Sunday, November 29, 2015

So Much For November

imageWell, November has been pretty much a bust as far as creativity goes around here.  I have several works in progress – but the progress has been So-o-o-o Slo-o-o-o-o-w!  So slow, in fact, that there hasn’t been much of anything to take photos of. 

imageOne reason I haven’t been very crafty involved a trip to the ER and a quick surgery to remove a “rotten” gall bladder.  Medical procedures are so advanced these days!  Quick in and out and three weeks later I’m as good as new.  Except for those four little scars, anyway!



But the MAJOR disruption has been a new laptop for my studio/sewing room.  I do a lot of planning, designing, and creating on my computer and it was past time for an upgrade.  I was running out of space, and everything was getting bogged down and frustrating!  So I shopped around and worried about the cost and all that, and finally ordered a Toshiba.  I knew it would take some work to install my software and transfer (a lot of) data files, but I used to do this all this time.  Plus, I had a PLAN.

imageI’m sure you can see what’s coming . . . even Plan B was not.quite.working.  You see, several of my applications need to have internal data exported and imported, which I did.  The real problem, tho, was with tagging my files in Photoshop Elements.  I have about 40K digital art files cataloged in PSE, and without tags I would never find anything.  (I want to note here, that each letter of the alphabet in each style and/or color is an individual file.  Still, I DO have a lot of stuffs!)  So I was careful to write-to-metadata and import-with-tags and likewise mumbo jumbo.

imageImagine my reaction when I discovered that roughly half of those files did not come through with any tags at all!  Well, maybe you don’t want to think about that!  So, for the past most-of-a-month, every moment I can spare has gone into re-tagging all those files.  Thankfully, I have learned some tricks and shortcuts over the past year so it isn’t quite as awful as it could be. 

And I’m down to about 2 thousand files, which is pretty darn good!  I’m hoping to have something creative to show you pretty soon.  Thanks for your patience.  And thanks to Microsoft ClipArt, and for the pictures in this post.  I couldn’t post without pictures of some kind!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Productive Week

A number of finishes this week!  I had some appointments, too, so I’m not sure how I managed to be so productive.  Sometimes the stars align properly!


This is from Bethany Reynolds’ book “Stack-n-Whack-ipedia.”  I enjoy the process and had this piece of fabric I bought specifically for Stack-n-Whack.  I hoped it would make nice kaleidoscope blocks – and I was right!


Here’s a couple close-up shots.


I think this style appeals to my hidden mathematical side.  The blocks are very precise and geometric – yet there is a total randomness to the way each block turns out.  I suspect there will be more of this at some point!


Today’s finish is another block from the Seasonal Silhouettes BOM.  If  you look closely, you can see there are three apples in the center.  I haven’t decided exactly how I’ll finish the details on these, but hopefully the apples will pop a bit more when I do.  Just four more blocks before I have to make some decisions!


Lastly, a two-page spread in my Art Journal.  I picked up some Margaret Applin stencils for creating mandalas and have worked on this page in odd moments through the last couple of weeks.  The stencils contain designs in an arc and you can use the same stencil all around (like the background mandala above), or do all sorts of mix and match – which I did on the foreground mandala.  I’ve been reading that drawing mandalas is used in meditation and spiritual healing.  I don’t know about the spiritual part, but I know I could zone out really well while coloring these in!

In other news, the pugs went walk-about this afternoon – yes, again!  I knew which direction to start looking, so they were not very far away.  Jake “needed” to be carried home.  Wuff – he’s heavy!!

What about you – do you draw mandalas?  Do you meditate while drawing/coloring?

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Remember This Guy?


Don’t feel bad if he doesn’t look familiar – it’s been more than two years since I first showed him here.

I have a number of heads that I don’t really know what to do with.  It can be pretty spooky poking around in my studio!  Recently, though, I’ve been inspired to add bodies to some of the heads.  Including this guy.



