March 27, 2008

Au Revoir

Some things are just so amazing to me that I have to share. This is an Compression Sac filled with 8 tees, 1 sweater, 2 skirts, 3 pants, and sleepwear. With all the air squeezed out, it's only about 4" thick -- there is space remaining in my luggage for two of these. Ingenious, yes!

The skirt I cut out yesterday is in there. The waist and hips were fitted on my mannequin and, voilà, made-to-order and easier than I thought. Becauuse I didn't wash the fabric first, excess dye made my fingertips slightly black. Normally, I launder or dry clean fabrics prior to sewing, but with polyester, I didn't think it would matter. Now we know.

I will be absent for three weeks, returning mid-April with LOTS of things to share from France and Italy. Ciao!

March 26, 2008

Burda 8344

It's been a long time since I made clothes for myself. Hopefully I won't spend too much time on this simple skirt. There are only three pattern pieces. How hard can it be? Well, either my butt is too big or my waist is too little. In any event, fitting always slows me down.

I like to iron pattern tissues so that folds and wrinkles don't distort. The tissue becomes staticky, so I rub it with a dryer sheet. Works like a charm.

The knit fabric I chose feels like lightweight wool, but is poly, rayon and spandex, and the quality is excellent. The manufacturer calls it "Sophia" and I've read only positive comments in sewing reviews.

I bought a new thimble which might be made of silicone. Don't know if you can see the cute little flowers on it. I love thimbles for their usefulness. I keep looking for The Perfect Thimble to keep from punching holes in my fingertips.

March 25, 2008

Post No. 201

Gosh, I didn't realize that the previous was my 200th post to this blog. Time, text and stitches fly when I'm having fun. Thank you so much for being here alongside me!

We each have our share of addictions (maybe you call it something else), I believe. Just noticed that one of mine is magazines. I received a special issue called Studios, published by Quilting Arts, in the last mail delivery and I enjoyed visuals of other artists' studios. Then, the very same day, while waiting my turn at the grocery checkout, my arm reached for the latest issue of Vogue and plunked it alongside my soy yogurt, European cocoa mix and granola! Hmm, that's a new addiction: Safeway's European cocoa mix -- wow, mix with hot water and it's like swallowing liquid chocolate.

So anyway, all those magazine images really are part of my creative process. Another belief is that we inspire each other. Have a wonderful day!

March 24, 2008

Stockinette Stitch

My knitting is boring, sort of. Mindless knitting means fancy stitch-work doesn't occur, which is okay with me. In fact, I love the smoothness of stockinette stitch (knit one row, purl one row; repeat). I knit to be productive while watching TV, as a passenger in a car or waiting in a reception area. Busy hands are happy hands, you know. I just got through telling my cousin Jodie that I can't purl without looking at the needles. Then just yesterday while watching a movie I realized I was purling with my eyes on the screen! This is a new project, a scarf for Tien, in Plymouth Yarn's Fantasy Naturale blue cotton and Berocco's Softwist wool/rayon. Both feel like cotton, so I hope he doesn't find it to be itchy.

There was whistling outside our window and it turned out to be a pair of Mourning Doves flying between rooftops and our fence. I wonder if it was their egg that crash-landed on our doorstep?

March 23, 2008

Let Them Eat Cake

Sarah returned to SD for a visit. Gosh, we miss her being part of our everyday lives! Nothing is the same as when we 8 pals worked together. Two moved out of state, another threatens to move... At this dinner we, (left to right) Fong, Sarah, me and Christine, held the table for four hours, and could have stayed longer. Chatter covered clandestine handbag shopping, pregnancy, speculation of various topics, missing friends (Anita, Diane, Sheryl, Tzotsy), travel, real estate, employment, update on outside circle of friends, future plans... Restaurant lights brightened and we took the cue to depart.

Note to Elmer: when you download your better photos, may I snag one to replace this dim image? (dimage?, haha)

Sarah brought this amazing spa-themed cake. Lipstick, compact or powder puff, comb, toe spacers, tweezers, eye shadow and brush, lip liner and color w/sponge applicator, all in fondant. I suggested we divide the cake into four equal pieces to devour, but no one else thought it was a good idea. The chocolate cake was yummy and my share of leftovers lasted for two days in the Sng household.

March 22, 2008

Knitted Shawl

At last, it's done! The colors are beautiful and, if not sold as a kit, I would never have thought to combine these hues.

My knitting needs improvement. The tension is inconsistent and there are dropped stitches... but I will tie them, hide them, then forget all about the booboos.

A fringe is in order, then I can wear it. It's not as warm as I had hoped. Maybe I'll have to knit another!

March 21, 2008

Hello Spring!

After I positioned this knitted wig on her head, something about it cracked me up. I think it's the deer-in-the-headlights expression!

