Friday, July 31, 2009

Another peek and a surprise package

My sister sent me a package of goodies from the West Coast. Books and yarns...

and over in the corner that is hidden in this shot is a box of ...

Feather yarn!! There is also flax and recycled silk and lots of other luscious yarns. Great gift and looks like lots of fun.

I have also finished my doll. Now I am working on the clothing. I am using a free pattern from the Doll Crafter and Costumer's magazine. (I'm not pushing this link, it was just the only one I could find with the front of the magazine on it). In this issue, is a fall themed soft doll and that is what I'm working on. This is the first doll that I have made from someone else's pattern. I have certainly learned from this project, being a dressmaker and not a quilter or doll maker, I was unaware of the use of freezer paper for transferring patterns and pressing them to the fabric. That is a neat trick.

Years back, I took a course from a company called Hems and Hers, which was basically a shortcut course for sewing with knits. It included many, many hints that were used in commercial sewing factories and that enables me to make the doll clothes look very professional. For instance, the artists says when making the pantaloons, to run the waistline elastic through a channel, but I've been sewing elastic onto the fabric for many years and that looks so much better.

Anyway, while I work on her outfit, I will give you a sneak peek of her body. She just won't show her face until she is properly attired (and who can blame her?)

It's been fun sewing her and outfitting her will be just as much fun.

Hope everyone has a great weekend. Take care and stay tuned for the reveal!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

I can't think of anything to say...

I know we all get blogger block sometimes. It seems to have hit me. I honestly can't think of anything to say. Perhaps it's because I'm starting another project and have really thrown myself into it. I'm not saying exactly what it is, but here is a peek...

I will leave you with a quick picture of our crazy kitten. He is growing like a weed and has bouts of insanity followed by periods of being the sweetest creature you have ever seen.

Well, that's it for now. If I think of anything interesting, I'll let you know. In the meantime, I'll be working on my project, tossing paper balls for the kitten and being the domestic specialist that I am.

Take care and have a great day.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Do you say "tote" or "carry"??

I remember the first time I heard someone say they "toted" something somewhere. I thought it was such a great word. I love words that have a funny sound to laugh and sausage. I digress, sorry.

Any who, I wanted to say thanks for all the sweet comments regarding the accidental piercing of my index finger. I was totally amazed at how quickly it healed. I still have a tiny bruise under the nail and the nail is definitely cracked some, but after two days I was back in fine shape and tackling another project.

I have some lovely vintage table cloths that belonged to my grandmother. I wanted to get some use out of them so I used one of the largest ones to make a baker style apron for my sister. The other half of the cloth was really stained with what looks like tea. That must have been where the kids sat for family get togethers. I used parts of this to make a tote bag. This was a beautiful table cloth, printed to look like it had been cross stitched.

and the other side...

If you can sew a bit, making a tote bag is a simple project. I didn't use a pattern, simply because I have watched so many craft shows that I new how it was done. There are lots of commercial patterns available ( Our local JoAnn's has their Butterick patterns on sale this week for .99)

or you can get instructions on line. In fact, Butterick has a great website with free projects, that you need to check out.

Speaking of JoAnn's, in addition to getting 10 patterns yesterday, I bought sewing machine needles~(Yeah, I know, I'm a glutton for punishment)~I bought a pack of quick thread machine needles that are just the bomb!

You just slide the thread down the side of the needle and it has a tiny, tiny slit in it that pops the thread right into the eye of the needle. I don't know if I have ever mentioned it before, but I am extremely farsighted. I can't see close up at all without my specs and even with them, trying to use the needle threader on my machine has to be done by "feel". So if you are like me and have to use more than the sewing machine light to sew, do yourself a favor and try these needles.

Hope everyone has a great week. I have to go for my "lady's wellness" appointment tomorrow and we know how much fun that is. Then on Friday, I'm off to the hair salon. Can't look scraggly while growing out the silver locks. Other than that, life goes on.

Well, that's all for today. Take care and do something fun!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Tip for the day

One quick tip...when using your embroidery presser foot, with your feed dogs lowered...

BE SURE TO TURN OFF YOUR MACHINE if you have a bobbin jam.

Yep, I just pierced my fingernail with the sewing machine needle. Doesn't hurt yet. I don't know how deep it went, but it did bleed some and I cleaned it and put some anti-bacterial oinkment on it, so it should be fine.

