Monday, September 17, 2012

Meet Meg

And now....introducing....Meg!  Our new puppy.  We just adopted her from the SPCA yesterday.
She's nine months old, and is a Corgi/Spaniel mix, about 25 pounds.  Not sure how much bigger she'll get.  At this point she's enjoying hanging out, sniffing out her new place, getting used to riding in the car on our windy roads and not being stuck in the very noisy chaotic animal shelter.  I've never had such a young dog before, so any and all puppy training tips are welcome.
It is so wonderful having a dog in the house once again.  The cats unfortunately do not agree. Too bad for them though, she's here to stay. Lucky for them I have a big enough lap.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Windmills Stacked

The windmills are getting stacked up! Friend Jaye has been so industrious with cutting them out for me.  And so far I've cut a big zero so far for her.  So that's my project this week.  Now that this stack of new fabrics finally got washed I've got a lot to cut.  And the question still remains what solid color scheme I'm going to use for this quilt.  The first test block I did was a hand-dyed yellow, but I don't want to do a mostly yellow quilt, so more colors will be involved.  I'm thinking it will probably shades of clear-ish colors in my hand-dyes and then I'll group them together by color progression.  

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A New Modern Group

 Last week I visited a new quilt group that meets in my area, well, they were new to me at least.  They were celebrating their 1st year anniversary.  South Bay Area Modern Quilt Guild which meets at SueDee's Quilting Knitting and More in Scottt's Valley.  A very nice group of people, with lots of enthusiasm for the "modern quilting" style that's going on these days.  They were so nice that I went home with a piece of the above fabric out of a freebie bag of someone's scraps that was getting passed around.  What a good introduction to the group, here have some free fabric.  I think it will be nice to have a non-art-quilt focused group to be a part of, since I like to make functional quilts also, so I plan to attend the meeting next month.

And Sue Dee's had just moved locations a few doors down and had a $1 a yard table.  Woohoo, Backing Fabric!  I love getting fabric like this, so it's easy to use it up and not get precious about it.  Especially for wall quilts, the busier and weirder the print gets, it's all fine by me.  If it's a backing for a bed or couch quilt, then I pay more attention to the backing fabric of course, because it's going to get seen and touched all the time.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Day at the Lake

More summer road trip pictures for you.  I should have put this one at the beginning of the first post.  Here are Zach, me, and Alex along with the Happy Honda which took us all the way across the country and back.  This was moments before we piled in the car and took off on our adventure.  I was wondering if it was a good idea up until the second we actually departed, and then it was all pretty awesome after that.
Driving out of Wendover, Utah across the absolutely straightest road I've ever been on. If it wasn't for the wind, I would not have needed to steer, for about an hour.  Right straight across the salt flats.  Salt as far as you can see to either side of the road. It was beautiful, empty, and it truly looks unlike anyplace you've ever seen.
 Finally there was a change from all the endless salt, some beautiful sparkling blue clear and very very salty water.

Antelope Island State Park in the Great Salt Lake, it was a long walk across the beach to get to the water.
 And then there was a whole lot of wading through calf high water, about a half mile. We finally reached a sand bar and we were finally in the water.  We spent a lot of time just floating in the very salty water.  Even if you don't know how to float you absolutely can thanks to the density of the water.  Five times saltier than the ocean.  Thank goodness they had showers so we could rinse off, because the salt water had dried to a salt crust by the time we got back to the car.  My skin felt very soft afterwards though!
And bonus surprise wildlife, a pronghorn antelope standing by the side of the road on the island.  It just stood there looking at us for the longest time and then it finally walked off.  There is a herd of buffalo also but we only saw two of them really far away.  Way more buffalo to come in the upcoming Yellowstone pictures...

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Postponed Stitching

Wanted to do some hand-stitching on this piece that I've been working on for five years.  But remembered that I had to stop last time because I'd run out of the hand-dyed multicolored embroidery floss. I hate it when that happens!  So instead of  getting any new stitching done, I ordered some more of the same colorways in the right size of floss from artfabrik.  It really is beautiful stuff, it stitches so nicely, and I love how it sits so strong on the top of the fabric.  Back to work finishing this once I receive the floss in the mail, this piece has a deadline now as I've decided to give it to someone for their upcoming birthday in November.  After 5 years it has probably been long forgotten so it will be a good surprise for them.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Adding To The ATC Collection

Adding to my ATC collection,  these are from a CQFA meeting a few months ago, I just neglected to share pictures of them until now.    