The past two days have been greatly unproductive. Why do I guilty? Guilt is a useless feeling, good for nothing, unless the lesson is understanding that resting is OKAY.

March 20, 2008

Nothing Doing

I have no images to share, but resting is restorative to the creative process, in case you wonder what stitching occurred... (none!)

Unrelated, I have been wanting to say that eating my fav soy yogurt is almost like having ice cream for breakfast. Now, if only I could find a creative use for all those plastic containers going into our landfill.

March 19, 2008

Alien vs. Predator

My favorite TV station is Turner Classic Movies. They show the old movies which I adore, they reveal movie trivia and, best of all, they have no commercials. For a change, I switched to American Movie Classics to see what was on. Hamburger Hill was showing, with advertising -- their target audience is retirees: AARP, Medicare, electric scooters, that kind of thing. After HH ended, I went back to TCM, then onto a round of revenge movies on DVD: Count of Monte Cristo and Man on Fire, two of my all-time favorites. Not so sure why I like that theme, but I do.

I can knit without watching my needles, but not while casting on or binding off. The yarn work started at mid-day and ended around 10p. One more wig remains to knit, but it'll be a quicky square using eyelash yarn. While watching There Will Be Blood, I worked on my shawl -- two more rows and it'll be finished. I have to stretch my fingers a lot while knitting; my left hand pinky is sore!

March 18, 2008

Spidery Wigs

I should have put a spool of thread in the photo for scale... These are little wigs knitted for the dolls. I have more to knit, but this is a start. Cast on 20, cast off 15, knit remaining 5, *cast on 15, cast off 15, knit remaining 5,* repeat from * until happy, cast off 20 -- even I can do this! To get the stockinette stitches in the center, some purling has to take place at 'knit remaining 5.' If you make it long enough, it might be a cute fringe on a shawl or purse flap.

March 17, 2008

I Guess I Like Green

While uploading these pictures, I realized they all contain green! Yes I do like this color, only I didn't realize how much.

This is an arm...

... a foot ...

... a hand, and...

... a shoulder!

March 15, 2008

Beading on Dolls

I did some beading on the dolls. It is supposed to be subtle. I don't want much sparkle this time.

Looks like there is a nest above our front door. I found this small broken egg on our door step. So sad...

The bees of last week went away the next day. We had a visit from a pest control man who said they were "scouts" looking for a new home site. Scouts stay for up to three days and, if they liked the place, there would have been considerable activity.

March 14, 2008

It's a Process

An example of my sew-slow-pokiness is the three hours it took to stuff and sew closed the little pillow heads. The process is so enjoyable that I'm inclined to take my time. I got the heads sewn to the necks and will show them in the next post.

Every month I get a surprise package from Treasures of the Gypsy. This is the one that arrived today. Look at the rich fabrics and pieces of trim -- wonderful. If you want to subscribe too, contact Pamela Armas at gypsytreasures@cs.com.

These buds on our orange tree will open soon and I'll be out there inhaling deeply. I love this time of year when their heady scent fills the garden. As for the spots, too bad the fence painters didn't cover the tree.

March 13, 2008

The Next Great Thing

Too often I will dream up the next great thing, only to Google it, and find someone else had the same great idea. That's what happened when I came up with Catnip Quilts, small quilts for kitties with a layer of catnip in the batting. Same thing with JuJu Dolls... but I'm still gonna do them!

My niece Natalie received two immunization shots and she got on the phone to tell me, "Inside my aahrm, the bone, it hoorts." We tried to do an imaginary telephone hug, "Natty, put your arm across to your shoulder. Now put your other arm on your other shoulder." "Auntie, I can't -- I'm holding the phone." DUH, silly me! Afterwards, I spoke to her mother and I could hear the pain in my sister-in-law's voice for her child.

Faces are done and heads will be stuffed, YIPPEE! Do you notice the absence of the grey one with big lips? That head was scrapped.

March 12, 2008

Family Photo

The bodies are finished! Now I'm struggling with faces, but they'll be fine in the end. Drawing frequently must be the trick to end struggles. The big lips on the grey square is scary.

March 11, 2008

What's Different?

Not much... The position of the tools changed and, most importantly, the doll population increased. I created the last doll -- she's the stuffed cone on the left -- some construction remains (no arms yet). After that, I get to add beads and yarn and ribbon and flotsam and jetsam, oh and a head.

Magellan wants to say hi!

March 10, 2008

The Language of Threads

If there is such a language, it is definitely one I speak! Bro-in-law Kuanza brought me, not his mending, but a 1st edition book he found in a used bookstore. This one is signed by the author, another bonus! It is historical fiction -- just the kind of novel I love to read.

