Wednesday, November 28, 2012

a day for quite projects

I'm getting to my computer a bit later this morning than I usually do 

and I'm feeling a bit like this almost cartoon like picture I snapped yesterday of the big black dog that lives at our house 

all we need here are the "X" marks over the eyes! 

I'm recovering from a visit at 8 a.m. to have a tooth taken care of --- after a week of antibiotics to knock down the infection, this morning it came out -- in pieces --- I should be feeling better soon

yesterday afternoon I finished the bag project for my mother 

each of the many zippers on the big bag has a cloth tag along with a silver kitty charm

and I finished three additional small bags with zippers for her to stash small things in too

I hope she likes these!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

what I was up to while I was gone

sewing has usually been my thing 

not that my daughter hasn't done any sewing, back when she was in junior high school she did a summer sewing class at a local quilt store and made a really attractive lap quilt

but she hasn't had a sewing machine, and it has always been easy for her to ask mom for these things

she decided last week that she wanted to have a go at making some things herself, so she asked if she could "borrow" my old machine -- as in the machine my parents gave me as a high school graduation present back in 1969

I was happy to let her have it for her use

and while we were there, I was the advisor/supervisor for her first stitching project

she turned out three tote bags over the long weekend, and they all look pretty amazing

oh, and the old sewing machine is going to live at her house now so she can use it for little jobs like mending a seam

I think I sense more sewing in her future --- she asked me if making a pair of pull up pj pants was as difficult as the bags were -- (it's not)

decorating the tree was always part of Thanksgiving festivities at our house

my daughter is carrying on that tradition, so while we were there, the Christmas tree came up from the basement storage and was put together and decorated

Mr Cute thought this was a great activity and helped his dad put the branches in the tree as well as showing all of us the ornaments as they were prepared to go on the tree


now that the show has been hung, I can finally show you this piece

it is one of twenty pieces that were done by a local group of artists (Colorado Springs Fiber Artists) and is currently hanging in a local theatre

if you live in the Colorado Springs area, these pieces and a number of other art quilts can be seen at Stargazers Theatre during one of their musical performances

while I was gone I didn't get much done on my projects, but I did manage to create four more afghan squares

I'm getting back into the routine now

time to get to it!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

now that the problem is fixed

I'll tell you about what it was

on Sunday evening I was clicking right along putting the edging on this piece

when I realized that the beaded bezel I had done around the ammolite had slipped off

 pretty clearly what I had done was not deep enough or tight enough

I wasn't sure how I was going to fix it since so much else was already glued together 

 so I put it aside to think about it 

yesterday afternoon I had another go at it

first I carefully clipped the thread at the top of the old bezel and removed all the beads

then I created a new bezel with a different technique

in fact, I have never used this "X" bar bezel before

I really like the way it looks and it's good and tight so the ammolite can't pop out again

so now it's one with the rest of the edging!

I'm slowly adding swirls to the latest small quilting piece, and it's looking good

just a couple more hours of quilting needed on the Alaska piece too --- yes the projects are really moving along 

 the afghan squares just keep getting turned out

but I admit, I'm searching for a new knitting project

I'm sure one will present itself in good time

Sunday, November 18, 2012

the beading is finished!!

and now that it is, I really like this blue field as background for those slices of shell

last night I painted the back of it with fray check to seal all the threads so I can move on with cutting away the background and putting a backing on it

after considering all the materials I had available on hand, I ended up stacking two 8 1/2 by 11 inch laminating sleeves and running them through the laminating machine to seal them together which created a piece of plastic big enough to use to back this with -- and I'll have some pieces left over that I will save to use on another piece later

 got some sewing machine time in yesterday afternoon and now all of the machine work on this bag is complete

still need to do all of the hand work of sewing on buttons, adding zipper pulls, etc., but it is nearly finished

I want to make some smaller zipper bags for inside it, and I hope to get to that in the next couple of days


hope she likes it!

 and since the Warning Sky piece is all finished, I'm now spending more time working on this piece 

the swirls are slowly spreading across and down the surface

and each one is easier as I refine my technique in dealing with this narrow bias fabric

last night I spent almost two hours working on the quilting of the Alaska quilt --- I have only two and a half blocks left to quilt, so I should have the quilting done on it in the next couple of days

this afternoon I need to do some kitchen projects -- Thanksgiving is coming after all!


Saturday, November 17, 2012

another step complete, another step in planning

after thinking some about putting a facing on this piece instead of a binding, I decided the binding in this darker fabric works

the completion of this piece makes three from my visioning project done 

of course I'm already working on the "swirls" which is the next piece 

 I've spent a bit of time on the phone this week, so here is another hot pad completed 

black and white and red just works 

I spent some time sitting in the dentist's office yesterday 

which means I finished another afghan square 

(also means I now have antibiotics and an appointment AFTER Thanksgiving to have a tooth taken care of --- ow!)  

the phone call came on Wednesday afternoon

the fabric for the 2013 Hoffman Challenge had arrived at my local quilt store

as a "reward" to myself after the trip to the dentist, I went in to take a look

I got a yard of the challenge fabric and 3 fat quarters (I love the way they had those already cut and prepared although they will always cut those for you if that's what you want)

I had seen this fabric back in August, and I've been thinking about it for a while --- 

the deadline for this piece is next July -- I have some time to work on it without stressing

let the drawings begin!

