Sunday, 31 March 2013

"And the Bead Goes On..." 24-31 March

2013 - Week 13 Daily Beads

These also glow in reality like the pink with blue from last week.







and to finish the month, I have already done one for today.

and here are all the March fabric beads together.

now linked to Off the Wall Friday (weekend) at Nina-Marie's.

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Something on Saturday

Recently the Thoughtful Man pruned the apple tree. This past week the chaffinches have decided it was just the place to fluff up getting out of the wind and cold.
This is the male. He has been there most often, but sometimes the female has been fluffed up on another branch.

The Coal Tit (or it might be a Great Tit) uses the tree to check out the area before dashing to the nesting box with a mouth full of moss.

Friday, 29 March 2013

ALAW - week 12 and 13

Here are weeks 12 and 13 of the stitched flag letters for A Letter A Week.

You can read about the theme here.

Thursday, 28 March 2013


I haven't sent the postcard with the fabrics from the Cloud Puppy yet, I have done another one just centred on my family member.

So this becomes number 2.
A bit of doodling and colouring in.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

a bit of sorting

I spent some time today doing a bit of refashioning. I need to get a photo of me wearing a sweater I turned to a cardigan, so I will show that another day.

But recently there was a posting on Refashion Co-op where the garment was too big, so as well as some side shaping, the lady did some pin tucks which really worked to get the blouse to her size.

So, I thought perhaps this blouse might benefit from something similar. I made it January 2012 when I was trying to get a blouse pattern right. (Eventually I tossed that pattern and went for another one that worked better.) At any rate, I thought this blouse could still be worn, so I carried on to finish it.

However, it is so uncomfortable for many of which is that the neckline area was far too big. You can even tell while it is on the hanger. The area that caves in at the front? well it flops out when I wear it.

So I thought I would try the pin tucks.
looks good!

and now the blouse is better!

Okay, lets be honest. It is still rather wrong - short arms, shoulder seams falling to the back and a lot of other things. BUT. the neckline is quite a bit better, though it could do with a bit more taking out horizontally.
It also fits better in the bodice front so the neckline will stay somewhere closer to where it is meant to. I think I can wear it with a cardigan which will keep all the sleeve stuff in place, and I think hope the neckline will be less uncomfortable.

I will give it another try at wearing it and if it is still too uncomfortable then maybe just toss it or something.

The cardigan is a success. I just want to get a photo with it on. But I forgot when I had the flowery one and can't be bothered to get all my warm layers off again to try it out!

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

harris tweedlike skirt

I finished another one of the winter skirts I started in January. Some how I am beginning to think that if I don't get them done we will never have Spring! I have 2 winter ones left. They only need the waistbands and hems done. I have been grateful for the ones I did finish!

The actual colour isn't as bright a blue as this. The daylight bulbs in my room are lighting it a bit too much. It is more of what some call Air Force blue.

This fabric was a bit of a surprise when I went to cut it out. I think I picked it up at a sale over at the National Needlework Archive. So, I just went by the length and cost on the tag they had added. But when I went to lay it out, I discovered it was the very narrow width one associates with hand woven wool like Harris Tweed. Okay, it hasn't got a mark, but it feels of the same quality.

At any rate, I just managed to get the front and back cut out both on the room for a back seam. So, it has a lapped zip at the left hip. I am looking forward to wearing it to the Good Friday services. We are going to meet up with some other churches so I will need something warm for travelling there!

Monday, 25 March 2013

Maps - 2

Working on catching up with the Map Journal Quilts. size 8"x12" landscape view. These maps have been more difficult than I realised. Part of the reason being that each place I researched brought back such strong memories. So, some I am still processing. A benefit of living in a completely different country for nearly more years than you lived in the country of birth. You can put all that back story stuff out of mind. Makes life a lot easier.

Anyway, this map is of a place in Brazil that I visited the summer I turned 13. (! Brave Parents) I mainly stayed in Belem, but we also travelled by bus south to Vianapolis. That was a journey to remember!

While we were there I also went and saw a primitive method of making brown sugar from cane. It was very good. They used oxen to turn the press. The juice that was collected was boiled down. Then at a certain stage, they put the sugar into hollow logs and buried them in the earth! I seem to remember it was to give it flavour. Well I guess it would!

Another thing I remember was helping the neighbours to pick seeds out of the fluff of some plant which they used to fill cushions like you would cotton. But I don't think it was cotton, may have been.

I liked the organised planning of this town, so decided to use it for the second map.

However, I am tempted to use it with North at the bottom. It looks a bit like a bird to me!

I am still deciding just where to take it from here, but at least the bare bones are onto fabric now.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

"And the Bead Goes On..." 17-23 March

2013 - Week 12 Daily Beads

In the first of the week I was using up some bead packs which were nearly finished.


I love the glow from this bead combination!





Saturday, 23 March 2013

Something on Saturday

The Resident Baker has been at it again. Earlier in the week - baking for a shared meal at work.

