Wednesday, December 14, 2011

New painting - Indian Chief Head Study

So, last year I asked Jon McNaughton if we could do a head study of a dark skinned person and this is the result. I haven't been able to take classes for the last several months because of finances but had saved up so I could attend this class. I'm really really trying to spend more time painting but it's not easy when you're working full time and sewing items on commission just to make ends meet.

Anyhow, here is the painting:

The painting can be purchased in my Artfire shop as well as other locations.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Santa's Washing Errata

As hard as I try, sometimes patterns get a few mistakes that hide until it's too late. I'll post any changes to the Santa's Washing crochet pattern here and also update the PDF pattern on Ravelry.


Row 7: Ch 1, turn, sc in ea sc across. (6 sts)

Row 13: (Dec rows) Ch 1, turn, sc2tog, sc in next 2 sc, sc2tog. (4 sts)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Santa's Washing pattern available on Artfire

I've added the Santa's Washing pattern to my Artfire store. No automatic download but once I receive payment notification from Paypal and get home from work in the evenings, the PDF file will be mailed.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Santa's Washing Crochet Pattern

I just uploaded a new crochet pattern to my Ravelry store, Santa's Washing. Pattern includes instructions for making a jacket, trousers, long johns, mittens, scarf, socks, and hat. I wanted to make sure the pieces could be made in any size yarn or crochet thread so only the thumbs on the mittens and the top part of the pants for the long johns are made in the round. The remaining pieces are all worked flat. So, even if you make them in size 50 crochet thread, you shouldn't have any problems!

Here are a few pictures of the finished banner, including a peek at the back of the long johns! Click on the images for larger views.

The banner hanging from my mantel

A closeup of the back of the long johns with the flap hanging open

A closer look at the banner

The pattern is $4.50 and can be purchased at Ravelry - buy now - pattern page

Also, the Fall 2011 issue of Crochet Uncut is finally out. Find out how to make African Flower Motifs and use them to make a purse, potholders, hotpads, and a pincushion, make a mat named BOB, and find out how to win a Knook!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Halloween Kit for Digital Scrapbooking

I recently finished up some cool papers and frames for your fall or halloween digital scrapbooking. The kit includes 46 papers (12"x12"), 6 square frames (2.67"x2.67"), 17 doily frames (8.46"x8.46"), 11 text items, and a black pearl trim (12"x0.79"). Cost is just $12.00 for everything.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Make your own reversible project bag

I've had several requests for instructions on how I make my reversible project bags and I finally finished the instructions. Now, you can make your own, or, if you don't sew, you can visit my Artfire shop and buy one!

9/26/13 - Artfire shop closed, please check my etsy shop.

The bags can be made from any fabric but if you're short on cash, two fat quarters and some cotton yarn are all you need (other than thread and a sewing machine) to make your own bag.

Click on the image below to download the PDF file. You can use the instructions to make bags for personal use or for small business sales, i.e., no mass reproduction by a manufacturing company ... like that would happen ...

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Previews of the dresses

Got some photos of my little cousin Anya wearing some of the dresses I sent. The other girls haven't had a chance to see their's yet but they plan on getting together so they can take group photos. Sarah also sent me a short video of Anya in the dress with the green bodice and pink flowers, but not a photo of it. Anyway, here's Anya wearing the roses dress, matching green pinafore, and the pink paisley dress. I added matching reversible purses for each dress (except for the baby) as a surprise.

Sarah also sent me a photo (finally!) of Anya wearing the dress I crocheted for her. She's been able to wear it for three years already and I think that if they add a pink shrug with a button closure in the front, then she should be able to wear it a bit longer before passing it on to another cousin.

Am so looking forward to seeing pics of the other girl's in their new dresses.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Two digital scrapbooking templates

This first template was made at Heritage Makers using textures completely made by me in Paint Shop Pro except for the folded paper which was made in Photoshop following a tutorial I found.. The heart and flower have "stitching" around the edges.

