Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Bits and pieces

Bits and pieces is how I have learned this summer to break up my days. I’ve at the moment figured out how to be more consistent with pain meds and to balance small activities so not to aggravate the slipped disc which I’ve had for some time but which has worsened. As often happens with health problems depression is an issue. It’s not a serious clinical depression; I would not want to diminish the seriousness of a depression  some people contend with. I handle it by trying to relax and to let the day unfold as it will. There are always possibilities on my mind when I awaken, but they’re not firm goals.
After my morning tea in bed, and I stay as long as required, and breakfast, I take another tea out on the deck to ponder my morning. Today, I decided to pick some of the last of my rhubarb and mix up this recipe of rhubarb biscuits that I’ve been saving.


They are delicious as anything with rhubarb can be. I found not all the rhubarb was well softened during baking though. Still a nice little treat with my salad.

I’ve been picking away at my gnome, cutting flowers, bugs and butterflies sometimes in the early evening while watching the news.







I still need more of the smaller vinelike flowers. They’re intricacies take more time than the larger flowers. 



This is a pattern by Leslie McNeil. I have followed her for many years and love her work.  http://marvelesartstudios.com/ It’s kind of the perfect project for me right now.

Today after lunch, I did a little free motion quilting on the sunflower bag. I know it would have been nice to have this finished by now. Readers if your getting bored, I apologize. It’s good though to think about the process sometimes, after all, for me, it’s more about that than the product. The process is where one can relax with good music and immerse oneself for a time. Although the finished product does make one happy too.



I feel content that in my allotted time this afternoon I got the center quilting done on one part of the bag.








Keeping it simple. It is a bag after all and will be used.

On my needles is another baby afghan knit from my leftover stash. Basketweave pattern



I’m excited because over the weekend I was able to pick up some of the fabric paint that I will use to paint a sky for my terns. We took a drive along the Acaduen Peninsula to Caraquet and stopped at the Grand Anse beach for a swim on the way back.







And, I’ve got some hand dyed blues on the way that I’m hoping to use for the water.  Something to look forward to. 

This is what I mean about pacing myself. I’ve got the paint and would like to do the sky but it doesn’t fit into my creative time today. I have to dole it out. I’m planning to make a simple pad Thai for supper which is one reason why I’m sitting resting and writing this right now. Also, it is warm and muggy again. We may go for a swim later or take a short walk and then get an ice cream. 

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Sketching water birds on fabric

It’s been over a week since I spent any time in my studio. The pain from my 2 pinched nerves has increased and I’m either in a pain med induced stupor with little desire to do anything or too sore to sit at machine or table. 

The hot muggy weather is here too; it is rumbling thunder out there right now. I’m hoping for enough rain for the gardens. I picked a few things this morning - yellow beans, sugar snap peas and a yellow squash and I think I’ll do a simple stir fry with sausage for supper if I can mange it.




When our grandson was here, he spied this little creamer up high on a shelf, calling it a mini teapot, which I thought was cute.



During the day I’ve even resorted to some tv, stretching out with my knitting when I can’t handle anything else. To date, I finished 3 baby afghans. The one on the left is knit from leftover yarn from my stash. I love to knit no brainer while watching tv, especially when I’m not very focused.




Last night, again with leftovers, I started afghan #4 using a basket weave pattern this time.





Just for variety, I’m also knitting a top down baby sweater.



I did make it to the studio for a little while after lunch. I painted the 2 sea birds, maybe common terns, perhaps a mom and juvenile, using Neaocolor II crayons and fabric medium. Then, I backed them with interfacing and did a free motion stitching. They stayed there unbothered as I paddled by in my kayak, chattering at each other while bobbing along.




I carefully cut them out with small scissors after stitching. Folowing success using this method last winter to do the chickadees on the wintry background, I decided to try it here.



The blue is showing more grey than in reality but you get the idea. The plan is to paint a sky. I’m not sure about the water yet. I wish I had a hand dye that would suit; maybe I will also try a painted ocean. We’ll see.

I’m just happy to have been able to paint and sew a wee bit today and here’s hoping I won’t pay later.

Oh boy, the thunder is rolling around with lightning and I got my wish for rain.this could mean cooler weather finally moving in. Yippee.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Mini printing wild peas with a foam stamp

Having had a bit of a late night last night, I was slow to get going today. Sometimes I’m very groggy and the best thing for it is to just get moving. Do some laundry, clean up kitchen, make bed, etc. We debated heading out to the beach for a swim; with dark clouds looming and thunderstorms predicted we opted to stay home. It’s very sultry out and still not raining though.

I pulled out the sketch books and some craft foam to play with the wild peas motifs.




For the first print I usedNeocokor II crayons - coloured on, spritzed and blended before printing. It makes a watercolour effect.



The next ones were all done from 1 acrylic paint application, spritzed and rollered a bit.



Each one gets successively paler.






I really like all the textures and lines. I’m looking forward to trying it out on fabrics.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

A muggy Sunday with thunderstorms, doing some stitching and sketching

It’s been mostly an inside day today, starting with a leisurely breakfast and a little sketching. I brought home a few more sprigs of wild beach peas yesterday to use as an artistic reference. As a bonus, I pressed the last bunch in an old phone book for future use in mono printing.







I did another pencil sketch at mid day. As I become interested in a particular plant, I like to do detail sketches, slowly becoming more familiar with the shapes and colours. It may or may not become fodder for a textile work, if not now in winter when I need a lift. I plan to do some foam stamps and maybe some printing.




