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, December 31, 2009

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Oops. Even the clock is tipsy! I just found out that the Vista program is different from what I'm used to and had to go through a lot of challenges to even get the picture on here that I did!
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Anyhoo....

Because today is the last day of 2009, I suppose I ought to be thinking about some resolutions for the new year, but I won't. There's no point in my making any, because I know by the 2nd of January they'd all be broken anyway!

My goals for the year are pretty much the same as they were last year - to reduce my stash and try very hard not to buy too much in the way of new 'stuff'. I particularly want to reduce my pile of recycled denim to something that will take up only one shelf. I know I could do that simply by getting rid of the excess, but I don't feel right about doing that.

- I am getting the urge to begin another crazy quilt project, but I don't know what it will be yet. I'm toying with several ideas but haven't settled on anything.

- I want to make more art dolls using mixed media and recycled components.

- The pile of UFO's needs to be dealt with, at least partially.

- The yarn I won last year is still waiting to be cast on and I hope to do that over the winter.

- There will have to be another round of felted slippers because the ones I made a couple of years ago are starting to wear out and noises are being made that new pairs are required. Never did make a pair for myself either!

- I hope to experiment more with mixed media, but in what form I don't know. I have this inward requirement that what I make needs to be useful in some way and it's not enough to just churn out pieces of art for the sake of doing it.

- I don't intend to sign up for any more challenges (yeah, yeah, you've heard that before and you know I won't stick to it), other than in the Art Doll group. I'm loving the collaboration and the challenges there so that is important for me to continue.

Beyond those things, I can't think of anything else. I want to expand my RAOK's over the next year and I also want to spend more time with my family and friends.
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Right now, I want to wish all my friends (both in-ternet and in-flesh) and family a very happy, healthy and creative 2010. May only good things happen in your world - for both you, and yours. Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bliss!


Mitzy and Odin, dozing on the couch after Christmas. Too much turkey do you think?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Another icicle doll & a rant

Here's the little icicle doll I made for Arlee for a wee giftie. She doesn't 'do' Christmas, so I can't really call it a Christmas gift! These are her colours, so I was pretty sure she'd like it.

Now for the rant part of this post. I know I've mentioned before just how lacking this area is in the ability to find supplies for art/crafting. Front page article in our local paper is that our one and only semi-decent source for anything is closing in March. Although Fabricland doesn't carry a whole lot beyond fabric and the necessary things to work with it, it will be sorely missed. The closest one is over thirty miles away.

We have over 200 members in our local quilt guild, many of whom are elderly and unable to travel any distance to get supplies. We have a very active Victoria's Quilts organization here too - where are they going to get materials to work with? Where are we going to get simple things like a decent spool of thread? Sewing machine needles?

I have never been in Fabricland but what it wasn't busy and, according to the paper, they have been doing quite well. So why would they be forced to close? According to the report, they want something bigger (and cheaper to rent) - which is impossible to find here.

We do have a tiny little fabric store downtown, but the fabric is old and moldy (well maybe not really, but it's been in the store forever so it SHOULD be moldy!). The man that runs it is a complete jerk, so not very many people darken the doorstep. His thread is the cheapest you can get and won't work in most machines.

Our town isn't THAT small and is growing but you'd certainly never know it by the services we have. There has been an ongoing battle over the possibility of getting a WalMart - it's been raging for almost ten years and still no progress. Our factories are pretty much gone. We blame the city council for most of it. They refuse to make decisions for fear of offending already existing businesses - and then they wonder why people go out of town to shop?

There are several smaller towns nearby that are doing quite well. They cater to the tourist trade and have shops that reflect that. We could have a vibrant downtown too, if there was a little thought put into it.

Fabricland closing is just another blow.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Another learning curve!

I hope everyone had a wonderful and peaceful Christmas. I, of course, ate too much but that's a normal occurrence at Christmas!! We finally resorted to putting some of the chocolate in the freezer for a later date. If it's out where I can see it, there's no possible way it's going to last.

I had a huge shock when I opened my gifts. Shawn, RJ, Shawns girlfriend, and Jack went together and got me a new computer! I was rather expecting a new flat screen monitor because I've been borrowing one from Shawn for a few months, so I wasn't overly surprised when it was the first gift I opened. It's not quite as big as the one Shawn had loaned me and fits my space much better. I was a happy camper................................

