Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Tis the Season

Tis the season to be busy and I actually have been a lot busier then I've been in months.  I've been able to get out of bed for 6 hours or sometimes more.  So baking season has really been going well!  To torture my friends I've been sending fruitcakes as gifts of the season along with truffles.  So far I've made about 20 dozen dark chocolate truffles.  My recipies are at .

I had a lovely Christmas.  Lee's mom and I hung out watching TV and threatening to go out for chineses food waiting for Lee to finish dinner.  I made a chocolate soufle for dessert.

I got some great gifts a set of dishes, I believe this is china dates from the 70's.  I love having some real dishes!

My friend and her mother gave me this dish towel and pincushion.  The dish towel is hand embroidered and I've wanted a sample of the mothers embroidery for years.  So my Christmas wish came true!

Even got the tree put up in the kitchen, still don't have many ornaments so I decorated the tree with necklaces I had made.  The necklace showing in the picture is made of green jade and clear crystals.

Close up of the necklace

We also tried to do a lot of good and help others during the season.

Our cat Caramel is enjoying the chair that we got so I can sit at the counter and work now. At least when the she will let me.  She is all cat and assumed that the chair was hers!  She is such a pretty and thankfully small Maine coon.

We've been spending a bit of money getting things that we've needed for the house but haven't been able to replace until now.  A chair for the kitchen and some new bed linens.  Yesterday we went to Sears and I had so much shopping luck I couldn't believe it!  I never find deals.  But Sears had cotton sheets!  So many stores have only microfiber sheets.  So we found a nice set of sheets in blue and a beautiful new blanket in a dark blue.  But in the clearance section I found a quilt in the wedding ring pattern!  I've been wanting one for years but couldn't afford it.  It was only $35!  So I grabbed it and wouldn't let go!  When Lee found me I said it was mine!  It is in blue like the sheets with a green accent.  It so beautiful!  It also had two matching shams!  No more using hot glue or painting on the bed.  We got all our bedclothes for about $90!  Such a happy find.  We really needed them.

The baking season is not over yet and friends that are reading this are not yet safe from being fruit caked!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Had such a fun day yesterday!

It was very cold yesterday when I got up, so I turned on the oven to warm up the kitchen.  Can't let the oven just sit there empty.  So I made my favorite scones with tary cherries and they were wonderful!  Then since it was still cold I started a preferment for bread the next day.  Lee bought me some new regular brewers yeast in the 1 lb package so I divided it into jars and put them in the fridge.  The kitchen was about 60 degrees by then. 

Next I made some pie crust and I swear I heard my mom laughing!  My crusts are so awful!  When I went to put the crust away, I looked at my preferment and it was bulging over the top of the container.  I took off the towel and screamed!  It was moving and bubbling!  I have never seen yeast so crazy, and the kitchen was still cold!  I beat it down and decided it didn't need any more proofing!  So it went into the fridge also. 

Then I took 24 oz of baby carrots and put them through the juicer, it made about 8oz of juice.  Next I juiced the seeds from a medium size pomegrant and it juiced down to about 3 oz.  It was so sweet and tart, not bitter like the supermarket juices.  Then I mixed the juices together and they were good!  But next time I want to try less pomegrant juice, it tried to overwhelm the carrrot juice! 

So I was innocently having a yummy lunch when little did I know what was waiting in the fridge!  The dough had gone crazy even in the fridge!  I beat the preferment down again, Lee asked for some to take to his mom's so I gave him the whole batch.  Then I made a new preferment making sure that I measured out the yeast correctly and even put in a little less then the recipe, just in case!  The kitchen was about 70 degrees by then, so I started letting the preferment rise.

After a rest I decided to work on the kitchen and start dinner.  I only cook one meal a week and I still had some energy so this was the night!  I peeled carrots, potatoes and sweet potatoes and cut them into chunks.  Then tossed them in olive oil and started to slow roasted them in the oven.  I looked over and my new preferment was acting deranged!  I beated it severly and put it in the frig.

Lee came home and ground some sirloin and I made it into a meatloaf.  After it was all cooked Lee made a smoked gouda cheese sauce to pour on top of the meat.  Dinner was wonderful.  Then Lee left again taking dinner to a friend and I was left alone with the thing in the fridge!

