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.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Studio Friday - My Collections - Part two



This is part two of yesterday's post, as promised.

I collect ATCs and this picture shows the album I keep them in with some of the cards. For those who don't know, they are mostly made of paper in a 2.5 x 3.5 inch size and are traded, not sold. Much in the way that kids have trading cards for hockey, etc., only these are handmade art. Most often they are done in themes (you can see some Oriental ones and some Halloween themed ones in the picture). The artist generally makes a few in a 'series' and numbers them accordingly (#1/4, #2/4, etc.). I usually keep one and then trade the rest of the series so I can add to my collection. It's a cheap, fast way to make (and collect!) art.

The bear is the very first one I ever got. I never had a bear as a child (plenty of other stuffed critters, but no bears) and decided I loved this one and needed to have it. As a result I became a 'collector' through no fault of my own. People noticed my lonely bear and decided that I was collecting them and therefore needed every bear they came across to live at my house. I became inundated with bears...and I don't collect them!!! I like them, but they aren't a thing I set out to collect. A couple of years ago I fell in love with a rabbit at a craft sale and almost brought him home and then thought better of it. All I need it to have a ton of them running around too! Btw, fyi - a 'bunch' of bears is called a 'hug'.

There are a couple more things I guess I should say I collect...recycled denim, as an entire shelving unit in my workroom will attest. Further to that, I also save up the old labels and design elements from denim for use in my jackets.

I love collecting old world santas too, but only ones that actually 'talk' to me. And books - craft books mainly, especially anything to do with embroidery.

There, I think that pretty much does it! The house won't hold anything else!!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Studio Friday...My Collections...part one

The topic on Studio Friday was 'My Collections' and, I guess, these are mine. I'm sure there are more, but I can't think of any at the moment.

Buttons. I love buttons. This shows only part of my collection! Some were from my grandmother, my mother and who knows where else. Jack bought me huge bag from a yard sale once and they are in amongst this lot somewhere. I won't mention that there are at least as many more containers lurking about my workroom. I cut them off old clothes and have even been known to buy an item of clothing from the thift store, just so I could get the buttons!

Blogger is being rather obtuse about publishing pictures tonight, so...part two will follow tomorrow...hopefully!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Pictures and a rant



The pictures today show the work I've just completed on another round robin piece I'm working on. The threads and buttons that look purple here are actually pink!

As for the promised rant...I have a love/hate relationship with velcro. I love it when it's commercially installed and all I have to do is USE it, however when I have to INSTALL it is when I get upset. Royally P'd if you want to know the truth! After many unsuccessful attempts in the past I thought I finally had the problem solved. They make velcro now so it has some sort of adhesive on the back. Ah Ha! That solves the problem of trying to pin the darn stuff in place and make it stay put until the sewing machine can do it's thing. NOT!! Now the afore-mentioned glue just manages to gum up the sewing machine. To say nothing about breaking the thread every chance it gets.

Now I look forward to having to hand stitch the opposite half of the pieces, because said sewing machine can't get in to do it. I remember all too well what hand sewing is like with that stuff. Oh well, I don't need that pint of blood anyway....

Friday, October 27, 2006

Life Lesson #998

Yep, I'm closing in on a thousand! Here is your lesson for today...

One should not bend over whilst one has mouth full of Listerine. It comes out one's nose.

'Nuff said.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Wanna see?

Here's the sum total of what I've managed to do today. I can't ever be accused of being an under-achiever (NOT!). Of course the fact that I was a) at a friends for coffee this morning; b) out with another friend for lunch; c) chair shopping with my Dad; d) a trip to the grocery store for fruit; and e) a little housework thrown in for good measure has no bearing on my lack of getting things done. And just how many days did you say it was until Christmas...

Dad has a rolls-royce chair coming either tomorrow or the first of the week. You know the ones that lift you up and out til you're practically standing on your feet? Sheesh...that thing looks dangerous! Oh, and it also vibrates AND has a heat device inside. How cool is that?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Promised picture

Here is what I was working on yesterday, altho the scanner didn't take a real good close-up. It's a little doll made for our CQTeer challenge for this month. We were given a set of hands and feet and could make anything we wanted. Altho it's hard to see, she has a sun for her face (an old earring), a crystal for her bellybutton and a piece of really nice furry trim for a skirt. Her hair is a fibre I had, which, when I attempted to straighten it, turned into something frizzy and wonderful. A happy accident!

The other two items are two of the Halloween theme atc's I made for our swap. I used the 'burned glue' technique for the background on the witch card and the images came from the internet. The other card is just stickers covered with a piece of plastic netting.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A picture tells all....

