Wednesday, March 20, 2019

A visit

This week, my daughter, her partner and our 2 year old grandson, Ollie, came for a visit on their March break. They’re both teachers in Charlottetown, PEI. We still have lots of snow here and very high snowbanks. Caley and Danny enjoyed the sled run more than Ollie, I think.

He was happy to make mounds of snow in his dump truck and to play on top of the banks, something that made Nana very nervous even though they kept a close eye on him.

They are so trusting at that age— jumping into momma’s arms.

I did a clean up after they left yesterday and hubby packed for a trip, so I’m on my own until Friday.

Today, I had lunch with friends to celebrate a 70th birthday for one of them. When I came home it was so nice outside I went into the yard again to do a little more tree trimming while I can still reach it. I even got Xmas lights off the pine tree, something Gord usually does in late spring with a ladder. Getting back down off the snowbank was a bit tricky though!

In my down time, I’ve been knitting another afghan using leftovers from my daughter’s Christmas present.

I’m making very slow progress on my fiber art pieces. Definitely I’m slowing down in my processes and I don’t know if it’s a confidence thing or simply an age factor. I finally took the chickadee piece to the machine after backing it with a stabilizer.
I stitched some of the hand lines, and the chickadee wings.

At the same time I added some writing with a white ink pen, a piece of stamped fabric, and a wilted leaf to the seed pods which are stitched to the background. If I decide I like it I’ll stitch it all down, add some shading to the wilted leaf and get to the quilting.
Do you see what I mean? I add something and then must think on it. My ‘groove’ seems to have really slowed!

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Finishing some artwork

Although it’s beautiful and sunny - the type of day that makes one want to get out on the snowshoes -bit’s windy and cold so I opted for a swim this morning. Then I met hubby for lunch.

This afternoon, I’ve been in the studio. While I waited for the puff paint trees to dry on the cardboard backs (it could take 24 hrs), I decided to get to work on some artwork that’s been laying around waiting for a finish.

I’m hoping they’re going to work as a monoprinting motif on the chickadee piece that I’m working on. I’ve tried one on a small small piece of fabric.

I would like a few tree branches on the right side. We’ll see how the print plates work once they’re dried.

In the meantime, I cut and fused down all the pieces of the background trees to the rock cliff and added some confetti in the gold colors. When I finished, I overlaid a piece of tulle which I’ll stitch overtop and then trim around the tree shapes. I want to get that part done so I can move back down to the stitching on the rock. 

I haven’t done the black areas yet. It’s getting there though. I really need to push forward to get a couple of these pieces finished.
Finally, I feel as though I’m emerging from the hole I’ve been in for the last 4-5 months. It’s been one health issue after another. I’m getting stronger on the snowshoe trail; that’s a good sign. I’m committed to losing some weight too and I’ve managed 4lbs in the last couple weeks. Between ADD, feeling fidgety and wanting to munch all the time, and medications that cause weight gain, it’s a challenge. I need to do this.

After pinning the rock up on the design wall to contemplate, I backed this seed pod piece with interfacing and did some stitching. I haven’t touched my free motion machine in a while. I did the stems which are silk ribbon and stitched around some of the smallest seed pod.

Since I was very happy with the textures of the foam stamped pods turned, I intend to keep the stitching minimal. 
I’m feeling pretty good about myself!
Time for a green tea and a light snack.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Chickadee art, planning a quilt

Well, yesterday we had another snowstorm which would have been a good day for hibernating and creating but instead I spent it at the hospital emergency and having a ct scan done. After every medical setback I talk myself up determined to not only cope but to improve. I like to educate myself and try to be pro active. I know I need to be happy that I don’t have anything fatal. It’s all chronic but I tell you it adds up and wears you down after a while. This time I started with severe bladder pain and pressure last week that worsened by Sunday, so I finally went over to the hospital where they gave me a shot for pain and put me through all their protocol over 24 hrs and found nothing. So, good, nothing serious, no masses, no infections, no stones. But still, pain.  I do have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow and I believe she could refer me for further tests with the bladder and may be able to prescribe something to help in the meantime. I’m hoping.

I do need to stay off my feet a bit and modify my activities; I went into my studio and found some easier things to do. It does relax me and help take my mind off it.

This week, I’m sending a baby quilt off to a new baby girl, Harper, born to my nephew and his wife. And then I found out my husband’s niece is having a baby, so baby quilt planning time. 

These fabrics are actually leftovers from the quilt I’m mailing this week.

Then I sat at my window tabletop and cut out and ironed down the fabric appliqués for the small chickadee art quilt.

Another day day I will add a few more small flakes with my Thermofax designs and maybe a large one top left. I think I’ll add shading with fabric paint or coloured pencils before stitching. This piece makes me happy; it is my hand feeding the chickadees while snow shoeing. 

I feel lucky to be an artist and have something creative to absorb me and make me happy.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Another snow day

All schools in 3 Maritime provinces are closed today and I have kept busy in my studio. This morning, I did a little watercolor experimenting in my sketchbook - an idea for new fibre art.

This is a sample pinned on my wall. The chickadee is thread painted, cut out and pinned to the background. The hand is a photocopy cut out and pinned up. The rosey patch is left from a previous piece. It’s all percolating.

I remind myself from time to time that I haven’t been practicing much with my sketching and watercolors.  I get lazy, as I often enjoy doing crosswords with my tea. Today, I took out my watercolors and studied a bouquet of dried roses. These were purchased about a month ago for half price and I let them dry out, proof that you can really get your moneys worth!

