A blog about my interests, which include crazy quilting and various and assorted other artsy pursuits and sometimes known to contain mumblings of a random nature.

Friday, 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.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Winnings, birthday present, and update

Because I was one of the first 25 people to register for the virtual studio tour through the Quilting Arts magazine, I won a door prize. I got a package of espresso coloured clothes pegs (which will be great to hang things on my studio clothesline) and a package of braided rope, which I can either use as another clothesline or maybe I'll try doing a small fabric bowl. Thank you Quilting Arts for the goodies and for organizing such a fun tour!

Below is how I spent my gift certificate from the local bookstore (which I got for my birthday in July). It's taken me awhile to decide which one from my HUGE wish list I would order. I had read about this book on one of the blogs and, out of curiosity, had it brought in to our library. I coveted it immediately, so the decision was made. It's taken awhile to come in but now it has, and I know exactly what I'll be doing tonight!!
Update on Odin (for those who are interested)...today seems to be about the same as yesterday, despite the meds. At least the situation isn't getting any worse, so we're hopeful. Last time it took over a week to become critical, so we are cautiously optimisitc.

AND....just to make life really complete (hah)...this morning a HUGE (gigantic, enormous, cavernous...well, you get the idea) filling fell out of my tooth at the breakfast table. Hmm. Well then. It wasn't the one I've been expecting to fall out. Hmmmm.

Never rains but it pours!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Sometimes life just plain sucks


We have had a rotten day - totally. Those of you who have been reading this blog for awhile might remember what we went through with our dog Odin last January, when he ended up having one eye removed because of glaucoma. At the time, the specialist felt that the disease was the result of some sort of infection. Odin was so good about the whole ordeal and has been getting along quite nicely with only one eye.

This morning, we got up and noticed he was having problems with his good eye. Over a thousand dollars later and rushing him to yet another specialist over two hours away, he now has four medications he has to take/be given for a week at which time an assessment will be made. The specialist isn't holding out a whole lot of hope, but at this point we will try and do what we can.

After a week we will know whether the treatment has worked. If is hasn't, we will have to put him to sleep. We are well aware that blind dogs get along quite well - however, we have stairs which can be a danger and also my 88 year old dad who uses a walker to consider. Also two cats that wouldn't have a whole lot of understanding and would be quite likely to claw him if he stumbled into them.

As I said, sometimes life just plain sucks.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Ancestors


Here is another picture of some of my ancestors. I think the man sitting in the front row has a very interesting beard! Of course there was no year recorded on the picture, but at least some of the names are there. The lady in the front row on the left is my great grandmother and beside her are her parents. They all look so somber, don't they.

I'm progressing with 'the book' and typed page 187 today. From eyeballing the original book, I would say I'm approaching being half done. At this point in the book, my gr gr grandfather is pretty much writing along with very few notes in the margins. As I progress further, he resumes the margin notes (on a pretty-much daily basis) and that will mean I have to rotate the original with each entry in order to be able to read and transcribe them. That will slow me down considerably!

Friday, October 09, 2009

That was then......

and this is now. Yikes!!! Obviously cleaning my studio for the cyber tour didn't last.
I'm back working at my coat which explains the piles of denim lying about. It's funny that, although I really want this coat, I keep putting it off to do other things that seem to somehow be more important. It's not just procrastination - I think more likely it's downright fear of mucking it up somehow.

I have a complete and total phobia about making clothes stemming back to high school. Every girl at that time was required to take home economics, which included half a year of cooking and half a year of sewing. I'm 5'9" and the sewing teacher was about 4 foot nothing in high heels, and for some reason she had a dislike going on for me. At the end of the term everyone was to create something which then had to be modeled in a public show. All the other girls were allowed to choose fairly simple pieces, but when it came to me...well, nothing would 'do' in her mind unless I did a tailored 2-piece skirt & jacket set for my project. My parents were struggling to make ends meet and purchasing that amount of fabric in the proper weight was not something they were happy about doing.

I struggled my way through making the outfit (with my mother's help) and made the skirt in a length I was comfortable wearing (not the minis that were the current style). I was 99 lbs and had REALLY skinny legs and knobby knees and there was no way I would ever wear a mini. At the dress rehearsal for the show I put my outfit on, the teacher took one look, and promptly hacked off my skirt to the length SHE felt was proper.

Well, I wore it, because I wanted the 50% of my mark, and was utterly mortified. When I got home that night, my mother (who never threw ANYTHING out) told me to take it off and she mutely held the lid of the garbage open so I could throw it out.

Needless to say, clothing is not something high on my list of items to make! I have managed to create a bunch of recycled denim jackets, but I seem to be able to justify doing those by saying they are a 'craft' and by using a crazy quilt method. This new coat is something I have wanted for a long time and I really am determined to finish it. If it doesn't work out, there won't be any pictures to show because it will end up the same place as that cursed 2-piece suit!!!!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Look who's visiting!!

This is Yvonne's doll from the Art Doll Coolaberation 2009 who is visiting me right now. She is a work of art already and it's going to be SO much fun to create something new for her.
Isn't her face absolutely gorgeous? This is real red clay and I think she has glass eyes. I love it!! Her hair style is beyond wonderful...with real bones AND her braids are made with real horse hair (from Gails horse).