My fault for doing something on impulse. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Bottle caps

As I mentioned in the last post, working with 2 part resin always interested me. I got a taste of it in one of the books by Sherri Haab. Such a great artist and writer, you must check out her stuff. In addition to doing my reading, I also watched a three part video, by John W. Golden on YouTube. I combined his instructions with some of the things suggested by Sherri Haab and decided to take the plunge into the mixology of resin.

I got my supplies from Art I chose the bronze bracelet with oval shaped blanks, thinking it would be large enough for me to put some original art in and pour resin over the top.

I am not good at judging the sizes of jewelry findings and such from pictures online, and I was surprised at the size of the individual ovals. Make sure you know what you are ordering. My fault for ordering the smaller blanks. The DH thinks they would look really good with tiny flowers placed in them. Looks like we are going to make an artist out of him yet...

Anyway, since the bracelet blanks are so delicate, I decided I'd better practice on something much bigger. I chose pop bottle caps. I gathered together all my supplies...

which consisted of copies of original "inchie" art, a circle punch, Mod Podge and a brush.

In John Golden's videos, he stresses using enough Mod Podge sealer. My impatient ways made me use less than was needed, but it worked for experimental purposes.

First I coated the inchies front and back with the Mod Podge...

While that was drying, I took the plastic inserts out of my used bottle caps.

This was very tedious and probably dangerous, as I was using a kitchen knife and pliers, so I would suggest getting bottle cap blanks to be used specifically for art projects.

When the art was dry, I cut it into circles. I started off using a circle punch which was the perfect size, but it broke on me after the first punch. That's what I get for dumpster diving. Anyway, the inchies are hand cut and ready to glue in the caps with the mod podge...

The tutorials stress the importance of making sure the seal is complete around the art, once it is in the cap or blank, otherwise the resin will seep under and make the art look like it has a wet spot on it. This is true. Believe it and make sure you use plenty of Mod Podge and make sure it is dry before using the resin.

I didn't take a picture of the mixing of the 2 part resin. Mainly because it was so simple. You use the cups included with the product. They are marked in fractions of an ounce, with the full cup being one ounce. Easy...half part A, half part B. Then you mix it gently for two minutes. You then have about 45 minutes to either pour it as is, or mix glitter or a coloring agent into it.

The product that I used is Ice Resin from Art It is jewelers' grade resin and is super clear and very low odor. I did this project outside, due to the numerous warnings I had heard and read. Using this brand, you could easily do it inside with ventilation. It was so easy to use, that I was a bit disappointed. I thought it would be more challenging than that. Now granted all I did was mix it and pour it into bottle caps...

It poured easily, not glumpy at all. I am looking forward to doing something a bit more complex with the resin. Michael's has molds made for this purpose and I have some molding putty that I could make a one of a kind mold out of, so perhaps in the future I will go that route. But remember that it must be a flexible mold, and you must use the proper release (don't ask how I learned this part). Anyway, I let them cure overnight (they were solid after several hours, but I didn't touch them at all.

They ended up looking like this...

This is a yucky shot, they actually look just like they did in the "just poured" photo, but I wanted you to be able to see the art. They are so shiny, they look liquid. It cured really, really clear but you will notice when you click on this photo that there are some "wet" spots, hence the need for extra care when sealing with Mod Podge. I will probably highlight the edges with gold leaf pen and use them as embellishments of some kind. This was lots of fun, but if taking the time to make beads and embellishments from resin isn't your thing right now, check out these really nice pendants, for a quick and easy necklace... or just pick something something more in your style from here, and you are on your way.

I, also, got a container of jewelry cleaner, by The Bead Smith. I like to try new items and thought this would be interesting in that it is a spray versus a "dip" type cleaner. After soaking my fingers while holding my ring to spray it, I read that household gloves should be used. ( rinse, rinse, rinse delicate fingers) The cleaner did the job, but nothing that the other dip and rinse cleaners couldn't have done. For me the spray was not a plus, but my rings are clean and that's the main thing.

Oh, and on another subject...I took the camera back today. It was not worth the money that I put out for it. The eye piece was too close to the body of the camera and the numbering system within the camera wasn't to my liking. I take shots, then load them on the computer and then put a clean chip back in the camera. This dang thing applied the same numbers to the next batch of photos, so when you went to load them into say, folder "kitty kat" you got the message that that particular number photo was already there and did you want to replace it. Yikes, no go, not how I like to do stuff. I very carefully repackaged everything and had the Geek Squad check it out and got a full refund on everything, used chips included. Way to go Best Buy!

