Wednesday, December 17, 2008

More December Progress

Progress continues on the December BJP. The more I work with these dark colors, the more interesting I find them. They make me think of a beaded purse or broach from the 20s.

I'd like to make a doll from these beads, too. I made a few faces from paper clay and a few more from another air dry clay. And yes, I used a mold. (Gimme a break! My clay sculpting experience peaked in the fourth grade!) I've been playing with the paints, but I haven't come up with the right color yet. I'll keep trying.

I don't think I'll finish it before we head down to the World Center of Football for Christmas. But I'll take my supplies with me so I can work after the 8:00 p.m. bedtime of the football players.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Going Over to the Dark Side

It wasn't my idea in the first place.
It wasn't even my idea in the second place.

But we're going over to The Dark Side.

What would lead us to this point? Greed? Social pressure? Or just the state of the world today. Something else? To think about this any more will just lead to despair. So we don't think about it.

They say it's a slippery slope. And we slid down. First, the CD player bought second-hand from a college student. Then a touch tone phone with an answering machine. Next, a cell phone--never mind that it was a refurbished model with a pre-paid plan. Finally, the updated phone service with the free month of cable TV. Ach, yes, it's a slippery slope.

We're going over to The Dark Side.

We're keeping the cable TV.

Monday, December 15, 2008

More Progress on December BJP

Here is the current progress on my December BJP. If you look closely, you'll see a diagonal line leading to the upper right corner. Maybe I'll use it and maybe I won't. There is also a spiral sketched in the lower right corner. I'm not sure if I'm going to put a spiral there either.

If you look even more closely, you can see a small blurry spot on the diagonal beaded lines. That's a snowflake in the air between the camera and the page. My method for getting a good picture is to put the item on the floor just inside the patio door. Then I open the door and the screen for the best light and take the photo with the camera set on macro with no flash. Snow can be a hazard at this time of year. But I am dedicated to my art (such as it is)!

Here's the previously missing pin that inspired the color scheme for December. It still needs fringe and the pin back. In the previous photo, I couldn't get it to run horizontally. I'm gradually getting as smart as my camera, and here is the proof.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

December Bead Journal

I've got a good start on my December BJP.

The idea I've been thinking about is the longest night of the year. Well, that's a little misleading. What I've really been thinking about is that there are still sparkles on the longest night of the year.

So I decided to use dark beads that sparkle. I'm almost (but not quite) embarrassed by the number of different kinds of dark sparkly beads that I have. And I can't believe how much time I spent sorting through them to choose the ones to use! There is a reason for the title of this blog. The entire situation is a little crackpotty!

I believe I've mentioned before that cleaning up my stuff leads to no good end. A case in point is the pin I showed in the September 15 post. I cleaned up the pin so I could work temporarily on another project. The pin was apparently insulted so it went missing. It was in none of the logical places. Or quite a few illogical ones. I even wondered if I had brought it to a workshop to show and then left it behind. That was part of the inspiration to work with the dark sparkly beads again for the December BJP.

Well, wouldn't you know? The pin showed up. It was in the bag with all the dark sparkly beads. Naughty pin!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Adventures in Alterations

This is the Fuzzy* I made with the fleece I bought at the Crackpot Quilters' outing after Thanksgiving. I actually finished it that next week, but I didn't get around to posting about it until now.

The pattern is McCalls 5538. You can see from the pattern description that it only comes in unisex sizes.

For me, unisex sizes mean alterations. In general, men do not come in my size, except maybe Robert Reich, and his arms are probably longer than mine.

So I started by altering the pattern, using the smallest size. First I shortened the length 5 inches. Because I was afraid the yoke seam would end up across my stomach, I shortened the yoke 1 inch (and the back in the same place) as part of that process. That also raised the armscye (armhole) an inch. Next I shortened the sleeves 4 inches. No matter how narrow the sleeves looked in the pattern sketch, it was obvious from the pattern pieces that they were not going to be narrow. So I took an inch out of the sleeve, from cap to wrist. Then I made the shoulders an inch narrower.

That got me to the point where I had to determine how the sleeve should be shaped to fit in the armscye. This is always the tricky part. I have a number of books on alterations, and in all of them there seems to be a gap in the instructions when you have to mesh together changes in the shape and size of the sleeve and changes in the shape and size of the armscye. Any suggestions are welcome. So it's a little bit of trial and error for that part. At least this was not a tailored garment so precise fit was not an issue.

