Thursday, August 27, 2009

When working on projects...

Someone asked me if I pulled certain laces to work on a project and the answer is yes! I store them in old plastic computer disk cases that you see in goodwill a lot now.

For my beads, I found the greatest display shelves at a going out of business sale. They were selling everything to include their sales props. I don't know what this was used for, but it works great to see what beads I have available when I'm working on a specific project. The clear bead storage cases work really nice for this. I think of all my organizing discoveries, this is my favorite and most useful!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Polymer buttons

Here's a picture of the polymer clay buttons I recently made. I tried using a product designed to make molds, but it didn't work out very well, so then I just made the molds out of polymer clay. I pushed a button or other shape into the clay and baked it. Then I pushed clay into the baked mold and pulled it out. I trimmed around the shaped object until I got it the way I wanted it, then painted it with mica powders. I got my mica powders at this site because you can get a teaspoon for a $1 and you really need very little of them. Some kind person on a scrapbooking blog gave me the tip. You should wear a mask when using mica powders because some are metals and you really don't want to get this stuff in your lungs. One of them came with warnings to use gloves and a mask with the term "cyanide" in the name! It just seemed like it wasn't worth the risk so I didn't use that one! I then baked them for 10 minutes at 275 degrees and painted a varnish called varathane (the water-based kind) on them. I haven't tested them out to see how resilient they are after you sew them on, but I did drop some on the floor and they stood up to that test! Also, they are very light weight and so shouldn't drag your work down.

Organizing my Lace

I have been putting all my laces in order. I keep them in my Olfa storage drawers that I bought at the container store. After listening to a bunch of different people's advice on how to store and how not to store lace, I decided on this method. First I wrapped the lace around an acid free trading card which is the perfect size for small pieces of lace - 2-1/2" x 3-1/2". For tiny pieces I cut a slit in the side of the card and tucked the ends in there. For larger pieces I cut a piece of tulle and tied it around the lace to hold it onto the card. I sorted them by color.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Enjoying the great outdoors

On our recent vacation we visited my sister and her family and my Mom and spent some time at my sister's cabin in Wisconsin. The weather was quite cool, but we still managed to spend some time outdoors. Here are some pics -- my daughter and husband are pictured in one getting ready to go jet skiing. The rest are of us ATVing through the woods. I really loved this as I used to spend quite a bit of time as a kid romping through the woods and it reminds me of when we used to go snowmobiling. It is so pretty and peaceful (aside from the noise of the ATV!).

Great View

this is the view out the deck of my Mom's house whom I visited recently. This is the mighty Mississippi river. Actually the main part of the river is just past the farthest greenery which is an island. We saw dear and heron on the island while we were there, but have also seen eagles, geese, cranes and other wildlife in the past. The picture is deceptive because there is really a large hill down to the river. It is seriously over grown now -- they used to cut out a trail to the river and mow the flat base at the bottom of the hill, but it is quite a chore!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

What are the odds?

Who'd have thought that two pictures could be so interesting? I found these two pictures in my Great Grandmother's album. The one on the right is my Great Great Grandfather, but I didn't know who the one on the left was. I decided they looked a bit alike and wanted to get my second cousin's good advice on the subject so I sent it to her. She thought they might be brothers who both lived and died in Wisconsin, where I was also born. Coincidentally around the same timeframe I came into possession of a letter written in the 70's by one related individual to another with the same family name as the two men in the photo. It was postmarked from a town in Colorado about 40 mile from where I now live. I decided to take a chance and look in my hometown directory for the surname and found the letter writer! I took the photo to the now nearly 90-year-old man and to my delight he was the descendant of the man on the left and my second cousin twice removed! He and I proved the two men in the photos were indeed brothers! I was also able to identify his wife and children from two other photos I had that were taken by the same photographer and the same place. It was truly remarkable that all these things came up at the same time to help me link clues together to identify these unknown pictures. What are the chances that he and I, whose common ancestor was a man who died in 1912 in Wisconsin would both end up in the same town in Colorado!

Techniques learned

I took two Jay Rich classes. One was to teach making textured silks and the other was stitched resist dying. I feel I have enough knowledge to be dangerous and am starting to make monthly orders of silk velvet, silk charmeuse, dyes, and chemicals for another week or two of experimenting in dying and texturing! I also took MaryAnne Griffin's Beyond the Seams class and learned many, many fun techniques! I wanted to try them all and so quickly went to each station to get that lesson under my belt. It was a relief to go to Jay's class the next day and play with the castrator and marbles to dye my silk charmeuse!No - I loved her class! We put pictures on polymer and mica, played with shiva sticks, embossed velvet, textured fabric, and played with angelica fibers. I love learning new techniques and so all my classes were technique classes. Loved them all and can't wait to experiment some more!


One evening's entertainment was where everyone brought in a lush evening gown to be cut into smithereens by dozens of crazed quilters with scissors. I brought a luscious rich purple velvet dress and there were many more scrumptuous fabrics available. Here's the booty - or sleeves - or...

Omaha Crazy Quilt Retreat - Stash collection

At the crazy quilt retreat many vendors sold there wares and lured me in with beads, fabric, trims, laces, and all sort of other temptations. I did succumb. Sigh. Here's my stash which now has to be sorted and contained so I can get into my sewing room to sew! Some of the crocheted goodies I got on the road when I stopped to peruse an antique store or two.