Sunday, June 30, 2013

Recovering after the fire

during the Black Forest Fire, we were pretty sure (as were the owners) that my favorite fiber store in the area had been destroyed by the fire

we were so delighted to learn that they had not been!!

but of course, now that they are back into their building, they are holding a fire sale, and on Friday morning we took a trip

these trees, which are burned up quite a ways are right behind their studio building where they hold workshops (and the back of that building is blackened all across the back)
this picture was taken from the footbridge that goes from the main store to the studio building

right in front of the studio building are a row of big gas burners and the propane tanks that feed them

the underside of the footbridge is scorched

the fire was that close to those propane tanks -- which would have probably resulted in the total loss we thought had happened

the firefighters did a wonderful job!!!

 this trip was not all about a fire report though!

I went looking for fiber

there are these, for instance --- two skeins each of some awesome variegated feltable yarn and a cool little book with some patterns for creating some neat little bags (one of my favorite things!!)

the plan here is one large bag (the blue/purple yarn) and one smaller bag and possibly to do some needle felting over the wet felting 

should be fun!

and there was this group from the "smoke sale" which I plan to use to knit up hats and mittnz for the Indian reservation I make things for

I also picked up four of the grab bags --- each of these is make up of several yarns of similar fiber content in smaller, partly complete skeins or skeins that ended up being "one of"

the one at the bottom left is wool and will also end up in charity hats and mittnz, but the other three are cotton/bamboo/ramey/hemp/silk blends which I have a whole other project in mind for since they all blend together well in terms of color

I was briefly tempted to pick up a skein of yarn that had possum fiber in it (yes, you read that right, POSSUM!), but since I did not have any clear plan for it, I decided to put my budgeted spending into things that I got the most "bang for my buck"

looking forward to all those new projects!!

yesterday morning we loaded up and headed off

here is Miss Elphie and her satellite dish in the back seat of the van -- she was not at all sure she wanted to take a ride since the last one had resulted in something that was not very fun

riding in the car meant some knitting time for me --- another afghan square complete!

we are house/dog/bird sitting while Mr Cute (and his folks) go to visit with this other grandparents 

should be a fun week!


Friday, June 28, 2013

a bit 'o beading

the gusset has been attached on one side

I'm using the same technique that I use when I edge a bracelet, but because the base of this piece was a thicker piece of felt I needed to use 3 beads over the edge

and when I figured that out, I decided I might as well use it as a design feature and use a red bead in the center of the edge

I like it!

still need to attach the back to the gusset using the same technique, then stitch this to the frame and put in the lining

 and here we have the first version of the next beaded piece

the theme here is "sea adventure", so I decided to use one of the dolphin resin cameos that I got recently

the plan is to have another sea horse running the other way to create a total frame around the cameo

there will be more drawing (dragging out the tracing paper so I can have the sea horses match) and then the selection of materials


 I have not been doing a lot of knitting this week

a couple of evenings I have worked on the Christmas project (which is progressing VERY slowly), but somehow when it's hot I just don't feel like knitting

I did finish an afghan square yesterday afternoon while I was talking to my daughter on the phone

today marks one week since the surgery on the dog's knee -- she is not happy about the enforced restriction of her activities, but she is doing really well  -- starting tomorrow we will be taking longer walks out of our own yard -- that should help!

time to get to those projects!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

about that square color wheel

the first strip  of blocks has been stitched together

you need to think in the round -- red, orange, yellow

which means the row below it (from left to right) will be purple, blue, green

except when I started working on putting the purple block and the blue block together I discovered that the blue block is not quite the right size --- modification in process!

I'm getting excited about having this piece ready to be quilted!

 the putting together of the latest bead piece is going nicely

that means I'm thinking about the design of the next piece already

 which explains why I'm thinking about this little drawing and what I can do with it

it will be something very different than the usual stuff

time to get to work


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

rolling along

the last of the big blocks all complete!

now it's on to figuring out how to put all these pieces together --- I'll be fiddling with some ideas to work this out

the taping together is all finished, the interfacing has been pressed --- let the drawing of the "quilt by number" grid begin!

and all of the beading on the black piece is complete too -- I'm waiting for the fray check to dry so I can start on putting it together

remember this?

