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 29, 2009

Awwwww....

I know this isn't the promised picture for today, but it's been one of 'those' days when I haven't accomplished anything I planned on doing. Here's our beloved 'cone head' sporting the latest in designer head gear for dogs. Very fetching, don't you think? I won't take a picture of our black & blue legs because you can use your imagination for that! His peripheral vision is not there - between the eye that's been removed and the cone blocking his other eye.

He has also discovered the joys of using the cone to hoover up snow in the backyard and then bring a ton of it into the house with him. We are developing a whole new type of dance - instead of the chicken dance or the hokey pokey, we're doing some sort of 'avoid the cone, lift feet through the puddles' manouver. I'm sure it will be all the rage on the YouTube shortly...be sure you watch for it! Here's what happens when Jack forms a lap. Two animals, sound asleep (and they say dogs and cats don't get along).


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Creativity from today

Today was our monthly CQTeers meeting and we played with a couple of new-to-us techniques. This first one came from the "Craft Chi" site and this particular example was an image from a Dover book which I printed off onto regular copy paper. Then we added a nice coat of hot glue; ironed it (between two sheets of parchment paper to protect the iron!) until it was smooth; let it cool; removed the parchment paper;and then moistened the paper backing & removed it. The original instructions said to print the image using a toner-based copier (which I don't have) or onto photo paper. We tried the photo paper, but the backing on it is so thick and will take ages to soak off (if ever). Desperation led to the use of regular copy paper and it does give a nice transparent image. The second technique we played with was from 'The Artful Mama' site. The image on the upper left of this picture was black Staz-On ink rubber stamped onto regular copy paper. The image on the right was also Staz-On ink stamped onto the paper side of freezer paper. The bottom image was just something I had laying around that had been run through my printer. We rubbed each image (gently!) with baby oil and allowed it to soak in for about an hour. After wiping off the excess we ended up with some pretty nice images. The original instructions suggested we try it on waxed paper, but the results from that were disappointing. Apparently there is a type of wax paper you can get that is waxed only on one side, which might be better.
Last, but certainly not least was our pincushion exchange (sorry about the rotten picture quality...try enlarging it?). The one on the lower right was made by Sue (she embossed velvet...lovely!); Irene made the two smaller round ones (the top left has a little round box below it for storage, and the smallest one is made from antique Japanese fabric on a bottle cap base). The remaining pincushion I made, partially using instructions from the latest edition (just out) of CQMagOnline. The base on it is a cd.


I just realized I forgot to include the wonderful bookmark Sue made for each of us in the pictures...tomorrow I will show you that.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Goodies!

I just realized I loaded these pictures in backwards. Oh well! This picture is of a wee book that Arlee made which is now residing at my house. Inside there are several pages, all in wonderful rusty coffee-y tones. Yum! You saw some of these on her blog I'm sure...but now I have some to touch and feel and ogle! Beads and metal and wonderful stitching from her new machine. Double yum!!
And the first picture, shall be last.....


Propped up on my little easel is a picture Arlee made...velvet and full of texture! You can see my wee book and the texture goodies AND there's a wonderful mug holding my morning coffee and the little treasures in the box are fridge magnets. Oh...and there were some beads to play with AND a wonderful sparkly eyeglass case (which I neglected to put in the photo cause it's upstairs waiting to hold my glasses tonight). Thanks again Arlee...I love them all!!

Monday, January 26, 2009

I met Arlee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday was a day of many emotions! This part was THE best. I got to meet Arlee and she is EXACTLY what I expected. I think, if I were able to draw, I would have been able to draw a pretty accurate picture despite never having seen her. How weird is that?

We arranged to meet at a little store right across the street from her moms. I had described our car (a bright blue...very dirty...Toyota Matrix with a Canadian flag on the antenna). In one of our several phone calls that morning, we said we were on our way. She hung up, looked out the window, and saw a car exactly like ours already at the store and she thought we must have flown. She tore out the door and arrived just in time for the car to drive away! She must have thought we took one look and didn't want anything to do with her!

We drove down the highway looking for the store, but I totally missed seeing it...however, I DID see Arlee standing outside. I nearly deafened poor Jack yelling at him to stop, stop...there's Arlee! She was dressed in a wonderful coat (that I fully intended to get a picture of, and didn't) which was obviously her own design and, of course, really kewl handmade earrings, cuff bracelet and a wonderful beaded bracelet...all orange (what else???).

