As a courtesy to me and the universe, please speak to me before you copy or transcribe anything from this blog for profit- my work may be unpublished but it is of value to me, and if you are using my ideas to profit, hey, I want my cut of it!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Summer doings

Sigh. Summer has come and gone. The days are getting shorter, and we've already experienced frost, although this past September has been spectacularly warm. I've had to finally concede and turn on my furnace since it has been 14oC indoors on a couple of occasions.

I've had two wonderful produce from my non existent garden this year- rhubarb and golden raspberries. The rhubarb, I turned into rhubarb syrup to make a drink called Foxy Lady. You basically stew your rhubarb in water and sugar then strain out the pulp. The syrup you mix with some lemon juice, and stir in club soda or sprite or seven up. I used the reserved pulp to make rhubarb cupcakes, which were tangy like lemon cake but had a funny grey colour (I had mixed rhubarb pulp with white cake mix). Next time, I tint the cake mix- lesson learnt.

The golden raspberries were such a novelty since I had never seen them before. They were pale, like bleached out raspberries and was not as tart. In fact, they reminded me of biting into little peaches...they had a nectary quality about them although were not cloyingly sweet. Apparently they don't keep too well, so they aren't something you'd find in the store. Had I not noticed some ripe rasperries on the tarmac in the back alley, I would not have known the raspberries were ripe and ready as they looked albino.

I have also been working on cards and miscellaneous ATCs for a small group swap. The stamped image is from Magenta. I went crazy with my H2O paints by Luminarte, which are basically mica based water colour paint.

I also finished a baby quilt. I am well pleased with the result as I had attempted a whirlygig pattern and they turned out lovely. I hand quilted it as well. Much easier than attempting to machine quilt, the bane of my existence. I hope the recipients will like it since I do Love how it turned out and could see making a full sized lap quilt with this pattern. My saddest thing is I could not place my custom label on the back since I had used a fleecy backing and I cannot iron on my label onto it so I left it off. Sigh.

I have also been gripped by Hexie fever. What is that, you ask? it is a nasty virulent fever that once it takes grip, gives you delusions of grandeur as you dream about feverishly creating the hexies. So, it is a more traditional form of patchwork. It is also known as English Paper Piecing or Grandmother's Flower Garden. You cut millions of millions of templates and tack or baste the material to it. Then you hand sew, (yes, hand sew) the patterns together. I started with the flower pattern and as I started sewing everything together, my dream of making a queen sized quilt dwindled down to maybe making a small cushion. I am going to aim for a lovely lap quilt size but am resigned to the idea that it may take several years of this to get to it. I will need to make hundreds of hexie flowers, not to mention the white hexies that separate the flowers.Never mind, though. It is a portable hobby and it will help me hone my patience and persistence. Hah!!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The wonderful dresses, at last.

I finally found the time and had the inclination to photograph and upload the pictures from my Dressform swap. Our hostess Deb, was the most fabulous hostess ever. She really put in a lot of effort to ensure we loved our returns. More importantly, Deb had the strength to return all the fabulous dressforms to us as well. I had seen the display of the dressforms in her fantabulous Ikea curio cabinet and I honestly don't know if I would have been able to return all the lovelies. Hats off to Deb.

First off, Deb's wicked hula creation. She created this lovely hula girl, meticulously making her lei from numerous punched flowers. She also flocked the "coconut shell" bra as well as hand made her grass skirt, patiently inserting the beads at the top of the grass skirt. Deb Moon is amazingly creative and patient! When I parted the grass skirt, lets say she is anatomically correct ;) with a little cowrie shell and pearl. I laughed hysterically by this time, I had had the dress forms for months and only discovered this when I was placing the lovely dress form into a shadow box for display.

Next up is Claudia's mysterious moon goddess dress form. I love the simplicity of the dress form. The is a delicate placement of the rhinestone jewels on the hem of the skirt.
The hanging bead in the heart cutout adds to the piece as it dangles freely for the moon to gaze on.

I was lucky enough to also receive the lovely work from my friend Susan (Suji). I know it is rather macabre, the head, and the bloodied knife. But I love how it all came out. I love that the neck is bloodied. Susan pays such attention to detail and she also has a great sense of humour. The hair is great and the dyed muslin is very appropriate as it lends a soft and dusty air to the dress form. Art doesn't have to just be pretty. It can also be thought provoking and this is why I love this piece.

