last day of July...

...and here's my weekend report.

I finished one of the bench cushions. No picture yet because we had to move things around and I can't get a clear shot yet. I also sewed two cat cushions. The cats have been fighting over my spinning wheel cover that I accidentally left on the floor. I had some of the pre-quilted fabric leftover from making it, so I made two cat cushions for the, I sewed two covers out of a fabric that has cats doing yoga poses (cute!) and filled them with the leftover fabric pieces. I used velcro closures so I can take the covers off to wash them.

Here's Sombra

Sombra on her cat cushion

and Tica

Tica on her cat cushion

testing the cushions. I have one cushion on each side of my spinning chair. Of course, Sombra thinks they are both here and cycles between cushions! Poor Tica has to keep moving.

On Saturday, the Husband installed the sink cabinet in the studio and did the plumbing. It was not without some issues, which explains why he has not patched the drywall. Let's just say we had to let things dry out a bit... Now that the cabinet is in, we need to buy a counter top and sink for it.

I decoupaged another 4 boxes. I discovered that 3 of the photo boxes are covered in a plastic film. I'm not sure whether the decoupage glue will hold. I did one box and am letting it set a couple of days to see if it will work. If not, I might have to trade these boxes for some that I use to store cookie cutters. I know the cookie cutter boxes do not have plastic covering.

Ravellenic Games: I finished one yarn (Jessica)--one down, six to go.

Jessica handspun

and the close up:

Jessica handspun, close up

Specs:
Jessica Hamby handspun [Ravelry]
Started 7/27/12; 
Finished 7/29/12;
Goth Chick (4 oz) Duo from The Dyeing Arts;
195.4 yds., chain-plied; 13 WPI;
Handspun Heptathlon, Team True Blood, Ravellenic Games 2012

As soon as I finished the first yarn, I started the second (Godric). I have about 1.5 ounces spun of the 4. I have to stop periodically because one of my knees is not happy with the treadling. I'm wondering whether I should back off on riding my bike to the gym, at least until the Olympics is over. It might help my knee.

Onward!
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Eye-can't-believe-July's-almost-over Candy Friday...

...time is moving way too fast!

When the husband returned from his vacation to Washington and Oregon, he brought home 3 flowering plants. These plants are pretty sturdy because they survived the drive from Oregon in a car with no air conditioning on one of the hottest days (90+ degrees).

The delphinium was the most affected by the heat.. It looked very sad when he brought it in the house, but it bounced back:

King Arthur Delphinium

The lisianthius is losing a lot of its flowers right now. I'll take more pictures of it if it gets more blooms.

Forever Blue Lisianthius

I like shape and size of the bee balm flowers:

Bee Balm

As I was taking pictures last night, the light was just right to show off the hairy leaves on this plant:

It's getting hairy out there

I received the last installment of the 2011-2012 ProVerbial Club. I love the color of this fiber!

Matador Merino-Cashmere top

I'll have to wait to spin it, though. My first priority is the Ravellenic Games that start today. I decided to start with Jessica:

Goth Chick Merino top

This is Goth Chick, a merino top (4 oz) from The Dyeing Arts. After spinning natural colors for Tour de Fleece, I needed a little zing of color!

Up this weekend: Besides spinning for the Ravellenic Games, I'd like to finally finish the bench cushions. I received notice that my replacement bench is on its way...might as well get its bench cushion ready! I want to decoupage a few more boxes, too.

Of course, I'll be watching some of the Olympic events while I spin!

Go athletes! Go Ravletes!
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studio mini-update...

...yeah,  I missed WIP-it Wednesday.

The big WIP right now is the cabinet and plumbing in the studio.  The Husband picked up the cabinet from Home Depot and we had to move my work table out of the way to make room for it.

He  has removed some drywall from the dryer side of the wall (which means the dryer had to be moved out the way and is now hanging out in the room) so he could get to the plumbing. He also removed the door jam around the sink alcove to make it easier to move the cabinet in. Of course, it didn't come out in one piece.

So, we have holes in the wall, debris on my floor, a work table I can't use, and drywall dust all over the place (again). Let's not even mention the tools on my sewing table (!). And why is the kitchen's brand-new dustpan and brush in my studio when there are two dustpans, a brush, and a broom right outside the door??

