Jul 042015

A summertime visit to see family.
Fire and firefly chases.
A nice backyard fire, with my mom and my cutie niece chasing fireflies in the copse of trees.

Cutie niece was also interested in having her own Scrappy Cat. We made a trip to the local shop where niece selected her desired fabrics. I like how specific she was – she took the whole thing very seriously, comparing each fabric side-by-side before deciding on it. All buttons had to be examined before the final selection of the sparkly ones you see here.

Scrappy Kitten, ready for assembly.
Ready for assembly. My mom’s sewing machine is a bare bones model, so I ended up doing some of the decorative stitches, and face and paws by hand. Sometime right before assembly, it was demanded by cutie niece that this was a Scrappy Kitten, not Cat. I took wider seam allowances and made a shorter tail to accommodate the Kitten-ness request.

Scrappy Kitten, done.
Custom Scrappy Kitten, completed and on a lap. The pillow behind its head was another demand-custom project. Cutie niece is totally going to be a designer of some sort one day.
I ran out of time while there and still need to complete the AteMouse and requested Kitten treats and get them in the mail.

Nice time, but glad to be home, as always. I like home.

Jul 032015

Tiny, baby bunnies having lunch.
Click to embiggen and see the maximum cuteness.

I had lunch out and through the window saw a small, baby bunny looking for her own lunch. A minute later, she went back under the bush. Another minute later she was back out again. Then, I realized there were multiple bunny babies under the bush. This pic shows two of them. Terribly cute. I’m sure my cats would go tail-whipping mad for this view.

Jul 012015

I’m playing catch-up for all of June now! Yea!

Right at the beginning of June, Slick and I went up to Vedauwoo, our go-to outdoor recreation area. I wasn’t in the mood for the Turtle Rock Trail, so we wandered around for a while and then climbed up some rocks, this time from the inside of the area my fav trail circles. We didn’t follow a trail, rather, we started off and kept going up or to the side until we couldn’t go up anymore. We ended up sorta between Hassler’s Hat and Glen Dome. To see what that means, click here for a nicely labeled photo of the Turtle Rock Massif areas.

Rock scrambling in Vedauwoo Box Canyon area.
At the start. About half our climb was shaded because of the scrubs, trees and other rocks.

Rock scrambling in Vedauwoo Box Canyon area.
Slick, posing for the camera. You should know that when you’re climbing with Slick, he will be leaping from rock to rock, across deep crevices, all nimbly-pimbly, like a mountain goat on crack. As he reaches a hand back to help you across each vertigo-inspiring chasm, he will encouragingly say to you, “Don’t worry, this is the hardest bit!” with a smile. Mind, he does this around every single corner; since there is no path he can’t know what actually is the hardest bit. I swear at one point, while I clung with all my limbs flat against a severely sloping rock face (trying to channel the spirit of a fly) I wondered if I wasn’t crazy for following him. But, whether I am insane or not, I did follow, I survived, and it was good.

Rock scrambling in Vedauwoo Box Canyon area.
Close to the top, we rested in rock shade and watched the clouds. There are numerous hawks, turkey vultures, and crows that like to ride the thermals here, as you can see by the hawk in the center of this shot.

Rock scrambling in Vedauwoo Box Canyon area.
Part of our view near the top.

Rock scrambling in Vedauwoo Box Canyon area.
View from the other side. You can see the Ames Monument from here quite well.

Rock scrambling in Vedauwoo Box Canyon area.
Slick, in photographer mode.

Rock scrambling in Vedauwoo Box Canyon area.
There are a variety of critters in the rocks, and sometimes you can see critters in the rocks, too. I’ve drawn my outline here so you can see what I saw.

I had a very fun time scrambling, even though I almost wore through my jeans – and the skin on my hands – getting to the top.

May 282015

Obviously, if I make the quilt bigger, it will take me longer to finish.
Of course, I did make it bigger anyway.
I stayed up late last night finishing the blocks. It is unlikely I will complete this thing in time for show entry. Now, if I miss the entry date, that means I can spend even more time on it. More handwork, maybe some beads. Could take lots of time to feed my obsessive ideas.

May 272015

I’d show you my latest project, a rather free-style quilt, but it is still in pieces. It was meant to be done over the long weekend, but I made it bigger. Then I changed it. Then I made it bigger again. Changed the layout a bit more And made it bigger again. And I might make it bigger just one more time.

I hope it is only one more time. This thing is already going to be 300% bigger than planned. I almost feel bad for wanting to enter it into the upcoming CAG show. Almost. Most of their art is quite traditional and standard. Paintings, pastels, in regular frames. My work is soft, touchable textile, bigger than their usual. It needs space and it needs to be seen both close and from across the room. DO NOT TOUCH – except for that crazy quilter person who won’t go away. You can touch her quilts. Quilts! Who ever! Tsk!

I don’t care. I want to make them. I want to share them, sometimes. Size and tradition be damned.

I’m totally going to make it even bigger tonight.

May 182015

Finally, more colors.
The original tulips might be overtaken. I need to get that grass cut down. Usually the grass is still weak and sparse this time of year.