The yeast monster from the black fridge was trying to escape again!  I gave it one last chance and beat it soundly!  By the time Lee got home, I had lost the battle.  There was nothing else to do but finish the bread!  The yeast had won.  I added flour and a little water and kneaded it in the mixer.  Then set it out to rise.  The kitchen was under 60 degrees again even with the oven running.  But nothing could stop the beast.  It rose in record time and I shaped it into loaves.  By 2:00 am there were two rustic loaves cooling on the counter and I was exhausted!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Warm day to bake

Today was supposed to be one of the hottest days of the year, so today was a baking day!  Last night I made up some Angel Biscuits and a bread sponge.  This morning I got up early and took the sponge out to warm up on the counter.  When I checked the weather I realised it wasn't the best day to bake but it was to late!  The dough was for a simple rustic bread and it had no trouble rising in the warm kitchen.  In fact it tried to "Lucy" me!  It was so small an amount of dough when I started I almost made it into one loaf, but thankfully didn't.  As it was I placed both loaves on the same pan and by the time they were done they were "conjoined".  It made two nice sized loaves with a dense chewy crust and soft almost fluffy inside.  I couldn't wait and cut off a slice while it was still warm.  It had very good flavor development from the 10 hours in the fridge.  This was the first time I had heavily floured the loaves after forming them and it made a lovely crust.  We are looking forward to sandwiches tonight!  Tomorrow the Angel Biscuits will have developed enough to bake.  If you've never had an Angel Biscuit it is just a regular buttermilk biscuit with yeast added.  Then the dough sits in the fridge for a couple days to develop flavor.  They are wonderful and the best part is that when you want biscuits you just take some dough and roll it out and bake them.  Make only as many as you need and they don't have to warm up to bake them.  They are easier then biscuits in the can you hit on the table because there is no can to open.  They last for up to a week in the fridge and can even be frozen.  I think I will have biscuits with butter and jam for breakfast!

Anyway the baking took up my morning and when Lee came home he found me sitting on the bed sleeping.  No back support, kind of wobbling.  So now I have to try and get something done today.  I may just do some more baking after the heat has broken.  Peach buttermilk muffins! Mmmmmmm!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Happy Tuesday!

This morning I took pictures of some boxes and the paper tray.  The boxes were purchased but at a heavy discount.  I'm cheap and would not buy predecorated boxes usually but they were so pretty, I love butterflies and roses so they were perfect.  The top box I made using a paper mache hat box and painted it turquoise and sponged it in silver ink.  The pictures are from a private collection reprinted on glossy paper and the edges were torn and inked in silver.  It is still a project in the works.  The inside will be painted in lavendar and a heavy purple cord will hold the top on when finish.  I keep ribbons for making ribbon flowers in this lovely box.  It is considered a requirement to have a lovely box for doing ribbon work.

The green book box holds bead over flow and the pink box holds embroidery floss.  I keep a little book inside the pink box as a catalog of the floss colors and amounts. The book is very helpful for planning large projects or looking for a skein for a friend. The clear box underneath is for already opened floss.  These sit on top of a room divider behind the paper tray.

Paper tray

This is part of a five foot paper holder that I purchased from a closing scrapbook store.  We no longer have any scrapbook speciality stores in town so it was a sad purchase.

I'm still sorting through the paper and putting it in the trays.  I have some boxes of paper to go through yet.  I want to make some tags to mark the trays by color and specialty.  They are sorted by speciality (all colors), color with paper to the left and cardstock to the right.  This makes it easy to find what I need.  The trays are immediately to the left when entering the room.

Thanks for looking at my craft area.  Please post a link to your craftroom ideas.

Hard to believe it is September

It must be September because the apples are getting red and tugging at the tree limbs.  The other trees didn't fruit this year and even the apples are fewer then usual.  They will be very welcome this year, I love apple cake! 

