Friday, January 29, 2010

Views Of The Day So Far

The front view - not as much snow yet as last year, but plenty enough for me.Most of this past couple weeks while I was sleeping a lot, recovering from this sinus infection, I have kept the window blinds closed. Pretty much just holed up resting or sleeping. Yesterday and today I have raised the blinds open wide to let in all this great sunshine we are receiving. It is glorious. Mid-winter cold weather, but lots of sun. I can take that. My desk is positioned in such a way that it helps me take advantage of this sun light. I'm basking in it right now. Warm and wonderful, but I just might have to put my sunglasses on!

Here is a view of our snow-filled front yard. There isn't as much snow as we had last year, but that pile covering my big flower pot is pretty high. Most of that is snow from the driveway and sidewalk. I am okay with piling it on my pot since that is the easiest when clearing it off the sidewalk, but I cannot help but wonder about possible damage to the pot considering what happened to my chicken planter last year. I'm thinking now that it might have been better to have covered it with something to protect it a bit. Next time I go to our local garden center I'm going to have to find out what they suggest. Does anyone else have any large clay pots or decorative garden items? How do you deal with them for wintery weather?

On my desk - books to help learn html code - and some hexidecimal codes for color choices.Switching to an indoor view, this is what is currently on my desk. I'm keeping warm with delicious hot tea soothing my throat and warming me up. A couple days ago I started playing with changes to my websites. I'm experimenting with color combinations and changing up the formats. I love to play with color. That must be one of the reasons I like to quilt and paint. The color choices shown in these two books are not the full selection of hexidecimal color lists available for web design. I would love to have this poster and color charts to help chose website colors. Unfortunately I haven't invested in any of these yet. Perhaps one day I'll splurge on them. For now I play with things I find in my books and assorted info from websites on html and xhtml suggestions.

I am working now on changing the format of my websites. I received a suggestion to make the pages more fluid. This means when the window is resized the page resizes as well. When you have multiple windows open at the same time this allows you to see more of the page and its content. It involves using more floating divs and less absolute commands. I can see there would be a benefit to this, so am working on converting my pages to accomplish this different format. At the moment it seems to make the codes a bit cleaner . . . easier to read. I'll reserve judgement on that till when I'm finished with these changes. It is taking me awhile since I seem to be easily distracted. I haven't been devoting enough time to learning the codes. Aside from being sick, I'm spending my time doing lots of other things. One thing I want to work on this year is being more focused on specific things. Learning web programming and keeping up-to-date with my websites and blogs are at the top of my list. I also have a desire to devote more time to garment sewing, quilting and some other artwork. Now that I'm turning the corner on being sick, feeling stronger, I'm more conscious of things I want to work on. I want to plan my time better and Focus, focus, focus! I want to not only organize my rooms and supplies better, but organize my time better also.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

An Apple A Day

That's the traditional saying . . . an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Well I'm going to be trying harder on this. More fruits and vegetables coming in my future. To help keep me healthier, and for lower calories.

I watched a bit of tv this afternoon (switching channels for awhile - guess who is rubbing off on me :) and saw a piece on Oprah Winfrey's show about eating more 'real food' instead of all the processed foods that are so readily available now. There was a statistic presented that 20-30 years ago people would spend 15% of their income on food and 7-8% on doctors and medical care. Her guest speaker says now days the statistic is closer to spending 7% of our income on food (because of lots of low cost, government subsidized processed food, and including all the less healthy fast food) while we are now spending 18% and more on medical care. I didn't jot down the actual numbers given, but that was the relative gist of the percentages. I watched a couple shows on big business farming and food processing ('Food Tech' last week was one) and today the bit on Oprah about where some of our food comes from. Interesting. Makes me want to get that garden going even more this coming spring and summer. And I would be one to have oh, maybe . . . three 'pet' chickens (for fresh eggs) in place of three pet dogs if it wasn't against city ordinances . . . and if my hubby would let me cheat and sneak them in under the cover of darkness. Guess I'd have to work with city council or county regulations to change the laws. Currently one has to own 40 acres of land before they are allowed to have chickens. Unbelieveable! a whole 40 acres for a few chickens! Not 3, 5, or 10 acres. My hubby has already told me I can't have chickens till we move out to the country and buy that 40 acres. What would I do with a whole 40 acres? All I want is a nice garden and a few chickens. Maybe, one day . . . till then I need to find a local farmer who has chickens for some of those wonderful farm fresh eggs.

Anyway, more fresh fruits and veggies and some honest to goodness whole foods will be on the menus for us more often in the future. It has been a while since I was sick, but my opinion is it's better to be well and healthy than sick. This past week has been unpleasant to say the least. So glad I'm on the mend and feeling better.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Sick, a Bad Four Letter Word

We are in a frosty winterland.This was one of the views outdoors yesterday. The frost stayed on the trees all day into the evening. We were surrounded by fog and low lying clouds throughout the day. When driving things before me were only visible for about a block and a half. This photo was taken later in the day, probably around 4-5pm. It was somewhat magical because we just don't have fog and frost stay around that long. I missed the sun though. This time of year a bright sunny day does wonders.

