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.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Last art doll.

ONLY SIX MORE TO GO!!!!

 Meet Elsepeth who has been on quite an adventure during her travels with the Art Doll Coolaberation.

Someone stole her sweet little poodle Fifi and Elsepeth had to solve the great mystery of WHO did it.  I lucked out and found a Clue game at the thrift store so was able to pilfer some of the playing pieces for use in the journal pages I made.  Above is page one.

Page two.  Found a CSI board game at the thrift store too, so cannibalized some of it too!
Finally the mystery was solved!  It wasn't any of the suspects Elsepeth thought were guilty of stealing Fifi.  Why no - it was the butlers dog Bart!!
AND -  guess what happened?
I have had a total blast working on these dolls and am so sorry to see it end.  The other artists (Gail, Barb, Robyn, Karma, Em, Jeanne and Yvonne) are so creative and have never ceased to amaze me with their talents.  Thank you to each of you!!

Now to wait for my Shudayra to come home!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The countdown is on!!

ONLY SEVEN MORE TO GO!!!!!!!!!!!!

These are what we call 'moonflowers', although their name is something else entirely.  They are so much fun to watch opening up.  At about 8:30 at night the buds start to quiver and then they open up a little.  A couple of minutes later they quiver some more and open a little more.  In the space of maybe ten minutes the flower opens entirely.  When the sun hits them the next morning they die off and another crop forms for the next night.  They bloom pretty much all summer long.  You have to be sure to mark them *really* well in the garden or you are bound to haul them out thinking they're dandelions.  Their foliage is very similar.

A couple of things I thought you might like to see...
1.  Cathy of Crazy By Design has a post telling us about replacing the use of dryer sheets with something a lot more nature.  She has made dryer balls using wool yarn.  Go here to read more!

2.  She also has pointed us to the 2010 Purse Contest held by Crazy Quilting International.  Be prepared for some beautiful eye candy.  Go here.  While you're there, you can check out the archives for lots more to see!







Wednesday, May 26, 2010

CQTeers meeting and more flowers

Today was our CQTeers meeting at Irene's.  Our theme for our atc exchange this month was 'buttons'.  In the top picture you can see what we traded.  The upper left is by Kym, using some polymer clay buttons we made a couple of months ago at one of our meetings.  Upper middle is by Irene - she did a handmade cloth button.  The lower middle is by Sue.  She is our paper wizard and does lovely things - this time combining buttons and paper.  Mine is on the lower left - I copied an old button card for the background and also copied an old pkg. of needles. Buttons are from my stash (no, they weren't pre-dipped in cat litter!). Sue did the Mother's Day atc too. 

The jar of liquid you see in the picture is homemade walnut ink which is what we played with.  Irene made her own simply by boiling ripe black walnuts and some water.  Never again will I spend money to buy walnut ink, because this stuff is great!  She very kindly shared some of her stash with us and I can't wait to do some further playing with it.

The flower is a tree peony which is currently in gorgeous full bloom in our garden.  Last year it only had one or two flowers so it was a surprise to see how well it's doing right now.  If you'd like to use any of the flower images you see on my blog in your art, feel free to nab the photos!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Mumblings

This flower is some sort of peony - another one of the 'donated' plants we have in our garden.

-- Robin Atkins is very generously sharing a free download of her 'One Bead At A Time' book.  Believe me, there's some eye candy there that you have to see!  Go here for the link.

--  you might also like to check out all the offerings at DMC threads.

-- if you are looking for embroidery floss (and many other needlework items) you might like to check out Herrschners.  The U.S. site is here and the Canadian one is here.  They carry  both DMC and Anchor.

Today we are going to pick up #2 son and his fiance (they got engaged last weekend!) and also 49 copies of 'THE BOOK'.  At the rate we're going with selling them, they might have to go into a second printing.  Who would have known so many people would be interested?  

Still working on the huge studio re-arrange of 2010.  Next on the agenda is to remove all the books from that shelving unit and move it.  While I'm at it, I'll take a good look at each book and try (key word is 'try' - VERY difficult for a bookaholic!!) to downsize my collection somewhat.  Yah, right.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Into every life a little rain (of buttons) must fall

I think there's a little black cloud hovering over my head just lying in wait to send down a zap or two when I least expect it.  This afternoon I attempted to put a container back on my shelving unit and watched in disbelief as the container beside it slide very merrily off the back of the shelf and rained buttons down the back of the cabinet AND into the cat litter box right beside it.  YUCK!!