Then I made the Fuzzy*. I used polyester thread and lengthened my stitch to 3.0. On some of the horizontal seams, such as the yoke seam and topstitching and the shoulders, I used a wash-away stabilizer so the seam wouldn't stretch. The pattern called for a yoke facing about 3 inches wide that went along side the zipper and up around the neck front to the shoulders. I didn't bother with it. Since the fleece doesn't fray, it was completely unnecessary. I just needed to make some adjustments in how I inserted the zipper and how I sewed the collar on.

Then it was time to try it on. Hmmm... More alterations needed. The shoulders were wide enough to accommodate my football shoulder pads. Oops! Don't have any. So I needed to take another inch out of the shoulders. And then there were the sleeves. I should have taken 5.5 inches off instead of 4 inches. That was easy enough to fix. What I was not able to fix were the too deep armscyes and the wide sleeves, especially above the elbow. That will come on the next Fuzzy*.

Overall, I'm satisfied, mostly because it's nice and warm and the color goes with both navy and brown. Thanks, Nancy, for helping me pick it out.

Fuzzy: A garment made from polyester fleece. From the local dialect. Previously used to describe children's blanket sleepers.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Needle Felted Snowman

This is the adorable snowman head I received at the Fiber Arts Guild ornament exchange. Aron made it. It is very, very cute.

Aron does lots of needle felted figures that she sells at a local shop and at area art fairs. She makes the figures to correspond with the seasons. There are snowmen and Santas for winter, bunnies for Easter, bathing beauties for summer, and pumpkins for Halloween. You can see Aron's needle felted St. Nicholas at the St. Nicholas Center. It's in the right hand column, second from the bottom.

The white beaded ornament pictured in the most recent post did not make it to the ornament exchange Monday night. Hey, when there's freezing rain and the State Police recommend that we all stay off the roads, I listen! The ornament is currently searching for another recipient.

Most of my other recent projects have been temporarily embargoed. Christmas is right around the corner, and security must be maintained.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

White Christmas Ornament

I made Christmas tree ornaments for two swaps. This is one of them. The other was also white but with a different beading pattern. For some reason (duh!), I neglected to take a picture of that one. I hope the recipient of this one doesn’t read my blogs since it won’t be swapped until next Monday.

The one not pictured went to a member of our fiber arts guild. Tomorrow I’ll post a photo of the one I received. One of the most interesting ornaments was knitted lace over a glass ball. Someone (you know who you are) should figure out how to do that. I’m sorry I didn’t get a picture, especially since I had my camera in my tote bag. (re-duh!)

You should not take the above information to mean that I am not dedicated in my photography. I have figured out that the second best way to get a good photo (the first way is outside in shade) is to open the patio door and the screen and put the object just inside the door. I turn off the flash and set the camera on macro. Then I hold it as still as I can about 8 inches from the lovely object. I did that this afternoon, and I did not let the fact that snow was blowing in through the open door bother me. Much…

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Art Show News

Here's the link to the 'Little Things' art show.
A little part of my beaded doll Not Quite Pink is in the middle row, third column.

And here's the link to the State Street Gallery.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Telephone Talked!

An almost completely, virtually, practically, literally true play, in four acts.

It takes place in an ordinary kitchen.

Characters: (In order of appearance)

The Telephone--Ordinary gray model
Homeowner--Beautiful, energetic, youthful-looking grandma who doubles as a football player
Associate Homeowner--Brilliant grandpa, frequently hidden behind a computer

Act I

Spooky music starts.
Telephone rings.
Telephone rings again.
Homeowner enters from stage left.
Spooky music gets louder.

Telephone: Call from wireless source.

Homeowner looks on in horror!

Telephone: Call from wireless source.

Homeowner: What the????

Telephone: Call from wireless source.

Homeowner: (tentatively picking up receiver) Hello?

Telephone: This is Grandma Ann.

Act II A few minutes later.

Homeowner: Where is that telephone instruction manual? Aha! Here.

Homeowner rifles through booklet, pushes buttons on telephone receiver, and hangs it up.

Homeowner: I stopped it.

Act III Later that day.

Homeowner walks into kitchen.

Associate Homeowner: (from behind a computer) It’s still talking.

Homeowner: I stopped it.

Associate Homeowner: It’s still talking.