These are all great additions to my growing collection which almost doesn't fit in the binder I have them stored in baseball trading card plastic sleeves.

Monday, September 03, 2012

A Visit to SaltLand

This summer I drove across country with my kids.  Neither of them has their driver's licenses, so it was all me.  On our first day we drove from California all the way to Wendover, Utah, which is just over the border from Nevada.  It was a really long day of driving, but we had fun walking around on the salt flats once we got there.

Windy, hot, flat, and salt as far as you can see.

 Alex tried to make a "Salt Angel"
 Looks more like a Salt Frowny Face to me.

 Piles of salt everywhere on the edge of town.

It looks like snow doesn't it?  But those are the brine pools used in making potash.The blue water was so pretty, only salt and water, nothing else could live in there I'd imagine.

 And boy was it ever SOFT.  Like if you dumped all the salt you have in your house water conditioner...
Wendover Will, cigarette and all. I really dislike casinos, so much cigarette smoke to deal with, just not used to it.  And that's pretty much the only thing in Wendover, except for the salt flats.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Painting On Fabric Paper

 Fabric Paper is all the rage these days, and we got to try making it back in May at CQFA I missed the first stage where the actual fabric and paper were combined with thinned down glue.  Basically you use any fabric, in this case just plain white cotton, and you glue down layers of papers, arranging them until you like how they look and you've fully covered the fabric.
When it completely dries, the real fun starts which is where I got to jump in.  Thankfully our workshop leader Sue had extra to play with (thanks Sue) so I got to have a try at it.
 I used craft acrylic paints, some metallic in mixed colors.  Some just brushed on with a sponge brush, but mostly I wanted texture and pattern. So I used the tools I brought with me.  Bubble wrap, carpet protectors, Duplos, lace, bamboo mats.
 The possibilities are pretty much endless, because of the combination of what papers you use and what surface design work you do on top.
 Tissue paper, wrapping paper, tissue paper clothing patterns, any interesting paper is fair game to use.

 Those circles are from a Duplo (giant sized Lego for toddlers) dipped in paint and stamped on.
 The background small dots are from carpet protectors.
Fabric paper is much stiffer than fabric of course, but it is still flexible and somewhat sew-able.  There were several examples of journal covers made with this which look like a good use of this material. There were also wall hangings, notecards and ATC's.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Washing Remains

 The tangled mess of threads left after washing a huge pile of batik fabric.  Into the thread scraps jar it goes.
The nicely colored Shout Color catchers and dryer lint also left behind.  Collage material comes from everywhere.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Arrival of Azathoth

 We just went to the pet store to get some new fish for my little tank.  But this guy came home with us too.  Alex had been wanting a rat or something, but I'm sorry, I know rats are smart and can be great pets, but no we have enough of those around already.  So how about Syrian teddy bear hamster?  I'll be honest my biggest concern was how long he's going to be around, since Alex will be going off to college next year.  I told him I didn't want to be looking after his hamster for the next 10 years.  He plans to bring Azathoth to live with him.  What do you think, can a hamster survive living in a college dorm? I guess if parakeets and newts worked, why not?
 Alex read a lot of H.P. Lovecraft this summer, and liked all the names in the Cthulhu stories, so he ended up choosing to call him Azathoth.  Prince of Chaos. Hopefully calling him this won't summon him or anything, not sure I could deal with having one of the Outer Gods as a houseguest.
He's certainly an active little guy, and is fun to play with.  So far so good, as the cats are only mildly interested.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Old and Worn, Still Beautiful

 Found some interesting old textiles at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles rummage sale back in May.  Not sure what I'll really do with them, but I liked the old worn fabrics and stitching and the worn or missing shisha mirrors and couldn't put them down once I'd picked them up.
 According the TribalSouk this is Sindhi embroidery, maybe from early mid 20th century in India/Pakistan (depending on whether before or after partition). Given the shape, these are possibly animal headdresses.  The little loops on the edges would likely have had brass bells.
Not sure if I'll end up using them in a piece, because I wouldn't want to cut them up, and I'm not sure how stable they'd be.  Maybe I should just frame them and hang them up so I can enjoy looking at their interesting colors and textures.  Or perhaps it is finally time to get that goat I've always wanted, and give them something cool to wear?

