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.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

As promised...


Here are pictures of what we did yesterday. Sue showed us how to make the snowflakes in the first picture using paper punches and mulberry paper. Then we used the 'waste' from the snowflakes to make the flower. The other picture shows the atc's we exchanged (also with a snowflake theme - with the exception of the two on the right).
And further on snowflakes, by all reports we're about to have a ton of them dropped on us starting tonight. There's a major snowstorm scheduled so we'll just hunker down and ride it out. Hopefully the weather man will be wrong!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Tired of these yet?

Here's another of the squares I'll be using in my quilt. This one still needs quite a bit of work to finish it, but I like it because it's blue (one of my other favourite colours!).

Had a fun day today, despite the weather - which is horrible. Extremely windy and cold with snow 'showers' throughout the day. Brrrr. Even the house is cold tonight. Anyway, I got off-topic there. I had started to tell you that we had our monthly meeting of CQTeers here today and did our usual bring-n-brag session, ate chocolate, and Sue taught us how to make really cute snowflakes and flowers using paper punches and mulberry paper. Hope to have a picture to show you tomorrow.

My friend Doreen over at http://doreeng.blogspot.com has been playing with used tea bags, which is going to be my next 'have-to-try' project. We rarely drink black tea anymore (prefer green tea) so I might just have to break down and *cook* some tea bags just to use for art! However, in the interest of being thrifty, I'll save the liquid and use it to dye some fabric.

Monday, January 28, 2008

And another..... and 'L'

This is another of my favourites which will be going into my quilt. Love the crocheted maple leaf and the lady outline on this one.

I bet you thought I'd forgotten about my Alphabet project...nope! Well, to be honest, I guess maybe I did for a little while but it's b-a-c-k and this time I'll finish it up. Now, if I could just find where I wrote down why I was doing this in the first place!!

Anyway....the letter 'L'

- Lion Brand Yarn, of course. They have one of the most comprehensive libraries of free knitting patterns that I've ever seen on the internet. http://www.lionbrand.com/

- http://www.layersuponlayers.com/ never fails to interest me.

- http://lisasheaven.com/ is another interesting site (I also have her listed as http://www.lisasheaven.com/ so if the first link doesn't work, try the second one)

- and LOVE, which is the best L word of all!!

Totally unrelated to either of the above topics, but things you might find interesting:
- The latest CQMag is up online at http://cqmagonline.com/ It's another fantastic resource with all sorts of articles on needlework ...and free!!

- And, just for fun, do you happen to know the definition of the word 'Purfler'? If you don't (and everybody should) here it is: 'to ornament with all sorts of fancy needlework; to decorate richly' Now there, doesn't that make your day better?

Saturday, January 26, 2008

more eye candy

Here's another of the round robin pieces I'll be using for my quilt. Some of these pieces will need more work in order to 'finish' them before I put them in the quilt, but that will happen as I need them. This one is one of my favourite colours.

Friday, January 25, 2008

January TIF - Done!

Well, here it is - the first of the Take It Further Challenges is done. I had fun doing this, and tried very hard to stay within the colour palette, but it took a turn towards something else - despite my best efforts to the contrary! I'm happy with it anyway, and hope Sharon will forgive me for straying.

You can click on the picture to bring it up larger. Feel free to leave a comment!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Another Round Robin block

Today I'm showing another of the round robin blocks I have in my collection which I will be using for my quilt. I did quite a bit on my TIF block today and hope I will finish it tomorrow (if all goes well) and will show it again then. Meanwhile, I'm letting the suspense build.....

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

More on TIF

This block is nearing completion! I've done quite a bit on it today, again using ideas from SharonB's 100 Details Series ... days 47, 52, 67, & 69 to be exact. Right now I'm working on the upper left in the picture doing a cluster of buttons and french knots. I'm still a little stuck on what I will work around the cigarette silk and have to look around for some inspiration. Don't forget you can click on the picture to make it larger!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Domestic Bliss!