Well, not all actually. It does tell that I've been working and that I've been creating something out of this fabric (a blouse in a former life). If you're curious to see what it is, check back tomorrow!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Clean sweep

Before you all go and start getting excited that maybe I have managed a Clean Sweep in my house, cool it. However, with me being a firm believer in the weirdness of life, I have to tell you this. I don't know how many of you are fans of, or have even seen, a TV show (on HGTV) called 'Clean Sweep'. The premise is that a crew goes in and cleans up two messy rooms in your house. Believe me some of the houses are pretty awful! The homeowners are given 30 minutes to go through everything in the rooms and put each item into a 'Keep', 'Sell', or 'Trash' pile. Then they go through the 'keep' pile once more to be sure. In the meantime the crew is re-doing their rooms and setting up some pretty good storage systems.

All of the above is to get to the interesting part. I'm a fan of this blog: http://www.denofchaos.blogspot.com Oddly enough, she has done a clean sweep and her story about it is well worth the reading. Plus scroll down to the previous entry too. I find this blog to be interesting and, most of all, humorous. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

More on Needlework Festival

First, I must correct what I called the 'Needlework Festival'...what was once called the 'Creative Sewing and Needlework Festival' is now known as the 'CreativFestival'. Wonder why they felt they had to change the name?

The past couple of years I have to admit the show hasn't been as exciting. There are far too many booths selling such things as orthodics, cleaning cloths, aromatherapy products, and the like. What on earth is creative about any of those? It's beyond me. I suppose the reason a lot of the more creative businesses don't take part, is because it is becoming cost-prohibitive to have a booth there.

However, on the good side, there was a most interesting display of embellished celebrity jeans which are being auctioned off to raise funds for the Sick Kids Foundation. Anyone interested can go to sickkidsauctions.com to see the jeans and bid if they desire. Of course I have a vested interest in the jeans, since denim has to be my favourite thing to work with.

The Canadian Doll Artists Association had a wonderful display of dolls (another of my passions). There is such a diversity in the mediums these artists work in. Kym and I both belong to the group. More information can be found at: www.dollartists.ca They have a great gallery of dolls there (well worth having a look).

There was an ATC competition, which I was very disappointed in. There were very few entries, which is a shame when you consider the prize was a Janome sewing machine worth about $1000. Now I wish I had entered! The cards on display were wonderful though, despite the lack of numbers.

A number of the booths had beautiful wools on display and, had I been a little more flush with money, I would have come home with a kit to make a gorgeous shawl, made from mohair and hand-dyed ribbon. Aaahhh....it felt soooo nice!!

As I said before...I need to win a lottery!!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Needlework Festival



Jack took Kym and I to the Needlework festival in Toronto yesterday and these pictures are of my
'haul'. Looks like I managed to cut a bit of the pictures off. The green book/magazine at the top left is the Somerset Workshop 2...which I have been coveting for ages. The Altered Art magazine is something new (at least new to me). Diamond Glaze, which I have heard so much about and haven't been able to find locally. A cool new rubber stamp, which is perfect size for ATCs.

The second picture shows the Mini-Ephemara book (which comes with a CD)...over 400 wonderful images for art work! Alcohol Inks, which are something I've been wanting to test out, and in the middle (unfortunately I pretty much cut it off) is a can of Bo-Nash powder, which came with a large teflon sheet and a tube of repair 'stuff' for vinyl and such.

All in all, a fun day. We saw lots of things of interest and both wished we had won a lottery prior to going.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Creativity Abounds!

Yep, there's a whole lot of creativity around here this afternoon. Can we count how many things are in the mending pile? Can we count how many changes of thread required to fix said mending pile? Can we count on at least one more thing being designated to the mending pile by midnight tonight so that I don't get a full 24 hours without any looming over me? Yep, creativity abounds....

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

More on Fear

Isn't it interesting how, when you are on a topic, something comes along totally out of the blue that refers directly to what you've been thinking about? Pre-ordained? One wonders!

Anyway, after my post on Fear a couple of days ago I stumbled on this: http://www.coachcreative.com/blog/ and read the entry from October 14 titled 'Overcoming Creative Resistance'. It blew me away. It said pretty much exactly what I needed to hear - primarily about how we are continually full of "negative self-talk" which is so very detrimental in our lives, whether creatively or not. It's well worth a look if you're interested in the subject at all. I've also signed up for his twice-monthly newsletter called "Create! Create!" and have been slowly reading through his archives of free articles. His name is Dan Goodwin and I have to say I am very impressed with what he has to say. Let me know what you think!

Today it has rained (and rained, and....). Luckily I've been able to spend much of it in my workroom where I have three 'daylight' flourescent light fixtures and I can't see the dull horrible outside. Lucky me!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Another RR piece

The picture today is my part of another round robin piece which is now ready to send on. The scanner shows this a little dark, but I hope you can see the details if you enlarge it. Two of the seams were inspired by SharonB's 100 Details series (the two at the bottom) and the pansy was a free pattern published on Pam Kellogg's site and is cross stitch done on waste canvas.