................and then...................................

Gift # 2 also came in heavy box. I had absolutely no clue what was inside and you can imagine my surprise when I realized it was a new computer! I was completely stunned.

It's beautiful, it's wonderful, it's FAST, it's waaaaay smaller than my old one and gives me a lot more desk room. Right now it has Vista, but Shawn has ordered the newest Windows program. Of course Vista is way beyond what I had before, so there's a big learning curve.

I've spent most of today fiddling about with 'the book' because I found that the font I was using on the old computer isn't available on the new one, so I've had to do some changing about. That's a minor detail though!

Now Jack will 'inherit' my old one (despite his protests that he really doesn't want to play around with a computer). Nobody wants it, so he might as well spend some time learning on it.Who knows, I might be creating a monster if he finds out how much fun it is!! He's NOT getting his hands on mine!

Thanks guys! You're the best!

Monday, December 21, 2009

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU AND YOURS!!

I don't expect to be on the computer too much until after Christmas, so I want to take this opportunity to wish you and everyone you hold dear a most happy, healthy and wonderful Christmas.

(The illustration is an advertisement from the December 1922 issue of Needlecraft Magazine).

Friday, December 18, 2009

Art dolls to see

If you are interested in seeing what our dolls from the Art Doll Coolaberation 2009 are looking like now, check them out at the blog here. Gail, our fearless leader, has done a great job of keeping the blog up to date and showing marvelous pictures of our dolls.

As a reminder, mine is Shudayra (and I think she's looking absolutely wonderful)!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Another tote

Are you sick of seeing these yet?

Monday, December 14, 2009

That ****** Plant


My white Christmas cactus is in full bloom right now and is exceeding itself with blossoms as you can see.

There is a story behind this plant (which I've told here before but, because I have some new readers, I will repeat it. My mother absolutely hated white flowers in any form and if one had the audacity to rear its' head in her garden, it would meet a rapid demise. My husband had formed the habit of buying my mother a plant or flower for Christmas each year, which was something she always loved.

UNTIL.......


....the year he found a pretty little cactus in her *favourite* colour and couldn't resist buying it for her, knowing full well she would hate it. He has a diabolical sense of humour. So, Christmas came and Mom opened the wrapping and, through gritted teeth, said 'Thank you, John".

She dutifully hung her gift in the living room window and, we know, hoped that it would die - sooner rather than later. It didn't oblige and happily bloomed at least twice a year at which point we would get a phone call to say "You know that damned plant? It's blooming...again".

This went on for a number of years until finally she announced that she was never going to water that thing again and surely it would die. Well, you guessed it....

"You know that damned plant? It's blooming....again!".

Needless to say, when my mother passed away, that damned plant was the only one I kept! It blooms every year and we laugh every time.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Denim tote+stash reduction

I reduced some of my recycled denim stash making this tote for a Christmas gift. The picture above is the front and the side view is below. There's a pocket on each side which might be handy to carry a cell phone.
The pattern is Simplicity 2597 and I know I'll be making more of these!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

More icicle dolls...and Peace

Here are three more little icicle dolls I just completed. I think these are addictive because they're so much fun to do. Thanks once again to Belinda Schneider for the pattern!

Lisa at Ivory Blush Roses is one of my favourite reads and she has an inspiring post about Christmas peace here. She does absolutely beautiful work too, so be sure to scroll through her blog and see what she's been doing!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Icicle swap doll!

Look what came in the mail today - my swap doll from Dolores! I love her and she's already in a place of honour on my tree. Isn't her face pretty - I think she looks so serene. It was really hard to get a decent picture of her, but hopefully clicking on her will give you more detail.

I can't show a picture quite yet of the one I made for my partner, because I was a day late mailing her and I don't want to spoil the surprise. Once she arrives, you will get to see her.

The Decidedly Different Doll group is doing the swap, using the original concept from Belinda Schneider and you can get the pattern and more information from her site here.

Thanks again Dolores!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Tabula Rosa is here!

How nice that the Queen of Hearts and Tabula Rosa (and her llama) have a couple of days to visit before the Queen heads off for her next adventure. I haven't heard the Queen screaming 'Off With Her Head' yet, so she must be happy with her new confidante. All the same, I think I'll keep them in separate boxes - just in case!