This after making Coconut Ice and Scottish Tablet the week before for a Red Nose Day fund raiser. And a Simnel Cake for me for Mothering Sunday.

It is hard not to keep gaining weight around here! Not really complaining, mind you.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Cloud Puppy - Fire Creature

For now the working title of this piece is Cloud Puppy.

I don't have a real reason other than that is what I thought when I saw it as a line drawing. My Resident Artistic Critique-er (what do you call one who gives a critique? anyway, my son) said it must be the clouds at dawn if it were that colour, so I think it probably is. I will have to wait and see why there is a Cloud Puppy playing around in the dawn. I am sure he is up to something interesting. Most of the stories for these critters come while I am stitching.

But at any rate, the parts of the puzzle are complete and now it is up on the wall having a think before I start stitching. I am thinking of having some of those Asian clouds or arcs built up in the foreground. But not sure if they will be done in fabric or with variagated thread of the colours in the Cloud Puppy. I think he will also be breathing fire or smoke or something, but I am not sure yet.

I haven't connected the hind quarters to the torso or the head to the torso yet, I think I will do the stitching on individual parts first. I think I will mount those parts onto felt - I have some dark green - and then stitch. It helps it with not looking so flat. I have done it before with quilt wadding, but then you have the horrible white line to deal with. So, the felt should help deal with that. The background will be quilted like a quilt and then fire creature mounted onto that and stitched round.

I am linking to Nina-Marie's Off the Wall Friday.

While this piece is having a think, I am trying to catch up on the Maps - which I was meant to do one a month!

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Sorting beads - planning

When I am getting to the end of a little bag or container of beads, I often sort them into groups so I can get an idea of how many are there and what I can do with them. I discovered this was the best way after too many times of scrambling round to find something similar to finish something off.

So here are these light pink beads divided into groups of 4.
I am aiming to do 'stacks' with a different colour anchor bead. So 4 is a reasonable number. From this I can see I can do about 2 fabric beads, each with a moderate amount of stacks.

At the top you can see some misshapen beads. I have a little bag I am collecting beads that aren't shaped right or don't fit over the eye of the needles I use. There have been times that I need to work out a way to get just one or two more, so I go to the misshapen ones and mix them in so they aren't too obvious. The long beeding needles are thinner and it is possible I might be able to use some of the ones in the 'reject' packet. But if not, it is just fun too see how many I end up collecting!

I am doing a few extra fabric beads this week to get a little ahead because Easter weekend is going to be rather full. This is allowed in my set of 'rules'.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013


The other day when I was in town, I saw these books of postcards for not much money. I didn't buy them then, but I kept thinking about them. I quite like the way Jamie Fingal uses Luggage tags like mini sketchbook pages.

So, yesterday when I went to collect my sewing glasses, I went back to get the postcards. I decided to get a few booklets in case I decided to do some sort of weekly project or something with them. As it turns out, the shop is one that will have to move in the upcoming Bracknell Regeneration project. So, even though they sell things at next to nothing anyway, they have soooo much stuff, they are now trying to get rid of it. and so instead of £2.25 for 3 booklets of postcards, I was only charged £2! I may get some more next week when I am in town again.

I was thinking of how Kathy Loomis had sent her mother postcards daily for several years. I never did get into the big fabric postcard fad that was happening a few years ago. I did a few for a fund raiser Karey Bresenhan was doing. But they weren't really up my street. However, just now, my Mother-in-law is in a home, my mother is having surgery tomorrow, etc. And I just thought it would be nice to send something now and then...maybe once a week. (Not daily because postcard postage is the same as normal postage now and I can't afford nearly £30 per person in postage each month.)

So anyway, I was clearing up the scraps from the fire creature and decided to do a postcard. I used some of the scraps and a small version of the original idea for the fire creature. The scraps already had fusible web on them.
I quite like the composition of the scraps.

While doing it, I was still thinking about how this might develop and if I would actually have time to add making a weekly postcard or two into the schedule of regular things I am already doing (very behind on the Journal Quilt maps!)

But you know when you are being directed to do something for some reason? Well, at dinner, my husband told me another family member got results of tests today which will mean she will be going through a great deal of difficulties in the months to come...and I realised this was the Plan.
And you know, when someone else is going through something hard, a few minutes a week is not too great a sacrifice.

So, I went ahead and made another. I used one of the trial letters from my (stalled) 'How to write a good letter' altered book project.
I will send this one first and the other one next week because sending something about myself is not really what I want to do for the first one.

I don't think she reads the blog, but if she does, she will know she has something to look forward each week that comes from my heart to say, "I care."

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

and the head

it is late, but here is the head.

I can see a few things I want to fiddle with, but I am pretty happy.

Monday, 18 March 2013

fire creature 2/3 done

I am making progress on the fire creature. I have a working name, but will wait to see if it still fits at the end.

