March 31, 2009

Stitches on Felt

When I felted this wool, I liked the hole oriented at the bottom. Once I began stitching, the hole seemed better at the top. I'm enjoying this process of not knowing what comes next and deciding only when I sit down to work.

This image is larger than usual, so you can see detail if you click on it.

Sometimes it's too late to change things, such as places where stitches are too close, but I'll go with the flow to see what happens next.

March 30, 2009

Golden Wedding Anniversary

After 50 years of marriage, my Mom and Dad still hold hands while walking together and make funny faces at each other too. Aren't they cute?! They've done something right!

Tien and I had a short visit with them to celebrate their anniversary, along with my siblings. We had a small family dinner at home and enjoyed each other's company. Mom and Dad, we love you!

Here are a few pictures from that day many years ago. Through the years I've spent countless hours admiring the images in their wedding album.

For more than ten years, a larger-than-lifesize print of this portrait of my beautiful mother served as advertisement outside the photographer's studio.

March 28, 2009

I Love You, Blog

I thought I could stay away from you for just a little while, but I guess I can't!

Tien and I are in Oakland with my family. There must be no other feeling in the world that compares to the squeal of a child's voice saying how much she's missed me. My little Natty, how i adore you. I adore all 3 of my munchkins.

During our drive north on Hwy 5, we counted no less than a hundred police vehicles heading southbound after the funeral of the four slain policemen. My sympathies to their families.

March 27, 2009

Long Weekend Away

I'll be gone for a couple of days. In the meantime, check out the movie "Duchess" with Kiera Knightly and Ralph Fiennes. If you like period dramas with great costumes, you might enjoy this.


March 26, 2009

Happy Birthday, Uncle!

This is Gary as a teenager. Cool photograph, right? I'll bet my Dad took this. Gary is Dad's younger brother, which makes him my uncle. Today Gary celebrates his 80th year. Cousin Bren reports that the party they threw for him this past weekend (which Tien and I missed) was fun and low key, and that reaching 80 is an accomplishment all on its own. I agree! To a really wonderful man, Happy Birthday, Uncle Gary.

I ran the woolen fibers under the felting needles and the result is quite flat. I am enjoying the colors. I like the hole I made in it too. This textile has shrunken to 9.5"x14".

What do you think of this variegated yarn? I'm going to make lots of tiny running stitches in the textile and then felt it too.

March 25, 2009

Stitching = Peace

Been stressing about stupid stuff the last couple days, but how dull to discuss that. Stitching's a far better thing to do and just the few I took were therapeutic. Means I should be stitching everyday! (Maybe I should return to writing in full sentences as well.)

Do you remember these yummy wool batts? I love the colors.

I made loose and gigantic stitches with wool and mohair yarns. Next, I'll put it through the felting machine. How exciting -- I have something to look forward to! Stay tuned.

I'm sure they all look the same to you, but I swear this is another lizard. Of course the sun was still low when s/he was photo'd, but I do think the lizard is darker and longer than the other two.

March 23, 2009

Not That I Need It

... but it sure is pretty! And I'm all about modern Chinese-ness, that's for sure, esp when it comes to good-luck-red. The "enter" key has Double Happiness printed on it - in gold - how cool is that?! No, I don't work for HP. I just want this little laptop! Fashion designer Vivienne Tam worked her magic on it. I have her book China Chic, filled with beautiful fashion photos.

Have you gotten your taxes out of the way yet? We did and that's why no sewing was done.

March 21, 2009

What's Next...

... now that the Unmotivated Kids are done?

Ooh, I know -- I've got a couple of these I can work on!

March 20, 2009

U-Kids, tee hee hee!

These are so poseable and funny! I was going to save the eyes to do with my munchkins, but I got carried away matching buttons and saw how cute they looked. Ended up sewing them on myself! Actually, there are three more to finish. Maybe I'll save one for the next giveaway (#500, coming in a month).

I started knitting a neckwarmer -- my first lace stitch: *k2tog, yo, k1, yo, sl, yo, k1, psso*. I've only done two rows so the pattern isn't visible yet.

March 19, 2009

Are You Done Yet?

I'm not sure why this is, but I ask myself, "How does someone with a PT job not have time to sew? The U-Kids need to be finished! Their human-like form makes it a bit strange to fill their guts from the bottom.

Although I love to sew, I've got the itch to create and wanna work on dolls next.

March 17, 2009

Mildly Motivated to Sew

While continuing to sew Unmotivated Kids, Coppelia kept me company. U-Kids are filled with poly-pellets which makes them feel like beanbags. You know, floppy, lazy, unmotivated... They must be rubbing off on me. I'll ask my munchkins to help sew on their eyes, noses and mouths (buttons).

Maybe you remember mentions in my blog of the uber-talented/creative M2. I wish she lived closer than Texas -- we'd be hanging out all the time, brainstorming and making stuff together. Now you get to see how beautiful she is. She was in Africa recently and took these fabulous photos (posted with M2's permission). You know how I luuvvv animals!