Needless to say, my studio is no longer clean and neat. [sigh]

[Trying to shake it off] Ahem. Here is the fiber that I selected for the Ravellenic Games. I am spinning 7 yarns for the Handspun Heptathlon.

Entries for Handspun Heptathlon

I picked colors that reminded me of my favorite True Blood characters. For Pam, I chose colors more for the Book Pam than the TV Pam and for her non-Fangtasia wardrobe. (Do you think I invested a little too much thought in my choices?! LOL!)

The Ravellenic Games start when the Opening Ceremonies start in London, 9pm on 7/27. That means 1pm in my time zone....I'll be at work, but I'll bring a spindle to do some ceremonial spinning. I'll do more when I get home and watch the opening ceremonies on TV.

Is it Friday yet?
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What I did on my summer vacation...

...not nearly as much as I wanted! Between being more tired than I thought when vacation started and projects taking longer than expected, I didn't get as close to "done" as I planned.

It took me a couple of days to really get rolling on my tasks. I am not a person to take naps as I just can't sleep during the day. Well, I actually took naps the first couple of days of vacation.

Here's the list of what I did and did not accomplish.
  1. Move all of the extra boxes out of my studio and unpack the last box.
    Done!
  2. Deal with the apricots (this was an unplanned task)
    Finished: Canned some apricot halves in light syrup, made apricot preserves, made an apricot galette for Spin-In, and gave a large grocery bag of apricots to a friend.
  3. Call UPS to pick up the broken bench to return to the manufacturer once I had the label
    Done!
  4. Buy and install IKEA Anno Amorf panels to hide the washer and dryer
    Finished: I bought everything I needed

    Just as I was getting ready to install them, Home Depot called to say our sink cabinet had arrived. Because the panels are right next to where the cabinet goes, I did not want to take any chances that they might be damaged while they wrestle the cabinet in place and do the plumbing. The blinds are much safer in their little boxes until the cabinet and plumbing is done!
  5. Buy some items at the Container Store
    • Rolling cart to fit between the washer and dryer: Did not buy because it was too rickety.
    • Folding X-shaped clothing rack to replace our old rolling one: Done
    • Cord tamer for the TV/cable box/ DVD: Done, but I don't like it because it is too stiff. Trying to decide what to do about that.
  6. Decoupage 20 photo boxes, 2 wine boxes, and 5 magazine holders
    Finished: 9 photo boxes and 2 wine boxes
    This project took way longer than I expected. I had to let the boxes dry over night, carefully trim off any excess paper (PITA), spray them with a sealer, and let them dry again. Oh, and make labels for them.

    And I thought painting might take to long. [insert raspberry here]
  7. Buy and make fabric drawer covers (28)
    Done!

    I'm still trying to figure out some sort of handle for them that does not require more fabric. For one thing, I bought the end of the bolt and don't think I can get any more of that fabric. For another, making my own fabric handles might involve making tubes...I hate sewing tubes!

    Re-covered boxes and fabric drawers
     
  8. Make a chair cover for my rolling chair, 2 bench covers, and some extra throw pillows
    Finished: Covered 1 large and 1 small throw
  9. Return the beautiful turquoise and brown wrapping paper to Cost Plus
    Finished: I returned 6 of the 8 rolls I bought. I kept 2 because I love the paper so much. :)
  10. Purchase a gift and attend a bridal shower for one of my "kids."
    Done!
  11. Spinning:
    • Spin every day for Tour de Fleece: Well, I spun most days. I took 4 rest days instead of 2...oh, well.
    • Attend Spin-In: Done!
    • Identify and photograph the fiber I'll spin during the Ravellenic Games: Done!

Tour de Fleece 2012 spinning


Now that I'm back to work, the remaining items on my to-do list will have to wait until the weekend.

Vacations are never long enough!
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WIP-it Wednesday, vacation-style...

...where do I begin?

First, let me answer Elf's question in the comments from Friday's post. I haven't posted a picture of my thread organization because I'm still not satisfied with it. However, I realized today when I was looking for cream thread, that it works OK. So here it is:

My thread drawer

Don't judge me for not having the colors perfectly organized by shade. The drawer barely holds 3 Gutermann or Mettler spools across. I went by general color and how they fit in the drawer. I have too many spools of red thread and not enough cream.