The cabinet had to be moved to retrieve the remainder of the buttons.  Well (and here's where the second zap came into play) said cabinet dissolved.  Yep, no other word for it - dissolved.  What seemed like an extremely sturdy shelving unit literally came apart.

Cabinet is on the side of the road free to a good home.  There is a studio re-arrange in process and I'm eyeing the cat littered buttons and thinking that I really don't want to pick through (yeeeewww) to save them.  Trouble is - they're my favourite buttons I use for crazy quilting.

As I said - into every life a little rain of buttons must fall.  Cat is confused - thinks he should cover all the buttons up.  Wonder what he's thinking?

P.S. Yes, you may laugh.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

R.I.P. - Gypsy

This morning we had to have our other dog put to sleep.  She became paralyzed - we assume her arthritis finally got the best of her.  She was 13, so had a good long life.  Now she's playing with Odin.

Friday, May 14, 2010

IT'S HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!

THE VERY FIRST COPY OF THE BOOK!!!!!!

 
 

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Using denim

I had an order for a man's denim BBQ apron and this is what I whipped up this morning.  I didn't realize how hard it is to get a semi-decent picture of an apron!  At least it helped reduce some of my stash.

For any of you who might be wondering about the latest on my Dad - he had a stent put into his throat yesterday, which is apparently slowly expanding over a two or three day period.  Eating will still be difficult, but at least this should give him some level of comfort.  He has to learn to eat slowly, which is something he has never done and it's difficult to re-train his brain to reflect that.  This is not a 'cure'  - it is simply a palliative measure to help him be as comfortable as possible.  

Needless to say, my blogging over the next while might be somewhat sporadic, but I will post when I can.  Thanks for understanding.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Denim jacket - finis

I can't exactly say the jacket is totally finished because I still have to finish the sleeve length, but that can't be done until the new owner comes for a fitting.  I hope she likes it!  Don't forget you can click on each of the photos to embiggen them if you'd like to see more detail.

Each seam in the final construction of this jacket is sewn twice, for strength and security.  I want my jackets to last!  I forgot to take a photo, but I also install another denim pocket on the lining in case someone wants to use it.  One of the little extras I like to do to set my jackets apart from the norm.

Comments are welcome!

Friday, May 07, 2010

Recyled denim jacket - sleeves, and other stuff too

Here is one of the completed sleeves for the jacket.  I've again used a plain backing fabric.  The darker plain areas of the sleeve are made from one leg of a pair of jeans.  The seminole band varies with each jacket I make.  I don't think I've repeated the same pattern any more than once or twice.  This is a new-to-me seminole design.

Once I make sure that the 'legs' are big enough to cover the area I need, then I decide how wide the seminole band needs to be.  It varies according to the width of pant legs I am able to find.  I construct the band and pin it into place on my plain backing.  Then the leg pieces are attached on either side and the final step is to topstitch for a little extra pizzaz.    The next step now is to make sure the sleeves and two front pieces are exactly the same in size because I use the constructed jacket pieces as a pattern to cut the flannel lining pieces to size.  After that comes the stitching together of both the outside shell and the inner lining.  Then it will be time for a try-on to decide the completed sleeve length.
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In further news, 'the book' is finally off to the printers (ie. #2 son and his GF).  I'm feeling rather lost because I've had so many months of my main focus being that book and suddenly it's done and all I have to do is wait for the finished product.  Feels odd!  Of course I could be really ambitious (and dedicated) and start on the second book, but I think I'm going to take the summer off.
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I've been meaning to tell you that my friend Arlee has a new project that sounds VERY exciting.  She has started a new blog to talk about her process, which can be found here.  Arlee can be counted on to come up with very original projects and this one will be no different.  She is taking her art to the streets!  Please go and read all about it on her new blog.
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Another blog I enjoy reading is Shawkl, and she has recently won first prize for her crazy quilted purse in the Crazy Quilters International yahoo group.  Please go here to see her winning entry and prepare to be blown away!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Our grandkitties!

Here are our grandkitties (and #2 son too).  Shawn looks quite resigned in this photo to the fact that their Stewie (a Bengal) spends a lot of time in just this position.  He rides around on his shoulder   which could become a problem as he gets bigger - Bengals can become quite big..  He's a handful and, I think, is going to be a challenge to raise.  I'm just glad it's them and not me! 

