Thursday, October 17, 2019

Birch tree, packing for retreat

Today has been a busy day- packing my suitcase, my projects and miscellaneous stuff that goes with my machine, my pills, and some snacks. I also ran a quick errand, did a load of clothes and finished vacuuming a couple rooms. Whew. I was motivated though. Not only do I need to be ready to go at around 9:30ish in the morning, but I also really wanted a little time to work out a couple of ideas for my fiber art birch tree. 

The windy is howling, the leaves swirling and it’s rainy here today. Some places are without power in the maritimes. I hope it’ll be ok here.

I had about an hour and a half before I had to stop to put a chicken with veggies  into the oven. There will be leftovers for the weekend for hubby.

Using the rotary cutter, I laid some slivers of neutral fabrics onto a sheet of Saran Wrap plus and then added another layer of Saran before hooping it. Now it’s ready to free motion stitch.

Finally, I take it off the hoop and cut off the access Saran. Then I put it between layers of newsprint to melt away the Saran by ironing. I open my window for ventilation.

Although my stash is pretty good, I want the ‘twigs’ to recede into the background layer, so I think I will try a layer of greyed paint over the top.

I then cut apart some pieces and laid them out on the background along with a few leaves. I’ll paint some lace at the same time which may be used for some birch bark texture. You may notice if you look closely that the brown fabric (I changed the original background fabric) has little birds on it. The color was right though and it will be mostly covered so hopefully not noticeable.

I’m mulling over how I can simulate some of the curled bark bits that are common on birches. I’m thinking of adding paint, some matte medium for stiffness and wrapping small pieces around a pencil for the curls. It will be an experiment which I have no idea if it will work!

I’ll be at retreat tomorrow, Saturday and until Sunday after lunch. This piece will be on my mind. I’ve packed some more mundane stitching projects, the Halloween wall hanging, some Christmas fabrics for a pillowcase and maybe the start of an advent calendar for Ollie.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Autumn colours and a new fiber art

As I’m very aware of how long it’s been since I posted, I’m taking a few minutes to write a short post. We’re heading to Lunenburg this Thanksgiving weekend and I won’t have a chance to write. I’ve had a few appointments, a guild quilting day for Victoria’s quilts, a trip to a quilt show, a hike on the mi’qmag trail for my birthday on Sunday so I think you’d understand where I’ve been, lol.

You can see why I wanted to spend my day there for my birthday.  It’s breathtaking along the river.

The trails close to home are pretty spectacular too with the colours and such light that is unique to autumn in northern New Brunswick.

And then there’s the garden with a few things left to pick and lots of things to clean out. Today I pulled down the runner beans, cut the herbs and picked the rest of the ground cherries.

The seeds from the dried pods are bead  like to me. Pretty jewels.

Here and there I’ve been squeezing in some studio time. This is m season and it’s hard not to be outside on sunny days. Today, I traced my line drawing onto tracing paper which I then pin to the fabric underneath.

I can use it as a guide for placement of the main elements.

Actually I will cut the slim stalks for the leaves and berries to add before I place the leaves. I’m looking forward to some thread lace making sessions to make some foliage and moss.

We’re leaving in the morning for Lunenburg where my oldest son and wife live for thanksgiving weekend. Looking forward to rain or shine.
Have a nice weekend and for my Canadian readers, Happy Thanksgiving! 🍁

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Getting back into things

Last week we were away way to PEI where we babysat our nearly 3 yr old grandson for a couple days and a night. We were so busy and were  having so much fun that we took few pictures. I was hemming some curtains for my daughter’s new house and my husband took this of Ollie helping out. He was fascinated by the sewing machine and very good about keeping fingers back while the machine was running. Each time I stopped he would pull out the pin. He was patient, staying there for all 4 panels.

Just before we went, I had a scope in the bladder and it was confirmed that I have something called interstitial cystitis, a sometimes very uncomfortable condition. There is a rather strict diet and perhaps medication. If any of my readers has experience with this, I’d be glad to hear how you’re coping.

Yesterday and today, I’ve been getting back into my routine, doing a bit of garden clean up and working in my studio. I assembled a simple book from my boiled pages so that I can set it nearby and add color and notes when the whim strikes.

While I was at it I also put together some pages that I had started this time last year featuring the dried seed heads of the balloon flower from my front garden.

Today, I went back to yoga for the first time in a couple years! It was a 30 minutes class which I thought better for me right now. We’ll see how my back feels tonight and hopefully I’ll be able to continue. This is thanks to the spinal injection as well as the new medication for arthritis that I started a few months back.

