Sunday, October 31, 2010
She headed straight for the Witches' Warehouse, with "caution sign" in hand. I heard three of the sisters discussing where best to place the sign to keep trick or treaters from entering....Wouldn't you think that the front door would be the place for that kind of thing?
I think they are more worried about me invading than kids, although I did promise to keep out. No trust at all. What they don't understand is, I want the day off too. I am ignoring them completely after I take the photos.
The gypsy is in her usual place, prepared to read palms. She is very nervous though. Someone keeps flying a carpet through the area and they can't be seen. Very nervous.....
Tessie is in charge of refreshments. She is debating the opening of the "things that go bump in the night" compartment under the stairs. You would think that by now she would know better. Remind me to take the keys away from her. I get no sleep at all when she does that. It takes days to find those things. They make such a racket. They hide in the walls and rattle chains. She thinks it cute for about ten minutes and then she comes and begs me to help round them up. It's the same every year.
They all are waiting for Matilda, the fourth sister to arrive. The party can't start without her. Nobody checked the broom landing platform outside the second story.....Everybody knows that she is blind as a bat, drinks just a little too much before taking off, and can never make the platform on the first try. She has to buy or make a new broom every time. You can't see them, but there is a pile of broken brooms below her.
I hear Tessie yelling for help with the round up. Too bad I can't zap myself out of here. I guess I should go get the net and start hunting......There goes one now! Quick! Grab the net!
Happy Halloween! See you tomorrow.
Don't forget to poke the photos.
Saturday, October 30, 2010
That lead to a search for my favorite peasant cross stitch pattern books. I have had these three books for over 30 years and they are still going strong.
About the time I got ready to take a photo, Tessie wandered into the room, rubbing her eyes and yawning a lot.
She gave me a bleary eyed glare and growled...."You didn't wake me up. You let me sleep for two whole days!!". She jumped in front of the camera just as I snapped the shot and hissed, "How could you?"
It was easy, but I didn't tell her that. I do want to keep my head on my shoulders....
She read the comment that April made a few days ago. April asked if she could have the Russian cottage. Actually, that was why I was inspired to build it. April and Seth have both spent time in Russia and I have always loved Russian architecture. So it only made sense to go in that direction....However.....Needless to say, this didn't make Tessie happy. I told April that she could have it if she could get it away from Tessie.
I am going to let the two of them have at it and may the best girl win.
Anyway, a couple of days ago Rianne from Holland wrote to me about a site that has scans of all kinds of antique Russian cross stitch pattern books. Thanks Rianne! I am not sure if it would be OK to include that site because it is a personal Picasa site. You could always do your own search.
Meanwhile, I googled.....Googling can be fun. It even put Tessie in a better mood.
I put "Russian cross stitch patterns" in the little slot and then pushed "images". You have to sort through them and poke thumbnails here and there, but there are a wealth of patterns even there.
If you don't want to do that, here are a couple of blog sites that have lots of patterns to hold you over.
I have listed the first one a couple of times before, but it is always good to have a reminder of what is out there. It is Free Easy Cross Stitch Patterns....And the name goes on and on from there, but the site is a good one.http://patternmakercharts.blogspot.com/
Back to work.
See you tomorrow.
Friday, October 29, 2010
I went to the computer room closet yesterday and found that not to be true....
See that little gadget that holds the closet pole in place? It is about to give way and if that happens, all of the fabric is going down!
To keep this from happening, this morning I went to Walmart and bought a Plano shelf unit. It says right on the wrapper, "holds up to 300 lbs..
It snapped together with a rubber mallet in about 5 minutes. Unfortunately, it took a lot more time to reorganize the fabric and get it in place.
As I took the canvas shelves out of the closet, everything inside fell out. What fun!!!
This is what the room looked like when I was about half done. It took me an hour or so just to get this far. Everything had to be refolded and sorted. GRRRRRR....
After three hours+, I had it back together. It now has everything by color and hopefully I will be able to put my hands on the fabric that I need in a matter of minutes.....If it is in this closet....Did I mention that there is more fabric in the hall closet and in a chest in the living room? Something has to give!
I am taking a day from minis just to clean out all of it. One down. Two to go.
Mookie, the Inspector General, approves of the first one.
Onwards and upwards. The hall closet is next.
You may be asking yourself, "Where is Tessie?"....Would you believe that she and the mad pig are still sleeping in the new trundle bed. No. I am not going to wake her up! It is soooooo nice and quiet in here this morning. I am going to enjoy it while I can. It won't last.....
