My Favorite Books

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Now I just hope I remember how lucky I am!

Yes, I am a lucky lady!!  Lucky to have friends close to where I live and lucky to have some great blog friends!  Such as, Sherry, from Createology!   Sherry is a multi talented lady who is always creating new and interesting items...mainly for her friends...and even for those blog friends she's never met!  I have been gifted several times by Sherry and treasure each and every one she has sent me (all the way from California!).  Anyway, look what she made and gifted me!!!

I love it!  And I can sure use this card holder/purse!  It's perfect to carry my library card, Panera card and other non credit cards!



You can see the different fabrics where you'll store your cards!  THANK YOU SO MUCH, SHERRY!!!!  I just love it...you are one special lady and I'm so lucky to call you my Blog BFF!!


Now I hope I remember a year from now (maybe a week from now!) who gave this to me!  Yesterday I was cleaning up my room to pack and had one of my folder/envelopes that I was going to take a picture of to post today...well, I went downstairs to my workroom, carrying the folder/envelope and do you think I can find the bugger today!  I remember "putting it away" but I just don't remember where I put it!!!

I have looked high and low and it's driving me crazy.  I have been in my workroom 3 times looking for it!!

 I notice I'm doing this more and more lately.  I'm so good about putting things "back where they belong" but lately it seems I'm not always doing that and end up hunting for something.  I keep changing where I put something and then I can't remember my new place.
I will find that folder/envelope...someday!!!  UGH....anyway, here are shots of my sewing area with items all packed up and ready for the car and trip to Florida!



I know...it looks like a lot but you don't know how much I have cut back...this all fits on the floor in the back seat area.

I'm never sure exactly what I'm going to work on and I don't want to have to buy something I already have!



All the items here sit on top of some of the boxes and bins above.  I use a lot of space saver bags for Bob's sweaters, pants and shorts so they go on the seat to raise Kalee and Grace's crates for them to see out the windows better!

Have to keep our animal kids happy too!

Friday I'm getting the kids to have for the weekend.  I have sugar cookie batter in frig so I'll bake those tonight then freeze them so kids can decorate cookies on Saturday.  Not sure what else we'll do but it will be nice to be around the kids for a day or two!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Winding down

Yep, I am winding down.  Today I shipped off my last snap bag!  I've shown my snap bags before on my blog so won't bore you with more pics. They are fun to make and more fun to give!!
Shipping the little buggers can be tricky....they're too small to put in a box..too big for a regular envelope...so......a few years ago I saw on some one's blog how to make a large envelope from a file folder.  Sorry, don't remember who and I didn't see any pics on my blog....anyway, here is the process, in case you need an envelope for that special gift.  I've made several and they make up quickly!  And I think folks enjoy getting them in the mail!

First you cut a file folder to the size you want..which can be long and skinny or short and fat!

Then gather up those old Christmas cards and scraps of wrapping paper you were going to throw out but just knew you could use for something!










These are just a few of my scraps!!!













Next, cut up your cards and paper and start gluing to the folder, keeping in mind the orientation for the front and back!












I should have turned this picture...but you get the idea...this is the front.  I just leave an opening for the address.




This is the back of the envelope.   Once your glue is dry (I use scrapbooking glue) then you can stitch away!  I like to stitch around each piece of paper or card I've glued onto the folder.








When you are finished stitching, insert your gift and then stitch away again!  You only have three sides to stitch as the bottom is the fold...make sense?

I usually stitch one and half sides then put in my gift, then stitch the rest of the opening closed.

Now how does the recipient get into their package, you say?  Just unstitch the top or side..it's called "unsewing"...yea, they have to work for it but.......






This is the back...the pic above is the front but I had to cover the address! All sewn up and actually already in the mail with the rest of them!!

Easy, right!!





Sunday, December 14, 2014

Production Line!

Well, things are finally slowing down now that all my gifts are wrapped and under the tree!!  WooHoo!!!  That stress is over with for another year.  It was Dec. 13, 2013 that I had all gifts wrapped and under the tree and this year I did it again!  Everything wrapped on Dec. 13, 2014!
So on to my next project, which was making Kalee booties!



These are some flannel type booties I made for Mandy several, several years ago.  Kalee wears them when she's had a bath and I want her feet to stay clean on our walks.

