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, April 30, 2010

Spring beauty


These are what greeted me this morning when I opened the curtains.

We only have a few of these tulips and will have to hunt for some more bulbs this fall.  They are simply stunning and look so bright in the sunshine.

The flowering almond is absolutely covered in blossoms - last year we had hardly any.  Now we are just hoping we won't get any frost or (horrors) S- - - like they're getting in Calgary!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

a little good news

Well, at least I think it's good news!  Today, because I had to sit beside the phone waiting for a call that has yet to come, I decided I would really put a push on

and......

I FINISHED THE BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I  ...   think   ...    I'm   ...    in   ...    shock.

 As a matter of fact, I know I'm in shock.  I never thought I would ever see the end of it!  399 pages (count 'em - THREE HUNDRED AND NINETY NINE) of deciphering very old handwriting, much of it faded out.

For those of you who are recent readers and don't have a clue what I'm talking about - 'the book' is a typewritten copy of a handwritten diary written by my great great grandfather covering 30 years of his life as a farmer beginning in 1869.   

Of course, I shouldn't be tooting my own horn just quite yet because there's a ton of work still to be done before it can be published, but right now I'm a very happy camper!

-------------------------------

On another subject entirely, I want to thank everyone who left such kind messages about my Dad.  I am grateful for every one of them, and for you taking the time to be so kind.  

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sporadic posting for awhile

I'm afraid my posts over the next while might be somewhat sporadic.  My Dad (who lives with us) is undergoing a lot of medical 'things' right now and I will be taking him to various places for appointments and such.  He has been unable to swallow food for quite some time and finally had a 'scope' (proper medical term isn't one I can remember) this morning and they found that he has a cancerous tumour in his throat.

The next step is to visit a specialist in this sort of thing to see if there is anything that can be done, plus he is scheduled for a CT scan  and some other type of testing next week.  We're certainly getting our fill of medical facilities at the moment!

He is 89 so I suppose this type of thing isn't uncommon, but I hope they will be able to at least give him some relief and give him the ability to eat.  I think we would refuse anything like chemo or radiation at this point - mainly because I don't think he could handle it.  Sometimes it's sad to be old, isn't it.

Anyway, if I'm not posting as often as usual, you will know why.  I'll try to keep up with my routine as much as possible, in and around hurrying up and waiting in medical areas.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Hmmmm - and Crazy Quilting

There is something else 'odd' going on  with my blog - now my sidebar picture of the thistles has disappeared.  Hmmm.  Not only that, I know I've uploaded two pictures to this post and only one seems to be on my screen.  Double hmmmm.  Maybe Blogger has a fart crosswise problem.  


Anyway, on to more important news.  The latest issue of CQMagOnline is up for your reading and viewing pleasure.  Check it out here.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Next steps on the jacket


Finally got back to working on the jacket and have added all the machine stitched decorative elements.  Pockets and labels are added here and there for interest.  The two front pieces are shown in the top picture and the back is in the bottom one.  At least I HOPE that's the way it is, because evidently the great mystery of the weird language instead of picture debacle of the past couple of days has been solved - with what appears to be an 'updated' version, which is a whole other learning curve!  Hopefully this will publish the way I want it to.

Now it's on to the metallic buttons and remaining decorations on the shell of the jacket.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Flowers and futzing



Hmmm....still getting a foreign language when I try to post pictures. What's up with that?! Oh well, at least the pictures are coming up correctly on the published blog. The tulips in the garden are suddenly bursting into bloom. The reddish coloured ones are obviously the type that multiplies because we have a ton of them this year.




Absolutely nothing of the creative sort has happened over the past few days, unless you want to count shoveling a lot of 'stuff' from a shelving unit in my studio and parking it on the side of the road 'free to a good home'. Amazing how quickly things disappear that way! DH put out another smaller shelving unit this morning and it was gone within a couple of hours. Recycling at its best! Come to think of it - today is Earth Day, so at least we've done a little something for the cause!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

YIPES and spring doll swap





Oh my. When I put my pictures into this post they came up as a whole bunch of gobbledygook and no photos! Yipes. It must be the dreaded HTML I hear spoken of with such reverence. Hmmm. Wonder if this is a hiccup from Blogger and it will straighten itself out or did I manage to click on the wrong thing this morning when I was fooling around with the settings? I don't want to know!!

On a brighter note, I did manage to figure out (with lots of help from Anne) how to put the button for the award onto my blog! Thanks Anne!!

As for the pictures (at least I hope they are going to show up as pictures!!)...the bunny is the 'doll' I made for the latest swap on the Decidedly Different Doll Group and the other two pictures are the front & back of the delightful one I received in the swap. If you enlarge it, you can see the the trim is made from little strips of one of my favourite fabrics - denim!!