This is what he looks like so far.  And – yes – I plan for him to be a “he”.  I couldn’t quite picture a female figure with those teeth!


Another angle.  As usual, my camera doesn’t quite capture the color.


And since the oven was warmed up, I started on this one, too. 

I seem to be on a roll here!  Stay tuned for further developments.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Bi-Monthly Report

Shall we try for a Quarterly Report next time?  Semi-annual?  Heck, let’s just jump right to Annual!  Or . . . maybe not.  I don’t really want to lose all my readers – all three of you that are left, anyway!

I’m going to skip the excuses (there are many) and get right to showing what I’ve done recently – of which there are many as well!



This was a kit from the local quilt shop.  I’ve had it for awhile, but it went together pretty fast once I decided to work on it.


This is from a pattern called “Take Five On-point”.  The package says you take 5 minutes to choose 5 fabrics and in 5 hours you’ll have a finished top.  Well, it took more like 10 hours, but that included coffee breaks and gossip time, so I’m thinking that’s about right!


This table runner was a quick project after a friend showed us how to layout charm squares for a simple runner.  I wanted something for Fall and I happen to have this charm pack from a Shop Hop – who knows when!  For awhile I was buying charm packs a lot, until I realized I didn’t know what to do with them!  I’m getting more ideas now.

Art Journal Emporium:

August was pretty busy, but things slowed down in September somewhat.  At least in my Art journal!  Here’s a couple of exercises from Pam Carricker’s “Creating Art at the Speed of Life”

book club lesson15

book club lesson16

Digital Scrapping:



Dolls & Other Things:



A couple of projects from my doll club’s August and September meetings.  Top picture is my box “totem”.  We collaged and embellished boxes or square cubes with symbolism that had a personal meaning.  I made mine so there are three storage compartments.  You know – for secrets.  Ha!

The bottom picture is two cone dolls.  These are literally cardboard cones that I’ve collaged onto.  We had a selection of clay faces to choose from, and multiple face molds.  I used several of the molds and I have a couple more cones, so I can do more dolls.  These are too much fun!

That’s about it.  Two months gone by in a rush – but fun projects got done anyway!

Want to see what I’m working on next?


It involves this fabric.  The fuchsia flowers match the trim in my sewing room.  Sarge was sooo nice to paint it since he really dislikes fuchsia! 

Now to get back to sewing and scrapping!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Not-Monthly Report

It’s past time for an update on my crafty doings, so here is what I’ve been up to in July into August.


I have another finish! 


This was a Block of the Month from Julia Wood at The Hexie Blog last year.  I actually had all the blocks finished shortly after the New Year.  And it didn’t take me very long to put them together.  But then I decided to add the tiny hexie flowers at the block intersections, and that took longer.  A LOT longer!  I’m not sure why – when I decided to get busy and just finish it already!, it was done in one afternoon.  Isn’t that the way it goes sometimes?

Speaking of Blocks of the Month, this is the one I am doing this year.



This one is called Seasonal Silhouettes by Edyta Sitar, and my local quilt shop is providing the kits.  I am actually up-to-date on this one since it started in April.  Hopefully it won’t take me eight months to finish it after the twelfth block is done!

Art Journal Emporium


One of this month’s projects was a Glue Book.  This is just one of the pages I did.  Basically, it involves gathering pictures and papers together and glueing them down in a pleasing collage.  Not as focused as a regular collage because there is really no “message”, but not totally random either.  I have a small box that bits and pieces from other projects get tossed into.  For the Glue Book, I grabbed a few of them at random and then layered, tore, punched, and generally played until I liked what I had.  There will probably be more of these pages in my next – ahem – monthly review.

Digital Scrapping

Yeah, this is what takes most of my time.  A perfect match-up of my artistic side and my nerdy-ness!  Anyway, here is just a sampling:

B20-happy-babychallenge3-bob margaretchallenge6-summerDare414--RushmoreG21-Collins-womenI23-veggies-thumbnailshakespeareWeekend-door

There you have it – July in a few words and pictures.  Not so many pictures, actually.  I need to take them more often.  I’m pretty sure I did more than make a couple of quilts and play in PhotoShop.

