Saturday, October 1, 2011

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

a little painting, a little sewing

I've been a little disappointed in myself because I have not been keeping up with my intentions to do more sketching and painting. It is partly because I don't have the same opportunities that I had in other summers. You just can't take time to sketch on the golf course like you can when you're out hiking and camping which we did not do this summer.

I do, however, have a backyard, albeit small, which is full of flowers and vegetables. Yesterday, I took advantage of the sunshine and took my paints outside. The nasturtiums I did quickly. I can't believe in September the mosquitoes are still biting! I am using my new Koi watercolor set and the colors are quite different than the Windsor and Newton one. I am very lazy when it comes to this stuff. I need to pull the two sets out and do color samples to compare.

It's a little uncomfortable to post this picture because it's flaws are clear to me. A good part of the reason I blog though, besides to inspire other readers, is to document my process. Learning and improving is a part of that and just like when you're learning to speak a new language, you must be willing to speak and make lots of mistakes before becoming fluent.

Next, I picked some veggies for supper. I did this next painting of the beet at the kitchen table.

Finally, I always like a little sewing time even it is just a few seams. I came across this link the other day for an interesting quilt block. I couldn't resist trying it out using a small collection of fabrics I picked up for another baby quilt. The left hand block is sewn together, while the right hand one has not. You can see the 4 sections. The only thing that I would add is to be careful of the bias when ironing once you make the diagonal cuts. I also carefully pinned to match all the seams.

Today, I am waiting for a message from my daughter to let us know if her visa arrived. Her flight back to Korea is still set for tomorrow morning. Talk about cutting it close. We will wait this morning to see if we should make the 3 hour drive to see her off. If it doesn't come today it will be re-booked for later this week. So, I can't do much but pack and wait.

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Saturday, September 24, 2011

  My daughter called from Fredericton yesterday, said she was bored, her friends were all gone for the weekend. Some of then went surfing in Nova Scotia; she opted out since she's not much of a swimmer. At 5:30 she hopped in her car and drove the 3 hours to our home. I was on edge the whole time as it gets dark early now and there are lots of deer and moose about.
She made it safely and this morning we went to the market and stopped at the cafe for tea and a muffin.Then she started sniffling and having sneezing fits which has been going on all day. We're not sure if it's allergies or a cold but she is sure miserable. We cancelled our exercise plans. I had to stay in my sewing room and play for the rest of the afternoon. Oh darn.

I re-visited this gel print, adding some green Inktense pencil behind the flowers. I'm leaving it for a fresh eye but I think I will darken up the green a bit and add some of the same bright green to the bottom right half.

 Then, I started playing with another gel print, fusible gluing on some funky houses. I bordered it with a print that  I had used to make a friend a sewing machine cover. She wants a serger cover too.

 However, when I looked at the pictures on my monitor of the block with and without the border and without the trees, I got another inspiration. I rather like it without the trees and the border. It almost looks like beach huts. I may remove the bottom tree tomorrow and change the border.

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

thermofax screen prints

Wow, it is another lovely and unseasonably warm fall day. I thought it was going to rain today and I am 'carless' (daughter has it until sometime next week). I therefore planned to spend the day messing about with fabric, paints and thermofax screens.I hung out some wash and went for a small walk and then got into the paint.

I had some thermofax screens made from my drawings a couple of months ago here.

It is really addictive once you get started! I did watch her video tutorial which is very helpful. I would add a couple of hints. I found it helpful to use painter's tape to tape the screen down to the padded background board that I was using. That way it stays more stable and by lifting it careful form the bottom off the fabric I could check it. Also, I found with this method I could slide in a 2nd piece of fabric after removing the first one.
I discovered that I could get 2 prints from a screen before cleaning it if I was careful. In the next picture you can see that the paint started to smear under the screen a little. I'm not sure if it was because I tried a third print or because of the surface I was using. It is a piece of paper cloth (tissue paper glued to muslin and painted) so it is quite a textured surface. I think I'll cut it up and stitch on it to make book marks.

I wondered what it would be like to layer one color over another with
the next screen. First, I printed several pieces of various fabrics with
white screen printing paint. I used masking tape to cover the

Next, after washing and drying the screen, I removed the tape form the chickadee and re printed onto the same fabric using black this time.

Finally, this is an example of what not to do. Once you've spread the paint for the first print, then you cannot see to position the screen to do a second over print. so, in this one I ended up with a white branch going through the chickadee.

While I sat eating my lunch I had 2 pans of granola ingredients toasting in the oven. Once done you simply add the honey and spice mix plus some raisins and cranberries and it's done.

My scanner is not working at the moment so I've taken a picture of the recipe. it is from the book, the Vegetarian Bible by Pat Crocker. I think you could read it if you click on it. If anyone can't read it and you really want it, just comment and I'll get a better version.

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Wednesday, September 21, 20

thread painting and mystic woods wall hanging

Yesterday, in between some of my cooking ( I made tomato soup with my fresh tomatoes), I spent a good bit of time with 2 gel prints. I started off with the blue/green one that I will call Fantasy Garden and then went for a bike ride. While out, I decided to snip out what I had done on the seashell yesterday.  I then re-did it in a slightly lighter shade of grey which I think is a little better. I didn't add the other lighter colors to the shell yet because I still want to pick up some better shades. I did add some stitching to a few other elements. I think I'm on the right track.

