Thursday, November 27, 2014

Snow and a Christmas project

I know it's Thanksgiving for our American neighbors and I'd like to wish you all the best of days spent with family and friends. Here in northern NB, Canada, it's beginning to look like Christmas.
The snow didn't stop the birds from visiting the feeders though.

I stayed in for most of the day,wrapping something I need to take with me this weekend, making a Christmas arrangement for my front step,  and making chicken soup.

I've added some battery powered lights for night time.
Once the snow let up to flurries this afternoon, I went out to do a little shoveling around the walks and the steps. My husband will take the snow blower to the rest tonight.
It is hard not to find enjoyment in the pretty views despite the fact that it's not even winter yet. The Mountain Ash with the red berries and the snow against the backdrop of  fir trees is so beautiful!

I will be away from the blog until mid week next week. We're combining a doctor's appointment in another city with a visit to my sons. It should be interesting; they're bringing home a new puppy tomorrow and their first one isn't a year old yet. They are our grand puppies and since we have no grand children, I'm sure you'll be seeing some pics next week.

Enjoy your weekend!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Starting a watercolor

sunny kitchen table from Holly on Vimeo.
Today was so warm and sunny that after feeding a chickadee from my hand on the deck, I set up at my kitchen table to paint.

This is what I was doing in the video.

I just love the sight of a colorful clothesline full of cloths gently billowing in the wind.

Monday, November 24, 2014

A Blog Hop Around the World

I've been invited to participate in the Blog Hop Around the World by Eileen Gidman I will be answering a few questions and inviting additional bloggers to join.

This is a mug rug that she has just finished dye painting and stitching as a commission. Her work really speaks to me. I think she does in dyes on fabric what I try to do with paint and thread. We are attracted to similar things in the outdoors and we each express it in our own way.

What am I working on?

This morning was my scheduled cleaning time when I make a quick sweep of the bathrooms and vacuum the main level. I like to get things done early in the week so I can be free for creating time!
As far as my artistic endeavors, I am currently attempting to paint a small gift in watercolor. I use watercolor frequently, but usually only in my sketchbook. They usually stay there as references and inspirations for my fiber art.
However, I recently took some pictures in a very beautiful garden belonging to a friend who lived in a house built on a slope which had to be torn down. I wanted to do something as a special keepsake.
It was going pretty well until I added a tree trunk that shouldn't be there! I'm going to have to start anew as one can't easily remove with watercolor.

The second thing going on in my studio right now is the sewing together of selvages following a great tutorial here. I want to make a sewing machine cover for a new (to me) machine that I just bought. I don't have a lot of selvages yet, but I could use them as a feature section as shown in the tutorial on the cover that she did..

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I think others could probably tell me more about my differences than I could. I have absorbed information and techniques from many sources--workshops, books, on line classes and blogs, using it all to experiment and express my vision of my world in my own way. For example, in my last fiber art piece, Birches and Rose Hips, I used many techniques including painting the background in a shibori technique that I developed and wrote about in Quilting Arts magazine. I have done several versions, one each fall, and each one is different and each shows progress.

I like to combine paint, images from nature, collage, thread painting and sometimes hand embellishing.

Why do I create what I do?

I create because I need to and as a form of therapy. I started drawing and painting when I was young and also learned to sew and do many needle arts. Eventually, I used the drawing and painting as a method to record things that fascinate me in the natural world. I started out doing traditional quilting and it wasn't long before the drawing and painting and my work with fabric began to merge

How does my creative process work?

My process usually begins with something I've seen in my yard (I love to photograph the birds and my garden) or more often something that draws my attention on my walks on the trails.

 Bluejay in our apple tree:

I take pictures and I sketch, getting a feel for how I want to portray it in fiber. This process can percolate in my head for a few days to a few weeks and occasionally longer. Sometimes I work on a piece continually from start to finish; other times, I stall and it goes up on my design wall until one day it strikes me how I need to finish it.

I would like to invite more bloggers to join in the hop.

This blogger , Riel Nason, is a writer and a quilter also from New Brunswick. She has written a book which I loved and does some very creative things with selvages.

The next blogger, Jennifer Scantlebury Vienneau, also from NB, is a fellow creative who has recently taken on long arm quilting and is doing some unique stitching. She also does some dyeing, painting and creative stitching on her fabric projects.

