Wednesday, August 29, 2012

WOW Still Sweating Storybags

What's on my work table???

The good news is I have a fully functioning work table for the messy stuff.  The peg board was a brilliant idea and I'm still arranging it for optimum use.  It is wonderful to empty messy drawers and get things up where I can easily grab things.

Now the drier side has the sweaty stuff!  All the fabric is cut for the story bags and  the sides stitched where the drawstring openings are.  The board leaning against the bookcase will be put behind the sewing machine as soon as the Rooster fine tunes the leg set up.

I have 25 story bags to complete.  They are approximately two feet square and are for a kids summer program so that explains the rush for the 'ya done good' presents.

I'm using the edge foot for the folded edge that the drawstring goes through.  That works slick and much faster than gnashing my teeth as I wobble along the edge.  It is pedal to the metal and Nina luvs it!

Then down the side and across the bottom. I did finish the beginning seams around the drawstring opening so it looks nice.  I know!  Hindsight makes me wonder why I couldn't have just sewn the casing last and left the ends open but I just followed the bag they gave me.

I wonder if Mod Podge would finish the ends of the cord?  I do have some help.  The kids and their parents are living in a camper as their house is being remodeled.  Their mum fried her sciatic nerve birthing their sister and things are 'interesting' just now so I have the grand kiddies.

Jenn comes today and we'll use her day care training to make some 'art' with the grand kiddies.  If we have any spare time we'll thread the cording through the casings.

In the mean time I have help!  I am delighted that she is sew interested.

Then her brother came to see what we girls were up to.   He is probably liking all the shiny moving parts best!  He says things like why and how,and what for!  I got no time for twenty questions.  sheesh!

I need to quit working the help sew hard.  OYE!  The wrinkles!

I am linking to the Canuck version of "what's on your worktable Wednesday."  I wonder if anyone else has as much help as I do.  LOL

And I call that the end of the story and their bags!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Intentional Blogging 7 SEO

What's a SEO?  I didn't know, nor did I know how it works.

 Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a complicated system of optimizing content for search engines.

Basically, what it means is that it's a way for you to create content that is found easily by someone searching for a term or phrase on Google or Bing or whatever search engine you use.

70-80% of the relevance of a page's SEO comes from your title.

Sometimes I, myself, want to search my blog for something that I know is in there somewhere.  Not Found.  That is really irritating!

Now I understand.  The title needs to relate to the main theme of the blog post.  I have  been way too creative with my titles.  Not a bad thing, but kinda useless when the need for a search arises.

If you want to be in the top 3 hits for Google or Bing searches like Wikipedia, there are several tricks.  Beginning the title with "who" "what" "why" or "how" (sometimes "where") captures people's attention.

 But I just want to find my post on striped bindings!

A good title includes:
  • Simple description of the article
  • Creative hook to grab the reader's attention
  • Use of your main keyword or phrase 
I shall be concentrating on coherent rather than cute.

For more insight into intentional blogging you can visit Jeff Goins, the author, over at his blog. I guess you could also try the Big SEO!  ;^)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Embellishing the edges

Mondays are devoted to on line classes and tutorials.  The next altered book class is about embellishing edges.  I had wondered about waxed thread but apparently it isn't stiff enough for edges so I bought some fine (I hope) wire that includes colour options!

The bigger leaves aren't quite closed so the wire slips off.  I can do some pinching or find some coarser wire.      But first I need to reinforce an edge and then paint it with some black gesso.  

While I wait for the glue and paint to dry on the book I got caught up on the calendar pages.  These are evolving as I practice and fine tune the layouts.  Let's face it.  Two pages for 7 days is over-kill!  My life isn't that exciting.  I'm not sure I want to change the whole concept now so I shall just make some small changes.

I like the tag idea and pockets are such fun and can hold all the bits of things I collect in my pocket through the week.  This was a great week.  I got 3 big things crossed off the list. 
 note to self:  go back and put big red ticks by the the three dates of accomplishments!

I need to get at least one photo of the week.  I'm learning how to print these and experimenting with size.  Even though the printer needs coloured ink I will stick with the black and white images.
I am also getting the sense that less is more so I'll be making my pages simpler.   Yay for pockets!

I won't start the colour class as I need to get those story bags stitched up and the grass cut.

The days are flowing by and it is up to the individual to add a bit of embellishment to the day!

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Nest, Summer 2012

Some changes for the Nest.

New windows for the upstairs are the beginning of some changes to this nesting place.  They will be white so all the inside trim will be painted.  I need to decide once and for all and forever on which particular white I want for my trim.

