MAGPIE'S MUMBLINGS

A blog about my interests, which include crazy quilting and various and assorted other artsy pursuits and sometimes known to contain mumblings of a random nature.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Hmmmm...

...this was NOT the picture I wanted to show you today! However, aren't these poppies pretty?

The picture I had hoped to share was a scan of the cool technique that Sue taught us at CQTeers. For some reason unknown to a computer illiterate such as I, the scanner part of my machine refuses to work. It will photocopy and print things from the 'net, but no way will it scan. Sigh. I really did want to show that technique too!! Maybe tomorrow...

Sorry I wasn't here yesterday (did anybody even miss me?). We spent most of the day helping friends move so I didn't have time for the computer at all. Tomorrow is Canada Day so is a holiday in many places. We're going to the city to collect #1 son and his girlfriend for the weekend and hoping the traffic won't be too bad. Happy Canada Day everybody!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Quickie!

I thought I'd better put you out of your misery and fess up as to what the mystery flower is. It's on our catalpa tree at the front of the house (Jan got it right!). Jack started the tree from a seed and this is the first year it's bloomed.

No pictures today, because we have company & I'm doing this on the fly. Had the day at our CQTeer meeting and exchanged some pretty cool stuff. Pictures will follow - hopefully tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Boob spearing and celebrity status

Bet that header got your attention, didn't it! There would have been a picture of my doll today, but I didn't want to put you through the pain and suffering that I just know you would experience if I showed the fact that I am stitching things onto her poor boobs at the moment. Aren't I nice to think so kindly of your inner sensibilities? Thought so!

The picture is of the latest flowers to bust open in the garden. These have a very dry bud (reminds me of paper...or strawflowers) which you can see in the picture as the brownish 'things' on either side. Then the flower suddenly pops out the top and is such a pretty yellow. The goldfinches absolutely adore these when they go to seed.

As for celebrity status, we are going to be 'interviewed' for one of the local papers regarding the garden tour. Actually they want to interview Jack, but he flatly refuses unless I'm there to act as mouthpiece. After all it's my fault that he got into this in the first place! Guess we can blame all this newspaper brooo-ha-ha on the historical society because they are the ones behind the advertising. Hey, maybe we'll be front page news!!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Mystery flower and Studio Friday


Pictures today! First - can you guess what the flower is? I'll tell you in a couple of days, but take a guess and see if you get it right. Post your answer in the comments!

The other picture is of something totally uninteresting to look at, but the story behind it is what I want to tell. This week's Studio Friday topic is 'Family'. Since it must be something that is in your studio I finally settled on this. How do I connect family and an ironing board you ask? This ironing board belonged originally to my grandmother and was used for many years. Then my mother used it until I got married and passed it down to me. It's rickety and the top doesn't fit into the store-bought covers, but I love it. I like it not only because of the history it has, but because it is higher than any of the more modern ironing boards. Since I'm tall, I appreciate that height. Now, before you all go getting ideas that I like to iron, I have to burst your bubbles and admit that the only thing I use it for pretty much is to press things for crafts! I absolutely hate ironing and avoid it at all costs. If it isn't permanent press I don't buy it!

Have fun guessing the flower!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Sign making

Sorry, no pictures again today, mainly because what I've been doing isn't exciting enough to show (yet). Jack wants a sign to welcome people to our garden so I've been busy 'designing' something, which he, in turn, has to do his part on before it's ready for viewing. I'm not quite sure where he plans on putting it!

I've also finished up my 'homework' for the CQTeers (again can't show it til later). Now that leaves me free to go back to work on my doll. It would be nice if I were able to finish it before the CQT's meet on Wednesday, but I think that's pushing it.

Yard sales were rather blah this morning. It's funny how the quality of the merchandise has gone so much downhill over the past couple of years. We are seeing more and more just plain junk that really belongs in the garbage. I don't know what people are doing with their good junk, but it certainly doesn't seem to be appearing at yard sales anymore. It's a pity, but easier on our pocketbooks!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Cactus magnificence!

Take a look at this flower! Guess it must like our front window sill. I have no clue of what sort of cactus this is, just that it's very large and very pretty. There are at least four other buds on it too, so we should have a shot of beauty for the next few weeks.

I know, I know there are still no photos of finished work. I'm working on a few things for the CQTeer exchange next week, but I don't want to post pics until after the meeting so I don't spoil the anticipation factor.