Heehee, here is a small version of the dolls I worked on all weekend. Another few of these and the series will be complete. Of course they still need heads and additional embellishment.

March 9, 2008

Small Workspace

While sewing dolls in my lap, it occurred to me I was crowding myself off the work table. No wonder! It's not organized (is it supposed to be?!), but all the tools and supplies are within an unextended arm's reach. Sometimes these dolls are fun and sometimes they are frustrating. I don't like to make the same thing twice or boredom sets in, and, after working with the same items for hours on end, it's easy to lose sight and be objective. That's where a nap comes in handy.

Daylight Savings Time stole an hour. So if I woke up at 11a, I really got up at 10a, right? Oh good, now I don't feel so guilty.

March 8, 2008

Color Choices

From DKNY.com, this image shows a color combination I would not have thought of. Of course, that's why Donna Karan is successful, because she comes up with of what others haven't. Admittedly, my color choices are not always current. I often revert to red/purple/black -- boring after a while! When I go to my fabric paints, they look dated to me. Same with much of my fabric. That's partially because I keep things forever before using them. So, to stay modern, I realized those fashion magazines I love to peruse can be a conscious source of color ideas. I say "conscious" because I'm usually looking at cut, design, details, and not even considering the color. Jeez, you'd have to knock me on the head with a paintbrush, wouldn't you?!

March 7, 2008

Crazy Images

As my sister Janine will attest, I've been taking some awfully bizarre photos recently. Here's another: it's a partial imprint of a mythical Chinese beast which formed in an orange that had gone moldy in a bowl. I don't normally leave fruit rotting away in our home. I only bought groceries a few days ago.

I opened the shades this morning to let in the bright sunlight and noticed BEES swarming under the eaves, yikes. Although I am concerned about the recent plight of these necessary insects, I prefer not to share living quarters. Sheesh, bees in our eaves.

March 6, 2008

What A Cute Post!

For lack of any good work to share, Coppélia wants you to see how clever she is. She buried herself in the pile of batting scraps from my pal Nancy. Anyway, I'm a bit stuck creatively, but at the last hour I found some cool fabrics to go with my hand-painted piece. More to come!

March 5, 2008

Ooh, This Is Fun!

I cut into the painted fabric. It was hard not to be too precise because, well, that's how I do things, but I was daring for a change. There are no instructions when making it up as I go along, so these are coming together by themselves. The brown stick is her backbone, and will extend upwards into her head. My pal Nancy gives me the extra edges from her quilt projects and I knew, eventually, I'd find a use. Some of it was cut into bits and pieces to stuff into the painted body.

This phallus is the doll body with imagined-legs. Little feet will go at the bottom, but I don't know how yet. The spine-stick is secured in place.

Once I got the arms onto the phallus, a thrill went through my shoulders! That's because I'm not thinking too hard about this process, following where it takes me, AND it's working. Two took shape. I prefer the one with legs. How about you?

March 4, 2008

Bright Cherry Splotches

A layer of bright cherry acrylic was added with a sea sponge. I found a simple rubber stamp image of a flower that will go on next. This is a larger section of the entire fabric. It will be fun to cut up and refashion.

March 3, 2008

Splatter Paint

How bizzare to me that the colors I randomly chose this time are similar as what I used last time. How boring is that? It needs more layers, so I'll mix it up on my next try.

Heehee, paint on the toothbrush is pretty too. See how easily I thrill?

March 2, 2008

Aprons Done; What's Next?

Apron inventory is finally done. I'm slow at sewing, even with a machine. I keep finding "more important" things to do, like check email, look up something on Wikipedia, see what shows are on Turner Classic Movies, look for new music on Yahoo Music Jukebox, respond to emails in exacting detail... I don't know how the Project Runway contestants complete garments so quickly. It took me a week to make six aprons.

Here's my little studio helper Coppélia playing with fabric. She saw a skinny piece of starched material and pounced!

This is lightweight canvas that I painted some time ago. It was fun and easy, and reminded me of playing with paints in grammar school. Using fabric processed the same way, my next project will be a series of Juju Dolls, the Anti-VooDoo Dolls. Description to come -- stay tuned!

March 1, 2008

Accompaniment by Van Cliburn

The radio broadcasted an interview with pianist Van Cliburn. The artist closed with "You feel like you're alone and the world's asleep, and it's very inspiring. I was never really the type that needed the stage. I love music. I love listening to it. But when you just listen, you can be 100 percent; when you have to serve music, you must be thinking of others, not yourself." This describes how creativity blooms for me too. The icing on my cake is that customers buy things that I sew, allowing me to create and sew more. If you have a chance, listen to Van Cliburn play Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1, "Allegro non troppo" (first movement) recorded at Carnegie Hall on May 30, 1958. I'll be listening to his music all day while I sew.