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November 2007 Archives

November 4, 2007

Just out of reach

2007-OCT-28-pr3-t

I've somehow fallen into a habit of blogging on Sundays after I return from grocery shopping. How has that happened? I have no idea. I don't even attach much significance to the trip to the grocery, and yet somehow it has become a weekly fulcrum for checking in here on the blog. I do remember, longingly, the days of WebVan.... how nice it was to have WebVan deliver each week. WebVan went out of business... and for some reason, having Safeway deliver... just doesn't have the same vibe!

In truth, I don't mind the weekly trip... Today, I am here, on the blogs, catching up just a bit in reading Kritty, and SunnyNole, and Poppins, Average Jane (AKA Burb_Mama), CheryLOL, and SouleMama, and many others while a game of Sleeping Queens concludes in the other room. (I played Scrabble Jr. this morning. I'm excused from a game of Sleeping Queens.)

I am here, today, before the grocery.

And so... the above page from a Moleskine that is nearing its final pages. Right now, it is a sketch that speaks to me... and the colors... and the combination and layering of paint and fabric... the visual and the tactile... it makes me smile to see it.

And that.... matters!

Just out of reach

2007-OCT-28-pr3-t

I've somehow fallen into a habit of blogging on Sundays after I return from grocery shopping. How has that happened? I have no idea. I don't even attach much significance to the trip to the grocery, and yet somehow it has become a weekly fulcrum for checking in here on the blog. I do remember, longingly, the days of WebVan.... how nice it was to have WebVan deliver each week. WebVan went out of business... and for some reason, having Safeway deliver... just doesn't have the same vibe!

In truth, I don't mind the weekly trip... Today, I am here, on the blogs, catching up just a bit in reading Kritty, and SunnyNole, and Poppins, Average Jane (AKA Burb_Mama), CheryLOL, and SouleMama, and many others while a game of Sleeping Queens concludes in the other room. (I played Scrabble Jr. this morning. I'm excused from a game of Sleeping Queens.)

I am here, today, before the grocery.

And so... the above page from a Moleskine that is nearing its final pages. Right now, it is a sketch that speaks to me... and the colors... and the combination and layering of paint and fabric... the visual and the tactile... it makes me smile to see it.

And that.... matters!

November 9, 2007

Mittens are coming

2007-fingerless

(Photo - from last year. You've seen it before.)

I promise. The mitten pattern (for mittens shown here and mentioned in EP 72 of the Creative Mom Podcast) is coming.

I really intended just to post it "as is" when the show went live earlier this week.

And it's been on my mind ever since.

But, I can't post it that way... untested.

It's not me.

I just can't.

I am worried about one specific section of the thumb... where the count may be wrong. It seems to me I may have realized I had a number "one off" last December when I carved out this mini-sized pattern and made the three pairs for the boys. But, I'm not 100% sure... and, unfortunately, my brain isn't willing to wrap around it and figure it out... without "doing" it.

So, I'm going to make a mitten today... I think I'm going to have some "waiting" time today. I've got an on-the-go scarf in progress for just those moments... a very simple broken rib... but today... a mitten seems in order.

I'm just adding it to the list...

And... if a mitten appears... you all will have a pattern tomorrow maybe. They really are easy and fun and gratifying. So, take a minute and grab some worsted...

The pattern is coming...

Lots of things are askew and awry and off balance. But... I am going to knit a mitten... another mitten.

Mitts Pattern

So... I did, indeed, crank out a mitt today... really, in about an hour. About 40 minutes at a tumbling class (half-focused on making sure "mine" was behaving and mentally counting, yet again, how many times his name is called out) got me through the body of a mitt, leaving just the picking up of the thumb and thumb rows to do at home. These really are fast.

So, here it is. If you run into a problem, just let me know so I can update the download. Thanks, and enjoy!

Pattern: Mini (Fingerless) Mitts

November 10, 2007

Too Close

2007-NOV-10-atcscups

Well... I am working. I've been working for a few days now on my "Gather" ATCs... and am finding myself channeling energy through these... and feeling incredibly happy about it. Oddly... I'm not working in the kitchen. I'm working in the living room... from my chair... using my little side table... and... I've been adding layers of paint (takes a while to build up intensity on this board) in the early morning and late, late at night.