Take a look at these! They say that cats and dogs don't get along. Guess somebody forgot to mention that to Mitzy and Gypsy who are curled up on Jack's lap enjoying a nap while the snow falls outside. Awwwwww.....
That wasn't my feeling two minutes before that, when I caught Cosmo slurping quite happily out of my water glass...yeeewww.
Sorry about the no-post yesterday, but we had what we call a 'sanity day' and got out of town just to get away. We had a fun day...Jack even tolerated a longish trip to Michaels (but then again, he was promised a pair of felted slippers out of the deal). We hit the Sears outlet store and picked up some clothes pretty cheap. We also went to the movies and saw 'The Bucket List'. I cried at the end, which isn't something I do very often. Not sad tears, tho...just that I was so moved by the whole movie and especially the ending. Glad we saw it!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Back to TIF


Here's some more progress on my TIF project. Today I worked the light purple area towards the bottom in the picture. I used a 'freebie' from Dover Publishing for the pattern for the leaves & seeds (traced it onto tissue paper and then stitched through it). Just above that and also to the right of it are two more seam treatments from SharonB's 100 Details. This block is progressing nicely and so far I'm quite pleased with it.

Friday, January 18, 2008

New toys


Today I have two pictures to show you because the mailman brought me something nice! My oldest son gave me a gift certificate for Mary Maxim and I got a set of circular knitting needles with it. Now I might be able to actually find the size I need and it comes with 4 various lengths of cable, which will be handy. Thanks RJ!
The other picture is another of the round robin squares I have which will be added to my quilt. This one is also on the small side and will need to be added to.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

We interrupt this program...

...to bring you something other than TIF, because it has been put aside for a couple of days in order to work on my first contribution to the Exquisite Corpse challenge and I can't show you what I'm doing for THAT because it's gotta be top secret until the challenge is over. So....

as I mentioned before I am hoping that the TIF challenge this year will leave me with 12 finished 9" squares to be used in a quilt. While doing the math, I realized that I will need 30 (count em...THIRTY!!!) squares. Now that is a daunting prospect. However, in one of my few & far between moments of brilliance, I thought of all the squares I have from the round robins I've been in that are residing in a box and not seeing the light of day. Eureka!! I had to cut a few of them down in size to fit within the 9" I wanted but I have ended up with nine squares already done for my quilt! 30-9=21!! Woohoo. If I complete the challenge I will have 12 more done and will be well on my way to my goal.

I digress...sort of.

The pic today is of the very first piece of CQ I received when I first discovered the art and mustered my courage to do a trade, one-on-one. This is what I got in return for my very amateurish effort! I very nearly quit right then and there. This piece is just beautiful and will be one of the ones which will be in my quilt even tho it is under the size limit. I'll add a border around the outside of this and pretend it was that way all along!

Over the next few posts I will show more of the round robins pieces I have until I can return to this month's TIF. Hope you enjoy them!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

More TIF progress

Getting tired of seeing this yet?

Today I finished up the section I had marked yesterday with some ribbon embroidered flowers, some buttonhole wheels and a couple of bullion flowers. Then I worked the seam to the left in the picture, which was another of SharonB's 100 Details (day 25). I also began another seam treatment at the top of the light piece of fabric.

Originally I started out vowing to myself that I would stick to the colours in the challenge, but I'm finding that very hard to do within the confines of my stash. I'm coming as close as I can, with a few additions.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

TIF progress

I had a little time today to work on the TIF challenge for this month. As you can see, I've added a bit more to the lace seam and I'm much happier with it now. I used a portion of a seam treatment from SharonB's 100 Details series (day 64) above the black corner, plus added a glass flower & two leaves on the small seam area. You can also see I've sketched out where I want to work next, which is also being inspired by one of the 100 Details (day 82).