The decoupage project to redo the photo boxes is taking forever. The Mod Podge is still slightly sticky after drying. To counter the stickiness, I have to spray it with a sealer. Ugh! This is a fussy project and I'll think twice before I do this kind of project again.

Decoupaged photo boxes

The teal post-its are temporary until I can make the real labels. I have finished 7 boxes and one wine box. There are still have 14 to do, plus another wine box. I don't think this project will be done before the end of vacation.

On the other hand, the project to cover the fabric drawers is going great. It's straight sewing and quick to do. Basically, I'm making slipcovers for the drawers. They fit snugly over the sides, leaving the bottoms as-is. Because the whole reason for covering the drawers is to hid their original color, I did not leave openings for their handles. Instead, I'm auditioning grosgrain ribbon as an alternate handle.

Slipcover for a fabric drawer

I simply wrapped the ribbon around the box and pinned it temporarily. The teal is not working color-wise, so I'll get a cream or tan ribbon to use once I figure out if this is what I want to do. I can always forgo the handle, but it's easier to get a drawer off the shelf using a handle.

I still need to sew the bench cushions, but I think I'll finish the fabric drawers first. I need to make sure I have enough fabric for them so I can get more if I need to.  I know I have enough fabric for the cushions . Anyway I only have one bench right now, so there is no crushing rush to get them done.

I also need to hang the blinds I bought at IKEA on Monday. Not to mention some household chores that should be done.

I'm rapidly running out of days and there's still so much I want to do. [sigh]
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Eye candy Friday, vacation-style...

...it's day 2 of vacation, but first the eye candy picture.  These flowers are plants in a container in our atrium, which I can see through the studio window:

Looks like summer

Day 1 of vacation was a shopping day. My goal was to buy some items from the Container Store and buy fabric to recover the fabric drawers in my studio. 
  • Container Store: I wanted a cart to fit between the washer and dryer. They had one, but it was too rickety—I was really disappointed. They did have the cord covers, cedar blocks, and foldable clothes rack I wanted, so it wasn't a wasted trip.
  • I found the fabric I wanted at Eddie's Quilting Bee and successfully avoided buying anything extra.
After doing my Tour de Fleece spinning, I worked on re-covering my sewing chair and making a couple of pillows for my spinning chair.  Here's the chair:

New sewing chair cover

and the pillows:

New pillows

I think I need to tweak the cover for the chair back because I'm not completely happy the way it hangs down to the seat. I might add some elastic so it snugs up a bit.

The fabric was a gift from a co-worker. There are 3 pieces, two of which I used for the chair and the pillows. The third piece is big enough for both bench cushions, which I have yet to start.

Day 2 (today) was all about apricots. Our apricot tree was overflowing. Even though the birds and squirrels have been having a field day, there are still more apricots than I can eat by myself. I had picked some apricots on earlier in the week and put them in the fridge. I decided it was time to harvest the tree and do something with the apricots. Here's what I picked today:

Apricot harvest, 7/13

After a quick trip to the store for sugar, I canned apricot halves (4 quarts plus 5 pints) and 7 pints of preserves. No pix yet as they are still cooling.

Up this weekend: Spin-In tomorrow. I'm making an Apricot Galette to take. I'll probably freeze some of the apricots for the Daughter, who requested them.

For the studio, I'll start working on the decoupaging the photo boxes so they will have plenty of time to dry.  Beyond that, whatever I can get done will be a bonus.

OK, I'm off to make my dinner and then do my Tour de Fleece spinning. I need to clear a bobbin for Spin-In tomorrow!

I love vacation!
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WIP-it Wednesday...

...or, as I prefer to call it, Vacation Eve! Starting tomorrow, I have 1.5 weeks to work on the studio and finish up a few things. I'll still be spinning for Tour de Fleece, but I have a long list of studio tasks that will take priority.

One of those tasks is to re-cover all of the photo boxes and other boxes I use for storage. I'm having a hard time deciding which colors to use. I don't want then colors to clash with the studio chair and yet I don't want to make the room too drab.

