Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Circus of Js Finished

It took me one more week to finish Circus of Js, the blanket.
More close up photos posted on The Cloth Side of Me .
In all it took me 27 days from start to finish. The only other thing I did besides eat was make the Circus of Js book. 

Monday, February 01, 2016

The Grid Installation begins

At last! I have started!

Yesterday, I took a stack of painted cardboard and started the installation of The Grid.
There is not much to say about it. As it turns out, this is the easiest part of the process. 
In all, I installed 14 of 199 cells. I have 5 more that are ready to install. That means I have 180 more cells to cut, paint and install.
I found this installation stage to be very exciting. For one thing, my application method worked and was fairly simple. But the best part was seeing my vision come to life. The second best thing is the way seeing this in place is so inspiring. I'm really excited to get started painting more. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Circus of Js

Hello January!
I tell you that big goose egg on the head on Christmas day shook something loose and before it went away I was in fast and furious stream of thought inspiration mode. I love when that happens. 

Well it just so happens the inspiration had a deadline which was Sunday, and I have had my head down and fingers designing, drawing, stitching, painting, cutting and waxing since the eve of the Epiphany. That's actually when it all started.

First, you need one fact of the matter. Here it is. Sometime in February, I am going to be a Great Grandmother. 

Of course, I have known this for quite a long time but I have been on-again-off-again about making a baby blanket. All through the month of December I knew if I was going to make one, I should get started. Then I would think, "no I don't have time." Then shame and guilt about that. And so it goes.

I really wanted to be stitching in the chair but the dread of the cloth explosion that happens in both studios was more than I wanted to deal with.

Anyway, I now realize that I just didn't have the inspiration passion. Therefore, I didn't have the passion to make the blanket. I made Ashley an elephant blanket before she was born, and I'm ready for her to be the keeper of that one now. However, she doesn't think it is boy enough for her soon-to-be, Jordyn.

Somehow, on Tuesday the 5th, I came to realize, I needed to make a new elephant blanket. I had to stew with it a little bit and then I drug out the cloth and sure enough the explosion happened. I had twenty days. The fact that it took me 5 years to make Tim's cloth was irrelevant because I could feel the passion building. 

I couldn't start immediately as I had an appointment early morning on the 6th and so I could only do what I do. In my head. Another explosion. 

Another fact; Josh and Ashley are adding a baby Jordyn to the blended family of Joshua, Jalynn, Jazzlyn, Jaclynn, and Jasyk. 

Here I go. In my head, I started an elephant list. 
For example, 

  • Jelly and Jambo the peanut butter spreaders
  • Juggle and Jar the milk shakers
  • Jibbber and Jabber the chatter bugs
  • Jingle and Jangle the bell ringers
  • Jupiter the star gazer
  • Jogger the memory keeper, etc etc. 

Then while still in my head and unable to get started, I thought about how I made a book for Tim to go with his Tim's Cloth. Bingo! (never mind only 19 days and counting)

I must make a book for soon-to-be baby Jordyn. The first thing that popped into my head was an altered board book. I have a stack of them form years ago. The first one I pulled out was Circus, Circus! Do you believe on the last page was a parade of elephants? Oh gee! The elephant blanket, as well as, the book now has a name. Circus of Js.

I spent Wednesday afternoon designing my elephant and planning the cloth and getting started. The last bit of inspiration came Thursday before rising and shinning and it excited me the most. I realized the elephant trunks that I had designed looked like a "J". It all came together because in my head I could not see where to put the names of each on the cloth. 

I just love when inspiration trickles in like this.

Here is the Circus of Js cloth. Although it was not quiet finished, it was giftable. As soon as I finish the rest of the quilting stitching, I will show and share more. 

 In the meantime, here is the book, Circus of Js.
Before starting in the book, I made a book mock-up and planned the pages mostly to see if I could get what was in my on the book. 

Showing here the original page with my version in progress. I fully intended to paint that ball on his foot. Also, you might notice in the final version below that his red toe nails were painted out.  

I liked some of my mock-up sketches more than the ones that showed up in the book.  

Juju the adventure dreamer and Jetty the wall maker. 
Love this page.
Here they all are. Of course, Josh is the Ring leader and Ashley the spirit maker with Jordyn the magic maker. Josh the brother, Jalynn the helper, Jaz and Jaclynn the sisters and Jasyk the fun maker. 

The end. 

Monday, December 28, 2015

All was good and then...

Last year we had a Snowman Christmas and this year it was all about Christmas Trees and Reindeer. Two trees and seventeen reindeer bags full of goodie$.

I didn't do so good with photos this year. I was a bit preoccupied.
I did manage a few things ahead of the day like these reindeer candy bags.
I planned a fun sock game where my six big and little girls each pulled six...

...of these little tree tabs to find out which 3 pair of unmatched socks they would get. 
I made candied apples for my fruit salad. I baked a pecan pie, banana pudding and banana bread before the day. If you know me, you know I never ever cook anything before the day. I also put together a broccoli casserole. I cooked the cornbread and prepped everything for the dressing.  

On the day as always, I was up early and started the rest of the cooking. I even had the serving dishes out with little paper notes naming what would go in each. I had the hot pads lined up down the middle of the table and noted what would go where.   

All was good and then.....

...around 10:30 on the day about the time the turkey was to come out of the oven, I was whizzing from the bathroom to the kitchen and caught my foot on either a little rug that I had thrown from the kitchen to the bedroom to vac or the vac cord and I danced across the floor head first trying to catch a fall but knowing the momentum was too great. 