I've also been plugging away on the Einstein sweater, but I don't suppose you're too interested in seeing a 'lump' of burgundy coloured plain knitting! I finally counted my rows and only have about 60 left to go on the main part and then it'll be on to the fronts & back. Can't wait. Two of my friends have completed their sweaters and they're great, so am anxious to finish mine. I must remember to be on the hunt for some spectacular funky buttons for it because I really think it needs gorgeous buttons to show it off.

Monday, January 14, 2008

$3000??? I think not!!!

Warning: Mumble (and bitch) ahead. Take appropriate precautions.

We both had dentist appointments today. After sixteen xrays (yeah, 16 - you read it right) AND a lot of poking and mumbling all sorts of numbers (pretty sure it's not a dental office - more like some sort of voodoo cult) I was informed that I need three crowns. Nice, I thought - until I realized they weren't meaning the type that Queen Elizabeth wears. Ummm...and just how much might that be? Pretty close to a thousand dollars per tooth. I rapidly informed them that if it wasn't broke it didn't need to be fixed. Of course they gravely assured me that should a breakage occur that it would be sure to cost more. Life is a crap shoot anyway, so I'll take my chances. Three months ago we had what I thought was a pretty major cleaning so I assumed that would be the end for at least a year. NOT ! We have to go back next month for yet another cleaning. I really can't understand how these people get their jollies out of peering into my mouth and poking all sorts of instruments of torture in there.

Just to add insult to injury, my glasses are falling apart and we both have eye doctor appointments on Friday. Anybody want to hazard a guess as to how much THAT is going to cost? My current glasses were nearly $700 about 3 years ago, so I shudder to think. If the truth were known, I probably hate going to the eye doctor even more than the dentist. I thoroughly dread that stupid little thing they do where they ask 'is it better like this? - or like this?" Darned if I know! It all looks the same to me. After I ask them to repeat it a dozen times, they tend to get a little testy with me. Bah. When I had contacts I was one of the rare people who could not switch back & forth between them and glasses. My eyes simply would not make the adjustment, so I expect it's what happens when they do that flippin (pun intended) test.

Oh boy, this is turning out to be a wonderful week!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Ummmm? Mumbling??

Sorry folks, no pictures today. I managed to do one little bit on my TIF block and there it ended. I don't know about any of you, but I always have a 'funk' after Christmas where I really have to struggle to get motivated to do anything. Today was dull, rainy and just plain yucky outside too, which doesn't help. So, I shall mumble.

#1 Mumble...argh...DH is at the door announcing that he's done trudging on the treadmill and it's my turn. Yeah, I know I have to do it. I know it's good for me. I know I hate walking outside in the winter. I know all those things...but I still HATE IT!!!!

#2 Mumble....all the good books I got for Christmas are staring reproachfully at me while I read my way through a bunch that were loaned to us. I really want to read my brand new books (I got Eat,Pray,Love; two new Nora Roberts novels; the latest Sara Donati; and several others). I have 'When Bad Things Happen to Good People' (also loaned to me); 'The Secret' which I'm half-way through and have promised to loan to several other people; plus I don't know how many others that are residing on the book shelves. Maybe someday I'll take a picture of them just so you have some idea of how far behind I am! And we won't mention how fascinating the library is and all I manage to haul home from there on a regular basis! They now have a service where you can just order them online & they'll call you when they're in. NOT a good thing for me. I just get trigger-happy with the enter button the the keyboard and end up with far too many books from that quarter too.

#3 Mumble...awww darn it....the cursed treadmill isn't going away is it......

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Progress on TIF

I've done a little on the TIF block, but couldn't manage much today because I was out most of the day. I've stitched down the cigarette silk and added a re-claimed piece of lace, which I've highlighted with some beads. I'm not quite sure that I'm finished with the seam yet. In the bottom corner I used a treatment which I found on Pam Kellogg's site ( http://kittyandmedesigns.blogspot.com) ...thanks Pam! I elongated mine in the middle in order fill the space.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