Act IV The next day.

Associate Homeowner: Maybe you didn’t really stop it.

Homeowner: (Picks up receiver and pushes buttons.) See, it says ‘Off.’

Associate Homeowner: Maybe it has two voices.

Associate Homeowner picks up instruction manual and begins reading instructions.

Associate Homeowner: You have to turn the base unit off, too.

Homeowner picks up receiver and pushes more buttons.

Homeowner: Now I stopped both of them!

Victorious music begins.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Blue Abundance Completed!

I finished my November Bead Journal Project page this weekend. It is Blue Abundance. That seemed like a good theme for November. I chose to express abundance by “overbeading”–using more beads than there was room for on the page. Trying to make the work more three-dimensional was a challenge. But that’s a big part of the fun. Because I really love the color blue, I loved making this page.

Technical Details:

I used Lacy’s Stiff Stuff as a foundation. I painted it blue with Dye-na-Flow.

The beads are 11/0s, Delicas, 13/0 Charlottes, 15/0s, 6/0s, 8/0s, bugles, cubes, drops, and a few odd shaped beads.

There are several types of fringe, a ruffle, and some volcanoes. (What’s the real name for that stitch?) There are also a couple of stitches that came from a book written in Japanese that my daughter gave me. Neither of us could read the directions, but the diagrams were great!

It is 2.75 inches by 2.75 inches.

I used both Nymo and C-lon thread.

What I Was Thinking:
I am fortunate to have an abundance of wonderful family and friends. My material needs are met. I want to remember at Thanksgiving to be grateful for all I have and to remember to share with those in need.

Issues That Came Up:

  • This page showed both the advantages and disadvantages of the small size.
  • I had a few other things to do during November so the small size gave me time.
  • But I wish I had had more space to include more beads and more stitches.
  • I was surprised to see so many dark blue beads on the page when it was finished.
  • I still have a rather abundant stash of blue beads, but I have identified a need for more 15/0 medium blue beads.

Now it’s on to Christmas projects!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Blue Abundance in Progress

I decided to focus on the theme of Abundance for my November BJP. I want to be thankful for the abundance that I have and I want to remember to share that abundance with others.

To show abundance, I decided to "overbead" the page--putting more beads on the page than there is actually space for. I've been a flat beader, and showing dimension and texture has been an interesting challenge. I've admired the work of the many BJPers who do so well with texture and dimension, and I just had to try it. I'm learning a lot!

I chose blue because I have an abundance of blue beads, as opposed to an abundance of "the blues." Ok, ok, ok, I hear the voices in the background. (You know who you are) I'll 'fess up. Blue is my favorite color and that's why I have so many blue beads. Blue makes me happy!

Like my other BJP pages, this one is 2.75 inches by 2.75 inches. It is on Lacy's Stiff Stuff that I painted with Dye-na-Flow.

I may not finish this by the end of November because we are expecting an abundance of fun and family next week. Our big job (besides the turkey) will be to babyproof the place. The 14-month-old Walking Man is coming !

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sending Off the Spirit Dolls

I found out this afternoon that my two Spirit Dolls, Snowflake and Not Quite Pink, were accepted into the "Little Things" show at the State Street Gallery in Madison, Wisconsin. They will go out in the mail tomorrow morning.

I wish I could get there to see the exhibit. I'll deputize my crackpot associate in Madison to take some pictures.

My first show... Very exciting!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Finished Hope Stone

Here is the finished Hope Stone. I'll send it off this week.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Hope Stone

Glass stones with HOPE inscribed on the top are given to survivors at the Relay for Life. Survivors are invited to pass the stones along to someone else affected by cancer to share the hope. I am embellishing the stone to add more good wishes before I send it to a friend of my daughter.

It is mounted on stiff interfacing that I painted to match the stone. To hold the stone on the backing while I stitched the beads on, I stitched it temporarily to the interfacing by crisscrossing it with thread–stitching from one side to another. First the row of large (6/0) beads was stitched to the interfacing. Then I added one row of 11/0 transparent aqua beads. The next step was to build the spokes that go up toward the center of the bead. Finally, I added the tiny 15/0 gold beads. I ran the thread through the gold beads several times so the stone (cabochon) would be held firm to the interfacing.

I glued some aqua Ultrasuede to the back to cover the previous stitching. I had to get over my glue with beads aversion in order to do this. Then I stitched the Ultrasuede to the interfacing using a beaded picot stitch.