This second template was done in Paint Shop Pro, mostly with textures I made myself. The flowers and vines are from Jungle 3D but not sure where the pearl "lace" tube came from. The button, brads, and ribbon were all made following tutorials I found online.

Not sure yet what I'll do with them. I may give them away but would have to redo the first one in PSP first. I'll have to think on it for a bit ...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Folded Ribbon Script for Paint Shop Pro X3

While making some graphics for digital scrapbooking, I created a script to make a folded ribbon out of a horizontal one. You can create your own ribbon or use a photo of one that you've cleaned up.

The final ribbon will be 230x181 pixels if using the maximum horizontal ribbon size of 773x109 pixels.

The script is free for personal or commercial use. See the included readme for copyright, additional usage information, and instructions on using the script.

Download from Fignations of Imaginment - you do not have to create an account.

Tutorial for a similar ribbon but with angles cut opposite each other: Folding Ribbons in Paint Shop Pro X by Stacey Jewell Stahl.

Grosgrain ribbon made following this tutorial: Birgit's Grosgrain Ribbon Tutorial.

I would love to hear your comments on this script!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Designing 3D Clothing in Marvelous Designer 2

A couple of weeks ago I won one of two first prizes in a review contest over at Marvelous Designer and got a copy of their software as a result. I had used the demo last year but couldn't afford the software but now I've been busy playing with it and first up is a ruffled tunic with leggings. The tunic is loosely shaped with slightly dropped shoulders and low under arm while the leggings are tight fitting. Click on the image for a larger view. Rendered in DAZ Studio with Victoria 4.

Of course, the meshes come out with triangles, which are great for Poser dynamic clothing but not so good for rigged clothing. I've been trying out a demo of 3DCoat and so far have seen awesome results. The image below shows the leggings from MD2, then retopo'd in 3DCoat, then tweaked in Cinema4D to remove the caps, adjust vertices, and UV Mapping. It does lose some detailing during the retopo but it's not enough for me to worry about. I'd rather have the general details that can be emphasized with textures than create more polys. I have high hopes. Click on the image for a larger view.

A few digital scrapbooking things

Since being introduced to Heritage Makers, I spent most of yesterday evening playing with making background textures, a few buttons and embellishments, etc. I have some stuff I'd made last year for an online game but these are all new and thought I'd show them off. These were all made in Paint Shop Pro, including the buttons. Click on the image for a larger view.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A couple of cool scrapbooking products

Okay, I am not a scrapbooker. Mostly because I don't have the time, but also because it can be more expensive than I can afford. However, the kits, pages, adornments, etc., are hard to ignore sometimes. You can find some really cute things at stores and on the internet.

Today, my sister Jessica and I went to the Scrapbooks USA show in Sandy, UT. I was disappointed at the number of vendors there as they were all around the edges of the room and the entire middle of the room was set up with tables and chairs. There were people working there and I can only assume they were meeting others they'd met online to work with. Otherwise, I can't see doing scrapbooking in public like that, but then again, I'm not a scrapbooker. I was really expecting a whole lot more than what was there. We heard several people express the same thing.

While wandering around, I found two vendors that interested me.

The first was Perfect Paper Crafting, which had a ruler type device that allowed you to cut perfect lines at a specific length away from another line. For example, you could paste a photo down on a background mat, then place the inside lip of the ruler against the photo with the outer edge of the ruler exactly 1/", 1/2" or 3/8" or whatever away. Then take an X-acto knife and cut a perfect line exactly that distance away for a perfect mat. No more trying to manually place the photo exactly in the center of the mat. They also had a "Tear" ruler that you lay along the paper, wet down with water, then tear the edge away. It's a lot easier than trying to cut it or tear it manually. The third product they have is a tool to make perfect squares every time. They have a fourth product, a marker airbrush set, but I didn't see it there at the show.