The last ten days have been a bit rough and I haven't really been doing much. Read a Doctor Who novel and The Invisible man.  Currently I'm reading a Doctor Who novel where he is separated from the TARDIS and living with prostitutes in 1780's London.  An interesting book written as a history of the period. I have also been working on the craft room, getting things sorted and put away.  Pattie, my sister, has started setting up a craftroom so I can't let her out do me!  We both have different ideas of setting up a room so this should be interesting.  She is using baskets (bought at DI) that she has decorated to hold her supplies.   I like to contain my supplies in stuff from the hardware store and containers that would otherwise be recycled.  Using toolboxes helps to make crafting portable along with rolling luggage. It also stacks on shelves nicely and keeps supplies from getting dusty.  With so many hobbies I need the supplies protected.  Lee got the paper racks stacked today so I now have five feet of trays to sort paper into!  I love it!  Having the trays stacked helps me to reach the paper more easily and that makes me want to craft.  That is why it is so important to be organized.  Not knowing where your knitting needles are when you want to try a new stitch is aggravating not to mention the time wasted looking for things.  With a little luck I hope to have the room organized by October.  The goal is to get as many supplies as possible into the room and also have a table cleared and a chair to sit in and craft!  How would you design a craft room?  I would love to hear other crafters ideas!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A few thoughts

I have been resting this week and haven't accomplished much.  The loom is sitting in the hallway waiting for me to finish warping it.  The orange and black scarf showed the need to practise working the edges so I am making one the same size only in two shades of pink!  We will see if I can improve!

Went to the doctors and I've lost 15lbs, losing a pound a week!  The trick is not to find it again!  The secret to losing is that I can't eat something I haven't made.  That sounds silly but for me eating ice cream and pastries has been the reason for the weight gain.  So instead of getting a dozen donuts or an eclair, I have to get off my butt and make the goodies myself.  So it gets me moving and I don't put nearly as many calories in yummy stuff as the stores.  Most of the time a purchased pastry tastes like eating a bowl of sugar.  We have forgotten that a pastry has many more complex flavors.  By throwing sugar at everything companies can use cheaper and less tasty ingredients.  Last night I made a carrot cake that was wonderful!  By using unsweetened pineapple and coconut it had just the right amount of sweetness and there was no sticky frosting to ruin the taste.  So the trick to having cake and eating it is to get back to less sugar in everything!  The best thing of all is that not only does it taste better but it also doesn't have a lot of junk in it to stabilize the ingredients!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Houndstooth, an adventure

Thursday night I decided to make a scarf.  It was late and I should have been asleep but I really needed to make something.  So I got out the loom and started to figure out how much yarn I would need to make a scarf 6 by 72 inches.  Going into the craft room I found a skein of black and orange yarn just sitting there, great contrast for a houndstooth scarf.!  So I started measuring out 24 six yard pieces, 12 of each color.  Finding the center of the heddle I started warping the loom alternating the colors and making sure the right side started with black.  It took two hours to measure and warp the loom.  I was so tired I should have stopped there but I wanted to see the pattern and make sure I had it right.  So I started it weave and realised that my smallest shuttle was 21 inches.  Definite over kill for a six inch scarf.  So Lee made me two twelve inch shuttles from an old broken yard stick!  I then started to weave the pattern two rows black and then two rows of orange.  But something was wrong!  In basic  weaving there are three setting, up, down and neutral.  I couldn't find down!  It had been a while since I used this loom but I didn't remember have trouble with down before.  So I made my own down with a shed stick and started to weave.  After 90 minutes I had gotten quite a lot done.  So I went to bed.

Friday morning I was more coherent and realised what was wrong with the down.  I wasn't putting the heddle into the right slot.  Now I felt really stupid!  For non-weavers what I was doing was like driving a car and when I wanted to go into reverse I had set the car in neutral and got out and pushed!  I must have been very tired.  Friday was spent weaving more slowly because of all the aches cause Thursday night.  It took a total of 5.5 hours in total to make the scarf.  Here are some pictures.

Lots of fun!  But I need to rest!  Hopefully I will be able to start another scarf soon!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Some more jewelry I've been working on!

This is jewelry I've been working on in the last month.  This first piece is very different from what I usually make.  Sometimes the project just has a life of it's own and lets the crafter know what it will be.  I've learned over the years that trying to force a project to do what it doesn't want is why some art never looks right.  This was made with copper chains, beads and end caps along with fire agates.  Fire agates are agates that are dyed a deep orangish color and then fired to create white web like cracks in the stones.  Very pretty!