Ended up having my mammogram this morning. There was a cancellation and they called me in. 'Course they had a fire alarm in the midst of it all, which made life interesting for a few minutes. At least the nurses didn't go tearing out leaving my boob stuck in the machine! One test down, several more to go.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Internet hiccups...or maybe heartburn?

OK...so I spent untold moments of my day trying to get the internet to work so I wouldn't fail my loyal (hah) readers and not give them their daily dose of mumbling. It's now my bedtime and guess what? It's finally working! ARGH!

I did manage to get some actual work done today (finished my RR piece and have it ready to mail off tomorrow). No pictures because I don't want to spoil the surprise in case Jan is reading this!

The other 'highlight' of my day was going to the doctor for my yearly check-up. I have never been quite able to figure out why they bother telling you to put on that stupid little 'cover-up' when everybody knows the only part of you that ends up staying covered is probably the two inch span above your boobs and below your chin! No room for modesty! Have to do the dreaded poop sampling thing too...yuck. Don't mind the actual sampling part...it's the not being able to eat certain things or drink certain things or take certain meds for 'x' number of days prior and during. Pain in the butt (pun intended). And not only that, another mammogram is in my near future, along with a bone density and who knows what else they're going to be snooping around in my blood looking for. I have an overwhelming desire to put some purple dye in my piddle sample, just to see what they'd do....

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Progress had been made

Mermaid now has part of her tail and her arms partially done. Hopefully enlarging it will give you more of the detail. She is still lacking hair and her tail fins, plus a lot of the finishing details. Do you suppose I would get in huge trouble if I were to give her short hair? Pretty much every mermaid I've seen has long hair, but I really want to do something different. She is going to sit on the shelf for a few days though, in order that I can get caught up on a CQ round robin I'm in, plus I need to paint a sign for the garden before the tour. I also need to work on my homework assignments for the CQTeer group because the meeting is next week and I've barely begun. Typical - last minute, that's me!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Curious Cats!


Funny how it took Mitzy two seconds to stick her curious little body into this! 'This' is my progress on my yo-yo quilt, which I did a little work on today at a sew day with a couple of my friends. Another friend (Donna) gave me the plastic bag full of pre-cut yoyos which I am gradually working at. It's probably another of those projects that will take years to complete! Hopefully there are enough to make a quilt from, at which point I will most likely donate it to The Quilt for them to use as a fundraiser. This picture was taken on my workroom floor (the only clear space at the moment!) hence the puddy tat being so curious.

Spent the morning doing the inventory of the books for the quilt guild library. It's a rather monumental task considering there are pretty close to 300 books. Since I am giving up being librarian, I had to teach the four newcomers, which took a little longer. Either way, I'm glad its over. Then I had my sewing friends here this afternoon, which was my reward for all the work this morning!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Rainy days and Mondays....

There isn't much happening today around the mumblers house, other than the dogs have gone out for their grooming and will come back minus a considerable amount of hair and will no doubt feel cooler.

Nothing has been done of a creative sort either, so...I give you some sites you might like to check out. These are a few of my favourites, along with one or two that I just plain find interesting.

- http://www.ashesandsnow.org Click on the basic experience and then on portfolio. I don't know why but these photographs grab me

- www.inaminuteago.com There is a lot to explore on this site. Her blog is generally quite interesting with lots of links to other places. She also has a wonderful stitch dictionary which I have made use of many times.

- www.violette.ca/blog.html Violette is an artist (Canadian too!). I love her style and really wish I had a quarter of her ability with art

- http://www.kerismith.com/blog Keri is the author of the book "Living Out Loud" (which is on my wish list) . She doesn't post on a daily basis, but I find her writing to be very thought-provoking

-www.yarnharlot.ca Of course!

- http://www.vintagevogue.com A commercial site, but generally pretty interesting

- www.dollartists.ca The site for the Canadian Doll Artists Association, which I belong to

- http://www.art-e-zine.co.uk I absolutely love this site and have spent (and will continue to spend) hours exploring the art here.

There you go! That ought to keep you busy on a rainy day...enjoy.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

It's a 'must see'....

...Jack's garden, that is; at least according to the local newspaper. It's quite laughable to watch his reaction to all this. He's busily protesting about the whole thing and claiming total disinterest. I know better! We went down to get a ticket this morning (just so we could see what they said about it), but they aren't available yet.

Still nothing artistic being accomplished. Today is quite hot so don't feel like doing much of anything. Went to a few yard sales this morning & picked up a black wire teapot for out in the garden somewhere and two really cute little cat figurines which will reside in my workroom...somewhere. Oh yes, and a tiny little lead crystal bowl - just right as a vase to hold one little flower.