The second vendor was Heritage Makers (links to my consultant so if you join, she'll be your consultant as well), which is local to me. Their software is used online where you can select from over 40,000 templates and graphics to create notecards, story books, canvas prints, photo gifts (calendars, prints, posters, playing cards, etc.), recipe books, digital scrapbooks, and more. Once you put your item together, you can order the printed version of your work to be delivered to your home. You also get publishing points that can be used towards your next published item. No having to deal with shopping at multiple stores for supplies, having to cut out papers, glue trims, mess with glitter (gets in all the cracks) or stickers, getting ink all over you, finding more storage for your supplies, toting all your stuff around in huge carry alls, etc. I have enough problems with finding storage for my yarn and paints!

They have a free account that has 2 GB of storage, access to 2,000+ pieces of digital art, and 450+ templates; and a premium account for $19.95/month that has unlimited storage, access to 40,000+ pieces of digital art, 3,000+ templates, and access to special perks. You can also host a scrapbooking workshop or become a consultant to start your own business. A referral program is coming soon. Oh, and you can also create your own templates for you or others to use. If you have a free account, you can only upload JPEG format graphics but with a premium account, you can also upload PNG format graphics that can be used as borders, frames, and embellishments. Once you come up with template that others can use, you can submit it to the gallery for approval. Make sure you watch the training videos to get help on using the software (although it is fairly intuitive, especially if you've used a paint program before). The only thing I found missing was a user forum, where users can help each other and they can show off their work to each other and get advice. You can, however, quickly access your consultant by using the contact form. They respond quickly and do their best to help you.

While both of these products are most likely to be used by scrapbookers, I can see them being used by other types of crafters and artists as well. I like that Heritage Makers has products for business as well as personal use.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

All Dresses Finally Finished!

Tadah!!!! Took me long enough but all dresses are finally done.

First, I finished a dress for Kasia that I'd actually almost finished a week or so ago. It just needed a hook and eye added. This is the same pattern as I'd made for her before, but added little ruffled sleeves to it.

McCalls 5835

Next, I made a two dress set for Anya and Gabriella. A rose dress with little caplet sleeves and a matching "slip" dress. I added pockets to the slip dress since you can never have too many pockets. (Sorry for the fuzzy photo of the green slip dress. It didn't want to cooperate.)

Both can be worn separately or the slip dress worn under the rose dress. So cute as the green ruffle of the slip dress peeks out under the rose dress.

Simplicity 5226

Next, a dress for Isabella, to match the outfit I'd originally made for her but I think is now too small and will go to Zosia instead.

New Look 6877

Finally, I made a dress and pinafore for Isabella. The dress can be worn alone and the matching panties can be switched out depending on how she wants to wear them. I also made a pinafore to go with it if a bit of extra warmth (or cuteness) is needed.

Simplicity 9784

Hopefully I'll have all the dresses packed up and shipped out sometime next week.

All total I made 13 dresses, 2 pinafores, 5 panties, and 3 hats.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Two Paisley Dresses Completed

Just completed two more dresses for Anya and Gabriella using Simplicity 2688. Am now going to try to get a few hours sleep before I need to get to JoAnn's to get some more patterns. They're having a sale on Simplicity patterns, 5 for $5, limit 10, and I was able to get 10 I wanted yesterday but still have a few others I'd like to get so I have more variety to make for the girls.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Another cute little dress done

Love the circles on this one! This is the Kwik Sew #3907 again, size 18-24 months. I didn't have enough of one color of buttons so I alternated between pink and green for the back closure. Matches the dress so I think it worked out.

Wanted to get this one done so I can concentrate on the outfits for Marci since the patterns came in yesterday.

Friday, August 12, 2011

And another dress finished

After cutting out the last dress pattern, with Truffles' help, I sewed the bodice and skirt up and attached the skirt to the bodice then had to go to bed as I needed to get to work early the next day. I needed to leave early for a dentist appointment so didn't want to miss too much work as a result.