I'll be doing the paperwork and shipping it off in the next couple of days

yup, the Doodle Bird will be flying off to the competition --- keeping my fingers crossed!

she is sitting in her "waiting spot" the doorway between the kitchen and the dining room that she likes to hang out in when one of us is cooking
we did better with the sleeping last night (YEAH!) and the bandage finally came off (I pulled the last inch or so of tape)

things are looking up!

a week from today we should be cone free -- that will be another big milestone!!

until then we have the creepy alien look going on


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

inching along

working on the gusset

and when I played with fitting the pieces together last night, discovered that I will probably have to add some more beading at both ends of the gusset -- typical

another block complete

which means I'm now down to the last one -- and it's purple

and then there will be the arranging and figuring and trying to decide where this is going next -- how do you create a square wheel?

 the next step in the big quilted piece I'm creating has begun

once I figured out the technical issue with printing out the pattern, the next step is to tape the whole full size thing together

and after that I'll be tracing the pattern onto a very thin, non-woven interfacing type material that will be the "quilt by number" guide for the placement of all of the pieces

I got the top half (in two pieces) taped together -- and because the fabric I will be tracing onto is only about as wide as these are, I'll be doing that drawing on each individual quarter then stitching it all together 

this is a BIG piece -- the finished quilt is going to be about 5 foot by 7 foot -- lap quilts need to be big enough to be actually used!

last night the big black dog did a lot of pacing around, wanting to go out into the yard in the dark, keeping the humans in the house awake --- it's not exactly totally unusual behavior considering the weather and the smoke load in the air --- I saw some of this behavior last summer too --- but I'm not letting her out there in the dark --- too much wild life wandering the area (last year we had bears in the neighborhood during the fire season) -- so now she's sleeping and I'd like to be but there are too many other things that need to get done

time to get to those

Monday, June 24, 2013

it's NOT the big moon

yes, I know the big thing in the sky this weekend was the larger than usual moon

I have to say I was not outdoors to see it

I did see this yesterday afternoon, however

that is the sun

through a cloud that is mostly smoke

weird, eerie, orange sky (and the coughing and the itchy eyes to go along with being exposed to smoke particulates)

we really could use some rain (a storm without lightning please!!)

our patient is doing well --- this picture was snapped after she had her 3 minute walk, range of motion exercises, massage and pain meds -- icing is the last step in the rehab plan -- which she doesn't seem to mind

now if she would stop backing herself under my recliner while I'm sitting in it so I can't get up we'd be set!

got another block for this project done --- each of these blocks has been different, largely because I'm trying to make sure they AREN'T alike

my daughter has suggested that this might also make a great bead embroidered bracelet --- an idea that I like!

along with working on this block, I printed out the full size pattern for the "couch puppy" piece and found an appropriate found object to use as the dog tag --

so now I have six quilted pieces in process -- ACK!

the beading is coming along nicely on the gusset piece for the roses, after I finished the back of the piece, and actually added an additional row of beads around the outside of the front -- and my search for fabric to use for the lining was successful too -- I found a piece of shiny shot woven fabric in my stash that is perfect since it is black and red (shot woven fabric is woven with the warp threads being one color and the weft threads being another) 

I also need to start working on the "chain" for this roses piece -- I have already figured out how to reinforce it with beadalon cable through the center

I posted this picture last week when I was talking about my daughter working on a quilt for Mr Cute

I've been thinking a bit this week about this project  and why we make things

I'm a firm believer that we are hard wired to create --- if we watch our little children we see them build with blocks, sculpt with clay, draw with crayons --- we instinctively express ourselves in "art"

somewhere along the way many of us have that creative spark squashed by either well intentioned folks ("you don't want to study that, you can't make a living that way") or just by meanness ("that's ugly", "horses aren't purple", "the sky isn't that color"), and we internalize that criticism 

in the long run, however, if we pay attention to our inner selves, that drive to create is insistent

a few years ago, when my daughter started hand making greeting cards and acquiring the tools for scrap booking activities, I joked with her about those activities being just the beginning 

I'm happy to facilitate the creative process --- I'm encouraging my daughter to keep at it --- and I hope by writing here I can encourage someone else to return to those creative endeavors 




Sunday, June 23, 2013

Progress: projects, fire and dog

I made a lot of progress on projects yesterday

this is the back side of the beaded roses project

lots and lots of rows of black beads -- I'm closing in on the center!  

today I hope to get into the fabric stash and find something that can serve as the lining for this

 another of the blocks for the quilt is complete

and I started on the orange one yesterday

need to cut some more black strips before I can stitch any more of it

this piece has really been a happening --- so very different from everything else I've been working on that it's a sort of "rest stop" in the daily work

since I'm spending so much time paying attention to what the dog is doing, I've been thinking about this quilt idea some more

this is a sort of "slice of life" quilt (as is the smart camper piece) and I've realized as I've worked on the drawings for these that I enjoy doing this sort of theme

I think I've got a series going here (now if I can just get enough studio time to convert them out of drawings into real pieces!)