Feeling pretty good about that, I came home, had a quick lunch and headed into my studio where I cleaned up a few scraps - I’ve been cutting the pieces for the Halloween hanging. There are a few more pieces to add and adjustments to make. Each quadrant will have a sashing in between meant to be as if one is looking through a window.

I’ve been very restless and somewhat anxiety ridden lately, finding it difficult to get down to some of my own fiber art, but felt I was ready to get back to the sea birds. I fixed a little issue at the horizon and stitched the water down at the horizon line. It doesn’t look like a lot of progress although I spent about an hour changing threads for the blue water, some brown on the log and some soft pinks and purples in the rippled shadows. 

I’m content. I stopped at 4:00 to get my boneless Parmesan chicken cutlets ready to start for dinner.

While I’m sad that summer is over, I do enjoy autumn with all the colours, the interesting dried plants and the cooler temps. As I was leaning in to snap the picture of these berries I noticed the matching beetle. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Slipping into fall, Gelli printing

Thanks to the success of the spinal injection, I’ve been walking the trails again, doing one of my favourite things - gathering plant materials for pressing and printing. Every subsequent day that I was out, there was a noticeable change in colours along the way.

Usually, I carry a small cloth bag to gather plant materials. I really like fall bouquets as much or more than summer ones. There are such interesting lines and shapes in the dried flower heads and seed pods.

Especially the fireweed.

The swaths of fireweed along trails and roadways is so pretty.

The fluffy seeds come out of the spiky appendages when handled which makes for a lovely mess when printing!

These are some of the Gelli prints I made in one session. The ones at the top of the photo are on paper.

I was so happy with a couple on paper that I tried copying one onto photocopy fabric and paper to experiment.

This way, I can play with colour and composition.

I have inspiration and ideas! My creative brain is off and running. It feels good.

Yesterday, before the cold last night, I gathered all of my cold sensitive veggies including some herbs. I found a very effective way to store them that lasts a long time (months)is to put them in paper bags in the fridge.

This morning was sanding the rust off a vintage filigree hanging light that came from a church. I’m planning to spray paint it. It’s going in my living room. There are some small hanging pieces that are removed for sanding. I’ll show the whole thing once it’s done.

I do so live the temps and weather this time of year even though it does mean no more swims. Sitting on the swing on the deck  with a book in the afternoon is so pleasant.

We’re going to Prince Edward Island next week for a couple nights to babysit our grandson so I’m trying to finish up a couple of Halloween things to put in a little treat package.
He’s almost 3 and really into Halloween. I think he’ll enjoy the pillowcase.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Plant pressing, a Halloween wall hanging, sandpipers

My husband is away this week and things are pretty relaxed here. I finally got in for the spinal injection last Friday. It took about 1.5 hours including recovery time and I felt relief within the first hour. Within days I was walking longer, with my poles, and I’ve been out collecting more plant material to press in old phone books for printing projects in winter.

Wild asters

These are delicate and I’m not sure what they are. If I use them, I’ll attempt to find out. They were gathered along the woods trail.


I’m still looking for a few more although my stack of books is pretty full. My husband has more away work in the next while so maybe I will get to do some printing.

I also finished this tea towel which I was using in a gift and can now show. I made the gift bag to match.

This is a small table which I picked up at a yard sale for $5 and that I’m painting white. It’s solid wood, maple I believe. My daughter was looking for something that would fit beside the bed in their new bedroom in the house they just moved into. A lucky find I think.

I’ve really slowed down this summer whiling away my days with not much in the way of art. At least not my usual. I haven’t been sketching since early summer until yesterday except for drawing out the pipers and my sea birds.

Today, I put homemade beans in the slow cooker; I haven’t had them for ages. To cut the sugar content I used half blackstrap molasses and I used coconut palm sugar. They are delicious.

After my knitting group today, something else I haven’t been to all summer, I needed a short no brainer time filler and so cut a few pieces for a Halloween wall hanging.

Working on my own artwork often involves more time and concentration something I’ve not had as much of lately.  There've been a lot of appointments and tests. I’m trying to take the days as they come, not putting too much pressure on myself to work as much in the studio as I did. When I’m inspired and when I feel up to it, I go. I find that I’m easily stressed as I age and as I have medical challenges so I’m working on letting go a little. I’d still like to stay connected and will keep posting when I can.

I’m off now to have a plate of those beans.