We looked around the little store for a few minutes and then headed for Tim Horton's (who, I'm sure, didn't know what had hit them). Two giggly, excited women gabbing a mile a minute and most of the time forgetting to breathe (at least I wasn't...dunno about Arlee). We had a magnificent show n share session and I got to see a couple of her art journals...oh wow. I actually got to TOUCH some of her work (which, if you know me, is even better than seeing it with my eyes). She gave me some pieces too...which I'll show tomorrow.

Her hoodoos are every bit as awesome as I could have hoped. Her work is totally fun and funky and artsy...just like Arlee is. (Can you tell that we hit it off??). Three hours of fun, fun, fun at Tim's (and they didn't offer to kick us out...bless them).

Here we are.....

...two happy campers. Wishing so much that we lived close enough to play on a regular basis. Thank you Arlee...it was a joy to meet you.

p.s. About Odin...his surgery went well and he's home sporting one of those plastic cones on his head for the next two weeks, when he goes back to have the stitches removed.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Pneumonia Vests and knitting!!

Wow...I'm honestly doing a post about knitting (which is one of the topics this blog was supposed to be addressing...hah)! The picture today is of two knitted pneumonia vests which were made by my friend and her sister to be donated to the Canadian Food For Children organization for distibution in third world countries. Another friend (Irene) delivers them to her knitting group where there is someone who in turn sees that they end up at the proper organization. These vests are pretty simple to create using yarn scraps from your stash and using garter stitch throughout. I finally cast on to make one this morning and it will be my 'carry along' project.

Here's a quote from the organization: "These pneumonia vests are to be sent to 3rd world countries where the need is great. Thousands of thse sick little babies and children have nothing to wear. These pneumonia vests, so simple to mak, will help keep them warm where the nights and early mornings can be very cold and many die of pneumonia."

There will be no post tomorrow (unless I get a chance) because Odin has his surgery and I will also be travelling to meet Arlee and won't be near a computer. I'll let you know how things go later on!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The world works in mysterious ways

Remember yesterday my telling you that I was lucky enough to be the recipient of one of Paula Hewitt's Pay It Forwards? Pay It Forward works much the same as the Random Acts of Kindness we've all heard about. I'll explain more about it when I get my three PIF's done and ready to be sent out into the world. If you'd like to see an example of what I'm getting check out Paula's blog at http://paulahewitt.wordpress.com and scroll down til you see her beautiful paperweights!

Anyway, my point (and I do have one) is that last night I found out that I had also been lucky enough to win day 18 of the '29 Days of Giving' on the Art By Chrysti blog (http://chrysti.wordpress.com)!! Get this....my prize is a book (wait for it) called....'Acts of Kindness - How To Create a Kindness Revolution' by Meladee McCarty. I couldn't believe that I would 'win' a pay it forward AND a book about acts of kindness...on the same day!!! Wow!

For any of you that are unaware of Christi's 29 Days of Giving, please go and check her blog and read her posts. She is a very gifted writer and has been posting some pretty thought-provoking reading. Be sure you also check the comments on each post because they are outstanding. There is a whole community building from her acts of generosity and some of the comments being made are very much worth reading. While you're there, be sure to enter the contest too. Oh, and be sure to check out her art!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I'm late, I'm late

I know I'm late making this post for today, but it's better late than never. I don't have any pictures either!

However, I thought I'd report that plans are being made for Arlee and I to meet, provided the weather co-operates. I'm pretty excited about meeting her! As it stands now, we'll be taking Odin for his surgery (in Toronto) this Friday morning and will carry on to Guelph so 'the meet' can happen. #2 son has invited us to spend the night at his apartment (in Toronto) so we don't have to make the extra drive to come home and then have to return to the city to pick Odin up again on Saturday. This creates a little window of opportunity to connect with Arlee before we need to assume further nursing duties with Odin.

I was also extremely lucky to manage to get in on a Pay It Forward going on at Paula Hewitt's blog. I'll be telling you more about that in a little while and hopefully you will want to join in on the fun!

Finally, I want to extend my congratulations to the American people and their new president.

