Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sunday Morning Cat Picture

This morning I thought I'd share a picture or two of Eric, the ten pound tabby, doing what he does so well - snoozing in a box. If there's a box around, Eric will sleep in it. Sometimes he doesn't fit so well in it, but he always tries.

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Cloth Doll Design Process - Part 1

I'm going to start posting a bit about actually making my pins, ornaments and dolls.

Recently, I was inspired to make some kitty fairies. I make cats, I make fairies - so it's not a very big stretch to make kitty fairies. First, I need to draw up some new patterns.

The above is a first attempt, and since I did it on a receipt for a sale, I photoshopped out the recipient's address. I tend to use whatever scrap I can find laying around to save paper.

Here, the resulting first prototypes. Ugh. Sometimes I get it right the first time, but usually I need to modify the pattern. The standing cat is too tall and skinny, and I really don't like that one leg. The other one is way too long and skinny and those back legs! How did they get bent like that? The tail is too long and blunt and the legs need to taper more.

Now I have a tubbier standing kitty that reminds me more of my 20 pound tabby and I like the overall look of the flying kitty, except the back legs are too tapered. I think I'll also make a slightly slimmer standing kitty, but keep the tubby one too.

Here's the final two kitties. I think I'll keep these. Next - the wings.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Critters in the Garden - Paper Wasps

We get quite a few paper wasps building their nests under the eves, holes in the fence, etc. I usually leave them alone unless they are in the way, like in the electrical outlets.

These decided to build a nest in hole in a brick sitting on top of a pillar. This made it very easy for me to get some nice close up shots - I almost bumped the nest with the lens. The wasps aren't aggressive so I wasn't worried. The only time I've been stung by paper wasps is when they've accidently gotten into my clothes - and that was NOT fun! Yellow jackets are a different story - I don't tolerate any yellow jacket nests on my property. They've stung everybody here including the dogs, cats and chickens. Also, my spouse has a scary allergic reaction to yellow jacket stings.

Information on the paper wasp can be found here.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Halloween is Coming - Black Cat Pin

Halloween will arrive pretty fast, along with all the other things to do during harvest time. So this year, I decided to make some Halloween items. The first one is a simple little black cat pin. He's much simpler than my usual cat pins, since he isn't hand dyed, nor does he have much paint on him, nor beading. But he is quite cute and would work for Halloween or just for someone who like black cats. And I've met some very fine black cats.
He's in my Etsy shop here.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

New Necklace from Sandfibers

I try not to succumb to temptation too often, but I could not resist this necklace from Sandfibers. For many months, I would look at it in her shop and put it in my treasuries. Surprisingly it didn't sell, so, it must have been fated that I was to have it. Since I'm too old and ugly to model it in a flattering way, I used my in-house model, Emily to show it off. Emily wanted to keep it.

It is a medallion made from glass fused onto clay by Artisanclay with peyote bead weaving by Sandfibers. It really does evoke deep blue Caribbean waters.

The Abundant Garden

We pretty much go vegetarian this time of year. Last night it was corn from the garden - fresh and uncooked. Sweet corn is best eaten immediately after picked, and is so sweet and tender then. I grow particularly sweet varieties such as Ruby Red SE by Burpee and Kandy Korn SE. The SE stands for Sugar Enhanced and it allows the corn to be picked over a longer period of time and still be sweet. The picture above was last night's dinner and was Ruby Red corn. The red color gets more intense as the corn ripens.

Tonight we have to eat more broccoli - it won't wait much longer. The heads are huge. We will probably eat it with more yellow squash from the garden. The yellow squash is extremely prolific so we eat it very often pan fried in butter with garlic. I'm going to dig up my zucchini cook book and make something else with all this squash.

We can't eat the tomatoes fast enough either, so the dehydrator will come out tomorrow so I can make dried tomatoes. These last all winter and are great in stews, salads or just eaten straight out of the bag.

Soon, the Gypsy pepper will be ready. I have about 20 pepper plants - Jalapeno, Gypsy and Anaheim.

The grass is growing as well as everything else and needs to be mowed, but Eric doesn't care.

Friday, August 22, 2008

A Plethora of Potholders

I just finished up some more pot holders using my my stash of Laurel Burch kitty cat fabric. Because the panels are different sizes, so are the pot holders, although there is usually a pair in each size. Most are square. They have a layer of Insul Bright insulating fabric and a layer of cotton batting for protecting hands from heat.
I have one in my store here and more will follow soon.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Stolen Puppets

8 puppets were stolen out of a van in Portland, Oregon.
Photos of two of the missing puppets, The Princess and the Daimyo, can also be viewed here:

Here is a description from the owners:
The characters are all Japanese, in very detailed costumes made mostly of silk. Their heads are paper mache (no molds were used to create them), wooden hands, bunraku-style. The other missing characters are: Issun (Little One Inch Boy)- two versions- one, about 20" tall in a blue shirt and green pants, and the other about 30" tall in a light blue shirt and gold and while pants. There's also the Daimyo's messenger, Grandma, Grandpa, and a Kappa (a strange Japanese mythical creature who has the shell of a turtle, arms and legs like a frog and the beak of a bird). If anyone sees these (or has seen these) anywhere, please let me know! I figure these days, with the internet, they could appear anywhere. Not sure when the van was robbed, it was parked since the end of June. Interestingly, they left several characters and even the sound and light equipment.

