Sunday, January 25, 2015
Today, I'm participating in the 3rd annual Grow Your Blog Party hosted by Vicki at 2 Bags Full where you will find a long list of participating blogs. Perhaps you'll find some new friends and some interesting reading. It is a very large undertaking that she does once a year and I'd like to thank her.
My name is Holly McLean and I live in a very small city in northern New Brunswick, Canada. I started blogging about 6 years ago when, after having read blogs for a while, I thought it might be a way for me to journal about my own journey and to connect with like minded bloggers. I left work almost 5 years ago due to illness and since then my art and my blog have become real lifesavers for me. I have not only found new and wonderful blog friends, but I've also been published in Quilting Arts magazine, something very exciting for me.
You never know what you might read about on any given day with me. I like to post about recipes I find or create, my knitting and craft endeavors, the garden, my drawings, birds at my feeders or on my walks, photographs of my walks, my fiber art and sometimes some traditional quilting or sewing.
I've been working on a piece based on a photo of a rocky hillside a few minutes from my home. It is one of the most complicated pieces I've done. Yesterday, after my errands and household jobs, I finally backed the painted sky with some stabilizer and sat down to free motion stitch some background trees. I was so tired by then that I had to quit but at least now I can sit down to it at any time.
One of the chores I was doing yesterday, was organizing some of my thread so I can better see what I have. Most of the greys and a lot of the greens are missing as they are in a tray next to my machine for my current project.
I've also chosen a matching batik for a little (4 !/2" by 6 !/2") piece that I'm doing of some local fish shanties.I may use it as a binding. I don't think it will need anything more.
On the trail yesterday with my husband, we gathered a few more branches for my feeder area on my deck. At Christmas I made two sprays for opposite posts on the deck. I view these from our kitchen and dining room windows and liked them so much, I wanted to add a 3rd one in the middle. We put another suet cage there as well. The chickadees, woodpeckers and nuthatches love them.
One other creative thing I'm up to is to embellish a light that I recently had my husband put up in a corner of the living room. I loved the style but the clear glass allows too much of a glare even when we bought a soft light. I picked up a package of stick on plastic flowers form the Dollar Store that I planned to use for something else when the idea struck me to try them out on the lamp. I think I like it and plan to cover the whole thing. Perhaps, I've seen some similar ones in design magazines.
I hope you enjoy the reading you'll find on the blog party and that you make some new connections and new friends. I intend to check it out myself later today.
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
I started the day intending to paint the trees onto my newly painted sky for the rocky hillside piece. I did go into the studio this morning and cut out pieces for the background hillside and some of the snow.
I like to draw my pattern onto freezer paper which I then iron onto the right of my fabric which has fusible already ironed to the back. This way I don't have to worry about reversed pattern pieces and I can see how it's going to fit as I go along.
I've laid it out with some of the pieces of the snow on the shrubby hillside part with the sky fabric in behind.
I did not paint the trees onto the background fabric after lunch because I wandered into my studio with my cup of tea and got lured to the sewing machine. That is the joy of having a studio where you can leve everything set up. Everything is sitting there waiting (calling) to you.
I added some fir trees to the background of my little shanties piece.
I've set out one of the new cushions that I finished even though I find the pillow form a little too full. I'm going to open it and take out some of the stuffing.
Monday, January 19, 2015
Yesterday, I posted a sketch of the fish shanties which I photographed last week on the river ice near here. The images were floating around in my mind as I got the mundane housework and washing out of the way this morning. Oh, and there is a chicken roasting.
I rationalize it my saying to myself that I have to go with the flow when the creative spirit hits. I'll do a tiny piece, completely opposite from the larger rock piece that I'm still working on.
So, I traced my drawing onto white cotton fabric and laid on a quick wash using Neocolor II crayons.
I couldn't wait and used the hair drier and then the iron to dry it.
After I cut a piece of stiff interfacing to stabilize it, I started adding a few stitching lines.
I've accomplished a lot today. Clothes are washed and hanging on my rack in the laundry room--my effort to lower the power bill--and I just took the chicken from the oven.
I feel like time is slipping by even as I'm aware of being focused in my artwork. When I 'come to' and realize how much time has passed, I'm amazed.
It has been a satisfying Monday so far. I have to stop now for my tea and I'm going to sit and stitch back the binding on one of my cushions.
Sunday, January 18, 2015
I'm still working on my sofa cushions. I've got one together but ran out of Velcro for the second one. My mother in law gave me some today, so I'll be able to finish them. I've got several doctor's appointments this week, including one for some dental work. I'm hoping for some time in between.