Monday, January 19, 2009

We ate cake! (and update on Odin)

Son and his girlfriend arrived on the weekend with this yummy looking (AND tasting!) cake that she had made. This is real whipped cream folks! It was soooo good and I know it took her hours to make. Closeup of it's yummy goodness.....
The latest news on Odin....we just got back from seeing the specialist again and we will be having his eye removed this Friday. The swelling has gone down considerably but it still isn't healing properly and the odds are very high that the swelling will become recurring. The infection is within the eye itself and thankfully hasn't spread.
Although we feel really badly about having to do this, our outlook was changed tremendously while we waited to see the vet. Two of the dogs that came in were in far worse shape than Odin and were doing quite well. One was a boxer who had lost her front leg and the other was a scotch collie that had lost the use of his hind legs and was motoring around in a wheeled trap. Neither of them looked unhappy with their lot, so we know that Odin will get along just fine with one eye. I think God wanted us to see those dogs so we would not feel so badly about what we're facing.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Need ideas and input...

I'm looking for suggestions for my TIF challenge quilt and I thought I'd go to the experts that read my blog (yes, this means YOU).

The individual blocks for this quilt are quite heavy with the embellishments that I have included and I'm pretty sure that the finished quilt will be inclined to buckle when it is hung. What would you suggest I do to either eliminate or greatly reduce that tendancy?? Any and all ideas are welcome!

So....put your thinking caps on and tell me what you think. (Please?)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

TIFing away

I've been working really hard to finish up the TIF challenge for two reasons - one is that it was supposed to be done by the end of December and the other is that I can't wait to see what it will look like put together. I am absolutely determined that I will finish this project before I allow myself to play around with new technique and things I want to learn. I know me well enough to realize that once I start into something else this will be put aside and may never see the light of day again.

So....this is the 'in-progress' block for December. I am quite happy to say that during the entire year-long 12 block challenge I did not spend any money and used things entirely from my stash! I was able to meet the colour challenge AND was able to meet my personal challenge of having a button cluster, a piece of lace, and a 'silk' on each block. I really thought I was going to be out of luck for a silk on this one, but my stash yielded one that blends very well.

As for the stash-reduction aspect of this project - does it count as stash-reduction if you simply 'move' your stash from storage into a project which you then have to store??? Hmmmm......

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Brrrrrrrrrrr

We're currently suffering through a deep freeze and ONE member of this household (not me, I might add) has a nice new pair of warm slippers on his feet. It only took me a year to get them finished. The pattern is 'Felt Clogs' from Fiber Trends. Right now I'm wishing I had a pair too!!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Catching up

I'm gradually catching up with all the things that I've let slide and hopefully this week will put me back into the swing of things. Of course that particular plan is subject to what we hear next Monday when we take Odin to the specialist again. We're really hoping for good news and that his eye won't have to be removed, but time will tell.

Anyway...here's a picture of one of my Christmas presents (actually to me, from me, with love...which is the best kind 'cause then you get exactly what you want, right?). This is the latest book out by Judith Baker Montano and I'm thrilled with it. It measures approx. 6" square so is very portable which makes it handy to pop into my workbag. The beginning of the book shows an overview of the stitches and the page number that they appear on. The instructions for each step are very clear and concise and are also shown for both right and left-handed workers. Not many books are that thorough!
Specs: "Embroidery & Crazy Quilt Stitch Tool' by Judith Baker Montano, c2008, Published by C&T Publishing, ISBN # 978-1-57120-533-9

Friday, January 09, 2009

Behind, but done

Yes, I am finally finished working on the November TIF challenge piece and a picture is below. My November and December pieces were put aside and now I need to finish them up so I can put them together!

Before you look at the picture though, I have a few places you might want to visit. First, the CyberFyber exhibition is now open and you can see videos of the wonderful world-wide art show that Susan Lenz has put together. It is absolutely fantastic and I really wish I could see it in person. Susan traded atcs and postcards with many of us and there is also a large element of art from invited artists. Go and see...you won't be sorry! http://cyberfybervideos.blogspot.com/2009/01/cyber-fyberthe-exhibition.html More information can be found at http://cyberfyberexhibitioninvitationalart.blogspot.com and also at http://artbysusanlenz.blogspot.com . I am very happy that I have an atc in the show!!

I also found this (through SharonB) - http://www.shawkl.com This is a great place for crazy quilters to visit because she is running a series of seam treatments through 2009 (12 dozen seam treatments in 12 months). Well worth a look-see!!

Here's a couple more I found interesting - http://artfreebies.blogspot.com (lots of free images on here) and http://thriftycollageartist.blogspot.com (more free images and very creative art too).

