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.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Dry skin to the nth degree

Oh dear. I don't think this particular experiment worked very well. Irene's cream won't do a thing to fix it either!!

Why on EARTH is blog-grrrr deciding that it absolutely HAS to underline the first sentence I type?!!!!! Grrr.
Rather out of focus, but first flower from the garden this year. I love this blue with the bright yellow 'tongue'.

Friday, March 27, 2009

"Uh oh....OH NO!!!!!!"

For some reason (unknown to mere mortals like me) Blog-grrr is being rather grrrrr-usome today and refusing to let me write where I want to on these pictures. Hmmm... maybe it has spring fever too??

Anyhoo...picture one (shown above...I think) is an ever-hopeful-of-clothing fashion doll I have lying around my studio.

Picture two (shown below...I hope) explains all the whining going on in the title of this post:
And the sadly out of focus final picture was the final straw for this poor destroyed doll.
Oh dear, whatever am I up to now???

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Earth, A Cottage, Some Cream, and ATC's

Wow, how's that for a post title?!

First I want to mention that Earth Hour is coming up on Saturday night. Wherever you are in the world, please consider not using hydro between 8:30 and 9:30 pm. Turn out your lights, turn off the tv and just take the hour to appreciate what we have, and help out the cause. Go to http://www.earthhour.org/about/ for more information.

Allison Aller has just completed her latest crazy quilt project - a landscape. Please go and have a look because it is absolutely spectacular. Be sure to embiggen her photo of the completed project so you can see all the details! Be prepared to be impressed. http://alliesinstitches.blogspot.com

The first picture here is of the atcs we traded at our meeting yesterday. Our 'theme' was denim, so the top three cards shown use it in some form. Irene's is on the left, mine in the middle, and Sue's on the right. The bottom row is some extras we did, just for fun. Sue did the St. Patricks one in the middle and the other two are my efforts to celebrate spring. This photo shows the jar of rich body cream that Irene made for each of us. It feels SO good and mine smells yummy too. It's nice to know the ingredients we're putting onto our bodies and this has good stuff! Yum.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A couple of sites

After all the posts yesterday that were so heavy pictured, today I have nothing I'm able to show you (sorry).

Instead, I will point you to a couple of sites I've been poking around in. The first one is Canadian and if you are looking for art supplies (they carry the push molds I've been hankering for): http://www.shadesofclay.com Thanks Arlee for pointing me in their direction!

A few days ago SharonB of http://www.pintangle.com talked about the Antique Pattern Library and I've just spent a very interesting hour poking around and discovering all sorts of interesting 'stuff'. There are all kinds of PDF files available covering pretty much any type of needlework you are interested in. All are in the public domain so therefore are quite old. Wonderful to explore! Check it out at http://www.antiquepatternlibrary.org/completelist.htm

Monday, March 23, 2009

Art Doll #4

This is the end of the four-part series of art dolls I've done. This one is beaded and was a fun experiment. I'm not at all sure there is another one in my future, but perhaps. Sorry about the poor picture quality! For those of you who have seen these dolls before, please scroll down to read today's original entry!

Art Doll # 3




Art Doll #2

This one is called 'Doll-E Pardon'. She sports all sorts of words on her, all referring to "Ladies of the Evening".


Art Doll #1 (part 1 of 4 posts)

Wow...more than one post in a day! This is post number 1 of 4 art doll pics I'm reposting here, by request.


Denim stash reduction + apprehension

I had fun putting these two little purses together this afternoon! Again, they were very simple to make with the hardest part being the frogging of the zippers prior to reinserting them. I don't think you can tell with the picture, but the purse uses two matching pockets so you end up with three compartments with the centre one being zippered. The pattern was found here: http://www.instructables.com/id/Protect-the-Tech

The second part of this post is something I'm excited and scared about, both at the same time. Yesterday I received an invitation to join an art doll round robin challenge. I am extremely flattered that my work is deemed good enough to be included, but on the other hand - I'm afraid I can't measure up to the rest of the group. There goes my good ol' poor opinion of my abilities again, which is something I am working hard to get over (at the insistence of a few of my good friends..and you know who you are!!). I have a few ideas tooling about in my head so we'll see where it goes and what I manage to come up with. Wish me luck!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Parts of something of the anatomical sort

Today I tried to work on the latest piece of the Exquisite Corpse round robin and I'm sorry that I can't show you a picture of what I'm doing (until the end reveal). This particular round has me a lot more intimidated than the last ones did, but I refuse to let my fear get to me. I'm gonna do this! I know I'm not the only one who isn't sure of what they're doing, so I don't feel like the odd man (woman?) out.

