Sunday, October 31, 2010

cold weekend

It has been a bit of a shock to the system with 3-4 degree(Celsius) days this weekend. I wanted to get outside to do some yard work, but we had wind and snow flurries yesterday, so after a quick trip to the market I stayed inside. I started doing some sketches for a project I'm working on. Then I did a little mono printing. This morning, it was equally cold, although at least it was sunny with now wind. After our usual Sunday breakfast we went outside for a couple of hours to do some garden and yard clean up. Later this afternoon, I added some gesso, collage and pastels to my mono prints. I'm heading somewhere with them-- just not sure yet where. I had something in mind when I started; however, that did not go as planned. It's kind of fun though to let a piece of art lead you along. I have an idea what I will do next. How they will end up, I don't know.

On my last retreat, I  finished up some projects and then I played a little. This is a picture of some free motion stitching that  I did on a piece of my soy wax resist painted fabric. The piece on the right has not yet been stitched. I think I will make a little bag with them.

Here is one little bag I also made at retreat that I lined with the iron on vinyl. I was so anxious to try the vinyl that I didn't think ahead. I wish that I had done some free motion stitching on it too. I only thought of it after it was done.

On my Friday errand day I stopped by this new little children's game and toy store called Aristide to pick up a mobile that I just couldn't resist. It's fun to shop in a kid's store! Here it is hanging in my sewing room.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

it's nice to be home

I arrived home last night around 6:30 from the 2nd retreat this week, and then had to go back out in the pouring rain to get my flu shot. I was so happy to sleep in my own bed last night. Today I stayed in my PJ's until after lunch! I unpacked all my sewing stuff and put it away, hung out a wash, made muffins and a pot of apple butter. I bought an apple peeler, corer and slicer,  I'm loving it. the apples are still simmering away in the crock pot and it smells lovely.
This is the view that I had to look at while I sewed. Oh the hardship!

This redwork quilt was put together by my friend Wendy. Isn't it something? And, as if it wasn't a major feat to finish all the hand embroidery on this, she's now going to do another one in brown.

Another friend, Paula, whose camp we were staying in, spent the entire 2 days cutting the wool pieces for this tree skirt. She is going to hand stitch everything down. Her little grand daughter will really enjoy picking out all the characters on it.

Besides making 2 Halloween place mats from the scraps of my friend Anne, who did 2 on the weekend, I finished my 3 snowmen pillow wraps, and put the binding on this elephant hanging. I also put binding on a baby quilt but didn't take a picture as it's not hand sewn down yet.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Journal exchange

I met with one journal exchange member to-night for our first meeting this fall. We've had a hard time to get going but I think it's been worth it. Charlotte and I seemed to agree that doing a journal page is a bit of creative fun while at the same time we're experimenting and learning new techniques. Our last theme in June was 'creepy crawlies' and this is the one that Charlotte did for me. I think it's quite beautiful.

Our current theme for October was 'fall harvest'. I took 2 pictures to-night but one is being mailed to Australia, so I don't want to show a picture of it yet. This is the one that I did. It is done on paper cloth with watercolors and ink.
This is another quilt that was done by a friend of mine this weekend made from recycled jeans.
I'm going to bed early to-night as we (9 of us) are meeting at 8:30 to make the  hour and some drive to the camp for our 2 day retreat.  I'll be back Wednesday evening. I have an appointment at 8pm for my flu shot.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

home from guild retreat

I got home just before supper this afternoon from a 2 night guild retreat. It's the first one I've been to because I always felt a whole weekend was too much when I was working full time. What an experience! Even though it was only 5 minutes from where I live, it was like being in another world. I didn't come home for anything. It was wonderful having nothing more to do than get up in the morning and have the day to sew. All out meals were provided. I also had a lovely room to myself in a quiet wing, and so could go off to bed and read whenever I wanted. Some of the women (older than my 55 years) were up later than me and at their machines when I arrived in the morning! It was a weekend full of lots of idle chat, some not so idle, and much laughter.
This is the quilt that I finished putting together. It still needs to be quilted. I think I will do it myself but likely after Christmas sometime. It is a good sized lap quilt.

