Wednesday, November 30, 2011

wow But is it art?

I am learning to be creative but is it art?  Probably not; what it is, is a mess!

My work table is often a mess when I'm in the throes of creativity.  This is my workspace this week.

I am stretching my creative abilities.

I am limited by space- 600 square feet
I am limited by time- 30 days
I am limited by budget- egg money
I am limited by resources- 2 chicks and a part time rooster
I am limited by my ability but not by my vision-  no formal training

I can add storage by getting the Rooster to build a pantry in the basement and by placing and adapting an over the toilet cabinet alongside the fridge.  I can re figure the furniture layout.  With just about everything primed we are beginning to see the end.  Brown has become white and I'm making mid course corrections  as I go.  Timely sales and the thrift shop have been very handy.  I slept over one night but those were very long days and I wonder if you gain when you push too hard. But I did have time to experiment and say, "what if...".   Saturday will be a big push with the Rooster.

I think if you push creativity in every area-  food, decorating, writing, sewing, crafting, budgeting, etc;  you will be enhancing your art at the same time.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The long road ahead.

I have a deadline.  The grand kiddies and their parents will be walking through the door of their newly redecorated home in 12 days.  I hope somebody has a deadline for our new access.  :(

Sometimes when you live with things there doesn't seem to be any "what if's...".  They have always been that way. That is just the way things are.  But then a closer look and what worked fine before no longer is working.  There are serious flaws.  A better way has to be found.  What are the  what if's...?

In record time a plan was devised for the temporary access road.  And so  have I been figuring and re figuring the configuration of a tiny little 2 bedroom house that is home to this young family. Some ideas couldn't work.  What else could?  This labour of love has pushed me creatively.  The colour scheme has been finalized,  the floor plan has been pushed into place, and a few new storage solutions lie in their boxes awaiting filling.  No curves were expected.

The halfway point has been passed and I can see the end.  Things were quite the mess as dirt was piled off to the side and a culvert was set in place.  The kid's home is looking quite a shambles as the contents of cupboards are spread around.  I've found some more possibles for curtain materials and there will be some switching taking place.   The glorious cantaloupe in the entrance is still wonderful but the curtains are making  me wonder if they might cause a few bumps. Time for a second opinion.

Hopefully some of these questions will resolve themselves as we begin to have an unobstructed view of the last half of the journey.

Oooh, that last turn up onto the road is narrow and a bit inclined. That ditch is very deep.
Oh,  by the way, mum; we will be adding to our wee family this summer!

Of course I'm delighted!!!  However it did cause a slight mis-step as I considered the basic plan for the whole house.    But not to worry,  I'm up on the road and headed for the home stretch.  

Friday, November 25, 2011

Half way to the end

Winter has been backed up again so my Rooster can get some more work done on the front steps.  The workers have also been making great progress on the new access road. They have the barricades for the bridge ready for positioning today.  I'm hoping to dash across it one last time this morning.

I'll face that long drive (half a mile) on the new road when I see my Rooster at the home end cheering me on! YES, you can do it!!!   LOL  Amazing how we'll face the old (and dangerous) rather than the new and untried. vbsigh

Speaking of new ways, I did add bigger flowers to this old wall hanging but I need to seriously raise the bar. I know I can do much better than this. Even the flowers could still be more somehow.  But I do know you can't always be going back to fix old stuff because you'll never get to new and exciting projects.  I've learned a lot about design, balance, symmetry, etc. by doing these small projects.  But it is time to try a bit more sophisticated work and I think I need to work slower so things can gel. Maybe stop halfway and really look at what I'm doing and where I'm going and how best to get there.  Hmm sounds like a life lesson!

 Besides, if the kiddies pick flowers and pluck coconuts I shan't mind.  It is not like it is an heirloom!

I have been seeing the value in duvet covers.  My aunt gave me a few and they often have wonderful yardage suitable for long gathered curtains.  I found a perfect one for the kid's room on Tuesday and DD had found one that will work well in the entrance which has 4 windows, 2 in the walls and 2 in the doors.  I have them ready for hemming but because my math is often inaccurate and I am really a visual learner I will take them and try them before I finish up the hems.

So I'm off to make happy noises at the redecorating project.  We are halfway to the deadline.  My Rooster is about ready to add his expertise to the 'must do's' and he'll keep me from tweaking the small details while the major events hang in the balance.  ;^)

If I'm not back any time soon, it'll be because I'm bogged down halfway from somewhere!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wow, so what's a worktable?