Thank goodness we have a pretty decent library here so I'm able to take out lots of books to skim through for ideas for things like this. Their craft/art section isn't wonderful...lots of books, but most of them are from the 60's & 70's and not so much 'up' on what is current today. They are trying to get more in, but there are lots of financial restrictions these days and the artsy side of things most often gives way to the fiction side. There are approximately 20 branches within our local system so I make use of the inter-library loan feature a lot, which helps. Never let it be said that I don't keep their circulation numbers up!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The pain, the pain!

If you don't want to listen to me whining, stop reading now.

Some would say it's the bad coming out of me. Some would say I spend too much time stitching (they'd be wrong, because one can never spend too much time stitching). My right 'pointer' finger is once again breaking down and is extremely painful and aggravating. Yesterday and today I resorted to wearing a thimble on it for protection; a logical thing to do one would think. However. Ahem. Thimbles and I do not get along, despite my best efforts to the contrary. They lull me into a false sense of security.

Embedding a largeish-size needle (never one of the little skinny ones that would minimize the damage) right to the bone in my thumb was the result. Nope,I don't actually USE the thimble - I just hold the finger that's wearing it aside, thusly leading to bodily injury on some other digit because my brain (what there is of it) tells me that my finger is protected and reefing on the needle isn't going to be a problem. Whoops. As I said, the pain, the pain.

I'm done whining now. Carry on.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

On bird carvings, denim, and whatever

Today was a lovely spring day and I didn't want to spend it in the studio; instead I took my book and sat in the sunroom for most of the afternoon. For lack of a picture to show, I thought I'd post one of the birds that Jack carved several years ago. I don't know if you can see, but there's a baby tucked under her wings. He used to do a lot of carving (and sold quite a number of loons -enough that he got heartily sick of carving them), but has pretty much given it up now. Every time he does anything in the dust, it seems to affect his lungs. It's too bad, because he was a pretty decent carver. I did get a bit of work done this morning on a denim(what else?)/metal wallhanging I have sketched out and, if you enlarge the picture, you might be able to see a tiny piece of it behind the loon. I think I will 'tease' you with pictures of all the bits and then unveil the whole after it's finished.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Paper bag book and mmmmmmmm

Here's another item I made using a tutorial I found on the internet (http://alteredbooklover.blogspot.com ....look under 'my tutorials' for a post entitled 'Piano Hinge Paper Bag Book Tutorial'). This little book uses paper lunch bags for the signatures. My cover is made from a piece of scrapbook paper and some bits of metal I stitched on. The original tutorial called for using either skewers or pencils in the spine; the skewers I have were too short, so I substituted heavy copper wire. I have no idea what I'll do with now, but it was fun to make! And, feast your eyes on this wonderful smelling (AND tasting!!) loaf of artisan bread Jack made over the weekend......
The recipe came from this book:

No kneading, no waiting, other than putting the dough in the fridge overnight!! The master recipe makes four loaves and keeps up to two weeks in the fridge, so you can bake one every couple of days. There are all kinds of different breads, including pastries, flatbreads, and pizzas. Methinks I'm about to put on some weight if I'm not careful!
Book specs: 'Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day', by Jeff Hertzbert and Zoe Francois , published by St. Martin's Press, c2007, ISBN-13:978-0-312-36291-1



Friday, March 13, 2009

Usin' up some denim

I found this cute little pattern while I was surfing the web and thought I'd put one together using some of my large stash of denim. The original pattern called for two fat quarters. The pattern (called the 'Buttercup Bag') can be found here: http://madebyrae.blogspot.com

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Knitting content....

I've had a couple of days spent spinning my wheels and have absolutely nothing worth showing, so I thought I'd just mention that the spring issue of the online Knitty magazine is now up and you can check it out at http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEspring09/

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Meet Arnie!

Would you believe this is a Christmas present done already? Meet Arnie, the cat doorstop. Isn't he cute? He is for an elderly lady I visit with who had a black & white cat when I first met her. Unfortunately the cat has passed away and her husband won't allow her to get another one. I thought this might make her feel better.
The pattern came from here: http://weefolkart.com

Monday, March 09, 2009

Good things & boredom

Please note, that title is just a thinly-disguised way of saying I have no pictures, so I'm about to mumble. Just thought I'd warn you!

