Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Free motion stitching

We arrived home last night from a nice long weekend and a family gathering at the cottage on Prince Edward Island.
The old folks are a bit slow.
We hadn't thought it was going to be warm so although we had bathing suits on, Ollie didn't have his. It didn't seem to bother him.
 I had a clinic appointment this morning and then picked up a few groceries. I'm feeling pretty tired! After lunch, cup of tea in hand, I went into the studio to putter which often gets me going. Since black thread was still on my machine, i sat down to stitch a few sea shells onto deli paper.
These are meant to be added to my mixed media piece and painted and stitched over.
Before removing the black thread, I also finished stitching the left hand flower on this Gelli print that I started as a demo for my workshop.
I'm always thinking ahead; I knew there would be lots of Queen Anne's lace growing in the ditches by the cottage so I packed an old phone book. 
I like to press wildflowers late summer into fall for winter to be used in my printing sessions. Finally, I took off the black and threaded the machine with a variegated color that I picked up while away to match my collaged piece.  I had time to get started. This piece is made from various prints of wildflowers picked and pressed last year. I have phone books full.
I can't wait to finish so i can add some layers of hand work and other shear fabrics.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Gelli print wildflower collage

I've been floundering a bit this summer as far as my fiber art goes. Ive mamaged to finish some things, but I'v also had a few starts and stops, a couple that i wasnt happy with -- i couldn't seem to work through it.  Finally, i gave myself permission to pull out my box of Gelli prints. I have lots because of my recent workshop, so i gathered a few with similar flora and colors. These are sone of my fabourite things to work with. Generally, i would seam them together, sometimes adding sashing and borders.  There are two artists whose work I love--Cas Holmes and Jane Lafazio. Their fibre art pieces are often raw edge layered with personal symbols using different textures, fabrics, and with both machine and hand stitching.
 Here is a piece by Jane LaFazio.
Inspired by these artists, yesterday, I started cutting pieces up with the rotary cutter and no ruler! I put a piece of fleece up on the design wall and started laying them out.
I couldn't wait to get back to it this morning. Finally, after moving a few around i decided to commit and start stitching. After taking a picture, i did a light spray baste and put everything back in place.
The next picture shows a detail of the machine stitching over the raw edges.
I think I'll continue to stitch everything down in this way, maybe varying colors and pattern. I also plan some overlays with textures and sheers using free motion sketching and some handwork. Finally, I'm excited! It is summer though and i have to start packing for a long weekend at the family cottage in PEI. There will be a barbecue attended by any of my 3 brothers plus spouses, a sister, and some nieces and nephews. My son and wife are coming from Lunenburg and of course we'll see my daughter with her partner and our grandson. A real family gathering that we do every summer. Ollie started crawling last week and is really enjoying exploring his parameters. One day, after coming back from putting cloths away, my daughter found him sitting in the corner with his book.
He is very active. I'm hoping this means he'll enjoy the quiet times too.       

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Dragonflies, seashells and summer adventures

This is one of those rare weeks, especially in summer, when I have no visits and no appointments. I'm spending it as creatively as I can. Before i tell you about what I'm working on, I want to show you what hubby and i did on Sunday. I've been reading a book about New Brunswick waterfalls. It has long been on my bucket list to swim under a waterfall. I discovered one near Miramichi called Little Sheephouse Falls anout an hour and a half from here. The weather Sinday was perfect and we set off with a lunch and swimsuit, bug stuff, etc, in a backpack.
It was a short hike but then we discovered to actually get down to the falls, there was a steep trail into the ravine. I made it with the help of my poles and a rope which had been tied to the trees along the descent. What a pretty spot! It was so worth it. 
The dark area near the falls becomes deep, over my head in a small spot.  I ventured into the very refreshing water (that's a nice way of saying cold). After going in and out in between eating our wraps and sitting in the sun, we quickly got used to it.
I can't even express how exciting and exillerating this was for me, especially after spending the last few years physically limited. Thanks to my new hip and a couple of joint repairs, the world has opened up to me again. I am thankful. I also heard about a zipline opening in Miramichi, reported to be the longest in NB and we were driving right by it. Yes, im terrified of heights, but I thought i could do it. I've been adopting the philosophy that i must not miss opportunities when they arise. 
I can say i did it! Wish i had a photo to prove it! G took a movie too big for me to upload here. The platform is set above a cove of water. You zip over, climb another hill to another platform and zip back over the water. French Fort Cove. We stopped at Boston Pizza for supper. The first thing i ordered was a cup of tea. I think it took an hour for my heart to slow to normal!  It was the best day! Now, to my latest fibre workings. Finally i finished a few dragonflies, terribly fine work, although absorbing and metitative at the same time.
I'm even adding legs made from stiffened perle cotton. I'm pretty happy with these although I'm already thinking about how to make the wings thinner, lol. For now, I left the 'cows' on the design wall. In order to proceed  i need more mixed media to go with it. This is what i mean. I decided to use a summer theme on a smaller piece for practise, starting with canvas, some washes and free motion stitching in black based on a page from my sketchbook.
Yesterday, i applied some lazer prints to organza using gel medium and after drying last night, soaked them and gently rubbed the paper off leaving the color on the irganza.  I cut two pieces out and laid them in the background. This is a method described in a video by Jeannie Palmer Moore. She also has an article in the latest Quilting Arts.
Next, i added more color using chalk pastels which work like a watercolor wash when brushed over with fabric medium.
Around lunch time, while i was eating, i took the time to boil some new potatoes, and blanch some fresh yellow beans and peas from my garden. I assembled a salad, inspired by a Pinterest picture of a niscoise salad. Dressing was mixed in a jar using, rice wine vinegar, fresh oregano, herbs, a little greek yogourt, some avocado dressing and some olive oil. 
I'm getting hungry thinking about it! After that I searched up some info about seashells along with some sheet music of a little song and printed them out. More transfer onto organza to be made with thise later.
The shear beige organza which came from my stash (found as a blouse at Frenchies), I free motion stitched, again with black.
These can be cut out and collaged to the background.
It's pretty warm out; I ventured out earlier to water and pick veggies. I spend my time in a cooler interior when it's like this unless it's the weekend and we go to the beach. Tonight, we may walk at the waterfront. I hope you're having a nice week so far and have some creative time planned.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017


