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, September 28, 2007

Experimenting again




I spent some time playing today and these are the results. I used 'Stitch Witch' (which I've had for years so am not sure that it's even made anymore). I painted it with a combination of gold, copper & black, using a dry brush and allowed it to dry.
The picture with the black cardstock background has a plain bit of Stitch Witch on the left (unpainted) and the bit on the right was painted. I just set the stitch witch on the paper and hit it with my heat gun until it started to melt in places. After it cooled I sprinkled it with embossing powder, shook off the excess, and hit it with the heat gun again.
The other sample was done on a recycled piece of Swiffer dust cloth. I washed the cloth, removed the 'fuzz', and then placed the painted stitch witch on top. The heat gun made both the stitch witch and the dust cloth melt in places. Again, I did the embossing step and it melted even more. Very cool!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

TAST - Weeks 37, 38 & 39

You'll have to click on the picture to enlarge it to see the details this time...my camera needs to be recharged.

These three examples have me caught up with the TAST challenge. Week 37 was the Rice Stitch with an additional variation of the Boss Stitch. I really liked these two and can see them being used many times in my work.


Week 38 was the Knotted Buttonhole, which I'm not sure about. I had a difficult time getting the tension even, so that's probably why I wasn't so happy with it. Obviously I need to practice more!!


Week 39 is the Reversed Buttonhole Bar, which you can see on the right in the picture. The top (in blue) was worked with a fine pearl cotton and obviously didn't work too well. I switched to a heavier weight for the upper pink row and am pleased with it. The bottom pink row shows two rows together, which is even nicer. I like this stitch!


Thanks again Sharon for teaching us these stitches. http://sharonb.wordpress.com

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Finished project!




I finished my beaded doll! I'm excited because there are an awful lot of beads stitched onto this thing and I thought I would never get it done. It sure has heightened my appreciation of those that bead projects such as this. This is a 'first' for me and I know there are areas I could have done 'better' but all in all, I'm happy with her. So far she remains nameless...
Further on beading - I know I've mentioned the ongoing Bead Journal Project before, but it is certainly worth another mention. If you are interested in seeing some pretty spectacular beaded projects, check it out at http://beadjournalproject.blogspot.com Be sure to follow the links to the individual artists to see what they're working on. Before you ask, no I'm not involved in the project and am just a fan. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Twinkle Toes I'm Not!


Today, against what should be my better judgement, we went canoeing. I haven't so much as been in a canoe for over 25 years but, being a good wife and knowing how much Jack likes canoeing, I put my big girl panties on and went.
Despite his protests to the contrary, that darned canoe is heavy!! Putting it on top of a van is NOT fun. Then standing around waiting for him to put a thousand and one knots in ropes holding the thing down is a lesson in patience let me tell you.
OK..we're off on our adventure. Oops...the 'tire' light is coming on which means we have a problem with a tire. Well then. We stop at the side of the road (perilously close to the traffic I might add) whilst the air gets checked. Ok...onward (gazing at the light every few seconds to see if it changed...WHY do men do that??).
The river we were going to is quite nice (as the picture will attest) and I loved just paddling along (oh...did I happen to mention I can't swim??). Saw a whole flock of geese and a blue heron. I know my shoulders will be screaming blue murder tomorrow.
Then comes 'the REST of the story', which is the point of all this babbling. We arrive back at the spot we put the boat in and Jack wedges it onto the side so that I can get out. My balance isn't the best at any time, so there I am wobbling precariously in the canoe while I'm trying to use the paddle to steady me. Looking good. First leg out. Good. Second leg...oops...the lip of my shoe and the lip of the canoe decided to lock lips and.....flailing rather ingloriously...I tried very hard to make a body-imprint into the gravel/rocks. Jack, of course, being ever helpful, tried his level best not to laugh and, I have to admit, did a fairly good job. Only I could manage to not get wet until the very end!
I'm too old for this!! I won't mention how many places on my body hurt right now....and.....remember those big girl panties I mentioned at the beginning? Yep, you haven't lived til you have to drive nearly an hour...wet!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Mumbling, or not

My 'project' isn't ready to show quite yet, so I shall mumble instead.