The necklace is hanging on my dress maker model

Here is a close up of the drop and tassel

This is a closeup of one of the fire agates, you can see some
of the wirework on the bead

This is a closeup of the clasp I made.  I wanted it to be large and strong looking like the necklace itself.  The necklace can be put over the head without using the clasp, many people tell me that they like not having to us a clasp.

These next pictures are my attempts to do chain mail and is why my hand has been hurting!  I wrapped the wire around knitting needle and the cut them with handheld wire cutters.  Slowly I am getting better at this and work hardening the jump rings.  This does take quite a bit of hand strength so I can only work for a few minutes at a time on these.

This is an example of byzantine chain.  The reason it looks so open is I do not have the size of the jump rings small enough for the wire gauge.  It still looks nice and it is easier to learn the pattern.

Here is a plain double link chain, it does have a nice clasp that I made.

Closeup of clasp

I don't remember what this chain is called but it is really lovely.

Here is the same chain but from a different angle.  The chain forms links into a square pattern.

A lovely day

It was a lovely day out so I spent part of the day working on watering the fruit trees and breaking small olive wood branches.  Over the last few weeks a friend has been trimming the giant olive tree in the front yard.  About a third of the branches are now on the ground!  I would love to be able to carve but it is dangerous.  We can't seem to give away the wood so far, really wish a wood carver would take the largest branch.  Right now it is doubling as a bench and is big enough to support even my bottom!  So if no one wants it we may just keep it as a rustic bench.  The smaller bits I am working on will go through the shredder and will be mulch for the plants.  Next the almond and pecan trees need a good trim.  So there will be lots to work on in the yard the next few months.  Here is a picture of the log, if anyone knows a wood carver in the Santa Maria area please let them know about this blog!  Thanks!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Cake left

I baked a chocolate cake with a powdered sugar frosting and there is still some leftover!  I did share too!  Last night I tried making free form paper beads.  Some came out interesting anyway.  It will take some more trials before I have what I want.  Another concern is how to seal them.  I would rather not use any harsh chemicals.  Beeswax might be interesting but not in hot weather : )  If they were left unsealed I can just imagine them disintegrating in spilled soup!  Paper beads are beautiful and light weight, I've made them with words on them and out of flocked paper.  The possibilities seem endless and it makes a fun project for kids.  Making beads out of unshaped scraps of paper is a challenge.  I have had to cheat a little because you do need a strong start to the bead, this part wraps around dowel and cannot be glued.  Some of the free form pieces are fatter in the middle and end up being glued to the dowel!  So some shaping is necessary.  To get around this I am tearing the pieces rather than cutting them which give a lovely edge and still looks free form.

I have a ton of ideas for making these beads.  Take the tissue paper that is to light weight and decoupage it onto other paper beads or wooden beads.  Using the die cut for a bow take metal pieces and cut out.  Then cut the ribbon sections in half and roll them with the pointed side on the outside of then bead.  They could even be embossed on the ends.  Make a paper bead with a wide center and then working from the middle out curl the ends of the beads, need to do this and post a picture.  So many different things to try.  These will truly be love beads because they will be a labor of love.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Chocolate cake kind of day

I went over to my sister's blog paperplates and she is making papercones in chocolate brown, white and blue.  They made me want to eat some chocolate, very yummy!  So I think I will bake a cake today.  My hand is still swelling and hurts so no crafting today.  So I'm going to work on organizing and working on photos.  Here are a few I found today!

These feathers are in my craft area, they were a gift from a friend who used to raise peacocks!  It was such a generous and kind gift.

This is a picture of a copper necklace I made for a friend's birthday.  I love the coiled hearts.

Here is a picture of my silly cat Caramel.  He looks sweet but don't let that fool you!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Finally some pictures!

Just posting what I'm working on and showing few pictures makes it rather a dull blog.  So I am going to try and take more pictures as I'm working on making lovely things.  It has been hard to get pictures that are in focus because I shake so much but this week I think I've gotten the hang it!  Currently I'm taking a break from crafting because I may have a hairline fracture in my hand.  It always concerns me that I can feel pain while taking endocet, and I'm not stopping the meds to see how bad my hand really hurts.  So I am catching up on my blog and updating my website while my hand heals.  So here goes nothing : )

This first picture is of my first cabochon.