Here are my choices:

Box cover choices

I love the turquoise paper and if my chair wasn't orange (coral? paprika? anything-but-burnt-orange?), I would use it in a heartbeat. The brown and cream papers are very Zen and would add a calmness to the room. I'd use the brown for the main box and the cream for the lids. The brown has a little bit of gold in it, which gives it a little shimmer.

Anyway, I need to decide soon as it will take a while to cover the boxes and let them dry.

I also plan on attacking some housecleaning chores that have been ignored while we were working on the studio. If I do one task a day, I think I can get everything done by the end of my vacation without spending all of my time cleaning. We'll see how that goes!
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Eye Candy Friday, 7/6...

...let the weekend begin! First, some flowers.

These are growing in our neighbor's front yard:

Watsonia-like flowers

They look like Watsonia, but we're not sure.

In addition to tons of apricots, we have a few roses:

Rose

I like this shade, but it's hard to photograph in the morning sun.

Up this weekend: More spinning for Tour de Fleece! I'd like to finish the Baby Camel-silk blend I've been spinning since day 5. I think it's dyes with some indigo because the dye is coming off (a LOT) on my hands. Not a complaint...that's just the way indigo-dyed fiber rolls. But I would like to spin something else that doesn't do the same thing. I keep forgetting and scratch my nose or rub my face. It's not a good look. :)

I want to take pictures of the fiber I've set aside for the Ravellenic Games. I decided that the fiber I picked for Lafayette is not sparkly enough. I found a fiber that reminded me of Godric, so I'm going to spin that instead.

As for the studio, I'm a little stuck because I have a huge box containing the broken bench in the middle of the room. I can't send it back until I get a label and it's too big to work around. Some of my last organization tasks have to wait for the second bench for its storage area. Then, like dominoes, the rest will fall into place.

One task I can complete is my list of projects to do while I'm on vacation and do a little planning for them. For example,  I have an idea of how to make-over my cloth drawers so they are all the same color. I need to think things through and decide what colors will complement the chair, wall, and trim colors. White is pretty easy, but the Orange (red-orange?) of the chair plus the light sage green of the walls is a bit more challenging!
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June 2012 recap...

...mostly working on the studio

Finished:

  • Fabrics are now stored in their new bookcases
  • Soap and aromatherapy supplies are in their new home (armoire)
  • Quilt wall is up
  • Books:
    1. Eternal Kiss of Darkness, Jeaniene Frost
    2. Jewels of Tessa Kent, Judith Krantz
    3. Cast On, Kill Off, Maggie Sefton
    4. First Drop of Crimson, Jeaniene Frost
    5. One Grave at a Time, Jeaniene Frost
    6. This Side of the Grave, Jeaniene Frost
    7. Destined for an Early Grave, Jeaniene Frost
Started:
  • 6/9 Sierra Sunrise. Corriedale top from Judy's Novelty Wool (Spinning [Ravelry]
  • 6/17 Oriental Dragonfly, Dimensions kit (embroidery)
  • 6/19 Recipe for Summer by Pine Mountain Designs (cross stitch)

Worked on:
  • Royale top, 2 oz (Merino-Yak-Silk) top from A Verb for Keeping Warm [Ravelry]

Works In Progress, did not work on:
  • Anasazi by Susan Portra (needlepoint)
  • Carousel Socks  (knitting) [Ravelry]
  • Cazadero Mist handspun (spinning) [Ravelry]
  • Seaweed Cardigan (knitting)  [Ravelry]
  • Happy Pumpkin Scissor Fob by Shepherd's Bush (cross stitch)
  • Isonzo Merino-Bamboo top (spinning) [Ravelry
  • Jungle Songs quilt
  • Natural Dyes batts from Yarn Wench (spinning) [Ravelry]
  • Peacock Pomatomus socks (knitting) [Ravelry]
  • Sea Foam Wrap (knitting) [Ravelry

UFOs:
  1. Chasing Rainbows Heather--one Merino-Bombyx (2 oz) and one Merino wool (2 oz) (spinning)
  2. Peacock Majesty by Just Nan (cross stitch)
  3. Violet Needle Roll (cross stitch)
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WIP-it Wednesday and TDF day 5...

... I think I could get used to taking Wednesdays off!