On the other hand, maybe that IS all I did last month!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Done is Better than Perfect

I thought I’d jump in here and show you that I have actually been doing some sewing.  And I have a finished quilt top to show for it!


You know how bloggers show a picture and say that it looks crooked because of the camera angle?  Well, this quilt looks wonky because it is!!  It will present a real challenge for “quilting out the bumps” as they say.  But that particular headache is for another day, because this one was its own headache!

I inherited a set of 9-degree wedge rulers, and decided to give them a try.  I figured it would be a great way to use up scraps if I sewed long strips and cut the wedges from there.  I played around in Electric Quilt and came up with this layout and thought it would look pretty good.



For my first try using these rulers, I probably should have used a solid fabric instead of strips.  But you know what they say about hindsight.  So, it turns out that with all the seams and such, each wedge was not quite exactly a 9 degree angle.  So when it came time to sew the curved seams in each block, there was some fudging to do.  A. Lot. of. Fudging!  In fact, I wound up stitching a gathering line at the inside circle edge to help made everything fit.  It’s kind of fun to try to smooth this top out – you get one circle flat, then the others all bump up.  Kind of like Whack-A-Mole!

And I don’t want to talk about the border!  Just . . . no.

I was really disgusted with this project and swore I would never use those rulers again.  But, now that it’s been hanging on my wall for a couple of days, I kind of like it.  So, maybe I’ll try another project with those rulers after all.

Just not anytime soon!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Day With Dolls

This week I attended ODACA Day in Kansas City.  ODACA – in case you’ve never heard of it – stands for Original Doll Artist Council of America.  It is a group of doll artists (obviously) and some “patrons” who promote original one-of-a-kind doll artists.  There are some amazing artists in this group!  You can find more information on their website:

molly val betty at table

Four of us from my local doll club drove over for the luncheon.  We figured this is the closest the conference will ever be and who knows when they will be back in this part of the world, so we might as well grab the opportunity.  I was pleased to see several doll artists I know from past workshops and/or conferences. 

brenda viewing tent

Our after-lunch speaker was Brenda Gehl who had a circus-themed story she told us, along with props – some in progress.  I am very interested in seeing how the work evolves as she finishes the stage settings and dolls.


The theme for the day was Under the Big Top.  I came home loaded with goodies!  I’m still wondering when I will wake up from a dream.


This is the little table favor I got.  He’s about 3 inches tall.  Each table host did their own thing with the favors and my table did a Chinese exchange type of game, where you have a choice to keep the gift you have or take someone else’s.  We had fun and I think everyone was happy with what they ended up with.

souvenir doll group

Everyone received a souvenir doll.  There were five different poses, all hand crafted by doll artist Barbara Schoenoff.  I got the one on upper left and I love her!  They are all wonderful, but if I had to choose, I think that is the one I would have picked.  Good thing, huh?

some raffle prizesw

There were a number of raffle items and I did my part to help ODACA’s treasury by purchasing tickets.  I always buy tickets at these kind of events, figuring it is pretty much a donation because I almost never win anything!


There were two items I was particularly interested in (although not the only two – everything was yummy!).  Imagine my surprise when I was the winner - twice!  The beautiful mermaid is from Mimi Winer and the t-shirt from Christine Shively-Benjamin.  Mermaids and Alice in Wonderland are two of my favorite fantasy themes!

But wait – there’s more!


The table centerpieces were made by one of my favorite artists – Ute Vasina.  She showed some of her progress making these on her blog and when I saw this little one, I WANTED her!  But I knew it wouldn’t happen and it wasn’t until they stumbled over my last name that I realized I was a winner – again!  This is by far the best of all!

So much for never winning anything!  I hope my traveling mates don’t hate me too much.  I hope they enjoyed themselves in spite of me!