Our next home improvement project is to paint the kitchen. We picked up the special primer this morning, but can't put it on until after we've sanded (!) the walls. I've never sanded a wall in my life! However, we need to do that in order to have something for this primer to adhere to, mainly because of there being multiple layers of oil paint beneath at least two layers of latex. Explains why the paint is flaking off! It's going to be fun.

Studio Friday has "AHA Moment' as the topic this week. I'm still thinking on that one....

Friday, June 16, 2006

Boring 'ol flowers....again


More flowers, which just goes to prove that absolutely nothing has been achieved along the creative line. Any time I had yesterday I spent pretty much staring at what I need to do and is more commonly called spinning my wheels. I finally decided that most of my problem might be due to the fact that my work table is *very* cluttered and that just might be stifling my creative urges. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it! This morning I intend to do some shovelling and see if that helps.

These flowers are currently putting on quite a show. The blue/purple ones are some sort of iris, but we're not sure which
kind. That's what happens when the plant arrives on our back step and not bearing a name. Initially we had several different shades of the oriental poppies, but the only ones that have survived seem to be this pretty salmon color.

Jack had to break down and water yesterday, which is hard to believe after all the rain we've had. A lot of the plants were absolutely fainting for wont of a drink. It appears we're in for another heat wave.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

On peonies and love


No progress on the doll today, so I give you garden pictures instead. The first picture is of a flower called 'Love-In-The-Mist', which is one I especially love. Of course I'm partial to blue which is probably why I like these. The foliage is so airy - reminds me of something fairy-ish.

The peonies are starting to burst open. We have three varieties, a pale pink, a white, and this deep pink. I have to say that this one is my favourite. Now we just have to hope we don't have any heavy rain or wind storms to knock them down.

We just had a lady here taking pictures for possible use as promotional photos for the newspaper. I think they are using one in their ads for the tour. She told us that one of our favourite garden 'spots' is going to be on the tour too, so that will be fun. I think we will be able to go on a preview tour the night before so that we aren't left out on tour day. I'd hate to miss the rest of the gardens!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Answered my question!

Yep...just as I thought. Nobody reads this.

Today was somewhat disjointed and nothing much creative got done. I did start the sleeves on my doll, but didn't get a chance to take a picture. I got my birthday present a bit early from my friend Carroll (it's also in payment for my becoming an artist in residence for a couple of days to stencil her wall with a repeat of what I did probably ten years ago). She gave me a color consult for our kitchen, which is quite difficult to do on my own. So far we've painted it three times and hated it every time. We'll see what this does.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Progress...


It's taken me over an hour to paint her body before I was satisfied. I had originally gessoed her with the thought in mind that I would sponge watercolor paints on top. Nope. Watercolor paint just faded and looked murky. Ok. Thought process. If watercolors didn't work, acrylic folk art paints would...right? Well, they did, but I still wasn't happy. Thought process. Aha! What if I covered it with sponged Twinkling H2O's? Better. More thought process. If a little H2O was good, how about more? In a different color? Risking making 'mud' (which too many color choices often do), I chose a color called Snap Dragon and eureka! If you enlarge the picture you might be able to see the swirls on her, which were made when I 'drew' on her with art masking fluid before I painted. You can also see the lace bits which I glued on before she was gessoed, so that her body would have some texture. You can also see her face, which I am much happier with. Now it's on to making her tail and her sleeves.

What do you think? Do you like seeing progress pictures, or would you rather wait for a big unveiling? Do you want to read about the techniques I use? Then again, asking questions assumes that anybody even READS this. Hmm, I wonder.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Guild meeting and Studio Friday topic (Kym don't read this!)

Sorry folks, no pictures today. I haven't had time to take any! Today was our final quilt guild meeting for the year and, as usual, I ate too much. We have a potluck lunch and by the time over a hundred women bring goodies, it's simply too much. My eyes are always bigger than my stomach ought to be! It was a nice and fun meeting and my last to act as librarian. I won't know what to do with myself next year. After at least five years I think it's time someone else had the pleasure of the job.

I think we shocked the general populus of the guild when Kym, Irene and I (known today as the CQTeer Babes) displayed our wild & funky bras. There was a great deal of laughter, so I think people enjoyed it. I'm sure there were a few straight-laced people who were a bit disgusted, but it's their loss. We had fun. Hopefully I'll be able to post a picture of our efforts later on. The ultimate aim out of all this was for us to create a small quilt (using photo transfers of our bras) for donating next year to THE QUILT.

