Thursday, June 26, 2014

I'll be back

Why do I hear Arnold Swartzenegger saying that in my head?  "I'll be back..."

Don't know why I've been gone so long other than I must have needed a break, or didn't have much to say.  But I feel my mojo returning, so.....I'll be back....

Friday, February 28, 2014

February flew by real quick

You turn around twice, and blink your eyes, and another month has come and gone.

Remember my quilt-as-you-go quilt? (QAYG)   I can finally say it's finished.  And before March.  Yes, it was just yesterday that I put in my final binding stitch, but it's done.  I really like it, and glad I gave this method a try.  I actually consider it reversible, though the front in strips is my favorite.  I played a bit of an "I spy" game with Elise the other day, and among other things asked her to find a bird.  We couldn't find any, which really surprised me...and one may still show up as we look further.  Still, I'm considering appliqueing a bird somewhere on the front.  Probably at one of the junctions where the lattice doesn't exactly match!  Here it is, front and back.

I'm not sure of the size, maybe 60 x 72?  But it fits on top of a double bed fine, and would drape over a twin bed nicely.

I've started my annual home improvement project.  I try to do something each year, and this year the master bath is getting a bit of an upgrade with new faucets, mirrors over the vanity, and lights.  David got the faucets in last weekend, and we got the big mirror down and out.  Wouldn't you know, when we took the mirror down, there was a hole in the sheetrock.  Guess they figured it would be covered, so why worry about it.  I trimmed it to a workable size to patch, and will work this weekend on getting it textured to hopefully be a decent match, and then paint the area and put up the mirrors.  I have someone lined up to do the lights, but that may not happen immediately.  Just have to see how his schedule works out. 

Here's the before.   The mirror will go away and be replaced with two mirrors, one over each sink. Those lights will change into two fixtures, one over each mirror.  Each fixture will have 3 bulbs.  The faucets have been updated to replace the standard builder's faucet. 
Here you can see where the hole was behind the mirror, though you're seeing it after the messiness was cut away to a decent rectangle for patching.
And this is one of the two new faucets.  I love the high neck on it.  So much easier if there's anything somewhat bulky I want to fit under it.
In other news, Elise and I worked a puzzle this week.  Went down to 550 pieces instead of 1000.  Partly because I just liked the picture with all of the little characters and vehicles, but it also worked well to have the pieces just a bit bigger.  The packaging is now smaller than in years past, and some makers will include a nice size print of the picture for you to use instead of the box picture, but this one did not.  The bigger pieces helped.
Guess that's it for now.  Have a good weekend. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

February stuff

Time managed to slip away the last couple of weeks didn't it?

I'm still doing some art regularly, though not necessarily in my journal.  The last couple of weeks I've been playing with my Zentangle book.  It's fun, and nice to just let go and doodle.  The book I'm working from is "The Art of Zentangle".  Its been a great introduction, and has several practice opportunities.

This first picture is one of the practice pieces after I'd already started, a whimsical fantasy garden.  It was initially kind of a swirly L on the left that spanned across the bottom to the right. I've added in some butterflies, and the doodly swirls and doodads.
In the next picture you can see I've carried it further.  More flowers, and a chirpy little bird.  I've also had the book spiral bound, which makes it much easier to handle and keep my place.
Great artwork?  Hahaha, no.  But it is fun.

I stopped by Red Lobster yesterday for lunch, one of my favorite places that I treat myself to occasionally.  Usually when I dine alone, I have a book to read or puzzles to work while I wait.  This time I took in my book of Cryptograms.  The waitress happened to notice it, and asked what it was.  I explained they were word puzzles, and  different letters are substituted for the correct're breaking a code.  Seeing her interest, I pulled a page out of my puzzle magazine and encouraged her to try it herself.    Just a few minutes later she came back by (it was early in the day and pretty quiet) and showed me her start.  She sat down, and a few minutes later another of the servers came by and joined in.   With a few hints on patterns to look for, they solved a couple of the puzzles.  I think she's hooked!   I really enjoyed the unexpected company, and I'm sure I'll be back.

I'm making progress on the string quilt.  I've finished piecing the last border, and will start the quilting on that piece this afternoon.  I hope that by next weekend, it will be attached to the rest of the QAYG quilt, and I'll be ready to put the binding on. 

Elise went to her first Daddy/Daughter Dance.  The Parks and Recreation department puts it on every year around Valentine's Day.   She got a pretty dress, and some new Cinderella dance slippers, and enjoyed some special time with Daddy.
 She took great care in getting ready.
And finally was all set to go to the dance.  She had prepared the map to the dance earlier in the week.  I understand they had a great time dancing the evening away.
Have a good week everyone.  I need to go check on my crockpot of chili!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

2014 is off to a fine start

We got our second prompt on the art journal earlier this week, "Somewhere, a simple place".  That led me to thinking that I like the road less traveled.  Give me a back road, free of the congestion of city traffic, and I'm happy.
In my sewing world, I'm pleased to say I've completed a UFO.  I started this tree skirt back in the Fall, and used it as a table topper even though it was not quilted or have finished edges.  I decided to back it with an autumn fabric, making it usable year round if I want.  I even learned how to do a binding for a reversible quilt where the fabrics are quite different, and one fabric wouldn't look the best.  Here are the binding strips using both fabrics.
This process requires a few more steps, but it wasn't too hard.  Sharon Pederson has written books on it, and has the binding technique in her videos, part 1 and part 2.  Since this topper has 8 sides, I had a multitude of times to try it out.  Each side is done individually, and you can either hand stitch the back side down, or machine stitch.  I chose to machine stitch on this one, though my preferred method is by hand.  I like how the sides come together, I may even consider it in a regular quilt.

