Let the spider bag burst into bloom.

Let the spider bag burst into bloom.  These flowers are just scattered on here but it gives you an idea how fabulous it is going to look...  I want to make more flowers from ribbon and add beads and ribbon embroidery as well.  I added a slight padding to the cat before I appliqued it on the bag...

Last spring when I started this bag I check ebay to see what a limited edition Carl Tasha's spider buckle was listed for.....$150...  Now one   is listed at $175 and considered one of his more rare buckles.. and I got it for $10 all those years ago in Colorado...

I don't know if I have ever posted about this poor little "Wednesday" dish towel.  It is from a set I embroidered when I was just seven years old.  My very first piece of embroidery and it is a miracle that one of the set has survived all these years.  My mother and her sister had just divorced their husbands at the same time.  They bought a snazzy yellow convertible and took off to California to celebrate. My mother was only 25 years old and her sister 3 years younger. To keep me quiet and occupied she bought a kit of dishtowels with the design stamped on them.  I worked on them nonstop even in the car...   It is stained and tattered but it is one of the things I want buried with me....along with my favorite needle book.


Ray of sunshine on Monday

Sometimes a ray of sunshine lands right in your life...out of the blue and unexpected.  That is what happened to me on Monday when Simone Carbonneau-Kincaid came to visit.

In late August I read about the Idaho  Button Society having a conference in June 2019 near where I live.  I tried to contact someone in charge to see I could do a presentation on my painted buttons.. It turned out the person in charge was Simone who invited me to speak last week at their local club meeting. 

All went well and she wanted to come to my house to get more material for an article for that same conference.  She was able to find out all the history behind my button painting - where, how, etc. and I dragged out lots of work for her to see.

But I also learned a lot from her as well during that visit.  First she makes these delightful button "boards" that match vintages images with vintage buttons.  This one has a Union Pacific poster surrounded by metal Union Pacific buttons.  She had done the same with postman, firemen, policemen, etc.  Both the images and the buttons were fascinating bits of Americana. I'm looking forward to seeing more of these in the future...

She was able to look at my trays of buttons and tell me how to tell which were ocean mother-of-pearl, fresh water mother-of-pearl, and green snail ocean mother-of-pearl, etc..  Something I  should have known after all these years of working with mother-of-pearl buttons.

She had written a book on vintage black glass buttons. Photographing or scanning anything black is a challenge and she had lots of tips and tricks that I will be able to use making images of my buttons.  She brought her own scanner but it turned out to be the same brand as the one I use...an Epson.

But the best thing I learned from her was one word..... I'm always telling people I love to paint on vintage mother-of-pearl because it has an inner light and glow.    It gives life to my little pieces of art like no other surface.  It turns out there is actually a name for this phenomenon - "chatoyance"  A word often used to describe qualities of certain gemstones that have  a glow just beneath the surface that shifts and reflects light.  This inner glow is specific to ocean mother-of-pearl.. and not found at all in fresh water mother-of-pearl. This quality also makes them a challenge to photograph so I will be trying some of Simone's tips... All in all a very fun, informative day with a lovely new friend...

And last night I was so tired I was ready to go to bed only to find it was 7:30... If I went to bed that early I would wake up about 2am so I decided to clean and sort a bit more in my work room and lo and behold I found the missing silk ribbon flowers...  Hooray!!!



Dining suite saga - Last chapter

Remember a while back when I posted that I had disassembled my dining area chairs to paint them and recover the seats.  Well here is the before and after of this project.  The tapestry on the seats now was a valance that I got at a thrift store.  I had to pick out a lot of stitching and get it cleaned but I love it..

My dining "area" furniture  (I don't have a proper dining room) has a long complicated back history of its own and it starts with the  chairs which I purchased in 1977 and at that time I had a long narrow table.

A year  later I purchased this sideboard.  It had long legs and was about waist high.  I didn't buy it to use in the dining room.  It was in the basement family room and I bought it because it was long and narrow and perfect base for a Victorian doll house I was building.  It is a genuine antique and I got it cheap because one drawer does not close properly. It was brown.

In 1979 I found this upper part of a china cabinet at a "ding and dent" furniture store and it was really cheap because the door was slightly warped and didn't close properly. It was brown also but a different brown than the sideboard.

So I cut the legs off the sideboard so the top would fit on it and I painted both pieces the same color.

Now a base with a drawer that didn't close properly and a top that had a door that didn't close properly seemed to me to be a match made in heaven.