After the dentist appointment, where I had two teeth extracted, I tried to sew a bit but the pain meds made me dizzy so I took a short nap. After getting up, I finished the dress by sewing the bodice and bodice lining together, top stitching the bodices, and adding the double ruffle.

And here it is, the dress for my little cousin Kasia:

Pattern used: McCall's M5835

I accidentally bought two copies of this pattern (sizes 1, 2, 3, 4), so if anyone (U.S. only) would like it, let me know. Listed price is $11.95 but I got it on sale for $2.99, so I'm willing to let it go for $4.00 (the extra is for shipping).

The patterns I'd ordered for Marcie came in this morning so this weekend will be spent cutting out the pieces and starting to sew them together. Not sure yet if I'll cut out all of them first then sewing them all at once, or cut them out one at a time and sewing together before moving on to the next one. I don't want to make a decision right now until the pain meds wear off a bit though ... :P

Thursday, August 11, 2011

How my cat helps me sew

This evening I was cutting out another little dress and, as usual, my cat Truffles decided to help. When he wasn't sitting on the fabric or pattern pieces, he was helping me place pins by nudging my hand to the correct location. Truffles is 19 in people years and the gray hairs have started to show up among the dark chocolate. Truffles has dark chocolate fur with a milk chocolate under coat, which is how he got his name. I've had him since he was four when a co-worker at Boeing needed to find a home for him after he got married and his wife was allergic to cats. Even though I'm also allergic to cats (and dogs), I really needed a cat at the time and agreed to adopt him. Fortunately, God found me the perfect cat as I don't seem to have any problems around him. Get me around just about any other cat and most dogs, and my hands and eyes start itching and swelling, the nose starts running ...

Here is Truffles helping me figure out where to place the pattern pieces:

And here he is taking a short break while trying to figure out why Mr. Darcy was moving around in his bed:

And finally, here he is holding down the fabric so it doesn't slide off the table:

Fortunately, Truffles doesn't mess with my yarns, unlike Mr. Darcy who has been known to chew through projects and yarn balls, especially if they have wool or alpaca in them, and hopelessly tangle recalcitrant skeins.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

My Junior/Senior Banquet, 1982

I thought I would post this photo from my Junior/Senior Banquet in high school during my Junior year. I went to our church school so no prom. This was in 1982 and I was obsessed with Princess Diana. I decided I wanted to make a "copy" of her wedding dress and found a pattern that was sold as "inspired by" or something. Anyway, the dress is made of white dotted swiss with the lining made from a white cotton sheet (cheaper than buying the fabric). We rented a hoop from a local costume shop and my Aunt Mary did my hair and makeup.

I still have the dress hanging in my closet although I'll never be able to get into it again!

If you can't sleep ... sew

I've been having a lot of trouble sleeping lately so I've been spending my time sewing and finally got several dresses finished, buttonholes and buttons added, etc.

First up are the outfits I started last year for a cousin, Isabella. I finally got the buttonholes done and buttons added. My new sewing machine actually makes buttonholes that don't chew up the fabric!

This is the little dress with bloomers:

And the romper which can be worn alone or under the matching dress above:

Next are the dresses for Anya and Gabriella, although I'm only showing one of them. Since they are the same size, I put zippers in that are their favorite colors so they can tell them apart.

Finally is this adorable outfit that should fit either Isabella or Kasia. I originally bought the fabric as fat squares to make project bags for but decided to see if I could get a dress out of them. I tried to get more of the rose and green fabric but the store only had one rose one left and no green so I got the pink instead. Since the fat squares aren't that big, I added a 1/4" seam allowance on the front skirt where the fold should have been and just seamed it up. The hat is reversible and I made the inside all green. There are buttonholes on the sides so that the straps can be pushed through to use when the hat is reversed.

Patterns Used:
One thing I found on the Kwik Sew outfit, the bodice back indicates that you should cut out 2 of the fabric and interfacing. It should have you cut out 2 of the fabric, contrast, and interfacing.