You can see the rubber pads I sewed on are started to wear out.  But, hey, they serve the purpose and are really great on the drive to Florida...especially, at gas stations and fast food parking lots!  You would be amazed at the dirt a dog can get on their feet!  Well, Kalee can't use hand sanitizer now can she!

So, I got out some of my Tyvek fabric (yep, the same fabric I paint and burn for my art quilts!) and started to drawn a pattern to make Tyvek booties!


This is my cardboard pattern and the pattern drawn out on the Tyvek fabric.  I purchased this fabric (actually 2 yards) a few years ago from Joggles.com.  The fabric comes in 8 1/2 x 11" sheets, which is nice, but I buy the yardage which is 60" wide.

In the past, I've bought Nooby's booties for dogs either at Pet Smart or online.  They usually run $8-10 for two pairs.  Well, I think for my Tyvek fabric @ $9 a yard , I sure get a lot more than two sets of booties!

So this was my production line today!



And FYI....I do have a Teflon foot for my Bernina, which is a life saver for sewing on Tyvek and other 'stickie' fabric!



This is what the booties looks like sewn up, once it's turned inside out.


I ended up making 3 sets and took Kalee for her walk wearing them today!











The cloth booties I made (red ones in 1st pic) have Velcro to tighten when Kalee wears them.

The store bought Tyvek booties have elastic to wrap around them but I find they tend to stretch out easily.

So I thought, why not just rubber bands!  And the rubber bands from the veggies (e.g. asparagus!) work great!
You can see how much dirt Kalee would have had on her feet today if she didn't have on her 'mom's booties'!  And none of them fell off on our walk either!  Which does happen from time to time with the store bought just because of the elastic stretching out.

Now I can pack up my sewing machine and supplies!  This morning I took a few minutes to pack my paints/dyes/stencils and books!  Of course, Lynn K's book, Intentional Printing, was packed first!!  Since I'll be dropping my machine off the 1st day we arrive in Florida (see my issue here) and I'll have to be working on something so screen printing and playing is on the agenda!

I had better finish this post and get busy!  Lion's play @ 4 and I want to have sewing items all packed.  I am planning on Amber and Nick spending the night this Saturday so I want to have this packing all finished.  Should be a relaxing week for me, FINALLY!   How about you?  Stress getting to you or is wine helping?

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Challenge Reivew for 2013-2014

You certainly can forget the work we've done...even in the past year or two!  Some of the members on our Art Quilters ARound the World blog have been posting pics of their challenge pieces.  So today I did the same.  If you haven't looked at some of the challenge pieces our group has mae, you are in for a treat.  There are so many unusual and unique pieces created by this group.  They are all so talented!
So back to me taking pics of my finished challenge pieces....the main problem is I ran out of room on my board and then I had to look at the blog to see all the quilts I've made, because I forgot!   Yea, it's back to how we forget things!!  

I joined this group January of 2013 and it's been a lot of fun meeting the challenge dates.  Our next challenge is 'Structures' which is due January 30th!  I have my background fabric now to work on the stitching!!

Here are 8 of my challenge pieces from January 2013 thru November 2014

Top row:  Song Title- Mar. 2014, Self Portrait- Jan. 2013, Art Nouveau- Jan. 2014, The 3 R's - recycle, reuse reduce- July 2014.
Bottom:  Flights of Fantasy- Nov. 2014, Carnival-Mar. 2013, Macro-Nov. 2013, Bollywood-May 2014!

And here are the other four that didn't fit!





Opposites Attract - July 2013






Out of Asia - May 2013















Mono - Sept. 2014




Road Less Traveled - Sept 2013




Kinda fun to look back at our work from time to time!!!


Now on to creating new work for the next year or two or three!  Le'ts hope!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Just another Wednesday...wait it's Thursday!

OK, so I don't know what day it is...just so busy of late.  Seems like I am running somewhere every single day!  Tomorrow (Friday) I am staying home - ALL DAY!  Yes, I am!  Saturday, Alice is coming over this way and we're going to an open house by the RE Zip-It lady! She has the coolest, most unique items made all with zippers!  I have two small gifts to pick up and know I'll find just the right gift I need...plus, it will be fun to be with my bud for the afternoon!

