Monday, November 30, 2009

M.P. by O.P. - Bala Bag Finishing Class (Part II)

I must have been sleepy last night when I wrote my post - I forgot to add Kim's picture. Kim is a new hooker, and she's chosen a purse as her first project. She didn't get her hooking done in time for the class (life happened), but she was happy to come out and spend the day hooking with us. She got quite a bit done. Yay Kim!

Jan send me a couple of snaps today, and you can see her and her purse in this photo (first on the right). I love the effect of the black/cream plaid used in the background. I cannot get enough of those black and white tweedies. Mmmmmm.

(I'm holding Martina's purse - she was downstairs with a customer)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

M.P. by O.P. - Bala Bag Finishing Class

I've been really blessed the last couple of classes - they have been filled with some amazing ladies. And some pretty great rug hookers, too! ;-) The only reason I haven't yet posted about my class in the Lower Diamond Barn (even though it's vying for the spot of favourite class ever!) is that I forgot to take pictures. Not a single one. I guess I was just too busy having a wonderful time, that I plum forgot....and I apologize ladies. I will be happy to post any pictures that you send and it would be great to see your finished bags (hint, hint!)

I did remember to take some pictures yesterday at Martina's though (even though it was great day, with nice people)...but I am missing one of the bags -- and almost all of the others had to be unpacked for their photo op.

Sewing a purse together involves several steps and completely finishing a purse in one day is pretty ambitious -- not because it's hard, but because your fingers get tired and maybe a little sore (from all of the fine hand sewing) and you need to take a break. The participants all made some good progress on their bags....and will hopefully be sporting them around town very soon.

Sylvia's Pomegranates

Clare's Bullseyes

Martina's Pomegranates

Jacki's Pomegranates

Pat's Skeleflora

Friday, November 27, 2009

my new book

I am pleased to say that my paperwork baskets are empty once again. Well, almost empty. I did end with with a few cards and such that I didn't really have a better place for, and since they are things I want to keep and remember... this way I'll be able to revisit them the next time I sort out my baskets. How is that for justification? ;-)

Do you get swept up in the fear that a new notebook is too good to use or that you're going to ruin its perfection with the first entry? I often suffer from that problem -- as evidenced by a lack of full notebooks (and more than a few empty ones). I rediscovered this cute book in my basket...

So I customized the front cover (since I gave an identical book to my mum for Christmas last year)....and started combing through my little notes and slips of paper, copying down all of the interesting bits -- right into the book!

The book is covered in Amy Butler prints and there are lots of her doodles and designs in the inside pages, too....but I think one of the best parts is it's size - small enough to fit in my purse (especially since I'm using a Bala bag these days :-) ), yet big enough to write in. I also love that the lines are drawn, as opposed to ruled. The colours are pretty nice, too, and very calming.

So far, I've used it two days (out of only two), so I'm batting a 100 already! ;-) I hope I can keep it up -- and I think that writing the date "Winter 2010" on the outside will encourage me to actually use it -- and not just save it for the really, really important or particularly good stuff. Fingers crossed that I am write. (sorry...could not help myself!)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

there's just no escaping it...

Yep. My basket of paperwork had already spilled over into another....and now the second (bigger) basket was full. Since I got my H1N1 shot the other day - and my arm has been too sore to hook since - I decided that I couldn't procrastinate the paper work any longer.

I started sorting it all into piles....bills, receipts, pictures, recipes, instructions, important notes, sketches, etc. Actually, I really started by pulling my recycling bin out from under the sink, and placing it right beside me! It's amazing how many things I collect in my basket(s) - some because they are actually important papers....but often I put things in there just to get the out of my way (because I can't decide what else to do with it or where else to put it). So it's always a little bit of a surprise when I finally get around to sorting it all out.

Because I've been remiss on updating the books for my little business....and the stacks of receipts and sales had been growing since September, I'm sad to report that the saga will continue again tonight (oh, if only I could afford to pay someone to take care of these pesky details....) Luckily it shouldn't take too long, since I also need to do a few last-minute preparations for my class this weekend at Martina Lesar's. Speaking of Martina's, Wendie did a great post on her recent visit to the log cabin studio -- you can check it out here.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Catching Up

It seems ages have passed since I've had free time and not been working with with a deadline to get packed, finished, mailed, or cleaned. So it was great to be able to take the weekend to attack a bunch of small jobs that have been lingering on my list -- some for months.

Friday night I focused on hats. I've been knitting these out of some of my own dyed slub Yearn to give as Christmas gifts. It's one of a select few hats that I've ever tried on that doesn't look ridiculous on me, so I'm really hoping that it works for some of my friends, too. I had a couple of hats that needed ends sewn in and the tops pulled together, one that had been cast off with only 7 sections instead of 8 (duh!) that needed an extension, and one still one the needles. I now have a happy pile of 6 finished hats.