So... in the early, early morning... I've got coffee.

Late, late at night... I've been drinking tea.

You know where this is headed, right?

Yep... it's almost happened more than once, but today, in fact, I did dunk my brush full of paint in my coffee to rinse rather than in the little Starbuck's cup I continue to favor for paint water.

Ooops!

Just a teaser photo, I know.

But, it's early in the month, folks.

I'll show other photos of these in process in the coming days.

November 11, 2007

To the Moon

    Car
    My self and pizza
    Santa Claus
    Coffee
    Our house
    Toilet
    Book
    Toilet Paper
    My brain
    Milk
    Eyeballs
    Mouse
    Sleeping Queens
    Stinkers
    My money
    Pencil
    Lamp
    ...

Yeah. That's the list from an impromptu game of "I'm Going to the Moon" (not in the car) (requested by 3 1/2 year old).

Did I mention I have two boys?

Halfway through the game, I was so struck by the "content" of the list that I grabbed a pad of (pink) post-its and wrote it down... totally violating the rules of the game, of course, but totally true to my need to record the moment!

(The oldest was not happy that I'd written the list down!)

And, for those of you who noticed there was no post-grocery post today... I did go to the grocery. I went... two children in tow. One in the cart piling boxes up around him and exclaiming, loudly, "Matthew, help me, it's a volcano" (over and over and over down one aisle). And one... walking... and reading every sign and box we passed: "Milk... Wine... Beer... Spirits..."

As we walked into the store, the little one did notice the flowers... and suggest (loudly) that we needed some. So... at least there was that.... a good precursor to the volcano aisle!

November 15, 2007

Loose Ends

2007-NOV-14-loose

I've been doing a good bit of sewing this week, and I'll show some images in the next day or so of some finished things. But... what has given me as much satisfaction and pleasure as the "actual" sewing is evidenced in the photo above.... the creative re-use of piles of loose ends and clippings.

I fully intend to make something wonderful next year with selvage pieces saved over a period of time... either wonderful for the wall... or else a perfect pillow for my chair... a perfect pillow. But, there are "clippings" and there are "clippings."

A few days ago, as I looked at a pile of clipped threads accumulating near my machine while I was sewing... I saw "these" in them... and so, I followed that... and I'm not sure if I'm grasping at loose threads or if I'm just losing it... but these make me very happy.

Part of me says these are so crazy. Part of me loves them intensely.

And then I realized what they are.... at the core... bird's nests.

November 17, 2007

Accidental photo

2007-NOV-10-atcsinprogress-bw

A lot is going on here. And, even as I find myself swaying a bit, I have realized that the one thing that keeps me most in balance with myself is to keep working... in between and through it all. As a result, "much" is in progress this week, but the above photo is one from several days ago of a current crop of ATCs that I'm working on. I didn't intend to take a black and white photo, but I like the effect of it.

November 18, 2007

A flock of stamps

2007-NOV-stamps

I can't help it... I love them... and the process... The three above are part of a new crop of eraser stamps. Some of these I plan to reproduce and pass along, as well. The hummingbird showed up better in previous tests... but not with this ink. Some fine-tuning needed. The woodpecker... I think it's my most hand-carved savvy so far. I'm sort of smitten.

November 20, 2007

2007-NOV-20-shoalwater

This is the Shoalwater Shawl... I'm thinking that this has been on the needles for a long, long, long time. I know the rows are now endless. And... it's bigger than I'd like, but I kept going... unsure if the edging would work out if I stopped earlier. So... this week... I've had the opportunity to work on it a bit. In close to an hour and a half the other day while I sat somewhere, I worked two rows... just two. Only two more to go, and the edging begins. So, the end is in sight!

The yarn was a gift from my mom a few years back (for this pattern). So, I was making this for me, but she saw it when she was here visiting, and she loves it... mostly because it is so big. But... given that... I'm working on finishing it up.

We'll see.