So, here's my next project.  It's a shrug and I picked out the yarn for it earlier this week:


I really like this pattern.  It's in the book by Sally Melville & her daughter, Caddy...actually, this pattern was written by Caddy.  I think it's perfect for those Florida nights!



I had emailed Sally and she sent me a link for one of her classes on 'Essential techniques every knitter should know'.  It's definitely an online class I am interested in and most likely will take.  It's on Craftsy, which I have taken classes through ins the past.  I just can't do anything until we get to Florida but I'll keep you posted on my progress and review the class for anyone interested!  Just have to wait until after the 1st of the year!  I think!


Here is the yarn I purchased for the shrug.  It's really a nice yarn and I think the brown will be perfect for the edging.  In Caddy's pattern she used charcoal and silver, which is very nice.  I wear so much brown/beige and spring colors so I hope I made the right choice.




I'm hoping to have my swatch made for checking my gauge then I can get started!  Should be a good project for the drive to Florida.

Also, Sally noted another book that might be of interest.  It's called 'ESSENTIAL TECHNIQUE EVERY KNITTER SHOULD KNOW'.  I've ordered this book through our library right now and will order a copy to buy after I've glanced through it.  I'd, again, prefer to wait until Florida and have the book shipped there!

I did some sewing the other day by quilting some fabric and then making two snap bags for gifts.


 So tomorrow is some catchup work and finishing wrapping all my Christmas gifts.  I mailed the kids in Indiana their 'box' today so now it's just wrap the rest and clean up the pool table, which now holds boxes, wrapping paper and ribbon!!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Aussome Study Group -

Today was our last meeting of 2014 for our fiber study group.  It's so nice being part of a great group of women who I can call my friends as well as being inspired by them!  Here is pic from today:

Back row is my bud Carol T., who I have known since 2000!  We met at a quilting class and have been friends ever since!  We've traveled several times to Houston & Chicago to attend the IQA shows and were lucky enough to attend the year our group quilt was juried in!  Carol & I have had many laughs and made some good memories through the years.  I can aways turn to Carol if I need a shoulder or two!  Carol, besides being a wonderful quilter,  is currently working with watercolors and her drawings are fantastic!  I've asked her before if I could post on my blog one of her drawings so I know she won't mind me showing this one.  Pretty good isn't it!



Next up is my 'dog' bud, Chris!  Chris is a multi talented lady!  Currently, she trains and shows her dog(s) in agility and, as a side line, works for a major thread company, which involves attending the Quilt Market(s) several times a year.  Her quilts are shown in quilting magazines as promotions for the thread companies.    Kalee's first class as a puppy was taken with Chris as one of the trainers.  I also took one of Chris' first quilting classes when she taught at our local shop back in '98!  Her quilting is unbelievable!   In her spare time, she also machine quilts for others.   This is a quilt Chris did back in 2011 for our MQAI - Art of the Kitchen exhibit.






Starting now on the bottom row (left!) is my International bud, Lois Ann!  LA and her hubby lived in Italy for over 5 years but we are so glad she's back in our group!!!  LA is such a fun, bubbly young lady (I'm paying you back for the candy with that remark, LA!!!).  In addition, she can produce art work like no one!!!!  Her work is outstanding and we are always trying to encourage her to "get your work out there"!   This is a quilt from 2009 that LA did for the Inspired by the Masters Exhibit - Hokusai.  You'll recognize this famous painting by Hokusai but check out how LA created it in fabric!!






And last but not least is my bud, Mary!!!  Mary is one of the sweetest, caring women I know.  Besides being a great friend, she is also an awesome, mother, grand mother!!  She's always there for those who need her.  BUT the other great thing about Mary is her art work.  I've posted before here on an exhibit Mary did back in 2010.  You need to check out that blog post and see some of Mary's work that was inspired by Chihuly!  You can see the quilt hanging behind Mary that she did for that exhibit.  I don't have a copy on my laptop of this quilt and I'm too lazy to get up and copy from the desktop...but click on this pic or go to the post above to see more of Mary's Chihuly quilts.

And other than myself in the picture, wearing my latest project!, My L'Enveloppe cape/shawl/whatever!, these are my buds and I'm so, so lucky to have them as friends and in my life!!!  So thank you ladies!  Hope we have many more years together as friends and continue to inspire each other!!!