Then we moved to Spokane and had no proper dining room and the long narrow table just didn't fit and I found this table at the goodwill.  It was all brown so I painted the top to match the china cabinet and left the base brown to match the chairs. And I moved the long narrow table out to the gazebo.

Besides painting the top to match the china cabinet I added roses to both pieces to seal the union.

Now the latest and last  chapter in this saga is the painting and recovering of  the chairs from 1977 and here it is all together.  Some folks just go out and buy a dining suite but mine has taken over 40 years to evolve.


Started off frustrated but ending well

GD Leigha brought me a jar of her Alaskan sour dough starter and I used it  last weekend to make luscious dinner rolls and today was the first day I was home long enough to make a multi-grain dark bread.. I was working the dough and it seemed stiff and I looked over and saw about a half cup of liquid I failed somehow to add.    Very difficult to work in more liquid at that point but I tried and wasn't sure what I'd end up with...  Probably pretty dense bread but DH and the chickens will   love it.

But things looked up as I started a Dresden Christmas Stollen ....a special treat for DH.... just like his Gma used to make.  I soaked the dried fruit and currants in an orange liqueur overnight... after I drained them to add to the dough I sipped on the sweet liqueur leftover... yum my ...special treat...  I used the stollen mold I bought in Germany last year and just love it.  It is expandable which is a very cool feature.

Since I'm making dark bread and stollen I decided to make meatball  stroganoff in the slow cooker.... a whole eastern European  kitchen day.  My secret ingredients to my meatballs is Montreal Steak Seasoning.... not really a secret as I saw it on the internet but it makes a truly tasty meatball.... and I roll them in flour before I brown them and then add beef broth, onion soup mix, and stout to them in the cooker and leave it about 4-5 hours on low before I add sour cream and noodles.  If you are a fan of using a slow cooker then you would love this book.  I found it at a thrift store last spring and use it a lot..

And an update on the "hair rebellion".  I am still resolute in letting it grow and it has been over six months now... I figure by Valentine's Day I'll be able to get it back in a clip....finally. DH has been subtly  hinting all summer that he would be glad to take me to get a hair cut... He was going to get his cut this morning and thought I should come along and get mine cut also... I declined... The longer it gets, the less subtle he will be.     This was my first attempt at taking a selfie.. seems like it should be easy but it wasn't.

Sorry to add that the missing silk flowers are still missing...


good news and bad news

Well the good news is that today I gave a slide show about painting on buttons and using them in CQ to the North Idaho Historical Button Society.  These ladies are really serious about buttons and I wasn't sure if they would be interested in my whimsical approach to buttons.  But they were warm and enthusiastic and I had a grand time and they loved all the examples of CQ I toted along especially the suffrage quilt.

Now the bad news... I'm ready to start applying the silk flowers  I made last spring to the spider bag and I can't find them anywhere.  First I started looking in all the likely places and then all the unlikely places and then the most remote possible places.  Now I'm so desperate that I'm actually starting to clean and sort.

It doesn't look like much in that bowl but there are about a hundred flowers there.  Before I give up and start making more flowers I will go ahead and do the cats for the back of the bag. These cats are small and go fast and hopefully the missing silk flowers will appear.  I found all the other parts including the bag of silk ribbons.  I remembered I took them in the book press in the barn  to flatten them and checked there too...  I just hate it when something is missing. And one thing is absolutely certain.... I have too darn much stuff.


Loving "The cat" and new Santa Image

I finished "The cat" last night and it's going to fit nicely.  It is just pinned in now and I will tidy the edges when I attach it.  I want to enlarge some of the webs as I'm not happy with them so close in size.  Then I can move on to the ribbon flowers which were mostly done from last spring when we went with Morris on his vacation to the sea..

The needlework is not as neat as I would have done in the past but I can let that go easier now.

Most of my larger CQ blocks are mounted on stiff pellon so I can pop them in a tote bag  and take them anywhere to display on stands.  I did this years ago when I was speaking at retreats and it worked well.  But I have three that were never finished that way and I am speaking at the Idaho button society on Wednesday and want to take them along to show how I use buttons.. besides just painting them. . I can't quite remember how I did it so will have to go back and refresh my memory at the tutorial I did then and maybe edit it a bit...

We had a going-away dinner for my granddaughter last night.  Her fella flew down from Alaska and it was the first time we met him.  They seem very well suited which made us happy and relieved.  I had the camera sitting right by my plate and still forgot to get a picture of them together.

Today is rainy, chilly fall day and a good day to paint so will start on my Santas.  I found another great face image  on Facebook.  Actually my niece posted it and it is her husband  Chris at Oktoberfest in Germany.  But he has the twinkle and great eyebrows..