Well, that's it for now, there is a kitten climbing up my chair so I have to go. Take care and don't be intimidated by what you may have heard, my experience with 2 part resin was easy. In fact, it was so easy, it's just ...A Walk In The Park.

Love ya!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Let's try new things...

It's been quite a while since I used the embroidery module that goes with my sewing machine. A "while" meaning about 8 years. So I got out all my manuals and my threads and such and made this little piece of embroidery.

It took about 45 minutes from the time I got all the supplies ready and figured out how hoop the material (several attempts) and started. It was fun. I have lots of designs available and can easily purchase software for others. I am happy with the result and will probably make this into a small pillow/pin cushion.

Speaking of trying new things, I have been wanting to try making resin jewelry. I have always been so intimidated by the process, but I went ahead and got the supplies to do some. So that will be my next project. You apparently need a great deal of ventilation, so I will probably do it outside. I went on YouTube and watched several video tutorials and have decided to just go ahead and do it. I will keep you posted of the procedure and the results.

That's it for today. Take care and have fun!

Friday, July 10, 2009

What was in that box?

You may remember that I mentioned that we went to the thrift store to donate some things, and a very generous lady gave the hubs a box for helping her carry stuff from her car. It was a box of children's books from days gone by.

I never read The Happy Hollisters when I was young. So you can believe that I am going to read all of these. The woman that gave the books to us, said they were hers when she was a child. There was apparently a Weekly Reader book club and she got most of them thru that .

I was read to each night before bed and then after I got old enough, I started reading my own books. They started me off on The Bobbsey Twins, and then I went on the the "Little Eddy" series and moved on to Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden and then Cherry Ames. Not quite what kids read today, I guess, but I loved all of them. They were good clean fun and almost always had a positive message worked into the stories. Maybe that's why I have always had such a positive attitude about things.

There are also some horse books, a book about a dog, some other mysteries and yes, even several Trixie Beldens.

What a nice gift to just hand over to someone. I could have never parted with such a box of books. I have a few of my own childhood books, but not this many. These will hold an honored place in my collection of really good stuff.

Thanks to all for the kind and encouraging comments on my new camera. I am slowly learning all the ins and outs. I'm not used to using the viewfinder and I keep leaving my nose print on the monitor. I will be trying out all kinds of stuff, not just photographing the kitten. I had done some pretty nice shots in the past, but now with the computer photo programs that are available, I can be creative, in an "outside the box" way with the camera.

For instance, start out with a simple close up of the hubby's acoustic, then just add a computerized glass bubble and you get this...

I know this may seem a bit silly or simple to the computer artists out there, but it's a start. If you have a favorite photo program or a favorite effect, let me know. I have seen such cool ones. Like the ones that look like you have written in the snow or the sand...where do those come from? I'm still fairly new to all this stuff. I have been using a home computer for about seven years, but have never really learned to do anything super cool.

My sister is sending me a goody bag from her favorite fiber and yarn store in CA, so perhaps soon I will have that to share.

In the meantime, have a great weekend and if there are any Big Brother fans out there, be sure to let me know. The new season started last night and it looks like it's going to be fun.

Well, that's all for now. Take care and be creative, whether it's in the kitchen, inventing a new dish, or getting out your stash and working on your favorite crafts. Shucks, for that much, you can get creative by just folding the bathroom tissue into a point, like they do in the fancy hotels. Creativity is everywhere. You just have to let it happen and enjoy.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Took the plunge...

Well, the hubs and I did a bit of shopping today. He and I used to be quite the amateur photographers. We both had nice 35MM sets. Then came the digital age and we both love the ease of a quick point and shoot that you can load to the computer immediately. Since having a new kitty we realized that the current camera wasn't catching the really fun stuff. I think this is mostly due to "lag" in the auto focus, or something.

for example...

So we figured in order to catch the action, we would need to upgrade to an SLR digital. The shutter in an SLR is mechanical versus electronic, so you don't have to wait on the electronics to decide if it's "OK" to take the picture.

