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.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Progress...on two fronts!




Here's some more progress on my bear. The crocheted 'doily' is one my grandmother made (she died in the early 60's, so it's pretty old). To the right of that you can see a floral spray of sorts. The blue bead in the middle is old too. I only have one and needed to find a place for it. I think this works.
The other pictures shows just some of the large plastic totes I've cleaned out!! Like an idiot I forgot to take 'before' pictures of the furnace room so you can really see the progress I'm making. Today I got rid of a whole drawer full (packed!) with doll making 'possibilities'. I know I will never get around to getting anything done with most of it, so I just kept enough to make three dolls - along with enough 'hair' for those three. The rest is gone, gone, gone!! Woo Hoo!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Bear progress





Here are the promised pictures of the progress on my bear. Since I never can figure out which order the pictures will appear on the blog, my apologies if the commentary is out of order.
The light purple bow was made using a piece of ribbon that Arlee sent me in our swap (thanks Arlee!) held down with a few seed beads. Above that I added a Noah's Ark charm I've been saving for somewhere special.
The white lace heart is one that my friend Jan made with her sewing machine! It too was being saved for something special. Right below it is a seam treatment I did using a double row of chevron stitch highlighted with seed beads. The thread used is a hand-dyed silk. To the left you can see the 'trail' of turquoise beads - already pre-strung and simply couched down.
The last picture shows a bead flower on the left which I love. The petals are beads I had in my collection with a pony bead in the centre. I'm pretty happy with it. The seam treatment on the right has a fly stitch base, lazy daisy stitches for leaves and then the flowers were done in loop stitch using silk ribbon and more seed beads. I rather like how that turned out too.
As always, you can click on these pictures to get them larger! Enjoy.

Friday, April 27, 2007

TAST - Week 17 - Running Stitch

This is a fun stitch with so many applications. It's great as a 'base' for many other stitches, particularly the laced ones. For some reason the laced stitches I did here were only scanned in black & white so I can't show the use of varying colours. You'll have to use your imagination!

Tomorrow - pictures of progress on my bear.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Interesting finds!

Sorry, folks. No pictures today...forgot to recharge the camera! However, in my circuit of blog-reading tonight I have discovered a couple of quite interesting things to see. These both come courtesy of http://www.layersuponlayers.com/ who pretty much always has something of interest. Anyway, check these out: http://damncoolpics.blogspot.com/2007/02/crazy-and-weird-houses.html and http://www.thisintothat.com/ (make sure you go through the entire gallery).

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

First Flowers of Spring!





Obviously I missed a post yesterday and really, I have nothing for today either. What a boring life I lead, right? Actually most of yesterday was spent moving 'stuff' in our furnace room so Jack could install my 'new' cupboards. Now all of my magazine collection is stored neatly away. Bonus!
We finally have some spring flowers and some sunshine too. I couldn't resist showing pictures!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, a-shoveling I will go

It seems to me I might happen to have mentioned that I might be losing it. The title of this post pretty much covers it!

See the big plastic drawer on the left, labeled 'Fibres'? See the small-er plastic container on the right? Guess what - I've downsized from a very full drawer to a little-ish box. Course I'm not going to mention the bags that are now ready to be gotten rid of and what has landed in the garbage can too. Now I have a working supply all neatly organized and not in a huge tangled up mess. Hmmm....now what shall I put in the empty drawer...can't have an empty drawer....

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Having a winding good time

OK, you now know I'm dropping off the deep end. Who else would spend the last two days winding bits of various and assorted embroidery supplies onto cardboard bobbins so they can be more easily transported (and found!). On the good side, I've emptied two large containers that once held it all in a disorganized jumble.

BTW...before you go and get really impressed here, a lot of these were already wound!!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Beautiful art!




Look what came in the mail today! I swapped Arlee from http://arleebarr.squarespace.com/designjournal for this really cool piece of her art and she included some other goodies too. Realized after I uploaded the pictures that I forgot to include the baggie of beads she sent too...sorry Arlee! I think the piece of fabric in the upper part of the picture is one she has hand dyed. I think I'm going to use it as the background for a fabric postcard.
Thanks Arlee!!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Progress

Here you can see that I've made a little more progress on my CQ'd bear. I should get more practice in on the settings on my camera, but if you click on the picture, you can get more detail. I did the 'toe' section yesterday. The rest of the work on this part was done by my friends.