I've got some more fabric that's just waiting to be cut out ...

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Sewing Tip #1 - Using all pattern sizes

While I like being able to get multiple sizes in one pattern purchase, it is not always easy to actually use all the sizes you get. Since I have large family with lots of first, second, and third cousins (may be some fourth cousins in there too), I need all the sizes. I also prefer to use paper patterns over tissue ones since they last longer - for me anyway.

My solution is to trace the different sizes on to sew-in interfacing or butcher paper. The interfacing can be purchased in yards off the bolt and in a fairly thick version. Make sure you get enough to trace off all sizes of all pattern pieces. Some places, like Clotilde's, have pattern tracing cloth you can purchase but they tend to cost more. You can also use craft or butcher paper but you will also need tracing paper and a non-serrated tracing wheel since you can't see through the paper.

  • Medium weight sew-in interfacing, or
  • Craft or butcher paper with the following:
    • Tracing paper
    • Non-serrated tracing wheel or embossing stylus with 1.5 mm tip
  • Scissors (don't use your good fabric scissors!)
  • Straight pins
  • Ink pen (Bic or Pilot pens work great) or permanent fabric marker
  • Straight edge (ruler) if needed
  • Gallon sized plastic zip-lock bags (for pattern storage)

If using sew-in interfacing or tracing cloth:
  1. Cut out the patterns from the sheet they came on. You don't have to cut them out on the lines, just close enough to get them as individual pieces.
  2. If using the sew in interfacing or pattern tracing cloth, lay it out on your work table. Make sure it is supported on any end that hangs off the edge of the table, either by placing it on a chair or folding it up on to the table and placing a book on it (or a cat if one is convenient and willing).
  3. Place your first pattern piece under the cloth and pin the cloth and pattern together. Don't pin it as much as you would when actually cutting out the fabric. Pins at each "corner" and one or two along longer edges should be sufficient.
  4. Begin tracing the first size. If you want to save the original patterns, start with the largest size, otherwise, start with the next size in.
  5. Trace the outer lines first, including any notches.
  6. Move the cat as needed.
  7. Trace all other lines, including grain arrow, shorten or lengthen line, center back, fold lines, etc.
  8. By this time, you may need to move the cat again. If needed, place a pillow where you want him to stay but that's no guarantee he'll stay there.
  9. Mark text for pattern company, pattern number, piece number, number to cut, etc. Add size somewhere where it is easily visible, i.e., Size S, Size 12, etc.
  10. Mark text for locations, i.e., Center Front, Back Seam, Neckline, etc. (optional but might as well). Don't move or look away or the cat will move on top of the piece you are working on. He may also call in the dog (or dogs as the case may be) for reinforcement.
  11. Check over the pattern to make sure you got everything. Remove pins.
  12. Move pattern piece over to a blank area, pin in place, and repeat until all sizes have been traced for the piece.
  13. Shut the cat into the master bedroom with a treat and a toy or two. Ignore his complaints. Be strong.
  14. Continue with each pattern piece until all are completed.
  15. Cut all pieces out. Again, you don't have to be perfect since they'll be cut that way once you use them to make a garment.
  16. Pin all sizes of each pattern piece together and place all pieces, along with the instructions and pattern envelope into the plastic bag for storage. Make sure the front of the pattern envelope is on the outside so you can see what pattern it is.
If using craft or butcher paper (see steps above for specifics):
  1. Lay out the paper on your work table, supporting it as needed.
  2. Lay the first pattern piece on the paper with tracing paper under it. Pin as needed.
  3. Use the non-serrated tracing wheel or embossing stylus to trace over all lines.
  4. Remove tracing paper and pattern piece.
  5. Trace over all lines with a pen, add in text as noted above (steps 5-11).
  6. Repeat until all sizes and pieces have been traced, cut out, and stored (steps 12-16).
Not all pieces will need to be traced. If the size lines are straight, the pattern piece is easily folded over while cutting out the fabric for the size you need. Of course, you can still trace off each size if that's what you prefer. Large pieces, such as for skirts can often just be folded back, or the entire piece traced off with all sizes on one piece, then cut lines intermittently on any curved edges so you can easily fold them back to the size you need. This saves the original piece for later use or re-tracing as needed.