I love the colors of the clothing -- rich and saturated, wow!

March 16, 2009

WAY Off Topic

This has nothing to do with sewing... but I'm excited about it!

For many years we've seen the lizards who soak up sun in our garden. They are common but I knew nothing about them. Right now we have at least three, which I've seen all at one time. Here are two of them. The second one looks like he recently molted.

Before a visit to San Diego Zoo, I printed my recent photos to ask a zookeeper about our residents. In the reptile exhibit we saw plenty of snakes and lizards, but no zookeepers. Finally, at the marsupial area (kangaroos, wallabees, wallaroos, wombats) I spotted someone inside an animal enclosure putting out food for his charges. I asked him if he knew anything about local lizards and thrust my photos at him. He animately (!) said, "Wait right there, Ma'am, I'll be right out."

As a boy, zookeeper Doug Krestl captured and kept lizards. Later he wrote a paper about them which led to a lifetime of working with animals. Something that tickles me: by luck or by chance somehow I find exactly the right person to speak to!

Doug identified these as Western Fence lizards, also known as swifts. They absorb heat during the day, eat insects, lay eggs and often return to the same place to sleep. They are preyed upon by rats, birds and snakes and, because our home is against a canyon preserve, plenty of wildlife make their way into our neighborhood. Remember the lizard with the missing foot? That lizard would have been an easy meal. A tail, however, would grow back. Under ideal conditions (three square meals ;-), they can live up to seven years. In our garden, it's more like three or four years.

So now I know!

March 15, 2009

"Unmotivated Kids"

I'm using up scraps from yesterday's quillow project.

I didn't make up the name "Unmotivated Kids." Aranzi Aronzo did and it's from their book Fun Dolls.

This tutorial by White Rabbit and Brown Bunny show how to make stuffed dolls. Pretty funny!

March 14, 2009

Quicky Project: Quillows

Munchkin Ryan asked for "one of those blankets that you fold into a pillow." Sez me, "Do you mean a 'quillow?'" Sez he, "What's a quillow?"

The quillows (45"x60") are for my munchkins Ryan, Natalie and Megan. There was enough for an extra little quillow (27"x35", not shown) because the Joann's store clerk cut too much yardage. Using fleece and a wavy rotary cutter, all it took was one seam to attach the pocket. How easy is that? The hardest part was cutting stretchy fleece to the right size. Still, I'm embarassed to admit it took nearly all day.

Natalie is getting to an age where she likes talking with me. We spent more than 30 minutes chatting! She was so excited to know Tien and I will be visiting them in just two weeks, "Oh Auntie, I want to pull you out of the telephone!"

March 13, 2009

Will Work For Food

Did I tell you? I'm training Coppélia to sit. She's getting good at it. All I have to do is put food in front of her. I didn't think cats were trainable, but she has always understood OUT when I'm closing up the sewing room, so I figured she could be trained to SIT. A show at Sea World called "Pets Rule!" with trained cats, dogs, birds and a pig inspired me to try.

Oh joy, this quilt (66"x66") is finally done! This one is a keeper because some of the wonderful Japanese fabrics came from my pal Masami. The appliquéd and painted cherry blossom in the center recalls our Spring 2006 trip to Japan. One of the fabrics, red with gold, is Marimekko from about 1980. The pieced block pattern is called Kanzashi and is from the book East Quilts West by Kumiko Soda (1992). Hey, Wanjoo Kim (you out there somewhere?), do you remember giving me this book for Christmas a million years ago?!

Magellan kept an eye on one of his friends, a lizard in the back garden. It's behind the brick. Can you see it?

March 12, 2009

Getting Back to What I Know

This seamstress can only do so much and she's done with photography (for now). Lemme tell you, it brought on challenges, a steep learning curve and a gob of frustration. But my pictures came out okay for my purposes and now I can move on.

Using my new photographs, I added two pairs of earrings to my Etsy page. Now, back to handstitching my quilt binding!

March 11, 2009

I Think I've Got It

Product photography by a seamstress! What do you think? Would you buy these earrings?

So many things to consider and these are just beads. What if my subject had a lot of reflective metal? Lighting beads was tricky -- laying the earrings against fabric caused the stones to look lifeless and dull, so underlighting was necessary and I didn't want to buy this. You'd be reading about my arduous process every time I changed materials, so I'm stickin' to fabric and beads.

March 10, 2009

Almost Satisfied

I'm trying really hard to get this right! It's taking a lot of time, esp since I don't get photography, ya know? I don't have the brain cells for the technical aspects of a camera's workings -- it doesn't sink in and, frankly, I don't want to know why -- I only want to know how to do it.

Here's my setup: my camera, two wine boxes, two photo lights and a light cube. If I only had a brain!

March 8, 2009

Jewelry Photography

I figured out how to photograph the jewelry I make. It's not perfect (yet!) but it is certainly better than before. The trick is a light source under the beads. Ideally, the background will be clear white, and without distracting shadows or colors.