There are piles of choices!  :(

At one time I spent all my time thinking about home decorating.  But life, at least my life, is constantly evolving.  I think I started out slow and it took me a long time to learn how to decorate.  Maybe the shoe-string budget slowed me down a bit!  lol  And then there were always new fads to figure out.
But I have gone through a lot of different phases and I have also grown up (evolved might be a better word) and discovered all kinds of creative things that I like to do.  I have also not got the energy nor the physical strength I used to have!  I am really hoping to settle on a great basic colour palette and a simple style that will only need me to carry a few accessories from room to room rather than beds, and chairs, and chests, etc. and leave things alone so I can play with lighter stuff like fabric and paper, ephemera and glues, paints and inks and a few beads and ribbons!   ;^)

A review shows that I am eclectic with modernist tendencies in a 30's style farmhouse.  The Rooster is TRADITIONAL but with Ukrainian tendencies and roosting in the same 30's style farmhouse.  So what is a chick to do?

Start with white trim and wood floors.  Both need redoing.  I wonder if he'd go for painted floors???  He says yes, but I'd be painting them so maybe not.  lol

I am just SO tired of all the wood.  I am consistently drawn to predominantly white rooms but also to colour.  They say that as we age the rods in our eyes which pick up colour kinda 'dumb down' and we need more to see it better which explains why some older ladies put on too much lipstick or 'rouge'!  :)

In looking back through my collection of paint chips I found this card.  It is a close match to the upstairs area rug which was a spontaneous purchase but I always like seeing it.

I am leaning to an aged creamy white for the old in the farmhouse. The sample above is BM oxford white. Then I have two favourite colours, mellow yellow and light aqua which is sometimes called robin egg blue.  I also like some kind of green to perk things up,  perhaps a mid tone chartreuse for some secondary colour.  I have always wanted a red (rose?) room and I'd add some pops of a purple for accents.  The new 'in' colour is grey and should be a major trend for ten years but I don't envision it unless it would be stainless appliances.

These are historic colour options and the style is definitely too traditional as far as decorating goes.

I don't like baby blue at all but the Rooster does and the rose and yellow flowers in the runner are perfect.  I lean to blue greens but chartreuse is also a Rooster colour and I am developing a great appreciation for it as an accent, especially with aqua.

This chart was picked up a couple of years ago. It is Suburban Modern, a 1950's palette.  I am from that era, raised in the suburbs, and liking the new modern trend in fabrics.  ???  !!!

So that's the plan.  Bird's often return to the same nest every year.  Weather means that maintenance is always an issue with them as well. But I think I will throw away all the rest of my paint chips,  focus on the action plan and get some feathers flying.  It is gonna be a colourful nest!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

WOW A sweat shop for story bags!

Occasionally I am asked to sew something for a group that works with young kids.  This project is about 'story bags'.

They seem like awful big stories!  I was thinking shoe bag but these are quite a bit bigger.  Mine is not to reason why but to ...


I did the math, had my Rooster check the figures, made my corrections and headed off to the fabric place in the city.  Argghhh!  I never thought about wider yardage.   :(

Math defeats me.  Every time.

So sticking with appropriate widths, I picked the biggest bolt.  And - 18 inches too little, one bag short.  I explained the project to the gal and I was greatly encouraged that her math is as bad as mine.  :)
We laid the prototype down and did a physical measurement.   She is sure it'll work.  I'm not but I took it because I couldn't face all those fabric choices again.  The worse case scenario means another trip to the city for a close match for the remainder.

Did I mention that this is a summer project and I may run out of summer before I run out of material!

I am enjoying my journal book for trying different things.  I wanted to compare white lines and black lines.  I definitely need practice with both so I shall experiment some more.

Jenn comes today for Creativity 101.  I can't wait to show her the progress I am making on the workroom in the barn. The work is harder than I thought.  I have been sweating. No bandages but I do have some significant bruising on my poor pinched hand and my shin!  A few more of the Rooster's supplies to remove from my side and I'll be ready for the scrub down. His side looks great!  I'm getting kinda excited although I can see my space shrinking as I start to get an idea of what I want where!  Darn, the barn is big enough, so I just need to get my greed under control.  LOL

Before I get Jenn to help with the story bags I'll razzle dazzle her with this very cut punch I got.  My first punch.  I hope these aren't addictive!

The weather is very temperate so working is quite pleasant.  Hopefully the only sweating will be if the math doesn't work out!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Intentional Blogging 6 List Building

Blogs do not connect on a personal level.  Face to face is good but given the internationalness of blogging email is another choice. It is a good choice.

If the vision for the blog is to sell products (etsy) or write a book, or build a following, then you need a way to reach out to your subscribers on a personal level and connect with them.  Email is still one of the best ways to reach people online. Some bloggers send out newsletters.

And the best way to build an list is through give aways.

I have benefited from giveaways but I was going to comment anyway.  If I did a giveaway I think I'd try to figure out who the regular viewers are and do a draw from 'the regulars'.