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Bears Will Not Quit

I had to try it.  Gummi Vodka Bears.
Apparently the "new thing" in bars, replacing Jell-O shots.
I used the Big Bear size, which are about 3x the size of regular gummi bears.  I saw some recipes that used gummi worms and gummi sharks, so anything gummi is supposed to work.  And the only thing I read not to use was Swedish Fish, which are more wax based I guess and they just melt together.

How do they taste you ask?  Well, depends on the color, some of them taste very medicine-ish to me, especially the red, but I've always been sensitive to the taste of food colorings so I'm probably not a good judge on that.  Some just tasted like cheap popsicles, with a blast of vodka.  The texture is still chewy, slightly slimy but not too much and just a little bit squishy.  On the whole, pretty good, and just a fun treat, plus they're pretty, see above.

The "recipe" if you want to try it is to:

  1. Put the gummis in a bowl, I'd recommend glass or ceramic
  2. Mostly cover with vodka
  3. Cover with plastic wrap 
  4. Refrigerate for 2 days or until the vodka gets absorbed completely.  
  5. Don't eat too many at once.  
  6. Hide from teenagers if at all possible (I told him I was keeping track of how many were left!).

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Story of Chuck

Earlier this summer, we had an animal attack, and only one of our 3 chickens survived.  Either raccoon or fox made a hole in the chicken wire big enough to get in the coop enclosure. She was really badly injured (half her face is missing, including the eye) and in shock.  We didn't think she'd live long and considered putting her out of her misery, but we didn't have the guts to.  But what do you know, she pulled through and is fine now.  So we named her Chuck (as in Chuck Norris) because she is a pretty badass chicken.  She lived in our upstairs bathroom for a couple months, and eventually learned how to run up and down the stairs.  Guess she doesn't miss having depth perception because birds don't really have it to start with.

Chuck quickly figured out where the cat food was and always made a beeline for the kitchen to steal some (much to the dismay of the very disgruntled cats).  We reinforced the giant homemade rabbit hutch with new welded wire, so she safely sleeps out there at night, but has the run of the backyard during the day.  Now I have company as I garden, she follows me around and eats bugs and weeds and digs little holes to scootch around in the dry dirt.  She seems pretty happy, who knows, she's a chicken after all.  She's a pet all of a sudden though, with her own individual friendly personality. I'm glad that the cats are scared of her and give her a lot of room, but they really keep an eye on her.  We have to make sure to close the door to the backyard or she sneaks in and tries to get to the catfood, guess it tastes good compared to her usual  feed.

It's hard to believe that Chuck can just get along like that, figuring out how to cope with only one eye all of a sudden. But animals are resilient and do what they need to in order to keep living.  Pretty inspirational to me really.  Especially because she just started laying eggs once again.  After all that trauma and almost dying, she's back to normal, a new normal.  Just with a little time and a bit of extra care from her clueless owners.

Friday, August 10, 2012

My First Yarn Bomb Sighting

Hey long time no post! Fun summer stuff has been keeping me away from blogging, sorry about that.  So to celebrate how about this for a fiber-related travel picture?
I finally got to see a yarn bomb real and up-close and in-person at Evergreen State College, while we were visiting my kid Zach up in Olympia, Washington in July.  Pretty cool huh?  I'd only seen all the neat pictures of them online, so I was happy to get to take this picture.  I wonder how long this takes to do? I think the colors chosen go very nicely with the surroundings.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Just A Simple Shift

 A simple blouse made for a friend out of a nice, substantial rayon from Dharma Trading.
Dye painted before assembling the garment.