I'm once again in a dilemma with the blue gel print. I love the color scheme and plan to add more bright colors  when it comes to the hand stitching. Right now though, the large flowers (they're fantasy flowers) are monochromatic with the background. This is where thread painting differs a little from free motion quilting. You're working over a smaller area and often in more detail. It can be akin to painting when one slowly dabs on color and stands back to assess. I need the flowers to stand out a little more and this is my dilemma, and also why I can be very slow to produce a finished project. I must ponder upon it. Do I add paint, more thread, or perhaps some collaged fabric? Another option is to add paint around the flowers as opposed to the flowers. Decisions, decisions.

The dilemma is real but partly caused by the criticism I received on this piece that I put in a recent show.

It was felt that there is not enough contrast. That's all the detail I got, so I don't know if it is in the gel prints themselves or perhaps between  the print and the border. It is called Mystic Woods and I did envision it as a night scene. Usually, I can see something as soon as it is pointed out to me but in this case, I'm not sure. It has definitely made me question my latest print. I would welcome any in put on this.

Here are a few close up shots showing some of the hand stitching.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

 I spent yesterday doing my usual housework and then some errands; we had a slow leak in one of our tires. While I was out I met a friend at my favorite cafe for lunch. After lunch, my daughter stopped in for a few minutes. She drove all the way up (3 hours) to see the dentist. I was coincidentally making her favorite-- chocolate zucchini loaf,  but it wasn't out of the oven before she left. I will take some down for her to take on the plane. It is a recipe that I make every fall. It freezes well wrapped in half loaves, or as I do by 2 slices at a time wrapped individually and sealed in a freezer bag.

 The recipe makes 2 regular sized loaves. I've not written all the details.  I mixed the wet ingredients, then the zucchini  with the mixer and then the dry ingredients.

I just have one small thing to show. I'm not especially pleased with it at this point. At the moment I find the stitching is too dark. It may simply be that I need to continue with the rest of the thread painting and add some light and medium values. The problem is that I seem to have no lighter values in the colors I want, in both my cotton and silk threads. Normally, since I can't buy the thread here in town, I would push ahead and try to make do. Next week, however, Gord and I must travel to Fredericton to see our daughter off to Korea again. I will be able to purchase thread there. Hmm, what to do.

I'm not sure today if I'll push ahead with it or work on something else. I've got another gel print that is calling out to me.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


While I've been doing pretty well recently energy wise and health wise, this morning I woke with a sinus headaches and sore throat. I had to adjust my plans for the day. I did go out to pick up a few groceries but then I spent a quiet afternoon finishing up the baby quilt that I need to get into the mail tomorrow and knitting.

I actually put the on the TV and sat down with my knitting which I haven't done in the daytime since last being sick. I am nearly to the end of my shawl. I was congratulating myself for getting the photo focused when I realized it's on the wrong side. I hope I can be forgiven.

Yesterday, I made a tomato raisin chutney first thing in the morning and did some shopping in the afternoon. I really hate to shop, unless it's for fabric, yarn or art supplies. For clothes, I have no inclination. It's only when I start to feel slightly embarrassed, that I force myself to get out there and look.

I usually like to post a link for the recipe but as I'm prone to do, I simply googled tomato raisin chutney and I then combined several recipes to get what I wanted. My recipe was for the microwave but I used the stove top. There are also apples in it. My only suggestion would be to taste before adding all the sugar because I'm used to a sugarless applesauce and I found this quite sweet even though I left out 1/4 cp of the brown sugar.

Finally, it's not just illness that is keeping me down; we received the tragic news 2 days ago that a 31 year old  man from my husbands family died in a tragic accident while on vacation. He was a pharmacist and the youngest of 3 children. I cannot comprehend it as yet. I can't even imagine what his parents re going through.

I expect to be away from here for a few days.

Monday, September 12, 2011 

finished quilt

We had beautiful sunny weather over the weekend. Sleeping is heavenly now that the nights are cooler. I really wanted to finish  the quilting on the baby quilt but one must get outside when one can. I did squeeze in some time here and there in between cleaning up in the garden Saturday and golfing yesterday to get enough done to enable me to finish it today.

It is another breezy fall tinged day today. This morning, I did my habitual Monday house cleaning( I do a quick dusting and vacuuming so I can be free the rest of the week) and then I met some quilting friends for coffee (my drink is tea). After lunch I finished the few quilting lines on the baby quilt and added the binding, so that I can take it with me to a friend's tomorrow for the hand stitching.

I also sat down for a few minutes Saturday night and added some color to the white shells and rocks on this gel print. It is pinned to a stiff interfacing and ready for some thread painting. It doesn't seem like much but I feel productive anyway.

I like to spend time with my husband when I can and get my exercise. If there is time left I sew or do something creative. On weekday mornings, my usual schedule is to bake or start supper, go for a walk or bike ride, and maybe hang out some wash. I have lunch and then I spend 2 hours in my sewing room. I must take a small rest after that.

We removed the hummingbird feeder last week when it attracted a horde of wasps. It was time anyway, as the hummingbirds need to be on their way south. This one was sitting on the clothesline looking confused about where it went. I will miss listening to and watching them flit around the deck and the apple tree. It's not the best picture, but you might notice what looks like a tennis ball hanging nearby. It is! We hang them with Tanglefoot glue smeared on them to attract the maggot flies. They get stuck there and theoretically reduce the infestation in the apples. We don't spray.

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