Now, despite the objections of certain of my readers, it's on to the topic for Studio Friday - which is 'favourite art supplies'. After some thought, I realized that my favourite would have to be my books, followed closely by my beads. Since I have already posted a picture of my book shelf (and because 'certain' people are fed up with studio pictures) I won't bore everybody with another picture. Neither will I bore you with a picture of my beads! I also don't think I'd better bore you with any details about 'Try-It Tuesdays'.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Yes Virginia, this IS a doll

...or will be at some point, I hope. I think you can see from this that she has been beheaded and that her new head looks much better than the old one did (trust me). Her tail is to the right of the picture and is CQ'd (would I do anything else?). The material she has her hand on will be her flukes with the green in front & the mottled blue being her sleeves. At least such is the plan at this moment, subject to change should something else strike my fancy. Today I hope to paint her face and start the painting on her body. Stay tuned for more pictures.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Nightime flower

I'm not quite sure how clear this image is because I had to take it at night. These flowers, which we call Moonflowers, only come out at night. They are such fun to watch! If you are patient enough (and don't mind getting eaten by mosquitoes) you can see them open. First they start to quiver a little bit and then, over a period of about 20 minutes, they open up. Last year our plants bloomed pretty much the entire summer, each and every night. Their only draw-back is that when they come up in the spring they look just like dandelions and you are very tempted to haul them out. We have even had visitors make the move to pull them for us, thinking they were weeds. Gives them a real start when they get yelled at!

Still working on my doll. Yesterday I re-did her head because I didn't like the one that came with the pattern. Poor thing got beheaded! She has boobs now, because I didn't like the original chest. Now I have to muster my courage up to start painting her face...I can NEVER get both eyes to look the same. I will post pictures when I get something worth looking at!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

More of Jack's garden



Guess you can tell I haven't had time to do any work of my own can't you? Not that there's anything wrong with garden pictures, but if you're checking this blog hoping to see craft content I'm sorry to disappoint you! I just haven't had time to do any creating lately. It's not for lack of wishful thinking though. I have done a little work on my mermaid doll, but it just isn't to the point where you would want to see it.

I got my teddy bear back for a few days and, as usual, I'm in awe of the work my friends do. We are each doing a CQ bear in a round robin format, which is such fun and will be a treasure to have when we're done. Each of us gets to work on the project twice before our bears come home to be finished and made into bears. Mine is a tone-on-tone ivory background, which leaves lots of room for creativity in colour choices. I'm not normally an ivory-type person, but I thought he would go with any room decor for many years to come. I have to finish up my work on Jan's piece and then will ship them both off to BC to begin the second go-round.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Nature's Beauty


Aren't these flowers beautiful? They're just part of the display in our back garden right now. I especially love the yellow roses (one of the few plants that were here when we bought the property). They smell absolutely wonderful. I much prefer the old-fashioned roses just because of that. I think they've bred out the smell in favour of fancy blossoms. I've always had an affinity for single blooms. The oriental poppy has it's first bloom of this year and is another favourite of mine.

Blogger has been down for most of the day, so my post is late. I've just come in from taking pictures of Jack's moonflowers, which I'll show you in the next couple of days. They, too, are beautiful. However, in the few minutes it took to snap a couple of pictures, I got eaten by numerous mosquitoes. I hate those things and they are soooo b-i-g this year. I think God must have created them just to keep us humble!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Two Cats....


...In A Bag, Yowling to Get Out. That's the title of my CQ'd bra and, technically, I guess I would have to say that is the way my breasts feel, especially in the hot weather! I know, too much information. Several members of our quilt guild have created bras to show at our final meeting this month. Of course we might just shock the masses so much that they will drum us out of the organization!

Further on the topic of breasts, today I received my catalogue for 'The Quilt', which is always exciting. 'The Quilt' was conceived by Carol Miller approximately 8 years ago. A breast cancer survivor herself, she decided she would like to auction a few quilts to raise money for breast cancer support. Little did she know that her idea would grow until there are approximately 420 quilts donated each year and that well over a million dollars would be raised. Each quilt is donated, either by individuals or groups, and is auctioned off on-line. Some of the quilts travel across Canada and some remain on exhibition in Stratford, Ontario. If you are interested in learning more, seeing the quilts for auction, or placing a bid go to: www.thequilt.com My quilt is called 'All I Want For Christmas' and is #400.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Mondays...and computers

Well, it's Monday and my computer is so sllooooowwwww. I don't think there will be a picture today folks, unless I can manage one later on today. I really don't know what's up with this computer. I've had a week of 'goodness' and now it's back to refusing to load the internet. It's just plain contrary!