While this seems to be a lot of work, it is well worth it and will save you time and frustration later when you realize you need a size that you cut out when making a different size.

If you have any sewing questions or have an idea for a tip, please feel free to mention them in the comments.

P.S. Using an embossing stylus is a good excuse for getting a stencil and some note cards and making some sweet embossed cards.

P.P.S. Can you tell I have a cat?

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Sewing for Family

My cousin Marci has asked me to make some costumes for some of her models to wear. The pattern she picked out is from pioneer days with a dress, chemise, and pantaloons. I'll be making three sizes and with the different pieces, she can get several different outfits from them. I'll also be replacing buttons and elastic with ribbons that she can change out for different colors and fit models that may be almost too big for one size but way too small for the next size.

Marci is an amazing artist and has won multiple awards and mentions for her work. Take a look at her stuff at her site - Marci Oleszkiewicz (betcha can't spell that last name with your eyes closed!). I love looking at her paintings and figuring out which family member she painted! I live so far away from all my family that it delights me to see them this way.

I spent this morning at JoAnn and Hancock Fabrics getting cream and white broadcloth for the outfits. With coupons and my VIP discount from Artfire, I saved about $20 from what I'd thought it would cost. Plus, I was able to get the patterns directly from McCalls for $3.99 as part of their BMV Club, plus $4 shipping for the two pattern packets. The pattern retails for $15.95 and even with Hancock's daily discount of 40%, I saved $8 even with shipping added in.

I also need to finish an outfit for my cousin Tony's little girls (just needs buttons), and cut out and sew two outfits, one for cousin Sarah's little girl and one for cousin Tony's older girl. Next, I hope to get two outfits for cousin Katie's two little girls. I've been trying to get them done for a while and finally decided that it was now or never.

Okay, off to pull the first load of fabric from the washing machine and into the dryer and start the second load .. then ironing will ensue ... :P

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Catch up time ... again!

Finally got the Summer issue of Crochet Uncut published. I didn't get any submissions for it so I took a bit longer to get an extra pattern ready. There are only three patterns in the issue but I think they're ones that will keep folks busy.

The first pattern, and one I'm particularly pleased with is the White Crocodile Purse which uses the Crocodile stitch as the basis for the front flap. The result is an elegant purse that can be made in different colors to match any special outfit.

(Pattern page)

Next is a Lacy Coverup that is more elegant than using a piece of fabric. I included several options for attaching the coverup so you can find the one most comfortable for you. I've worn it several times at work with that pink top and it certainly makes me less self-conscious and gets compliments every time.

Finally, what I called Petal Panty which uses small flower motifs to make a special panty. If you've seen the crocheted lingerie on some Polish sites, this is what inspired me (I am almost half Polish you see ...).

(Pattern page)

I also finished something I've been trying to get done for a while now and that is to get rid of the PDF icon for each pattern as it doesn't work right. I was told it was because I was using non-standard HTML but they couldn't tell me what was the non-standard part. To replace the automatic conversion, I've manually converted each pattern to PDF and added a download link next to the Ravelry project page button. So, if you scroll down a bit on a pattern, locate the Skill level and Ravelry button then click on the PDF icon to download the pattern.

In addition, I shaded every other row in the patterns so they are easier to see. I think this helps quite a bit, especially when looking at the patterns on the web.

I would love to hear what you folks think of having the PDFs available and the row shading added.

The Fall issue of Crochet Uncut is in the works and I have several patterns ready to go. I'm starting off with a motif pattern then making several project based on the motif. I'm also working on a Christmas pattern that I think you'll enjoy.