Now I’m adding some fringe to the bottom. I sure wish I could remember how I added fringe to the one I made last year. I’m pretty sure I didn’t do it the way I am doing this one. It’s about half done, but I won’t be able to post the next photo till next week.

A great reference book for this sort of thing is Beading With Cabochons by Jamie Cloud Eakin.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Two New Spirit Dolls!

I finished two new Spirit Dolls this weekend. The first is Not Quite Pink. It is 5 inches high and 3.5 inches across. It is beaded on cotton fabric backed with a stable-in-all-directions lightweight interfacing. I used paper backing for the first Spirit Doll I made, and I found it to be a little floppy. The extra stability of the interfacing seems to be easier for me to handle. The doll has a ribbon on the top so she can be hung up.

I used the same beads that are in the October BJP page. It was fun to use the beads in another project. There are more than 25 different kinds of beads in this doll. Why, exactly, does an otherwise reasonable and frugal person need so many different beads that are almost the same in color? Don't answer that question! And forget that I had to order more beads to do the picot edging.

I decided to try hair on this doll. I like the effect. I also put teardrop beads on the bottom as a kind of fringe on the bottom. You can't see it well on the photos, but the teardrop beads go all along the lower edge, with no spaces in between.

This is the back of the doll. I painted the light peach colored fabric with Lumiere Halo Pink Gold so it would be a better match with the beaded front.

Here's the white Spirit Doll. I think of her as Snowflake. She is made in the same way as Not Quite Pink. There are at least 28 different kinds of beads on her. I am very pleased with the way she turned out. To make hair, I used tiny teardrop beads as part of the picot stitch edging. If you click on the photo, it will enlarge and you will be able to see the details a little better.

Here's the back. Creating it was a multi-step process. I didn't think a stark white back would look good with the fancy front so I decided to try paint. First I painted the white fabric with Pearl White Lumiere. It needed more so I tried a little Silver Lumiere on the edges of the fabric. The silver looked very gray and dirty. So I tried Metallic Gold Lumiere. I used a stamp, but my technique was lacking and it blurred. But the gold was better. After it dried and was heat-set and washed, it still didn't look right. So I put a coat of dilute Glittering Crystal Scribbles paint on it. Still not right. I then used Misty Fuse to fuse some slightly glittery polyester organza on the top. That did it.

With all of this paint and fusing, the backing fabric was a little stiff and difficult to push the needle through. I needed to use a thimble when I put the picot edging on.
I really enjoyed making these dolls, but now it's on to other projects.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

White Spirit Doll

This is the White Spirit Doll--at least it's the front. It is made the same way I made the Not Quite Pink one--on fabric with stable-in-all-directions interfacing under it. It is 4.75 inches tall and 3.5 inches across the arms. I think there are 28 different kinds of beads on this doll.

When I thought of making a white doll, I didn't know whether there would be enough difference in the beads to show a pattern. But I think it turned out pretty well. Who knew there were so many kinds of white? The Yarn Harlot, that's who.

It actually looks quite lacy in spots. The bottom part of the doll is covered with sequins, with a tiny gilt-lined bead on top. This is the first time I put sequins on any of my beaded pieces. I will try that again.

This is the most organized or planned beading I've ever done. (I'll try that again, too!) It's interesting to compare it to the Not Quite Pink Spirit Doll (previous post) and to the October BJP page. See the October 24 post and the October 1 rant for my mixed feelings about pink and the reason my pink is not quite.

Next will be stitching back to front, stuffing, and putting the beaded edging around it.

So now I've got this humongous stash of white beads. What to do? What to do?

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Christmas Tree Decorations

Our sewing guild is decorating a tree for the local Free Health Clinic. We are using, of course, a sewing theme. Everyone is contributing decorations. These are the ones I made yesterday. They are my own design, from an idea that came early not that early one morning as I was trying to decide whether to get up.

As always with crackpot projects, there were a few engineering issues to be dealt with, most prominently how to keep the spools in the assigned places on the ribbons. For future reference, the holes in the spools are larger than you might think. I ended up putting a tiny safety pin through the knot below the yellow spool. I put buttons on the top and bottom of the spool on the left. The spool on the right is held in place by extra beads on the top and the bottom.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Not Quite Pink Spirit Doll

I decided to make spirit doll with some of--er, a tiny part of--the not quite pink beads left from my October BJP. Here she is.