I didn't have any green seed beads that matched the stone, which is dyed serpentine.  So I used gold plated size 11beads around the outside.  Then used size 11 silver-lined gold seed beads and finally size 15 silver-lined gold beads which had a slight rose tint to them.  I wasn't sure the bead colors would work together but they blended rather nicely.  It has several problems but is not bad for a first try.  Now I need to add the backing and pin when my hand is feeling better.

These next pictures are of the goddess I've been working on.  I used heavy copper wire and bent it into the shape of a goddess.  This was done without a pattern.  Then I used 30 gauge copper to wire the ends into the middle of the piece.  With the 30 gauge wire I then strung beads and wired them into the inner shapes.  Like making a mosaic.  The bodice piece is formed with wire weaving and the crown was tatted on a needle in the same 30 gauge copper.  Unfortunately I accidentally cut the wire and the crown will need to be remade.  But the goddess was lots of fun to make and used a lot of beads I had left over from other projects.

I hope that this blog entry has been of interest and maybe even inspiring!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Really Busy

The jewelry is finished but it still needs to be photographed.  This week I'm taking it easy on my hands after making some chains from scratch.  The chains are beautiful but it isn't the easiest thing to do and is painful.  Right now I'm working on an idea for making paper love beads.  This will be a recycling project to get rid of paper bits from previous projects.  Each bead will be made of a different paper and shaped from paper bits without cutting them first.  Freeform beads!  I will also go through wire bits and odd seed beads to decorate the love beads.  I may also try forming beads from aluminum scraps from a diecut jewelry project.  Right now I need a nap!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Working on jewelry

I've been working on jewelry the past few days and have several necklaces ready for clasps.  The problem is that I can find my mini anvil!  Once I've shaped the clasps they will need to be work hardened and the anvil makes this easier.  I've been working on a goddess symbol in a cookie cutter outline in a copper alloy.  The goddess is really cool with lots of leftover beads fixed on with wire and a crown tatted from 28 gauge copper alloy.  The printer is not communicating with compter so I can't scan it right now.  Back to taking pictures, if the camera is to be found!

Several other ideas for jewelry pieces have been dancing around the old noggin.  One is a necklace with a flat braid in greens and brown.  Copper leaves will be wired to the braid along with some crystal dangles.  Then a brown cord will wind around the necklace and will have lucite flowers attached.  On the left side will be a small ceramic elf head and it's body will be a leaf, it's arms small twigs.  The elf will be surrounded by leaves and small flower.  I've alread stared making the leaves with a diecut machine and medium weight pure copper.  It was difficult to cut but the leave are great!  They came out quite firm and dull edged.  I will also be making some stumpwork wings using wire and a shear fabric.  The only problem is should it have fibers like yarn and fabric added?  Just need to experiment.

This week I hope to get the jewelry and books photographed and put the images on Etsy.  Also there are some consignment stores to look into around the area.  Today I'm working on cards to attach to the jewelry.  They will include a description of the work and the beads used.  A lot more interesting then a tag "pink bead necklace"!  Hope this works out!

Friday, July 22, 2011


Well I have been busy working on learning to tat with a tatting shuttle and finally getting the hang of it.  Still I like using needles better but there are advantages to using the shuttle.  You can tat over the beginning threads easily.  It allows you to stop anywhere in the piece when working with double shuttles and so eliminate extra thread ends.  Now that I have gotten better I plan on trying to tat with 28 guage wire to make lace jewelry.

I finished a lace scarf which had both graphs and written instructions.  It was extremely hard at first but after seven tries I finally got the hang of reading the pattern and remembering the stitches.  I plan to frog it because of all the mistakes and make it again.  I'm using a white cotton about size 8 that a friend gave me.  Once I'm done I plan on dying it.  Tried playing with beet juice but it came out a dull brown.