Have fun with the sites, and as promised, here is the picture.....

Thursday, January 08, 2009

VERY exquisite corpse!

My Exquisite Corpse is home and I am totally thrilled with it! Thank you so much to Linda, Deirdre, Leslie, Corryna and Gail for their beautiful work, and to Arlee for arranging for us to have absolutely too much fun.

Firstly, a bit of explanation....in this 'round' there were 6 participants. The originator (owner) of the piece drew a picture/pattern on fabric and then divided it into six sections - one for each person participating. Then we worked one section of our design and covered it up (both front and back) so absolutely no clues were showing as to what we did. It travelled to the next person in the group where they completed another section of the design, again covering their work totally. In some cases it was fairly evident what the actual design was, but some were quite mysterious. After the piece had 'visited' all the group members, it was returned home to the owner who then uncovered all the areas to reveal the completed design. Every single one of these that have returned home so far ARE exquisite and now we're poised to begin another series, with some new players added to the mix.

This photo (altho blurry...sorry) shows how my piece started out.... This is the completed piece. Isn't it gorgeous? I'm not an artist who is very good at drawing anything, so my design was quite simplistic. I was blown away that two particpants put dragonflies on their areas. How cool is that?
This is a close-up of the area that Linda worked on. There are tons of beads (I don't come by my 'magpie' nickname without having a love for sparkly things!). I love the colours she used and there's such a variety of beads. Lovely!!

Next is the area Deirdre worked on. More beads and beautiful fabrics (maybe hand-dyed??) No, Arlee you may not have that fabric on the outside...it's mine, mine, all mine!!



This part is by Gail. I love the colours in this area. The darker area looks like it's felted, but I'm not sure - the colour is beautiful. The orange looks to be a fabric she created with all sorts of interesting 'bits' and there's beads! See the dragonflies?




Next is Corryna. She has stamped some pretty dragonflies AND if you look r-e-a-l close you can see the most exquisite wee stitched dragonflies. I'm not sure the picture will even begin to do them justice. There's more 'sparklies' on this part too.



Last, but certainly not least, is what Leslie did. This area looks very crazy-quilt-ish (which is one of my favourite art forms). She highlighted the flowers with beads, silk ribbon, and gold stitching.






THANK YOU so much ladies for all your hard work! I will treasure this and display it prominently in my studio.




Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Quick update

First, thank you so very much for all your comments about Odin. We all appreciate your concern so much.

At the moment we're on a holding pattern and doing our utmost with four different times of drops (given at LOTS of various times during the day...and night) in an effort to save his eye. The veterinarian opthomologist thinks that the glaucoma was caused by some sort of infection behind his eye and not something he has inherited. If that is the case there is hope that we can save the sight in his other eye and maybe, just maybe, we won't have to remove the blinded eye. At the very least we are hopeful to prolong the process.

We are also having to deal with an ulcer which formed on the iris of his blind eye due to his not being able to close his eye (and thus keep it moist, which in turn caused it to ulcerate). We have to get the swelling down in order for that to heal, which seems to be happening. All in all, it's been a pretty *interesting* few days!!

Obviously I haven't had a chance to do anything creative (unless you count my going around muttering to myself about times for drops!!) and I'm feeling at a loss. Obviously I need to create.

This picture of Odin is a much better one that Shawn (#2 son) sent for me to post for you to see. You can see why we love him!


Saturday, January 03, 2009

Sometimes life just plain sucks

This post is a complete downer, so if you don't want to read it, stop now.

My dog Odin is sick and I feel heartsick. We had taken him to visit #2 son on New Years Eve and while he was there he started blinking and favouring one eye. The next day (New Years day) there was all sorts of 'goop' around his eye. We thought it was an eye infection. Yesterday the eye seemed much better and we decided not to take him to the vet. Today he had a problem in his other eye and the original one had turned greyish in colour. That alarmed us so we rushed him to the vet where we found that he was now blind in that eye due to a sudden onset of glaucoma. Now we are battling to save the sight in his other eye and also to prevent the pressure from requiring removal of the blind eye.

We have drops to give him and he's had a needle. We see the vet again tomorrow and will be making a trip on Monday to the nearest emergency vet hospital to find what the long-term prognosis will be. Maybe the pressure can be reduced and he won't lose his eye totally and, even more importantly, he won't lose his sight in the other eye.

This isn't the most flattering picture, but the only one I can find readily.....