My main goal today was to put my benches together. We assembled one bench and it's very nice:

New storage bench

and the inside:
Storage bench, inside

Unfortunately, the other bench has issues. I called customer service and they will take back the bad bench and send me a new one.

I was hoping that I could buy some pre-made cushions for the benches, but they are wider than the bench cushions I found on-line, The benches are 48-inches wide, with cushion width of 45 inches. I need to make my own cushions...back to Joann's to get foam for the cushion filler.

I spent a few hours spinning today. Here is my Tour de Fleece spinning for the last 3 days:

Tour de Fleece, days 3-5

I finished the Yak Survey sampler and started a Baby Camel-Silk blend from A Verb For Keeping Warm. I'm really loving how this one is spinning up. It's very smooth!

Happy Fourth of July!
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Happy July...

...and happy Tour de Fleece!  First up, the weekend report.

On Saturday, I redid my quilt wall. It was fine in my old room when there was a bookcase on one side and a door on the other. In the studio. the edges of the wall are quite evident and every imperfection shows. I took it down, cleaned up the edges and squared up the corners (well as much as I could considering that the batting tends to stretch when you don't want it to!)

I made a quick trip to Michael's for some white grosgrain ribbon. After I tacked up the batting as level as I could get it, I added the ribbon as an edging using a level to help keeps things straight. A few hours (yes, hours) later, I declared it done. It's not perfect, but I can live with it. I think the ribbon edging adds a nice touch. (you can see it in one of the pictures below.

We also installed the drapery rod and hung the curtains. It's a new rod and brackets, but we were able to reuse the old screw holes. The curtains are a little shorter than I wanted, but the next size up was 11 inches longer...too long for this set-up. I really hate curtains that drag. They do completely cover the glass, so that's the most important thing.

On Sunday, the Husband and I took a trip to the local consignment store to look at chairs. I've been pricing new chairs on-line and all the really nice ones were $400+...a lot more than I wanted to spend. The consignment store had many chairs to try out and we narrowed it down to 3: a mission-style chair that would need new cushions at $149, a side chair in a leaf pattern that was a nice size at $349, and an orangey microfiber swivel chair for $249. They all had arms, which is a required feature for me, and they were all in good condition. Here's the chair that we picked:

Studio chair

Now, if you know me, you know that earth tones are not my favorite colors, orange being my least favorite. (It comes from many years of living with a burnt-orange shag carpet in my house that my ex chose...70s much?) However, this chair is in great condition, with only a little bit of wear on one of the arms. It is a Crate and Barrel chair and it swivels, but not too much. It was an excellent price, and it is comfortable. Score! Here's another look:

Front view of my spinning set-up

This shot also has a view of the quilt wall behind me. I'm using the baskets as a temporary side table. I really need to do something about the combination of colors in this room to make them more cohesive. Right now, I'm more interested in getting everything in its place!

I did some work on the TV and cable box setup so I can watch movies while I spin or craft in the chair and still be able to watch movies while I quilt on the opposite side of the room. Let's just say I re-purposed a cutting map swivel table. I'm still working on the setup, so I'm not ready to show you yet.

On to the Tour de Fleece.

I did a major stash dive Friday night to find the yak sampler fibers and a bunch of other unusual fiber to spin for the Tour. I also set aside the fiber I will spin for the Ravellenic Games later n the month. I'm a member of Team True Blood for the Ravellenic Games, so I chose 7 fibers with colors that reminded me of these True Blood characters: Sookie, Pam, Jessica, Bill, Eric, Sam, and Lafayette.

Day 1 of Tour de Fleece: I spun 1 ounce of a yak-merino blend from a 3-ounce Yak Survey sampler by Tactile A Fiber Arts Studio.

Yak-Merino singles

Day 2 of Tour de Fleece: I chain-plied the yak-merino blend and got about 39 yards. It's probably worsted weight, but I haven't checked it yet.  I also spun 1 ounce of a yak-silk blend.  I'll ply that tonight and start on the 1 ounce natural brown yak top that was in the sampler.

Yak-Silk singles and Yak-Merino handspun

Whew! It was a busy weekend!
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WIP-it Wednesday...

...and a photo of my new toy. A year or so ago, my Mom mentioned that she had an old Singer sewing machine. She said it wasn't very bi...