Be sure to click on the picture so you can see all the lovely details on Tabby. She has a wonderful felted llama along with her and be sure to check out her hands...gorgeous. She has a beautiful felted cape (serape?) too, and her hat is so stylish!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Yuletide Prayer

The following poem is one of my favourites about this season of the year. It was originally published in the 12/20/88 issue of Woman's Day magazine and was written by Jo Carr. It sums up a lot of my feelings about Christmas....


YULETIDE PRAYER

Dear Lord,
'Tis the season to be merry and I'm not, really.
'Tis the season of goodwill, of general
and particular blessedness, of
worship and praise and warmth of heart...
And I, like the Grinch, have spiders in my spirit, and garlic in my soul.
And I come in confession and remorse,
asking You for.....for Christmas.
Is it the dither, Lord, that sets my day on edge?
Is it the too-muchness, the lavishness,
the extended list that gnaws at my
extended self? Hmmm I do believe I could trim
a thing or two off that list.
Is it that I am trying to make a Production out of
Christmas when what I really want is a Presence?
That I'm trying to guarantee, by my own
efforts, what can come only as a gift, by Thine?
Is it the begrudging, Lord? That I want to
do lovely things for my loved ones,
only I resent the time spent "doing" for
the one I am so irked at right now....
or that I want to do gracious helpful
things for nebulous "others," but I
certainly want to know that they will
appreciate my efforts adequately!
Forgive my begrudging, Father, and my
strings attached.
Forgive my Production, and my dither,
And fill me with carols of hope, and
hymns of praise.
And prayers of deep joy....
fill me with Christmas.
Amen.

by Jo Carr

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Just a sucker.....


....for a new book! I've been reading a few reviews online for this book and they all seem positive, so I bought myself an early Christmas present. I haven't really been able to dive into it like I would love to do, but it seems to be as interesting as I have been led to believe. I think it's going to be perfect bedtime reading! (ISBN-13:978-1-59253-531-6, copyright 2009, published by Quarry Books).

Some more 'stuff' on interest you might want to check out....

- One of my favourite magazines, "Where Women Create", is running a '12 Days of Christmas' giveaway which began yesterday. If you'd like to read more about it, go here.

- Yvonne has talked about the Erosion Bundle Project on her blog here. It sounds like a fun project and I really think I will take part. The idea is that you gather assorted items (fabric, paper, metals, whatever) and create a small bundle, which you then place outside in the elements from Jan. 1/10 until Apr.15/10. You then have until Aug./10 to create something using your eroded goodies. There's more info on Yvonne's blog and also on the Erosion Bundles blog. Check it out and see what the rest of the rules are.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Weekend doings

We actually were away overnight which doesn't happen very often. We really can't leave Dad and the dogs for any length of time, but sometimes we can do one night, as long as we come home early the next day.

Anyway...we went to the 'One of A Kind' craft show in Toronto with our #2 son and his GF. It's the first time we've been able to go and it was great. Wish we could have had more than two hours to see everything, but at least we had an overview of what's there and we now know we'll be going again another year.

Two of the artists that really impressed me have web sites, so you can have a look if you'd like. Jamie Brick does the most fantastic sculptures using driftwood, old silver tea service pieces, and a bit of polymer clay for the details. His work is very unusual and very amusing too. You can have a look here.

The other one I fell in love with was a booth full of great little dolls. Kate Church does whimsical and highly detailed dolls. She also teaches classes at the Haliburton School of Fine Arts, but they are quite expensive by the time you are done. I think the week long class itself is $275 which doesn't include the supplies. Then you have to find a place to stay AND your meals on top of that. It would be a wonderful dream to be able to go, but totally out of my financial abilities. Plus which, her work would intimidate the daylights out of me!

There were a number of booths filled with tons of inspirational jackets and vests. Of course our time constraints didn't let me do enough snooping to see what was being done. What I saw sure looked fun though!

Maybe next year.....

Friday, November 27, 2009

Sharing

There are several things I found interesting and thought I'd share them with you, because what I'm working on right now isn't showable until the recipients get them. In the meantime.....

1. My friend Arlee has written another of her monthly columns for MrXStitch and this time it's a very interesting article about Hippie Embroidery, which can be found here. I haven't thought about the fashion styles from the hippie days in ages so it was a nice trip down memory lane!