I've been spending a fair amount of time on the computer the past few days (having over a week of 'no-computer' tends to lead to heavy-duty withdrawal and I need to top myself up again). Anyway...several of my favourite blogs/sites have been talking about pretty much the same subject (must be a phase of the moon or something). It seems that many people are feeling a great deal of dissatisfaction with their creative lives, for various reasons. They seem to be feeling overwhelmed and not worthy. Oddly enough, they have been putting into words exactly what I seem to be feeling too. Weird. Of course their words are much better at it than what mine will be, but I need to have my two cents worth on the subject.


What consitutes being an artist anyway? Where and how does one cross the line between being a crafter and an artist? Is a crafter one who follows a strict pattern/instruction/how-to? Is an artist the one who creates strictly on their own? What do you call the person that is part-way in between...someone who works outside the 'pattern box' ? I seem to fall pretty much into the latter category, but so much want to step outside. Is it because I'm so comfortable where I am...is it fear of the unknown....or is it because I simply don't have the required talent? Am I too much of a perfectionist and crowd-follower? Do I rely too much on the opinion of my family and friends, who are mainly supportive but look askance at the few things I have managed to do that are 'outside-the-box'. Is it because I'm a child at heart and look so hard for positive strokes, forcing myself to do the expected in order to earn approval? Do I have a fear of 'wasting' perfectly good supplies on something that has a pretty good chance of being a flop? All are questions I really wish I could answer for and about myself.


On another subject --- I'm trying to force myself to actually *use* supplies I've had in my stash for ages and saving for the inevitable rainy day or a better project to come along to do them justice. It is incredibly hard! I never thought I would be having such a struggle with the concept. It's like making notes in books (gasp!). I very nearly hyper-ventilate at the very thought. 'What do you MEAN...fold down a page????!!" "You're laying that book down OPEN??!!!" ok Mary Anne, you can breathe now.....


During my surfing around the computer I discovered the following site and have found some pretty excellent reading on there... www.comfortqueen.com Lots and lots of thought-provoking stuff and well worth the exploration. She's written several books too and I have them all on request from the library. Hopefully they can find them through inter-library loan.


http://dollmakersjourney.com/carson.html if you want to see some really cute dragon patterns (don't ask what dragons have to do with this particular post, cause I have no idea).

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Sorry....


....I didn't manage to get enough time today to have my current project ready to show you, so I'll show these instead. These are for our CQTeer swap coming up next week. Last month I wasn't able to attend the meeting and didn't share the 'travel' theme you can see on the upper right. The atc on the bottom is the current theme (CSI-Forensics). The piece on the upper left is what I might be teaching this time (or is it next time...not sure). It's a crayon batik technique and is quite fun to do.
I hope to have my other project done by the first of the week so stay tuned!

Friday, September 21, 2007

oops...

...forgot to mention which stitches these are! Week 32 was the Crested Chain stitch and is worked in blue on the sample (right). Week 33 was the Scroll Stitch and is in the dark pink. Week 34 was the Portugese Stem Stitch and is in yellow.

Week 35 was the Shisha stitch, which I haven't done yet - simply because I know I have some shisha mirrors here somewhere and can't put my hands on them! Finally, week 36 is the Cable Chain Stitch which is on the left in the sample in two shades of blue.

I've done the Shisha stitch before, but the others were all new to me and a real fun challenge to learn.

Of TAST and trees....