Jack is out cutting the grass - again. We're not sure whether to blame the weather or the fact that he put the good CIL fertilizer on! We are definitely on the garden tour (July 9) so that means extra work for him. Two ladies were here last week and raved about everything (in between muttering about the decided abundance of very large mosquitoes!!). We understand that the neighbours at the corner have an unused pool, full of water, algae AND nesting mallard ducks! It's a prime breeding area for mosquitoes too. Yuck.

I'm not sure what I will be tackling today, but think I will carry on working on my mermaid doll.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Studio Friday topic - Space



Studio Friday topic this week was space. Hmm. I really had to give that one some thought. What in my studio would reflect space? If you've been reading my blog (and haven't been TOO bored by the pictures) you will know that there isn't too much 'space' in here. Nowhere in the posting about space did it say you couldn't use the lack thereof, so I decided I would post a picture of where I have a decided LACK of space. I know I promised I would never show you a picture of this area, however you will just have to suffer along with me!

This is part of the furnace room directly off my working room. It is also the area where my crafting supply overflow ends up, and the area where we have our oil tank (why do we have to have the oil tank in the house??). Anyway...all those huge Rubbermaid tubs hold assorted stuff. At least five hold santa making supplies; one holds lace; another holds all the paper copies of things pertaining to our family tree. There's a huge bag of doll stuffing in there, plus two stacked filing cabinets which hold wool, my polymer clay supplies, and (wonder of wonders) even some files of things like insurance policies! Right now there are also two huge plastic bags full of fabric ready for the recycling next week. Oh yeah, there's an old microwave cabinet which has a 'mouse hole' in the front with cat food inside so the kitties can eat without having to share with the dogs. There's also an old desk in there which holds my collection of catalogs. So...my Studio Friday is all about the lack of space. If all goes well we'll be replacing the oil furnace with gas and the huge oil tank will be gone, gone, gone and just think about what I can do then!!

Friday, June 02, 2006

Of baby hats, and things

OK. I was told today that it is 'enough already' of my studio pictures. Well. I guess I was told (but I was done anyway, so it was a moot point).

Anyway...today's picture is of the baby bonnet I made. Think maybe I should have stuffed it with something so it would photograph better. Using your imagination a bit you can see a bumblebee, right? It's from a pattern I found on the internet.

Spent the day at my friend Kym's house working on another of my UFO's (a mermaid doll). She had hers done months ago and I've been feeling guilty about mine. What better time to finish her than when I'm on a UFO-kick. She's still going to clutter up my workroom, but at least she will look like a mermaid rather than yet another plastic bag full of 'stuff'!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Never been so hot!....

The weather has been hotter, but I haven't! We spent the day in the city yesterday helping our #2 son and his girlfriend move. It was hot...very hot....VERY VERY hot. I know I have never suffered more from the heat, ever. We weren't particularly overdoing it either; it just seemed anything as simple as walking was difficult. Sure do hope the next time they have to move that it's might be in the cooler weather! We convinced them they needed to buy an air conditioner last night and stayed later to help them get it installed. I don't think they will regret having it.

Today's picture pretty much shows my work desk/table (old door on legs) and the shelf above it. At some point Jack will be 'closing in' the open shelf and giving me cupboards. Above the iron you can see one of my garage sale finds - a rotating holder for baby food bottles, which in turn hold all sorts of odds & ends. There's a lighted magnifier beside that (wish it was a proper Ott one!). Just beneath the shelf I have a band of cork where I post notes to myself. Two of my art dolls also reside on the shelf, along with a whole lot of other assorted 'stuff'. Don't get excited if you notice my roll of toilet paper (no, I don't use it in the manner to which it is intended!), which is great to wipe up little bits of spills, excess glue and such. Better, and less wasteful, than using a whole paper towel. My trusty Janome is sitting on the table, ready for use. To the extreme left you can see one of my two thread spool holders.

There, folks, is my studio with all it's warts and delights. Hope you have enjoyed your virtual tour and maybe have a few ideas of things you might be able to use in your own space! Now we await the arrival of the garden tour officials to examine Jack's gardening abilities...