Thursday, August 30, 2012

Doing a Happy Dance (figuratively that is)

about 10 days ago I got a call for entries from my region of SAQA for an exhibit that will be in Denver for about 6 weeks

 the specification was that it be small works -- less than 24 inches by 24 inches -- and I didn't think I had much that met the requirements

but the DH said "you've got things that fit!"

so almost at the last minute I enter three items

and two of them were accepted!!

 I'm amazed --- and very pleased

I'll be posting more info about the show in the next week

 even though I've struggled to do the simplest household chores this week, the DH has been very busy outside

all of the grass stop cloth is down and many bags of mulch

this morning I "supervised" the placement of the little animals --- it looks beautiful

and this means that as soon as we stop have 5 day stretches of 90 degree weather, there are some areas of grass that will get planted along the edge of this new landscape feature nice!

the backing and edging is all done on this piece

now on to figuring out if it will be fringed or not (I'm thinking yes) and how to create a beaded chain to hang it on

witchy doings continue

 I have both of the hat brims done --- looking great

we need to go to the grocery store this morning --- time to get moving

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

a little shopping trip

in order for the DH to finish the front yard project, we needed to make a trip to the hardware store, so we decided to do all of the running around yesterday

after the hardware store (1 sack of white rock and 6 big bags of redwood mulch), we made stops at the office supply store (I needed a printer cartridge) and then on to the fabric store

 what I really needed to get at the fabric store was some Fray Check

 I blame my sister for this piece of fabric that came home with me

after all, she started this whole orange sweat suit
thing by bringing me that fabric last week

this was a remnant of fleece, and I plan to use it for the hood and the pockets on the sweat shirt


and then there was this fabric on the remnant table

this is upholstery fabric and I love both the color and the print

I'm planning on using this to make some kind of tote bag --- the details are a bit fuzzy right now, but at the price it was I couldn't resist it

I've been on the phone a lot this week

so another one of these is finished -- cool

the ice and ibuprofen wasn't really getting it on my back --- maybe because I still helped put up peaches and did laundry and, and --- today I really am going to try to not do a lot of stuff so it might finally start to heal --- grrrrr

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

deja vu

back when my daughter was a little girl, I used to make most of her clothes

in the 1980s these patterns were available and I used a lot of them to make play clothes, bathing suits and dresses

this one is generically "kid", so I will be using it to make things for Mr Cute!

when my sister was here last weekend, she brought me some lovely orange fleece

Mr. Cute will get a pair of orange sweat pants soon!

my daughter's garden is producing a bumper crop of eggplant

she gave us some to bring home

so the DH and I created this lovely Eggplant Lasagna

and it was wonderful!

if you'd like to try making one of your own, the recipe is  Here

beside that lovely orange fleece, over the weekend my sister brought me peaches
almost 40 pounds of peaches

the agreement was that she would provide the peaches, we would provide the sugar and the labor and my dad would get some fruit for the winter

yesterday morning we put up peaches

we did hold out a few of them to eat fresh, and they are quite tasty

beading on this project is all done

the picture isn't great, but you can kind of see the texture at the top of the piece

now on to the backing and the chain and finishing

 the work continues on the wall hanging

love this pair of shoes!

and the top third of the "Project which cannot be named" is complete

looking good

time to get to work --- laundry is running!

Monday, August 27, 2012

a bit of this and a bit of that

I'm still nursing the aching back, but the DH is moving right along on projects

he's been going out early in the morning while it is still cool and working for a bit before breakfast

it's looking wonderful --- where before there were weeds, scruffy tufts of grass and patches of bare dirt because the big pine tree "poisons" the soil for growing grass -- now there is an artfully curved red brick edging, some stepping stones and a thick layer of red chipped mulch

he'll be adding a bit more white rock there under the juniper bush to finish off the area that is under the faucet, and more red mulch where the rest of the weed block cloth is, and I'll be cleaning up the little concrete animals I have to add to the look


 after last week's Epic Fail it was back to the drawing board on this project

the DH designed a new block for me, and because it was so much easier (no funny shapes or odd angles) being made up of squares and rectangles, I was able to whip together both of these backgrounds in no time at all

the next step is to create the witch hat and shoes that will be appliqued over this background