The last three weeks I have been making jewelry.  I've made several piece using different techniques.  Lots of wire working which has helped to build up some strength but I can only work a short time so it has been slow going.  I finished stringing a rose quartz chip necklace with pink crystals.  Very pretty and simple.  I also made a chunky fire agate necklace.  I did elaborate wire wrapping in copper around each chunk and attached them on a large link chain.  Then created a drop using a fire agate and a copper cone with a chain tassle.  Definately different from my usual lacy style.  I plan to put the jewely up on my Etsy site.  Who knows I might actually sell something.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Four ounce

I've been looking at knitted lace patterns and it is amazing that it can take as little as 4oz of lace weight thread to make a shawl.  I will enjoy making somehing so delicate and beautiful.  Using a size 10 thread I started to work on a lace scarf  as a practise piece.  But the needles were to large and the pattern did not hold up well.  So I need to get some smaller needles and start again.

In the meantime I have been practising my tatting and have the second round of the doily almost finished.    The meds I'm taking are causing some poblems and I didn't tighten a thread and had a real mess that had to be undone.  I've even been practising with a tatting shuttle and have been doing quite well but still prefer the needle method.  I made a simple set of rings in size 20 thread and it was quite pretty.  The trick is to put it down when it gets frustrating.  Hopefully I will soon be more productive and making lace edginings.

Sunday, June 5, 2011


Saturday I went to a class on tatting.  It was very helpful, I had been reading the pattern incorrectly.  That is the trouble with teaching oneself especially from material written over 100 years ago.  So I made a pretty tatted circle and started a small doily so I could get the idea of doing rounds.  Just need to practise making the stitches more even now.

While I was at the class a knitter came in and needed help.  I didn't help her and was feeling very quilty because I was trying to learn to tat.  But it was the first class in 6 months in 100 mile area so I didn't want to miss out.  I actually felt hurt because when she came in no one said Lois knits and can help after class.  Just because I don't knit often doesn't mean I can't.  So now I feel that I have something to prove!  After class I showed her how to fix her mistake and she was happily knitting again.  So it all worked out.  Lace shawl project next!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Another day

Last night I started a baby sweater for a new great niece.  It is kimono style which is easy to get on an off and in pink shades.  Very pretty but hard on the hands to work, so I'm resting them.  Just started a poolish so there may be bread tomorrow.  I miss fresh bread, it has been a long time since I tried to make some.

Today had less pollen in the air and I finally got out of the house and sat outside for awhile. Sat and read while the cat dosed next to the chair.  Just finished a book called "Uncatalogued", it was a mystery about books and libraries.

Finally got some pictures of the doily I'm working on, with luck I will finish it over the summer.  It is beautiful!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Back into the fray

After a long rest I am starting to craft again, designing jewelry and making pretty things.  The last few months I had been working on a gray doily in size 10 thread.  It is a more modern design with rings of flowers and leaves.  Most of it is in simple chains making it an easy pattern.  So far unblocked it is 40 inches with 16 rows to go.  The project started 10 years ago when we first moved to Santa Maria.  I had purchased the thread in Tucson for a quarter a skein.  After working about a month on the project I gave up on it after our cat pumpernickle ran down the hall with it undoing stitches and knotting the threads.  He was so proud and happy.  I just put the project away!  I found the doily around the beginning of the year and after a search found the pattern.  It is nice to be close to finishing a project started so long ago.
Now that my mind is coming out of a long tunnel I'm looking forward to trying to coax some designs out of my addled brain cells.  I guess we will see!

Sunday, February 27, 2011


This month has been a very uncreative one for me.  I did get a few things made.  Finally I finished the Victorian book, all I needed were some Valentine graphics!  I took recreations of old Valentines and did a collage on the front and back covers, filling in spaces with buttons.  The rose stick was beautiful, the handmade paper was just perfect.  Forgot to get pictures unfortunately.  Also made a paper hat using some of the Valentines that were extras. 

