Sunday, December 29, 2013

wherein we discuss UFOs and an embarrassment of riches

this is the piece I've been working on -- or more exactly re-working

yesterday I finished re doing the face, but the eyes are still not quite right

I usually don't have UFOs (Un Finished Objects) in my studio -- mainly because I either finish the piece or get rid of it, but I'm pretty invested in this piece, even though I'm not totally happy with it

and usually I have at least two (or more) pieces going at once so that I can work back and forth between things when I run into this kind of issue -- but because I've worked on pretty much nothing except Christmas gifts since the first of November, I don't have anything else actually "in process" right now

so after determining last night that this was not working for me, I decided to work on beginning at least one more piece

which resulted in these two drawings

this abstract piece began as a "doodle" that I did in a little notebook that I carry in my purse -- originally it was a pen and ink drawing of random shapes in black and white

blowing it up and printing it on a full sheet of paper and then using colored pencils to play with different ideas resulted in this "color wheel"

I'll need to figure out how big I want this to be so I can print out the pattern then it will be off to the fabric stash to find some fabrics to do this with

and this drawing, based on a photo I took back in November in our back yard

this one too needs to have some decisions made about sizing

these both give me something immediate to concentrate on while my subconscious works on the problem with the dog piece

and this piece is somewhere in the future

but given the issues I'm having with the current dog piece, I'm deferring this one while I work out the "how tos"

and I'm wondering if I can do something with this picture too

I've learned my lesson -- even when I have Christmas projects to work on, I need to keep working on my art projects too, to prevent this sort of artistic "break down" in the future
yesterday I finished unpacking all the goodies that I brought home from our Christmas gathering

my daughter got a new drawer unit to store her scrapbook tools and supplies in, which meant she had a couple of drawer units she had outgrown -- which she let me have

I did have all of this thread in one big plastic container, which made finding something specific time consuming, so being able to sort them out this way should make that process a little easier

my family got me some very cool goodies for Christmas -- art supplies, inspirational reading, new tools for projects and some other neat stuff

it will be fun to put all of these to good use!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

the Christmas project reveal

as I worked on Christmas presents there were a number of them that I could not publish pictures of  either because I couldn't get a good picture at the time, or because the person they were intended for reads here and I didn't want to ruin the surprise

for my daughter a lot of those things came from the nightly knitting time -- a cardigan sweater that has some really interesting cabling patterns, a sea otter that she promptly named "Belle" and a pair of boot socks -- my first (and probably only) pair of socks -- which I was pleased to see actually fit

the embroidery feature of my sewing machine was put to work creating some new towels for my daughter's house -- the kocapelli towels for their downstairs bath room and the yellow with black for the kitchen -- I had made some similar items for them five years ago when they moved into their house, and some new ones were in order
there was some straight up sewing that went on too -- a pair of "designer" pants for the DH and a matching pair for Mr Cute as well as several pairs of flannel pj pants for Mr. Cute and the adults in the group
this is the quilt I made for my son in law based one one of his paintings -- I brought home the one I had made him back in 2009 -- I will be putting a new backing and new binding on it so it can continue to be used

from the garage workshop of the DH, and the sewing machines of both my daughter and I, the "Santa" presents were pretty impressive
resulting in a very delighted little boy doing a lot of cooking in his new "kitchen"

now that we're home, I'll be pulling out all of the new goodies I got and talking about them in the next post

time to get busy unpacking!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Monday, December 23, 2013

nothing better than brand new mittens!

Mr Cute had outgrown the mittens I made for him last year --- no big surprise

so his mama measured his hands and I made him a new pair -- took me just a couple of evenings, and I have to say I can't recall ever seeing a kid so excited about something as simple as a pair of mittens

I did do them in his favorite color -- bright orange -- I'm thinking that helps!