2. You have to see the embroidery pieces Karen of Contemporary Embroidery does! I know I've pointed you in her direction before, but she is worth visiting again (and again!!). Her work is exquisite and so different from anything I've seen.

3. I've pointed you here before too, but I wanted to mention again about the Decidedly Different Doll group on yahoo. If you're interested in doll making of any sort, come and check us out! More information can also be found on our blog here.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Sending out wishes.....

....for a very happy and safe Thanksgiving to my American friends.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

ATC's and crayons

Today was our CQTeers meeting and, as always, I came home with some pretty cool atcs to add to my collection. This month our theme was 'artist choice'. The picture above shows what we did. The top two were by me; Sue did the one on the bottom left (encaustic); Kym the one in the middle (zentangle); and Irene the one on the right (a mini doll).

Sue taught us how to do encaustic painting using an iron and kids crayons (who knew!). I can see I have a long way to go with this technique, but it was a lot of fun. I have decided I need to invest in a thrift store iron with a solid plate. Mine has holes for the steam and, despite covering it with aluminum foil, seemed to have spots that didn't work so well. These are done on the cardboard which comes in packages of panty hose...it has a 'shiny' side which helps the crayon wax not to melt directly into the paper. Some of my experiments are below....

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Still here!

I'm still here, but been running the roads (altogether too much for my liking!) for the past few days. I will be back to the normal posting schedule later in the week. In the meantime, feel free to chat amongst yourselves!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Internet connections

No picture again today, because it's been another of those non-creative days. I've been considering this post for awhile, so here goes.....
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I've been wanting to comment on how the internet has affected my life - especially the blogging world. I began this blog awhile ago at the urging of a friend. I did not want a blog; I did not want to be responsible; I didn't know what to write about; and all sorts of other excuses I can't remember now. She bullied me into it (and, after all that work on her part, she has subsequently quit blogging herself!).

Initially my blog for for myself alone. I never expected anybody to read it (with the possible exception of my kids and then only when I told them they had to). Suddenly I'm finding myself with readers - and more than one or two at that! How did that happen? What have I managed to find to blather on about that could possibly be of interest to anyone out there in the 'net world? It never ceases to amaze me.

I used (and continue to use) my blog mainly as a form of responsibility to myself. I try to do projects in order to have something to put up as a picture and/or post. It keeps me producing things because I know I 'need' to make that post every day, or as close to every day as I can manage.

Suddenly one person began reading, and commenting! I was blown away. This person wasn't a personal friend (who felt a certain amount of responsibility to read just because of the friendship). No, this was a complete stranger who felt moved to announce their presence and, wonder of wonders, kept coming back. Wow.

Then more people started making the odd comment and I got one of those sidebar 'things' that tells me where people are visiting from. Wow again. I've even discovered other blogs have posted links about me and people are coming and visiting from all over the world. Mind boggling!

I reached the milestone of a hundred posts, then two hundred and now I'm nearing a thousand. Who would have ever thought that would happen - certainly not moi!

There is another aspect to blogging that is the most exciting of all, and that is my being able to 'meet' other bloggers and start to share a bit in their lives and admire their art from a distance. I've taken part in some swaps and received some pretty awe-some pieces in exchange for something I have made. I've done some round robins with people I have met over the web. I've even won a few blog draws along the way.

I never cease to be amazed and humbled by the generosity of other bloggers. Just this week I received a wonderful handmade card (and atc) from one blogger and a package of ephemera from another. Another is sending me some art supplies to play with and another sent me that lovely doll head you saw a few posts ago. They send these things from the goodness of their hearts and expect nothing in return. It's amazing the community that can be built with people whom you've never met in person but feel that you've known over a cup of tea and cookies in your own kitchen. I never would have imagined what has come out of my little bitty blog!

It's a pretty wonderful community I've found and I'm SO glad I jumped in and began this journey. Here's to the future!
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And, yes, there will be a giveaway when I reach that 1000th post (probably sometime in the new year)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sinning - in the BEST way!

I know I promised this blog would not become a recipe blog, however, if you are a chocoholic like I am - you NEED THIS RECIPE!!!! Sinful, mouth-wateringly delicious, and most definitely orgasmic (sorry, but no other word describes it half as well). Mmmmmmm...