So we did our research and decided on a Nikon SLR D-60. It is quite a hefty piece of equipment, and wow, I'd forgotten how good it feels to have a heavy camera in your hand. And having a nice eyepiece to look through instead of using the screen. So far, I like everything about it. It's been a while since I did any serious photography, so I may have to hit Barnes and Nobles and get a couple of new photography magazines and who knows, maybe look for a class or two.

Well, that's all for now. My next post will surely have some different photos in it and I will also be showing you the wonderful box of goodies that we got from a lady at the local thrift store. She was hesitating about donating something, so when DH helped her unload her trunk, she decided to give us this particular box. I think you will find it fun and interesting, so stay tuned for that.

Amos just commandeered the keyboard, I think he wants to make a post, so I'll finish up here.

Have a good....for goodness sakes, he's crazy...get down from there....Gotto go. See ya soon.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Back to the old grind...

We hit our local flea market on Saturday and I bought some art. Some would call it outsider art, some would call it drawings, some might be at a loss for words. I like it very much. The artist is local, a veteran and quite a talker. I like to support our local art community, but for me that means buying original art thru the flea market and yard sales. I'm not crazy about going downtown to our artsy section where the artist rent really nice spaces and have spent as much time decorating their shops, as on they have on the art that they produce (notice I didn't say create). Don't get me wrong, I realize that if you make your living thru your art sales, that presentation is the key. It just seems that the artists villages in most downtown areas are so similar. I'd just as soon go back in an out building and step over chunks of wood and cans of paint to see what someone is working on. I guess I'm just not a gallery type person. All that being said, here are the drawings we bought.

The hubby liked this one because of the farm animals.

I like the water wheel and the stone structure on this one.

We also attended the local tea party on Saturday. I hate it that "they" always refer to these events as protests. To me protests conjures up images of ratty haired ne'er do wells, trying to start trouble at events that they aren't really passionate about. This was a very friendly gathering of like minded people from all political parties, just trying to find a way to do something about the things that are important to them. I am not an activist, in any sense of the word, but attending a peaceful meeting and listening to speakers is something I can do. Here are some shots of the folks in the crowd.

Just everyday folks from all walks of life.

Patriots come in all ages. These young gentleman were there to listen and to learn to form their own opinions.

After we came home we had yummy hamburgers and chips and watched tv as the fireworks boomed around us. Our neighborhood is located in such a fashion that we could hear several events going on. The kitty was a bit startled at first, but with a bit of consoling, he settled down and wasn't bothered at all.

And, speaking of the kitty, we decided on a name for him. We had been thinking of biblical names, so to quote Jerry Reed, we "named him after a man of the cloth"; we call him Amos Moses

Amos, with the help of his Mommy and Daddy, has started his own blog. He is off and running (in more ways than one) and I hope you will come by and leave him lots of comments. That way he will be encouraged to give you updates on a regular basis. Anyway, his blog is called Amos Says... so stop in and say hi and watch his new video.

That's it for today. Hope everyone had a wonderful Independence Day weekend. Get back into the groove and have a great week!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

It's finally finished!!!

I have finished my handbag. It took about 1.5 yards of fabric and 3+ spools of thread and about 50 yards of clothesline, but I got it done.

The leather handles were purchased at Black Sheep yarn shop in California, but you can buy them online at places like this. I have had them since October, but the purse I was knitting, just hasn't progressed as quickly as I had hoped, so I took them to JoAnn's and found some cotton fabric that I really liked. I even made a pocket for the inside. I am quite happy with the end result. Check out this version.

The holiday weekend is almost upon us, so I had the hubby run me by Michael's to get some front door decor appropriate for July 4th, but everything was kinda of cheezy. So I grabbed a grapevine wreath, some red and white silk flowers, a spool of ribbon and came up with this....

I guess I'd better show you a close up version, but first promise me you won't gasp at how squirrelly my brickwork looks. That's another story for another day. Anyway here is another look at it.

I have no qualms about mixing faux "silver dollars" with big old red mums. What ever has the right colors is what I'm looking for. Anywho, I like for things to be a bit kicky.

We did decide on a name for the kitty, but I'm going to make you wait for the next post for that.

Hope everyone has a great weekend and remember to stop and think about what living in a free country means to you. Think about all the brave men and women, past and present, in your family and in mine, who fought so gallantly, so we could all live in this wonderful country.

Let freedom ring!