It has been a hectic busy two weeks and I'm ready for a quiet rainy day painting as next week looks to be intense also.


Vintage Santas and old doll........

 I surfed the internet for vintage Santa images and am always surprised that so many pop up with Santa smoking and promoting cigarettes.

There were cigarette ads for every popular brand encouraging people to buy everyone on their list cigarettes for Christmas... and Santa was puffing away in every ad.

Pall Mall promised a "smooth" smoke to sooth  "throat scratch" which was probably caused by smoking in the first place.

This Santa is smoking a Turkish brand and looks like he's getting a little high on it.

But Santa ads promoted alcohol as well

The ads from this era really had great Santa images.  They looked as if they were real people and not a Disney version.

But the very best vintage Santa ads were Coke... I love all their Santas. There are endless sites of vintage Coke ads.  In many of other vintage   ads Santa does not look very happy or even very friendly...

When I start to do my Santas I like to use pictures of happy, friendly old men.... not necessarily easy to find.  I've always wanted to use this photo of Gene Wilder as a Santa and I think this is the year.
.  What I look for is a twinkle in the eye and he has it here. 

Another possibility is Jack Nicolson.  Years and years ago I used a photo of Jack    as a model when I sculpted the head of a gambler doll.. back in the days my son was young and into poker...now it is gathering dust on a shelf and has lost his hand of cards which held 5 aces to back up the aces up his sleeve and under his hat.  It was  a fun doll to make.  Where have the years gone...  Now same son just turned sixty and is into biking with the internet-connected fitness...  I guess I'll dust off the gambler's  hat and see if I can find his cards..


Back on track with cat attack!!!

 Arm is healed, beaded bird book is done until I get new printer cartridges, granddaughter visit is over and I'm bored and ready to dive into something different....  No beads and no jewelry for a while and I'm super ready for a change of pace so I have hauled out "The cat" with a capitol T and determined to tame this one.  I had used my nifty method of transferring the cat image to the back and basted to the front. 

 Today I basted in some tentative line for the grain of the fur and am ready to start.  Now that I have been away from it I can see some fine tuning needed on the eyes first thing. 

Sometimes a break from a project when I am dragging gives me a new approach and energy to get going again.. 
I am determined to work in shorter blocks of times.   In addition I am really missing painting and looked for something happy that could be done on larger MOP discs..  I haven't done any OOAK Santas for 2 years and what could be  happier painting than Santas...... the perfect alternative to working black on black.  These were done in 2016.

I've kept the beaded bird book out just because I love looking at it...  That is the most scrumptious, luscious, lavish, incredible, fabulous brocade I have ever seen. Do you think I like it? Waiting until I get new ink cartridges to finish printing the narrative.  Current cartridges are almost  dead   and I want a nice crisp image.


Hard to believe it came together so well....

It is hard for even me to grasp that in August the blocks in this project had been abandoned for years in a basket in a closet (meant to be used on a jacket) and the beaded pieces had been abandoned in a box under the bed for years.(meant to be used for a mantle display about "Bird Fair".  I'm in the final stages of assembling the pages and here's a close up look at them.

The combined  projects are now a commemorative piece about the "Bird Fair" that the Dept. of Wildlife held one weekend each spring in our garden and drew huge crowds.  I just need to do the narrative to add to the pages.  It's all in a scrapbook so it will not take too long to edit and condense but I want to wait until I get new cartridges for my printer before I print them..I  will use the same technique I used for the narrative in the sheep book.


My Apple Annie

Kitchen has been abuzz since GD Leigha arrived.  She was going to just pick "a few" apples and plans to dry these...that is when the dehydrator is empty from the third batch of plums which are in the metal pan while the second batch is finishing in the dehydrator. Besides the dried plums there must be a gallon of plum nectar in bottles on the counter.  I have very little counter space but she has filled every square inch.

 Her sour dough bread batter is in the mixer.  She brought her own sour dough starter with her from Alaska and packed it in her suitcase...  Unfortunately it exploded in route all over her clothes. We managed to salvage enough to keep the starter going.

She has also wanted to learn to sew and did very well at about every thrift store in town and is repairing or recycling her finds.  Figured the featherweight was the best machine to start her on.

I had some patterns with simple lines and she went through my fabric stash in the barn... Here she is explaining to me how she wants
to layer and coordinate the fabrics she has chosen...  Tomorrow I plan to put her to work in the center part of the barn.
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