Sunday, February 25, 2007

Cosmo and the Light Cube

I know, I know...I've been yammering about this light tent a lot. I still have it set up in the guest bedroom, which is off the treehouse where I create. Today I was in the throes of auditioning fabrics...I have a jacket pattern I want to make for myself, but it's going to take 4 different fabrics, and I want it to be a little wild. Not a lot wild, just, well...different. Right now I have about six stacks of four fabrics laid out on the floor of the treehouse.

Cosmo likes to come upstairs when I'm in the treehouse. He thinks the peacock feathers I was given are his personal play toys. But today, as he slinked around upstairs, he spotted the light cube. He was so darn cute, I had to take his picture.

Here he is, sitting in the cube:

And here are a few more, which would be great if he could just sit still! Sorry about the cropped ears!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Late post -- completed RR

This is a picture I haven't posted here, and even though it is a round robin that completed several months ago, I think the doll merits posting. The very fact that a round robin completed and everyone in our group got our dolls back is a huge accomplishment. The last time I participated in a round robin, it was for a healing doll, and everyone in our group lost her far as we know, they are all bound and gagged in a garage in Canada.

But I digress, and I really don't want to be bitter about how that RR went, when this one was so successful. I sent the basic doll, done in that slinky, slippery, shiny peacock looking stretch fabric, made from a pattern done by Li Hertzi. Judi named her "Heart of Magic," and several other folks added on to her in the theme. I think she's absolutely glorious (although I have to admit that every so often I look at her and see John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever!) She is waiting to be suspended from the treehouse ceiling right now. You should see the traveling's magnificent, too.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Melting Snow

Lucky us! The temps hit near 40 yesterday and the snow did a lot of melting. I am so grateful for better temps and that feeling of hopefulness that comes with warmer weather.

Despite all that, this is still one of my favorite photos of Gerry with the snowblower. I'm such a Princess and the Pea person, and he's Superman. I couldn't stand to have this much snow on me, especially if any went down my neck. He just charges ahead and gets the job done. Can you tell I'm feeling very fortunate?

I have so many projects coming up! I'm hosting a "small fun figures" swap on one list, and an herbal soap swap on another. They both come to a head the same week. I'll have lots of pictures to post in March.

Last night I trimmed and polished the soaps I made for the herbal swap. It turned out a beautiful pale yellow, and I left bits of the infused geranium leaves in the base. Unfortunately, they darkened more than I would have liked. Still, the fragrance is one of my favorite personal blends...very green and sharp, with a hint of citrus. I thought my soap was cursed at first, but it turned out ok. It's a good thing I got the taxes mailed in yesterday, as I have a lot of participants in this swap, and there will be a booklet to put together and much sorting to do.

I heard from my daughter yesterday, and they've made some advances on the difficulties she was having getting Baby O to go to bed at night. I'm so pleased for the entire family, but I'm especially proud of my daughter. She is so thorough and determined about Baby O's care; I'm also pleased that they read to her all the time. She's 10 months old, and she's already turning the pages of the book when they read to her.

And in other good family news, Gerry was able to speak with his brother Sunday evening. His brother has been very ill since before Christmas, and the fact that they actually had a conversation Sunday night is a near miracle in my book. It's been a week filled with all kinds of news, most of it good!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Light Cube, part 2

Sorry to take so long to post an answer to those of you who have asked (below). We had a plow come down the street yesterday with the dump truck portion up, and it ripped out our phones and cable.

Anyway, for those who asked, the tabletop light cube set was not cheap, but it sure is a treat to have. He bought me the whole deal...a 30" light cube, a 12" light cube, two light fixtures on tripods, and an extra backdrop. You can see the set I got here:

This takes a lot of room. I have it set up on a card table, with the lights shining in from either side. It makes a huge difference in the way things photograph. I think I'll finally get some pictures taken of the soaps I have for sale, too. There are logs of other options at the Tabletop Studio Store. Click home and check the other things available.

It was odd to have no internet access for a couple of days. Everything that we wanted to look up, from an area code to the name of the man who built our was all out there waiting and we couldn't get to it! Very strange. I did get a lot of extra housework done, though, and made a nice batch of soap in a two tone swirl. It's a new fragrance blend for me, and I'm not sure yet what I'm going to call it.

We've pretty much dug out-- we. Listen to me. Gerry has pretty much dug us out. He's a gem.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Light Tent

I was really disappointed in the way my angel mermaid showed, or didn't show, when I sent her photo in for the competition. Gerry and I were talking about how difficult it was to photograph a mermaid in the snow and I told my dear husband that I had bid on a light cube on ebay. He decided right then and there to get me one for my birthday...but then we went shopping for a thread rack for the treehouse and he ended up buying me a new sewing machine for my birthday. So, yesterday when the light tent arrived, I received a HUGE valentine gift instead!

Last night we put together the light cube and I'm just SO impressed with the difference it makes. The photo below is of my Oracle doll (courtesy of an online class by Pearl Moon). She's not finished yet, and she's scrunched into a chair that isn't appropriate, but she was the closest thing at hand for the photo. I can't tell you how impressed I am with this light cube, and we're just starting!

I also took pix of the first three collages I've done for the 7 day magazine challenge on the ClothPaperStudio list. Here they are, two of them cropped, one kind of suspended in space.