I'm making progress on the new face for the Couch Puppy quilt -- because what I'm now cutting and stitching is very different from what I had done before I couldn't draw it right on the piece I had used before, so I decided to draw the new face on a piece of parchment paper and use it as a "foundation" to create the new face

when I get it all finished, I'll remove the paper from the back and applique the face as a whole to the rest of the quilt

I'm beginning to get more excited about this as I go along because I think I'm going to be much happier with the "new and improved" version

I think this is going to be the next piece in the "Slice of Life" series -- this beautiful dog came to the family along with the son-in-law, and I have always loved her unusual eyes

now that I have a smart phone I take a lot more pictures with it, and I caught this amazing head shot of her recently

I think this might be a bit easier to do than that black dog I'm working on right now!

Friday, December 20, 2013

time to work on some art

the last secret knitting project is finished (although in my excitement last night, I forgot to take a picture of it so I'll have to do that on Christmas day because it's already wrapped!)

and yesterday I baked cookies from a recipe that I haven't used in a very long time -- it was a lot easier to do than the last time I made them, because now days I have a stand mixer and a food processor!

you may recall that I said I was not happy with the way this was turning out 

yesterday I removed all of the pieces of the face, leaving only the body and the green collar

today I hope to start reworking and putting in the new pieces so it will have more definition --- it's sort of like paint by number -- only with fabric

hopefully that will be a lot more satisfactory!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

progress, packages and better art

the garage workshop is still in full production mode

some of the finer, fiddly details of some projects call on my abilities to think up ways to create the look of reality

these are the nobs for the play stove we're creating

these are recycled materials salvaged from some other wood projects that were taken apart, these are wood wheels that have had their center holes modified for the carriage bolts, painted and then it was my turn to use my little micron pens to do the lettering on each one

the nobs for the burners say Off, Hi, Low, Med; while the oven on (painted bright red) has actual temperatures

I created a template for the DH to use when he does the drilling later today so we know they are spaced evenly too

this project is getting very close to finished!

my knitting project is moving right along too -- I should be able to get it all done before Christmas -- Yippee!!

on Monday I took these two packages and stood in line to mail them off

we stood in line for about half an hour, but we were with a pleasant group and the weather was warm, so it wasn't a bad experience

after some consultation with some of my artist friends I've decided to made some pretty big changes to the couch puppy quilt piece

these are the black/gray fabrics that I pulled out of the stash yesterday afternoon

now let's hope I can do with them what I see in my head!

time to get busy -- need to get those packages wrapped and bake some cookies

Sunday, December 15, 2013

new work, old issue

back in the days when I made collectible teddy bears, I was sometimes asked to create a black teddy bear

I did a few of them, but I hated doing it

it's been a while -- I forgot why I hated doing it

this project has made me remember

the problem with doing a black bear -- or a black dog -- is to get the necessary definition in the face that you can tel what it is you're looking at

I'm not happy with the way this looks just now, so I need to figure out a way to fix it

meantime, when we were out running around I saw something that looked a lot like this

someone had hung a hub cap on the branch of a bare tree

if I were the person that lost the hub cap and I drove past that spot often, I'd be pretty pleased to see that someone had thought enough about it to put that where it wouldn't just get run over and smashed

from an artist's point of view, this is pretty humorous -- this might even rise to the level of becoming another piece in the "Slice of Life" series -- we'll see

I'm working on Christmas projects, I'm getting close to being finished -- I think

things are looking good!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Explaining the Radio Silence

while we were at my daughter's for Thanksgiving, she pointed out to me that part of the fun of Christmas for her is being surprised by what other people are getting when we open presents

so in an effort to give her a bit more of a surprise on Christmas day, I have instituted a "no talking about Christmas projects for anyone" policy here on the blog -- at least in terms of things she doesn't already know about

which also means at this time of year there is a whole lot of what I'm doing that I can't talk about

just brace yourselves -- the post I'll make right after Christmas day will be full of "look what I made" pictures!