If you see them, contact Tears of Joy Theatre:

Tomato Love

This is an Amish Paste tomato, fresh from my garden. What a great heart shape! It tasted good too.

Monday, August 18, 2008

A New Handwoven Scarf

Chris has woven another new rayon scarf. The warp is hand dyed by me in turquoise and purple and the weft is black. It'll be in the Etsy shop in a day or two.

Update: It's in the shop here and this is what Chris has to say about it:
A handwoven rayon scarf with a unique twill pattern. This is what happens when a "pattern person" gets carried away. This scarf is woven using a progressing twill pattern on a purple and turquoise hand-dyed warp with a black weft. The result: an eye catching scarf with a wonderfully soft hand. It measures 7 1/2 inches wide by 45 inches long with an additional 3 inch twisted fringe.

Another update - it sold.

Too Much Squash

It's that time of year again - when the squash is coming faster than we can eat it. And people get sick of me giving it to them. I only grow yellow summer squash now - I gave up on zucchini when too many got away from me and grew to the size of a small boat. I can find the bright yellow squash easier. The above picture is todays crop. I try to pick them every other day, and I try to get them when they are really small. They fry up really nice sliced up with butter and garlic.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Donovan in the Garden

Here's Donovan, the twenty pound tabby, in the garden. Actually, he's probably less than 20 pounds right now since it's the middle of summer and he gets lots of activity this time of year.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

New Quilted Kitty Pot Holder

It shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that I would love Laurel Burch designer fabric, with the bright colors and the all the kitty cats. So, I've acquired quite a stash of it, but didn't really have any plans for it.
Well, I joined the quilts and heirlooms team on Etsy and was inspired to made something quilted with it. I hadn't quilted much in about a decade, so I started slow and made some pot holders. I think it took longer to find my walking foot than it did to make the pot holder, but it's a start.
The front is made from Moda quilt fabric, black Egyptian cotton and a Laurel Burch panel, the back is made from black Egyptian cotton. There is a layer of Insul Bright heat resistant batting and a layer of Hobbs cotton batting in the middle.
It can be found here.

Monday, August 11, 2008

What to do with Tomatoes and Basil

I had a potluck to go to on Sunday and just happen to have enough perfect ripe tomatoes and basil in the garden to take. Here's the tomatoes and basil, just picked.

And here's what we did with it. One layer of sliced tomato, one layer of basil, one layer of fresh mozzarella, add a little olive oil, and eat. A few Sun Gold and Sweet Hundred cherry tomatoes were added to make pretty.

Here's my first head of broccoli from the garden this year.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Irish Festival in Fort Collins, Colorado

Fort Collins, Colorado had their first annual Irish festival this past weekend, August 2 and 3, and we were there dancing and playing music. I played for the Maroon Bells Morris and will probably play for Breathless Border Morris in the future, once I get the tunes memorized. The weather was hot - 100 F, and I was miserable in the heat. But the dances went pretty well and we were asked to come back next year. Both teams are recruiting new members, so if you are interested in joining, let me know and I'll pass your name onto our Squire.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

A New EGADS Treasury

I just got a brand new Treasury on Treasury West on Etsy and filled it with EGADS members. EGADS stands for Etsy Guild of Art Dolls and Such.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

New Kitty Pin

I just uploaded a new BRIGHT kitty pin to my Etsy shop. It was hard to photograph because the pink is so bright, but I think this photo came out right.
New kitty pin link.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Out in the Garden

The daylily seedlings are still putting on a good show. There's a surprising number of keepers in this bunch. Still, I'm not going to do anymore daylily hybridizing since I've run out of room.

The dahlias have started to bloom. They are quite a bit of trouble, digging them up in the fall, but they are so worth it!

I love poppies!

This is my older daughter, Gen. She was playing around with some brand new shoes she got. They have ridiculously high heels.

Friday, August 1, 2008

A FAE Treasury

I was in the mood for a fantasy treasury so I created one from FAE team items and I focused on dolls.
I was spoiled for choice - will have to do another one soon.

There are EGADS and DAM members in it too.

It expires Sunday:

Update: It turns out this was the last treasury to expire on the old server so it was the only one on it for a bit. It got over 800 hits!