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.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Life!

Hi folks. Just a quick check-in to tell you that my appearances here for the next few days will be spotty at best. Life has gotten in the way of my free time. I'll be back!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

SharonB's new site!!

For anyone who is following Sharon Boggin's site (www.inaminuteago.com) and is undertaking her current Take a Stitch Tuesday challenge, she has changed her site to: http://sharonb.wordpress.com I will be changing the link in my sidebar when I get an opportunity to do so.

For those of you who don't know who SharonB is, you should! She has by-far the best stitch dictionery on the internet and regularly points us to sites that are of interest to anyone in the fibre arts. She writes very thought-provoking articles on many aspects of the art world and is the first blog I check on a daily basis. Can you tell I'm a fan?

Anyway, do check her out!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

It was inevitable....




....that I make bead soup without meaning to! The pictures are the result of my having an entire box of nicely sorted beads land on the floor. Of course, to make matters worse, it's right next to the cat litter box. YUCK! Those that landed 'In' the litter box are just going to stay there (that's just too gross to contemplate). I swept the ones up from the floor (including all sorts of cat hair & bits of litter...really don't want to think about whether it was of the used variety or not!) and picked out my favourites. The rest went in the garbage. There ARE limits!
Now I'm gonna read a book...at least if I drop that, I won't have to play five-thousand pick up!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Knitting? This blog has knitting content?! Who knew?


Oh my, I'm actually doing a knitting post! I know this blog is supposed to have at least a little knitting content and there hasn't been any for quite awhile.
This is my next project...the Einstein Coat from 'The Knitting Experience Book 1: The Knit Stitch' by Sally Melville. ISBN#189376213-0
This is apparently quite simple to knit so it should be a good project for my first garment...I hope! I have the yarn on order and will be making it in Bernat Softee Chunkee in the wine colourway when it arrives. Can't wait to start!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Are you tired of experiments yet?


This is another of my 'play with technique' results. I repeated the basics of another process I tried a few days ago, only using a different base. This one I like!
The base this time was a used (and washed) Swiffer cloth. Washing Swiffers makes them all fuzzy and not particularly useful for a second time as they are intended, however they make a great base for art! I removed all the 'fluffy' bits, which left a soft, but substantial piece. Over that I sprinkled all sorts of stuff - bits of silk ribbons, threads, fibres and even some of the 'fluff' I had removed from the original cloth. Then I sprinkled the whole thing with some embossing powder & ironed it between two pieces of parchment paper. Once it cooled I added some bits of Angelina fibres and ironed very lightly again (don't forget the parchment, or your iron will end up yucky!). This is the result. It's much more sparkly than the picture shows of course. I love it!

Monday, August 20, 2007

More experiments and further on Ms. Greer






I know I promised my thoughts on the article written by Germaine Greer regarding fabric art, but there are others who have said it ever so much better than I could, namely:
2. SharonB of www.inaminuteago.com/blog has some very interesting comments on her post of August 18th which are well worth reading.
3. and http://beyondlibraryschool.blogspot.com - entry of Aug. 18th as well
All of the above are very thought-provoking!
Now, as for today's pictures - I've been experimenting again, using a technique I found on http://ko-ok.blogspot.com I'm not at all sure I'm happy with my results, but found the process quite fun to do. Hopefully the pictures will be in the right order for you. The first step I did was to glue torn pages from a dictionary onto some cardstock. Over that I glued some torn-out black & white pictures and allowed it all to dry. Once dry, I painted on a coat of Decoupage & Collage Gel (brand name Crafter's Pick) & allowed to dry. The original instructions called for Golden Soft Gel, which isn't something I have, but thought what I had was similar enough.
The next step is to add streaks of Vaseline in the places that you want to have showing when you're done. After that I watered down some black folk art paint and painted over top with a soft brush. There's where I think I went wrong because in my first experiment the brush smeared the Vaseline around (the larger picture shows the results...not particularly wonderful).
I tried the whole process again, only this time I just gently dabbed the black paint on & allowed it to dry (the smaller size pieces are the ones I ended up with using this). The final step was to wipe using a paper towel & then a baby wipe to remove the Vaseline.
The jury is out on this one....

Friday, August 17, 2007

ARGH!!!

Post # 2 for today...
Go to http://arleebarr.squarespace.com/designjournal and read her entry! Be prepared to be insensed at the ignorance of some people who obviously miss the entire point of our art.

I am speechless and will have to think very hard about what I have to say about it. Read it for youself and read Arlee's comments. I couldn't have said it better.

More Mumblings...

Sorry, no work got done yesterday and today, so I have nothing to show...so...you all know what that means!

1. Did you read that a couple (in either Japan or China, I think) named their poor baby '@'? How weird is that?

2. Found a recipe for old-fashioned furniture polish today. I can remember my mother using this (when she polished her furniture, which wasn't often!). Pretty simple: just mix 1 cup olive oil and 1/2 cup lemon juice in a spray bottle. Shake before using. Apply to a soft cloth and use to polish furniture. It doesn't have any build-up of nasty things like silicone.