TIF auditions


Oops...I think I loaded these pictures backwards so they'll come up in the wrong order. Anyhoo....the pile of fabrics on the floor shows one of the two drawers of green-ish fabrics which I was auditioning for the Take It Further challenge. Sometimes I just paw through the drawer and other times I dump it all out and attempt to put it back into some semblance of order (until the next time I paw through it!!).
The other picture shows the bare block I came up with. Unfortunately my camera didn't come up with the exact colours. The flower is a cigarette silk which is partially my inspiration, with the rest coming from the colour challenge SharonB issued for TIF. I decided to concentrate my efforts this year on making a 9" block each month trying very hard to use Sharons colour choices, but within the confines of the cigarette silks I have AND my existing stash. It might be a tall order, but we'll see. I hope to not spend any money on this - not because the challenge isn't worthy, but I really, really need to reduce my collection of 'stuff' and this is a good challenge to do so.
My friend Jan gifted me with a number of the cigarette silks which will be used in this project and I also have re-sized nine round robin pieces so they will be utilized too. It's ideal for the RR pieces because I've been wondering what I could possibly do with them.
As always, thanks Sharon for such an inspiring challenge!! http://sharonb.wordpress.com


Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Studio - Part II











OK folks, here's part II of the studio pictures. The first one shows most of my working area. My table is a recycled door mounted on metal legs from the hardware store. You can see one of my two sewing machines. In front of it is a pile of fabrics I was auditioning for the Take It Further challenge (which have now been turned into a CQ block...pictures will follow another day). Above the table is a shelf which holds a number of treasures/things. If you enlarge the picture you can see the cute knitted gnome that Kym made me for Christmas. To the right of that is the rusty-fabric box I made several months ago. There's an altered picture/frame that was also made by Kym to the right of the rusty 'box'. I even keep a roll of toilet paper up there for little wipe-ups (because I am NOT a neat worker and tend to slop glue and paint a lot).
The next picture shows my storage corner for more stuff. The red multi-drawer thing on the shelf holds things like my sewing machine needles, safety pins, and even a set of little screwdrivers because I can NEVER find one when I need it! Below that is a little corner shelf unit which isn't the least bit organized. However it mainly holds things like my pincushions, a container of scissors of varying sizes and uses, baby wipes, and some assorted plastic containers which I use for messy jobs like mixing paint. You can also see both of my thread holders with a 3" strip of painted-to-match-the-room cork below where I hang things like the calendar and various notes to myself. Oh yes...and the proverbial mug of either coffee or green tea is on the table too.
There is another doorway to the left of the thread holders and before you come to the bookshelf area in the next picture. The doorway leads into the furnace room/extra studio storage room which is more of a dungeon. I might manage to take some pictures in there, but not sure they will be fit to show anyone!! The bookshelf holds all my embroidery,knitting, altered art, crocheting, doll-making, and sewing books. You can also see a corner of the computer area. My desk is an antique oak one, which I just love, however...I really have to be careful when I'm settling in to work because there's a very small area to put your knees and I tend to whack them pretty regularly.
Next picture....you can see another 3 drawer cabinet which holds my papers and such for altered art and one drawer holds fabrics, etc. for doll-making. Above that is another cupboard (only about 4" deep) which holds my glues, some paints, and various potions that are liquid. Some Altoid tins waiting to be altered...fishing line...a mini iron...an old soldering iron...a third hand....just stuff!! To the left in the picture is the dehumidifier with my paper shredder on top.
Final picture...is another shelving unit which basically holds my threads, ribbons, glue guns, rubber stamps, my other sewing machine is on the bottom shelf and there's still a largish bag of fabrics I was using for linings in the totes I made before Christmas on the bottom too. The cats scratching post is there, along with a few rolls of Christmas wrap that haven't made it to the storage closet yet. To the left of the shelving unit is the door where you started the tour. Now, back to the regularly scheduled programming tomorrow....




Monday, January 07, 2008

OK...you asked for it!







