Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Listening to something I like

So sad to report that our team came second in the recent Grey Cup.  So it has been a down turn, but still they played respectably, especially toward the end.  But like some of their efforts this season, too little too late.

On a completely different "tack" today,  I am embedding a video here.  It is quite possible that you've seen and heard it before, but I am including the link just for you to have a little 'feel good sound'. 


Hopefully this works.  I am not the greatest at all this cyber stuff.  I thought I'd have time to study it up yesterday, after all it was Cyber Monday, but I think I was busy that day, lol.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Grey Cup Garb...the Lyin', the Hitch, and the Wardrobe

Well, I am not really lying, I am tellin' the truth but this could be classified as a whopper!    This morning and most of the day I've been busy getting ready for the great big day tomorrow, (Grey Cup) and I wanted to show some team spirit so, as I said in an earlier blog, I have been making some things. 

I sortof drew this logo, I know it's copyright but it's only staying inside my house and maybe it'll go outside on  the dog's sweater.  She wouldn't be 'advertising' it, because she only goes out in the back yard on a leash and she is blind, so she can't go out meandering for Pete's sake.  But I digress.

I drew the logo thing; made a couple of photocopies in different sizes, (the dog's has to be smaller) and Dan's has to be bigger and the one for the table...well, that one isn't important.  Then I colored them. Do you know how much my markers have dried out?  Of course some of them are ten years old or older, so that isn't a surprise.  I did the gold with yellow marker, then gold Prisma color pencil on top, then another layer of yellow marker.  That shading makes the color quite realistic.  As you can see, the blues are not all the same because the markers were running low.  I even went over one of them in blue highlighter because the concentration of ink was getting very pale.  It doesn't matter...it's just for an at home get together.  And no one cares if the blue's the right hue.

After I had colored the designs, I used the trusty Singer and sewed pieces of acetate on top, all around the designs like  little borders.  Next step was to attach the thing to a garment, and I was using this old embroidery floss I found in my cupboard.  (The cupboard is  like an old fashioned wardrobe, hehe, and its contents are so much fun that it is always an exciting adventure when I pull something out.  It's one of those things that someone is always telling me to "CLEAN OUT" but it is far too much fun to keep the stuff.  Some of it I could part with, but when I make a find like I did today, I vow I won't clean it out until it absolutely has to be done.)

So, (or should that be sew) I've already hand stitched one logo onto my goldish plush vest.  From far, it looks pretty good until you see the uneven stitches.  But I can live with that.  Its 'kitschy stitchin'  and adds to the fun of it.  It's almost like a 'hitch' or whip stitch.  But the big thing is THIS...See that blue embroidery floss that I am using to stitch with?  Well this is where truth is really stranger than fiction.  Have a look at the scan below...
 If you look really closely at the little paper wrapper, it will kind of give you a hint of how old that embroidery floss is.  You may need to enlarge the image because I want it to be very subtle.  I think that I must have inherited that cigar box of floss from someone who did work in the middle of the 1900's, or maybe earlier.  Doesn't that sound like ages ago?

And yet, we remember songs from that era.  For example, one of the big auto firms is presently using a song that one of my aunts used to sing in its commercial.  (I think it's the same aunt who used this floss.) You know the one with the fake birds flying around?  I believe the music was from one of the Sigmund Romberg 'operas' that were all the rage when Hollywood did those big lavish musical productions.  If my numerical demagnification ratios serve me right, keeping in mind the relative cost of the embroidery thread, one of  those musicals could have been made for a few thousand dollars.  Now, that barely pays a month's living expenses.  Not to mention a football player's salary.  And I ain't lyin'.

Book Club Babe Mascot

This is not the greatest scan of this little gal, but she really is a cutie.  She is meant to hang on a wall and holds a multi-page book replete with matching beads. 

My original idea for these little "mascots" was to have them made for Book Clubs, and the hostess of the meeting would keep the doll and hang her up until it was the next hostess' turn.  Most of the people I have spoken to said that they didn't want to "share" but would use the book to write down all the books they were reading like a kind of 'log' book. 

I will be taking one of them to my next book club meeting ... it is to be a Christmas Pot Luck.  I don't know if this is the lady that will accompany me...she will be privvy to all sorts of banter at that get together.  And even if we do decide to keep her as the "keeper of the books" so to speak, we can rest assured that she won't breathe a word about what (or who) was discussed at the gathering. 

Her book can be removed quite readily from her rather oversized arms.  She seems a little disproportioned when she isn't holding on to her book, but I am including the scan of her with the book on the side so you can see how the whole thing works.

The scan makes her look a little displeased with something, but I think it's because the camera is angling downward and when you look at her hanging on the wall at eye level or above, her expression is much kinder. 

Maybe it's that way with people too...when people look "down" on us, they may see a less pleasant expression on our faces than when looking at them head on or from just below eye level.  And maybe that's why we 'admire' people we look up to, and frown upon others...we are just reflecting what's been projected towards us.  Ah, but I've said too much and don't want to get into some discussion that I am not prepared to carry on with. 