I do not want to build a list but I am certainly willing to connect through emails.  I do have a few blog friends with whom I have connected that has gone beyond blog comments.  And this has been the best that blogging has offered me.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Looking through my Altered Books

I luv books and reading so it was inevitable that I stumble onto altered books.  I must admit that it does take a bit of an oomph to actually tear a page and begin the process as I think I should read and keep them all.  lol

I started with a pretty good book- The Encyclopedia of Quilt Blocks.  It is patchwork blocks and I thought it would be a good base for the story of my life.  That is just too big and intimidating a subject for a first book.  So I stalled.

Then Elizabeth offered a tutorial on Altered Books and I jumped at starting over.  So I have three now!  lol

The first lessons were about general techniques and supplies so I practiced those in Gulliver's Travels.  It'll be a reference and practice book.

An early lesson was on making a niche and I decided to do that in my biggest book, the life story one.  We made it at the start, covered it on a later lesson and I'll be putting the finishing touches on it as I finish up.

I choose leaves as my theme and had found a smaller 'encyclopedia' from a the kids section at the thrift store.  I didn't realize how much stuff I'd be packing into this great project.  I am running out of room.  :)

This lesson was doors and windows and Elizabeth gave a lot of great ideas but I hadn't space for them all.

 The opaque paper I used as the niche cover was too opaque and I forgot to paint the page but had already glued it so I had to put the window in before painting.  Sheesh,  I'm messy.

But mistakes are only opportunities to be creative so I have my thinking cap on for fixing this.

I had some clear cellophane and that works great.

But I was so intent on positioning one side I forgot about the other.  lol

It all works out in the end.

Then I got some beautiful leaf glassine paper.  It, too, is pretty hard to see through.  But I couldn't not use it.

I had also to find a place to fit it in and so it isn't really a window as it isn't enclosed on 4 sides nor cut out.  I did try to get something appropriate to be behind it.  But it works for me!

The next lesson is on embellished edges and I am quite excited as I have leaf beads!  Now to find an edge to put them on!  I also found another great leaf page to incorporate in my book.  More creative puzzles to solve!  Meanwhile, I do enjoy looking through my altered book.

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Enemy

I am probably my own worst enemy but I figure the bad guy shoving me is Time!

I've been working on my windows for the Altered Book class and I have not chosen a large enough book so it has been challenging to find spots to fit in windows, never mind a door!  I had made one window already but a visit to my friend who has a stationary store made me the recipient of some great leaf glassine paper that I just had to put in.  I will be ready for the reveal on Monday.

Of course, I also tried something extra. Perfect Pearls on a black gesso page. I'll try for a better photo but this made me think spring as that is the section I'm also putting the green paper shown in the top photo.  I need a good 'springing to life from the darkness' quote!

Then while I was searching through supplies I decided to try some artist's tape- drafting tape which resists paint and comes off after. Pretty cool.

Then I did another spread and went to bed.  But I knew it wasn't quite done.

So instead of making up for the time I lost sleeping in ...

I made it mine! 
Now this sketch book is all about trying things I see as I do my blog roll.
My friend, Les, at MarveLes Art Studios is doing some great stuff, as are Holly at Through My Window, and Jan, at Dandelion and Daisy.   I have two pages with post it notes for a couple of ideas to try.  Comparing outlining in black and white, and then I want to do a page with cutting text from a book page perhaps giving my gouache and new watercolours a try.  I briefly considered a screen print from Margi, at Scrap Wisdom Collage, but an alarm bell went off and I realized time was up, again!

I need some more time!  Some enemy is stealing it!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

WOW catching up!

I'm awaiting a rainy day so the melamine can be cut for the table that will hold the quilt overflow behind Nina.

In the meantime I have little Mini pressed into service as I work on my Calendar Journal.

Nice spread but somehow I lost a week!  Kinda like my whole summer.  lol  Now I need to add a week so I have to insert another page which needs to coordinate with the pages on each side. 

What to do???

Get creative!!!

This is the third week of July.

This is the fourth week of July.

I did rework this last week of July and the beginning of August.  
I think it could use some more work as it is a transition from hot July to cooler August but I need to think about it some more.

The results of thinking of it some more.  Now I'm going to stop thinking. Every spread can't be 'the best'!

August will be a cooler palette.   This is week one.

Week two

And then week three sees a sewn pocket which I really like and want to do more of  but I need better planning to incorporate them.
I am getting better at recording pertinent memories each day on a calendar page and then I can put the actual page into a pocket for posterity!

In reorganizing my playroom/studio I have a few work stations and I'm really pleased with how things are working out.  Now I just need to catch up!

I'm also behind on my postings for The Needle and Thread network.  I'll have to catch up on all the progress my Canadian neighbours are achieving.  It is WIP Wednesday #52 @ TN&TN so happy birthday to us!