The back of her head, showing the intricate detail of her hair style.

I already have an idea for what I'd like to make for her...now just have to translate it into fact!!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

A flock? of spiders.....

I don't know the proper term for more than one spider...I'm quite sure it's not a flock, but you get the idea! These are the little creatures we made at our last CQTeers meeting.

Apparently there is a story out there that spiders are lucky to have on your Christmas tree and having a spider web on a piece of crazy quilting is something that is traditional. These are a little large to put on a CQ I think, but using smaller beads and wire would make them suitable.

EDITED TO ADD: Here is the story of the Christmas spiders...thanks Yvonne!

Monday, October 05, 2009

Studio Cat

First of all, I want to thank all the people who toured my studio over the weekend, and especially those who left such wonderful and supportive comments! I had a total blast visiting the over one hundred studios that were open on the virtual tour and, by the sounds of things, so did everyone else. Special thanks to Cate and all the team at Quilting Arts for spearheading such a great cyber tour!! (btw...if you missed touring on the weekend, check out the post below where you will find a link to the tour and you can see what everybody is raving about!).

Several people on the tour had included pictures of their studio animals and I neglected to. So...here is sleepy Cosmo, my studio buddy. He was named after the Kramer character in the Seinfeld TV series. Remember how Kramer used to make an 'entrance' into the room? Well our Cosmo does the same...usually at full tilt and via the shortest route possible. If you happen to be in the way, look out! We have another cat too (Mitzy), but she rarely graces my studio with her presence.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Welcome to my Studio Tour!

As you step in my door and look to your right, this is what you see. The table is what I use as my cutting table (it's an old metal topped table. The metal was rusting, so I covered it with peel and stick tiles). The drawer holds my cutting wheels and some of the smaller cutting boards. Underneath you can see the water bowl for the cat! Below are are couple photos in more detail...
This is an old chest of drawers which holds my crazy quilting fabrics, loosely sorted according to colour. You can see little coloured dots on each drawer that tell me what colours are inside. I use the space on top for a display area for some of the dolls I've made. You can see a clock a friend scrounged from a thrift store that has a sewing theme and is perfect for my space. The plastic cabinet holds my wool and some trims.
Beside that is my large storage unit which holds my stash of recycled denims, my quilting bats and stuffing and a shelf of odds & sods that don't seem to fit anywhere else. On top is the cat bed, but he wouldn't cooperate and sit there to pose (of course he's curled up there now, after I've taken the picture!).
Around the corner is my dehumidifier which I need because this is a basement room and it does get damp. There's a storage cabinet that I keep odds & ends in. On top I have a heat proof mat for ironing little things. The regular ironing board gets little use because I don't iron clothes! Above that is a recycled x-ray reading machine that gets used as a light box. You can just see the edge of a door that leads into our cold cellar.
This is just beside the cold cellar door and is my work table and display area. The table folds and also moves quite easily into the middle of the floor should I have a group working on a project together. There is a shelf above which holds some handmade treasures, mostly made by friends, although there are a few things of mine there too. Right underneath the shelf I have a strip of cork so I can pin things up. Just below the ceiling I have a clothesline where I hang more pieces of art.
This shows the other corner of my worktable. I found this little corner shelf unit which fits perfectly and holds things I use regularly so that they're handy. You can see more art pinned up and on the shelf above.
This is around the corner and a continuation of my workspace. I have two thread holders, which are within easy reach. The cork continues around the corner too, so there is more display space. To the left of this picture there is another door which leads into our furnace room, and there are more shelves in there where I have my magazines and patterns stored.

This is to the left of the door and is a book shelf from Ikea that pretty much holds all my crafting books kept in categories, sort of! There's one of my recycled denim totes hanging on the door. And do you see the little shoebox on the bottom shelf? Inside that are all the baby cards from when I was born...over 50 years ago!
This is my computer corner. My desk is really small so I put another small table on top of it in the corner to hold more display and things I use while at my desk. Continuing on.....
To the left of my desk there is another small three drawer cabinet which holds my paper supplies and more of my computer equipment. Beside that is another scrounged piece where I store all my beads. You can see that the top shelf holds a number of metal cases which in turn hold small metal cans with glass lids where I store my beads by colour. To the upper right you can see what looks like shutters? Well, they are, but they actually cover in yet another doorway. There are narrow shelves inside there that hold my paints and glues, etc. All the shelves are easily removable should the doorway be needed again in the future.

And finally, to the left of that is another storage unit with labelled plastic containers from the dollar store which primarily hold things for embroidery and embellishing. Now you're back at the door where you came in!

I hope you've enjoyed your tour and I'm really looking forward to having a peek into your studio over the weekend! Please leave a comment and let me know you've visited.
Thank you to Quilting Arts for facilitating a fun tour!!
oh, and p.s. All the pictures are clickable if you'd like a better look.

Edited to add the link to all the other studios on the tour. Go here tomorrow (Oct. 3) and over the rest of the weekend to visit them and be inspired!!