21 December 2012

Helping ...........

I just found this link - http://scrap-therapy-quilts.blogspot.com/2012/12/a-request-for-hugs.html - on how to help the people of Newtown, CT, with a handmade quilt.
Unfortunately, the timing doesn't work for me, I'd love to make a quilt or two to donate (I used to make quilts for the ABC project years ago). But I'm hoping I'll be able to for the as-yet-to-be- announced second wave of this project.

18 December 2012

Brrrrrr ..............

According to the weather report this morning, it never got cold enough here to freeze. I beg to differ. It's after 10 am and this is the sheet of ice I pulled off the old water bowls we used to use for the big dogs.
Looks pretty, doesn't it? We're supposed to have a hard frost tonight. Need to get all those pots up close to the house to protect them. That won't be easy, they are very heavy from all the rain we've had lately. But I try hard every year to baby my fuchsias through the winter and, so far, so good.

13 December 2012

Playing ................

.............. with both a new quilt block, the Disappearing Nine Patch, and PicMonkey collages (instead of doing what I really should be doing):


12 December 2012

Oh no .............

The dog went to the groomer this morning which gave me about 3 uninterupted hours to get something done. I had ordered charm packs and matching fabric a while ago and was going to make a little quilt.
Things went well, I sewed blocks into rows, rows into a whole quilt top and went to iron the backing ............... oh, no: there was a hole in the fabric. Not quite in the middle of the panel but near enough. I wanted to get this done today, not contact the etsy seller and get a replacement who knows when. What to do? How about a little heart applique right over the hole? Yup, that worked. I'm sure the recipient won't mind.

And while I'm writing, I might as well add my thoughts on quilt basting spray. I used to have a kitchen with an old linoleum floor and plenty of space to lay out a full-size quilt. Not any longer. While there's still adequate space here and there, there's no more linoleum. So, no more crawling around for hours either thread-basting or safety pin basting.
I discovered quilt basting spray a couple years ago and I admit to a love/hate relationship with it. It works beautifully, but, if used indoors, it's like a glue sniffer's paradise (okay, I exaggerate, but only a little). Even with the backdoor open, there's still a whiff of that stuff in the house and it migrates. I cover the floor all around the quilt with towels and the glue still ends up on the floor. Frustrating!

10 December 2012


I've been looking for a dressform for quite a while and, finally, on Sunday on the flea market I got lucky. She (doesn't have a name yet) isn't very old, but she was reasonably priced, has a stain or two just like an old bust and she is perfect for photographing necklaces and scarves. Need to get busy now taking pictures for Ravelry.
The necklaces, too, were a flea market fine. Yes, I collect "H's".
And on Saturday we found these cool little lenses for the iPhone. They just slip over the lens and there are three of them: obviously a fisheye lens because I used that in one of the pictures, a macro and a wide angle lens. Need to read up a bit more on them but they are easy to use (I do need to take my cover off the phone but just temporarily).
I apologize for the wonky layout, blogger is giving me fits today. I'd rather have pictures in odd places than end up in the funny farm.

20 November 2012

Raindrops on lemons ..........

It's that time of year again - rainy season and the time when lemons (finally) ripen ...........

10 November 2012

Brrrrrr ................ cold

This is the view out my front door this morning:
 Would you believe that earlier this week, we had temperatures in the upper 80's (Fahrenheit, of course)? That's about 30 degrees Celsius, for those of us who grew up with metrics.
And this morning, I woke up to 31 degrees Fahrenheit (that's just below freezing). Thankfully, I had covered my pots on the back deck. The basil was a goner even before last night, but I hope my fuchsias, which I've babied through quite a few winters, will survive.

03 November 2012

Pink sky at night

All these pictures (far too many of them, I know) are the result of waiting for a phone call that in the end never came. I rarely carry my phone around with me, and hardly ever have it turned on, but, this one week, I took it with me everywhere, including on dog walks. And these pictures were taken one evening when we walked the dog around the neighborhood and I just couldn't resist snapping away again and again.
So here they all are because I couldn't decide which to discard:

29 October 2012

A giveaway at Summerfield Designs

I've been meaning to do one of these a month, but October frankly was challenging and I never got around to it.
So, here is the deal: Like Summerfield Designs on Facebook, look at the latest photo album, entitled Dumplings and/or Tacos, and leave a comment telling me which one you'd like if you were to win.
The pictures are not great, I'm the first to admit, but, you know, I'd much rather sew (or hammer or torch) than take pictures these days. I'm sure it'll change, I hope it will.
Here then are the pictures as well:

All bags were made from a tutorial by Michelle of http://www.michellepatterns.com/.