She's almost finished. There is just one empty spot, where three or four more beads are needed. Can you find it? After those last beads are added, I'll cut it out and whipstitch the back on.

The final step will be to do a beaded picot edging around the outside. However, that will have to wait for a few days. I don't have enough of the beads I want to use for that so I had to order some more.

Always room for more beads!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Real Truth About Dust Bunnies, or How to Stop Worrying So You Can Make Art

1. Dust bunnies are neither rats nor bats nor armadillos nor woolly mammoths.
2. Those with dirty glasses do not see dust bunnies.
3. Those with dirty bifocals do not see dust bunnies at all.
4. Threads and fabric scraps on the floor camouflage dust bunnies.
5. Significant others who object to dust bunnies are just asking to vacuum.
6. Dust bunnies do not follow one to fabric shops or bead stores.
7. Dust bunnies do not clean up your stuff so you can't find anything.
8. If you sit on a chair when you eat, dust bunnies will not get in your food.
9. Clutter can hide many dust bunnies.
10. It is better to have dust bunnies on your floor than in your head.
11. It is better to have both dust bunnies and clutter on your floor than to have either in your head.

Renegade Militant Seamstresses, part 3, or the completion of the sweatshirt jackets

Ta-da! This is the first completed raw edge, collaged sweatshirt jacket. It is Wendy's. She used a variety of blue fabrics. Many of them had bits of brown, so she used brown flannel as binding for a suede look. I think it looks great!

This is mine, with an unidentified body inside. To quote Nora Efron, "I feel bad about my neck." It seems to me that the neck--I mean the neckline--is again too large for me. I'm thinking about adding a stand-up collar to this one, too. Of course, another option would be to increase my exercise regimen until I have the neck and shoulders of a football player. Ok, never mind. I'll keep thinking about the collar.
This is a close-up of the fabrics after the sweatshirt had been washed. You can see a little of the texture that develops. Many of the fabrics were from Northcott's Quest for the Cure collection from a few years ago.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Not Quite Pink--October BJP

Here is my October Bead Journal Page, Not Quite Pink. It is in acknowledgment of October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Technical Details:
Again I used Lacy's Stiff Stuff as a foundation. I sprayed it with some red Memories Mist so the Stuff would be somewhat not-quite-pink under the beads.

Most of the beads are 11/0. There are some 15/0, 8/0, 6/0 and bugles, plus a few hexes and triangles. Nearly all of it is worked in the back stitch. The little heart in the upper right is almost copper colored.

It is 2.75 inches by 2.75 inches.

I used Nymo thread. I started it with mauve thread and then somewhere along the line switched to light pink.

What I Was Thinking:
I chose a rosy peach color scheme instead of the pink usually associated with Breast Cancer Awareness. As a Survivor, I have mixed feelings about the relentless pinkness of October. You can see my October 1 post for the full rant.

The copper-colored heart is for my supportive friends and family. As a whole, I find the piece somewhat disjointed--I feel that unity and flow are missing. But that's what makes it a good journal entry for this month. It reflects my disjointed feelings. Although I finished September very early, I had a hard time getting started on this one. It was tough to get the needle moving through the beads until I knew I had "passed" my check-up.

Issues that Came Up: (Beading Issues)

  • The size works well. After I did the September page, I wondered if it were too small. But this size gave me time to do some other things without feeling rushed.
  • I like this color, and I certainly have a lot of beads left over. And most of them are sparkly.
  • This would be a wonderful color for a spirit doll.
  • But I need more not-sparkly beads.

Thanks to all who left supportive comments after my previous rant. The BJP has been good for me!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Renegade Militant Seamstresses, part 2

The Renegade Militant Seamstresses met last week to take the next step in their raw-edge, collage sweatshirt jackets. This is a really fun group, and in keeping with the "renegade" nature, not everyone worked on sweatshirts. See the nearly finished spiral bracelet above. It will go with her sweatshirt.