You'd think January would be a quieter month but I put off some things from before Christmas. Also, our retreat is coming up in early February. Between the secret sisters thing and some birthdays, I've had to do some sewing for 'gifty' things.
I joined this group for sock knitting on Facebook and that has got me madly knitting as well. I'm making a pair of socks from a vintage pattern with a single cable up each side. I know that a solid color is usually recommended for cable work, but I was so in love with this color and hoped that the fairly monochromatic colors would show the cable. I think it does.
It is the time of year for the fish shanties. I love to photograph and sketch them. What is it about those temporary little villages that spring up out on the ice that so fascinate me? Each year, the colors and configurations are different. They are fun to try to capture and I love it when I get a few of the fishermen. Here they were having a bit of a chat.
I grabbed my sketch book and my colored pencils for a bit of a quick study based on one of the photos I took last weekend.
I will do a few of these I think when I feel the need. Last year, I did two pieces in fiber.
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Oh, over the last couple of weeks, how I've discovered that an aging menopausal woman does not do well with disruptions and change, albeit small ones such as we've had.
At yoga this morning, I finally felt a sense of peace, breathing deeply and stretching.
when I returned and entered the front door, the warmth of my living room with the focus wall (there's my word of the year again)and its new paint color and the recycled furniture from the rec room is now finally welcoming to me.
It'll be even better once Ive put up some of my artwork.
The green and the taupe/plum color sing to me.
Yesterday, at my sewing day, I finished the two little zippered pouches. The pattern is Bridgets's Bagetttes by Atkinson Designs.
I forgot to take a picture of the first one which I gave to a friend as a birthday gift at lunch today.
The inside. One of my prints.
After lunch, the trail was calling to me, but so was my current fiber art piece. I took the time to paint some of the background for my rocks.
A perfect end to my afternoon-- getting out on the trail. They are quite well trodden and with poles for support, fairly good under foot. So many things to be happy about today.
a satisfying yoga class
a birthday lunch with a friend
the aura of winter sunlight emanating from my studio this morning
the crisp but slowly warming winter air
the long shadows of a winter afternoon
the glow of the birch tree stand
is it any wonder that I'm continually captivated by birch trees?
I take the time to breathe deeply, taking into my lungs and body, the frosty air, the blue sky, the sparkling snow
I leaned a little heavily on the poles to get home. I will need an ice pack later. A fair trade for a lovely day.
I'm linking to the Needle and Thread Network.
Monday, January 12, 2015
We think there may still be a bit of a smell, but for now we're living with and plan to paint and clean a bit more, hoping eventually we'll get rid of it. I am not up to anymore disruption right now.
I woke up in my cozy bed this morning --a little later than I wanted but I made up for it. I got a multi-grain bread started and set it to raise in the oven, vacuumed and did the wash.
At lunch time, I baked the bread and made bok choy ginger soup for dinner. I simply had to try the heel with molasses. Do you do that? It's my favorite. I'm going to need some restraint!
After lunch, the furniture store delivered our new side by side lazy boys which went down into the rec room. They brought up the rest of the sectional for us to the living room. The color is right, but I'm not sure I really like it. The hide a bed section is not that comfortable to sit on. I may replace this too.
Here is my latest pic of a visitor to my deck feeders.
Finally, after I got the furniture all straightened out, I could go into my studio for a bit of free motion stitching with black thread, the first free motioning for the New Year. I just wanted to add a bit of definition to the prints that I'm using in the zippered pouches. They will show through the vinyl fronts. The section on top has the zippers already sewn in and ready to attach to the backing prints.
I'm getting organized for a sewing day at a friend's house tomorrow where I hope to finish these.
I also laid out my painted sky behind the appliqued rocks and taped it to my window. A simple light box which I use often.
Last year, I did a couple of fiber art pieces based on them. I hope I'll have time this year.
It's like a little village to the fishermen.
Wednesday, January 7, 2015
In my studio this afternoon, I've been puttering a bit, going through some of my discarded and left over bits of screen printed fabrics, looking for something that I could use to make a couple of zippered pouches with the vinyl fronts.
I've cut the pieces to make two pouches. They're a bit labor intensive as I want to do a small bit of free motion stitching on the screen prints, but that is the fun part for me. Also, I like being able to use pieces that I've previously set aside as not quite good enough for a larger piece.
The only other thing I did was to lay out my rocks against the piece of fabric that I painted. I think the color is OK. Bear in mind that I will need to add some shrubbery and some trees to the background and it will not end up looking so peachy.
I think I'll paint another piece too just to have some choice. I'm so anxious to get the background elements on and get to the stitching part.
I've just eaten a half an apple with nuts while writing this. I'm off now to make a tea before I have to go back to pick up hubby.