Friends have been teaching me how to sew which has been very scary for me.  I have to get over my fears of the machine.  Now that I have time to do things I don't feel up to doing them.  I've been extremely sleepy from meds this last month.  It has been hard to push and be creative.  The worst part is I have fallen back on my addiction to thread!  I started a doily and have been working on it for over a week and nearly have it done.  I wish that I could kick thread doilies!  I saw someone else crocheting with thread and I started shaking and had to buy some thread to at least hold.  Next thing I knew Magic Crochets were all over the place with bookmarks of projects!  It wouldn't be so bad except they are unwanted.  As they are finished they get thrown in a pile and stored.  I need to stop before it gets bad this time.  Last year I made only one doily so maybe I will be abe to stop again.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Beautiful Day

Today is a beautiful day out.  Lots of sun coming into the room.  I was going to work on the magazine project when I realized my project didn't fall within the guidelines.  So now to come up with a new idea.  I'm still going to make a hankerchief holder.  Last night I used a silk ribbon iron on pattern on a cream colored satin for the holders cover.  It is going to be lovely.  I will try and take pictures showing how it was done and put it up here on my blog.

New day and new ideas to create, deadline is in 22 days.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Kinda Sorta

I have been saying that a lot lately because this is what my life feels lke.  I feel very undefined in my current state.  Getting ready to open an Etsy store by Feb1st and I still need items to put in the store.  Also trying to make a Feb 15th deadline on some magazine entries!  I need to pick my battles carefully here.  I am waiting for the mail order of the drug that helps me use my hands so I can do the Etsy pieces.    This is going to be a tight race : )  But I know that I will get it done even if it takes hours longer then expected.

After decades of giving away my work now I need to be able to pull together a portfolio.  Along with writing a sylabus for teaching crafts.  My friends seem interested in the subjects so far.  This week I think I will do a smocking example.  It is just coming up with a project idea that isn't to big but large enough to be a good practise piece.  In February we are going to do a silk ribbon embroidery heart to put in a Valentine card.  A little dated but fun!  I wouldn't be surprised if a pre-printed fairy showed up in the card design!

I'm just trying to look forward to being more active and accomlishing goals and not letting stress get to me, after all being creative should also be fun!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Please stop me before I craft again!

What a week!  I spent a lot of it sorting out my craft books and logging them at Library Thing.  Somewhat disappointing there were only 140 craft books, 80 were on needlearts.  Shows that I need to buy more books on general crafting.  I also ordered online, 7 or 8 new books last week from Dover and the book club I belong to.  Everyone is having wonderful 50% sales this month and it is hard to resist.

Then there was a huge sale at Beverly's last week.  I bought four great books at 75% off and a demo sewing machine.  They even had the empty book boxes on sale and the little paper purses.  I met a kindred spirit trying to work out the price on a purple purse at 75% off!  I got a large butterfly box and she bought the purse! We had a great time but we went to dinner instead of having a class on whitework on Friday!  So I had a teaching reprieve.  Really need to get my right hand able to stitch by this Friday.  I am still working on a class plan but at least the rest of this month will be whitework and a small diversion into tatting.

Went to the Betty's sale and got a couple of books and some lovely cotton yarn.  Then to the magazine store to buy a three magazines I want to submit entries to, Somerset Life, Somerset Studio and Threads.  Lee called while I was looking at books and read to me the magazines they had at Barnes and Noble!  Double shopping score!  He found me Belle Armoire magazine and I am planning to submit at least two projects but the deadline is February 15th so I need to move my butt!

I was really tired after Friday night so I stayed home at worked on the books.  There wasn't room to just leave them around in piles so it took some work to get them cataloged.  Many of them still need an ex libris put inside them.  Lee made a beautiful ex libris label for me we just need to print some more to finish.  Then the books get sorted out and reshelved.  Then after some more Spring Cleaning I will be cataloging the crocheted and knitted books.  Thankfully they are easier to get at and I can catalog them right in the shelf using the laptop.  After that I hope to finish cataloging the books for the Santa Maria Valley Crafters.  Little steps at a time!  The most important thing is to get the craft area sorted out so there is actually space to craft!