Here it is completed, showing both sides.  I have to say it appears to stick out a bit, and I'm wanting a more drapey look.  The topper has just been in the washer, and will go in the dryer in a few minutes.  I hope it will relax somewhat...I'll let you know.  This was the first time I used a fusible batting, and that may contribute to the stiffness.  According to the package directions, washing will release the fusible properties.

This next week I hope to resume another UFO, my string quilt.  The side borders are now complete, and I've cut the foundation for the top and bottom borders.  I don't know if I can get it all together by February, but if not, surely before March rolls around.

In family news, my son-in-law had a birthday this week.  They lead pretty busy lives, but I managed to have pizza waiting for them when they came to pick up Elise.  She helped make the cake .  Happy birthday David!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

another paper pieced project

Paper piecing can be addictive.  Having done a few pieces in the past year, my comfort level has increased.  However...there comes a time when you think is it worth the time to do all the intricate steps.

When I was looking at the Fandominstitches website with the Sherlock Holmes patterns, Elise saw one for Ariel the mermaid that she wanted.  I told her that would make a good mug rug and she agreed. Here's their picture of her:
I took my time and got through almost all of her, except the eyelashes.  They looked so tedious.  I made an executive decision and decided to embroider her lashes instead, and really think it was an excellent move.  Here's my version:
There is a little mistake in it where I missed one little triangle of flesh color, but Elise likes it and I do too.   She took it home to use because she said they didn't have any mug rugs at home.  This one came out about 10"x10".
And in case you're interested, see my new area rug that she's on?  I decided it was time to switch out so I got it this past weekend.

The second prompt for my art journal has been posted.  It is "Somewhere, a Simple Place".  I've got one or two ideas floating around in my head, we'll see what I come up with.  In the meantime, the journal will hold more than just the prompts.  Last week I worked on a collage while Elise was painting, and the collage made it into the journal. 

Okay, that's it for now.  I hope to be back before the next prompt is up to show what I came up with.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

early January

I forgot to mention last time the important news that Lily is learning how to sew.  She's very creative, and she's eleven.  Because she's shown an interest in making outfits for some of her stuffed or plastic toys, for Christmas I gave her 2 books... one geared to tween-age sewing and the other to help get her familiar with a sewing machine.   A few days later we worked on her first steps.  She practiced sewing straight and curvy lines, and pivoting for a turn.  Then so we could wrap up the session with an actual project, she made a chicken pin cushion.   We both had a good time.  :)

The nice thing about this age is the lack of inhibition.  As we looked at fabric for the project, she asked if she could use green and blue, her favorite colors.  Of course!  There are no quilt police!  Then she chose buttons for the eyes, one yellow and one red.  Yep, she's going to do just fine.

I mentioned last week about the art journal project I've joined in on.  My cover is still a work in progress, but it's coming along.  Here's how I'm progressing.   You can see I'm using a composition book.  After watching several youtube videos, it looks like it will work fine.  I learned to open the book flat, and tie a ribbon all the way around the binding, then repeat that process at intervals to have about 5 or 6 ribbons.  This helps secure the binding, to keep it from separating from the pages as they become heavier with content.

Next I inserted some little pages to go underneath those ribbons.  I took newspaper inserts, and trimmed them down where they would have a staple intact.  I slipped that under the ribbon.  As I use those pages, I will gesso the insert to cover up the advertising as well as give it a base for whatever I decide to do.  I'm totally winging this (after viewing the videos) because I do not come with a scrapbooking background.
Next I gesso-ed the cover.  This covered up the design and gave me a blank canvas.
I've not finished the cover yet, so I'll show that later.

We received our first prompt.  Remember there will be 52 prompts, one given weekly.  No right or wrong, we do as we please.  The first was Up, Up, and in soaring into the new year.  Several have posted theirs on Facebook, and there are a lot of talented people.  Lots of balloons, hot air balloons, wings, etc.  I saw them, and knowing I'm not a particularly "airy" person, I took a different little spin.   Picture a little ant farm with all the trails that ants make.  Picture one little ant on his journey to the top.  Then picture him going further, and climbing up a tree.  Going out on a limb, he hops on a leaf, and "soars" through the air.  "Whee!  We all want to soar..."

I know, I have a long way to go.  But, thankfully this is a journey and there are not expectations of perfection anywhere along the way. 

Until the next time, have fun and express yourself!

Friday, January 3, 2014

new year, new possibilities

2014, can you believe it?  Another new year, and new possibilities.

But first, let me slip to the end of 2013 to share my latest paper-pieced quilt project.  My friend Odalie recently posted on Facebook that she got a Sherlock Holmes book with all the stories in it.  That gave me a clue that she must be a fan.  As I was looking through the Fandom site at their free paper-piece patterns, I saw that there were some for Sherlock Holmes, and immediately thought of Odalie.  I think its kind of serendippity when that happens, so I decided to make her a mug rug using two of the designs.  They also had a magnifying glass, but I couldn't fit 3 items onto the mug rug.  This is what I came up with.
They have all kinds of designs.  In fact, Elise saw one of Ariel (Disney mermaid) that she liked, so that's probably my next pp project.

Moving on, 2014 is the start of an art journal project group on Facebook.  I've been wanting to be more artsy, and I think this will be a good step in that direction.  I got a zentangle book for my birthday, and that will lend itself well to the journal project too.  At least for part of it.  I plan on prepping the journal this weekend so I can be ready for the first of 52 prompts in 2014.  I'm already growing...I learned what prepping the journal means!  There are a lot of youtube videos out there on the subject (gotta love youtube) and its really inspiring. 

Okay, time to get up and about in 2014!  Have a great new year.  :)