See you tomorrow.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
I am redoing the mattress for the trundle bed.
I took apart the mattress and cut the block a bit smaller, so that I would have room for the blankets.
I cut a piece of card stock just a hair smaller than the block of wood.
Then I cut a piece of quad rule graph paper the same size for a pattern. I centered lines going in both directions so that the tufting pattern would also be centered. I drew dots in a diamond pattern.
You can do the dots in whatever pattern you want, but for the first time, I would recommend a square or diamond pattern.
I then laid the pattern on the card stock and punctured all of the dots with a crewel needle. It is easier to get the thread through all of the thicknesses of card stock, stuffing and fabric if you do this first and it makes following the pattern from the back that much easier too.
Next, with a double thread and starting in the center, I went up from the back through the center hole. I flipped the whole thing over and a few threads from the hole that I came up in, I poked the needle into the fabric and went back to the back. I needed to come back through the same hole that I started with.
Always start in the center and work out. You will find that the work lays a lot flatter and you can keep the fabric on the straight of grain with this method. If you start at one end, chances are you will be way off by the time that you get to the other end.
You should start with as long a double thread as you can manage. It is best to not have a lot of starts and stops on the back.
For the mattress, I didn't bother to do button tufting. If you want that effect, you can go back and do a French knot or a bead in the center of each tuft at this point.
The top still looks a bit rough. You will find that, when you stretch it around either the card stock itself or in the case of the mattress, around the block of wood, it will smooth out.
Before you turn the edges to the back, trim the batting even with the edge of the card stock.
When you stretch it, be sure to start in the center of all sides and work towards the corners.
If you are doing the top of a cushion, simply glue it around to the back of the card stock and then glue that to the block as I did in the cushion for the wicker chair. It gets more complicated if you are doing upholstery on a wing chair or couch. I won't go into that here.
For the bed, I simply glued it to the back of the block. As you can see, there is room all around the mattress to tuck things in.
As soon as I finished, I put the bed back in the cottage to see how it looked. Then I went and put everything away.
By the time I got back, Tessie and the mad pig had settled in under her quilt of choice.
I started to tip toe out, so a not to awaken them....Peace at last.....Then I heard a mumble,"Turn out the lights and leave....."
Then I heard two loud snores in unison. Who knew that pigs snore too?
See you tomorrow.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
George helped me disguise the unfinished townhouse.
And best of all, there were three extra witches at the party. Tessie and her sisters held down the centerpiece.
I will now be cleaning for another hour and a half to get the house back in order.
Tomorrow I plan to do a tutorial on tufting. Stay tuned!
See you then.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Tessie is getting anxious to try it out.
I did the mattress this morning. The bed will not be made and unmade much, so I am going the route of balsa with padding.
Here you can see that I simply cut out a piece the size of the box, minus space for blankets. I put a double layer of high loft batting on top and then wrapped it like a package.
When I finished it, I stuck it in the box to see about fit. I am thinking that it is sticking up to high...I may try a narrower piece of balsa. This was 1/2". I may go down to 3/8". I am debating tufting it also.
Right now it is just a little more firm that I would like it to be. Goofy Pig doesn't even make a dent in it when he bounces on it. He should sink down into it.
That is probably all of the progress that I will make today....
There is a party to plan. The witches are coming here tomorrow for our annual Halloween lunch.I need to go do some more decorating.
I have already made tote bags. Here's a sneak peek. Tessie is playing up to the skeletons that are attached. I keep having to fish her out of the bags because she knows that there are already a few goodies inside.
We bring a small gift for each member of the group and they get dropped in the tote bags. The afternoon is filled with good eats and fun treats. We usually have at least one mini class.
You probably won't see a lot of me tomorrow, but I promise to pop in with a mini treat or two for you.
See you then.
Monday, October 25, 2010
When I finally found them, I had to disappoint Tessie. She fell in love with the two photos that I had of Russian cottage beds. I had to break it to her that there wasn't going to be a free standing bed frame.
Tessie did specify, "No hanging cradles! Babies are icky, messy and sometimes they smell. Goofy Pig is enough to take care of." I wanted to question, "And he doesn't smell?" But I thought better of it....
I thought that the hanging cradle was an ingenious idea. It would be great in mini, but I guess not this time.
I think that I told you before that I am putting a trundle bed under the roof. It may not have a standing frame, but that doesn't mean that it can't have interesting bed coverings.
