Quilt Testers In Action

Quilt Testers In Action


Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Little Too Much Of A Good Thing

This is the week of the year when I usually start pruning the fruit trees and other trees and shrubs in the yard (except the early sping blooming ones, of course). A little snow cover is a good thing, it lifts me up a few inches, making the high branches easier to get to. This year, the pruning is going to have to wait.

That's an apple tree, right there behind the seating area. See the chairs and fire pit? OK, so maybe not the fire pit, but you can see the tops of the chairs, right? The snow here is several inches past my knees.  A little too much to manuever in. There was a photo in the local paper of someone pruning apple trees at Sholan Farms  this past week, but I noticed he was wearing snowshoes. I think I'll just wait a week or two. Or maybe a month.

Meanwhile, strange patterns have begun to appear in the snowbanks around our house.

Could they have been made by the crop circle dudes?

Or perhaps it was only  a teenager expressing her opinion about the amount of shoveling she's had to do?  Guess I'll have to set up a camera, and try to catch the person in the act. Personally, I'm hoping it's the crop circle dudes, because we have another storm or two coming this week, and I want the teenager to keep shoveling!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Flour Paste Result

It was  -8.6°F on the deck this morning. The wood cracked like gunshots when I stepped out on it. Right now it's made it all the way up to 8.8°F. Yuck! I don't mind the snow, but the cold I can do without. It's a good day to stay inside and work on some projects.

Last week I showed you the beginning of an experiment with flour-paste resist. Here is the result.

Can I tell you how much I love this? The crackle reduced the visibility of the words that I carved into the flour paste, making them quite subtle. They actually show up a touch more in the photo than in real life. 

In some spots, the paint seemed to bleed a little. Perhaps I mixed the paint slightly too runny? 

In the close-up below, the "o" and part of the swirl are thicker. These are spots where I went back over my lines in the flour-paste after some time had passed. The paste pulled back away from the skewer, leaving a wider opening in the crust. An effect to be aware of, and perhaps used for a specific purpose at another time.

This is definitely something I will do again, although because of the space and the time involved, I will probably do more of it in the summer.  Then again, there is that kind of bland snow-dyed fabric that I made earlier in the winter that might need a little crackle....

If you give this a try, drop me a note. It would be cool to see some pieces that other people have made. Now I'm going to go bake some bread, to try and warm this house up a bit!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Lion In The Snow

Earlier today I was stalked all the way out to the compost pile. And I was repeatedly pounced on, also.

The Neighborhood Lion paid me a visit. I hadn't seen him in quite awhile, but I knew he'd been around. He'd been leaving tracks on the deck, and up and down the paths we shovel in the yard. He's the reason I didn't shovel a path to the bird feeders.

After he followed me all the way out and back, he insisted on some petting. I love the sound of a cat's purr, don't you? 

He rolled around in the driveway for a few minutes, showing off his flexibility. And then suddenly, something caught his attention.

He was off, stalking something else, and I was forgotten. That's the way of a cat, hmmm? Only the tracks left behind.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Bunny Magic

Ginny says she's going to read my future in her crystal ball.

But she's not going to tell me what she sees.

Weasley says, "Don't worry Mom, I'll take a look at this thing for you."

"Nope. Sorry, Mom. Don't see anything good at all."
Of course he doesn't see anything, good or bad, so  I'm not too worried. Except for the fact that I forgot to cross Ginny's palm with silver treats....  Going to hide now.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Getting Messy In The Kitchen

Another snow day off from school, and the cardinal is telling me the bird feeder needs filling.

For the last several days, I have had a messy, space-consuming project going in the kitchen 

No, I haven't been baking a lot of bread. I have been trying out flour-paste resist as a way to add texture to cloth. This is how it happened.

I was going through a rather large stack of old Quilting Arts Magazines, before passing them on to quilt guild  friends. The words flour-paste resist kept popping out at me.  I couldn't stop thinking about it, so the next morning, I whipped up some paste, according to the recipe in one of the articles. I think it was an article by Jane Dunnewald, but since I've given the magazine away, I can't say for sure. 

