Monday, February 25, 2008


In my continuing quest to make an indestrucable, but fun, doggie toy I found that Kristen Roach over at Craft Leftovers came up with the Dogzilla stuffed toy. I loved the shape, goofy eyes and all. Using the pattern and materials that were in the January Craft Leftover monthly I constructed a flatter version for Alex and the girls to fight over.
I free montioned a couple of goofy eyes (buttons just aren't safe enough), used recycled rice bags for 'stuffing' and joined everthing with raw edges. The main body is a brown, heavy weight cotton and the paws are a home dec weight cotton. I don't think it will be incredibly washable. Alex and the girls don't know what to do with it but they know that they want what ever the others have. I'll make sure it goes with them when Paul and I trade dogs next time to see if it can withstand some time with them and my son's roommate's dog for a week or so.
My guess is that it will last a few hours and then I will need to go back to the drawing board for another approach. I'll let you know.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Ready For Action

Young, half-dressed firemen? what could be better than this as a pillowcase? Sweet Dreams!

Good Thing?

Here's what happened...

I was in a small traffic jam after dark, driving to meet someone for dinner. My cel phone rings. On answering, the caller who I was driving to meet, says thay can recognize my hair anywhere and that they were right behind me in the traffic.

Is this a good thing?

Was it the glow-in-the-dark silver color that shines so brightly when lit in someone's headlamps?

Was it that my style hasn't changed in so long that its now a recognizable vintage?

Was it that I have a unique and glorious coiffure to match my glorious and unique personal style?

I like that... glorious and unique... that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Have a good week!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Spring Things

I was truly in the dumps the other day and just had to make a little something that said spring to me. I found some stash fabric from Judy Robertson's Just Imagination that screamed Spring at me and made a pouch type bag that was illustrated in the newest Sew Stylish project magazine.
Although I think it came out really well for a spur of the moment project I now know I will never make another one like it as the bag is just too blaw/wimpy to use. I've seen similar bags in other books and I was curious about the functionality. Now I know. I may try adding a strap but I don't really have enough to make a beefy enough strap to slavage this project. BUT it does scream spring so mission accomplished I say.

In my quest for spring I found this bracelet I had made last year based on the Art Girlz wool bead bracelet I made two years ago at Quilt Festival. In this version I used fabric that was fused to itself and cut into little tiny squares as the 'focus' beads. The bigger beads were in my stash left over from an old project, and the button is from an old button sample card. I used Beadalon wire, some old seed beads and a few crimp beads to finish it all off. I'm kind of proud of this project - it didn't take a long time to do, its nice and light to wear and its definitely one of a kind.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Four Seasons Quilt Swap

The Four Seasons Quilt Swap that I have been participating in has put out the call for those who wish to participate in the Spring Swap. Here is the link to the sign-up information. Although some of the submissions may seem a little lame, I have had a chance to recieve two great little quilts and to experiment with two other techniques. My inspiration for the Spring quilt is based on a haiku I came across in a mystery novel during my recent downtime. I wish I could remember the name of the book/author because who knew a hero could be a great big hunky guy who translated haiku for relaxation.

Speechless before
these budding green spring leaves
in blazing sunlight.


I Googled Basho and was reminded again that haiku translation is more of an art than a science with one site having 30 different translations of the same verse about a frog. I hope the vision that I have about this quilt will meet my expectations on trying another quilt technique within the confines of the swap .

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

How Evil Are You?

Courtesy of Jonco at Bits and Pieces is this odd little quiz to determine 'how evil are you?'. I am came out twisted while he came out Angelic. I think I was classed as twisted as Canada was my weapon of choice. Enjoy!

Hot Cocoa Swap

Just as I was crashing from illness I received the swap package from the Hot Cocoa Swap. Heather over at the Wine Maker's Sister blog sent a most thoughtful package and the link will take you to her write-up and a great picture. The picture I took seems to be missing bits as I have already been reading the book and seem to have mis-laid the stitch markers (ALEX!). I was personally impressed with her ambitious knitting buddy project. He will certainly settle in around here! Thank you Heather for a great swap.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Lessons Learned

My recent and on-going experience with our medical system is compelling me to document/pass-on some things I have learned. With a pinch of salt:

Just because every one else is sick does not mean you have the same sickness. My symptoms were similar to many of my friends fighting the local bugs but were dramatically worse. I just didn't figure it out in time.

Allergies do not cause everything. Shortness of breath, loss of appetite and odd smells, when combined, are not symptoms of an allergy attack.

Never go to the emergency room as a walk-in. The local ER, even though recently expanded and renovated, was packed the whole time I was in the hospital. If I had had to wait in the waiting room for any length of time it probably would have taken even more than eight hours to get a bed.

