Friday, June 26, 2020

Flying geese block and the garden

I’ve been neglecting my blog because I’ve been feeling apathetic and completely uninspired. Besides all that’s happening in the world, I have some health challenges that I’ve been talking to doctors about and running for test. Nothing alarming but really aggravating. My limbs and arms have been covered with hives every day for months, some worse than others, and I’ve got a shortness of breath that doesn’t seem to respond to puffers or be related to asthma. 
We’ve had a heatwave here the last couple of weeks so it’s been to uncomfortable me to garden or sit out on the deck.





The picture above is of a planter I made in a vintage church pendulum light from which my husband removed all the electrical parts.

The gardens are starting to fill out and come into flower.



The birds really enjoy the various birdbaths, especially in this very dry time. We really need a good rain.






Ideas for some fiber art have been floating around in my mind but I’ve been taking so many antihistamines that I struggle to capture and hold a thought. One lunch time this week, I attempted a simple sketch of flowers from my garden and gave up when I couldn’t seem to focus on a line.

However, I’ve been knitting, no brainer stuff, and I finished 2 quilt tops that I’ll soon send for quilting. 
For a while, since watching you tube videos from Kate at the Last Homely House, I’ve been thinking about the flying geese quilt that she did. So a couple days ago needing something simple to distract me, I started cutting fabrics from my stash.



Next time, I’ll try for a better photo. I’m enjoying the block. I’ll just keep going until I’m tired of it. 
And I’ll get pics of the 2 quilt tops I finished, the Woodland Animals in turquoise and the Majestic Mountains.
How have you all been coping?

Wishing you a nice weekend!






Friday, June 12, 2020

Sketches, knitting, sewing and jamming

How are you feeling? Are you getting out more with things starting to open up or are you still quarantined? We’ve had an opening up in our region although it will take time to move into more freedom, if we ever do. I’m very thankful that we are heading into summer here. My garden, though not big, has been keeping me somewhat busy. Everything is finally green, some trees have blossomed as well as early flowers. It’s a tiny lot with small gardens; just enough for someone with arthritis.




The apple blossoms were nice last week and have all gone now.




My energy and ability to move waxes and wanes. This week, I had blood tests done and I’m waiting for xrays and phone consultations from drs. I’ve just learned to take it easy when I need to. I was taking my tea to the deck quite a bit until we had rain and now warmer weather.



I’m so tired at night, I really had to cast on another no brainer afghan.



And, maybe a little optimistically, I started another toddler sweater which I have to focus on for every row. Not sure if it’ll get finished.



I followed a small watercolour course by Mish Wooderson and I’ve since been thinking more about values. I tried a couple value sketches in a tiny sketchbook to experiment and see if one might be suitable for a piece of fiber art which I really don’t have energy for at the moment but it helps to think and plan.






This morning, after chopping and soaking all ingredients overnight, I simmered a rhubarb marmalade. I’m not really a fan of marmalade but love rhubarb. Hubby will like it I think, I hope, since there’s a lot of it! I think I’d prefer rhubarb chutney. Maybe I’ll try that when I pick more.




I may have managed an hour of sewing a few days this week, getting most of the animal quilt top pieces. There remains only to finish the bottom row and then 3 horizontal seams. There are small borders to add as well. I guess there’s no hurry.



I finally received  the Tildas World fabric from 2 different shops, one in Canada and one in Australia. They’re from different collections but coordinate pretty well, I think. I haven’t quite decided how I’ll use them yet but I’m very influenced by Kate of The Last Homely House on you tube.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Heat

We went from snowfall warnings a few weeks ago to a heat wave this week. I’m resisting putting most of my seeds and plants in because it’s usually not save until the first week in June. I have a few things in the raised bed as we cover it with plastic at night.



It seems there are quite a few perennials that did nit survive the winter. Ones that I’ve had for years like the clematis at my apple tree. I think something may have gotten to the main stalk. I planted a new one this morning.



.The garden by the deck is ready to plant the climbing beans and peas and tomatoes but I think I must wait a bit.



I keep walking around and checking for hostas. They seem to be coming, some just sprouting now but it seems some of the ferns are dead. Parts of the back of the yard were still frozen last week.
I potted up one pot for the front step because I can keep it protected.



The wee greenhouse on the deck keeps everything warmer at night. The hanger planter below right is made from one of the church lights I picked up at an antique store. We fixed up one for inside and I’m using the second as a planter. There are tiny solar lights wrapped around it which I think will look pretty when the flowers go in. 