In the first photo, I was a bit surprised to see a beautiful patchwork quilt. The bed skirt was done in red and white cross stitch. There is a lot of that in Russia and the Slavic countries. I have several books of patterns from that area. Their towels and clothing are also decorated with some of the same red work designs. That will be fun to do.
I am crazy about the coverlet in the second picture. It is a woven rag quilt! I can't say that I have ever seen anything like it before. Poke the photo and take a good look.
The bed skirt on that one is crochet. The coverlet is augmented by a lambskin throw for warmth. Again, there is red work on the pillow borders.
This third photo is the one that I am going to try to copy as closely as possible. It is the kitchen area of the house. The most interesting thing here is the fact that the samovar has a flu coming out of the top that vents directly intothe wall and the flu from the stove. Yes. They do call what looks like a fireplace a stove. I am going to have to see what I can find out about this.
I noticed that most of the photos of the outside of the gingerbread houses don't have chimneys as such. The all seem to have a small, metal smoke stack with a cone on top. Many of them are in the center of the house.
After we settled the plans for the cooking area, I went upstairs and put up a couple of shelves.
There is a small lip where the roof meets the wall on both sides. I thought that would be a good storage space.
Face it. Tessie is going to be living in cramped quarters here and every inch of space will count.
Again I used a couple of pieces of the fan for the braces underneath the shelf. I may still put some pegs under it to allow for hanging things too.
Anyway, that is as far as I have gotten this morning. Tessie is screeching for me to get back to work and the laundry is calling my name in real life, so I had better go now.
See you tomorrow.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Whilst standing back and looking, I decided to straighten my socks, finished and unfinished and yarn....I am going off track. No more minis today.
Socks will be the main attention grabber for the rest of the day.
About this time, every year I take stock of the socks. That is, the new ones that I have knitted for myself and others since last Christmas.
I seem to be somewhat ahead of the game for the year. I have seven pair of finished socks. Some are for me and some for Christmas gifts. I am not going to tell you which are which. If I did, Seth and April would know what their presents were. I will say that the ones that Tessie is sitting on in the unfinished sock photo are MINE! Black and orange. Halloween. I do kind of like the other orange ones to the left. Both are somewhat witchy.
As you know, I have the attention span of a gnat...I can't watch television just to be watching television. I have to have something to do with my hands. This is how I keep up the sock population in America.
If I was forced to finish one pair before starting the next, I wouldn't be allowed to look at all of the pretty yarn in the stores. And sock yarn is like candy and potato chips. You can't just choose one. There is always one that is just enough different from all of the others that I have to have it. A lot of the sock yarn is hand dyed and if you don't buy it when you see it, you may never see it again.
I need to go finish the witchy socks now. It's only a week to Halloween. I have to be prepared.
Back to minis tomorrow. See you then.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
They came from Katie of Katie's Clay Cornerhttp://katiesclaycorner.blogspot.com/ Yup the very same one that won the drawing. Thank you, Katie!
I have been drooling over these since she started making them. She is selling them in her new etsy shop, in case anybody is interested. They must be seen in person to be appreciated. Beautifully done.
It took me a couple of day to pry them out of Tessie's hot little hands, to even get a look at them....
She started wearing the puce one with "Love" on it as a very large broach.
She did let me have one of them.....The one that said "share". Gee...I wonder why.
She flitted here and there deciding where they should live.
The black cat sign with the orange background went to the Witches Warehouse, as did the Happy Halloween one.
The one that says "Treasure the moment" will go somewhere in the Russian cottage or the Townhouse when they are done....
The last one was tough for her to decide on. She has been flying around the house on her favorite dragon for the past two hours.....I finally asked her. "Why don't you land someplace?"
Her reply? "Can't you read? The sign says Journey....So I am journeying!"
I think I need a stop sign..... I am getting dizzy with her flying around my head every 10 minutes!
We are off to see "Red"(the movie) today, so I probably won't get a lot of mini-ing done.
See you tomorrow.
Friday, October 22, 2010
Tessie picked out the colors she wanted to work with and bundled them into the new basket. There is enough wool left int the bag to make me a blanket! Thanks Laura!
This morning I went back to work on the Russian Cottage. The second floor needed work.
The first thing that I did was cut a hole in the corner so that a ladder could be installed.
I used my old Dremel Mini Mite and a router bit to cut most of it. Then I sharpened the edges with an Exacto knife. Someone explain to me why I didn't think of the need for a hole before I got the house put together. Please?