this was sunset last night

the whole western sky bright orange as we still have a very heavy load of particulates in the air from the many, many fires burning in our state

the latest update on the Black Forest fire -- 511 lost homes -- 100% contained -- and folks are being allowed back into the area to assess what is left -- all this while yesterday an art exhibit about last year's Waldo Canyon Fire opened locally

the irony of that is not lost on me

we do not like the cone of shame

this picture, snapped this morning after breakfast

yesterday she slept a lot and was able to be "cone free" for a lot of the day as she was leaving the wound alone

not so much this morning -- she's feeling much more alert, wandering around the house successfully as a tripod -- putting some weight on her leg -- running into walls with the cone

because she is much more interested in applying her tongue as "medicine" to the area, she will be in the cone except for meals and walks for the duration of the healing process

(I think I'll be sporting bruises on my shins for the next little while!)


Saturday, June 22, 2013

time out to be the "puppy mommy"

our big black dog is sporting a new "do" -- 

she had surgery yesterday morning on her left knee -- which of course means they shaved that leg so they could do the operation

that little square patch on her back above her tail is where they did the epidural 

moving her into the house from the van meant putting her in a "sling" -- a band under her tummy to hold up her back legs that were still pretty sedated

when she's unsupervised she has to wear the "cone of shame"

it may seem like a mean thing, but in truth it is the very best medicine --- she has stitches in that knee and the possibility of her licking or chewing it open is very real

so until the incision heals, we'll be dealing with the cone

this morning she is moving around some and the feeling in her tail seems to have returned (last night it just hung limp -- this morning she's moving it)

we will begin physical therapy this morning -- a 10 minute mom-aided walk followed by massage, range of motion exercise, ice pack and then more pain killers and a nap

this will be the routine for the next few days as the leg gets stronger

yesterday, while I was waiting for the vet to call and tell me I could come and get the dog, I spent some time at the sewing machine

last weekend my daughter had picked up this fabric that she wanted me to make into a skirt

I was able to get this all finished

this is great fabric -- I love the pattern and the colors -- and in some ways it's more my style than my daughter's has been

cool -- I'm happy to make it for her

time to get moving -- things to get done

Friday, June 21, 2013

the sewing continues

yesterday the project on the sewing machine was this hat for the DH

it's the same cute "Icky Mouse" fabric that I made hats for Mr Cute and his buddy as well as shorts for Mr Cute

looks pretty good!

 while I was in the studio, I pulled out all of the fabrics that I want to use for this piece

so now I officially have four quilted pieces in the works!

last night I worked on the  "Homage to Mondrian" -- I've started building out the black and white around the blue block

this morning I'm in official "puppy mommy" worry mode

my big black dog is having surgery to repair her damaged left knee

she had to be there at 7:15 am -- which is why this blog is being written so late in the morning

just before the vet tech took her back to get her ready for surgery, she gave me this polymer clay "worry stone" that my dog had "kissed" for me

this vet's office understands just how attached we get to our "fur children"!

she should get to come home late this afternoon, and I will need to be here with her for about 24 hours -- I'm getting a lot of practice being the nurse for orthopedic procedures!

time to go get something done

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Crankin' 'em out!

Mr Cute needed some new shorts

there was fabric left over from the hat building project, and my daughter and I each had bought an additional piece of fabric for this project

yesterday afternoon I stacked up the fabric, cut out all four pair at once and went to the sewing machine

the DH says what we have here are shorts for every activity -- dark ones for dress occasions, fish print for swimming, puppy print for sleeping and Micky Mouse plaid for golfing

heh, well -- this should increase his wardrobe anyway

the beading on the "front" of this piece is finished

so now it's on to the back -- which is going to be all black -- slog, slog, slog!

and of course this means I'm already thinking about whatever the next bead project might be (gives me something to think about while I'm stitching on those hundreds of black beads!)

this project has taken on a life of it's own

while I had no real plan when I started adding the black and white strips, the fact that I'm using just two sizes of strips -- 1" wide and 2" wide -- with the adding of pieces the two squares reached the point where I could actually just stitch them together

now I need to make a decision -- what color to work with next and where do I want it to end up -- do I want this to end up being a long, narrow piece or more of a square?

this decision will probably get made while I'm adding the black and white strips around the next colors

the label has been stitched to the Doodle Bird, paperwork needs to get done then it will be on it's way to the competition!

and I began the Christmas knitting project last night

today there are more projects to do!  time to get at them

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

finished and progress

this is the latest finished knitting project

I used the same pattern that I use for the afghan squares that I make for Close Knit Hugs, but I just kept going with this one, using up almost all of that blue fuzzy yarn that just doesn't play well with other yarns 

the completion of this project means the next knitting on the list is a Christmas project that there will be no pictures of until after Christmas -- sorry folks, you'll have to take my word for the progress on this one!