We didn't quite get finished, but everyone should be able to complete the jackets at home. This one features seamstresses.
One person added a side seam pocket. You can see the quilting from the wrong side if you enlarge this photo.
How about this for a beginner's project? Beautiful soft colors and fabrics with a special meaning.
And here's one finished except for the binding. Just made to wear with jeans. Note the black and white patchwork sweatshirt she's wearing.
I've got the binding almost sewn on mine. It came to a temporarily halt when my machine needle broke. Not a big problem, but I can take a hint. Time to stop for the day. I'll get it done tomorrow or the next day. The final step will be to machine wash and dry the jackets so the sweatshirts shrink up, giving a soft, rumpled look. And then trim off any loose threads. And then vacuum up the threads. Or not.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Beaded Button Workshop

On Monday evening, I did a beaded button workshop for our local sewing guild. There were 14 participants, a good sized group.
These are some of the works in progress.
Each person got a kit with fabric backed by lightweight, stable-in-all-directions interfacing, a button form, a beading needle, beading thread and a collection of at least ten different kinds of beads. Most of the beads were 11/0, with a few 8/0, 6/0, and other shapes.
I've found that, for me at least, it's easier to teach this when the fabric is backed by interfacing. Maybe that's because sewers are very familiar with interfacing.

Here are some of the finished buttons.

We only had abut 90 minutes to work, but most people got nearly finished or completely finished. They did a nice job, didn't they?
Our guest brought several little beaded bags to show us. They are just gorgeous. They are knitted, with more than 1500 11/0 seed beads on each one. The knitting needles are about the diameter of toothpicks. The bags are about two inches high.
Amazing, aren't they?

Blog Info Update

1. The pattern for the Spirit Doll has been found. (October 12 post) It was in that favorite location, "under stuff."

2. Forget what I said about the Wall Street Journal and a lack of attention to women's shoes in the September 23 post, item #5. For a full discussion of women's shoes, see this article in the WSJ.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Spirit Doll Finished!

I finished the Spirit Doll for my friend. This was my first project of this kind, so there were many opportunities for learning. Most of the beads are 11/0, with some 15/0, 8/0, and a few 6/0. There are also some triangles, cubes, and bugles. It is actually somewhat greener than the photo shows, but I haven't figured out how to adjust that yet. (See the photo in the October 8 post.) The heart is a little sterling bead. It is beaded on the same fabric as the bag shown below. I used paper as a stabilizer, and that worked well. It is about 6 inches tall and 4.5 inches wide at the arms. The ribbon at the top is so that it can be hung up.

This is the back. It is a piece of cotton I painted during the summer. The doll is stuffed with fiberfill. To put it together, first I tore off the excess paper around the edges of the beaded front fabric. Then I trimmed the fabric so that it extended about 3/8 inch beyond the beading. I carefully clipped into the curves above and below the arms so the fabric would fold under. With the doll front face down on a towel, I pressed the edges under with the tip of my iron.

Since I had "cleaned up" the pattern I used, I had to make a new one for the back from the beaded front. I put the beaded front face down and put a piece of lightweight paper over it. Then I gently rubbed a pencil over the paper so the outline would show. I cut out the pattern and compared it to the doll front, trimming so it would match better. Then I drew around the pattern on the wrong side of the backing fabric. I machine stitched along that line using a small (1.8) machine stitch. I trimmed the back about 3/8 inch outside my stitching line, clipped the curves above and below the arms, and pressed the edges under along the stitching line.

I whip stitched the front and back together, leaving about an inch opening along one side for stuffing. After stuffing the doll and sewing the opening closed, I finished the edges with a beaded picot stitch.
This is the bag for the Spirit Doll. It is lined with a gold-on-white cotton fabric. There are three beads on the end of the drawstring ties.

I will deliver this in the next few days. In the meantime, on to October's BJP.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Blue Jeans Jacket

Well, that's a misleading title! It should say "Jacket Made of My Favorite Color Blue Fabric in the Style of Jeans Jackets." But it doesn't.

It actually was a fairly simple pattern (McCalls 5191), and I was surprised at how quickly it went together. The pattern called for two-piece pockets with a buttoned flap just below the yoke seam. That didn't seem to go with this fabric. It also called for topstitched seams. I visualized various loose and frayed threads on the inside, as the jacket is unlined. So I decided to do flat felled seams for a more finished interior. The only time consuming part was searching for the buttons. I had to go across The Big Lake to find enough of the same color.

This is the fabric. It is cotton and lycra with a jacquard paisley pattern. And did I mention in my favorite color? It is a Jones of New York bolt end. I found it at Fabrications, when we stopped on the way to St. Gregory's Abbey. I used a #14 topstitch needle and polyester thread because of the stretch. A lightweight knit fusible interfacing is in the collar, cuffs, and front and lower edge facing. Those with dyslexia may not notice that the photo above is upside down. Bloggers who are tired didn't notice it either.