3. Just finished reading a pretty interesting book: "Maxed Out: Hard Times, Easy Credit, and The Era of Predatory Lenders" by James D. Scurlock. On first glance, this looks like it would be pretty uninteresting reading, but I found it fascinating and totally frightening. I highly recommend you get it from your local library and read it.

4. I had a fun afternoon yesterday hanging out with one of my 'cyber' friends who is a very talented needleworker. We did a show & share and then hit our dollar store where we got some beads at half the price that most other places have them for. We did a wander around Fabricland too. Lots of talking & laughing and catching up, which was great fun.

5. Something odd...tonight it was raining. That in itself is very unusual for our area this summer, however the odd thing was that it was raining on one side of our house, but not on the other. Weird.

6. After I cleaned my workroom so well for 'company' yesterday I now don't want to mess it up by doing anything. It just looks so purty right now! Every time I spiff it up I resolve that I will put things away as I use them and won't let it get so yukked up. Never happens. I might as well just face up to the fact that I'm inherently messy.

7. It appears, thanks to my friend Kym, that we will be going to see the Yarn Harlot (Stephanie Pearl-McPhee) talk on Tuesday night. This will be the second time we've seen her, and we know it will be worth it. For those of you that don't know her, she is the author of the following books: 'Yarn Harlot'; 'At Knit's End'; 'Knitting Rules'; and her latest 'Casts Off'. Anyone who knits will enjoy her books and her great sense of humour, and she's Canadian. She also has a very entertaining blog: www.yarnharlot.ca

There's the latest issue of mumblings, folks!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Cleaning and Organizing


Tomorrow I'm expecting one of my on-line friends (and her sister) here for the afternoon so thought it might be a good time to clean up a little! Although this shelving unit wasn't really too bad, I've re-organized a bunch of stuff and have everything pretty much in neatly labelled containers to make it easier to find. Of course I forgot to take a 'before' picture so you can't really see what an improvement there's been, so you'll just have to trust me!


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

More experiments


I'm really liking these! The original instructions were on a site called 'Elizabeth Creates' (sorry, I don't have the link), but I changed them somewhat to refect what I have in my stash.
The base was cardstock which I covered lightly with some coloured doll stuffing (source unknown). After that I dropped little snippets of fibres on top and sprinkled it all lightly with embossing powder. Ironed it on a low setting between two pieces of parchment paper. Wait until it cools and peel the parchment away. Then I put a light 'coat' of Angelina Fibre on top and quickly ironed again (also between the parchment papers). This is the result and, unfortunately, the camera doesn't do the shimmer on these justice!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Tiger and I....

Who would have ever thought Tiger Woods and I would have anything in common? Yesterday he won his 13th major golf tournament and today I finished my 13th denim tote! 'Course he makes a little bit more money on what he does!!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Ten minute Tute!


In the interest of not boring you overly much with yet more totes, here's a very quick atc I just whipped up.
I used one of my technique backgrounds. The little bird was done using the directions on http://paperbouquet.wordpress.com with a few variations of my own (due to not having all the called-for 'ingredients').
I have a few of those little brass stencils kicking around, including this little bird. I held the stencil against the pre-done background and rubbed a glue stick back & forth until the bird was pretty much filled in. Removed the stencil, sprinkled with embossing powder (returning excess to the bottle of course) and then heated with my heat gun. I would have liked to use black embossing powder, but my choices aren't that extensive!! This process left the bird very dimensional. I then outlined it with a fine Sharpie marker in black. I free-handed the branch (again with my trusty Sharpie!). The leaves were pretty simple...moisten some mulberry paper and roughly tear out vague shapes to represent leaves. Glue down with the glue stick and you're done. Ten minutes tops!!
Another thing I discovered today whilst surfing is this: http://artsymama.blogspot.com/2007/08/its-a-party-time.html This leads you to literally hundreds of wonderful blogs (simply by following the links) and all sorts of great tutorials and art work of all descriptions. Wonderful resource!! Have fun.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Just tote-in along


I can hear the collective groan from here...oh no, she's back doing tote bags again. Well, you just hafta do what you hafta do and, after all, Christmas is coming! Besides...which would you rather have, a picture or just me, mumbling??

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Mumblings about life, and such

You will have guessed by reading the title of this post that I haven't a thing to show today. I 'have' been working though, but what I've done isn't ready to have a picture taken. So.....

1. an interesting site if you're interested in beads: http://beadjournalproject.blogspot.com Following the links to the various artists blogs is a very pleasant way to spend some time.

2. Another site that is worth a browse is: http://philinthecircle.com/art.html

3. A very thought-provoking post is at http://www.crazyauntpurl.com Look for the Aug. 1st entry.

4. Have read some good things about using Dawn dishwashing soap (the original blue one only) and finally tracked some down (after searching for about two months). So far I've tried it to remove grease spots on clothes before laundry and it works!! Far cheaper than some of the products out there specifically made to remove grease. Next I'll try it to remove soap scum from the glass shower doors, but I'm waiting for a cooler day to attempt that one!