Now I'm hitting 'publish' and we'll see what happens. Keeping fingers crossed.....1....2.......3.......

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

of awards, and beauty of several sorts

A couple of garden photos, just to prove that spring MUST be here. We had snow flurries on the weekend though.
I was SO honoured on the weekend to have a lovely award bestowed on my blog by Anne (see her blog here). The 'One Lovely Blog' award is mine! I'm sorry I have no clue how to put up the button to actually show the fact, but I'm so happy to know someone likes my mumblings enough to give me an award. Thank you Anne!

This is a lovely spring day here, so I'm going to point you towards some absolutely lovely work. Karen Ruane is an inspiration with whatever she does, but currently she's working on a new series of embroideries that she's turning into wee books. So beautiful and you have to go and see what she's doing!

Anne Marie is another inspiring artist and she has just completed a piece of art that you will want to see! There are a number of posts showing close-ups of this piece, but I will direct you to the one that shows the entirety. She's a relatively new blogger, so I'm sure she'd appreciate you saying hi and leaving a comment. Go here.

Enjoy the day!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Room pictures












Here is the finished bedroom (finally!). Unfortunately the paint colour isn't showing 'true' and is looking white in the photos. The wall colour is actually a bit closer to the plain areas on the bedspread.

The poppy picture above the bed is the one we bought for our 30th anniversary (and actually got it over a year ago & have waited til the room was done to hang it). It's a cheap knock-off, but does have the feel and look of an original oil painting.

We still have to find some sort of window covering. The roller shades we've used until now are just not what we want. We have very odd sized widows with two side by each facing the street and one immediately around the corner facing east. There is nowhere to put any sort of curtain rod. We've found a place that will make blinds to order, so we're going to check them out on the weekend to see if they have anything. Otherwise it will be back to plain ol' roller shades.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Stuff!

Yeah, right about now I wish we could 'stuff' the paint cans and the mess somewhere so I don't have to look at them!! We're actually going to be able to sleep in our own bedroom tonight (I hope), so there's progress being made. The rest of the house looks like a cyclone hit though. DH is frustrated because the 'new' doorbell we bought doesn't work, which he found out AFTER he had it installed. Now we have to return it and, of course, we didn't buy it locally. Sigh.

Anyhoo......on to the more interesting stuff.

- please go to Anne's blog and read her post about letter writing as opposed to the use of computers and technology. She is spot on with her thoughts and has said it SO well. Be sure to read the comments on that post too. I must admit that I miss getting the odd letter in the mail, but the most upsetting thing to me is that real honest-to-goodness paper and ink books might become a thing of the past. I'm sorry, but I want that feeling of weight in my hands. I want to be able to take that book anywhere I want (including the bathtub, provided I don't go to sleep and drop it in the drink that is!). I want to be able to look at them on my bookshelf and in the bookstores.

I also want to re-read all the treasured letters and cards I've kept over the years - they are my memories. I don't keep them all, but the ones I have are special. I want to be able to read my great great grandfathers' diary and I want to be able to read my own. Computers (and all the other technologies out there) are wonderful things and I love my connections through the internet, but there is no way it can replace the pleasure the actual written word brings.

Stepping off soapbox now, to point you towards a great resource for free knitting and crochet patterns. Have a look at Planet Purl. There's lots to see!

Here's a cute pincushion pattern I stumbled across.

Has anybody heard of/done something called 'Shirret'? It's a form of crocheting using strips of fabric. It looks like it would be great for using up scraps and would make gorgeous rugs and maybe some interesting tote bags (depending on the width of the fabric strips). It requires a special type of crochet hook though - which is something else I will be putting on my 'wish list'. I'm adding a book called 'The Art of Shirret' by Louise McCrady to my list too.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Snuffle, snuffle, sneeze and more ABC's

How's that for an odd title for a post? Here are a couple more of the pages from my little 'Prince Arthur's ABC' book. Feel free to nab any of the pictures for use in your own art, but I'd love if you'd let me see what you make!
The snuffling and sneezing part of the title is referring to my allergies who are rearing their ugly little selves right now. The grass is a-growin' and the trees are a-growin' and I'm a-blowin' (what can I say). Have to admit I have a love/hate relationship with spring and fall and I know that the makers of allergy medications (and tissues!) adore people like me.

I think, because I'm weird that way, that someone ought to design a funky little pail that clips on under a persons nose to save the infernal blowing and snuffling. Gross. But wouldn't it be functional? I know.......yewwwwww.........