Today was spent getting groceries and running general errands. I hate getting groceries. By the time I've taken each item off the shelf, into the cart, onto the check out counter, into a bag, into the car, out of the car, into the house, out of the bags, onto the shelves - I'm heartily sick and tired of the whole process. (see, I told you I was going to mumble!)

The next 'project' is to backhoe out my studio so that Jacquie and I can sew tomorrow afternoon. I really need to learn to put things away as I finish with them. I think I do that, but why then does the studio get into such a shambles on such a regular basis?

Would you believe I have a Christmas present already purchased, AND the makings ready for another one which I hope to start tomorrow? Yeah, I can't believe it either.

For those of you who have been following the 'Odin eye removal' saga - he's doing great. It certainly hasn't changed his exhuberant personality and he's the same silly dog as before.

We had a weekend of lovely spring-like weather and then woke up this morning to discover that we'd had freezing rain and about an inch of snow overnight. Sigh. Have I ever mentioned how much I dislike winter?

I think (shhhh, don't say it too loud) that we're getting over the 'disease' we've had. My dad is still coughing quite a bit, but Jack and I seem to be getting back to normal. Hesitate to say it though, for fear it comes back to bite us.

There, is that enough mumbling for one day? Have a good one!

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Canned!

I know I don't normally post on the weekends, but I have to show you the finished can cover. It's not perfect by any means, but it was a fun experiment playing with metal and getting some idea of what I can do with it.


I have to tell you about the orange ribbon 'closure' ...I set rivets down each side intending to lace it for a finished edge, but couldn't find anything for lacing that turned my crank...until...I pawed through my ribbons and found these orange bits (which originally came from a pony-tail holder). I had EXACTLY the right number to do what I wanted; how perfect is that?


This recycled coffee can will be a holder for my odd-size knitting needles that don't seem to fit in anything else.



Friday, March 06, 2009

High heels

Have a look at the marvelous shoe I received in the mail today from Arlee. Isn't it great? There's lots of beading, which I hope you can see if you click on the picture. Believe me, it's the closest I will ever get to high heels because I have incredibly weak ankles and anything higher than an inch causes me to topple over. There were other fun goodies in the parcel too for adding to my stash. There's a fun and funky clay face which is going to be the base for a new art doll. Unfortunately my picture didn't do it justice so you'll just have to wait to see the doll! Thank you, SIS!!!

Here's another link if you happen to be interested in free knitting patterns: http://www.knotions.com

Thursday, March 05, 2009

More metal/denim experiments

I got a bit more done on my cover today. I don't know if you can tell from the picture but the green and red beads hang freely to add further dimension. I'll be adding more of as I go along, mainly because I've pawed through all my wooden beads and pulled out all the colours I have in these. After all that work, I want to use them!! I'm on a use-it-up kick at the moment and have made up my mind to actually USE what I pull out. As always, picture is clickable so you can see more detail.
Here's something I stumbled on today: http://www.victorian-embroidery-and-crafts.com/. This site is really interesting and there is tons of info on there about all types of Victorian crafts, including crochet & knit. There's a very good stitch dictionery too. Fun site!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

I'm baaaacccckkkkkkk!!!!!

Did you think I was never coming back? I was beginning to wonder myself. We've never felt so rotten for so long. I had to feel bad because I spent a week staring at the tv and doing NOTHING....ack! I couldn't even read a book!!

So...now I'm back (I hope!) and here is the promised picture of the wonderful paperweight that Paula sent me. The camera, for some reason, didn't want to focus properly on it. That lovely white dupioni silk (my absolute FAVE fabric in the world) was wrapped around it. Enlarging the picture might help you see the wonderful stitching Paula did. There are hundreds of french knots in the background, which is a tremendous feat in itself, much less the intriguing work she did on the rest of it. Thank you Paula!! Today I finally got to sit down in my studio and play a bit more with my denim/metal piece. This picture should have been taken outdoors in the sun in order for the metal to show up better, but I wanted to show you that I actually have done something.
You might want to check out a couple of things: Nellie of http://nelliedurand.blogspot.com has a post today titled "Our Biosphere Reserve". Take a look and be sure you scroll down to see how she did it. Fantastic work!
The other thing is that the latest 'issue' of Twist Collective is up at http://twistcollective.com if you'd like to check it out too.