This came from the current issue of Kraft Foods 'What's Cooking' magazine...
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Peanut Butter Cup Pie

1 1/4 cups Oreo baking crumbs (we used no-name)
1/4 cup butter, melted (we used margarine)
1 pkg. (250 g) Philadelphia Brick Cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon Smooth Peanut Butter, divided
1 cup cold milk
1 pkg (4-serving size) vanilla instant pudding
2 cups thawed Cool Whip whipped topping, divided
3 squares Bakers Semi-Sweet Chocolate

-Combine crumbs and butter and press into bottom & up sides of 9" pie plate. Beat cream cheese and 1/2 cup peanut butter until well blended. Add milk and dry pudding mix. Beat 2 mins. Whisk in 1 cup Cool Whip. Spoon into crust. Refrigerate.
-Microwave remaining Cool Whip and chocolate on High 1 1/2 - 2 mins. or until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is well blended, stirring after each minute. Cool completely.
-Spread chocolate mixture over filling in crust.
-Microwave remaining peanut butter for 30 sec. Stir and drizzle over pie.
-Refrigerate 4 hours or until firm.
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If you like Peanut Butter Cup chocolate bars you will be in love with this pie! Every mouthful is divine and elicits an involuntary 'mmmm' as you're eating it - guaranteed.

Enjoy and let me know if you try it!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Answer to pie questions

A couple of people have asked me what Bisquick is. It's a commercial product marketed under the name of Bisquick and, I think, made by Betty Crocker.

However, there are homemade alternatives you can use if you are unable to find Bisquick in your area. Here are a couple of recipes....

#1
1/2 cup baking powder
1/4 cup white sugar
9 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 cup canola oil
Sift the baking powder, sugar and flour together. Slowly add oil, cutting in with pastry blender until it looks somewhat like cornmeal. Store tightly covered.

The above obviously makes a large amount. The recipe below makes only 3 cups...
#2
2 3/4 cups sifted all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
Follow the same directions as above.

Also, try Googling Bisquick alternatives and you should find several ideas there. Hope this helps!

Monday, November 16, 2009

A hedgehog? Who knew!

I know, I've taken leave of what's left of my brain with this one! However, there IS a reason why this little hedgehog got created. Gail added a wonderful pink flamingo to the Queen's journal and I simply HAD to add the hedgehog to go along with it. Hopefully you remember the story of Alice In Wonderland and the croquet match with the flamingo mallets and hedgehogs for balls?

Jack carved the little body and drilled lots of tiny (and I mean lots!) wee holes. I then cut some 'straw' from our broom and glued them, piece by piece, into the holes to create his 'fur'. Then he got a trim job and a face painting and he's done. The whole thing is about 2 1/2" in size.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Queen of Hearts has more!

...pages in her journal....
and more pages from her journal.....
and more.....
She has a huge diamond ring!
AND a pillow to sit her Queenly derriere on! Every Queen needs a soft place to rest. Perhaps if she has a nice pillow, she will be happier and not scream 'Off With Her Head' quite so much??
Yeah, I didn't think so.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

of heads and totes

Yvonne and I did a trade...one of her wonderful doll heads for one of my denim bags. I got the absolute BEST end of the deal!! Just look at this face. I can hardly wait to start making a doll to go along with it. I just hope I can do it justice!

As for the bag, I tried to make a 'doll' bag, but I can see my photo taking abilities aren't the best. Her hair is pretty much covering her face in the picture. Hopefully Yvonne will have better luck at photographing it. She is juggling..."Wife, Mother, Daughter, Artist, Self" which is a theme I have wanted to do for awhile. This was a perfect excuse! Thanks Yvonne!!!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Journal pages for Queen of Hearts

Here are two of the journal pages I've completed for the Queen of Hearts....

Monday, November 09, 2009

Dentists and other things

Today I went to the dentist. He is a nice guy. He has a nice office. He has a nice receptionist. He has nice shiny instruments. He has two dead flies in his light fixture.

I have a new filling. My new filling fills the big hole where the old one fell out. I have a big hole in my bank account.

My nice dentist told me that I need one, two, three caps. His nice receptionist told me each one would cost almost one thousand dollars.

I feel sick.

Friday, November 06, 2009

How about Chocolate?

No creativity again today, but lots of errands done. We got the paint for our bedroom after months of saving our Canadian Tire bonus 'money' (points, whatever you want to call it!), which is what Jack and I are giving each other for Christmas this year. It came on sale and, with all the 'money' we had, we managed to get all three cans for $20. Now we just have to come up with the oomph to actually DO the job!!