I love a scrappy quilt too, and especially this diamond pattern.

This next quilt is made as a memory quilt from mens' shirts. Isn't it gorgeous?
The place mats and paper pieced cat  were made by my friend Anne who sat next to me. I got her Halloween fabric scraps and made 8 small crazy patch blocks which I will also put into place mats.
I may show more pictures another time. There were a lot of inspiring quilts. I am home tomorrow--well,a s in sleeping home. I have a doctor's appointment and need to visit a friend who is heading back to Uruguay for the winter. I also must make a casserole for a friend's retreat for Tuesday and Wednesday (1 night sleepover) at her camp. This one I have done before. There is a small group of us who get together for 'quilty' things regularly. I'll have more pictures to show when I get back Wed night or Thurs.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Packing for retreat

After lunch tomorrow,  I head to a local center for  2 days and 2 nights of our guild's No Frills Quilt Retreat. It is called that because, unlike the next retreat in February, there are no games and prizes. We are free to sew, rest, walk, read, or nap, when we want, and all the meals are provided. This will be the first time that I've actually participated because it would have been too much for me when I was working full time. I've been ironing, cutting and packing fabric for the last couple of days. While I plan to finish a couple of small projects and Christmas presents that I've had on the go, I also pulled out a kaleidoscope quilt that has been languishing in my fabric closet for some time. You can see a piece of it  here atop my suitcase with my other projects. I don't really care for the color much anymore, but that happens doesn't it? Someone will, I'm sure.

Here you can see one of the projects that I just cut the binding fabric for. It is to be a pillow wrap. I plan to machine quilt it.

Also, this morning, I finished the free motion quilting on the second pillow top that my friend, Nicole, asked me to do for her. I just love the color and designs!
I have packed my camera so, I expect to have a few interesting photos for my next post. I will be home on Sunday. It just so happens that my friend, Paula, has planned one of her camp retreats next Tuesday. I will make my decision as to whether I'm up for it when I return Sunday. Then I'll have to unpack, wash, and repack. Also, I would need to make a casserole as my contribution.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

15 minutes of stitching

I've been busy getting a parcel ready and mailed to my daughter in Korea for Christmas.Yesterday I wrapped a dozen little gifts to tuck in it--some homemade--but again, of course, I cannot show them. It cost me $45 to mail it and that was regular post, so it will take at least 6 to 8 weeks. I do hope it will make it for Christmas!
The other thing I did today was to box up my new printer/scanner and take it back to Staples where I exchanged it for an upgrade. I had just purchased it a few weeks ago. I bought to use, among other things, for scanning and printing some of my art work. My husband and I had tried everything to adjust the colors form the scanner but it just wasn't good, so I traded up. This time it is a wireless Kodak scanner/ copier. I don't have it yet as they had to order it in.
By the time I got home, I had about 15 minutes to sit at my sewing machine. It's normally my yoga night with my husband, but he went without me as I had a doctor's appointment. This is what I did before I left. It's a top that I purchased at Frenchy's last week that I wanted to spice up with a bit of a personal touch. It's not much but it makes it mine. I used a piece of tear away stabilizer on the back and free motion stitched it with black and then green.

Monday, October 18, 2010

no fun stuff to show

I'm sorry I don't have any interesting creative endeavors to show. I have done some, but they are both for gifts and I can't show them. It's that time of year.
Also, while I was off to a guild UFO day, Saturday, working on those secret projects, my husband was painting the wall in our kitchen dining area. It was an accent wall and used to be burgundy. The photo doesn't do it justice. The green seems a little softer in real life. It's brighter and very pretty. Now I have to work on a new valance.