Friday, November 16, 2012

beading along

ta da! 

the second "point" is now beaded

now it's on to the bottom section

  this is a project in process that requires a bit of explanation 

my mother has been going through things and giving me items that I might be able to use for art projects or sewing projects

one of the things she gave me recently was a bag full of brass uniform buttons

each of these buttons has a figure on it and the letters POD 

these came off of her dad's Post Office uniforms

the uniform pants under some of those buttons in this picture came from my current letter carrier --- when I told him what I had in mind to do with some of those buttons, he volunteered to bring me a pair of his that were no longer wearable (I note that they're a little thin in a few places)

and then there is this photo

of my grandfather

in his uniform (no doubt one of the buttons in my possession  now is in this picture)

back in the day when postmen walked their routes twice a day during the Christmas season

I have a plan for all of these pieces that includes matting and framing

hoping the end result will be as neat as I think it will be

time to get moving --- errands to run today

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Quilt #2 and other projects

used the rest of the red, white and blue blocks and put this together yesterday afternoon 


 I'm happy to have both of these done  

and since those two quilt tops are finished, I'll be going back to working on the bag 

yesterday I was in the local fabric store and the DH found these very cute cat buttons that will work perfectly for the inside pocket that needed something that was not a zipper 

I'm nearly done quilting the Warning Sky piece, so I'm also working more on the swirly piece 

as I do each one I get quicker at it 

see practice does help!


nearly finished another "point" on the bead piece 

 last night I was thinking "this piece is taking forever" -- duh! then I remembered that I took a whole lot of bead work out and redid it! 

 we have a new neighbor 

they are a young couple (about our daughter's age) with a little girl pretty close in age to Mr Cute

they've been here for a couple of weeks, and have waved every time we've seen them

last night, my door bell rang and she handed me an egg carton with half a dozen eggs in it and an envelope that was addressed "To Our Neighbors"

they have chickens!!  eight laying hens, to be exact, and the envelope had a letter than explained all about the chickens (no rooster!) and the eggs and the composting --- very cool

I think I'll be making some kind of goodie to take over to them soon

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

much better

after a perusal of the stash (not enough of any one thing that matched there) and a shopping trip where I found a remnant that worked well this is quilt top number one from those blocks

I also picked up a remnant that is the same very dark blue, and I'll be putting that together possibly today


meantime, these arrived in the mail yesterday  

which means I can get back to working on the bag project

unfortunately, none of these will work as a button substitute, so I will still have to solve that issue, but these will be very awesome zipper pulls!

time to get to work!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

let the stitching begin

from the drawing of yesterday to some actual stitching 

 while the grasses on the Warning Sky piece were actually cut out of the fabric in the shapes I wanted them to be, this piece will be made up by using only 3/4 inch strips of fabric cut on the bias 

 just a little work on a different technique 

when I get finished doing that part, I'm going to play with a little pearlized paint that I've had in my studio just sitting around since it was given to me at an art conference I attended in 2011 --- (insert here the discussion of "what are you saving it for?" and if you don't use them, they will just dry up - especially in this climate!) 

doing this first swirl actually went much quicker than I thought it would -- a good sign I think! 

meantime, the quilting on the Warning Sky piece is moving right along -- I've done all of the outline quilting along the edges of the foliage, and now I'll be doing the "ghost quilting" between them
one corner of the bead work is now done 

 I should add here that I'm really glad I decided to tear out and begin again as I am MUCH happier with this look than all that "pattern" 

putting the slice of shell in there to take the photo gives me a good look at what it will look like when the finishing is done  

here is where I'm happy to have programs on my computer that let me play with graphics - and I spent a lot of time yesterday playing 

a good look at the first two layouts made me decide to take the whole thing apart -- while I may like the way those pinwheels just seem to whirl, they are also reminiscent of other things that I don't want to go anywhere near 

in the end, I like the individual blocks set with the solid color blocks, and that will also mean I end up with two tops out of this little experiment  
about a week ago I started working on another knitting project and after three tries, I finally figured out that the yarn I had in hand for the project simply will not do 

so for the first time in a long time, the only knitting project I have going is the ever present afghan square -- another finished one here 

 need to spend some time in the yarn stash and the pattern stacks!