We have a small yard, nothing fancy; it’s just enough for us though. My husband is a golfer although he does help me a lot and I am arthritis. The little bits keep me moving and happy.

After lunch as it was too warm for me to read on the deck, I came into my studio. I’ve been snipping out bits of fireweed from painted fusible that I want to add to my printed and quoted piece.



I really find the cutting very relaxing. I must think of more ways to use this method.



I’m not 100% happy with the latest piece that I’m doing. Maybe it’s more my mood than the actual piece. I sat at the machine anyway to get the quilting mostly done so I can move on. It reminds me of the old adage ‘fake it til you make it’. I think I will be generally happy once I’m done.



Usually, I’m anxious to move on to another piece; so far though I’m not sure what. I have a few ideas but I’m feeling generally lethargic. It will come.





Also, on the design wall is the woodland animals quilt which is getting there. I’ve got more than half together at the top and last night I worked on the small section lower left.



It, and my majestic mountains quilt will both need borders and then I’ll send them off to the machine quilter.  I will have to find another project to keep me busy with mindless sewing. I’m waiting for a small fabric order and we will see. Shipping for some things is taking so long.

I hope things are loosening and brightening in your part of the world. We are slowly reopening although  with setbacks here in northern NB. I’ve been out only to outdoor garden centres and have a hair appointment for tomorrow. My doctors are cautioning us to stay as isolated as possible for some time.

Thank goodness for the warm sun, the growing gardens and greener vistas.


Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Fireweed, knitting and the yard

When all this started I had a wild burst of nearly frantic creativity that went on for weeks. Then I slowed down and my inspiration died. Part of it I think is coming to terms with it all and realizing it’s not going away completely if ever and that the way we live will be changed. There’s that and then I had to change one of my arthritis meds which caused a major upset in my system. So, I’ve taken the time to be kind to myself and slow down, reading or knitting or sewing when and if feel like it.
Even though the yard is still dry and brown, some green is poking through, the buds are on the trees and there is only one little spot of snow at the back.  The garden against the fence is still frozen as are the compost bins. But it’s coming. And I’m sitting on the deck as I write this. 





Yesterday, I made up my mind to finally commit to the layout of my Gelli printed fireweed pieces. It’s been languishing for too long. I’m feeling generally uninspired but sometimes you just have to move ahead. So I ironed it down to the fusible batting and got it ready to stitch and I started after lunch today.


I’m a little out of my comfort zone. That’s what it has to be about sometimes if one wants to progress. I stitched along the edges of the pieces and started stitching some of the fireweed which you can see in the center.






I also did this little test piece where I painted and cut out the fireweed shape from fusible interfacing. 







I’d like to try it on the larger piece, only I’d have to use a darker pink. It would be a lot of cutting with the exact knife.

My new grandson continues to grow, as they do; he is 6 weeks old. We’re very anxious to see and hold him, at the same nervous to think about travelling there. It’s in a different province and about 4 hrs from here.




Thank goodness for my small yarn stash. I’ve finished knitting the size 4 sweater for Ollie although it needs the ends sewn in and armholes grafted.



I started a pair of socks while I think about what I’ll knit next.



We take each day as it comes. That’s one lesson I’ve learned at least.
Stay well.


Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Isolation fatigue

It’s a short past today. Just checking in. I’m feeling fatigued and unmotivated this week for a few reasons, the weather is cold and we’ve even had snow, I’m having a neuropathy and inflammation flare up due to medication changes and I’m tired. I know, I’m hoping, it’s temporary.
I’ve been doing 30 mins of gardening a day  -mostly edging - and pulling up old plants and weeds and today I went for a nice walk along a part of the trail that is finally almost cleared of snow.

I haven’t been sleeping the best so I’m slow getting going in the morning. My husband is still working from home so I make his lunch and supper most days. That’s a job in itself. I’m thankful to have him here though.

Today, I got the binding machined stitched onto one of the baby quilts and it’s ready for the hand stitching.



I had it machine quilted with a pretty dragonfly pattern.



I also got the picture taken and submitted my donation to the SAQA 12” by 12” auction and I’ll send it off this week.



