Friday, December 19, 2008

An Award!

I have been awarded the Marie Antoinette, A Real Person, A Real Award! The rules are as follows:

1. Place the logo on your blog.

2. Link to the person who gave you the award... you can visit Nicki at

3. Nominate 7 more blogs

4. Link to their blogs

Sarah at

Melentine at

Neki at

Ruth at

Papercracker at

Cally at

Vale at

5. Leave a post on their blogs to notify them!

Thank you one and all for providing so much inspiration and joy!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A New Adventure...

So today I did no art, but roasted my first coffee beans ever! A friend gave them to me, green beans from Ethiopia. I hope I haven't ruined them. Tomorrow I will make coffee, and see how they turned out. I didn't think to take a pic before roasting, but here are a few during roasting. I started with the heat rather high, then when the pan was heated turned it down to the hotter side of low. I had no idea there was a skin on them that would come off when heated! I spent some time doing laundry today, but made it more fun by doing some felting in the washer too... stay tuned for pics of that!
Karen at Crafty Goings On is having a terrific give away... visit her and check it out! Karen always has great blog posts... she does the best cards!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Altered Book In Progress

Some time ago I saw purse made by someone that had fabric added to a picture to pop it out in 3D. I really liked it, but wanted to put my own twist on it. I have added both paint and colored pencils as well as fabric to these. It is just a start, but I like it. I will add some more to them, and do more as well. I am doing a book for a friend of mine that loved the mermaid book I made for a friend last fall. The book has a middle east and African slant, (she is Ethiopian and loves dancing) but she loves preRaphaelite art, so some of those will be added too. I have also added pearls and gold, and have a wonderful pic to add goldleaf to around her halo. I am having alot of fun! You know, that is what art should!
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Sunday, December 7, 2008

Sashiko Quilting

I love this medium. I am far from exceptional at it, I am still very much learning, but I love it. For those who do not know of it, sashiko is an ancient Japanese form of quilting, originally used to layer older perhaps thin or ripped fabrics to make a warmer or more complete garment. It has become an amazing artform, with firemen and fishermen certainly at the apex. Some of the stitching is tiny, very dense. I am not there yet. I am making another sample for my classes, this one is to teach the basics of the technique, and ends with a small cosmetics pouch or evening bag at the end, depending on the closure. This needn't be dense, just pleasing. I like this pattern, especially in the traditional indigo blue with white stitching. I do some of mine on silk (thank you Nancy Shriber) using a piece of flannel beneath, but this is simply cotton with a little cotton batting to pad the sides of the purse. I think I will use a wild color as the lining... to feed my inner wild child! I am not having as much time to play with fiber and paint as I would like, but then, I would like to spend all day. A little too greedy I guess.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

It's been awhile...

But I have been both sick and busy, though not at the same time. I took my flu shot and 3 days later, got sick. I swear, they give you the shot so they know when you'll have the flu. I work in retail... when I get sick, I lose my voice... tough to sell things when you can't talk. Tougher when you can't stand up! Grumble grumble.
Today I forgot to video my sister, so I am a cad too. I have no brain cells left.
So after all that, here is what I have been busy doing since I recovered from the crud. The collage is the root of a swap offering for a Christmas deck, I still have to cut the size down to 3 x 5. The two purses are wool felt, embroidered with cotton floss. Fun stuff, though I never do things just like the pictures. I made the little cell phone holder deeper than the pattern intended, it really wasn't deep enough to hold a phone without it popping out . I really didn't like the handles suggested for the larger purse either. The instructions said to use doubled over suede strips... too messy and too flimsy. So I added loops and plastic handles... I like the purse better now. It is still too little for my daily use, but would be good for a special date or some such. I also knitted a sock (half a pair so far) and a pair of wristers, and discovered I can make wristers out of polyfleece! Lots quicker than knitting, though not so nice. I will still knit some, but now I can make several pairs in the time I take to knit one. I will put up picks of them tomorrow, AFTER I video my sis!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Weekend art

Well, I did alot more than this, but I will have to redo the photos. Today is just not a good day for photos. This is a book I bound as part of a thank you to someone who works with me. She and I were talking about the ethiopian coffee ceremony, and the next day she brought in green and roasted coffee plus all the scents that are used to complete the vigniette. It was fascinating, so much more than just a cuppa! I spent today in my studio, smelling wonderful incense. And unfortunately discovering that the bottom of the ceramic burner gets very hot indeed! It was resting on a piece of acrylic, which now has ugly bubbles in a circle. Ugh. Anyway, I also made ATCs (photos tomorrow) and painted cloth.
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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thank you Vets!