Monday, November 12, 2012

maybe it's not going to stay this way

I spent some time yesterday working on a quilt top that I plan to give to my local quilt guild for our charity 

it has some issues 

 for one thing, it's square 

and it's small 

which means it either needs borders (as in pretty good sized borders) or I need to take it apart and try a different setting 

there is one section where (quite by accident) the dark blue pieces come together like a pin wheel, and I kind of like that look 

which would mean taking the whole thing apart except for those four blocks and rebuilding 

I'm thinking about it

meantime, since I'm now into the quilting of the Warning Sky piece, it was time to get started on the next assignment for the Visioning Project 

the next one has to do with lines -- where you create an entire piece with nothing but lines


along with the Visioning Project, the local art group I belong to is working on  a project that is inspired by this piece of art by Klimt

I can do both assignments in one piece here


time to get moving --- laundry is calling!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

why doesn't it smell like melted wax?

or at least that was the question from the DH --- observing that the fabric I chose to use for the lining of the bag looks like I've been melting crayons 

 my sister commented that the fabric goes well with all the disparate parts that I had to work with in the beginning 

sometimes my little "color brain" just goes crazy and decides that with all that color already in play you might as well throw in the whole box of crayons! 

 I'm kind of stuck on this project now -- I ordered some cool cat charms to use as zipper pulls and "buttons" on the bag, and I've reached the point that I need to have those in hand before I can continue -- since there will be no more mail delivery until Tuesday, I'll be doing other things at the sewing machine until then

 I did a good bit of frog stitching here (a phrase usually reserved to tearing out of knitting projects, but appropriate here too) -- rip it! rip it! 

new beading has begun, using a mixture of blue beads in some closely related shades of blue, but some beads are matte finish, some are shiny, some have rounded edges, some are tubes, and there are a variety of sizes 

to take this picture, I added the three slices of shell that will fill those openings so I can get a better feel for what it will actually look like 

better I think 

 the stitching on this is complete 

next step is to put the "sandwich" together

of the pieces I've done for the Visioning Project, I like this one the best

and I think that it's a good sign -- it means that each piece is progressing

we woke this morning to a very fine sprinkling of snow on the ground --- so far this year that's been about the extent of our snow storms -- but it is a lot colder than that shirt sleeve weather we had on Friday!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Delivering the work

yesterday afternoon I delivered seven quilts to the organizer of a show that will open on Nov 25 

 this is part of the one piece that has not been seen in full by anyone 

and on November 26, I'll show you the whole piece here  

worked on this piece some more and I look at the many patterns that have evolved here, I'm not sure I like all of it --- it seems too "busy" 

in all the patterning of the bead work, the focal piece of the mermaid is getting lost in "the noise"

I sense that I may be taking out a lot of the patterned parts and just filling it with the blue  

most of the last week it has been very warm here

in fact, yesterday afternoon when I delivered the quilts, I didn't even need a sweater over my t shirt when I was out and about

this morning, we're much more aware that is is actually November!

it is considerably cooler, and the wind had been blowing during the night 

when I walked out the front door to pick up the paper this morning, this enormous cottonwood leaf was laying on the front step

I carried it into the house and took these pictures of it from various sides and angles --- leaves are an seemingly endless source of patterns and ideas for my fiber art, and I have a large file of images on my computer --- you never know when they might become part of another piece of art!

Friday, November 09, 2012

more sewing

time at the sewing machine yesterday 

more pockets on the inside of the bag are taking shape --- this one gets a flap over the center section 

it's coming along 

 last night was a meeting of my local quilt guild

we had a member bring in several tubs full of fabrics that had been collected by a friend of hers that had recently passed on

I brought home a bag full to use in making up some more charity quilt tops

this batch has already been through the washer and the dryer --- lots of ironing and cutting into strips to be done

time to go get those errands run!

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Just when I felt like giving up

I went to the computer this morning and found that I had sold a piece of jewelry from my Etsy store 

it had been several months since the last sale, and I was beginning to wonder if it was still worth the time, cost and effort it takes to keep it updated 

uh, I guess so which also means that analysis exercise that I was thinking of doing to try increase sales will actually need to be done --- I'll be spending some time doing spreadsheets! 

actually got to the sewing machine yesterday! 

it now actually looks like a tote bag so now it's on to the lining -- which means the building of more pockets first --- fun!  

one spiral done, another spiral started 

the field is slowly filling up

 yesterday I took the van to have the oil changed, and since that is only about a half hour job, I just took along my knitting and waited 

another afghan square is complete 

tonight is a guild meeting -- time to get to the work so I'll be done in time to go

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Baking as art too

sometimes it helps the brain to do something unrelated to whatever art work I'm creating 

yesterday's "brain relief" was this lovely loaf of zucchini bread 

and I would add here that it was truly wonderful to bake in an oven that has an accurate and even heat --- for the first time in years the loaf came out of the pan without ripping a big hole in the bottom of it! 

(we replaced our stove in mid-October when we got down to only having 2 burners that were fully functional) 

if you'd like to whip up a loaf of this lovely bread for yourself, I've posted the recipe here  

more beading! 

trying here with the blue and white seed beads to replicate the swirl of the petrified shell that is the center "stone" in this piece 

 progress on this too 

I didn't ever get to the sewing machine yesterday --- we had other errands to do, so it just never happen 

this morning I'm taking the van to have the oil changed --- time to get moving!!