Never be afraid to say no to medications or treatments. At one point I was having side effects on side effects from all the drugs and insisted that no more drugs would go into my system until someone could show me that something was making things better.

A good old panic attack/melt down/hissy fit can be an effective means of communication with health care providers. Not very adult-like but I got their attention.

I wish to acknowledge the great staff I met while trying to heal. They really put up with a lot from me. I would also like to publicly thank my kid for having the unenviable task of going through his mother's drawers to find her clean underwear - what a guy!

Now all I need is a lot of sleep and the return of Alex. I really miss my napping buddy.

Monday, February 18, 2008

I'm back ... sort of

Sorry to be out of touch but I was hit hard by an pneumonia bug and just got out of the hospital this evening. Some stray bug decided that I was a welcoming host and it took 5 days of many drugs for the doctors to come up with the right combination of drugs to start killing it off. I have a bunch of things that I have learned from this experience but quite frankly I am so bored with being sick I think I would bore you as well.

BTW - Hot coca swap partner - I got your package on the ninth as I was going down hill and will have a full write up in a few days.

Friday, February 8, 2008


And... for my last bit of blogging tonight I would like to wish my baby brother a happy birthday. Even though he is well past the age of reason, he still makes me smile with his goofy, know-it-all style and heartfelt sappiness. Unfortunately, the ugliest baby picture in the world is of this brother of mine and I will post it here once I get a digital copy, so we can all vote.

I hope you enjoyed your day!

Shibori Fun

Thursday, the Kingwood ASG neighborhood group was priviledged to have Carol Lane Saber come and introduce us to the mysteries of Shibori dying on silk. Carol is an extremely entertaining presenter and showed us a number of examples of each shibori dying style. We were given some basic kits and spent a couple of hours playing with different techniques . I think everyone had a good time, I know I did, as there is nothing better than playing with new materials without a specific project in mind. My work turned out a little like hippie tie-dying but I can see the techniques I was in-expertly trying to duplicate and will start combing the stash for other appropriate materials to experiment in a more controlled manner.
The blue/green silk piece on the bottom was tied with thread and string then scrunched over a plastic cup and painted with a paint brush loaded with dye. The pink/blue chiffon was folded on the bias many times into a little square, secured with rubber bands and the corners dipped into the dyes, one after the other. The yellow/green silk was tied with string into multiple little peaks. The peaks were dipped in the green and the untied edges were dipped in the yellow. The dyes that we used were by Colorhue Dyes and are instant set ... that is, if the dyes get on something protein based, the result is permanent. Fortunately I had on my overall apron so my clothes remained un-dyed. My hands, however, just couldn't keep on the disposable gloves in the kit and I came away with some interesting colors under my nails. I figure it will take another 30 or 40 washings to get the rest of the dye worn off of my nails.
Thank you Carol for reminding me how much fun it is to play.

Finny and Donk's Sewing Adventure Update


The first project for the sew-a-long is based on the button scarf from 30 Simple Gifts to Stitch. The scarf is just about the easiest sewing you will ever see but there is a challenge in it. To replicate the scarf you need to use fake fur, a fabric that is a pain in the butt to work with and, fortunately, not suitable for Houston weather! I used a piece of taffeta burnout, couched on some suede yarn (for more texture), lined it with a blue silky fabric and used a leaf bead as the button. As I used the full width of the fabric rather than the suggested 26", it's more of a stole than a scarf and it will be good for my shoulders. I'm pretty proud of the bead as I had to drastically alter it from its florescent tourquoise look by rubbing on black paint, copper pigment powder and some bees wax, for shine. I have enough fabric left to make a matching skirt but I think I will revert it to the original purpose which was to make a couple of purses for the Kingwood Quilt Guild auction.
(Sorry that the button is hiding in the fabric!)

I wonder what the next project will be?

Camera Found!

Back at the beginning of the week I took some pictures that I thought you would enjoy but when I went to upload and post the pictures I couldn't find my camera. Apparently my little man decided that my camera case was his toy so he BURIED IT IN THE BACKYARD WITH THE CAMERA INSIDE! I rescued the camera, let it dry, took a couple of more pictures and it disappeared again. Yesterday I was frantic trying to figure out where it was. I finally found it underneath my bed with several other 'toys' including a shoe I have been missing for a couple of months and some used handkerchiefs.

I have finally figured out that the camera was not what he was coveting but the case, so my next project is to stuff it with plastic bags and sew it shut for his highness. I will then have to figure out another material for a case. I know I don't have to give in to his acquisitiveness but he has become very clever in fnding the case... even when it was in the middle of the kitchen table. In that instance he dragged a placemat, that had the camera case on a corner of it, off the table to a chair then to his mouth .... pretty good for someone who is all of 14 pounds and about 10 inches tall.