Saturday, December 6, 2014

Book Review Time

I have been way too busy this week to do much.  Seems every day I was out and about.  Kalee and I didn't even get to the nursing home for visits this week!  And next week, we won't get there until at least Thursday!  But good news is I'm just about finished with Christmas gifts!  In fact, two bags  are packed and under the tree!  WooHoo!

 I'm almost finished with my knitted E'nvelope scarf/top/whatever and will post pics next week (if I get time!).  This is what the pattern looks like but I made mine a little longer/bigger.  


I'm on this 'knitting' kick right now, which usually happens in fall/winter.  I really enjoyed this pattern by Sally Melville so I decided to order her book through the library (I don't like to buy books until I check them out first!).

So...now to a book review, which I haven't done in sometime!


The book is called Mother-Daughter Knits but it's not about mother/daughter knitted outfits that match!  It's a COOL book!!!  I've just started reading it, yes, I'm actually reading it, and several sections are SO interesting!

There are a pages devoted to:  Knit to Flatter and Knit to Fit.  And boy do they make sense.  I am going to buy this book!  It's just filled with great information, which I think would help any knitter regardless of your experience level.

Plus, there are so many cute designs for sweaters, shrugs, leg warmers, etc.

My next project is the little shrug, top row on the right.  Isn't it cute!  Well, I haven't read all the book yet so there might be another project I'll pick but right now that's why I ordered the book!  I wanted to make that shrug when I saw it on a YouTube interview of Sally and her daughter (her daughter had on the shrug).  You can see the interview here on YouTube.

So, that's my life right now...busy cooking, cleaning, organizing, buying, wrapping gifts, reorganizing...don't ask...I don't really know what all I've been doing but I do know I'm way too busy and don't like it!  I just want to stay home and sew, bead or knit!!!    Maybe I need to go to Florida so I can do my art work and play!  Did I just say that!!!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Flights of Fantasy

Our reveal for the Flights of Fantasy online challenge is today! Having raised birds (Cockatiels) I knew my Flights of Fantasy piece would have a bird in it!  And I've been wanting to work in bright colors of late.  I found in my stash this bright pink cotton velvet that I dyed several, several years ago!  I think it was the perfect background for my green bird!



I enjoyed creating my green bird....actually, the bird started out as a lighter lime green BUT....I  drew the circle of the eye  with a Micro pen.  All was good except I had to 'unsew' one area of the wing (I wasn't happy with the direction I had quilted) and after removing the threads I sprayed some water on the wing to help close the needle holes that remained.  Guess what!  Some water got on the eye and the black ink RAN!!  UGH...so, I got out some Setacolor paint and painted my bird!  He's a little darker than the original fabric but turned out ok!






This is a closeup of some of the quilting.  I used orange, lime green and a variegated thread to fill in the wings and tail feathers.  This was a fun piece to create.

Our next challenge is 'Structures'...I have an idea making use of a piece I started a  year or two ago!  Looking forward to starting on it!!

I hope you check out the online blog for all the other quilts that are being shown today!  They are wonderful!!!  











Friday, November 28, 2014

Bichon Rescue

Well, my house will be minus five of my art quilts within another week.  All of my donation quilts were sold through the Bichon Rescue online auction.  I am happy I was able to donate and help contribute to the $13,174 they raised!   This was the 1st quilt sold which I've mailed today.


It is one of my painted Tyvek pieces that was free motion quilted onto a background piece then burned with an iron and soldering iron.  I love this technique and will miss the piece but now it gives me a chance to work on another one!  like I need an excuse!

Yes, I did get to my knitting class on Tuesday and our instructor showed us how to interpret the pattern diagram!  So much easier.  I did start on the cap type sleeve but I'm not happy with how it looks so guess who is going to 'unknit'!!!  I haven't yet and decided I will stop by the shop on Tuesday when our instructor is in.  She may be able to give me words of wisdom or encouragement!

I am also working on my Flights of Fantasy piece for our online challenge group, Art Quilts Around the World.  Actually, it's been basically finished for about two weeks.  I think I may add some paint or stitching and then the binding (or facing) and label.  Not sure if I'll get to it tomorrow  on Friday after cooking for our company on Saturday or Sunday a.m.


 It's due on November 1st so pics can't be posted until then.  This is just a sneak peek!


So now I'll look up 'unknitting' on google!!





Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thankgiving Eve 2014

A really busy day today...started off making a pumpkin pie for our Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow...then Kalee and I took a walk, just a little under one mile.  After getting cleaned up, Kalee and I headed off to the Assisted Living home here in town then went to visit another one about 20 min. from home.




You can read about our visit(s) on Kalee's blog here.  She was a doll and wait until you see what she rode while visiting there!  You have to check out the video I put on her blog.  She has become a really good therapy dog.  She loves the people and can't wait to get inside!!!








A few weeks ago, Cherie Burbach sent out an email stating her "newsletter was back".  She was also having a giveaway for one of her wonderful prints from her Etsy shop.   And you'll never guess what I won!!  YEP!!!  I won the print and received it this week!!!!  I love it...not only is it a great spiritual piece of art work, it's a great piece of art work!!!  I keep looking at all the different elements in this piece.   THANK YOU AGAIN, Cherie!!!



You need to visit Cherie's Etsy shop (yes, I have ordered something  from her, but it's for a gift so I can's show it to you until after Christmas!).   Then go to her web site here.  Cherie's site is full of inspiration, not only in artwork but in her writing.  You need to read all about her and you will be inspired in so many different ways.  I'm still working my way through some of her writings!!

 I'll be cooking for the next three days (prepared or finished up most of our dishes for tomorrow today!) as kids are coming this weekend and I'll be cooking for just Bob and I on Thanksgiving.  I do love every minute of it!!   I get so excited about putting together a menu that sometimes I do go overboard with preparing food...oh well...just leaves us lots of leftovers and stuffed bellies!!    Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!



Sunday, November 23, 2014

What a difference a day makes!

What a difference a day makes...twenty four little hours...Before I get into some art work/knitting....we're having a warm up in Michigan so our 6+ inches of snow is now gone!

Thursday & Friday this week - 6+ inches


Today with 48 degrees!!

Some snow left in our neighbors yard!

At least by staying inside for a day or two, I do get lots accomplished!  I moved all the furniture in the downstairs/family room and also did the same in my dye/work room area!!!  I have a few items to take to Goodwill and filled up some of our recycle bin!  So that's a good day's work!! 

I've also finished the front and back of my knitted project BUT  I don't know how to put the front and back together...It's quite confusing, well at least for me!  I can't grasp what it is I'm supposed to do...so I'll just wait until our last class, which is Tuesday.  We still have to make a sleeve for one side but until I get the front and back together, I don't even know where that sleeve should be!!  Geezzzzz



I'm also working on attaching my Loudermilk piece to the canvas.  My fingers get a little sore so I take a break after working a side.  I still haven't decided whether I'm painting or attaching the circles I have cut for the borders.  The hot glue gun may call to me yet!















And now for TV work, until I find out what to do with my knitting project, I'm still hand stitching the peacock.


  My fiber buddies suggested using some straight lines in some areas, which I did and I quite like it.






The lime green area is where I'll add straight stitches.  I'm using some hand dyed turquoise thread so hope I don't run out!!



Tomorrow I'm off Christmas shopping with my bud, Alice and of course we'll have a nice lunch too!!  Tuesday will be a busy, busy day...Kalee's spa day, then I'll head to the grocery store for the rest of my dinner items (I'll be cooking Wed., thru Saturday!), then after I make Bob and I an early dinner, I'll be off to see one of the patients from the Assisted Living here in town.  She's moved to a new facility where there are more activities and the building is on my way to knitting class.   Then off to knitting class to see how dumb I am for not figuring out the pattern!!!  Let's hope!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Let it Snow...let it snow.....

OK, I don't really feel this way but...nothing you can do about the weather!!!  Bob and I hibernated today just watching the snow fall since early a.m. and at 4:15 p.m. it's still snowing!!





Of course, the dogs love it!!!
















Yes, it's Michigan so you don't know what to expect day to day or minute by minute...we haven't even done any shoveling yet...it's still snowing so no point!!!  UGH....looks like we've got between 4-6 inches...we're thinking closer to six!

But it's suppose to warm up next week...in the 40's!  Woohoo!

I did get furniture moved in our family room, swept, dusted so it's all ready for our company next weekend!  Some decorations upstairs but main decorations are in the family room since that's where we spend our time with family.  Well, except when I'm in the kitchen cooking, which I love!!    Back to watching it snow!