I also received a return from Paulette. Her work is stunning. She had done themes for her dresses and attached price tags to all of them. The dress I received was a lovely hot little number. Red happens to be my favourite colour and the dress is also glittery. I would never be brave enough to pull this dress off but I love it nevertheless. Did you notice the little glam purse that matches the dress?

On the back, there is a quote. "When in doubt, wear red". My favourite part is the lovely tramp stamp that you barely see peeking out at the base of the dress. Paulette, I love your attention to detail.

Dena is an amazing artist. Her creativity knows know bounds. When I saw her dress form, I was hoping I would be the lucky recipient of it. I love nuns and I love how she created this masterpiece. And the quote by Mother Theresa is apt and beautiful. Dena carefully layered the dress form with torn vintage print and coloured it delicately as well. I love my dress form more than you will ever know, Dena.

Lara is a good friend of Dena's. I was blown away by her work. I called it the Iron Maiden dress. All silver and black, it is dark, brooding and futuristic. And it resonates with me. Lara is a trifter and the dress form came wrapped up in a vintage doily. Lara also decorated the back of the dress form with a cool velvet sticker which continues on the theme. Her other work were just as stunning and also vastly different.

Last, and certainly not least, I received a return from Lolita Sue. Her dress is vintage and gorgeous. From the fabric ribbon rose, to the bejewelled flourishes, she shows me that brown does not equal drab. The velvet ribbon hem and the hints of green highlight the loveliness of the dress form in a way only Susie can illustrate.

I feel very lucky to be part of the dress from swap. My friends honour me with their best work and am indeed blessed.

I purchased shadow boxes and will proudly be putting my received artwork on display.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Busy beaver

I was reminded gently by Nancy that I hadn't posted anything on my blog recently. Yes, I *have* been lazy. I received back the dress forms from the swap I participated in. They are super fantastic and I will try and post them on my blog. I think I was waiting for permission from the owners of the dress forms to share their work. Meanwhile, I shall post some card samples I had made for my dear friend who is getting married later this year. Since it is a fall wedding, I went with some earth tones. Specifically, I used Stampin' Up!'s Cajun craze as a base and a vanilla or ivory for the contrast. I have since changed my mind and want to use Curious metallic cryogen white, which has a very subtle shimmer as it has mica impregnated in the paper. tracking down those babies has proven harder that I thought as they are selling at 1$ a piece and I am convinced I can get them cheaper if I buy them in bulk.
Without further ado, here are the samples.

Clean and simple. The tree is from the set very Versatile (Stampin' Up!).
The bride and groom liked this card but it was more suited to the usual card size and not the long card, which is what they wanted.

I love leaves! This set is from Stampin' Up! Not sure where the set is so cannot verify the name just yet but I have hoards of leaves stamps. I really like clean and simple as well and this card embodies that.

I had to do it. I am in possession of a Stampin'Up!Owl Punch and I had to make a pair of owls although i told the bride and groom that no way was I making 240 fiddly owls (especially with the veil!!) as much as I loved them. The branch stamp is from Amuse Art Stamps.

I saw a really cute card made with this punch from Martha Stewart on the Memory Box website and thought it would make a whimsical wedding card.

I liked the sentiment but the groom wanted no sentiments. Stamp set is French Foliage (Stampin'Up!)

I really like this card. It is a bit more contemporary than the traditional card. The birds were from a Chinese set by Kodomo Design. Not sure where the set is to verify name of the set right now- the set had a stylized chinese pagoda scene typically seen on blue wedgewood china plates- very cute!!

I believe the bride and groom finally settled on a variation of this card. Silly me, I didn't take a picture of the other card. It has leaves just in the bottom left corner and the cream isn't as pronounced since I used off white instead of the poison ivory I used in this card.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

So much to do, so little time....

My deadline is this week. I have to alter and finish seven (yes, count them, seven) dress forms from Maya Road. Of course I left it to the last minute. Inspiration comes slow to me and as much as I want to take my time on this, time is running out. Doesn't help that I am still scrambling to hunt down my gear. Like the quilling tool I *know* I have but cannot find. I need it to finish off some frog buttons for the cheongsam outfit for one of the dress forms. And all my miniature and cutesy findings- all missing because I have waaay too much stuff and don't know exactly where they are. I just returned from having dim sum with my mum and sister and subsequently paid a visit to the parental home. Found a box of miscellanous crafty stuff I had left behind so I dragged that home. There were some Prima flowers in the box. I shall have to examine it closely to see if I can incorporate some of the flowers on the dressforms.