You know how they say that pride goeth before a fall? Well, I was feeling quite proud of myself that I had caught up on the TAST (Take A Stitch Tuesday) challenge that SharonB has been doing with us all year and then (the fall) my computer had to go in for repairs and now I'm behind again! Oh well, my intentions are good anyway and I'm committed to seeing the challenge through for the year, not only because I said I would, but because I'm learning so much and know that the instructions and the encouragement Sharon has given me will last a lifetime. ( http://sharonb.wordpress.com )
The other picture is of Jack and our 'tree' in the backyard. He is just over six feet tall, so you can get an idea of how large this sunflower truly is. It's a volunteer which we suspect came from some birdseed we had scattered on the driveway last winter. We'll be saving some seeds so we can try growing more next year. There are over a hundred flowers on it right now and there would have been tons more if my dad hadn't used it for target practice with his car a few times (we won't discuss his driving skills!). The bottom part of the stem is at least 4 inches across.
P.S. Arlee? I didn't get any fleece from Mary Anne...should have tho!!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Introducing.........




Mary Anne....the sheep!! I know, you're all wondering why on earth I would be showing you a picture of a sheep. Well. I have a wee story to tell.
During my disappearance from the blogging world, we were away at a wonderful B&B just outside Algonquin Park (for those that don't know, it's a very large provincial park north of where we live). The owners of the B&B had three sheep, which she used to make her own yarn and wonderful felted projects.
The B&B itself is located approximately a mile and a half in the bush and is quite isolated from civilization as such. For miles around there is nothing but trees. The sheep themselves were penned beside their pond (which to me is more the size of a small lake). We visited them on Friday night when we first arrived and planned to take some pictures the next day when the light would be better. So....
after a wonderful (and tiring day) of hiking in the park, we returned to the house (the owners were away at a wedding) and proceeded down to the pond and the sheep pen, only to find the gate askew and no sheep! None. Jack and I stared rather wild-eyed at each other and, despite our best intentions, realized we stood no chance of tracking them down in all that bush and would only be lost ourselves. We felt really, really bad because we knew there were wolves and bears in those woods and that wolves and bears really would like to 'eat' sheep! So.....
feeling sad, we left a note on the kitchen counter to explain the situation, signed it with my name, and went off to bed. About two hours later, the owners arrived home and all I could hear was laughing. Hmm...obviously they had tied one on at the wedding and didn't fully appreciate the seriousness of the situation.
We awoke the next morning to the baaing of sheep and heaved a sigh of relief that obviously the owner had managed to track them down. We went down to breakfast and asked the obvious question, only to be greeted with more laughter. As it turns out, the sheep had gotten out before, but this was the first time one of them had left a note saying they were gone! So....meet my namesake...Mary Anne!!
As a footnote to the story, the sheep hadn't escaped at all...they were simply moved to another pen which we were unaware of and couldn't see readily. And, the reason they hadn't tumbled to the fact that my name is Mary Anne is because the registration at the B&B was done as 'Mary'. We all had a great laugh and I just had to take a picture of myself to post here.
The other pic is just one of the many I took of the fine scenery in the area.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I'm baaaack!!!

Hooray, I finally got my computer out of bondage and can get back to normal living. I cannot believe how much I've missed everybody and felt so out of touch with the world!! Have a ton of emails to catch up on, so will try to get something interesting up on here tomorrow. Thanks for being patient!
...going away now, doing a happy dance......

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Bad blogger, bad....


Yep, that's me lately and I'm very sorry if you have grown to depend on this blog every day (as if!). #1 son is now home for a couple of days (first time since Christmas) so I've been spending time with him. He's just finished 8 months of grueling school while working full time too and has managed to make the dean's list as a chef. We're very proud of him and our #2 son who has recently been promoted to a manager for Staples. It's so nice to know they're both doing well.
The picture today is of a couple of atc's I just finished up for a trade, which is pretty much all I've managed to accomplish over the last couple of weeks.
Now, just to burst your bubble of anticipation of my return to daily blogging, I hate to inform you that I will be going away for three days (leaving tomorrow) and while I'm away, my computer will be visiting the repair shop. So...I won't be talking to you again til possibly Monday. Please don't behave yourselves and be safe.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

I Dunno....



....would you claim this guy as your son? Or this girl as your daughter-in-law-to-be?? Should I be worried? Just think...if they ever have kids, what they're gonna look like!!
Anyway, I'm back after a very hectic week where life really and truly got in the road of my computer time.