31 July 2013

Falling Leaves Shawl

I began this shawl on June 21, 2013 and finally finished it on July 26th. It's called a Stora Dimon Shawl from the book "Folk Shawls" by Cheryl Oberle. This is the second one of this pattern that I have knit and it is my favorite. Because it is a Faroese style shawl there is shoulder shaping that keeps the shawl comfortable on your shoulders without slipping. I wanted to finish it before the Fall, and I am so pleased that it's done.

I used Madeline Tosh DK weight yarn in 'Magnolia Leaf' and 'Filigree' (the green lace pattern)

Close up

This is the thing on my needles. I'm back to comfort zone of fingering weight yarn with size 4 needles. The color is Zarzamora and it is my favorite brand, Malabrigo, in sock weight. The pattern is from VeryBusyMonkey (VBM) and is called Geology. It has bands of patterns and, if I can wade through the somewhat page turning directions it will be lovely! You should check out VBM's patterns. they are really special!

29 July 2013

Mixed Media Stitched Square

In the last issue of Cloth Paper Scissors they issued a challenge for a mixed media stitched square. This is my offering. I used Lesley Riley's TAP paper for a transfer of a combination of image and painting and then I free motion quilted the square. I always forget how much I love to FMQ! I added some bits of paint for definition and then bound the edges with some leftovers of purple cloth and a piece of 'paint wipe up' cloth that I had been saving for some time, thinking that one day I would find a use for it.

My submissions to CPS never seem to make the mark, but I did have fun making this fun little square!

This is what the back looks like, it's easier to see the FMQ stitching on this I think.

 Close up of the back
Close up of the front

24 July 2013

Leapin' Lizard The True Tale

15" from front foot tip to tail tip; main body is 6" in length ;
 4" wide at belly width; 5" tall from bottom to ridge tips.
Stuffed with carded, soft wool

Here she is, my Leapin' Lizard, and she has a tale to tell.  I made this as a donation for the LaConner Quilt Museum's 2013 Fabric Challenge and fund raiser event. Leapin' Lizard is made from what was called the "Aussie Outback Challenge Kit"  which included two fat quarters from M&S Textiles. They are the two fabrics with green in them. The yellow solid was my addition. I am a big fan of Aboriginal motif textile designs.  Each of these fabrics by themselves was interesting, and as a lime-ey green lover ,one would think that these fabrics might have been right up my alley. Oh! How wrong that turned out to be!

I tried one approach which failed miserably right out of the gate leaving me with even less fabric to work with. I considered just forgetting about the entire thing. It was easy to consider just moving on to another, less troublesome, project.  My friend, Judy, who always has good ideas, suggested that I make something 3D, a stuffed animal perhaps. Initially that idea did nothing to spark my enthusiasm, but then I thought, well the fabric really does sort of look like a lizard. Hummmm... all of these 'issues' came to mind. All sorts of reasons why I should not go ahead! What sort of lizard would I make? I have no pattern. Would this work out? I'm short on fabric, and I don't want to have to hunt for or buy any more of, these two fabrics because I would not use it! Oh! What to do?
What a face!
What to do indeed. Why - make a pattern of a lizard of course.  I really winged it this time and pieced some of the two fabrics with some yellow. It was interesting to me because despite thinking that I would be able to find a lot to go with these two fabrics, nothing really worked all that well. The bottom is a solid piece of one the two designs, and it worked very well in that capacity.

The simple instructions read that "a recognizable amount of both aboriginal fabrics must be used as an integral part of the completed entry...not just the border or binding in the case of a quilt...". Of course the other requirement , and it is the most important one, is that the work "...should be a combined total of all sides no less than 18"...". Uh Oh! After my first failure I forgot about this salient requirement. DH kindly asked what the minimum size was. I have no way to calculate this 'combined' size. I bet I'm under and that they will not accept this item. I'm going to send it in anyway and, if they don't want it perhaps they will just put it in the gift shop or return it to me if they hate it!
leapin' liz in her natural environment
I had a great time adding beading and character to Leapin' Liz and I think that she came out well. It's certainly a different sort of thing for me to make. I'm sure that is not quite what the Museum had in mind, but I hope that it may be sold and bring in just a little something for them.
Good camouflage!
mid section beading
Tail and rear foot close up

20 July 2013

Peek-A-Boo Bags and La Conner Quilt Museum "Aussie Outback" Challenge

I that these bags may well mark the beginning of my return to the cloth and sewing that I love so well.
Some time agon my friend, Janet, made one of these bags for me and I have wanted to make some ever since. I finally got around to it!