Today was one of our two trips to Toronto this week. Lucky for us we don't mind city driving anymore. If someone had asked us to take them five years ago, we would have panicked. Now we do it so much it seems like old hat. The second trip (on Thursday) will be a fun one. Kym and I are going to the needlework festival and my poor, long-suffering husband is driving us down. Actually he likes going so he can people-watch. He also enjoys seeing some of the needlework because he can appreciate how much work goes into it having watched me all these years. I'm looking forward to it.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Fear

Bet that title got you interested! Actually, the topic this week on Studio Friday is 'Fear' as in what you are afraid of in life. Maybe the fact that Friday was the 13th had some bearing on why this was the topic. However, I thought I would give it a go (mainly because I have no pictures to show).

Ok..Fear...what am I afraid of (beyond the normal things of course, such as illness, lack of money, etc which is pretty much common to everyone I think). I would have to say my biggest fear is stepping outside the comfort box. You know the one that seems to keep us frozen in place and terrified to take the next step into the unknown? I find that with my artistic endeavours. I spend untold hours reading about all the latest techniques and ideas and then am totally overwhelmed with the prospect of trying any of them. Is it fear of the un-safe, or is it a fear of perfectionism? Will my work 'measure up' to the already published works?

Right now my current interest/passion is reading about the wonderful art journals I am seeing in books and on the net. I would absolutely LOVE to do one (or several), but when I sit down with a book in front of me, I am paralyzed and can think of nothing worth journalling about. I know one of the techniques suggested is to just begin. Yep. That's much easier said than done! I keep thinking that whatever I produce would be absolute junk and why on earth would anybody want to look at it (much less the time I would waste on the project in the first place). Tell me - is that perfectionism or is it fear?

Another passion I have is the many forms of embroidery and it's uses. On one hand I would really love to take one of the expensive courses offered out of England (can't remember the name offhand) but I realize I'm just plain scared of it. That, and the price is prohibitive!! Plus which, I would have to DESIGN (which also terrifies me). Me, design something of my own - not on your life! That's not to say I won't take several ideas from several sources and put them together into something, but that's not 'designing'. I'd love to take a course with someone like Judith Baker Montano or epbailey, but if it came right down to it, I wouldn't because I'd be too scared!

I have been asked to teach crazy quilting and actually have taught two classes. Won't do it again. Getting up in front of people (even those I know well) is my biggest fear. I still have nightmares about that horrible speech we had to do in public school. You know the one - you write and write and practice it at home, making sure it's at least three times as long as what it's supposed to be, and then get up to perform it, forget half of it, and talk so fast through the rest that you end up two minutes short on a 3 1/2 minute speech all while feeling a distinct urge to pee? Yep. That's the stuff nightmares are made of for me. Teaching is NOT in my future, for sure.

There, now I've bared my soul and it's your turn.....

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Snow!

Yuck. It snowed today. In case you don't know, I am NOT a winter person. I'd like snow for Christmas and maybe into the middle of January and that's enough for me.

I hibernated into my workroom and did some work on another RR piece, but have no picture yet (don't have enough done to show). I seem to be on a waste canvas kick lately, or maybe it's a hankering to do some cross stitch. It's time consuming, but I love the results.

Any of you who are knitters might like to check out http://masondixonknitting.com and look at the entry for Oct 10. They have created a pattern for 'The Perfect Sweater' and the pattern, along with some variations, is published there. Their blog is usually quite interesting too and is well worth a look-see. They also have a book out called: Mason Dixon Knitting, The Curious Knitters Guide. I have it in my library and found it to be an excellent read, along with some nice patterns.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

More 100 Details



I actually have had some time to do something fun today and finished working on my part of a round robin. This scanned rather dark, but hopefully when you enlarge it, the detail will show better. The butterfly at the bottom was one of the patterns from Pam Kellogg's site (http://kittyandmedesigns.blogspot.com dated July 21st. It's done with embroidery floss on waste canvas. The flower area and the seam treatments were all inspired by SharonB's 100 Details for 100 Days (www.inaminuteago.com). The final bit was to place a recycled earring at the top, which most likely was a garage sale acquisition at some point. Now it's on to another round robin waiting for my attention!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Thanksgiving, Studio Friday, and The Quilt


Studio Friday had an interesting topic this week the 'Variety of Bulletin/Memory Boards in Our Studios'. I actually don't have a very big bulletin board..just a 3" strip of cork running under my shelves. In case you're wondering the naked Barbies are waiting for me to have time to alter them. It's one of THOSE projects that I haven't yet gotten around to doing. They are 'artfully' displayed hanging on a toilet paper holder at the moment. I had a bright idea (which really wasn't a bad one) to hang a roll of toilet paper in my space to use for icky fingers, spills, etc. It worked in principle, until we ended up with the kids cat. Cosmo is a one-cat demolition squad and absolutely adores grabbing the end of the roll and seeing how far he can run with it. Sooo...that explains the Barbies! Let's see him try to run with them!!