the background on this is almost done! 

and I've changed my mind about which competition this piece is going to -- which means I have about 3 weeks less to get it finished than I originally had -- uh, well, sometimes I just have to make things more difficult!

the back of it will be just these lovely black beads, however, so it shouldn't take as long to do that part as this piece took

when I posted the first picture of part of this green block, Alison commented that it made her think of the work of Piet Mondrian

as with much of my "serious" art education, I went right away and googled his name 

I can see why she said that

and I liked the look so well that I decided to springboard from where I was and just started adding squares and strips to the green one

and the yellow one too

I'm not sure exactly what this will look like when I get it finished, but it does have a title -- "Homage to Mondrian"


in terms of titles for art pieces, I have decided to title the peacock piece "Doodle Bird", and since it now has a title, today I will get the label done and then I can get this thing off in the mail for the Hoffman Challenge 


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Return to normal

once I got the laundry done yesterday, I started trying to get back into the usual routine

like working on this piece

now that the roses are finished, I'm majorly in the "slog along" of filling in the background --- and the whole back side of the purse -- and the gusset

 the curtains for my daughter's living room were not the only sewing project completed during our weekend visit

these five hats also got made

Mr Cute looks pretty good wearing his Mickey Mouse (that's "Icky mouse" in Mr Cute speak) hat --- there's also a Nemo hat there for him, a Nemo hat for one of his school buddies, a Mickey Mouse hat for the neighbor's child --- all of the boys are within a year or so in age

then there is that pink one -- wait, PINK?  well, yes, my daughter has a friend at work who has a new grand daughter, and finding a sunhat for the child has been impossible --- hope this one works!!

a few errands to run this morning, then back to the sewing of useful objects --- the DH needs a new sun hat (I got some more of that "Icky Mouse" fabric); my daughter has requested a new skirt; and Mr Cute needs shorts and summer weight pjs --- the sewing machine will be working on some of that 

and of course there will be art projects -- more on the beading and the four quilts I have in process!


Sunday, June 16, 2013

while in escape mode

while I've been hanging out with my daughter, we decided the time had come to create some new drapes for her living room

ta da!

we did four windows -- this is a great softly "drape-y" fabric -- a no-whale corduroy that was on sale and was the perfect color

the previous curtains were more of a cafe style, made of a lighter weight fabric -- and being the frugal folk we are, those old curtains became the facings and the casings and the tie backs for the new set

it's about time for Mr Cute to move to a "big boy" bed, and his mommy wanted to make him a quilt that reflects his latest interests --- big equipment!

she's putting together a split rail pattern, and this is one of the two prints --- great stuff!

when she finishes the top, I'll machine quilt it for her 

like me, she sews in bare feet -- except the petal for the older machine she is using actually gets too warm to comfortable touch with a bare foot -- so this afternoon she was wearing one pink leopard print sock

it's what the best dressed mom quilter wears!

and saved the best for last ---- Mr Cute and his mom reviewing the car section of the Sunday paper --- it's all about the cars and trucks and jeeps!

tomorrow it's back to something that resembles a normal routine --- sort of!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

the escape plan and we have an app for that

sunrise this morning -- off the deck at my daughter's house

since the DH was feeling pretty good after his surgery on Thursday, we decided to take our daughter up on her invitation to come and visit for the weekend

so we packed up the dog, closed up the house and escaped

even though it is still hot (in the 90s), her house has air conditioning and there is significantly less smoke in the air

enough smoke for spectacular sunrise pictures -- there are no clouds in that shot, just particulates in the air

the last report I heard last night was that we have lost 419 homes and there are two confirmed deaths in the Black Forest Fire --- there was actual RAIN on the burn area yesterday afternoon, and the report is there is 30% containment

these two ballpoint sketches were done yesterday morning while I was waiting for the fabric store to open -- I had begun an art piece that was fire themed last summer but had put it aside when I had some issues getting the look I wanted -- I'm going to be revisiting that

 we were so early getting to the fabric store that we had to wait for them to open the door -- I love this picture of my daughter holding Mr Cute -- I love the sun hat, especially with the sun glasses perched on top of his head 

somewhere I have a photo of my daughter, just a little older that Mr Cute is now with her sunglasses on top of her head --- 

sooooooo CUTE!!

this is a smart phone ---- going old school!

yes, I know, there is an app for post it notes

but as my daughter pointed out, it takes longer to find the app and create the post it than this old paper and pen method

I love this!  she is SO my child here

today's activities involved a trip to the fabric store and some sewing -- I'm making summer sun hats for the boys (Mr Cute and two of his friends) and my daughter is going to start putting together a quilt top for Mr Cute's new bed

time to get moving!