Monday, April 12, 2010

'Before' the re-do

These are a couple of 'before' pictures in our bedroom. DH has decided that he is finally ready to start painting so last week everything got moved out and he's busily working.
The room is pretty much finished, with the exception of a border print, which wasn't in the initial plans but has become necessary. We found out that using stencil paint to stencil a border way back when was NOT a good idea. Nothing wants to completely cover it, despite using a really good quality primer. So...a border to the rescue. I'll post 'after' pictures in a few days so you can see the difference.

Of course, once he gets into the groove, he goes to town and works on all sorts of jobs. Right now the wooden cabinet we have the tv in has been moved to the bedroom and he's painting that. Next up will be the hallway. I'm trying to stay out of the road so he isn't tempted to paint me too!!

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

I'm so excited!!

My friend, Arlee Barr, has just finished
setting up for her solo exhibit
entitled 'The Artist's Body'
which will be on display at the
Epcor Centre for the Performing Arts
in Calgary, Alberta

The show will open April 9th
and will run through to May 30th

I'm so happy for her and so wish I could be there in person to see it! The best I can do is see the pictures here. Please go and have a look, and if you are anywhere near Calgary go and see the real thing because I know you will be glad you did. Her work is awe-some!!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Rip it, rip it and trivial pursuits

Today has been a rather disjointed one, so I don't have any pictures to show at the moment. DH has undertaken to paint our bedroom AND the hallway AND the basement stairwell AND our tv cabinet! He doesn't do things in minor stages - it's all or nothing. So, the house is in a total uproar and I want to go live elsewhere til it's all done!!

The only thing I managed that was even remotely creative today was to reverse stitch a number of denim pockets to get them ready to put on the jacket. Nothing photo-worthy in that.

Thought I'd mention that Adele Sciortino has the latest dollmaking newsletter up and you can read it here. There's lots of info there about faeries so you might want to check it out. If you aren't familiar with it, there are back issues there too and all are worth a read.

Here's another place to have a look at if you're interested in embroidery. Look here. And, not to leave the knitters and crocheters out, have a look here for a good yarn comparison chart.

For the mixed media folks, have a look here for lots of eye candy and information.

And, just to round out this post absolutely full of trivia...how about a recipe? We've been drinking this all winter and enjoying it so thought I'd share how we make it.

INSTANT CAPPUCCINO MIX
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup white sugar
3/4 cup instant coffee granules
1 cup instant hot chocolate powder
1 cup non-dairy creamer powder (Coffeemate, for instance)

Combine and store in an airtight container. Use 2-3 Tablespoons in a mug of boiling water. Enjoy!

Monday, April 05, 2010

Denim jacket - part the two

Above is a photo of the other front piece (I did crop it, honest I did, but it didn't translate to the blog). I love that piece of 'Xs' and it fits nicely in that place.

Below is the back. I know it looks pretty plain at the moment, but the next step is to topstitch all the seams using proper jean thread (I use yellow because it looks most like the *real* thing).

Friday, April 02, 2010

Denim jacket - beginning

I thought, for a change of pace, I would show you a little about how I go about making one of my recycled denim jackets. In the photo above you (hopefully) can see the beginning of how I piece the sections together. The plain blue cotton you see at the bottom of the picture is what I use for stabilizer. You can use any fabric for this part, because it will be entirely covered up. Great way to use up those pieces you hate!

Below you can see the base of one of the fronts is finished and ready for embellishment. If you click on the picture hopefully you will be able to see the basting I have done which shows me where the jacket pieces will be cut out. I use this as a guide only because once all the extra stitching is done sometimes the piece will draw in a little. When I have completed the stitching, then I will cut the exact pieces.
Below is a closeup of a couple of the elements I have used. I'm pretty sure my customer will like the rose because she enjoys gardening.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Art dolls and ATC's

Meet 'Windy', the wonderful little art doll that arrived in my mailbox today from Jeanne of the 3D's art doll group! Jeanne says that this is the first doll she's made with paper mache and I think she's gorgeous. I don't know if Jeanne is aware of my love for denim, but if you enlarge the picture I think you will see that denim played a large part in this wee doll! Unfortunately the photo doesn't show how sparkly she is.

Jeanne also included some atcs for my collection (see the photo below). Again, I don't know if she knew I collected them, but if she didn't, she must have ESP! She also included some pretty lace, which will be added to my stash for future use in my crazy quilting. Thank you Jeanne!!
Yesterday was our CQTeers meeting and we did our usual exchange of atc's. This month the theme was 'fish'. Irene created the one on the upper left, mine is upper right, Kym's is lower left, and Sue's is on the lower right. Our 'program' this time was to learn a little bit about working with polymer clay and we all made some little buttons.