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…