Saturday morning I decided to tackle some revisions to Henry's Pomegranate. I had used it a few times and it had travelled quite a bit stuffed into various luggage. When I was putting it away the other day, I questioned why I haven't used it more. Then I discovered the handle needed some additional stitches to hold it more securely in place. So I cut out the lining, re-secured the handles (by not only adding a piece of fabric to the back side, I also crisscrossed the stitches from side to side at the top), sewed the lining back in place, added a couple of snaps to one of the pockets (attaching one side right through the lining, to the hooking), and I also added a few anchors to the tops of the pockets (securing the lining in these places to the backing behind). Thesse anchors really help make it easier to access the pockets and find what I am looking for - I can't believe I didn't think of it before!

I also fixed up my February Lady Sweater on Saturday. I had finished the knitting weeks and weeks ago. It was blocked for the first time before I went to Nova Scotia -- but it was waaaaay too big. My mum tried blocking it again, but smaller.....and while the body was a better fit, the sleeves were still too long. I ripped back several inches on both arms and re-knit the binding. Another job done -- and I can finally wear my sweater!

Other things I did on Saturday included: parceling up some patterns, tidying up my hooking closet (so the door shuts again! ;-) ), writing my Christmas crafting and shopping list, catching up on missed episodes of Supernatural, organizing my pantry, getting rid of an old sewing machine and table, aborting an old rug project (started 7 year ago - and keeps popping up like a bad penny to haunt me. I have no desire to finish it....and it was time for it to go. Straight to the curb!), making a few over-due phone calls....and around 8pm, I started hooking. It was great to get back to rug hooking -- and I just love my new frame and both of my new hooks.. With any luck, I'll get a few snow chicks hooked in time for Christmas.

On Sunday I headed up to my parents to help my mum start work on my Christmas present – she's making me a quilt! We had bought a couple of different Bali Pops on our travels, and wanted to supplement them with some of the other favourite batiks from our boxes. We pressed our other fabrics and cut more 2.5" strips. Choosing which prints made the cut (sorry! ;-) ) was a challenge - they all look so pretty. Once I started laying the strips out on the dining room table, I was initially diappointed with how they looked together....until I realized what the problem was: too many different colours and values. It was a rainbow. After eliminating all of the lightest pieces and all of the gold pieces, the remaining fabrics (purples, reds, blues, greens – in a range of values) looked much better. I can't wait to see what it looks like when it's sewn (and I hope I don't have to wait until Christmas!)

I also spent part of Sunday doing boring housework, grocery shopping and laundry....but it was kinda fun to fold my newly washed wool (from our recent visit to Dorr). I am really enjoying small-scale textures these days - especially those I can use as-is.

It sounds like a crazy busy weekend, but I was really quite relaxing -- and what a relief to get all of those tasks done. From my long list of jobs for the weekend, the only thing I didn't get done was my book work. As I'm already a couple of months behind, I don't thing a few more days will make much difference.... ;-)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

SNAPpy service

My beloved Snapdragon hooking frame did not survive the flight home from Nova Scotia quite as nicely as I did. I contacted the manufacturer by e-mail and they could not have been more pleasant, more helpful or more speedy in fixing my problem. If I wasn't already totally in love with their product, this recent experience would definitely give me a big nudge in that direction.

My new parts - including a new set of legs (the "slant" just wasn't working for me when I was working on my couch - the top was too close to my face, so I also ordered different legs to lower the height of the frame) - arrived while I was away.

Apart from holding my backing tight-as-a-drum, my second favourite feature is the ease with which it's released - and the fact that the wool yarns and fleece I've been hooking with of late don't get all shredded and fuzzy on the back (since the tension is completely released with a snap of the paddles - not by pulling it off of the gripper strips, like with other frames).

I can't wait to try it out this weekend, along with my pretty new hooks....

They were purchased from Molly Colegrove (who is in the process of setting up her web-site, so please check back....)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Faces by Diane Phillips

I've long been a fan of Diane's work....and I was curious to see what would be on display at the show, since Diane was one of the featured artists. Amongst the work in the show were several of her marvelous hooked faces. Here is a sampling....

....and I saved the best for last -- this beauty currently resides with me! (Diane and I made a trade, and I couldn't be happier.)

Seeing all of these faces has ignited a bit of a spark in me to get back to work on my grandparents project (hooked portraits which incorporate pieces of each of their clothing). I took Diane's class a few years ago and started by hooking my Nana....but I really struggled with the eyes (and my family all agreed that it did not look at all like her. I think it was due to the pop-eyes, as the hair and the face were pretty good). Maybe it would make a great project for the new year....and I can put to use some of the things I learned while hooking Dapple Aimee?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

more from The Brick House.....

As I mentioned the other day, we were so lucky (and grateful!) to be able to see inside The Brick House on Saturday. Here are a couple of quick snaps from outside....

My pictures of some of the rugs inside the house were hampered by a bad camera setting (night shots, from trying to capture the sunset the evening before) please forgive the less than stellar shots. One thing that I noticed was how timeless nature of so many of the geometric rugs. Truly wonderful - and overwhelming - to be able to see (and walk on!) all of these wonderful rugs. Enjoy the show....

I know that theses rugs will be a source of inspiration for me in the months ahead -- I can't wait to see what they inspire....