Thursday, October 30, 2008

happy halloween

Here's a fun little seasonal time waster. Don't blame me if you can't quit.

Happy Halloween, everyone!

thanks, genie

Genie has graciously given me the above blog award, which carries with it the following stipulations:

Pass this award to five people, four dedicated followers plus one new follower to your blog who lives in another part of the world. Please link back to the person who gave you this award.

I've linked back to Genie already, which is the easy part.

Here are my four dedicated followers:





As for an new follower from a different part of the world, I'm choosing Jennifer who lives in Texas. Technically not from a different part of the world, but Texans are usually the first to admit that their state is a world apart.

Thanks, Genie, for the honor. I am flattered and pleased.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

autumn in the country

Last Saturday evening, after a wonderful day teaching fiber arts, my family joined several other families we're friends with on a hay ride and cookout potluck at the farm belonging to one of the families. It was a lovely evening, especially for this late in October--not too cool, no wind, clear skies. Here are some folks gathering around the fire with their camp chairs.

Doug had made a great fire pit, lined with rocks (slate, I think) from the nearby river. He had previously cut down some dying trees on his place, ash and oak, which made a wonderful fire.

This is really rustic, al fresco dining! I think that's part of a painting scaffold serving as a buffet table.

The sun about to go down behind the rock wall facing the fire pit area.

The kids played hide-and-seek in the dusk, we could hear coyotes and owls in the (not too far off) distance, and the grownups sat around the fire chatting and laughing until long after dark. It was a wonderful evening.

Hope you're all having a super Wednesday.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

fiber arts workshop

The fiber arts workshop I taught was held last Saturday. It was a lot of fun, and EXHAUSTING! Here are my students and their sewing machines.

I brought along a significant portion of my fiber stash and invited the ladies to use anything they wanted for their projects. They had fun choosing their own colorways and just playing with the different elements.

We learned several techniques, including making cords, working with solvy, hot fix angelina, layering, burning/distressing, and needlefelting by hand and with an embellisher. This is Donna getting with the needlefelting tool.

I suggested using their newly-learned techniques to either make a small bag or a piece of hanging art. This is the front of Ann's little bag, showing her needlefelting.

Donna made a larger bag with the help of the embellisher. You may remember that I retooled my old sewing machine to become an embellisher because I'm too cheap to spring for a "real" embellisher, although I must say it works really well.

This is Lizzie's piece. She was the youngest participant and kept things fresh and lively. I like her color choices, shapes, and composition here.

This is my version of the small bag we made. It's not quite finished (note the pins at the top of the bag where I have yet to stitch it closed) but it's a cute pattern that I modified from here. It has a gussetted bottom that makes it seem roomier.

Teaching this workshop was a very good experience for me. The class size (5 students) seemed about right to present all the techniques I wanted the participants to learn. It was a lot of stuff packed into the five hour time frame, but everything I wanted to do got done. All of the ladies really seemed to enjoy themselves and were able to work with materials and methods they had never seen or tried before. I was asked by a couple of the women if I would be teaching another workshop at some point, which made me feel good. And the answer to that question is YES!!
Believe it or not, after this wonderful but very tiring day, I went with my family on a hay ride and cookout at a friend's farm. But that's the post for tomorrow!
Hope you are all having a great week.

Friday, October 24, 2008

overboard again

I just can't help it. I love to dress up. When I came across an old black crushed velour dress in my closet that sealed the deal on my Halloween costume. We are allowed to dress up at work, and since Halloween is on a Friday this year I decided to go all out. In addition to the aforementioned dress I will be clad in the following:

This will be festooned with purple and black netting.
I'm obviously not this dishy.

Took me a long time to find these.

And finally, the coup de grace:

Are these cool or what?!?!
And yes, I will take pictures.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

colors of autumn

I love autumn, my favorite season, not least for the bright gorgeous colors. These French or Cinderella pumpkins were irresistable at my favorite garden center. Those are Jack-O-Lantern pumpkins behind.

This rose obviously didn't get the memo that fall is here. Note the little friend on the top petals.

Hope you're all having a good week.

Monday, October 20, 2008

paved with good intentions, etc.

Well, I'm back. I had a "lost weekend", which for me means one of my multi-day headaches arising from knotted muscles in my back. I'm still feeling this one this morning but it is much better and will probably be gone by lunchtime (fingers firmly crossed).

As promised, here are some photos from Artful Taste of Autumn. We were poolside this year, which made for a very nice setting.

John and Chris have absolutely fantastic plantings around their place.

Here's my hubby helping with the set up of my booth. It was bigger this year than last because I had more stuff.

We had a little visitor under one of our tables. This is a katydid.

There are a lot of interesting architectural elements around John & Chris' place. I like the gargoyle light fixtures.

Another interesting piece, made after an ancient Greek mask or somesuch.

Here's the pool after nightfall. It was a nice evening and everyone
seemed to really have a wonderful time as usual.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

off the radar

I've been really busy, so there's been no posting this week. However I thought I'd check in and tell you that a) my knee is feeling so much better after the cortisone injection, and b) we did have a lovely time at Artful Taste of Autumn this past weekend. Photos will follow.

Sorry for the uninteresting stuff, but I'll follow up soon.