Well, I guess I better get back to work. No rest for the wicked :)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

I must love my brother

So, two years ago, my brother asked me to make him a pirate's outfit for Halloween. I am sad to say I directed him to a Halloween costume site since I didn't get round to making him a pirate shirt and the rest of the accoutrement for the costume. I did buy him an eye patch, though. And almost got a soft toy parrot as well.

He does not live in the same city as me and so we often chat via Facebook or Skype. One day, he asked me if I would make him some funky cushion covers. He directed me to this picture below. Dig Dug pillows he called them. I do not recall playing this game as a child. Space Invaders, yes. Frogger, yes. But not Dig Dug.
I spent hours trying to figure out the best way to do it. But it kinda fell to the wayside.

He came back and asked if I was going to make him Pacman pillows instead. He sent me this picture instead. The ghosts from Pacman I could identify with. So. after some hemming and hawing, it game me an excuse to increase my quilting stash.

Last weekend, I got to work, trying to figure out how to get this done. Here is evidence I was working on it.

Oy vey!! There are over 200 squares. In order to make a decent sized pillow, each square would need to be about 1 inch. That was a lot of cutting,and sewing. I was going to make him at least 3 pillows. It seems like a very painstaking thing to do.
So, because this weekend, I was snowed in (at least 10 inches of snow over 2 days), I started working on the cushion cover.

Counting squares isn't fun. That was why I gave up on cross stitch. I was too impatient. After two hours, it wasn't even half done.
Oy! Oy! Oy! Still, after over two hours, I kinda got the hang of it and persisted. I am happy to say, it is completed, The jury is still out on whether I am going to complete two more pillow covers...... I know I have a healthy masochistic streak but that seems like a whole lot of work. The orange in the completed cushion cover isn't as bright as I do not have a flash on the Blackberry I took the picture with.The orange is a lot more intense.

I was poking around someone's blog yesterday and she had done a disappearing nine patch which she deconstructed and added plain borders around. I like what she did and I think I am going to do the same with my first quilt top. I still shudder at the thought of unpicking everything but I think for the long run, I will be happier with that decision. Plus, I do think the borders will make the quilt bigger and also improve the way it looks.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Happy New Year ( two weeks late)

Belated Happy 2011!

Christmas was pretty quiet for my family as we don't have little one's to celebrate with. We did have a little bit of excitement, though. My sister adopted another greyhound. It was very hard because we had only recently lost Salvador, her previous greyhound. He was such a sweetie and was so brave to endure bone cancer at such a young age.

Ella came into out lives December 22. She is only 3 years old. All black, full of dandruff and sweet as can be. Well, except for her covert peeing habit. Despite numerous attempts to take her out to pee, she hasn't gotten the concept fully and still pees inside the house. In part, it is because she is allowed to drink water all the time and she is not used to that. She is from Miami and is adjusting well to the frigid north. She runs around in doggie jammies and has an outdoor coat as well as booties. Van Gogh doesn't seem to mind her and although they don't play much together, they get along. She does seem to like cuddling, much to Van Gogh's chagrin.

I've also been working on a new quilt. It is blocks of coins and I can't wait to see it done. I love the bright colours and am slowly working on getting more coins made. I think I meed about 50 or 60 blocks. for a decent sized quilt.

Oh, yeah, did anyone notice my new blog layout? I have been a big fan of The Graphics Fairy and was poking around last night and also found that she has also crated free backgrounds so I thought, why not? New year, new look too, right?

Last year, for Christmas, I felt I needed a challenge and so I challenged my mum to a Sugee Cake Throwdown. Sorta like Bobby Flay and his throwdowns, I wanted to see if I could recreate the family sugee cake. Sugee or suji or sooji is cream of wheat or semolina (not to be confused with salmonella. The name sugee is east indian in origin. The Sugee Cake is a Eurasian specialty. Recipes are passed down and guarded jealously. Some people think it came from Sri Lanka or India but no matter what. it is a very rich cake, with loads of butter, and eggs. I used to call it the heartclogger cake as it required 22 egg yolks and 1 1/2 lb of butter.
Along with raisins, chopped almonds and also candied winter melon.

I made three attempts. The first two were just trail runs and the third was my mama's recipe. The trail runs were from miscellaneous recipes I gleaned from the web. Christmas eve, we had my dad and by brother in law taste test the cakes (was competing against mum) and I happened to win unanimously. I felt badly for mum but seeing it was my first time, I think I did well. I got my sister to freeze most of it since it is far too much a temptation, sitting around. She claimed that the cake called to her in Malay, inviting her to eat it. So, we may take some sugee cake out at Easter or maybe at our birthdays.