My daughter and Ollie left around 9:00 this morning and I got started on clean up, something needed after a visit with baby, but also to keep myself busy while I wait for word that they're home safe. The little pool and swing in the apple tree are still in the yard to be put away for another visit. My husband was up and out early to a golf tournament; when he gets home, I know we'll both feel their absence.
Especially Ollie's giggles and cute smile.
Always though, in the back of my mind were my current works in progress up on my design wall. Nests, feathers and chickadees, queen Anne's lace and ferns, cows, and painted teabags pinned to organza.
I know how I want to proceed with all of them, but at the same time I'm not loving them. I know from past experience that I need to stick with them to the end. Not every piece is succesful. It is about the process and the learning experience.
After doing some cleaning abd getting the bedding on the line, I sat down to work on a few dragonflies-- stitching on beads for eyes and wings.
I finished one and put eyes on two more. I want 3 dragonflies to add to my cosmos piece, so I can officially call it finished and move on.
Slowly, I'm getting familiar with my new machine. Here, I've got organza plus Angeline fibre hooped and ready to free motion stitch some more wings.
I planned to head out to the yard this afternoon. After all the heat we had, while I stayed inside, the weeds have really grown. Yesterday i weeded some spots out back and now I could add mulch.
Hubby arrived home just now and i think we'll head to the beach for a swim. I'll see how conditions are for my kayak. Conditions were beautiful!
And the water was warm!
And i just got the message that Ollie and my daughter are home. All is good. Except for a wee bit of loneliness.
We'll adjust, and we're heading over to the island again in a few weeks.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Making dragonfly bodies

It seems odd that despite my arthritic fingers and usual clumsiness, I really get into wrapping tiny wires and sewing wings onto dragonflies.
Its absorbing and oddly meditative. There is so much going on right now, my husbands dad is ill and in hospital a coupke hours away, thankfully recouperating and expected home Saturday. My daughter and grandson are arriving Friday. My youngest don is coming Saturday for a night. I spent this morning washing and getting things ready. Hubby assembled a crib from Ikea and ive got the mattress cover on the line today. Putting a crib in downstairs meant clearing out some things. Oh, the dust! Now, that I've taken a break and calmed myself some, I'm heading down to finish up. I wrapped a couple different colors, applied gel medium and clips. A little hollow shimmer thread will come next.
I have ideas for stitching more transluscent wings. I haven't yet had time to plug in and familiarize myself with the new machine.  Im looking forward to the visit though. There will be lots of time later for stitching.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

PEI long weekend

The summer is filled with such good weather and so many little trips that getting any serious art work done is not easy. We do have to take advantage though, both of getting outside and getting away, and the best thing, visiting with family, especially our grandson.
We've ust returned from 4 days on the Island-- two at the cottage and two babysitting Ollie in Charlottetown  at my daughters and her partners while they were away to a wedding. My daughter came to the cottage on Friday. Not many beaches compare those on PEI with its sparkling waters and red sands.
We had perfect weather! It actually got a little warm and muggy on Saturday and Sunday, especially in the apartment. This trip we actually managed a couple of outings without forgetting anything important such as diapers, sunscreen, snacks and a bottle ands thanks to a well packed bag by my daughter!  He liked the splash pad-- quite fascinated by the showers of water.
Then we put his his swim wear on and put him in on the step at the toddler end of the pool.
Afterwards we strolled back to the vehicle, sharing a sundae at the takeout while Ollie napped.
To say that we were tired is a huge understatement. I'm still recouperating and so is Gord. Despite that he said he'd do it every weekend if we could. It's a 4 hour drive, lol! I have what would normally be the two most exciting bits of news but which are almost forgotten in all the fun. I picked up my postage stamp quilt from the Spruce it Up quilt shop in Port Elgin where it was machine quilted.
The pattern and stitch is really nice! Now i have to bind it.
And, big excitement for me! I brought home a new machine along with a stitch regulator thanks to a little gift from my mom.
Yesterday was catch up day, washing clothes, and picking up groceries. I squeezed in a wee sketch with watercolor at lunch time.
Today, I had one appoinment around noon. I washed more clothes and hung them out and I started another sketch.
I got so sleepy I couldn't get any further. After a little rest I managed to unpack all of the accessories for the machine and clean up the sewing room. I stopped at that though as I'm getting dinner ready early to take out to the mother in laws. I just took a tray if roasted veggies out of oven. Thank goodness for air conditioning!
To go with, I'm going to do homemade crusted haddock in the little bake oven. It takes 7 minutes. Easy, peasy. We'll take our beach towels just in case the weather holds and there's time gor a swim. We coukd get thunder showers.