November 23, 2007

Stamp Enabler

Okay, okay, okay! I was poking around yesterday at Etsy... and I ran into this kit (there is a small version available, too): Large Carve It Yourself Kit.

Isn't that a great idea! Add a carving tool... and you've got a perfect "to do" kit to wrap up and give away.

Handmade... (well, hand-gathered)... and "to do"... a perfect combination!

November 24, 2007

"Gather"

2007-NOV-atc-2-sm

2007-NOV-ATC-6-sm

These are two of the ATCs I've finally called "done" for the November ATC Exchange held as part of the Creative Mom Podcast. I enjoyed this series very much.


Loose Ends

2007-NOV-23-loose

2007-NOV-23-loose2

2007-NOV-24-loose

I've been working, and this kind of patching work is something I find incredibly soothing and rewarding. It's interesting though... the patches are deceptively simple in appearance. I don't treat them as traditional quilted pieces. Instead, I'm taking a layered, flat piecing approach... which is perfect for the pen pouches. But... there are many, many loose ends. And... I hate it when you snip an end on the top and it pulls (even a little). My solution to this? I take a needle and take each and every thread through to the back, and knot it there into the fabric, adding stability and helping ensure there are no loose ends on the surface.

Tedious. Tedious. Tedious.

And you'd probably never notice.

But I do.

Now... the top two photos here... they show the loose ends perfectly... ends I later needle-threaded through to the other side. The patch shown there though is unusual as it is a free-standing piece... I was playing... with shape... and so created a free-standing patch that I could then reshape and applique onto a foundation (rather than building it directly onto the foundation as I normally do). It worked pretty well... and thus... I now have a non-square patch, which is very exciting.

Lots of loose ends.

I tried to take a photo of the piles of birds nests accumulating on my table. A few days of sewing, and there are several perfect piles... just waiting to be gathered onto a card front.

Tomorrow... a backpack I've put off for far too long. I'm determined... tomorrow is the day.

November 26, 2007

Productive

2007-NOV-25-pocket

2007-NOV-25-backpack

2007-NOV-25-backpack-straps

"Productive."

I realized late last night, as I clipped my last thread for the day, that I was winding down a span of days which can best be described as "productive." Granted, my final project took the better part of yesterday even though it shouldn't have. Still, over the weekend, and in and around my regular around-the-house responsibilities, and game-playing and book-reading and refereeing, and so on, I finished 3 pen pouches, made 1 backpack, sewed 6 bird's nest cards (pen pouches generate lots of clippings!), carved 2 stamps (one of which is a gift), and drew out three other stamps. Oh, and I got my show ready for this week (EP75). It may not sound like a lot... but as I settled down last night to carve the second stamp, a holiday-type snippet lifted from a morning sketch I did on Friday, I knew I was tired... and yet I felt "productive."

That the backpack is adorable and makes me almost giddy with the awesome fabric... and that the straps look nice... and that I finally searched hard enough and long enough to find the buttonhole attachment for my machine (although we didn't get along) and then the one for the second machine (which worked better though still seemed kludgy)... that the backpack turned out. That was the icing on the cake. I know the recipient is getting this backpack filled with some "to do" supplies (including one of the "make your own eraser stamps" kits I linked to recently). And that... is awesome. A lucky young artist!

And so, last night, as I finished the last of my top-stitching, the boys were working on projects... and cutting paper... which, of course, means a big mess was underway. And then, not surprisingly, there were some "sharing" issues with the scissors. So, I took a page from a photo I saw on SouleMama's Flickr last week... I gave Spencer a giant magnet bowl of large-headed pins and the pin cushion... and the task of transferring them. He spent a good hour at it, before bedtime. And then, amazingly, he woke this morning ready, again, to work at his "job."

I remember when the older one used to love playing with my can of buttons. But I'd never tried the pin cushion before. I guess it's very much like sorting the silverware drawer or the "pens" drawer, both of which are tasks I can remember doing (and enjoying).

So, here's to productivity.... and to an age where "busywork" and having a sense of "purpose" can buy you a few moments of peace. And what "age" might that be? Well... it seems true for him at 3 and for me at 37. Draw what conclusions you will!

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