Me, I'm with the book club babe and just don't want to tell all!!!

It's Grey Cup Weekend here, and I've got to get back to fashioning some Blue and Gold Bomber football gear to wear while we watch tomorrow's game.  I am in the midst of sewing a hand-made logo onto a gold plush vest.  I have the blue turtle neck washed and ready to wear and will co-ordinate that with some blue sweats so that if need be, I can reinforce the team from our family room in between snacks.  One of the appetizers I made is a cheese ball that I made in the shape of a football.  I topped it off with slightly salted home roasted sunflower seeds and the bowl scrapings tasted yummy.  After the flavours have a chance to mellow it should be really good.  I have the table decked out in a gold table cloth with blue runners along the side.  If  I have time, I'll make a couple more hand colored logos to intersperse among the other goodies that are mellowing in the fridge.  I've decided to make a few little trinkets in blue and gold ... maybe like toothpick decorations and maybe I'll cover a couple of knife handles to spread the cheese ball onto crackers.  And maybe swizzle sticks.  But we shall see.

Go Bombers!

And one more pass while I'm on the football kick...(How's that for a literary device...)I saw the highlights of yesterday's Vanier Cup...(McMaster contre Laval) and I am pretty sure my niece and her husband who are in the Crystallography Department at McMaster are happy about the outcome.  According to the sportscasters, that game was probably the best Canadian College Football Final of all time.  Hope the Bombers can mimic the McMaster outcome.

Friday, November 25, 2011

In the Buffer Zone

About a week ago I purchased a new 6 inch muslin buffing wheel for my bench grinder.  My old one was so well worn, that I was nearly touching the metal plate when I was buffing and there was very little surface area to work on.  I had ground the old muslin wheel down to about 1/2 inch away from the protective plate! Needless to say, it had been a long time since I had put on a new muslin wheel. 

I remembered the trick about taking the first couple of rows of stitching out of the new muslin wheel before I put it on the housing.  That was easy enough.   I just clipped every second stitch and the rows were done in about a minute.  Then was the fun job of taking the old wheel off.  It was on there TIGHT!  Fortunately we located the right size wrenches and got the old one off and then put the new one on lickety split. 

Yesterday (American Thanksgiving) was one of the warmest days  we've had in a long time and so I grabbed the chance to get some buffing done.  I don't want to buff in the house and it was a good thing I didn't do it yesterday.  With the new wheel (Whee!) I started with some simple beads.  There were pieces of muslin and threads flying all over the back yard and all over me!  I looked like a partly de-feathered Thanksgiving Turkey with all those little farfotzlies of fiber and string strewn all over me.  They were even in my hair!  After about ten minutes of buffing, the major edges of the wheel were broken in and things went smoothly after that.  I had about two dozen buttons on order and needed to get them buffed and ready to send out.

Then I set to work on some other larger pieces that had to be buffed and got them all done before the sun set.  There were many things to be thankful for. 

Not only that, I got it all the work done by Friday, so I can relax and get some Grey Cup goodies ready for a little get together here on Sunday.  I have decorated with a few garlands of Blue and Gold outside on the shrubs and have a couple of little banners made for the inside t.v. room to help our team on to victory.  I know they won't hear us shout, but we'll give a couple of blasts on the bull horn and maybe they'll hear those all the way to Vancouver.

Go Bombers!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Manly, yes, but I like it too!

I remember that tag line from a years old commercial, where the Irish girl makes the comment about soap.  The comment could apply to lots of things, but I've chosen to include it here along with these significantly larger editions of one of my favourite things to make. 

Recently, a neighbour did a favour for us and I am going to be gifting him with one of these.  Another will be for hubby (of course...he provided the wrist for the original model) and one is going to be a Christmas gift for someone whom I hope isn't reading this blog.

Some years ago I obained this very heavy hide, I think it might be deer, but not sure, in a size that was really too small to make anything. The piece was irregularly shaped, and had a few little notches in it here and there.  I was able to spot a few places where the hide was long enough to make a wrist band, so that's where I started.  I used the quilting ruler, the Olfa board and the trusty cutting blade (wheel) that I had inherited a few years ago and cut some thin type strips of the hide. 

It seems to fit well with the natural organic feel of the stones, which are larger than the ones I usually make.  I had to make the holes quite large as the first set I tried wouldn't allow the hide to pass NO HOW, even after pulling it with my pliers.  So I baked the stones on a larger type knitting needle to ensure that the stones would fit the heavy duty hide.  I had to make the 'stopper stone' hole even bigger and found the right bore on a piece of metal tubing from a pasta machine that I had once tried to clean.  (Long story...I will leave the cleaning of pasta machines to those that know how to put them back together once they've been taken apart!)