Finally, I would like to invite a long time blogger friend of mine, Margaret Applin,  who has written for Quilting Arts Magazine and done DVD's for Quilting Arts TV. I love her design style and hope to see some of it in fabrics in the near future.

She does a lot of doodling and digital collage for her designs.This is one of my favorites from this past Studio Sunday post.

I hope you have time to visit each blogger here and get to discover someone new to you.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Microwave pot holders, a small watercolor

Have you seen the microwave pot holders circling the net recently? A few members of our guild have been sewing these at our Saturday sewing days.

I thought they might be useful but wasn't sure until my friend Alice said she was making a set for someone who wanted to use them to take to the table. I can see how I might use it when I take my dinner to the TV room! The ones I made fit my flattened bowls perfectly.

For most of the day I've been puttering- washing, finishing up odds and ends like the bowls, and  repairing clothing. It's a cold grey day. I admit that I stayed a little longer in my PJ's today while I sipped tea and worked at the crossword.
Still, I give myself a little creative time. I picked up the photos of a few scenes that interest me, yesterday and I started transferring one to a watercolor pad and I've laid in a pale wash for the water and sky.
It's truly an experiment for me because I have it in mind as a little gift for someone. Generally, I only do watercolors in my sketchbook as references for fabric art--never for framing on their own. I get too picky and tense with watercolors, but not so usually with my fiber art. Isn't that odd?

I got a few pictures of a little nuthatch that has been frequenting the suet cage on our deck. They are so sweet.
Happy Thursday! Tomorrow I plan to swim, go to lunch, and get a few errands done.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


I felt a little bereft this afternoon without my Birches and Rose Hips fiber art piece to work on. I have passed it on to the buyer, a friend, who is going to check out the framing options. It will be coming back to me for the final finish.
It's a rather mild day, although windy and I just couldn't work up the energy to go out and clear off the bit of snow on the driveway. I did at least do the front steps.
After lunch with my tea, I read for a bit but my mind kept straying to my most recent photos. I moved to my computer in my studio and did a preliminary sketch of the hillside that fascinated me.
There are lots of nooks and crannies in the rocks to loose one's way in. I would likely simplify if I were to do it fiber.
I'm linking to the Needle and Thread Network.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Last details-Birches with Rose Hips, Photos as in Inspiration

This afternoon, I was very happy to put the finishing quilting stitches onto the Birches with Rose Hips. I am going to pass it on to the client who is looking into framing options. Usually, I finish my pieces as quilted wall hangings with a binding. This piece is going on a wall over a sofa and since it is approximately 12" by 14", I think a mat and a frame would give it more presence.

I'm thinking that sections of it would make pretty cards- with permission of course.

Caught this little lady hanging on the suet cage on my deck at lunch time. It's a downy woodpecker.

Now the question is what shall I do next? Well, I have a couple of Christmas things in the works, some ideas floating around in my head, and some inspirational photos that I took the other day. These scenes are about 5 minutes from my house by car.

 like the hillside sloping into the water in the next one.

Love the pinkish hue in the background sky.

I have sent a few to be developed in 5 by 7 and 8 by 10 sizes. I like to have them for reference when I am stitching.
I hope you too are having a nice Monday.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Cleaning my studio and quilting

Finally, I awakened to a beautiful sunny day today! I got my sheets on the line and went out to the yard to do a few more clean up chores for the winter. We still have a layer of snow and the air is crispy. I also took my poles and went for a 30 minute walk with no stabs of pain to my hip. Definitely an improvement from the cortisone shot.
In my studio I cleared away the detritus from my present project and got some things ready to take to our guild sewing day on Saturday.
I saved some time to start quilting the Birches with Rose hips. I'm going to keep it simple. The bottom is done and I plan to outline the foreground trees.
I am almost finished this piece. The final binding or zig zag edging will wait as it is SOLD! and I am waiting to see how the buyer wants to hang it.

My usual method is a binding and a hanger on the back. This one may be mounted in a frame atop a mat but with no glass.
Well, the sun has lowered toward the western horizon. I have lost the lovely rays that were shining through the window of my studio. It is time to go make myself a cup of tea and sit for a bit with my knitting.