I wanted to finish the facing and hem edges because all the other seams were finished. Folding them under seemed like it would leave a ridge. So I found some coordinating fabric in the Fabric Storage Cave and used a Hong Kong finish. The arm hole seams are bound with the same fabric.

All I need now is some place to wear it!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Spirit Doll, Part 2

The front of the Spirit Doll is finished! Next I will stitch the back on and bead around the edges and finally stuff it. Please ignore the thread across her face. It's too dark for another photo now.

I had planned to use Ultrasuede for the back, but instead of one big piece, I have two, too small pieces. I'll use fabric instead. At first I thought I would used the same fabric that I beaded on, but it just looked kind of blah. I rooted around in the Fabric Storage Cave and found a couple of possibilities. Then I dug under the bed and found some fabric that I had painted last spring. That looks best so I'll use it. Right now it's in the sink with the Synthropol.

But where is the cardboard pattern of the doll for me to use when cutting out the back? In a safe place, no doubt. What good does it do to have planning ahead brilliance (See September 28 post.) when you can't find what you so carefully saved? I did find the two patterns I didn't use. They didn't help much. The lesson of this is to stop cleaning up!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

October BJP Page--Not Quite Pink

It's Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and suddenly the whole world has turned pink. Ok, ok, ok, that's an overstatement. It wasn't suddenly. It has been building up for a while.

Several weeks ago there was an advertisement in our local newspaper for readers to (pay to) honor and remember those have been diagnosed with breast cancer. This weekend the newspaper insert from one of the big box office supply chains featured pink merchandise. There was another insert with lots of product coupons giving discounts for buying pink--soup, toothbrushes, toilet paper, shampoo, yogurt, and so on. The morning news shows all featured stories abut Breast Cancer Awareness Month. And when I went to the grocery store this morning, there was a "Think Pink" sign next to the green beans suggesting that I buy more vegetables and fruits.

I'm a survivor. But to be perfectly honest (and at the risk of coming off as a crotchety old biddy), I have mixed feelings about the entire event. Oh, sure, I understand the need to raise awareness and to remove the stigma of any kind of cancer. Times have changed since Betty Ford went public with her breast cancer. Education, screening, and treatment--even prevention-- have saved many lives. And we need to continue to find more ways to save more women (and men).

But as a survivor, I sometimes find the relentless pinkness of October just a little too much, especially when it coincides with various scary medical check-ups. I admit it, I'm a wuss. During my first couple of years as a survivor, I felt blindsided by the media's emphasis on the pink month. I was concentrating on getting my strength and my hair back, and there it was. It was a little like Jaws 2, "Just when you thought it was safe..." there would be another breast cancer story. Several survivor friends were also disconcerted, bothered, unsettled. I was surprised and relieved to find I was not the only one who felt that way. It's easier now because I know what to expect in October, and I know I am not so weird after all (at least in that way). I also wonder why we need a soup coupon to make a contribution to charity. What if I bought a less expensive kind of soup and contributed the difference? What if I donated a dollar for every pink story or advertisement?

I thought I "ought" to do a pink page for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Ought, schmought! I don't want to do it. It just would not be relaxing. So I decided to make mine not quite pink. Here are the beads I will use:

They're a pinkish peach and salmon, an all together prettier color.

I would be interested to hear what other survivors feel about the pink month.

And has anyone participated in the Bead Artists Against Breast Cancer, the Bead it Forward quilt part?

Final note to others: Get your mamogram!
Final note to self: Embrace your inner wuss!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Bunny Did It!

Last spring my youthful assistants helped me plant some petunias near the patio. The are experienced gardeners and very helpful boys.

They completely took over watering the little plants. Fortunately, the kindergarten and the preschool class had both recently visited the fire station. So the boys knew exactly how to hold the hose. "Just like the firefighters hold the hose, " said the younger one.

The petunias bloomed prolifically, despite my neglect. They were filled with flowers all summer long.

But a few weeks ago, we saw a bunny hiding in the petunias. We love to watch the bunnies in our yard. But we thought that this was not a very good home for a little bunny. After a few days, we noticed that the bunny had taken care of all the petunias. Bad bunny! Please move to a different home!