The hole is two inches(feet) square and just big enough for Tessie to fit through, if she really wants to climb a ladder instead of zapping herself back and forth.
After that, I went and ripped a 1/32", 4"X 24" piece of walnut into strips on the jigsaw. It has a guide to do that. It gets done in just a matter of minutes that way.
All the while, Tessie was hassling me to get it done. She had laid down the first courses of glue. She kept yelling, "Hurry up! It's drying fast!"
I managed to get started laying the floor before the glue dried and made lumps. That also took just a matter of minutes because I had cut all of the wood to length before I started ripping the strips.
Here's the basic, finished floor. Tessie oiled it with lemon oil. Once that dries, I will do a little sanding and it will be done.
Yes, it will dry out. Yes, I will have to oil it again, but it will look better than varnish. More natural.
I laid the strips a little apart in places to make it look like the floor had been there a while and the wood had shrunk in places.
Now Tessie is harping that she needs a ladder and a feather bed.
Did I mention that the bed is going to be a trundle type that will roll under the roof in the daytime and pull out at night? It is. It will go in the space to Tessie's left when not needed.
Tessie is brandishing the broom and making threats. I guess I had better go make a ladder and a bed. Although I don't think that she really needs the ladder. It is only sensible to humor her. She is armed and dangerous.
See you tomorrow.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
These are the bats that I meant. In the Halloween jewelry is where I found them. They are black metal filigree and very thin. I now have a Halloween costume and after that I can dismantle them and use them in something for Tessie. You know that she will like them!
Yesterday, I went to Wednesday Witches mini meeting. Anne, one of the witches, was lucky enough to go to the San Jose mini show a couple of weeks ago. She was nice enough to bring the witches all mini beaded flowers.
We got our choice of several different colors. Knowing that Tessie would end up with it, I took an orange one. The photo doesn't even start to do it justice because it magnifies it too much....The whole thing is exactly 1" high! That's from the bottom of the vase to the tallest of the purple flowers. The orange flower is about 1/4" across. These are the tiniest beads that I have ever seen and the wire that they are strung on is practically invisible. Amazing. Thank you Anne!
While at the meeting, I twined a basket for the roving that Tessie will be needing for weaving....I am afraid that she is going all out. Now she is talking spinning wheels and carding combs. This loom is getting me into all sorts of trouble.
Anyway, I dyed the basket this morning and it is drying now.
One of Walter's co workers provided me with some wool from her alpaca farm.
Unfortunately.....That was a while ago. I put it in a bag and put it up in the top of the closet in........the Black Hole....
I so do not want to go back in there again today.... Tessie is pushing me to do it. I am digging my heels in and holding onto the counter in the kitchen for dear life, yelling, "I don't wanna go!"....
I am losing the battle. Wish me luck.
See you tomorrow with roving.....
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
There is a way to get around making everything that Tessie has on her list.
No. I didn't make that black wicker chair overnight. I found an old brown one that I wasn't using. Then I grabbed a can of flat black spray paint. Almost instant black wicker chair. Don't tell Tessie!!!
She told me that she didn't want matchy-matchy to the apron this time. She dragged out the tuffet that you see in the photo and asked, "May I have skeletons?"
Since I had lots and lots of skeleton fabric, I said "Yes. You may." and got started bright and early this morning.
I thought that I would show you how I make slip seats for the wicker. This is so that they can be changed, if I tire of one fabric and want another.
The first step is to cut out the shape of the cushion from 1/4" foam core and one from poster board also. Then I cut a long 1" strip that will fit around the foam core and one that is 1/2" larger all around than the poster board.
At the same time, since I knew that she would want a pillow, I cut two squares of poster board the size that I wanted the pillow and two pieces of fabric 1/2" larger than those also.
I cut two pieces of low loft batting the shape of the cushion and the same for the pillows.
Next, I clipped the edges of all of the material and mitered the corners so that everything would lay flat when I glued it to the bases.
Here you see the clipped pillow material and the other side glued down to the back.
The foam core piece gets centered on the fabric and glued around both the top and bottom.
The top of the cushion is clipped and glued to the back all around. If you need to, trim anything on the back that doesn't lay flat.
Then glue the top of the cushion to the foam core base and the two pieces of the pillow back to back. You can clamp this for a while if you aren't sure that it is going to lay flat.
The last thing to do is put cording or trim around the seams between the pieces. In this case, I used #5 pearl cotton.
I wouldn't let Tessie sit down until after the photo.