Pam asked me for this recipe so I thought maybe I would also share it here. My husband came up with this after experimenting for awhile. He finally has made the perfect version and I won't allow him to change anything! Let me know if you make it.

JACK'S IMPOSSIBLE CHOCOLATE CREAM PIE
- 5 eggs
- 3 cups milk
- 1/2 cup margarine
- 5 tablespoons cocoa powder (mixed with an additional 2 1/2 tablespoons margarine)*
- 1 cup white sugar
- 3/4 cup peanut butter (optional, if you are allergic)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2/3 cup Bisquick
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3/4 cup coconut (flaked or whatever you happen to have on hand)

Combine all but the coconut in a blender and blend on high for about a minute. Pour into a large greased pie plate. Sprinkle with coconut. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes or until 'set'.
*the reason he mixes the cocoa powder with the 2 1/2 tablespoons margarine is to stop the cocoa powder from flying around the kitchen when you turn the blender on. You don't have to do this, but beware the fine powder that will coat everything and NOT end up in your pie!

Before you ask, no, this isn't going to turn into a recipe blog! I just had to come up with something to mumble about.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Mumblings

I have no pictures. I have no productiveness going on whatsoever. Life is getting in the way of creativity at the moment and I don't like it! So, you shall be mumbled at tonight.
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Just got back from taking my Dad to the local clinic to get some prescriptions refilled. The joys of not having a family doctor are many, believe me. We have to line up outside and wait til the place opens, which isn't such a bad thing in the summer time, but not any fun at all in the winter or when it's raining. It's a delicate balancing act as to what time you should arrive...too early and the wait is horrible but at least you might get in. Too late and you won't have to wait outside, but chances are they will have closed the doors and won't be letting any more in. Such a joy when you figure that the poor people waiting outside in all weather are most likely sick and bound to get sicker out in the cold.

At least Dad got his prescriptions looked after and got two new ones for his bed sore, which, because he sits on his derriere most of the time, is ON his derriere. I never signed up for playing nurse and having to peer at my fathers backside on a daily basis, but that appears to be my lot in life right now. I'm sure he's just about as thrilled at the prospect as I am! Between shoving pills down the dogs throat, throwing drops in his eyes and now anointing human butts with various creams - I'm gonna hang out my shingle for medical care!
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Typed the 235th page of 'the book' today, so that should mean I'm a little over half way through. I know y'all were waiting with bated breath to hear how it's progressing. You weren't? Oh. Sorry.
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If you know anybody who is vegetarian (or anybody who isn't), here's a recipe we've tried a couple of times and really like....

VEGETARIAN SWEET & SOUR MEATBALLS
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup cottage cheese
- 1/2 cup fine chopped onion
- 1 cup finely chopped pecans
- 1 tsp. dried basil
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. dried marjoram
- 2 cups Italian seasoned bread crumbs (or plain ones work too)

Mix the above together and form into meatballs, approx. 2" in size, & put into a 9x13" pan.

Sweet & Sour Sauce:
- 1/4 c. vegetable oil
- 1/4 c. white vinegar
- 3/4 c. apricot jam
- 1 c. ketchup
- 1/4 c. minced onion
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- dash of hot pepper sauce

Combine & pour over meatballs. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes.

Our DIL-to-be is vegetarian and she really liked these too. Our chef son thinks the 'meat' part could be used to make lasagna, but we haven't tried it yet. We aren't vegetarians, but we do eat meat-less quite a bit.
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We had a skiff of snow on the ground this morning when I got up. I wanted to go back to bed and not look outside again until May!
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There, that's enough mumbling for one day. Can't risk boring my audience you know!! I'll try to do better tomorrow.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Queen of Hearts is here

The next doll, belonging to Jeanne, in the Art Doll Coolaberation has arrived. There was a great ruckus on my front step this afternoon, which set the dogs barking and the cats running for cover. I reached the door just in time to see the postal vehicle screeching away from the curb, obviously in a tearing hurry to get away. I didn't even have to look to know who had arrived! The Queen of Hearts was here and, in her usual demanding way, wanted OUT of her box to see where she was. I think part of the racket was the Simpsons telling her to shut up, but then again, maybe it was HER telling them to get out of her face. I can't say I wasn't warned about her, so I made sure to stock up on ear plugs and I have a padded room all ready.