The other picture shows another area of my bulletin board, showing the 2007 Call For Entry for 'The Quilt:A Breast Cancer Support Project' . I know I've mentioned it before, but in case you're interested their web site is www.TheQuilt.com and my entry for 2006 is EastB-400 (All I Want for Christmas...). I haven't checked lately to see how the bidding is going.

We had most of the family home for Thanksgiving. #1 son's girlfriend had a bad cold and opted not to come, which was too bad 'cause we missed her. #2 son and his girlfriend (and #1 son) were here, along with Jack's brother and his son. We partook of entirely too much turkey and all the trimmings of course. Tonight we had what we call 'pickins' which is the turkey carcess (minus the bones) thrown in a large pan along with the leftover dressing and gravy and heated up again in the oven. It's the absolute best%

Thursday, October 05, 2006

A picture...testing

Although this does look like a greyish-black blob, it actually shows a technique I have discovered and I love. As always, click on it and it should enlarge for you. Hopefully it will show enough detail so you can see.

How did I do it? I started with a piece of white cardstock, which I then 'painted' with a fairly uniform coat of white glue (you aim for a nice coating, but not too thick). I then proceeded to my laundry tub where I had easy access to water! Put a candle in a substantial holder (see now why I suggest being close to water?) and I put it right into the laundry tub for safety. Then you simply run the wet glue side of the paper over the candle flame until it turns black and bubbly. I tried to vary the distance I held it over the flame in order to vary the coloration in the finished product. Set aside to dry. I think my coating of glue was a trifle too thick because it did take quite awhile to dry. The instructions I worked from said that you should wipe any soot off afterwards, but I found my piece didn't have any. I think it would make a fun background for an atc or any piece of artwork.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

More nature and overwhelmed



Here are a couple more pictures from the conservation area. It was really nice to be able to go and not have to worry about being eaten alive by mosquitoes and such (now bears, wolves and cougars could be another matter!)

Yes, I feel overwhelmed at the moment and I'm pretty sure I know why. I find I get this way when the calendar is overfull and the house is a mess and I can't get any time to spend doing crafts or reading a book. I tried making a to-do list, but it too is too much for me right now. Instead I'm going to get groceries this afternoon, which means even more stuff to have to find places for. Must be a full moon?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Nature at its best



We went for a walk at the local conservation area on Sunday with the kids (and the dogs), which is where I took these pictures. I'm still more or less playing around with my digital camera and trying to learn some of the functions.

This is one of my social butterfly days where I spend more time drinking coffee with various friends than I do at home. Had my bones adjusted at the chiropractor, plus the dogs have gone for their grooming.

I'm also on a cleaning kick. Do you ever find that your house reaches a certain point in the 'scale of dump' and you just have to do something about it or you will go crazy? Right now I feel as though the whole thing is just a giant landfill with piles everywhere that need sorting, throwing, and/or filing. I know beyond a shadow of doubt that I need to get back on the treadmill and it can't be seen for boxes and assorted garbage that has been thrown in there over the summer. There are at least five boxes of 'treasures' boxed up and ready to go to charity and once that gets out there might be some room to move in there. However, how can I do anything creative when I have to shovel garbage? It's like a plague.....

Monday, October 02, 2006

The sky is falling!

Remember Henny Penny? I've decided that, instead of the sky falling, our walls are bulging. I feel like running around like Henny did, squawking "The walls are bulging, the walls are bulging". Can anyone tell me how so much 'stuff' manages to find it's way downstairs and disappear into the great abyss without the walls giving way? I dunno. It has to be one of those life's mysteries.

In case you're wondering what brought that on (you were, right?)...I've just been struggling to find places for the latest packages of wonderments I keep coming home with from my friend. She delights in buying me little things (like beads AND teddy bears) and then I have a hard time putting them somewhere. She's a dear old soul tho, likes to think she's my adopted mother, and I haven't the heart to cry uncle.

On another subject. This week on Studio Friday the topic was 'Toot your own horn'. Hmm. You know something? That's a pretty hard thing for me to do. I don't feel that I do anything particularly worth tooting about. I was taught never to be boastful so there is no way I could begin to brag about anything I make. I stumbled across this on the internet, quite by accident, and found it to be an interesting read. http://www.creativity-portal.com/cca/dan.goodwin/doubt-creative.html If you can't reach the site with that link, try www.CoachCreative.com I've signed up for the newsletter.

The 100 Details for 100 Days series on SharonB's site is over, which is really quite sad. I, for one, will miss all the wonderful embroidery details every day. The first week in January she is starting another series where we will be exploring different stitches. I'm looking forward to it!

P.S. The picture today is of some of the apples on our tree!