Gathering goodies for a Scrapbook Room Make-OverI have been working on de-cluttering some of the stuff around here. We will be moving a large assortment of my excess stuff later this weekend. I'll be helping do a Scrapbook Room Make-Over for someone. We had an opportunity to get together and talk about it the other day. We've got big plans. They might take a few weeks to get everything into place, but it should be a fun process. Doing this helps me clear space in my house and will make a fun room for someone else to have some scrapbook and craft-y enjoyment.

Yesterday I had a tremendous headache on the left side of my head along with a couple days with stiff neck and achey shoulders. I woke up today with sinus drainage, feeling run down and exhausted. I'm hoping to get past this yuckiness by this weekend. I'd hate to feel sick when we have so much great stuff planned.

a beautiful glass jar in pearlesque colors with crystal accents - a future pen and pencil jar?I found these storage boxes and this pretty glass jar with crystals on sale last week. I think they will come in handy in the new scrapbook make-over. She has chosen a deep pink, almost fushia color along with black and white as the theme colors. We're going for 'stylish and pretty' as our goal.

Putting together a new shelf for the bedroom.Meanwhile, here at home my hubby and I started working on some re-arranging of our bedroom. We're de-cluttering in there as well. It will be nice to open up the space more. We got this large shelf to house some of my hubby's tennis trophies, books and other stuff for him. Here it is laying face down as we worked to put it together. It is still currently in the living room because I felt too horrible to do anything with decorating and moving stuff today. It was a sleep and recovery day today for me. I pretty much took it easy. I hate being sick.

I did spend a little time on the computer. I signed up for a Cloth and Paperclay doll-making class and the Izannah Walker Workshop. I downloaded the pattern pieces and cut them out this afternoon. Didn't feel up to sewing a lot so only worked on putting binding on a tablerunner before I got exhausted and went to take a nap. I found Susie McMahon's Doll site and blog. She's done some amazing cloth doll work. You'll be doing yourself a favor to go take a peak. I spent a while this evening being charmed by her amazing dolls. She's involved in the Izannah Walker doll site as well. Time will tell how good I can get in this new medium. I've got all my supplies now and downloaded and prepped the pattern pieces so will get started on my first dolls soon. I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Movie Night and Other Fun

My hubby and I went out to see a movie tonight. We watched the new 'Avatar' movie. We both thought it was really good. Can't wait to see the sequel. You just know they're going to come out with one. It was too good a story line not to. If you haven't seen it yet, you should. Here's a link to check it out. Of course you can see more links just by typing 'Avatar movie trailer' into your browser and follow the link to see more trailers. But don't stop there, go see the show! Okay, enough of that.

The day wasn't too eventful beyond the movie. Here at home the two smaller dogs got to have a bath and a change of bedding. They usually like to sit wrapped up in their towels and cuddle for awhile after their baths. Our female chihuahua seemed kind of indignant that I made her have a bath. She didn't want to do much cuddling afterward. I think she was mad at me. She couldn't wait to get down and go run to her kennel afterward. By the time we got home from the movie tonight she had changed her mind. She actually came running out to me greet me as I was taking my coat off. Hubby was trying to get all three of them to head out the door for potty breaks but she wanted to get a greeting from me before she went outside. Looks like I'm forgiven. Yay! Dogs are such wonderful, loving and easy to forgive creatures. It's good to know all is well now. They're all sleeping peacefully as I type now.

I didn't get any sewing done today, but plan on doing some of that tomorrow. I forgot to mention the other day I received the Creative Paperclay shipment I ordered on-line. I checked around town last week for it, but didn't see it locally. Then yesterday I received my on-line order, later stopped in to return something at Hobby Lobby and saw some on the shelf during that return visit. Go figure. If I knew they were going to have some I would have waited. I usually like to buy locally when possible to support our local economy. I ended up getting more than I would have originally in order to get a better price. Now I have got plenty of paperclay to make up lots of the Cloth & Clay dolls I am currently lined up with taking on-line courses. I can start on The Original Cloth & Clay Doll Workshop doll now that I have my clay. And the Izannah Walker Doll Workshop lessons start on Monday. It should be lots of fun to get creative with dolls again. I'm looking forward to it. If you care to join me in some doll making fun, click on the links in my side-bar. Come on! It'll be fun!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Sewing and Drawing

my drawing for Word Cue - HeelI had some time to sew this week. I've been working on more quilts while visiting my sewing friend. Some of the quilts are getting further along. The other day I worked on finishing a table runner. This will be a give-away to somewone soon.