Hubby went off to the golf course around 7:00 (crazy) and came home soaked after 9 holes, when he joined me for breakfast.

Besides raining off and on, it’s very warm and muggy outside, not my kind of day. When there was a little sunshine breakthrough before the rain returned with thunder this time we took advantage and did a short bike ride around the nearby subdivision. 



I’ve been taking it easy, low gears and no hills hoping to build a little muscle without bothering the knee and at least keeping things moving a bit. Walking is a little difficult right now but may improve once I’ve had the spinal injection.

The yard has filled out, especially with the rain and warmth this week.





I’ve not been able to get all the weeding and mulching done but hubby has said he’d help this week during his week off. When we work together this back garden might take an hour; by myself I’d be at it for days.



The two windows on the right above are in my studio.

I’ve been in the studio today, getting the front and back of the bag finished, I thought, and backed with the Soft and Stable. But look what I did, lol.



I put the top and bottom strips on the wrong ends of one section of the bag and shall have to unpick. As if my progress isn’t slow enough!

Like most studios, there are projects that have been sitting aside for too long. Sometimes, one gets to a point on a piece where it’s not appealing and not making one happy. Just so with this piece. I have a hard time to completely abandon something unless I’ve given it my best. There are times when you have to push forward and see where it goes. It may work or not. While I still had the black thread on my machine, I decided to work on the dark areas with lots of stitch to see how it goes.



I see progress but still not sure. I left stitching the foliage on top because it’s the rock that was giving me pause.



I will go a little further I think and we’ll see.

This is my second small baby afghan that I’ve done as a tv watching project. I’ve got sweaters to work on for my grandson; however, it’s ‘no brainer’ knitting I like to do at night.



It’s soon time for me to move and get a quick supper started. I’m using leftover salmon and adding a white sauce to serve over rice. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Flowers, wildflowers, sketching and foam stamping

It’s amazing what a good doctor and his team can do for your spirits. Yesterday, we went to the pain clinic in Campbellton where I met with the doctor, nurse practitioner and his nurse. He spent a good hour going over all my health issues and recommended and referred me to an excellent young endocrinologist that he works with. We looked at the MRI pics of my back and he recommends a spinal injection first which he hopes to do within a few weeks. We will see how it goes and discuss surgery for 2 slipped disks depending on the results of the spinal injection of a cortisone and numbing drug mix. I felt cared for and hopeful afterwards.

Today, my outlook on life has lifted. Not to say my problems are solved but there is hope for improvement.

After meeting a friend this morning, doing blood tests and then errands, I felt ready for a little creative experimenting. First, I watered some veggies and picked a fresh bunch of flowers.



And I made a new pot of my herbal iced tea. 



It is light ( I add only about a tsp of honey and the teas are all caffeine free) and thirst quenching. I even drink it while it’s still a bit warm when I’m thirsty.



I’m still doing small sketches of the wild peas from the beach, this one in ink and watercolour.



I also experimented with a craft foam stamp, drawing directly onto the foam very lightly with pencil first and then redrawing with a heavier hand.








The fun part is testing it out with acrylic paint in my sketchbooks. There were a couple slight flaws in the foam which showed up as straight lines but it’s no problem as I plan on doing more. It occurred to me that it might work nicely to do the actual flowers and the leaves as 2 different stamp, an idea for another day. I do quite like the lines and textures in this one though. You see how one thing can lead to another? And I wonder how it will work on fabric. I think I may try making a stencil for screening too.

First, I will need to search for my heat gun which is currently hiding on me.

Summer to me means, the beach with all its sounds and sensations, the breeze, the bird calls, the sound of the water, the great expanse of water and waves. I love it. And then there is my yard with my small gardens of veggies and flowers and all the birds who come to visit the birdbath, all of which I can watch  from my studio.


And inspiration collected and displayed on my window ledge.


Can you feel it? The optimism. The fun in a little creative play no matter where it leads.




Saturday, July 6, 2019

An Afghan and a cushion finish, the painted sunflower bag

We’ve just had a visit from our daughter and grandson. They left after lunch today. We are having some very warm and muggy weather so this morning we took Ollie to the splash park downtown while mummy showered and packed.





The last 2 days were spent at the beach. I was surprised at how fast the bay had warmed up; we were all in the water for a while.



At home in our yard, we set up a swing in the apple tree and a small pool.






Even a little one on the deck, lol where he could play in the shade. I think he actually liked playing with his toys at this one the best. 

After they left, It was very quiet here this afternoon. It’s a 4hr plus drive home to Charlottetown and I just got a message they’d stopped for a break as Ollie was crying. At 2 1/2 he runs out of patience in the car even though mommy packed some special treats and toys.

After picking up the toys here,  I headed to the studio for a little stitching, adding the interfaced borders to the front of the sunflower bag I’m making.  The plan is to add Soft ‘n Stable and lightly quilt it before I put it together. 



The handles will be this heavy twill that I purchased. 



Last week, I made  the free pieced panel that I did some time ago into a sofa cushion. Every so often I have to make an effort to finish up some things or my drawers get full. I get all excited to start something and then it sits.



While in hospital a couple weeks ago, I started a baby aghan suitable for the car or stroller using Bernal Pop.


It was so enjoyable and easy to knit that I had to start another one.p in a different colour way.



That’s it for my energy today. Tomorrow, we p,an another visit to the in laws at the beach to take down our kayaks where we’ll leave them for the summer. I haven’t been out yet.
I hope you’re having a nice weekend in whatever part of the world you live. 
Happy Saturday!