The pattern is simple enough, and I like the vinyl window. I used the one Janet made for me for smaller knitting projects. Now I have found the Peek-a-Boo bags to be a handy way to store threads that I will be using in the near future, and for patterns, the cut pieces, and  matching thread and zipper. This bag has a lot os uses that's for sure!

The pattern is from Terri Staats and it is called the "Peek-a-Boo" bag for obvious reasons. I am considering some changes to the pattern and will, I hope be tinkering with this pattern in the near future making it more knitting friendly perhaps, maybe with a grommet for the yarn to come through on the upper back or something.

Next up is free motion quilting a sewing machine cover which is designed to get back my "free motion mojo" so that I can finish up some felted bags. I've had the felted pieces and linings all set to go for more time that I want to admit to, so getting them free motion quilted and finished will make me happy!

I love circles, and they are, for me, a real representation of my life. Some circles (cycles) close while other open, and it's all good.

I do have one, wonderful new habit that I have acquired since my retirement (a month tomorrow!). My routine used to always be that I would get up and sip my coffee as I went through my email. Now, I enjoy my coffee, the singing of the birds, and a good book while I sit comfortably on the deck in the morning. I get to the computer and my emails later than I used to, but I so enjoy beginning my mornings in such a lovely, relaxed way. What a blessing to be able to do!

The La Conner Quilt Museum is having an Aussie Outback Challenge using these two fabrics from M&S Textiles Australia. While I am a big fan of aboriginal fabrics and patterns, these colors leave me very uninspired. I can take the fabric on the left, but the one on the right is the real 'challenge' for me. Of course I suspect that the colors are part of the reason that they were chosen for the challenge too!

I tired a couple of simple free form quilt designs, but nothing really made me happy , and so I am going in a completely different, mixed media, direction . I am not sure that I will actually get this done by the August 15th deadline. It depends how enthusiastic I get myself to be, and then I question if this is really worth the amount of time that I will need to expend in order to make what I sort of have in my head a reality. We'll see. See how I have gotten into the "non-committal" sense of retirement! 

What colors would YOU use with these fabrics? Can you of a design that would work well for these two fabrics?  The rules read that "...a recognizable amount of both Aboriginal fabrics must be used as an integral part of your entry - not just for the border or binding...".

Why not enter this challenge too? It's for the benefit of the La Conner Quilt Museum and the fabrics and postage cost only $11.00. Join me? If not tell me your thoughts! 

16 July 2013

Where Does The Time Go?

Keeping My Feet On The Ground
It's true! Although the days went by quickly when I worked, they go by even faster now that I am not working. I am, however managing to do things that I had wanted to do in the past, but had no time for. Some of those things are not 'blog' worthy. Like scrubbing the deck and the deck furniture. It took 4.5 hours, but I can now rest in a chair with no fear of any mold or bird droppings getting on my clothes! Ick! I love clean, and wish that I could keep everything clean for at least more than a day! Now I can at least do the every day clean up and not have it go back to total chaos again.

I spent some time developing an ETSY shop for my earrings. I have no hope that much will happen, but it would be nice to sell a few to offset my obsession for wearing and making earrings. I will add some bags to the shop soon. I know that there must be some magic thing to do to be successful on Etsy, but I can't figure it out. I'm not sure that is the best platform for me, but I'll try it for a month or so to see if anything sells. If not, well then I'll have to figure out a plan 'B" and a plan "C". Again, not much to blog about there.If you want to see the earrings that I added the address is: 

Yesterday I cut out all of the pieces for three cloth bags. This will be a prelude to get back in the swing so that I can go back to finishing my felted bags for sale. Rhonda, the patient owner of Vital Elements, has been gracious in waiting for me to get myself in gear, but I don't want to overextend her patience too much longer! Again, seeing an image of me cutting out fabric would be oh! so boring, but I am really happy to have "cloth on my hands" again.