this is a project she does know about

direct from the garage workshop -- the little stove is taking shape

we were beginning to worry about being able to get this finished in time when the temperatures dropped to almost freezing INSIDE the garage and we weren't sure the paint would ever dry, but the DH has been running his little barn heater out there and yesterday the basic structure was glued and screwed together

today he'll start working on the fill and sand work needed before the paint goes on the outside (note the inside of the oven has already been painted black)

looking good!

there is still some serious Christmas knitting going on, to be revealed later, but some afghan squares are still being done too, and this is the latest one -- this actually includes five different yarns -- I'm using up bits and pieces that were left from other projects here

I have been able to squeeze in some work on the art quilt I've been working on too -- not the best picture in the world (ok, there IS a limit to what you can do in a badly lit room with a cell phone camera!) -- but you can tell here that the wall, the floor and the couch are done and I'm slowly adding the pieces of the dog

I'm actually getting pretty antsy to get back to working on art just as soon as I finish the last few Christmas projects!!

we have a cotton tail that hangs out under our big blue spruce tree

during the last week's snow and cold I've seen him several mornings as I've gone out for the paper 

he seems pretty okay with my getting pretty close to him, so I was able to snap some pretty good pictures of him one morning as he had nestled down into the snow and was enjoying some sunshine

I have an idea for another art quilt as part of the "Slice of Life" series that will use this photo

well, projects are calling, so it's time to get busy!

Saturday, December 07, 2013

The Christmas Season Arrives!

the tree is up!

decorating a tree for us is a walk down memory lane since so many of our ornaments are one of a kind artist created pieces and over the last 30+ years we've accumulated a lot of them but we still remember the stories behind almost all of them

the top of the bookcase even got cleared off and some snow globes, music boxes and figurines are arranged there

and then there is the village

these little cardboard houses were my grandmother's -- she used to set it up on top of the piano every year

a few years ago my mother gave them to me, and I added a string of LED lights

one of these days I'd like to build a more sophisticated structure for this that will let me hide the cords and add some additional things to it

and out in the garage, Santa's workshop is busy building things

the items I'm working on at the sewing machine are intended for someone that reads this blog, so pictures of those will have to wait!

I'm working on a new art quilt that is titled "Couch Puppy"

most of the couch is done, and I'm starting on the dog pieces --- moving right along

today we are going to venture out to go to the hardware store and the grocery store -- Santa's workshop needs a couple of things, and we need fruit and some other odds and ends

time to get to that

Thursday, December 05, 2013

back again

we went to our daughter's house for Thanksgiving -- lots of projects worked on there and some fun time with Mr Cute!

the making of some salt dough projects for instance -- here we are, "gooma" showing him the fine points of rolling out the dough

reading at all times of the day is a big favorite

he caught me early in the morning for a couple of favorites and took a break from playing fireman (don't you love the way he wears his fire hat?!) to have papa read one to him

we have our own version of Black Friday shopping -- a trip to the fabric store and a couple of other places

here papa and Mr Cute are taking a walk from one store to another

we're home again -- but I picked up a cold while I was away, so I feel like I'm working in a fog -- ick!

so I'm working slower, but still working -- the dino is done and the sewing of Christmas pj pants is moving along

in the garage workshop the DH is moving along on a project for Mr Cute too

most of what else I'm working on for Christmas I can't show you right now -- I have readers they are intended for!

I can show you these, however --- two wool hats that will go to the Cheyenne River Reservation next fall and two more afghan squares for Close Knit Hugs

I'm working on a new art quilt -- the second in the series "Slice of Life", but I don't have any pictures yet -- maybe tomorrow

it's cold here -- 3 degrees at 10:45 a.m. as I write this -- and we were out around 7 a.m. when it was -3 degrees to shovel a single path on our walks (which have already been snowed over again) -- we knew this storm was coming, so we did shopping on Tuesday and are stocked up and prepared to just stay put until next week

our plan for today is to bring the boxes with the Christmas decorations in from the garage (which is a balmy 40 degrees!) and set up our little Christmas tree in the family room

time to get to that