If my whole house and garden (yard) are a work space, then this morning I have heavy equipment making a temporary road while they replace our access bridge.  I'm losing some time watching and especially when I hear. "WHOA, watch that hydro wire!".  :o

Another workspace is the work happening at my DD's.  The theme for the kids room is this jungle animal fabric panel.  I found the duvet cover at the thrift shop and I'll make curtains for the 2 windows. The walls will be the aqua of the sky,  the bedspread a brighter lime green and then some coordinating items my DD and I have made.

This small wall hanging was a Common Threads fabric challenge a couple of years ago.  It needs a hanging sleeve as does that large baby quilt above.

The wall hanging has some 3 D work on it.  I folded a flap, ruffled some leafy fabric, fused some leaves, embroidered some stitches and added some beads and buttons. It'll hang at the end of the bed.

On my own worktable, after I dothose sleeves and curtains, I'm hoping to get some time to free motion some roosters and sunflowers.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A touch of Jacobean

I have a fondness for the quirky look of crewel work, hooked rugs and Jacobean styling.  I saw this rug as a full sized wonder and got it as a 4' x 6' rug.  The asymmetrical aspect of it delights me. It has no aqua which is the accent colour for the hallway but not everything needs to be exact matches.  The hall wall colour may need tweaking though.  And I'm not sure how the Rooster's boots will affect it. :(  It seems to me it could also work in DD's living room but she is all about clean and bright.  But I like it which is good as it is a special order.

I'm off to work at the local thrift shop again. I am on the hunt for matching bedroom lamps for DD.   Then it'll be off to DD's again for some measuring and list making.  I got a cupboard to fit by the fridge.  It was not what I was looking for but the next best thing.  I'll get the rooster to cut it down, add a shelf and the storage unit that fits over the toilet will be perfect.  I luv it when creative things leap out of store aisles and say, "what if...".

Saturday, November 19, 2011

One more woe!

We began with the back porch.  I think it is called cantaloupe!  We are just so thrilled with how it is looking.  My friend painted while I did the TSP on the kitchen cupboards. The finish in the porch is a stucco and we needed a second gallon to finish.  We were running out of daylight so I began to help with the edging.

Oh dear! I'm not sure what happened to the drop cloth but I pulled back the carpet to dab at that bottom edge and tipped over the 3/4's full paint can!  Double drat!  :(  So she is back painting on her own and laughing lots!  I am rolling up 4' by 10' brown shag carpet and grunting lots to get it into the bath tub.  What a soggy mess!  And heavy! Thank goodness for a hand held shower fixture.  The rug finally quit releasing cantaloupe and it is slowly releasing water. It is not quite as shaggy and the rolling pin needs some drying time as well! Dear Daughter may wonder why we turn down her next pie!  lol   We'll check on everything tomorrow.  So much for me helping to save some time!  Maybe we need to reconsider handing out business cards for our new career!  

Talk about the Perils of Pauline, we have the Emergencies of Big E and Little e
Lots of snow going home.  Winter is here for sure.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Whoa Week

Well, the week is winding down.  I'll be catching my breath a wee bit and then winding back up for next week.

The mqing on the last rooster quilt is a good part done.  It is one of those quilts that requires 'one' more line but I do like it.  I've paused for an evaluation of the border.  I can do more straight lines, a diagonal cross hatch, or I can free motion around the roosters and some of the flowers.  I'm wondering.

I got a wonderful package from Roni, over at Ink Stains with Roni.  She sent a tin she had made over and it was full goodies.  Roni has written  Teach Yourself Visually Collage and Altered Art.  I never put it away.  Then to be even more helpful she does wonderful tutorials on her blog.

I hauled various and sundry things over to the kid's house and tried various things.  Some worked and some didn't so I hauled them back but I'm quite encouraged by how it is coming together.  The 'piece de resistance' would be a bookcase which I'm not seeing at the thrift shop but I do see two in the Canuck Truck store flyer. (That is Canadian Tire for non residents)  So it is back today to check out the flyer and finalize paint choices.  When my Rooster arrived he looked around and asked if I wanted a doll house!!!  Too funny.  It was my favourite toy as a child.

There was one more woe to finish off my 'Woe is me!' week.   The hose that takes grey water away from the house froze and the water backed up all over my laundry area.  awk!  I am usually on guard for things like that but it is still a bit of a mess.