I took a bit of time tonight to start drawing my entry to Terry Stegmiller's Word Cue (Heel) for this week. I decided to incorporate the word 'heel' as part of the drawing. I think if needs to be defined more. You can see the 'h' forms the elongated curve of the back of the shoe and the long spike of the heel. The 'e's are used as a decorative element along the top and side of the toe box. The 'l' is formed by the open toe area of the shoe. Maybe I've been looking at it too long tonight, but it reminds me of the jaw line of a large mouth bass a bit. Okay, I know that's goofy and the idea makes me chuckle. I'll be working on the image more tomorrow. For tonight though, I'm already pretty sleepy (and goofy from lack of sleep?) and ready to head off to be. Nitey-nite.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

First Word Cue - East

Here's my start on the word cue 'EAST' -  update to follow.Okay, so . . .

I said I wanted to participate in Terri Stegmiller's once a week Word Cue . . .

well,

here it is already Sunday again,

and I hadn't completed my first prompt.

So I worked on it tonight. This is where I am right now.

Such complications due to the fact that 'Chuck' premeires tonight on NBC. And of course since I'm such a 'Chuck' fan I have to watch the show. This is where I'm at for now. Update to come soon . . .

- - - E D I T E D L A T E R - - -

Word prompt is 'EAST' at Terri Stegmiller's Word Cue Exercise.Okay, So here's what I've got for tonight. I'm about to head off to bed for the night, but thought I'd post the image I worked on after the season premiere of 'Chuck'. By the way, I think the new third season is headed off to a good start. Stay tuned for Chuck to start it's regularly scheduled programming tomorrow night. And maybe I'll work on this more . . . or maybe not. I might start in on this week's cue: HEEL. Hmmm . . . what to do with that?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Short Cuts

My new haircut from the backI got my hair cut the other day. See how short it is? Occassionally I decide to do it short in the middle of winter, in the middle of freezing cold January! It has been quite a while since I had it this short. Even though it's cold out, I have to say I like it this way for a change. After my morning shower it dries so much faster and is super easy to work with.

I had an opportunity to meet up with Terri Stegmiller at the Bismarck Art Gallery. She is another North Dakota blogger who shares so many similar interests in the art, quilting and sewing areas. I would like to invite you to stop by her blog to say 'Hi'. You will find links in the sidebar on the right for her Creative Cue and Technique of the Month. I am going to try to participate on a regular basis with these projects. So far I haven't taken the time to do my first entry. The first cue word is 'East'. I've got an idea in my head, but haven't manifested it on paper yet. Hey Terri  :)  It was fun to finally meet you in person!

I did some work downstairs in my studio today. Didn't get photos of my projects yet today. That will have to wait till tomorrow. I was busy with some organizing, some sewing, quilting and paper piecing the last of the football shapes for my Rattlesnake quilt. All this activity took place in the midst of washing laundry and folding several batches of clothes. Still, there's more to do on that front. Aaah . . . don't cha just love doing laundry? Me? I like to see it over and done. It's a good feeling to get the last of it folded and put away. Unfortunately there are no shortcuts for getting it done. It's just a matter of sticking to it. Sewing and working on my projects between loads is a good way to break up the tedium of chores.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Year's Sewing

I was awakened early (3am) this morning by one of our dogs wanting to go outside. Since she got me up so early I decided I would get all three of them up and send them outside. That way they wouldn't be anxious to go out when the sun came up. It was bitterly cold out this morning, but tonight is worse. It got down to -20 degrees out there - not counting any wind chill factors. That was actual temperature. Brrr.

Cutting 'bricks' with my AccuquiltGo cutterOnce I was awake I could not fall back to sleep. So I got up and went down to my sewing room. I decided to cut up some scraps that were piled on my cutting table. I cut this pile of 'bricks' for a quilt I'll be working on this month of January. These are 3 1/2" x 6 1/2" rectangles. They will be laid out like a brick path so I won't need to match any corners. This should make it easier and quicker to put together. There shouldn't need to be any pinning since I don't have to match seams. I have not counted how many are in this pile. And I haven't taken time to figure out how many pieces I'll need for a queen-size quilt yet. I think I'll just start sewing some together and guesstimate it as I go along. I'll post photos as it starts to take shape.

I sewed these two Clutter Bug bags today.I finished sewing these two Clutter Bug bags today. I actually started the first bag when my friend came to my house to sew with me earlier this week. I was busy talking with her that day and not paying attention. I had to rip some stitches out and do part of it over, not following the pattern very well with all the gabbing. When I went back to finish it, I had a minor change in the way I machine quilted the layers together. I just found it easier to do it my usual way rather than the way the pattern instructed. I've already put some stuff in the one I'm thinking about keeping. I'm planning to post the other to my Etsy account and try to sell it. I'll look into doing that tomorrow. It's getting late for now and I want to head off to bed.

This is the pattern used to make my Clutter Bug bag.Here's a closer view of the pattern. It was fairly easy to make. I used a 9" zipper in both of mine since I had some on hand that I picked up at a clearance sale. One was plastic and the other was a metal zipper. It's been awhile since I sewed in a zipper. I have to say the plastic one was easier since I didn't have to go slow and take care not to hit the zipper teeth with the needle. The pattern instructions for the zipper were a bit different than how I would normally do it. If I make any more I would likely change the way this is inserted. It worked out fine, just different.

Well, since it is so late I'm off to bed. Nitey-nite!