Today I went to the
nal Veterens Day Celebration at Arlington Nation Cemetary. It was a really nice day, with parts of it spent wiping my eyes. The Military Chaplains Association was the host this year, my husband, a member of the MCA, helped out some and it was nice to see old friends, but the real reason to go is to acknowledge the service of our vets, their sacrifices, and those of there families too. I sat behind three ladies who were in the Gold Star Wives Association, and next to a Gold Star Parents member. For those of you who are not familiar with these organizations, they are the wives and parents of our fallen heroes. A mighty sacrifice. The Vice President was there, since President Bush was up in New York on Intrepid. His was a good speech, one that was non-political. I wonder if we will even have a national ceremony next year. Guess we will have to wait and see. I am proud of my service and my husband's, and now my son's as well. God bless America.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Even the back...

of this needlefelted landscape is pretty. In fact I think I like it every bit as much as the front. Maybe more?

It's a little more impressionistic, a little less defined. Hmm, this would make a neat teacozy. Speaking of teacozies, I am working on the sample for a class I hope to teach. My biggest worry is making sure I have enough little sticks to use as a handle... and making sure they are not harboring six-legged visitors.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Soft Alpaca

Here is the alpaca project, a little wimple, or neckwarmer, in a funny lace pattern. I don't really knit lace, but it is an attempt. I sometimes come up with a different count than I should, so I know I have done something somewhere, but darned if I can find it. I don't dare rip back, don't know how on lace without losing it completely, so it will have some errors, but I will probably be the only one who knows that. My obsessive self wants to correct, but I am forcing it down. It will still serve to warm my neck, and look pretty. When I do the armwarmers, I will use a denser lace, that should make it easier to see errors and rip back. I will let myself be a little o-c with those.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Too cute!

Not too much to show, but I thought these two were cute enough to make up for the lack of fiber...

Friday, October 24, 2008

Mmmm, Fiber!

So the power outage in my studio had one good result... I spun up one of the fleeces I got at Montpelier. A beautiful chestnut cria hogget, it spun like a dream, just an easy singles, spun a little tightly to ply. It is about 1000 yds per pound, and about 10-12 tpi on average. I have found a beautiful wimple pattern, and may have enough left to make fingerless gloves.

Today I spent several hours at G Street working on the needlefelting attachment. I did a sampler, and a landscape. Gee, the back of the landscape is beautiful! Bernina's attachment fits on any of the newer machines, it simply has to have a wire thread guide, the metal hook kind doesn't let it attach well. It works like a champ, much easier than the very lightweight felting machine I tried at a friends house, I can't remember the brand, but it was a whole machine that cost roughly the same as the attachment for Bernina. Having a heavyweight, mostly steel interior really makes the Bernina easier to use. I haven't tried them all, but will write my opinions as I do. I am so strongly pro Bernina, I won't ever buy another brand, unless it is an antique. The DC motor powers through everything. Okay, no more free ads for Bernina, but I do love them.
The sampler and landscape both have a variety of fabrics on a felt background. I used silk, nylon, cotton, poly taffeta and organza. Even a tissue lame! I could learn to love this!
Since I now have power in my studio ( a short in the light fixture in the hall), it is time to take the tower of stuff off my cutting table and reorganize my studio. Again.
In other news, my Marine son is currently living in a villa (very small) in Clark Airfield PI, manning the satellites in pursuit of bad guys. You go, Josh! Meghan is slogging along in retail, persisting in paying off her debts and hoping to go to design school when she is flush. More power to you Meg, you make me proud!

Sunday, October 19, 2008


I went to the US Naval Academy's homecoming this weekend... they didn't fare so well against Pitt. The score was 42 to 21. But I keep it all in perspective by remembering that there are no free rides at the Academy, high GPAs and no reduced class loads during the season. I know a couple of the Pitt ball players will go on to play pro ball, but most will go on to sell used cars or some other ordinary job. Every one of the Navy players will be driving one of these! Doesn't feel so bad now...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Share the Chance