The first thing she did when she popped out of her box was to look around my studio and she wasn't long narrowing in on the best seat in the house. She turfed my poor doll out and settled herself, all ready to rock. Now she's demanding a cushion to rest her royal bum upon!

She's a beautiful doll and I can't wait for her to tell me what she wants!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Christmas came early!

Last night my friend Carroll arrived at my door with an early Christmas present which she knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I wanted desperately. It's the latest CD (two, actually) from my favourite Christmas group that both she and I have been waiting for. I'm in heaven!

For those of you who aren't familiar with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, I will try to describe their music. Imagine a combination of story-telling, rock opera, traditional Christmas music, classical - all blended into one magnificent piece of work. This is their fifth CD, called 'Night Castle' (sorry, the flash rather obliterated that in the photo).

This group only performs together around the Christmas season and their concerts are always a sell-out. I've seen them live twice and would be ecstatic if I could see them again. Unfortunately their tickets are rather pricey. Anyhoo...if you're interested, here's a link to read more.

And speaking of links, the new CQMag is now live, as is the latest issue of Knitty. Good reading in both!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Shimasani and her journal

Here are the four pages I did for Shimasani's journal. Above are pgs. 2 & 3 and below are pgs. 1 & 4. I repeated the motif I did on her cape for page 2 and page 3 has a scroll containing a Sioux prayer.
Page 1 has various Native words for 'Two Spirit', which Shimasani is, and the final page shows her as she looks ready to take off for her next adventure. Hope Yvonne likes what I've done!

Monday, October 26, 2009

My head! My head!!

Oh my aching head!!!!!!!!!!!

OOOPS!!!!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Shimasani is happy at last!

It gets pretty cold in Canada sometimes and she's heading out west to Moose Jaw where they've already had some snow...brrrr. Shimasani was continuing to cry because she knew she'd be cold when she got out there and she really, really wanted a warm cape to wear. So, the dollmaker obliged and made her one.
Here's a close-up of her new cape. It's made from hand rusted cotton fabric and lined with velveteen.
It's embroidered too and trimmed with a piece of honest-to-goodness real fur, which will be really warm when she braves the cold temperatures.
She can wear the hood up or down as she wishes. And no more crying! She's a happy camper right now, but wants me to hurry up and get her journal done so she can go and visit Karma.

Update on Odin - took him to the specialist again yesterday for a check and the dr. was quite pleased. The eye seems to be doing well. We have to keep giving him some of the meds for the next three weeks and then take him back for a final check. He suggested we take Odin to see a neurologist too, but we said no. We can't afford to keep doing this, so had to draw the line. Thanks for all your kind thoughts!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Working on Shimasani

Poor Shimasani has been shedding some real tears. She so wants to be able to dance like her ancestors and she couldn't...she had no feet!

That would never do, so the resident dollmaker went to work and made her some.

But then...what's this?....more tears?? Oh, when you dance you want to tell stories with your arms. And...what? You don't have any?

Well, then. No self-respecting dancer can look beautiful and tell wonderful stories without arms AND hands. Dollmaker made those too.

What's that? You're still crying? Whyever now? Oh, you're naked under your tabard? And it's coming into winter and it's cold? Well then. Dollmaker painted Shimasani so she can keep warm in the winter.

STILL crying? Why are you STILL crying? Oh. I see. All the other dolls are getting boobies and you want some too? You don't care if you're two-spirit and you're jealous of the rest?

Well, I guess we can't have that, so boobies you shall have, but we won't make them TOO obvious because after all, you're two-spirit, right? Ok.

So here are her boobies, and a closeup of her new feet.
But, she's STILL crying! Oh dear.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Halloween doll swap and little wooden things

Today I received my Halloween swap doll from Jeanne of the 3-D Doll group and I was so excited when I opened the package! This little charmer is only 4 inches tall which is totally amazing. Just take a peek at his little fingers and toes (and his ears!). (Click to embiggen the picture so you can see the details). The meticulous beading that Jeanne has done boggles my mind and I'm totally enthralled with him. AND, not only was there one fun thing in the package...there were two! She also sent me a beaded bracelet! It looks just like candy corn and little tiny pumpkins. Thank you Jeanne!!