The article said to make it like pancake batter, so I did, and then I poured it on my PFD fabric, and spread it around in an even layer.

The article also said that it could be drawn into with a skewer, so I added some words and shapes. My idea of pancake batter must be runnier than the author's, as the marks filled back in with the paste.

I went back in some time later, and remade the lines. In some places this caused the paste to pull away from the mark, the way pizza dough will pull away from the edge of the pan.  

It took an extra day for the piece to dry, and its amazing really, to watch it begin to curl up. Later I remembered that I was supposed to have pinned it to the "printing surface". Not really an option when the "printing surface" is your kitchen island.  

Once the piece was dry (this morning, in fact), I rolled it up from one side, and then from the other, to allow the dried paste to crack. The article actually specified covering the surface with thinned paint, not dye, so that is what I did next.  

I have to wait several days for this to dry, and for the paint to "set". This is necessary, since I can't heat set it with the flour still on. But now I'm wondering, won't the paint just glue the flour to the fabric? Hmm....Well, this should be interesting. Stay tuned. I'll let you know whether I end up with a treasure, or just a big mess.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Playing With Wool (Again)

Remember the little monsters that I made a while back. Well, I decided I needed more wool colors, so I went on a shopping trip to the Salvation Army. I did get more wool in the colors I wanted, but I also came home with this.

I wasn't sure what I was going to do with it, but after felting it, I decided to channel my inner Birdlady, and make a handbag. First I measured the sweater to see how much I had to work with, and then drew up a pattern.

The spatter shield was just the right size to get the curve I wanted on the flap. It wasn't real easy to cut the pieces to size, as the wool kept slithering around, and even after felting it still had some stretch that made for interesting edges on my cuts!

Sewing was tricky, also. I almost always use my walking foot, and it took longer than it should have to dawn on me that this was the source of most of my problems.The wool was so thick, it rendered the walking foot unusable! Switching to a regular sewing machine foot made it much easier.

Then, I cut up the waistband of the sweater to use it for for the strap.

I added a lining with a few pockets. This was stitched in by hand.

With the addition of a nice, BIG button, the new purse was good to go. Even the daughter who doesn't like pink liked it. Although, she did say that she wouldn't carry it!

This next picture has nothing to do with wool; it's a house in the neighborhood that was looking very beautiful in Tuesday's snowstorm. Shell, this picture is for you. I know how much you love a cute cottage!

One final note. Karen, over at A Creative Kick In The Pants passed on an award to me. This award is for small blogs with fewer than 300 followers. She said some very nice things about my little blog, and I am very grateful to her. I'm not sure where I will pass it on, because I never pay attention to numbers. I'll have to do a little research. Anyway, click that link to pop on over to Karen's blog, and check out the other blogs that she nominated, they are very cool. And don't forget to roam around Karen's blog while you are at it. She is wonderfully creative, and there is a LOT to see. Thank you, Karen, for your kind words.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Christmas Tree Is Gone

Why are you looking at us? Dad did it. Honestly!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Fun Day

The shoveling got done in several shifts. It looks like about 20 inches, but it's hard to tell  because of the blowing. The Daughter says the driveway is a lot longer when you have to shovel it!

The paths out back got shoveled also. You have to be able to reach the compost, after all.

But, there was also time for snow angels.

And snow eating (this I don't really understand).

Some snowball fights and general rough housing.

And then it became time to gang up on Mom with the snowballs.

Luckily, there was hot soup and fresh bread waiting inside. Don't tell the Buns that I used some of their kale in the soup.

Later there will be blackberry pie.

A fun time was had by all. I hope your day was a good one, also.

Out The Front Door

Opening the front door all the way is going to require a bit of effort.