Oh boy, Kris Hubick is having a fantastic giveaway on her blog. Lots of goodies, lots and lots! Visit her here, and see for yourself!
Aren't my little guys cute? They look so innocent... don't believe it! Last night between 1030 (when I went to bed) and 0200 (when I think I finally got to sleep) they ran around, sounding like a whole herd of rhinos, and leaping onto the windowseat, then onto the bed (and me) around the room, down the stairs, around the kitchen and living room, and back upstairs. Aack! Today at work will be a long one!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Weekend

Oh a good weekend, a fun weekend, a productive weekend! Besides a little housecleaning, I just concentrated on carding and spinning one of the alpaca fleeces I bought at the sheepdog trials. I took the smaller, cria, fleece, 20 oz. I got it all carded on my Louet mini roving carder, and spun up about half of it. Maybe a little more. It was so warm and balmy outside that I did alot of the carding and all of the spinning outside, helped of course by my 2 funny kitties. I am spinning a pretty fine yarn that I will ply with itself to use in a shawl or maybe a hood/wimple. I am ready to start on the second bobbin, and hope to finish it over this week. It is so soft, I spun it with a medium draw, semiworsted style. Oh it is lovely I tell you, lovely!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Color color color!

Oh I do like color! This is a bag from the new book out, Exploring the Latest Trends in Mixed Media Art, authored by 4 women from my yahoo group New Techniques in Mixed Media. The little beady things are scissors fobs, I made a bunch and brought them into work ( G Street Fabrics) so we can all sport blingy scissors. Fun!

My studio currently has no power, so this weekend will be a spinning and weaving weekend I think, The electrician will be out next week. Ugh. Oh, getting pics of the bag was tough... both cats were fascinated!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Working Woolies!

This weekend is the Montpelier Sheepdog trials, and accompanying fiber fest.... love those puppies! I got my bordercollie fix, and will last a while now! It was mostly novices that were running while I was there, and those youngsters were entertaining. By 4:30 the sheep were pretty fed up with the whole thing, and were not easy to run. The last dog I saw run was half bordercollie, half bearded collie... imagine a bearded coat on a border body! I came home with 2 alpaca fleeces, one cria, one yearling. They are lovely, one a rose grey, the other a red and charcoal, my cats were fascinated by them. I also contracted for two icelandic sheep fleeces. They will be shorn at the end of October. They are cute puffballs, both will be hoggets (first shearing) and softer than the usual icelandic. Ah, a good weekend all together! My project for the fall is to spin all four fleeces, then in the spring or summer to build a warp weighted loom. Perhaps I can weave on it by fall. My first project will be a rectangular shawl, who knows after that.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Creative Weekend

Not only did I get to make stuff this weekend, I got to teach a class in surface design, and saw alot of "AHA" moments. Not much better than that! So here is what I did... the big piece is a 3+ yd piece of silk crepe on which I used Setacolor. It was a salmony pink to begin with, and I added magenta, violet and ultramarine to the mix. A little salt, and I will batch it for a couple days and then dry it. The small pieces are already dry and heatset. I also did some beading, but as they were to hold my glasses at work I didn't remember to get a pic first. This week is journal making time, and this coming weekend, oh joy, is Montpelior Sheep Dog trials! Working woolies! Then it is back to making journals and jewelry and whatever I get excited about. Now, if I can just not get so tired after work, it would be easier.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The last of the caravans!

Well, here it is, the fruit of many weeks labor, and several iterations. It is my Caravan of Dreams. The beach refers to the travels of the Rom, often across the sea, and to my own love of the ocean. I have used mostly water colors, and the sky is is a fabric with cranes, representing long life. The cat is for grace, the cards are for fortune, and the lone card refers back to the difficulty of relationships in a nomadic life. The dreamer, of course, is me!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

This weekend

I got to spend a wonderful day with my dh, something I haven't done in a while, too long a while. We went to the Museum of the US Marine Corps. It was terrific! They cover at least in a perfunctory way, the complete history, from Tripoli to now. There are plans for more in depth displays on several subjects, and they have a building fund to that purpose, but it really is good right now too. I have put up some pics. The wall with all the Marine insignia has one Eagle Globe and Anchor (and a few Navy Eagle and Anchors) for everyone killed at Iwo Jima. Mindboggling. The flag pic is the actual flag (2nd) raised there, seen through the famous photo. Say an extra prayer for all our men and women who serve us so valiantly, often far from home and loved ones. All give some, some give all.
Last weekend I went to an SCA event, and it was 98 degrees. I sat in the shade drenched, and then had a terrific supper, got rained on (cooled off!) and dragged home, tired but happy. I have put a couple pics from that up too. Cheers!