So this week is full of doctors appointments unfortunately.  But I am also going to a party on Wednesday evening, just us crafters having some fun and Friday night is whitework embroidery.  Have to stop blogging to get ready for the oncologists!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Book Review Beginner's Guide to Bobbin Lace, Gilian Dye & Adrienne Thunder

Part of what I want to accomplish this year is to add all my books from my private collection to and review them.  Tonight I found "Beginner's Guide to Bobbin Lace", by Gilian Dye & Adrienne Thunder.  It is a wonderful book and has great instructions, pictures and diagrams.  However it only teaches the Torchon style of bobbin lace.  The difference is Torchon works on a diagonal grid adding fibers when starting the piece.  This can be easily be seen in the bookmark lessons.  The projects are great, Spring purse, Summer scarf, Summer bag, Autumn cushion, Winter scarf.  The Winter scarf is beautiful and a good example of how bobbin lace can be done with any size thread and be beautiful.  Great starter book.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

What a week

I had a lot of fun this week, a bit rough at times but I was determined to win!  Last week focused on getting well and working on a business plan.  The goal is to have everthing in place and my Etsy store openned by the end of January!  Lee is doing the brain work because the meds make it hard to concentrate for very long.

Yesterday we had fun at Beverly's and I demoed cutting machines and what was good and bad about them.  The crocheters were not interested at all.  So next Friday we will be having our embroidery get togther we will be learning to do a a very basic white work pattern.  Then Linda will help us make the fabric into a pillow case!  How cool is hand embroidered bed linens.

While at Beverly's they had a die cut system called the Revolution.  It was used for demos and had the long platen and several die-cuts including a Nestibility and came in a great box.  I got it for $10!  However, I then spent most of Saturday night up trying to learn to use it.  Today I will go to Youtube to find some instructions!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Let them eat cake

Still the cake is being a pain!  Yesterday I slept way to much and never got it started!  I just couldn't wake up.  I even fell asleep standing up yesterday.  Some days the medicine I take is hard to manage, I get really silly on the stuff too, sometimes!  So I am trying to stay awake today.  I see the doctor at 2:40 and plan to see friends at Beverly's after 1:00.  I found some craft supplies to give away so I'm looking forward to that.

Last evening I added more books to my librarything account.  I was falling asleep while typying in the numbers but now have 31 books added.  Now I will mark them with an xlibris and put them back in my personal library.  Also need to add my review of the books.  Well off to the doctors.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Piece of Cake

"Easy as a piece of cake"!  What a stupid thing to say!  Cake is not the easiest thing to make even using a mix!  Today I'm getting the stuff together to make a orange spice pecan cake with orange cream cheese frosting.  My mom made one for me over 25 years ago and it is time for another!  I remember her looking a bit tense because even she didn't make scratch cakes anymore.  She never asked me what kind of cake I wanted agan : )  So it is my turn to be a bit tense making a scratch cake.  The Joy has a recipe I can adapt so it will only be hard to remember what I've already put in the bowl : )

Today will be cracking the nuts and roasting them for the cake.  I also want to decorate the cake but I definately don't have my sisters touch.  When in Utah last year I purchased some candy molds.  One mold is a set of different types of button molds.  Like one set is a flat button and another is a set of pearl buttons.  I'm trying to come up with a design idea like making a frosting needle and thread and lots of button on top of the cake.  Or maybe frost the cake and then cover it in buttons that make elaborate lace designs.  Well it really doesn't matter, it is how it tastes that is important!  I am looking forward to the project!.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!  The year ended quietly and 2011 started the same way.  It is hard to believe that another year is gone.  This starts the beginning of my 7th year in remission of breast cancer.  I have been a very lucky woman! 

This year will start dedicating my time to starting a new career.  After nearly a year of rest and exercise at the local gym it is time to start thinking of what I am still able to do.  I will not go on permanent disability but it is hard to function and work with the drugs I take to be able to move.  So now to see if I can't find someone who needs a talented crafter who can teach.  My plan is to make myself a web presence that will help me find some way of putting my talents to use.

I am going to make up a sylabus of what I can teach and a plan of classes.  I hope to try and submit these to both the local craft stores and private schools in the area.  This will also be a start of a general crafting book I am writing.  The major theme in the book is how to do older crafting techniques without spending a lot of money.  For instance learning bobbin lace by first making your bobbins out of clothes pins.  Adding mostly simple projects for all ages and making a book that is energenic.

For the New Year I have set myself some goals.  First to finish a yo-yo quilt for the local fair.  Enter one Fire Mountain contest.  Enter some magazines "Calls for art".  Join the local art guild.  Finish learning basic metal working for making jewelry ie. chain mail.  Advance my stumpwork techniques and read the book I just bought on the subject.  If I can do even some of this it should be an exciting year!