If you want to join us and have some dolling fun, check out our group here and see what we're up to. There are a couple of swaps and challenges on the go pretty much all the time. As you can see, the swaps are sure a lot of fun!

Below is a photo of another 'little' we got yesterday. Our friends were on holiday in Austria for a month and we housesat while they were gone. They brought me back a lovely amethyst necklace (which is really hard to photograph) and this cute little wooden penquin and her baby.She's only a little over 3" tall. Her baby is removeable.
Have I started a collection of 'littles'???

Monday, October 19, 2009

Oh, the indignities, and a draw!

Poor Shimasani! She is SO mortified to have her dress up over her head and exposed for all the world to see. I can hear her muttering to herself about not being able to breathe and she just KNOWS I'm going to post this awful picture and it certainly isn't showing her best side or her lovely face and hair do. I heard her say that she doesn't understand exactly what's wrong with her pretty tabard anyhow and wondering why I felt I had to paint her body. Poor thing!
However, she IS rather happy about getting these. They won't be sewn on though, until after her body paint is done because I just know she'll use these hands to sock me right in the eye for subjecting her to all this.

These arms are done somewhat differently to my normal way. I'm not exactly a pro at making fingers and have had more blowouts than I can count. Her arms/hands are on the small side, so I decided I would stitch around them, leaving the seams exposed. What you see in the picture is the damp line of Fray Check I have run around the outside. Once it dries I will cut the arms out close to the seam. The odd colour you're seeing in the fingers is the pipe cleaners I've used for the fingers showing through the Fray Check.

Now both Shimasani and I are waiting impatiently for the gesso to dry!

EDITED TO ADD THIS!: Anne is having a great draw to celebrate her 300th post. You can check it out here. She has put together a pretty good looking package of mixed media playtoys, so be sure to check it out. As a little sidenote, I discovered Anne on the Quilting Arts virtual studio tour and she has a delightful blog & a great sense of humour.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Textile eye candy and coat woes

The textile museum in Toronto is currently running a show that you might find interesting to have a peek at. The artists have created art within a shadowbox framework using a number of different mediums. Have a look here. Thanks to Anne Marie for the heads up about this one (her work is in the show...look for Anne Marie Desaulniers).

As I suspected, it's back to the drawing board with the denim coat I'm trying to create. Obviously trying to use a commercial pattern was my first mistake. I measured myself very carefully and chose the size that was 'right' according to the pattern. The only thing I altered was the length of the sleeves and I added a couple of inches onto the bottom of the main body (I need that because I'm 5'9" & have long arms & legs).

Well then. Ooookay. How come after the outside shell was put together and I tried it on, I could fit myself, my husband, and both dogs (and probably the cats too) inside it? Just goes to prove my point that sewing clothing is NOT my forte!! Frankly, it looks like h-e-doublehockeysticks.

So...I have put my stubborn hat on and I'm going to (gasp) recut it and try something else altogether. I'm awfully glad I was smart enough NOT to cut into the lining fabric until I was sure it would fit. I would be somewhat PO'd at this moment if I had wasted that beautiful fabric.

All this because I *want* a Khalat coat similar to the gorgeous one Arlee was sporting when I met her in person. Of course I was too lazy (and also too intimidated) to actually enlarge the pattern she shared and thought I could cut corners by using a similar commercial pattern. Well. We all know how THAT turned out...not! So, Arlee? Guess who is now drawing up innumerable 2" squares on paper so she can do it 'right'???

Told you I can't sew clothes!!!!!!!!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Good mail week

In the middle of my bad week, at least the mail has been bright! Above you can see just some of the paper ephemera that stuffed TWO large envelopes I won on the studio tour. This is only a small portion of the art fodder I discovered when I opened them up and I know I will have a blast playing with the goodies. Check out Amy's blog here....thank you Amy!

Below are two pictures of the mail I got today, also something I was lucky enough to win on the tour. I had to show you the beautiful presentation. First the envelope had a wonderful tree and birds on the outside (why don't I ever think of doing that?) and, when I got inside, I found the book was wrapped in pretty tissue with a paper sleeve around it. Lovely!
And...inside the wrapping was this book!! I've had this on my wish list for awhile so I was really thrilled to get my own copy. Wendy discovered she had two and was generous enough to share. Thank you Wendy, I love it!! You can see Wendy's blog here.
Update on Odin...keeping the status quo. At least there's been no change for the worse at this point.