You simply slide the seat in and out as needed.
Tessie likes this particular chair because I wove a pocket in the left side as a place to stash her books and magazines.
I also put the same trim around the tuffet. Now all it needs is feet.....Did I mention that the feet are somewhere in the Black Hole of my workroom......?
Guess where I am going now? I have one end of the string tied around my ankle. Who has the other end of the string? Please tie it to the door handle. I'm goin' in!!!
With any luck, and a couple of good strong knots, I will see you tomorrow.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
I stopped work when I found the last of the five dollar houses from the thrift shop.
It is an old one just exactly like Tessie's current cottage. I started wondering if the loom would work in there....Of course I had to stop cleaning and try it.
Here's what it looks like. Zar almost bumps his head on the ceiling and the top of the loom is just a hair from it. I think that, in order to use this, I would have to rip the second floor out to make the space more airy. Then there would be only one room. I am thinking that it might look a bit strange.
I went back to work with good intentions. Then I thought of the Russian cottage. I called Tessie and Zar and had them move the loom into the bottom floor there.
Interesting. I would definitely have to build a larger extension on the left of the photo where the hole is. I don't know that I want to do that. More work. And besides, Goofy Pig seems to think that the warp makes a good trampoline. That can't be good for the fabric!
Back to work. Under the desk, I found another Houseworks room box kit, like the one in which the Colonial Kitchen dwells.
Unfortunately, that one isn't built yet, so I had to have Zar and Tessie move all of the furniture out of the present room box and move the loom into it.
Keep in mind, the door and window can go in different places or can be changed to suit. I don't think that I would put the fireplace in the back either.
This one has the height that I need for the loom and for Zar's head. There are no bouncing pigs here. That is a slight advantage.
Now I am going back to work and let my mind wander some more. Any suggestions?
See you tomorrow.
Monday, October 18, 2010
First I unloaded the bag that I brought home from the show. The only other pieces that I bought that were by an actual artist were two crocheted doilies from IGMA Artisan, Laurie Miller Landa. They were both amazing and I don't know which one I like better.
I photographed them with one of Nikki Rowe's gourd bottles for scale. That's Witch and Wizard Miniatures http://nikkinikkinikki72.blogspot.com/ just in case you don't know who she is.
The first one has four fan shapes in the corners and the second one is very similar to one that I started in real life based on a granny square and working out from there.
I forgot to ask what size hook she uses, but the thread is Sulky rayon sewing thread. She was zipping right along on another doily whilst sitting at her table at the show.Pretty cool to watch.
OK. Now that you know that I didn't exactly start cleaning right away, I have an excuse.
I had to keep putting the wicker back in the box. As soon as I would put it in and turn my back to reach for the tape, Tessie would jump in and drag it back out. That went on for the good part of 15 minutes. At one point I had to undo the box to get her out. She had gotten herself tangled in bubble wrap. Good thing I spotted her before I sent the package.
Anyway, when I got back from the post office, Tessie had changed aprons, saying, "I can't wear that one until you make me a new chair like Katie's." And then,"You are going to start that today, aren't you? Aren't you???"
I looked her up and down. She had changed into her Halloween apron from last year. She was holding out the other one as if it smelled bad....Maybe it does. She has been wearing it for a month.
As soon as I finish here, I am really going to go clean the workroom. Honest! Tessie is going to help.....Maybe. If she wants a chair like Katie's, she is going to have to help. The materials for wicker are at the bottom of the heap on the floor just inside the door. I do hope that she doesn't change her mind. I need all the help I can get! You did notice that I didn't show you the mess, didn't you? That's how bad it is.
See you tomorrow.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Katie, I think that you just made the separation harder with your choice of fabric.
Tomorrow I will go find a box somewhere that it will all fit into and then it will be on it's merry way.
Hang in there!
I am now going to go spend the rest of the day relaxing and doing nothing.
See you tomorrow.
Saturday, October 16, 2010
I used my last dollars to buy it and it was a real bargain at 75% less than the price of the last one that I had seen a couple of years ago.
Katie, If you will contact me, we will discuss the fabric that you want. Tessie tells me that she still has plenty of the apron fabric hidden away if you would like that or you are welcome to something else if that isn't what you want. I did notice that you were very confident and said that if you won you might choose that one. It isn't carved in stone yet though.
I am just sorry that I couldn't do a set for everybody. Well there is always next time......Thanks for all of the great comments. I hope that you will keep coming back. Party on!!!
See you tomorrow.