I haven't joined the torso and hind quarters, just overlapped for now. The large-ish pink piece on the body and the one on the hindquarters will need some extra stitchwork.

Interestingly enough, most of this has been cut from one piece of fabric! And I haven't even used half of it! The darker purple was from a small fused scrap I dug out of the bag for fabric beads. I wanted to use it in the areas which I thought would be more in shadow.

Most of the mess of paper has been cropped out of the picture. I think if I do things this way again, I will have a receptacle for the paper bits. At the start, I sometimes had to rummage for some bit I needed to check, so I was reluctant to put them straight in the bin.

At one point I thought this looks like something someone else would make. But I am starting to take control again, so it is becoming less of a paint by numbers and more intuitive.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

"And the Bead Goes On..." 10-16 March

2013 - Week 11 Daily Beads








Not sure about carrying on with the striped fabric the rest of the month, but I will break out some other beads to see how to change the look.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Something on Saturday

Some time ago people on other lists seemed to be collecting the fluff from their dryers and doing something with it...
I forward...

I felted some wool pieces in the washing machine a few years ago and then dried it in the tumble dryer. It seemed to be a waste to put it in the bin, because it was mainly wool, not random fluff.

Fast forward again...when I was sorting through drawers for bits and pieces to take to the workshop Jeannie was doing, I came across the bag with the purple fluff. So, I decided it would be better off for the birds to use it. I finally got around to putting it out there today.

Not sure if they will fancy it or if all of them are done with the building part of nesting or not. (We have some robins nesting in the ivy.)

Now it looks a bit like a funny face looking in my window.

My son and I have been watching the antics of the magpies flipping and flopping round in the big tree behind the fence. They take some of the smaller parts of branches flip and flop around til it breaks off, then hop hop hop up the limbs like stairs to where they are making the nest. They do some pretty good weaving up there focussed they carried on with it even in the high winds last week.

Friday, 15 March 2013

work in progress

I mentioned last week that I was attempting a larger version of one of my fire creatures. Actually, I didn't say it was a fire creature, I just left you to guess. I am using the template version from a cartoon. (Using the term Cartoon defined as "a preparatory drawing for a piece of art".)

This was the background of the creature onto which I am putting colours. (reversed with the fused side up because the freezer paper is on the other side.) The mottled green will act as the lines in a line drawing. Or at least I hope it will.

I don't normally work this way and I am finding it Very tedious. It is very like a jigsaw, but a jigsaw that you have to choose and cut your own pieces and see if they work.

At any rate, I have finished the torso. When the whole piece is done, I will work into it with stitch.

This is stuck to the backing parchment at present, but pinned to the yellow background. The white section on the upper right is where the head will be fused when it has been 'coloured in'.

Now you can see why putting waistbands and hemming skirts is more attractive! I find myself standing to do this which means my legs go numb and I am finding parts of my back are going numb, too. What we do for our art...

I think I though that I have gained a bit of confidence that I can work my normal way in a larger scale. Most of the other fire creatures were journal size or smaller. But the tedium of this is making me itch to just get on with finding one in the fabric and carving it out (so to speak).

I still think it will be beautiful though! Even though at present (due to the colour choice) it rather looks like a lobsterish creature.

I am linking this to Nina-Marie's Off the Wall Friday.

Thursday, 14 March 2013


Finished another one of the winter skirts I had cut out at the end of January. I have been working on them a bit at a time. Most of the rest are at the point of putting waistbands on and hemming up.
The lines do go straight across, it is just the hanger off kilter.

I am thinking of doing a bit of tone on tone stitching on this for interest. But I will wait til I have the others finished...otherwise it will cause the others to linger in the work in progress pile til next winter!

Here is the button on the pleat bit. The button is mottled blue, but darker than it looks, the light was bouncing off of it.

They say it is going to be cold again next week! I remember sitting in the sun in the garden some years in March. But not this year. Instead I am quickly going out to the garden to dump out the ice from the bird's water and get them some fresh. Then rushing back in.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

ALAW - week 10 and 11

Here are weeks 10 and 11 of the stitched flag letters for A Letter A Week.

You can read about the theme here.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

out of the back of the drawer into use

Just a no-brainer I did yesterday.

Because we had cold winds and snow (again!) and because my legs hurt a lot when it is cold, I decided to make these long johns more useful. I have farm girl calves, so the stitching on the cuffs was too tight and made my legs hurt even more.

I didn't get a before photo, but I chopped the cuffs off. Then hemmed the legs by turning up once and stitching with a 3-step zig zag. I also stretched it out as I sewed. the next time they are washed, the stretching will go back to normal, but the 3-step zigzag will allow it to stretch without the stitches popping. By the way, I used the jersey stretch needle - info in this post.

basic long johns on a hanger! Now I will actually wear them.

I pinned the cuffs to the top of the hanger so you can get the idea of the previous look. These will go into the refashion box - you never know where they could end up in the future.

Yes, I am working on the current piece on the wall...just slowly.