Hope you're all OK.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

good news, bad news, good news

The news from the orthopedic surgeon was not uniformly bad. The good news: I don't need surgery for the foreseeable future. The bad news: When I do have surgery it will be a total knee replacement because, friends, I have as good as no cartilage in my knee (no wonder it hurts!). However, it will be awhile before I get a replacement because the prevailing wisdom is to put it off until the joint is quite deteriorated. In the meantime I will have periodic cortisone injections to keep the swelling down (I got one today--not as awful as it sounds), keep taking my anti-inflammatories, get a good glucosamine/chondroitin supplement because that does lubricate the joints, and try to take enough exercise to maintain muscle tone. In other words I can't just sit around. Wonder if I can knit on my exercise bike?

The other good news is that I did go to Hobby Lobby, not for knitting needles but for yarn. I bought 5 skeins and some circular needles with a shorter cable than the one I've been using. So it was not a trip without side benefits.

These are all yarns I bought, and in the proper colors, from the Hobby Lobby website. I got a skein of plain black wool, too, but you can use your imaginations there. It's the same stuff I knit that first hat with a couple of days ago. All in all not an unfruitful trip. I have much more knowledge, at any rate, and understand better what I'm up against.

One more bit of good news: The weather for Artful Taste of Autumn this Saturday is supposed to be PERFECT. Sunny, blue skies, and temps in the upper 70s. I will, in fact, take photos.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

i'm so clever

Well, I got a bit of a brainstorm yesterday regarding those double pointed needles I couldn't find at Wal-Mart. I was in that store on my lunch hour yesterday to pick up a prescription refill and went into the yarn aisle to see if there was something I hadn't seen before. I noticed that in the clearance section there were several pairs of bamboo knitting needles and I got to wondering what might happen if I cut the ends off those needles and sharpened them--would that make them into useable double pointed needles? Answer: YES! I bought 2 pair very inexpensively and brought them back to work, asked our very kind maintenance manager if he'd cut the ends off (which he graciously did with hardly any snickering), then I used the electric pencil sharpener in my office to put points on the cut ends, smoothed them up a little with my emery board and I had my double pointed needles. I was a bit concerned that even Hobby Lobby wouldn't have dpn's in the diameter I wanted anyway, so I was doubly happy. I finished my hat from yesterday and started another right away.

On the subject of yarns and knitting, has anyone seen this:

It's felting yarn, wool yarn apparently made especially for felting. Something tells me I'll be checking into this fairly soon.

Hope you're all having a fantastic Wednesday.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

tuesday happenings

I call this "orange cat on red car". This is Rusty who isn't bothered that he clashes with the paint job.

Of course he wouldn't sit still when he figured out I might be doing something interesting or involving food. That's Tiger in the background.

Here's the knitted roll-brim hat I mentioned earlier. It was easy once I figured out how to keep it from getting all twisty on the circular needles. Hard to wear a mobius strip, after all. This will remain unfinished until I find some double pointed needles because it's been decreased to the point that I can't knit it anymore on the circular ones. Can't find any in town, so when I go to Hutchinson on Thursday for my orthopedic surgeon appointment I'll stop at Hobby Lobby.

Monday, October 6, 2008

warning: surgery ahead

Well, it's official. The knee pain I've been experiencing does indeed have organic roots, as opposed to being a figment of my fevered imagination. Went to my general practice doctor and had an x-ray which showed three (!) bone spurs and thin cartilage on the medial (inner) side of my knee joint. There is a lot of popping going on in the outer side as well, which probably means either a meniscus tear or another cartilage issue. I have been referred to an orthopedic surgeon who will do an MRI later this week to have a view on the soft tissue stuff. Then I will be facing either a) surgery to remove the bone spurs and torn cartilage, or b) total knee replacement. I probably don't need to tell you which I hope it is. I'm also hoping to stave off whichever surgery I need until the beginning of the year to make the most of my insurance and time off for healing options. I will, of course, keep you posted.
I have been madly knitting scarves and will have several for sale at Artful Taste of Autumn coming up this weekend. I'm also rather tentatively trying the little knitted roll-brim hat pattern I found on this rather amusing blog. If it turns out I'll post a photo. If not...
Hope everyone is having a fine Monday.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

wednesday update

I'm back, with a little progress report. Here are the knitted scarves I've produced recently. At the left is the one knit with the recycled silk fiber yarn and the other two are an eyelash acrylic and variegated yarn with a little angelina-looking stuff in it. I think they've come out rather well. Since they're only 8 to 10 stitches wide each, they knitted up very quickly which is always a plus.

Here are some photos from the VAAM exhibit at the Lincoln Art Center in Lincoln, KS. The art center is located in an old building downtown, which has the original pressed tin ceiling common to buildings from the mid part of the 19th century, including some houses. I thought it would be interesting to include a photo of it here.

Here's a photo of the gallery at large. You can see the ceiling here, too.

A photo including the work of some VAAM Gallery member artists. We really have a nice variety of mediums represented.

This is work by my friend Michaela, whom I've blogged about before. She's a very interesting and talented lady.

And here's my little contribution. I can't think why I didn't photograph this from the opposite direction too, but there are a couple more pieces on the other side. You'll just have to take my word for it, I guess!

This is the only new piece I put in the show. It's called "l'or du roi" or "the king's gold". The little pillows are made of silk fabric, painted, stitched, stamped and other wise embellished. It was very tactile and fun to do. The bowl is a piece I did earlier out of papier mache but seemed perfect to display the pillows.

Outside the Lincoln Art Center was parked this interesting vehicle which I was urged to photograph and include on my blog. As you can see it is an art car, apparently making a statement about our use of fossil fuels. I'm not sure if it was a positive or negative statement, however.

Another view of the art car.

This angle includes a shot of Michaela, mentioned above.

Thanks for hanging in there with me. I hope everyone is having a good week.