My painting is going slowly as it has been so hot lately and the window A/C isn't working so well. We've checked the filter and such but so far haven't figured out why it is acting out. So, my studio is not the most comfortable place to work right now.

I did finish a commissioned painting of two dogs that took me way longer than I had planned. This is Sarah and Roger who were best friends before both of them passed over Rainbow Bridge.

I did get some soaps made but haven't had the time or energy to make more plus it's too hot right now to deal with melting soap base in a sweltering kitchen. I'll see if I can get them packaged up and on Artfire soon though. I've also been adding my paintings, bags, aprons, stitch markers, and row counter bracelets to my website, just another place where you can find my stuff. Here's a link if you've never been there - CatBird Studios.

That's all for now and I will definitely try to post more often.

Friday, June 03, 2011

More new paintings

Since my last post, I've been busy crocheting and trying to get projects done and patterns written for Crochet Uncut. It looks like the next issue will be a slim one with mostly reviews in it, but I still want to make sure I get an issue out soon.

I've also been painting ... one is a commissioned piece that I can't show yet but I do have several I can show off. I haven't taken any classes lately since I'm saving up for a workshop in November but I'm still able to go to Jon McNaughton's gallery and get advice when I need it.

These paintings are all acrylic on masonite, 11"x14" and unframed.

This first painting is called "Bridge of Light" from the February 2011 class:

This is "Wisteria Memories" from the March 2011 class:

This next one is an abstract, titled "Woods" that I painted in March 2011. I'm not a big abstract fan although there are some I do like and this one wouldn't leave me alone until I'd painted it.

The next two are ones I painted using a book by Pat Crum, "Painting by Design" but done in my own style.

This one is called "Spring in Europe":

And this one is called "Red Tree by the River":

I have a few more paintings in the works but not sure when I'll be able to finish them as I need to get the next issue of Crochet Uncut out.

In other news, my dog, Mr. Darcy, is a real hoot sometimes. He's learned the difference between "outside" and "bed" (and of course what "treat" is) so we have to spell them out. I dread the day he learns to spell!

Last night, he was lying at the foot of my bed when he jumped up and stood up with his paws on my lap desk and looked meaningfully at me.

"What is it Darcy?" I asked. He scratched on the desk with his left paw. "Outside?" Another scratch on the desk. "Do you want to go outside?" Another scratch. "No? Do you want to go to bed?" With this, Darcy's head perked up, he jumped off the bed and ran in circles. So, off to the living room we went where he ran into his crate and waited for his bedtime treat (bananas wrapped in chicken).

My sister has also taught him to ask for "more" when he's getting a belly rub. I'm hoping to get a video of him asking for more soon and I'll post it when I do. We got the idea from sister Jenny when she taught our youngest nephew to ask for more in sign language before he learned how to talk.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Painting hung and sewing news

I was finally able to put Dora Woodrum's painting over the fireplace. It's not hung yet but leaning up against the wall since I'm not sure I can leave it there because of an outlet behind the center piece which may be a fire hazard. If not, I'll move it to my bedroom across from my bed where I can see it all the time. I just love this painting!!!

Since meeting Dora on the HGTV Blog, we've become friends and exchange messages on Facebook and Twitter. I hope one day to meet this amazing lady.

On a side note, I was able to get my new sewing machine out of layaway at Nuttalls which is near me in American Fork, UT. Awesome place, tons of fabric and machines, classes, helpful people, and they let me bring my dog inside. He's only peed in there once on a plastic display and they just laughed. Apparently another dog had done the same thing and Mr. Darcy had to respond like the gentleman he is. They have some sweet embroidery machines that would be a dream to have but a very faint dream for me right now. (sigh)

The new machine is a Brother Limited Edition Project Runway Innov-ís 40. My old machine is a Kenmore 30-stitch that is at least 20 years old. It still works great and was recently serviced but it was just too slow for me now. My mother has a Kenmore that they purchased when I was about four or five and it still works too. It has these awesome cams that fit into the top of the machine in order to make fancy embroidery stitches. Of course, this was because computerized machines were a far distant thing but I loved using the different cams when I was sewing. Mom taught me how to sew when I was nine and I've been sewing on and off since then, including two years in the Costume Department at Bob Jones University as a student worker.