You can just see the tips of the yucca plant poking up on the lower right side of the picture. And in the one below, the newspaper is swinging around on the mailbox in the upper left. It'll be awhile before that's retrieved! 

And the little tree that the birds use as a staging area on their way to and from the bird feeder is completely empty. The way the wind is blowing, I wouldn't want to be flying, either! Once things ease up a bit, this tree will be full of chickadees, various finches, cardinals, woodpeckers, and more.

It's not supposed to begin slowing down until noon. No sense shoveling until then. For now, I'm off to start a pot of chicken soup, and maybe get a loaf of bread rising. There may even be a blackberry pie left in the freezer to pop in the oven....

Weasley and Ginny are tucked up safe behind the naked Christmas tree. I hope everybun else is staying safe and warm, also.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Sun Is Still Shining

The sun is still shining here, but it looks like we are finally going to get a decent snow storm. The couple inches that fell on the contractor, and the couple more that fell while we were away, and blew away before we got back don't count. The kids are quite excited. And so my list for this Tuesday is this:

I guess you can see what is most important here. Both kinds of bunny food refers to The Kind The Vet Wants Them To Eat, and The Kind They Want To Eat. I mix a couple of cups of the second into the first. They pick out every bit of it, before moving on to the one that is good for them (Eat Dessert First!).

The chicken soup, saltines, and ginger-ale? Yes, The Younger Daughter is home from school today, thanks to a stomach bug that her band friends are passing around.

And the earplugs? The Man Who Lives In This House announced that he is working from home tomorrow during the storm. It's nice for him that he can do that, and be safe here, not on the road. But, he will be on the phone ALL DAY, doing his trouble-shooting (engineering stuff) and political maneuvering (people management), and listening to it makes me very tense.It's a small house, so...earplugs. 

For a really funny list, this Tuesday,  check out Aimee's pantry purge list. I think I may have some caramel sheets for caramel apples in my pantry, that I bought the first year we lived in this house. Ten years ago.....

Friday, January 7, 2011

Bunny Monsters

I made a pair of bunny monsters the other day.

No, I would never call them monsters. Umm, let's move on quickly before I get in trouble. I'm talking about these monsters.

Their bodies are made from some pieces of Merino/Angora felt that I made almost 10 years ago when we got our first angora bunny, Mr. Brown The rest is felted wool bits from the huge pile of wool that has somehow grown up over the years. You know how it is, people know you sew, and they give you stuff.... I finally decided to play with it a little.

I stuck their little tails on with a stitched heart. Didn't realize when I took the photo that one bunny was "goosing" the other. Fresh! Anyway, they were so much fun to make, that I decided to cut out parts for a few more creatures while I was volunteering at the Leominster Art Center yesterday. 

They each start with a 6.5 inch square, because that is the size ruler I had out. Everything else was cut freehand. I still need to cut out the arms and legs. They would probably be cuter with hand-stitching, but I really prefer using the machine. So, that's what will be happening here this weekend. What will you be up to?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Ship Me To Where????

Hi, Everybunny! Hope you all got lots of treats for the Holidays. My Mom had to give me lots of treats after my Sister tried to ship me away on New Years Day. Here is how it happened.

This box arrived from Long Island, Land of Good Boxes. It had green spots that smelled funny on the side, so I had to check it out.

Then suddenly, my Sister, who thought she was special just because she was visiting from Pittsburgh, scooped me up. I didn't have time to bite her.

It wasn't very nice inside. No hay at all! Not even any blankets or towels to eat.

Nothing on the other side, either. But I let them get a good view of my backside. Unfortunately, they were not paying attention.

I had to try to get out myself, but there wasn't room for a good jump, and my nails couldn't get a grip to climb out.

So, I told Mom to get me out NOW. And she did.

Believe me, they felt the flick of my back feet. And that sound I heard as I ran away must have been Mom and my Sister crying. They wouldn't have dared to laugh. 

Hoppy New Year Everybun, and watch out for those funny-smelling boxes.