Another example of his cleverness is in the picture below. That little orange cube was part of a dangly dice thing for my rear view mirror. (a gift from my son) He got it off the mirror, separated the two die, got one of them out of the car and has been hiding it in the backyard. All of this without me noticing as I thought my son had removed it. I dug it up yesterday and gosh darn it, he found it in the garbage and was re-hiding it when I snapped this picture.
and not to leave the girls out here is Kimora looking very regal and Kelis showing off her belly.

Have a good weekend and I will get the project type photos published soon..... now, where is that camera? ALEX!!!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

The Lawn Dress

About seven years ago I attended the Martha Pullen sewing show in Arlington Texas. I had never attended a similar show and was feeling a little overwhelmed by all the products being offered. This is strictly a fine sewing show and I remember that every vendor was showing exquisite garments, fabrics, trims and buttons. As I was strolling the aisles I was drawn to a booth run by the Grapevine Collection. There were wonderful wools, linens, silks and cottons. I was gasping for air at the prices. I had never spent more than $7.00 a yard for fabric in my life and here I was touching stuff that was $60.00 a yard for an embroidered light weight wool. Finally I saw a group of fabrics labelled Liberty Cottons and my heart rate decreased a little. I knew about cotton from all the time I had spent in Quilt shops so I felt I could legitimately look at these fabric bolts.

I was drawn to a navy blue cotton with yellow, peach and periwinkle flowers. 'Very cute' I thought and then I touched it. I had never felt a cotton that was so smooth and light weight in my life. A sales woman came over and told me that Liberty cottons were the best in the world. The particular piece I was looking at was so fine it was called Cotton Lawn. I asked what she would make out of it. She suggested a simple sleeveless shift or sun dress and she showed me a couple of patterns with clean lines and no complex sewing. I was hooked and asked her to cut me off an appropriate amount for one of the patterns. She gave me about 3 yards and I went to the checkout. I gasped when I was told this treasure would cost me $80.00. Gingerly I gave them my credit card and accepted my fabric in exchange.

I don't remember much more of that show or the drive home. I dreamed about the wonderful dress I would make fom this fabric, the fabulous parties I would attend and the tall, dark, handsome, rich man who would propose to me when I wore that dress. The next weekend I bought a Very Easy Vogue pattern for a boat necked, sleeveless simple dress. I proceeded to cut and sew my dream dress. Instead of a long zipper it had on a key hole closure at the back. Instead of facings I decided to bind the neck and arm holes. I hand sewed the hem, the bindings and the button loop. I even added pockets. I was very impressed with my skills and knew I had exceeded the quality all of my previous sewing experiences.

Then I tried it on.

The neck line was too high, the arm holes were too small and the bust was too tight. Not too small that I couldn't breathe, or that blood circulation was cut off, but small enough to wrinkle arm and neck skin and flatten breasts. AND it looked really dumpy. After all my studying of articles and books on how to fit a pattern I hadn't even measured myself or the pattern beore putting scissors to fabric. I had forgotten to remove the facing seam allowance before binding the edges. I should have added a couple of darts for my larger than B cups. I should have realised that simple dresses can be dumpy when made out of little floral prints. Not completly frustrated I devised a solution. I thought that if I washed it in the washing machine I could stretch out the offending areas ... after all, it was cotton and it stretched when wet, right? Perfect fit would triumph over dumpy style, right?

Wrong! It came out of the wash, I stretched it to within an inch of its life and tossed it into the dryer. It came out beautifully unwrinkled but not one millimetre bigger at the neck, arms or bust.

My beautiful Liberty of London Cotton Lawn fabric, for the perfect dress to go to parties and entertain charming strangers, became my beautiful Lawn Dress, perfect for walking behind the mower on a hot Texas afternoon.
If, at some time, you are driving in my neighborhood and see an older lady in this dress mowing her lawn or working in the garden, please just keep driving. If you stop and say hello I'll know that you've read this post and I will be reminded, again, what an overly confident fool I am. Thank you.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Wonky Knitting

A couple of weeks ago I was in Twisted Yarns with a friend and saw some wonderful yarn in the sale bin. The yarn I found was chenille-like with wonderful, rich fall colors. I bought a couple of balls of ths yarn by Colinette in the color way Autumn Leaves. The concept was to make a smallish triangular shawl to wear when my shoulders are sore. The shawl went quickly but once I bound off I found the sides were too tight and too long and the depth was too short. Don't know what I did wrong but its not really a shawl... more like a wonky stole at about six feet wide and two feet deep at its deepest. Here's what it looks like:
The string at the bottom of the picture is where I began with only 4 stitches. The idea was that the whole thing would be a huge triangle rather than curling up on itself. I still love the colors so I will clean up the tails and add a tassel with the leftovers. Maybe that will give it a little flair so I don't feel so dumpy trying to keep my shoulders limber when my bursitis is acting up .... I can only hope!