I've decided to create that as a whole piece and applique it in one step

the light weight backing material has been marked, so I can start on that project today

cool!  maybe I will be able to get these all done in time
and time spend in the chair with the ice on my back gave me time to work on this piece

around the the top edge I've used the dark beads and a lot of the three dimensional texture, while the bottom edge is a smoother technique and I've used the lighter color there

and I'm seeing this piece has having a sort of picot edge around the top half, some lush fringe with some amethyst dagger tips and a thick bead woven "chain"

it's actually been a while since I started a piece with nothing more than the stones as inspiration and had such a clear idea for where it was going by this stage --- nice

usually on Monday morning I'd be deep in the weeds of laundry by now, but this morning I'm not -- the DH suggested it might be good to rest the back for at least another day, and I decided he had a good point, so aside from some other small kitchen projects today I'll be doing more ice and more ibuprofen and more rest to try to get back to "normal" again

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Every once in a Blue Moon

things come together and I actually finish a piece for a competition and it falls in line with the cosmos

this month (August, 2012) we will actually have a Blue Moon -- that second full moon in a single month, that doesn't happen very often (we won't see another one until July, 2015)

this piece of jewelry was made for the August challenge of the Etsy Bead Weavers group -- when voting opens I'll post the link, but since I finally got it listed in my Etsy shop today, I thought I'd at least show you all a picture and let you know I finished it!

 I finally finished the bezels around the other two stones, so now I can start doing the "field" around it

looking good

sometime in the last couple of days I've done something that my lower back is not happy with --- this particular pain is a familiar (and unwelcome) one, so I'm back in the cycle of ice/heat and taking ibuprofen  trying to get it under control --- grrrr

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Epic Fail

my plan was to get the background blocks done

I had already cut the strips and sewed the pairs together

so this should have been simple -- cut the triangles, set the pieces together --- finished block -- right?

uh, not so much

let me tell you that I have done very little machine piecing --- as I've said before, my sewing machine and I work wonderfully well together to make clothing, but quilting has always been a hand stitched process except for those very basic charity quilt tops

so I thought I'd show you these two failures --- if you look at the one on the left you'll notice right away that the points of those triangles don't meet in the center -- and while it's harder to see with the other block, that one doesn't lay flat in the center, even though the points meet

I called in the expert --- the DH drew me a new block -- a simple one made up of squares and rectangles, which means that I can actually machine piece it --- I can use some quilting to jazz it up once I get it finished

this little side trip does mean that I probably won't get back to this until after Labor Day, which also means I may not get it finished in time to have one for the original idea I had in mind --- RATS!

guess I need to move faster

Friday, August 24, 2012

amethyst beading

once I figured it out  (after two tries), I'm happy with the bezel around this stone

so now I will do the bezels around the other two stones

a while back I did the drawing for a Halloween wall hanging, and yesterday I actually started cutting the pieces for it --- I'm hoping to get some of the machine work done on it today

time to get moving

Thursday, August 23, 2012

about that whole "paying attention" thing

I finished the moon bracelet, and while I'm waiting for some other materials to arrive to put into another competition piece, I decided to whip up another piece using those amethyst cabs I got back in July

I got these all laid out, but there are a few other things I need to get to finish it up, so I drug out the catalog from Fire Mountain Gems, which is where I get a lot of the seed beads, threads and clasps that I use in my pieces

 this catalog (cover shown at the left) arrived back in January (or there about), and I've used it to order a lot of things since then

but since it is a very thick catalog (1322 pages to be exact), I hadn't looked at every page

so I was real surprised when I just happened to turn to page 176 (shown there at the right) and there was the piece of jewelry I entered in on of their competitions last year!