I am not adept at roses as you can see, but I will keep experimenting.

After lunch, I was on a mission to finish a small piece that has been laying by the wayside for too long. So long, that I couldn’t even find the reference photo and had to work from memory (which isn’t great, lol). I managed to finish the stitching, back it with batting and to do a small bit of quilting. I’m auditioning fabrics for the binding which I think will be the darker blue.

My son lives in Lunenburg, NS and often goes winter surfing on the Atlantic. Wave conditions are usually better. Several years ago, I did a piece with my son in it. This is one of his friends.

If you follow me, you may know that I struggle with severe osteoarthritis and psoriatic arthritis along with neuropathy and other medical conditions. I work at staying mobile. Yesterday, was a beautiful day and I pushed myself to get out on the snowshoes despite fatigue.

It felt good. I had a hard time all evening to stay awake. Today, I have had good energy so I decided to sign up for a 30 day free trial of beginner Pilates. My back has been very stiff lately, I do have 3 herniated discs so I have to be careful, and I have a hard time to reach my feet to put on footwear. I need to move and stretch so thought I’d try it as a change from yoga. I did a short 20 minutes before I took my break for tea and to write this.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

February guild retreat

This is the first February retreat that I’ve been to in a few years - since before my shoulder repair and hip replacement and I’m so happy to be here. I’m currently having a little rest in my single room. This resource Center was once a nuns residence. The rooms are small but simple and comfy enough for a weekend. The bathroom is nearby in the hallway.

Our home cooked meals and snacks are all provided for a very reasonable cost. It is a very warm, friendly, chatty, and sometimes  funny atmosphere. I enjoy watching the quilts grow as the weekend progresses. This is a small quilt made from a panel of animals that I’m doing for my grandson.

I don’t bring any fiber art to work on  - it would be too complicated. That’s for my studio. This is mindless (mostly, I’ve had to rip a couple of seams and recut some pieces, lol) affording time for chatter  and laughter.


There are 10 quilts done by the ‘quilting angels’ that are destined for Haiti.

At night I can retreat to my room at any time. I have reading and movies to watch on my I pad while I knit before bed.

It really is a nice little happy getaway even though I’m only a couple km’s from home and excellent,,ent today with the temperature at about -15C with gusty winds.

Im wishing you a happy creative weekend.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

When it’s snows, we sew

I thought I’d catch up a bit with you here on what I’ve been up to. My days are broken up into a slow start with my tea in the morning, followed by a few chores, and today a quick errand. While out,  I pushed a bit of snow off the front steps and into the driveway, cleared out the feeder and added some peanuts for the blue jays who I could hear squawking in the nearby trees. They are raucous pigs but pretty and fun to watch.

That’s one of my studio windows on the far right.

It’s almost like walking through tunnels. Please no more snow for a while! To add insult, I had a cortisone shot 2 days ago to my wrist without improvement and I have a sore swollen foot which I will see about tomorrow, so no snow shoeing right now.

Just before lunch, I did a short workout downstairs - rowing and a few exercises and then I showered.

I try to spend a couple hours in my studio in the afternoon. Today, I fiddled with the 2nd seedpod piece that I started, placing the silk ribbon stalks and ironing it all in place.

It measures about 14” by 25”. Maybe I’ll add small borders.

Then I sat down and free motion quilted this little 6” by 8” piece, A Chickadee along the Snowshoe trail, that will be a donation to the SAQA Spotlight auction. 

The chickadee was thread painted on another piece of fabric backed with stabilizer, cut out and fused to the hand dyed background. The hand embellished branches are almost finished and I will add a few ‘frosty’ beads.

I’ve also pinned up a 2nd slightly larger piece with another chickadee. Somewhere I have a picture where the chickadee was coming into land on my hand for a sunflower seed. Maybe I’ll add the hand.

Now, I’m taking my tea and heading to the sofa for a short rest before I get dinner which I started at lunch time by cutting up veggies for a vegetarian sort of pad Thai. I’ll have brown rice instead of noodles. My energy often peters out by this time of day so I either like to have supper made or started earlier.

I hope your staying warm, or cool, depending on the need and having a bit of creative fun. Cherish the moments.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Another storm day and more studio time

G and I went out out early this morning for groceries before the big storm. While I’m all for a little snow, 30 - 50cms doesn’t thrill me, especially when it’s accompanied with winds. Spending the day in my studio  during a gentle snowfall is looking lovely’s being stuck inside when it’s a bigger storm makes me a bit edgy. 
On our way  we stopped at the river to snap a few pictures of the shanties. Last year I didn’t get any. I enjoy sketching them although they are less colourful this year and more spread out.

It’s starting to pick up out there.

I put on some nice music and finished most of the quilting on my pod piece and also pieced a binding.

Once I finish writing this, I’m going to work a little on the hand stitching. Short sessions are necessary as I’m still wearing a wrist brace. It’s not improving so I’m booking for a cortisone shot in a few weeks.

On my design wall is a little chickadee that I thread stitched. I added fusible, cut it out and I’m auditioning fabrics for a small piece I want to make for an auction fund raiser with SAQA.

Now that I’ve got my counter top for my other machine with the under cabinet lighting and my large monitor that I can watch shows on, at night I’ve been spending more time there working on regular quilting projects including these majestic mountain blocks.

I haven’t been listing here as often as I’d like. I’m listening to my doctor and trying to slow down a bit. I’m still working in my studio and often post on Instagram and Facebook. You can find me on Instagram under the name  naturetotextile. I’ve yet to figure out how to add the link here with this latest blog APP.