I was headed right straight toward the kitchen door facing. I was still trying to catch my fall all the time dancing faster and faster. In a split second, I knew my face was going to be a big mess. 

I was still trying to catch my fall when somehow I ended up in the kitchen on the tile floor. Face untouched. I hit with my butt, not the part when sitting straight up but the part touching when you are slouching down and sliding out of the chair. When it hit the momentum was so great that my body slung backwards with centrifugal force and jerked my head back. It hit the tile floor. In that split second before hitting I knew it was not going to be good and I even thought about how lucky I was that I had been so organized with the day since I probably would not be present now.

When I hit, I really thought I might have cracked my skull. Pain? Yes. I also felt the pain in my butt. Ken was sitting in his chair and saw the whole thing happening. I think I yelled when I first started dancing across in front of him. He said he thought I nearly caught the fall two times.

I laid in the floor crying, first with pain while holding my head and feeling the goose egg swell in my hand, and then I cried loud with anger that I had done something so stupid. I really could not get up for a while or rather I didn't want to get up. The cool tile floor felt so good. Eventually, I was ready and got up. 

With the goose egg in my hand, I knew I had not cracked my skull. I knew I was going to have a terrific head ache and Ken had three Advil ready immediately. 

I got up and sat at the bar and directed Ken on what to do. I had gotten so organized before and had even written my cooking scheduled with what would go in the oven and when. He set the table (a first) and even though he would ask what goes where, he seemed to know. I think he may have been paying attention in earlier years when I would show the kids how to set the table for me. He knew and that made me smile.

He made the tea (another first as far as I can remember) and all was done before the kids arrived. Of course we always wait to put the rolls in until everyone is present and Melissa's job is always to carve the turkey. She strips that bird down to the bone like no one I know which is a job I hate. Tim is in charge of the shells and cheese because they want that right off the stove and not made ahead and Tim is the shells and cheese chef.

Trees and Reindeer
This little stack is ready to go home unwrapped. Seven littles didn't get to come this year and we missed them ever so much. 

The day could have only been better if the seven missing could have been here. 

I'm all good. The goose egg is slowly going down but still sore. I can't slouch in my chair as that is exactly the wrong way to avoid butt pain. 

One more thing. Wrapping and making fun packages is not out of character for me. However, cooking and preparing food ahead of the day is definitely out of character for me.  I knew before I got off the floor who was in charge of the day, as well as, my life.

I believe. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A Laughing Cow Christmas

I went on a dig through my blog archives the other day and ran across this tutorial. It is one of my favorites and I think you will love it too. If you have been around a while, you may remember it. If you are new, you may be totally unaware and missing out on a really cool project. Therefore, I repost it today with greetings for a wonderful holiday season. 
I'm in full out Christmas mode this weekend.  My kids and grand kids expect, want, and ask for money for Christmas.  Each year, we give it but I must have fun with it and present it a little different each year.  This year, I discovered The Laughing Cow Creamy Swiss Cheese. Oh my it is so yummy.  But the little boxes are adorable and I just could not throw them away.  Soooooooo, was the day.  Here is what I did.  I drew a circle around the inside lip of the opened box.  This is so I could get the smallest circle.
Since I don't want the text to go all the way to the edge, I cut it out using the pencil guide but cutting it smaller.  It doesn't matter if it is exact or not.
Then I used Golden Matte Medium #3530 to glue the text on the top and bottom of the box.  I painted the inside of the box with Lumiere #561 Metallic Gold.  It is very pretty because the inside of the box was white.
Now for the napkin.  I want this circle to be larger than the box so I held the pencil next to the lid to mark the circle.
 Then, I tore the napkin following the pencil line as best as I could. Again, it doesn't have to be exact.
Here is another.  I think right now would be a great time to find some beautiful Christmas napkins.  I happen to have this one in my huge napkin stash.
 Make sure you only use the top layer of the napkin.  Most napkins have three layers.
It is very important that you use Golden Matte Medium to glue the napkin down with.  I'm sure something else will work but it should be very runny. Other Golden gels are too thick and don't absorb through to the top side which make them more transparent.  Paint a generous layer of the medium on the box and then lay the napkin down onto it.  You can't move the napkin so place it carefully.  Then, with some medium on the brush, smooth the napkin out.  You might even use your finger a little but the napkin begins to deteriorate quickly so work fast and then stop.  Let it dry.
Notice how I let the napkin go over the edge and also notice how you can see the text through the napkin.
Today, I made four. Here they are drying.  I painted on two coats of Golden Self Leveling Clear Gel. It gave them a very nice high gloss finish which is what I wanted.  I might even add a third layer tomorrow.
Next, I designed a little strip label.  I wish I could have been more clever but it has the recipients name on it which is really sweet.
I'm holding the label in place and showing that I brushed a layer of Lumiere #553 Brass which is very very translucent onto the label.  It gave the label a beautiful gilded finish.
I haven't shown you the last step because I don't have the big bucks in the house yet.  But when I'm ready to close up the gift, I will run a red thread around the groove that is left when the two box parts slide together.  Then I'm going to use a glue stick to apply the label.  A red thread tail is left out so the beautiful little box can be unzipped. You will see how that works when you open your Laughing Cow. So cool!
Supply List:
Laughing Cox boxes (eat the cheese)
Text page
Golden Matte Medium #3530
Lumiere #561 Metallic Gold
Lumiere #553 Brass
$500.00 (gift) or any other small gift
Golden Self Leveling Clear Gel #3001
Label strip designed by You!

Have fun.  If you make a gift box, I would love to see it so come back and leave me a comment.