Hey!  that's cool!

more goodies from the garden

yesterday after the mowing of both lawns, I picked

the peppers/chilis are still doing really well -- and the tomatoes seem to finally be producing

we also have 2 little eggplants and several pumpkins

it has been a weird gardening season, but we are going to get something out of it

I've been working on the "Project that can not be named", and I'm happy to report that is coming along nicely -- and that it is starting to feel like one of those "did I do that?" pieces --- can't wait for the unveiling when I'll be able to share the pictures with you

time to get busy --- my "desk" is piled up with paperwork that needs to be sorted, filed, recorded --- the usual paperwork side of running an art business and a household

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

finishing more projects

last winter's sweater for Mr Cute has worn really well

except for the buttons

so yesterday I removed the old ones and put on new ones

all set for another winter!

finished the bracelet last night

I still need to do the paperwork to enter it in the competition I made it for

I'm pretty happy with the way it came out

 the snowmen are done

I decided that all those hats need pom poms on their tops

I'm pretty sure these little cuties are going to my daughter

but I'm thinking I may want to take a few more pictures and maybe use it to make this year's Christmas cards

we've already mowed the lawns this morning --- trying to get that sort of work done before it gets too hot is always a good thing

time to go get the grocery shopping done!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Catching up after a busy weekend

remember I said I was headed to a quilt show?

I'm fortunate that my daughter lives only about half an hour away from the venue that the Hoffman Challenge quilts are hung as a group for the first time

and that show was last Friday, Saturday and Sunday

here is my quilt, hanging in the show

so amazing!

and since we were there, and my daughter and son-in-law's anniversary was on Saturday, we volunteered to watch Mr Cute so they could go out for the evening

he's getting to be such a big boy! 

and watching him was a pleasure

so sweet to have him snuggle in my lap for reading of books, then he says "nie, nie" and goes up the stairs and crawls into his bed to be covered and kissed goodnight

evenings at my daughter's gave me a chance to get almost all of the rest of the hats and scarves for the wood snowmen knit

these are pretty neat --- but I have decided that all of these hats need pompoms on top, so I'll be fiddling with that part soon

I also worked on the "project which can not be named" while I was there

and my daughter and I did some shopping, so I came home with a whole stack of sewing machine projects!

 time in the van up and back meant that I finished this afghan square and have another one half done

we're getting very close to having a box full ready to be mailed

beading complete!

today I'll be working on putting this on to the backing  and figuring out the toggle clasp

of course now that we're home again there's lots of other work to be done, so I've got laundry to finish today before I start into some of those projects

Friday, August 17, 2012

Let the voting begin!

Remember this?

 the voting on the contest I made this for has begun

you can use this LINK to go and vote for your favorite piece

I'm off to a quilt show this morning --- catch ya later

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Christmas in August

a couple of years ago the microwave over the stove quit working

so we had been using a small counter top model, and just using that old dinosaur for a storage cabinet

at Christmas time my sister told me she would buy me a new microwave for over the stove

we finally decided what we wanted to get, and yesterday the guy came and installed it

as I watched him struggle with figuring out how to get the old one out I was really happy that my sister was willing to provide the installation too --- I don't know if we could have done it on our own

Thanks sis!!

 more beading is being done

two complete sets of hats and scarves for the snowmen are finished now

three more sets to go

one more of these finished yesterday too

I think I have enough of these for the Christmas giving finished, so I'm thinking about adding some of them to one of my Etsy shops

we'll see

time to get moving --- lots of work to do today

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

smoke again

yesterday morning I attended a meeting of a local quilt group that calls itself Batts and Pieces

this year we've been working on a sampler quilt of 12 1/2 inch blocks, and I freely admit that I'm WAY far behind on my blocks (I have all of one finished) because I've missed several meetings

yesterday, however, the group was going to be working on a quilt for one of the members that lost her home in the Waldo Canyon fire

and I have to say that as I was driving to the meeting, I was headed right toward the burn scar, and since there are big fires to the west of us in other states, the smoke blowing in was uncomfortably like being back in the time of our own fire
even with a serious project at hand to be worked on, we took time for show and tell

this piece was created by Mauna Proctor -- and I love it!

and I'm looking forward to seeing more of her work in the future

meantime, I put together a dozen blocks for the quilt we are building -- and we have about half of the blocks for a queen size quilt stitched as several of us worked yesterday


the edges have met the middle
so now it's on to filling in above and below the full moon

and I've already located the navy blue leather for the back of it

one more hat

this one is for the snowman with the brown earmuffs

the scarf got started last night


lots of projects to get done today -- and I have a meeting this evening with the group that's doing the "Project which can not be named" --

time to get moving

Monday, August 13, 2012

pickin' and knittin' and beadin'

apparently, the weather conditions are good for a bumper crop of peppers!