I regret that some people out there will not take to these...but then again, if I think back to yesterday's post, I can live with that! I must add that I have seen similar bracelets to these and hope that I haven't "infringed" on anyone's property.  I realize that a lot of people make stone bracelets (I have been making them for about ten years myself) and that being said, I just wanted to show my take on a more manly style.

Now, to think of an appropriate name for them!!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Zen-doodle all the day long

Well, these zen-doodles weren't all done in one day...far from it.  They are some of the work I did a while back while being a patient passenger.  Some works of the series are framed and some of them are waiting for just the right moment to become part of a larger work that I envision for 'future considerations'. 

It is really difficult being a 'composer' with snippets of things you know are good enough to keep, but just not 'enough' on their own.  And the line between the two parameters is not clearly demarkated.  It's not like there's a double yellow solid down the middle of your work saying Do Not Cross but an arbitrary thing that you just have to hope is in synch with the work(s), the media and all that goes into a composition. 

Speaking about compositions, last weekend my friend and I went to the symphony and one of the main works was the familiar Beethoven V.  As we were getting our coats on, I overheard a fellow a few rows back who berated the conductor for leading the orchestra to play it altogether too fast for his liking.  I didn't say anything but did have an opinion.  When Ludvig composed the piece, he had in mind a certain pace at which he felt the piece ought to be played at, and so noted that in the time signature.  Everyone's interpretation has to vary slightly, I feel. We do not all walk around with metronomes in our purses or back pockets, and even if we did, there would still be room for personal interpretation. 

So is the way people interpret art and in this case, my zen doodles.  Some of you may get nothing out of them.  So be it.  Others may feel there is a picture there, and may even imagine a creature from the deep lurking in the compositions.  Again, others may feel it is just a series of dots connected by a five year old. To me it is an expression...perhaps a little intuitive, but that is what appealed to me at the time I made the particular piece. 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Presentation Plus

A few weeks ago I was approached by the manager of a museum in our city asking to carry some of my products in the gift shop there.  I have items in some other galleries, gift shops, and I was looking forward to getting a few more of my items 'out there'.

So this morning, after completing the promised number of items, I set to getting them ready for presentation.  For the longest time I had been using the same type of hand crafted background paper for some of my items, mostly jewellery, which also contained a picture of some of the local scenery, since it went well with the items.  As with most things, change was needed, so I came up with a slight modification of my background paper...it's much less time consuming to create and doesn't require the same amount of drying time as I had been accustomed to with the stamped, brushed, calligraphed, spattered and top coated effect I was using previously.  I stuck to spattering and rolling this time and even though the finishing coat of thin gold is missing, there are still a few sparkles here and there, thanks to the pearlescent effect I mixed in with one of the rolled techniques.  I made about twenty variations on the theme and although I'm not sure if this was my absolute favourite; they were all so similar, it was hard to pick out my #1 choice.  Besides, once the rest of the printing and the accompanying picture gets on the page and the background sheets get cut up into card size pieces,  much of the total picture is gone.

I called the museum this morning in hopes that I could drop off the finished goods, but alas, the manager was on an extended weekend, and so I'll have to wait until Tuesday  when she returns.  Hope you all have a fun weekend...Mine is nice so far...no schlepping and setting up today and quite frankly, I needed the break.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Craft Season in Full Swing

Thank goodness for that extra hour of sleep last night.  This season of 'sales events' has wiped me.  The packing, unpacking, hauling things upstairs in ancient mansions, loading and unloading dollies to who knows where in huge exhibition halls and just the general 'busy-ness' of this time of year has caught me with my knickers down (so to speak) and I have fallen victim to the latest bug to hit our city. The weather has been fine until now, but I guess my resistance and lack of proper sleep have just set my body level to "succumb".  I now have a throat that produces sounds on a very random basis, and the projected pitch ranges from squeeky mouse to bass baritone in the same sentence.  Needless to say, I won't be asked to sing any operatic solos in the near future, lol.

Fortunately, I am not sneezy and wheezy, and my muscles aren't all achy, so I am still able to function if I don't have to speak in dulcet tones.  We do have a family get together today where we'll celebrate a birthday and have the annual 'who buys for whom' draw for Holiday time.  Thankfully the restaurant we will be visiting has an extremely varied menu so it will fit the many tastes of our group.  I think I will sit on the end, or maybe I'll be ousted to my own private table and have to communicate in sign language with the rest of the pack.  In any case, I am looking forward to a break from 'production' and sitting at my clay table.

Actually, I have a hiatus in events, and this weekend I'll be able to enjoy an evening at the Symphony on Friday night...a big change from the normal hurrying and scurrying getting last minute tags ready and making sure I have all my necessitites piled in boxes near the door.  Heck, I may even have time today to finish reading that book that will be discussed at our book club get together...oh wait...it's Tomorrow.  Better get off this and get to page 32.  Think I'll get done?  It's only a couple hundred pages so I'll read in the car on the way to the restaurant and tell hubby to 'take the long way'. Wish me luck