Remember the picture I posted a couple of days ago of the beautiful cactus? Arlee has identified it as an 'orchid cactus'. The name totally suits it! Now I'm curious to see if the other plant I have (a gorgeous red) is the same type. I suspect it is. It's in bud right now, so we'll see.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

TAST - Weeks 14, 15 & 16


Oops. I have been very remiss in keeping up with my homework for the Take a Stitch Tuesday challenge and suddenly woke up to the fact that I haven't done any for three weeks. Not good!
Being that I have a 'push' on to finish my teddy bear round robin, I decided to kill two birds with one stone (so to speak) and do the whole three stitches right onto my piece. All three are on the darkish coloured patched on the left of the picture.
Week 14 was the bonnet stitch, which I have never tried before. It's the one covering the seam between the dark patch and the one with the square crocheted doily (made by my grandmother, btw).
Week 15 was the oyster stitch. I've done that one before but keep forgetting about it. It's the 'trail' that goes through the centre of the dark patch. I did individual 'oysters' rather than joining them because I wanted to put a bead in between each one. Like that stitch, a lot!
Week 16 is the palestrina stitch. That one I had trouble with for some reason. It's the green wavy line at the top of the patch. I couldn't manage to figure out how to make the wider arms on it...have reached the conclustion I wasn't doing it right. Either way, I rather like the result, but it sure doesn't look anything like Sharon's!!
As always, thanks to SharonB for her interesting challenge stitch each week. www.inaminuteago.com/blog

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Indoor flowers

It's too darn wet and cold for things to start blooming outside. I don't think spring is ever going to arrive. However, this cactus is absolutely covered in gorgeous flowers sitting in our living room window so that makes up for a lot.

I spent the morning shovelling out my workroom - again. Just to get it clear enough that a friend and I can actually do some work this afternoon. I haven't been creating much in the past couple of weeks but it sure has managed to get messy. I'm not quite sure what Cosmo (the cat) manages to do at night down here, but it looks like he plays in all my craft supplies and hasn't figured out how to put them back where they belong!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Mindlessness and beauty




There's going to be a lot of stash reduction around here in the next while. In that vein, I heard today that there's a need for prayer shawls in the community. I have a need to reduce my stash and I also have a need for a knitting project that requires total mindlessness. What better thing than to knit a prayer shawl (or three)? This wool is some I acquired (ie. it was given to me by someone else reducing THEIR stash). I know it's hard to see in the picture, but it's a charcoal grey with a little bit of white and pink running through it. Should knit up nice. The pattern I'm using is a free one from Lion Brand Yarn. Basically you just cast on a multiple of three (ie 54, 57 or 60). For the first row you knit three, purl three. Second row you purl the knits and knit the purls. That's it, til you either run out of wool...or get thoroughly sick and tired of the pattern. Oh yes...a pair of size 10 (6mm) needles. I'm going to try it on circulars this time, just for a change. You can fringe it, or not. If you're interested in the pattern, go to www.LionBrand.com and look for the pattern called Prayer Shawl/Healing Shawl. Lion Brand has tons of free patterns on their site, so it's well worth checking out.
The 'beauty' is my African Violets, who have all burst into bloom at the same time. I don't have a green thumb to speak of, but for some reason I can grow these (despite doing every single thing wrong that you read about in the books!).

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Stash Reduction!




Look at this...a new knitting bag! Made entirely from stash. What's even better? I have enough 'stuff' to make dozens more. They are easy and very quick to make.
The original pattern idea came from a book called 'Jazzy Jeans' by Mickey Baskett, with some additions of my own (of course). The outside pockets are all useable and it's lined with some pretty butterfly patterned flannelette. I'm pretty pleased with the end result, but I'm even happier that it has reduced my stash a little!!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Another finished project


This picture (clickable to enlarge) is of a crazy quilted round robin piece which I just finished doing my part on. The work on this piece is just incredible so be sure you look at it in a larger size so you can see some of the details.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Five Year Plan

No pictures today, so you're getting a mumbling instead. Aren't you blessed?