What a great tool this light tent is! I never thought I needed something like this, but now I can see all sorts of uses. I've been talking for years of adding photos of my soaps on my sales site, and now I'll be much more tempted to do so. I just added to my "to do" list, didn't I?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Is it Spring yet?

I know, I know...I shouldn't whine. Home is where Gerry is, right? Somehow, though, this is not how I pictured spending our golden years.

These pix show things as they were about 6 am today (you should be able to click on them and see the larger, more detailed versions):

And then around 1 pm today:

Murphy wonders when he can go out the back door again:

And this is what it looks like when you take a photo of snow with a flash while it's dark:

I have to remind myself, often, of the time we spent apart, and how much more unhappy I was being without him, but in a warm climate. We women may make the home, but we can't make it to our specifications unless our men are happily and gainfully employed! When I remember those bad but warmer times, I'm quickly reminded of how difficult it is for us to be apart, so...I can endure!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Working in the Slate Mines

OK, so it's not as bad as mines, but it is slate. The small bathroom off the master bedroom was functional, but not in the best shape when we bought this house. The tub surround was in particularly poor condition, and looked as though it was two different colors patched together. Gerry (of plumbing hating fame) took out the old surround and repaired the damp-damaged wall behind it. It was a lot of work. Then he put up a new tub surround and everything looked clean and white...and wet...from behind the waterproof wallboard he just installed. We were not happy. After he damaged his hands ripping out the tub surround, calling in a plumber, and replacing the waterproof wallboard again, we decided to do it right and get just what we wanted, not a "get by." It took us at least two weeks of shopping to decide, and we went back and purchased the very first thing we loved.

Right now we're working on 4 X 4 tiles in the tub area. Gerry has already installed a new shower door and we'll tile up to it on one side, and put up beadboard wainscotting in the rest of the room. The 1960s era Spanish-looking tiles on the floor will be replaced with 6 X 6 slates tiles. To offset the darkness of the tumbled slate, the wainscotting will be a bright white, and the area above that will most likely be a pale sagey-green (although the wall color is subject to change).We spent the day yesterday working in the tub area, and have two of the three walls done. Today we'll do the wall with the plumbing, and then we'll seal the slate. I think we'll take a couple weeks to get up our courage to do the floor. After all, that will mean removing the toilet and vanity, which involves plumbing, and we all know how that goes!

This is what it looks like with two walls done. The white tiles you see to the left will be gone and replaced with the wainscot. The grout we have chosen is a tan/gray color that is perfect with the variations of the slate. Though we were worried about the darkness of the slate, I think keeping all white fixtures and white wainscot as a contrast will provide the lightness we need.

As you can see below, we tried to keep a random effect with the tiles, but lay them out a little in advance, so we didn't get clusters of any one shade. Gerry cut cardboard to the size of the wall, and I worked on layout. So did the dogs; Cosmo helped too when the dogs were tired.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Messy Studio Contest

Judi on the FDA list suggested that we have a messy studio contest. Several of us have taken pix as our studios stand right now...and no creating extra messes. I have an unfair advantage because last weekend I met with a friend who is moving away and she gave me 5 bags of stuff! I was doing the happy little piggy thing and sorting through all of it, so...the broken jewelry is still on the desk, the flowers on the floor, and the fabrics on the floor, too. I have pinned up a piece of fabric on one table so I could photo things in front of it., let's let you see for yourself. Bear in mind that this room is only 6 1/2 feet wide!

Looking toward east end. This is my main work area, and has the library/cutting table, sewing machine tables, and a desk at the window.

Looking toward west end of space. This is mostly storage. Note the flowers and fabrics on the floor awaiting storage.

Looking toward the wall with hooks & fibers. Sewing machines are underneath.

Looking at the storage shelves. There's also a stand of drawers on the other side of the desk.


This is what has spilled across the landing into the guest room. Yes, that is a tree root leaning against the footboard.

My mother's desk in the guest room. She must be spinning in her grave.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Angel Revealed

Now that the voting is over, and the winners announced, I can reveal my entry for the angel doll challenge. I had such a good time making this doll, and found it fascinating to see how differently we each interpreted that pattern. My doll is "Harmony" (my wish for the new year) and started with colors I find harmonious. The free pattern did not include a base or legs, and it soon became obvious that my interpretation was demanding to become a mermaid. Well, that's ok -- mermaids need angels, too, don't they?

I did a lot of hand beading on this one. The gold at bodice and wrists is all tiny gold beads, as is the tracery on the chest, and of course the fringe from the fluke. I'll do some close-up shots soon -- you really can't see the detail work this way -- unless you click on the photo and look at the larger version. Incidentally, both of these photos were taken before I covered the buttons at the shoulders.

No win for me, but that's ok -- I didn't even vote for my own doll, though the ones I did vote for didn't win, either. I'm tickled with this doll and taught myself new things once again. Detail photos soon, I promise.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

For Don

You had to be there...or maybe it's just as well you weren't. Hum to yourselves..."these are a few of my favorite things."

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Message to All Princesses...

Don't kiss the yellow frogs (toads)!

During this bitterly cold weather, our dogs don't like to go far from the doggy door. Poor Hagrid, the lawn ornament, has suffered for it.