012

do you think the rain will hurt the rhubarb?

I can remember hearing that as a child

well, I'm not sure the rain did, but the hail did for sure

it was a very wild night

for almost 2 hours we had heavy rain and hail up to the size of a quarter in diameter

my garden looks pretty beat up --- we'll be waiting for a few days to see what actually survived before we decide what we're going to do about it

more work is being done on the "quiet book" for Mr Cute

this page with a pocket that has a big button to be fastened

this page has a tent to be zipped up and down

and when those tent flaps are opened up, there's a picture of a cute little kid inside the tent

this was a fun page --- I printed the picture on card stock then cut a piece of heavy vinyl to stitch over it inside the "frame"

spent some time working on this project yesterday

it's moving along nicely

the van has returned from the mechanic --- thankfully that was only a little more than $100 --- not as bad as I had feared

hopefully today we'll be able to find someplace to have those glasses made

time to get moving