Slowly, slowly I’m making my way through quilts that were resting in drawers and boxes. It’s nit that I wasn’t doing anything. I just usually save traditional quilting for my guild sewing days and for retreats. My head has not been into any creative fiber art for the last week so it’s a good time to do some mindless sewing.
I like to put something to watch on my computer screen that sits on the counter next to my sewing machine. Besides the Last Homely House East of the Sea, I’ve been watching Miss Marple and some videos on Design Matters TV which I subscribe to.



I. Between knitting socks, I’m making headway on the sweater for my grandson, Ollie. It’s a chunky weight merino wool.



Things are starting to open up here. We remain fairly isolated here though as I probably will for some time.
Hope things are well wherever you are, readers. 
Take care.

Monday, May 4, 2020

Little projects, a zippered bag, a small collage quilt, gardening, knitting

If I’m like most of you, the days tend to roll by in a blur. If it wasn’t that my husband is working from home, I’d rarely know the day. It’s a bit of a paradox; on the one hand, I can’t wait for this to be over and it seems far away. On the other, the days fly by. I guess it’s because I keep busy with projects. I pass hours here in my studio. I’ve been mildly surprised at all the unfinished projects I’ve found lurking in the drawers. I’m trying to hold myself to finishing up some things or at least using prints and painted fabrics that I’ve done.

This bag is made with some scrap bits form my Gelli prints box.






I chose a few more bits and cut out the pieces for another one. This time, I’m adding some at the top and bottom as well as the sides.




Today I started some of the free motion stitching on them. 



Sometimes they don’t look like much until I add the stitching, I’m using up my reject prints.

I finished stitching down all the parts of the 12” by 12” collage piece that I plan to donate to the SAQA auction in the fall. This was inspired by the collages I’ve been doing in my sketchbooks and done on a painted fabric pulled from drawer. There is some symbolism there. I discovered that I love  this vase shape right now. I always love flowers - they’re especially meaningful as we head toward summer and gardening. There’s some nostalgia in it represented by the paper copy of a postcard sent by my son and girlfriend from Paris after they graduated from university. I did not print it onto fabric, as my ink is empty. I used a paper copy from The scrap paper box and glued it down with matte medium. There are bits of lace from the lace drawer, pieces donated by friends clearing out theirs.






I’m auditioning fabric for the binding. Pretty sure it’ll be the one on the bottom left.



It’s a grey rainy day today which should help the snow melt.




Yesterday, we went for a little walk to gather some twigs along the trail. I’m attempting a small wattle fence for the back of my raised bed to hold some trailing plants, sweet peas or nasturtiums perhaps.







I have to gather about another 30 pieces to finish. When the raised bed completely thaws, I’ll be able to ouch the vertical parts further down.

I’ve got lots of little seedlings coming in my dining room by the sliding door. It’s still too cold at night to move them into my little portable greenhouse on the deck. Maybe another couple of weeks.




Ive been using scraps of sock yarns from my stash to make little socks for the boys. This is pair number three made with Knit Picks Stroll merino sock yarn.



And I’m still knitting the bunny although it’s nearly done. I’m almost up to the front paws. Can you make out the bunny? Made with sock yarn ends as well. Think of all the things I c Luke make without ever buying any more supplies of fabric or yarn!



Gussie is almost 5 weeks old and Ollie continues to want to spend time with him. Almost too much according to my daughter. Sometimes he doesn’t want to leave him alone to sleep. Ollie has said he misses his friends. I’m sure there must be some comfort in interacting with baby brother.



We were told last week that we could form a ‘bubble’ with a chosen family or person. As yet there is no travel out of province. It may happen eventually between New Brunswick And PEI where they live and we’re waiting for that. 
Things have eased a bit, our numbers are low here, no new cases in many days. We’ve gotten used to ordering our groceries for pick up and probably will for a while. Immune  compromised are encourage to continue to self isolate as much as possible and face masks are suggested too. I really need a haircut, lol but can’t see trusting to do that for a while. If I’m too warm in the summer I may resort to my husband clippers, lol.

My mother is doing quite well since my sister took her home. It’s a round the clock job with lots of lifting and personal care. We’re so lucky. With Alzheimer’s, she would have been lost in the home. My sister and her husband provide company and entertainment. She gets to sit in her wheelchair on the deck. She even enjoys some tv shows which she couldn’t at the home because she couldn’t operate the tv. She likes Funniest Hone Videos. My sister cooks lots and makes sure she eats even though her appetite is small. We can FaceTime some and maybe I’ll get to talk tether from a distance if we get to the island.