aside from the two little Roma tomatoes and the one little squash, the whole basket is full of peppers

I have discovered that we have an eggplant that has actually set and there are several pumpkins that are developing too

 the first of the scarves for the snowmen is now complete -- this whole thing took less than an hour from beginning to end


now that this hat and scarf are done, it's time to put some other color of yarn in the bag for this project

 more bead work

the night sky is slowly covering the surface of this

yesterday afternoon I got the darker gray painted in the bedroom -- there  is so much  white trim in there that it took me almost as long to do all the taping as it did to put on the paint!  and once again this morning I'm doing a happy dance that I will not have to put on another coat of paint --- the next step is to paint all of that white trim -- and the INSIDE of the closet, which doesn't look like it's ever had anything but the builders primer coat of paint -- ick

time for breakfast --- lots of work to do!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

outside, inside (and upside down?)

along with the painting projects inside the house there is some work going on in the yard

there on the far right you can see the edge of the giant blue spruce that takes up much of the side of the front yard

which also means no grass will grow under it

in the last couple of weeks the DH has installed all of that lovely red scallop topped concrete edging

yesterday we measured and cut and put down three strips of the weed block cloth and moved the octagon stepping stones out onto that area

we still need a bag of gravel to be able to level those stones before we can put down the rest of the weed block, then we'll be adding some more white rock and a lot of redwood mulch

this will look so much nicer than that bare dirt with the assorted weeds

after the outdoor work was finished, I just didn't feel like I had the energy to go upstairs and paint walls

I settled on painting the rest of the details on the wood snowmen

these make me smile

and there on the right side of the picture you can see the first of the finished hats -- that one is for the snowman that has the yellow ear muffs

the wood is ready for the coats of sealer now

and there are five scarves and four more hats to be knit

and I'm loving this

 the blue work is just flowing along

I'm starting to think about going and hunting up some dark blue leather for the back -- I'll need that before long

I'm also thinking about how to create the clasp on it -- I'm thinking about a toggle, but I want to do a little different style than I've done before

one of the quilt groups that I belong to is working on a "group" quilt -- we were inspired by a group project done by a group of Missouri quilters that focused on a river, which you can read more about   here --- we're sworn to secrecy until the big reveal later this year, but I'm happy to say that I finally have a design that I'm happy with and I'll be working on fabric selection some this week --- Yippee!!

time to get busy!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

thinking cool thoughts

it's August

it's hot

so of course I'm working on -- SNOWMEN?

since I unearthed these while I was going through some other stuff and getting rid of things, I decided I should actually finish them

the little picture on the right is a close up of one of them -- each of them has a little orange "carrot" nose and the "ear muffs" have been painted on each one in different colors

last night I started knitting the first of the little hats to go on these

the beading continues on the moon piece

now that the beading from the left side has moved far enough to touch the center moon I'll be moving to the far right hand side and repeating the process until the beads reach the full moon from that side

this piece has largely been a "happening", as I had no real clear picture in my head of what it would look like when finished

and so far I really like the whole look

yesterday I spent some time working in the bedroom I'm painting --- in a room with this much "trim" (around doors, windows, baseboards and chair rails), it takes almost more time to tape everything than it does to paint!  I hope to get the second color on soon

time to get moving

Friday, August 10, 2012

finished, working, finished, mailing

since I had started this on Wednesday, I really wanted to finish it to take to last night's guild meeting

fortunately I had that blue chambray looking fabric in the stash box, so I had something to use to set the blocks together

oh look!  another top without PINK!

it's not as cool as the green one was, but I do like it

the deep blue sky  is slowly moving over the surface of this piece encircling the moon faces, one by one

I am very pleased with how this is going

 this one should be titled "Christmas Cactus" -- that's what this color combination makes me think of

I finished this while I was chatting with my daughter yesterday afternoon -- and I started another one too


today I plan to get this piece packed up so I can send it off to New Hampshire for the challenge I made it for

and on to other things!

time to get to it