09 October 2012

Making chains with Stephanie Lee

Last week, I took another online class with Stephanie Lee. I highly recommend not only her classes, but online classes in general (and, don't get me wrong, I love real life classes as well). There's just something about working when you want to, as much or as little as you want to and having access to videos at your convenience.
This time around, we made chain(s), both wrapped and soldered.
 The above photo shows pretty much everything that's on my bench at this moment (well, there's plenty more, but this has to do with chains and links etc.) The two chains on the bottom are something I had been working on before.
Soldered links
wrapped clasps and link
The above were made from Stephanie's videos: soldered links (a bit more soldering to be done) and a link and various clasps.
twisted wire
But what I am the most thrilled about is that I finally learned to make twisted wire using my drill.
Not a terrific photo, sorry, but a nice, even twist.

29 September 2012

Goodbye Charlie

Charlie came to us as a rescue dog at the end of 1996. He was a tiny fur ball covered with old flea bites and he was quite stand-offish. We were told he had been found abandoned in a cardboard box in a parking lot somewhere in Tulsa, OK.
Add caption
He was quite scrawny when we adopted him.

I don't know what happened to him in his very early life to make him the way he was, but it can't have been good. He scared easily and that never changed, even after years with us, he often still cringed when somebody reached out to pet him. When scared, he became aggressive and had to wear a muzzle every time we went to the vet with him.
I wonder if he tastes good.

 We used to call him our "***hole meter" - he seemed to be able to weed out the bad guys. Or, maybe, he just didn't like anybody but family. But, on the way home from the ER vet last night, we went over the list of guys he growled at and came to realize that we didn't like those much ourselves.
Having been kind of distant when we first got him, he quickly became attached to me - obviously, I spent more time with him than anybody else, and he quickly became my shadow (or I became "his human") and followed me everywhere, including climbing into bed with me. L used to say he'd crawl into my socks if he could. He also fancied himself a lap dog and, once he was fully grown, that wasn't such a good thing.
Charlie loved toys and when he came to live with us, all the doggie toys became his, never mind that Maggie had been there before him. The toys were HIS. He would boldly march up to her and take things away and she came to have this resigned look on her face, "There goes that little butthead again."
Not such a captive audience.
I remember the first Christmas, we had bought toys for both dogs and, of course, wrapped them. Maggie tore into the wrapping of hers, but Charlie carefully picked up his packages and dropped them all in his little dog bed, he did that with all his toys. And not just his toys, some of my Christmas presents magically appeared under the mattress in his dog bed, a little worse for wear.
We never quite knew what breed he was, obviously, there was Shepherd in him, maybe Chow, but he was smaller than either of those two breeds, but he definitely had that herding instinct. Whenever Maggie became too aggressive, he'd insert himself between her and us and try to steer her away.
There were fights with Maggie, quite a few of them in the early years, and, in the very beginning, we could not leave them alone. In the beginning, it could have been jealousy, but later, the fights tended to be about food.
I know there are treats in there.
Both Charlie and Maggie could climb 6 ft. fences, but, unlike Maggie who was intent on escaping, he only jumped because we were on the other side and he wanted to be with us. Definitely a family dog, and a one-family dog at that.
He loved car rides. When things got too crazy at home, I'd pack him into my car and we'd go off exploring and he seemed to realize that it was a privilege that I took him along and would sit as still as a statue in the passenger seat. 
He had always been in ruddy good health until shortly after Maggie died when he developed old dog vestibular syndrome and stopped eating for a while and slimmed down considerably (for the first time in a long time he had a real waist). We hadn't quite realized until that time that he had been eating Maggie's food for quite a while.
Even though he mostly recovered from his illness and started eating again properly, he always leaned a bit to the left side, especially when going down stairs.
Earlier this year, he developed a spinal problem. The vet recommended just watching and waiting, any procedure could easily have shortened his life and we had another 6 months. It had gotten worse recently, but the warmer days seemed to do him good. Yesterday's vet visit really did him in, though, he couldn't get his hind legs under him and was clearly frustrated by his inability to get up.
I wasn't ready to let him go that afternoon, but realized, as the evening went on, that I hadn't done him any favors. 
He'll be with Maggie (and Henry) again now, hopefully, as a healthy version of himself and I hope he'll protect Henry from Maggie's wildness the way he used to do.

25 September 2012

All those metalsmithing classes are paying off

I drink my morning tea while reading email, blogs and Pinterest pretty much every morning. This morning, I came across this tutorial and decided I had to try it.
After a bit of texturing, doming and soldering which didn't take long, I ended up with this:

It was fun and I decided to try a few more. Only one of the pendants didn't stick after soldering and had to be re-done. There were a couple of gaps in a couple of others and I re-did those, too.

I used patina on the two shown on the bottom, Vintaj, along with some alcohol ink and I'm not sure they'll stay this way. Couldn't find my Gilders Paste (what else is new?). I'll try that as soon as it surfaces.

I'm sure the soldering would have been easier if I'd had paste solder, but I don't so I used what I had on hand.