Today is bordering on hot. This summer has been a bit warmer than usual, which has made my body somewhat happier. A friend gave us a portable air conditioning unit several years ago and, although I generally dislike canned air of any sort, I have been grateful for it on these hot humid days. 

So, although nothing has been particularly blog worthy I have been happily busy doing things that make me happy. What a wonderful thing retirement can be! I was so uneasy about taking this step!  I thought that I would have issues with it , and I thought that I would somehow miss work. I don't really, well, maybe the money was good to have, and I know that I have not yet felt the full impact of the financial lack of retirement, but it is good to occasionally not know what day of the week it is! I am so blessed now to be able to get the amount of sleep that I need and not have to set an alarm. That's probably one of the best things about this change in circumstance, along with doing some fun things that make my soul sigh with joy!

11 July 2013


I've been allowing myself the luxury of not having to accomplish anything in particular. Eventually I know that I will settle down and create with more focus, but for now it has been lovely catching up on overdue, or soon, due, trades and play.

Making earrings has been providing me with a lot of relaxation and tons of enjoyment recently. I have no idea why I'm enjoying this so much. I don't wear a lot of jewelry, but I do like the few rings that I wear every day, and I do love wearing earrings - especially when they are made with lampwork beads. I have never used lever back findings ( in the middle and on the right in the photo above) before, but I am discovering that that are really very nice, and they feel very secure on your ear. I've sold two pairs of my last batch of earrings , and that was a big boost for me. I hope to sell more, along with my felted bags which will be the next thing that I simply must sit down and focus on getting finished. I've been remiss, but they are calling to me to get them done!

I accuse my friend, Karen, of not being happy unless she is ahead , and I have to confess to being much the same way most of the time! These Inchies and ATC's put me just a couple of weeks ahead of the July 31st deadline, so I am feeling more relaxed again about being on track with my trades. I tried to get my Dorset button making skills back on track with the middle row of  "Inchies". I used some # 8 braid embroidery thread. I'd forgotten how much I like making these buttons and hope to try some variations made with some thinner embroidery threads.

I have been having a wonderful time doing some more experimenting with Venetian Plaster, gold leaf and cold wax techniques. The ATC theme was typography, and this is what came of it this time around. I had more fun with the background - trying new things really makes me happy. I had a difficult time getting good lighting on the cards, I think that they look a bit better in person than these images indicate.

On July 23rd I have a new class beginning with Val Webb. Drawing birds with colored pencils. I am truly looking forward to this. It will be the first time that I actually have the time to devote to class. I wanted to take a class though Artful Gatherings too, but I did not want to have to keep up with two classes at a time. My newest mottos will be " focus", and "relax and enjoy the moments". I don't want to rush through classes any more, not giving them the time and care that they deserve. I want to savor and learn! I am,  however, really looking forward to taking advantage to the wonderful class opportunities at Artful Gathering the next chance I get!
Before long I will begin my plan to sift, sort, donate and sell a lot of books, fabric, work clothes and other supplies that have not seen significant use or interest for some time. Do any of you have a favorite method of sorting through your things? Do you have a favorite place to divest yourself of fabrics and supplies? I could use all of the ideas that I can get!

04 July 2013

Happy Fourth! Thank You To My Ancestor!

For today, just a bit of personal family trivia.

I get chills when I think that I am directly related to a signer of the declaration. It's through my maternal line. For me, that my heart line.

My Maternal Uncle had the genealogy prepared when he became involved with the S.A.R. Thank you Mr. Ellery for being a founding father. I honor your sacrifices.

Rhode Island
William Ellery
William Ellery
One of a small group of lesser known signers whose achievement were comparatively modest, William Ellery gained little fame beyond his hometown—in sharp contrast to fellow Rhode Island signer Stephen Hopkins. The office of Delegate to the Continental Congress was the only significant position, State or National, to which Ellery ever won election, but he occupied it for a far longer period than most other Members.