#1 son and his fiance just adopted Ella who is a little over a year old.  We haven't met her yet and are looking forward to it.  She sounds like she's a real laid back sort of cat and settled in happily pretty much the minute they brought her home.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Next step on the jacket - plus amazing lettuce

Here you can see one of the next completed steps on the recycled denim jacket I'm making.  To further the crazy quilted look I like to add clusters of metallic buttons here and there.  Each button is sewn on individually and knotted off using heavy buttonhole thread.  If one button becomes loose then, hopefully, the whole group won't come off.  After I've knotted them well, I put a drop or two of Fray Check on the knots for added insurance.

The lettuce is in our garden and has been in all winter, believe it or not.  The snow and cold didn't affect it at all!  We are constantly amazed by this variety - it doesn't bolt in the heat of the summer and provides us with fresh leaf lettuce right through until late fall by simply cutting it off and letting it re-grow from the roots.  If you're interested, it's called 'Simpson Elite'.  I'm looking forward to my first sandwich of this lettuce, peanut butter and mayo (and don't say euwwww til you've tried it!).

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

And now - for something different

Today I was fed up with working on 'THE BOOK' and thought I'd try something creative to feed the brain cells something other than history.  If this publishes as it should, the left picture is part one and the right picture is the end result (shown stapled into my art journal....staples aren't part of the technique!).

Anyhow.....

I had fun, so thought I'd share what I did. 

You need:  a piece of card stock (I used white); gesso; a paint brush; a newspaper (I used the ad section); acrylic paint. 

I tore the newspaper into pieces being sure to remove any really black or any overly blank sections.  Then I painted a layer of gesso onto the card stock and placed the newsprint on top(while the gesso is still wet).  You can rub it down with your hands or a brayer.  Leave for 15-20 seconds and remove the newsprint.  If you leave it longer than that, the newspaper will stick and won't come off, which is what happened to me when I tried to cover the entire large piece of card at once.  I finally tried  just coating an area of the card with gesso and then applying a big enough piece of newspaper to cover the wet area and that worked much better.  If you are unhappy with any section, just reapply the gesso and newspaper. 

Allow to dry completely.  The final step was to water down some acrylic paint and 'goop' it on however you'd like.  I used three colours, one of which was a metallic gold.  This would make great backgrounds for atc's, postcards, or greeting cards. 

You can click on either picture to embiggen it!

Monday, May 03, 2010

Fun and eye candy

First for the fun - I've been following (and lurking, I'm ashamed to admit) on Shawkl's blog and right now she is announcing the opening of her new internet shop (and there are some great things she has on offer, with more to come).  She's carrying a whole new line of threads and silk ribbons from Judith Baker Montano, which I'm coveting and will order once I win that lottery!  Shawkl is also running a fun giveaway and you can get the details and the link to her store here.

Periodically I mention Susan Lenz and her awe-inspiring art.  Her work is absolutely amazing and you HAVE to go and have a look!  Here to see her Windows series.  Just taking a look through her blog is totally mind-blowing.  Oh yes, and she is really generous too because she has a great tutorial here for how she does these pieces!  Her work on her blog is always a treat to see.

Another blogger you absolutely can't miss is Nellie Durand.  She does more with a tiny little scrap of fabric than anyone I've ever seen!  She's currently designing a new installation piece and it is fascinating to watch her design process and I know with absolute certainty that the end result will be spectacular.

I would highly recommend you explore all of these blogs because I know you will enjoy seeing their work.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Great finds, blog anniversaries and such

There are several interesting things I have to share today!
1.  My friend Yvonne is celebrating her 1st year blog anniversary with a fun giveaway (lots of treasures, including some of her hand made soap which I can say for certain is lovely).  Visit her blog here to get all the details.  (Speaking of blog anniversaries, I will be celebrating one this month too - I will reach 1000 posts and will be having a giveaway too.  Stay tuned for the details on that.)

2.  Vicki of Field Trips in Fiber and Three Creative Studios has posted the links and information on how you can win some more pretty cool stuff.  There's a chance to win on a Block of the Month contest; there's also a Technique of the Month contest (Three Creative Studios posts a free tutorial each month and all you have to do to enter for the contest is to try it out and post your results...that's a win/win in my mind!).  Vicki herself is celebrating her soon-to-be retirement from the corporate world and is having a weekly giveaway of handdyed fabric.  Go here for the info!

3.  Deepa has found a very valuable resource for those of us interested in fabric arts and you can read all about it on her blog entry here.  Costumes, textiles and embroidery galore.

4.  For some great eye candy, have a look here at Diane Savona's art site.  Yum!!

Hope you find something here you will enjoy.