I think we now have the chicken coop secure so if Manni doesn't actually get the critter, he'll have to leave because the grocery store is closed for business!

Now I have to whoa all the playing and gear up for next week when the work begins.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Woes of the Woman on WOW's

I had been practicing carving and decided to try to make a few African themed stamps for a fun wall hanging I want to make.  I used ideas from the theme fabric.

The stamp I thought was the worst turned out to be my favourite so one really needs to just do/try different things.  

I used the exacto knife for straight cuts and also to remove background. I can see I need to go deeper.  The other tool gouges and takes some practice.  Heck, it all takes practice.  :{  I need to see how to make a darker impression on fabric as well. But it may be my stamps have been 'saved' way too long.  lol

Also on my worktable is the plan for the kids' house.  I first shoved furniture into different arrangements.  I have a general idea and the colours come from this picture which I'm thinking I'll be hanging in their back entrance as they have a bigger and better one that goes over the little apartment sized piano but works also.

This little house needs painting.  Browns are definitely old and out and so 'not' this colour loving family.  The love seat was a give away.

The kitchen is a challenge.

I was a bit worried by the many colours they wanted but I found a decorating book that used their palette somewhat and I remembered this quilt I'd actually made for my daughter when she was working in the Dominican.  It is more muted than they want but it works as a throw over the very brown recliner.  Why do men insist on big dark recliners???  lol  So I've been gathering stuff from my ornament stash, sorting curtain and pillow fabrics from my fabric stash and bemoaning the 2 lamps I left behind during a virtuous moment at the thrift shop! :(

Now if you have been following the Woes of the Woman this week, you will know that I have a chicken killing critter under the hen house.  Yesterday I looked out the window when I heard squawking and saw him bold as brass in the middle of the pen.  My dog, Manni, and I arrived too late. The thing actually hissed at us from under the coop!  I think it is a river otter or a fischer.  My Rooster gets home when it is quite dark.  Lots of the chooks had said forget it and went to roost in the trees in the bush.  
But, wonder of wonders!  My Manni !!!  This morning I looked out and he is sleeping by the coop and near where the critter goes to ground.  You can see a few of the chooks have come out from hiding.  The rest are locked inside.   It is a while later and snowing and he is still on guard.  These particular dogs sleep during the day and prowl and guard at night.  And they don't mind weather. Well; cold ,wet weather, at all.  He doeslook for cool corners in the heat.   I hope that darn critter gets good and hungry and desperate for a breakout!!!

So I have lots of things happening here and round about.  Happy Wednesday!  

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Besieged without and within

Looks like an interesting week, judging by the first day.

We got a call just before retiring that our bridge was condemned on Friday.  They want it closed ASAP.  But it is the only access we have to the road!  They are prepared to make a temporary road along the ditch down to the corner and widen a small grassy access. That is half a mile away and then a ninety degree turn up onto the road and in winter.  Hmmm!

So as we were staring at the ceiling pondering this newest development, I heard 'noises'.  My rooster doesn't wear his hearing aids to bed so it is up to me!  I'm up, on my feet and in the hall.  awk!  Someone is in the guest room! Definitely.  And behind the curtain!  UP!  Never mind all the explanations you can't hear.  Here is the broom.  Go get him!  oye!

It was a squirrel.  We don't see a lot of them but this was a smallish, light coloured guy and came through the 2 inches where I'd left the window open.  Screens are off for the winter.  He got on top of the curtain rod.  Enter my hero. Squirrels can climb old metal beds. I never knew that.  Anyway when he went to ground under the dresser, we decided to open the window higher, close the door, and hope for the best.  

So far so good!  

I wonder what the rest of the week holds???

Monday, November 14, 2011

Idle hands... they say, get into mischief.  Heaven forbid I fall into that particular pit.  So I'm keeping busy. One set of deadlines stroked off and I'm off onto another.

The TOM is stamps and they are encouraging us to making our own so I'm trying that.

Then I want to be more consistent in my journal work.  I have lots of techniques to try and new supplies have arrived.  I could even try my new stamps in it.

Sorry for the blurry photo but I am moving at a fast pace.  This was also basted when I did the last two. I'm kinda set up for mQing and I am thinking straight lines which should be fairly quick while I do some other multi tasking. lol

My friend and I have taken on the task of painting and generally helping with some updated decorating ideas for my kid's place.  We'd like to get it all finished before the holiday season gets into full swing.  Today was a brainstorming time.