The second son in a family of four, Ellery was born in 1727 at Newport, his lifelong residence. He followed in the footsteps of his father, a rich merchant and political leader, by attending Harvard. On his graduation in 1747, he returned home. During the following two decades or so, he tried his hand at several occupations, eventually taking up the study of law, which he began practicing in 1770. Meantime, he had married twice and was to rear two sons and three daughters. Among his grandchildren were William Ellery Channing, influential theologian and apostle of Unitarianism, and Richard Henry Dana, Sr., noted poet and essayist.

By May 1776, when the colonial legislature sent Ellery to the Continental Congress, he had already earned a reputation for his work on local patriotic committees. Tradition records that, at the formal signing of the Declaration on August 2, he placed himself beside the Secretary and observed "undaunted resolution" on every face as the Delegates subscribed to their "death warrant." The next year, Rhode Island initiated popular election of congressional Delegates, and Ellery's Newport constituency maintained him in office until 1786 except for the years 1780 and 1782. In 1780 he remained in Philadelphia as an ex officio member of the board of admiralty, on which he had been sitting. His other committee assignments included those dealing with commercial and naval affairs. On occasion, to entertain himself and others, he wrote witty epigrams about various speakers. In 1785 he turned down the chief justiceship of the Rhode Island Superior Court to remain in Congress, where he had attained commanding seniority.

The very next year, Ellery terminated his congressional career to accept an appointment as commissioner of the Continental Loan Office for Rhode Island (1786-90). Probably the need to straighten out his finances compelled him to accept. British troops in 1778, during their 3-year occupation of Newport, had destroyed his home and property, and he had been too busy to rebuild his fortune. In 1790 President Washington appointed Ellery as customs collector for the district of Newport, a position he held for three decades. Although he was a Federalist, he managed to retain office during the Democratic-Republican administrations, probably because of his Revolutionary record and competence.

In his later years, Ellery prospered. He kept active in public affairs and spent many hours in scholarly pursuits and correspondence. Living to 92, a more advanced age than all the signers except Charles Carroll, he died in 1820 at Newport. His remains rest there in the Common Ground Cemetery.

03 July 2013

Zetti-Esque and Another Bourt of Earring Obession!


I have to say that not having a schedule to have to hold to is a really wonderful thing! yes, I really DO like this part of it!

Over at heARTist Trading Cards the theme for June was Zetti. I'd been running a bit late was had be a bit frazzled, but I had thought that I would have no problems coming up with something for this theme. I had never done any Zetti before, but I thought it would be "a natural" for me. Not!! I had elements all together and ready, but I just could not find pleasing proportions for the ATC size. I spent a day feeling like a failure; went to bed and got up to tackle it again. Finally, I found a combination that I liked and that I felt was good enough to send out! I made some of the side trade tags and sent them off. I had never made any tags either, but I wanted them all mailed so much that I forgot to take some images of them!

This week, after the full speed forward motion of last week and the early part of this week I was feeling just a tad off center for some reason. Perhaps I am being sensitive to the Mercury retrograde that is ruling the astrological heavens at the moment? Oddly enough, the thing that I found  that really calmed me down was making earrings!  I cannot imagine why, but it worked! I had so much fu playing with spirals and designs. I but the proverbial bullet and ordered some sterling silver wires.... using up my stash of silver covered copper wire now. Ohhhh.. I'm sort of stepping out!

I'm thinking about selling at least some of these earrings (I'm not even sure which yet!) for $25.00 per pair. I may wait until the silver findings arrive though. If you have an interest though and like a particular pair let me know, and I'll send you information. With the exception of the earrings on the lower left which use 16mm locally lampworked beads the other pairs are made with lampworked beads (from Etsy rather than local) that are only 11mm in size - or about 1/2 across the top.

I'm looking forward t playing with silver components and finding - higher cost, but I hope more durability. I'll be soldering all of the connections in the future. More time consuming, but better quality I think.

What fun to be able to say - who knows what tomorrow will bring. I do have several thoughts though!