Arlee of http://arleebarr.squarespace.com/designjournal has issued a challenge that we show pictures of our studios, so here is part I of mine (part II will follow tomorrow). I know I've shown it before, but it was awhile ago and I have a number of new readers who might be willing to be grossed out. Besides, a challenge is a challenge!
The first picture (if Blogger behaves) starts to the right of my entrance door. My studio is in the basement and has no windows. I rely on daylight flourescent lighting. One of my dolls sits atop a dresser which holds my fabric 'bits' - in this case two drawers of whites, two of purples and one of greens. There's a Christmas can on top - empty - but was full of homemade cookies.
The next picture shows a dresser stacked on another one, again holding fabric bits (blues, blacks, browns, yellows). To the left in the picture you can see another of my dolls sitting on top of a three-drawer plastic container which holds my wool (2 drawers) and my trims. You can just see a wooden box on the top of the chest near the ceiling, which holds my gr gr grandfathers diaries dating from about 1820. To the extreme left you can just see the side of my storage shelf which holds all my supply of denim, with Cosmo's bed on top. In front of the picture you can see my cutting table and below the table is a large wooden box which holds all my teddy bear making supplies. The drawer in the cutting table holds my smaller cutting mats, rotary cutter, rulers and instruction manuals for my sewing machines.
The last picture for today shows the door which enters into our root cellar (with the cat litter box in front...oops...didn't mean to show that!!).
Next is a further corner of my cutting table and the rest of the cabinet that holds the denim. The cabinet on the left holds my beads, knitting and crochet needles/hooks. Cat food on top, to keep the dog out of it! Above that is an old x-ray light which was a cast-off from the hospital (works great as a light box!). The wire 'thing' on the wall beside the door is supposed to hold my iron when it's not in use. Yep, it is! Below that is another cabinet that holds a whole bunch of stuff...office supplies, a drawer of 'sticky stuff' like tape and such, a drawer of sewing supplies that don't seem to fit anywhere else, and various and assorted other semi-useful-but-mostly-useless things. Above, you can see another of the dolls. You can just see the corner of my worktable to the left in the picture.
Whew. Are you tired of exploring yet? More to come tomorrow.....




Thursday, January 03, 2008

An Embellisher question...

To answer Susan's question from the comments (I'm answering here in case others don't know)....the embellishing machine we were using is one made by Janome although I'm sure there are other types available.

It's works in a similar manner to a sewing machine, but there are no threads or bobbins involved (which I found quite odd). Instead of the normal sewing machine needle, the machine uses (at least in this case) a four-pronged needle that has tiny little barbs on the surface. The example I did has a felt backing and over that bits of yarn, ribbon, silk fabric and of course, the Angelina fibre face I had done previously.

The machine works just like a sewing machine with the barbed needles poking minute bits of the top (ie the silk) fabrics through the felt, which in turn adheres them to the felt. Does that make sense? I admit I'm not good at describing things without being able to talk with my hands!!

Anyway, if you do a Google search on 'needle felting' I'm sure you will turn up lots of information much better than what I've provided here.

Of embellishing and eating


Two pictures today! The first is of the gift basket of goodies we received from Son#1 and his fiance. He is a chef, currently working with a catering firm and this is a complete selection of the nummies they are starting to bottle and sell. We get to have a taste of everything! There's soups, dips, cookies, salad dressings and all sorts of things for us to test out. Not that we need any more food after over-indulging over the holidays, but have to admit I can't wait to try these out. Right now he's upstairs preparing our supper for us and it smells heavenly.
The second picture is my first attempt at using an embellishing machine. My friend Irene has one and we were allowed to play with it yesterday. What a neat tool!! I can see all sorts of uses for it. I especially like what it does with strips of silk and organza ribbons. The face you see here is an experiment we did using Angelina fibres, a rubber stamp, and the iron (several months ago) which I just happened to have with me. I just used the embellisher around the edges of the face and I love the result. In hindsight it would have been fun to pad the face somewhat (almost like trapunto), just to see what the effect would be. All in all, a fun machine to play with, altho one wouldn't want to have fingers anywhere near those sharp barbed needles!!!