There is a custom charm pack giveaway on a friend's blog for those interested, and I found a link on her blog to this giveaway charm pack as well. Good luck!
This week, I will be trying to pack up for a guild retreat that I'm going to on the weekend. I have such a hard time to remember everything needed for each project. Once I pull out some things (the non secret ones), I will take a few pictures.

Friday, October 15, 2010

busy week

As seems to be the case lately, I had a few appointments this week and did not get much time in my studio. I have almost finished the scarf I started though, and yesterday I purchased a ball of something called Ondas by Katia. It makes a very interesting ruffled scarf which I will show as soon as I get it started. I'd hoped to start it to-night but jsut realized that I need another yarn to go with it. Darn!
Yesterday I had 3 friends over for drawing. They have all at one time or another said that they'd like to learn to draw so I thought it would be fun to have them together. I didn't take any pictures of their actual work yet, but there is some interesting stuff. The first week I showed then the concept of a zentangle and they took right off with that one. Here is a picture of them doing a contour drawing as a warm up.
 This is a picture that I took arriving in Campbellton where I went for a doctor's appointment on Wednesday. It borders Quebec and is such a picturesque little place. The hump is called Sugarloaf. There is a trail that goes around as well as to the top. The fall colors were spectacular.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

walk in the woods

Yesterday after brunch, my husband and I went for a walk along one of our favorite wooded trails.The wind was still up, but it is always cozy and warm in the woods.

I was a little winded though and started to cough. This continued into the night, so this morning, I had to increase my cortisone dose again. I just can't completely shake this cold. I saw my doctor this morning and she told me to go back on the Synthroid for my thyroid as it's low again. Maybe that explains the low immune response to the cold.
After our walk yesterday, I spent a few hours in my sewing room where I finished up this little hanging. It's about 4 by 8 inches.

Then I surrounded  the second one with the little scrappy blocks and sandwiched it for quilting. I quite like all the colors in that  one. It's very happy.

Finally, I bordered one of my little houses with turquoise and auditioned some other fabrics to go with it. I am putting 4 together in one hanging. I think I like the color direction in this as well.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

My youngest son came home but spent part of the weekend at his girlfriend's place. My eldest son and his partner were planning to come and had to cancel because he was on call. Since my daughter is in Korea, we had a pretty quiet weekend. I cooked a chicken yesterday for my husband and I.
Shortly, we're going to brunch with my son and his girlfriend before they leave. I'm hoping to get out to enjoy the fall colors on a walk this afternoon.
This is a scarf that I started Friday night. The yarn is Misti Alpaca--cotton and part silk; I can wear wool socks and mitts but can't wear it near my neck. I bought the yarn when I was in Nova Scotia last summer. It feels so lovely to knit,  I may have to call and order some more. I can see I didn't do it justice when I took the picture last night. The turquoises and greens are brighter than it shows.

I've been working in snippets of time putting the finishing touches on the 2 elephants. Here is 1 pictured surrounded by my scrappy blocks. I quite like all the color.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

drawing class

I had 3 friends in this morning for a very informal drawing session. I didn't take pictures as they are , I think, self conscious about their drawing right now. It went very well, though. Today, we started with the  line--the different kinds and the feelings they can evoke. We did a doodle page of as many different lines as we could think of, a page of line doodles representing different emotions, and then I introduced zentangles. We also had time to start a small contour drawing of a leaf.
I got a new book in the mail this week called  Drawn To Stitch by Gwen Hedley. I haven't finished reading the whole book yet, but I couldn't resist trying one of the exercises. The picture shows newspaper bonded to photocopy paper, drawn on, then cut and woven back together. After that, I scanned it and played around with the scale. It tried to transfer one to fabric, but it didn't come out very well. I guess the cheaper inks work better. I would like to experiment with that a little more because I would love to do some on fabric.
I pulled out my gelatin printed blocks of the houses. One is actually an outhouse. I have 4  which I've backed with stabilizer and done some thread painting on. I put 2 up on the design wall to see how they'd look with the little scrappy blocks. I think I would add some wonky (perhaps black and white) borders before the blocks. What do you think? Is it too much?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