Anyway. We've been working on a five year plan (well actually it's more like a four year, but five sounds more ambitious). Waking up to the fact that in three months our income will drop VERY dramatically makes one tend to come to a screeching halt and make some tough decisions in life. DH and I had a very good heart-to-heart talk this afternoon and have come to the joint realization (after we both had been thinking about it on our own) that apartment living isn't something we are going to dismiss. Am I shocking anybody? Right now the only reason we can honestly say that we are staying here is my dad (who lives with us...for those of you who don't know). He is 86 and his health is failing. Realistically he won't be here in five years (or at least living in our house) and the house is simply too big for us. The yard alone is huge and, although DH likes gardening right now, he too is getting older and really doesn't want to face the challenge for too many more years.

We have far too much 'stuff' - most of which we never use. Why are we using so much of our valuable years left to us maintaining all of it? Why do we feel we have to leave it all to our kids (who we are quite sure don't want a sixteenth of it). My craft supplies alone are enough to overwhelm anybody. We have what, in effect, is a four car garage. Two cars in it and you can just imagine what else is crammed in there...most of which hasn't seen the light of day since we moved in here eight years ago and isn't likely to.

So, all this is leading to our 'plan' which is a huge relief to both of us. Looking around our possessions has shown us that there isn't a whole lot here that we are totally attached to. It's really surprising how a financial crunch will shed a whole new light on life!

OK, I'm done mumbling for now and all I can say is...bring it on!!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Poll/Survey

OK folks...come out of lurkdom and tell me what I should do with these. What are they, you say? Well - they are two pieces of a felted woolen sweater (!) measuring approximately 6 x 8". Lovely, soft and wonderful, but what shall I do with them? Please leave a comment with your ideas and be creative!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Button, button, who's got the button?


This is just part of my button collection. My 86 year old dad has just finished sorting them into colour families for me. This doesn't include my metallics or my fancy ones which probably would at least equal the ones shown here. Do you think maybe I like buttons?

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Blogs I like

Today's post is minus pictures. Sorry. I had planned to take a pic of our pretty little flowers blooming in the garden, but it's been raining...all day. Yuck.

So...here are some blogs I like that I don't think I've mentioned before. Have fun checking them out!

http://alliesinstitches.blogspot.com
http://mindblogglings.blogspot.com
www.sherresartmusings.blogspot.com
www.digitalgran.blogspot.com
http://milotis.wordpress.com
http://artjunk.typepad.com

and....for those of you who don't read YarnHarlot regularly, be sure to check out her latest post. Too funny! www.yarnharlot.ca/blog

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Mail call and How To's

Got some exciting mail today. The picture isn't too clear because I need to recharge the camera. The main one I wanted was the clog pattern and I see it's an updated version I got, which is pretty nice. I haven't compared the new to the older version yet, but it says that it's a narrower foot, which I think I will like better. The sweater is an easy knit Garter Eyelet Pullover from Vermont Fiber Designs. It calls for a bulky weight cotton blend yarn. The final pattern is a Beaded Cable Hat from Friends of Cabin Fever. The detail doesn't show up to much in this picture, but it has cables and beads knitted in.



Now for the how to I promised (for Arlee, whose work I admire a lot and she wants instructions from lowly ME...wow!). Anyway....here goes. It's the smoke technique from 'Creative Paper Art' by Nancy Welch. The first recommendation I have is to be sure you work very close to a source of water (I worked in the laundry tub)...you don't want to set your house on fire. Firemen take a dim view of that. I digress.


I coated a sheet of card stock fairly heavily with white glue using a cheap wider brush. Don't allow the glue to dry. Light a candle and move the glued side of the paper slowly back & forth over the flame. You will have to experiment to get the distance between the flame and the paper right...I snuffed out the candle a lot. I then set the sheet aside to finish drying (took overnight). I tried using a heat gun to speed things up...NOT a good idea because it made the glue bubble. Once it's dry, buff it with a paper towel to remove the excess soot. Finally, I sprayed it with a light coat of Varathane clear finish in a matte and allowed to dry. (The book suggested using hair spray or an art fixative too). Then I just cut the sheets into atc size and I was done! A very simple, but effective technique...unless, of course, you burn the house down! Enjoy.

Monday, April 02, 2007

TAST - Week 13


I don't feel as though I've been very creative with this stitch. It's not one I normally use so it was more difficult to come up with ideas.
I am thoroughly enjoying this challenge for the year and am learning lots of new stitches and the uses for them. Sharon is really making us think and stretch which I know is something I really need to do! Thank you again Sharon... www.inaminuteago.com