5. Anyone who knows me is well aware of the fact that I'm an 'organization-book junkie'. I read every one I can get my hands on, which isn't to say that I'm in any way organized, but I keep hoping! Anyway, I've stumbled on a couple of blogs that address the subject: http://orgjunkie.blogspot.com and www.thefrugallife.com

6. I was quite proud of myself today. I made a trip into our local Fabricland and only bought what I went in for (two spools of thread)!! In and of itself that doesn't sound particularly monumental, however this is Fabricland I'm talking about - you know the place - fabric, notions, buttons, sparkly things.... Think I'd better take my temperature, because I'm sure I must be sick.

7. Speaking of which (I wasn't, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't have!)...ahem...I'm struggling with whether or not to spend money on some wool AND two books. I swore (quite seriously too) that I wasn't going to buy any more craft books. However, somebody named Sally Melville is trying really hard to topple my best intentions. She's written 'The Knitting Experience (Book 1 - The Knit Stitch)' and Book 2 - The Purl Stitch. To make matters worse there's a pattern in the first one I am dying to make (actually there's a pattern in the second book too, but I won't go there). I have wanted a longer sweater (somewhat coat-ish) for a long time and there's a really nice (and easy!) one in the book. Of course, my worst enabler (and she knows who she is!!) is making one and is doing her best to convince me I need to make one too. Misery loves company and all that. I've been doing a whole lot of muttering things like 'thou shalt not covet' and 'thou havest altogether too many projects on the go already' and 'thou must remember that Christmas is coming (with the related presents requiring my time to make)'. To make matters even worse I managed to convince hubby that I just 'had' to go to Zellers and just 'happened' to wander into the wool section and (wonder of wonders!) they had a ball of the exact wool and colour I was drooling over. Get behind me, Satan...........

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

TAST...weeks 29 thru 31




I'm a few weeks behind so have been working on three stitches on this doll (which is a challenge through our CQTeers group).
Week 29 was Arrowhead Stitch (yellow). I've done this one before, but it was a first to try to make it curve around the doll. Not sure that I succeeded very well!
Week 30 was the Buttonhole Wheel Stitch (purple) which is one I always have fun with. I will be adding beads to the centre of these at some point. Lastly, week 31 was the Cast-on stitch, which I am familiar with but have only used to make flowers. This time, in the interest of trying to change things up, I decided to do them more free form. Fun!!

I have no real idea of where I'm going with this project, but I'm approaching it as a challenge to my more 'safe' traditional embroidery. We'll see what happens. Now I'm on to this week's challenge stitch...the Crested Chain Stitch (which I have never seen before). Thanks always to Sharon, for leading us and certainly for challenging us to learn new things. I'm lovin' it!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Bleach & Stamps




Today is another technique I just tried - another cheap experiment with decent results. The first photo shows 'step one': I made my own ink pad simply by using a folded paper towel flattened in a disposable plastic flat-ish container. Moisten the paper towel with bleach (not so that it's sopping wet, just nicely moist). Rubber stamp onto a dark coloured card stock & let dry. You can see the results in the first picture. Make sure to wash the bleach off your stamp!!
Let the bleach dry on your paper. Next, you repeat the process, only using a permanent stamp in (I used black Staz-On). Don't worry if you don't get the stamp exactly in place over the bleached area, because you're looking for a 'shadow' effect.
The second picture shows three examples of what I ended up with. The one on the left was when I had too much bleach on my towel and ended up with very little detail. The middle one is on a darker coloured card stock and the one on the right is on a mid-tone cardstock. I think I like the right one the best. Have fun if you try this!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Another technique!











Today I've spent some time playing around with this new technique for backgrounds. This one is fun (and cheap) to do!
In the first picture, you can see step 1: simply colour with crayons onto a piece of paper (I used sketch paper). You should colour quite heavily. After that, crumple the paper quite thoroughly. Then I painted over it with a coat of black acrylic paint, which I then removed (before it dried) with a wet sponge (or you could use a wet papertowel too). The paint will remain in the 'cracks' that were formed when you crumpled the paper. The results are shown in the second picture.
The next step is to let it dry and then place it between two sheets of paper (I used a couple of pieces of printer paper) and then iron it, using the low setting on the iron. Picture 3 shows the atcs I have ended up with. The 4th picture shows what happened to the piece of paper which was on top of the crayon batik when I ironed it. It, too, is a fun background. Hope you try this!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Oh, Great Mystery of Life!

Ok, folks, I have a puzzler for you. This was found in my knitting bag today, cozied up to my ball of wool. 'Tis a mystery of monumental proportions as to how such a thing as a retainer would be in my house in the first place, never mind IN my knitting bag!!! My kids both threw theirs out (with great ceremony, I might add) a number of years ago. Hmmmm.....walking away, scratching head in great puzzlement......

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

It's just too hot!

Me, who prides herself on never complaining about the heat, is now complaining. It's just too hot to do anything, so you'll just have to amuse yourselves today, Have fun!