fighting the cold

My energy spike on Sunday night was really a cortisone high. I had to double my dose due to a sore throat. I haven't gone back to the regular dose yet, but have decreased it, so now the cold is dragging on a bit and I'm a bit tired. Last night, I went to our guild pizza night. We had pizza first, a short meeting and then they were making little quilted caddies to hang on the back of a wheel chair or walker. I was prepared with my fabric all pre cut, but I ended up leaving after the meeting. I slept pretty well though. The sore throat seems better, but I have a bit of a cough.
Yesterday afternoon, I made a dozen more little blocks with my scraps. It really is fun! I've also done a little more work on the 2 elephants. I added some color with Neocolor crayons, free motion stitched with black, and did some hand stitching. I will sandwich them and do a very little bit of quilting next.

Monday, October 4, 2010

testing the crazy theory

Yesterday at supper time, I got hit with this crazy frenzied sewing fever. Now that I look at the picture that I took at bedtime, it doesn't look a ll that mad, really, does it? Pretty neat, considering. It really was Wanda of Exuberent Color who set the seed.
There was nothing really interesting on TV  to watch, so I started watching a sort of lame movie (it was a Disney movie I think). Since it wasn't really enough to hold my attention I thought about what I would do. Normally, I knit,but I was restless, so I dragged my little workshop sewing machine out to the coffee table along with a box of scraps, and I sewed for 3 hours. I cut and trimmed on a board in my lap. As if I need another quilt in progress! In truth the blocks are too small to make a large quilt. I don't know how they'll end up.
I made 10, 2 1/2' blocks and 19, 3 inch blocks: Sorry about the shadows.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

spending a quiet Sunday at home

I have had a sore throat for the last few days. It kept me up most of last night, so I'm spending today doubling up on my cortisone and trying to rest. This is hard to do when the cortisone is increased--it makes you hyper.
My husband decided we needed more muffins and offered to actually learn how to make them since he takes them often  in his lunches. I freeze them, so he can just grab one whenever he's packing his lunch. This was quite amazing because he doesn't do much cooking. We made orange flax meal muffins which you  see below along with my echinacea tea in my new mug. The pottery mug was given to me by a good friend and is made by another friend, Sarah Branch.

I added some fusible iron on fabrics to a couple of my fabric prints. I think I will thread sketch them and I haven't decided which color thread yet. I'm thinking black for the  second one and a dark pink for the first one. What do you think?

Yesterday, I went to UFO day with our local guild. I stayed long enough to sew the final borders onto this quilt which I will put away for now until after Christmas. It is too big for me to machine quilt myself; I plan to send it off for quilting. I do have a design wall, but my room is so small that I can't get far enough away to get  a good picture. This isn't the best either. I pulled it to one side so that you can see most of the orange border.

Friday, October 1, 2010

week of appointments

I had appointments almost every day this week--one day I even had three! I dreamed of getting some play time all week but never managed any until this afternoon. I'm working on a series of cards for my sister who is writing the verses in hopes of producing a boxed set of miscellaneous cards. These are a few of my trial prints which are just the beginning. I will be over stamping, collaging and sewing on some of them. Some are done on card stock and some on fabric, so I'll be trying out some different techniques.

I realized that I didn't really explain just what those mysterious fruit were that I pictured on my giveaway post. The following picture shows one with the skin peeled away revealing the little tomato inside which is sweet and delicious. They are referred to as ground tomatoes here.

I am so happy  that a fellow blogger Wanda Hanson of Exuberant Color received the package that she won and has graciously blogged about it. It really is special to read and see your work pictured on another blog. I really was nervous, and I am glad that she seems pleased with the blocks.