I was able to buy some soap making supplies yesterday, not the good stuff but enough to get me started. Hopefully I'll have some made within the next few weeks and up for sale at my Artfire store.

That's it for now as I need to go paint ...

Friday, March 18, 2011

This weekend is for finishing

I'm working on several paintings, one from my class this week, one from last month that needs a few final touches, an abstract that I think needs a splash of color, and a commissioned painting (that is super secret).

Hopefully I can finish most of them this weekend and post those that I can. I probably won't be taking another class until October since I need to go to the November Masterpiece class and can't afford to go to the classes each month and still pay for the masterpiece one.

I finally talked to Jon McNaughton about an apprenticeship which I'd been putting off because of the time involved and needing to attend workshops. I felt that I needed to get a good foundation in technique in the classes before I went all out since I'd have to stop the monthly classes for a while in order to pay for the masterpiece class.

I now am trying to make sure I get in at least 10 hours of painting a week, which I'm still struggling with since I've been on a Spring cleaning binge. I've been going through boxes that haven't been opened since I moved to Lehi or since I moved to Utah in 2006. If I haven't used it, thought of it, or needed it in two or more years, then I probably don't need it. I have boxes of receipts that need to go, home decor objects I don't use anymore, craft items, computer items (cords, connectors, modems, etc.), books, and more that are heading to a future yard sale or local thrift store.

The main consolation in this besides getting rid of stuff is that I'm probably driving my sister crazy with it all, especially when I drag her into helping out ... mwaaahahahahahaha!

Okay, lunch break is over, so back to documenting stuff.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

If you like abstract art ...

While obsessing over the HGTV Dream Home 2011, I met an awesome artist who does a lot of abstract art. Now, I'm not a fan of most abstract art even though I've done a few pieces in digital format, but I enjoy this artist's work. Her name is Dora Woodrum and you can see her work on her website -

Dora's work is reasonably priced and she's very open to working with you if you'd like different colors (and probably sizes too!).

I particularly like the piece below, titled "Circle of Life." The gold background with the red and black remind me of both the sunrise and sunset of each day.

Dora's Fan page is located on Facebook, so feel free to visit and like her page!

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

We may fall but we will save our drinks!

A few weeks ago, after a large amount of snow had fallen, my sister Jessica and I were going out to get some fabric and a few groceries. Since we were also going to Petsmart to get some dog and cat food, we decided to take Mr. Darcy along with us.

Jessica had Darcy on the leash and was also holding a large styrofoam cup filled with iced tea. Darcy was so excited that he dashed down the stairs pulled Jess down the stairs as she slipped on the ice. She landed on her rear on the bottom step, still holding on to the leash and her cup.

This seems to be a family thing since I've fallen many times, usually by slipping on ice, but still managed to hold on to my drink and not spill any of it. Case in point, early last year as I was walking into work with my laptop case and purse over my shoulder, a small bag with my sausage biscuit in it, and a large styrofoam cup of iced tea. I was trying to avoid the icy spots but stepped on a spot of black ice and down I went. When I landed, both legs were spread out in front of me, my left hand had helped cushion my fall a bit, and my right hand was up in the air, with my cup intact. I was also still holding the paper bag and had not landed on the laptop or my purse.

And that's not the first time that has happened either. My mother can tell you that I'm clumsy or not paying attention, or both, so I'm constantly tripping over things, falling up or down stairs, bumping into corners, etc. And, if I'm holding a cup with something in it, I may break a leg but that cup will still be full when it's all over with. I don't think it's a conscious attempt to save the drink as I've thought back afterwards about what happened, it just works out that way.

Of course, now I've jinxed myself and the next time I'll not only drop the drink but land in the spilled contents too.