May 142015

As requested:
Walking bridge.
A picture of the bridge at the new-to-us park Slick and I have been walking in lately. There always seems to be water in this slender creek, but even more surprising is the presence of fish! They like to jump up and splash the water when you’re walking past in the quiet and scare the crap out of you.

May 132015

You’ll recall that a couple months ago, I made new fabric out of scraps and bits of fabric and thread for an Experimentation project. I decided to use that fabric to make art cuffs. At first, I thought it might be a good audition for Art-O-Mat, but the sheer number of repetitions needed was disheartening. You know, because I’ve said it before, I don’t like to make many of the same thing and it seems like 15 is a good number for this series. I might take these down to WYO Art Factory for addition to the Wonderpull, or maybe put them in my Etsy shop, but I prefer the smaller quantity.
Completed art cuffs.
I very much enjoyed making these, every step of the way. Making new fabric from bits, pulling out my stamps and adding them in, beading the edges for a touch of sparkle, sewing them together, using the snap press. I expect the label stamp for the boxes to be equally entertaining. If/when I make more of these, I’ll use slightly smaller stamps or keep the edging closer to the image – a couple of these have beading that goes off the edge. I think they’re okay, but maybe those ones will be discounted or giveaways or something. Doesn’t meet my standards. Anyhow, I have a whole slew of freshly carved, slightly smaller stamps to use. I’ll probably make some wider cuff bases as well, to keep the bigger stamps in the game.

Completed art cuffs.
Each one has a stamped back and a snap closure. I still need to whip up the packaging for these guys, so they’re not 100% done quite yet. Creations of Dubious Utility is my shop name and my artsy website.

That starry, drinking squirrel one is mine! All mine!

May 122015

The HST (Half Square Triangle) into diamond blocks small quilt, is done.
Half Square Triangle into diamond block quilt, front.
Man, why do I never lint-roller these things BEFORE photographing them?! Oh well.
The binding is teal background ditsy from the same fabric line whose charm pack inspired the whole thing. Charm packs are small stacks of 2.5″ squares of fabric from a fabric line. You generally get one piece of each color and print, but they are cheap. For three or four dollars you can have a smidge of an entire line. I got this pack at last year’s quilt show and shop hop and it sat on my shelf until a month ago when I needed a small sewing project, and now you’re caught up. The problem with waiting a year – as I explained last year – is that fabric has seasons, like fashion. So the fabric in the charm pack I got in 2014 isn’t sold in stores anymore by 2015, unless you get lucky and find a bolt sitting in the back corner of a shop. This means that if you need a little bit more of the same fabric to fill out a project, your best (sometimes only) option is to visit Etsy, where many shops resell fabric online. They are more likely to keep older fabric lines around than regular shops. I got a yard of the cream background and a quarter of the teal flower ditsy for the back and binding, but the rest of the fabric I filled in from my personal stash/palette with prints and colors that I thought went together nicely enough. The look is good, and I’m not much for making an entire project out of one designer line. That stuff bugs me. The choosing of the fabrics, colors, placements, layout, etc. is what makes it your project. If you’re buying a collection of fabric and using a pattern – what is there of you in it?

Also, don’t think I’m demeaning Etsy fabric sellers – I quite prefer them to brick-and-mortar shops most of the time. You can shop any time you want, their prices are usually lower, their combinations and options for fabric are generally better, and they are almost all operated by one or two sellers who need happy customers to keep up their reputation – this means they are friendly, helpful, and usually ship your order very quickly. Online, you don’t have to adhere to the limited shop hours of IRL stores and there are no elderly women pushing you aside, or salespeople grilling you on what project you’re making and what pattern is that and why aren’t you following a pattern?!

I don’t like people.

Half Square Triangle into diamond block quilt, back.
I pieced the back together, both because I like the look and because I was simply out of coordinating fabrics. I think I’ve settled on the way I like to piece my backs now – an echo of the front design, in one piece, floating as a focus. This one and the rainbow stripes quilt are good examples.

Half Square Triangle into diamond block quilt, draped.
You can see that our Japanese red maple tree is starting up. The leaves are that pretty red in the spring and fall, but green in the summer. The squirrels like it, but they don’t harass it too much.

Now, onto a few more project finishes!

May 112015

I’ve been meaning to start thread sketching more often. Like regular paper sketching, the best way to get better is to do it more often. I wanted to start with something simple, but as usual, I fail at simple.
Thread sketch of everyone's favorite droid.
Thread sketch based on the Lucasfilm R2D2 figurine, which you can see in the upper right corner of the next photo. This is not an ideal sketch subject. Lots of straight lines, lots of stop and starts. I’ll choose a more fitting subject next time.

Thread sketch of everyone's favorite droid.
With paint. I like it. Tonight, when it is surely dry after 24 hours, I’ll heat set it. Then? I don’t know. I didn’t think that far ahead. Maybe the side of a tote bag? A skirt or jacket panel? Pillow front? I’ll find something to do with it.

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