As an added surprise I'd like to get their wedding quilt on the bed for the final reveal. Yes, I know.  I'm quite a few anniversaries behind but that deadline got pushed back and it just never seems to get to the top of the list.   vbsigh

Typically when I'm feeling a bit stressed about all I have to do I add another project.  I was viewing blogs and a blog friend posted about her African collage which is put together in a free wheeling design as you go format. It reminded me that somewhere I have a similar project that was set aside because I was unable to take my class.  Feeling inspired, I dug it out and flapped it up on the wall.  We have a free evening at Common Threads tonight so I thought I'd try some spontaneous patchwork myself.  This has no immediate deadline, just something fun.  But I'm tickled that it is actually an old ufo!

But I spent too much time brainstorming so I'm home late.  Now I have some kind of critter chewing on the chickens and my Rooster is working late.  So it is a flash light and an attempt of sicking the dogs on the varmit!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Parcel Pick Up

 My package of paint sticks and various things to use with it arrived.

The parcel inspectors just happened to be another pink and blue set of parcels I picked up as well.  Not sure I'll be able to inspect them myself any time soon but I'll be looking forward to it and I'll be ready when the opportunity presents itself!  :)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Just in time delivery

 I washed up the quilts and I'll be taking them today.  The rippling in the outer border is all gone.  The photo is showing the doorknob.  I was so intent on checking for straight and everything I forgot that doorknob.  But I'm pleased and so very glad I paused and rethought that binding.  I hated to use up that fabric for a tiny binding but it was the very best choice.

This is probably more vibrant and the quilting is a bit more exciting than it looks.  
I'm so thrilled to be getting stuff out of the closet, under  the machine and off to serve its purpose.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wah on my Wow day

It is going to be back to basics for me!  This quilt is very ripply and I'm kinda puzzled as to why.  It is probably due to sloppiness; a loosening of the all the details that are necessary for quality control!  It isn't terrible but it is a wake up call.
I approached this quilt with a desire to work in a less controlling manner. That's okay except I am seeing some problems. I like it overall but it has caused much angst!  ;^)  So here is my critique:

First I could have thought out the fabrics better.  The more colours the more skill needed to get it right.  I had a palette but the proportions of colours should have been adjusted. I might have been better to fore go the blue which is not so prominent in the theme fabric.   The blue border ties in with the tiny bit of blue in the sashing. which is purposely offset and made sense when I did it.  LOL

Then I used stash fabric for the backing which was great except I never thought about the binding.  Not good.  Pink seemed the best but I went to sleep last night with an uneasy feeling.
In the morning I dragged out more fabric.  aha!  My theme fabric.

This also solved another problem. It added bits of red which I spent considerable time trying to spread all around the edges but particularly where there seemed to be a  serious lack.  Another accent gone amuck. I seem to like accents so much they start to assume a secondary position.  :{

I did go back and applique a pink bud in the centre of the lower left green block. The dark was a coordinating fabric that wanted to be another accent.  sheesh!  (I'm assessing as I type and I'm learning lots!)

I like asymmetrical and hence the wonky sashing.  It solved a fabric deficiency for the final border and I'm cool with that.  But I should have been measuring the sides, not sewing and cutting which seems to be what I must have done.  Bad!  Dock 20 points!  The machine quilting is fairly evenly spaced.  First thread I used was very linty, a variegated Wonderfil.  Nina coughed at one point.  I tried some Invisafil from the same store and all I can say is I'm anxiously waiting a Machine Quilting Sampler of threads from Superior Threads.  I used some scarlet cotton threads and the thread has bled some. grrr

So this is not an award winning quilt but I feel okay about my kids giving it as a gift.  It'll be used and loved.

I have another quilt up for MQing. But for me!  No pressure and no pressing deadline.  I'm set up to do it and I'll work on it at a more relaxed pace.

But I also have some little projects cluttering the worktable.  I need to make some stamps.  And I need to do my snippets challenge.  Until next week...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


 Common Threads quilt group last night.  Show and tell.  Many are still working on the spiral table runners and some got the latest 'snippets' challenge done.  It was all about hand piecing and hand quilting and I've been there, done that, and have realized if  I'm to finish anything at all,  it'll be with the machine.  I do like hand sewing bindings and hand applique.  But time constraints will have me looking for better options for those as well.

Home stretch with the sampler.  Two more sides to go!  No time to slack off now so I'll be back for a look at my work surfaces tomorrow.