Thursday, February 28, 2013

trail walk and finished Alium

After having a nice Skype talk with my daughter in S Korea this morning, I wandered around the house deciding what to so today. I idly cleaned up my painting table, but I'm not ready to start something new yet, still working on some stamps and stencils.
I opted top get dressed and head out with my camera to walk the NB Trail, something I haven't done in a while. The first picture I took was this one of our back yard. The snow has gone down a bit since the storm but you get the idea.

With the well below zero night temps and the milder daily temps, we've had frost covered trees every day this week

The chickadees and nuthatches were not as eager as usual. Someone had left some little piles of seeds ahead of me. Unusually, since they're usually the shyer ones, the nuthatch landed on my hand when the chickadees wouldn't today. I didn't get a perfect picture as it was skittish.

The wings seem oddly placed in this one.

One of my favorites, I often take a picture of this old tree with the woodpecker holes in it.

There is always something different that catches my eye each time I go it. I'm calling this the snowbird.

I had  lunch at Tim's with a friend and then I finally finished up the Allium piece. I'm happy with the little hand embroidered flowers that I added.
 I think it adds just the right touch.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Joy, finishing details

I added a few details this morning and then I trimmed the edges in a curve. I decided to try using the faux piping technique that was demonstrated to our guild this year. After finding my copy for the directions, I cut the strips, purposely cutting them on an curved angle so it looks uneven. I think it suits.

I could picture this scrap of beads that I thought would match but do you think I could find it? I searched for about 20 minutes or so and then went back and started again. I found it in the first spot; I had missed it the first time round. Does that happen to you all the time?

One of the little details was some gold foiling that I added to the centers of the two little orange flowers. I'm calling it done.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Stitching away

I had a doctor's appointment this morning, then a bit of housework, and I got down to a bit of painting and sewing after lunch.
I'm still picking away at the 2 art pieces I was working on last week. Just when I think it might be done, I decide it needs something more.

I actually picked of the ordinal flowered print with the word joy, added a purple piece underneath and redid it. Now it shows at least. I'll still probably outline it in black but I think I'm almost done with this piece. I touched up the paint to brighten it up and a few minutes ago, I added a few beads. Better.
Oh, I also stitched on three more stamped flowers that were actually from when i did my test stamp on white fabric. Might as well make use of them!
On the next one which I thought was done, ha, I decided to add a few tiny daisy stitched flowers. Hopefully, I can make up my mind to be finished with these this week!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Enjoying winter weather

It's been too beautiful to stay inside this weekend, sunny with lovely mild temps. We've been enjoying the snow.
I've not gone near my sewing machine but I just spent the last hour cutting craft foam leaves for a stamp.

The leaves and stems are cut from the sticky back thin foam and I'm going to stick them onto a sheet of thicker foam.
It's not stuck down yet. I'm still playing with the pieces.

Friday, February 22, 2013


I've added more quilting and a couple of collaged pieces of fabric and lace.

Even though the colour is still a little more intense than on the screen, I still feel it needs more. I've always been one for a touch of bling, not too much, just a little sparkle to catch the eye.
I'm mulling it over. It could be beads, paint, some foiling or a bit of all three.

Uncharacteristically, for me, I added the word joy. Despite the big storm we just shovelled out of, there is a decided promise of spring in the air after all! It's beautiful today! But it's not showing up enough from a distance, so I shall also be pondering what to add there. I've either got to add something or take it off.
It's promising to be a lovely weekend. Have a good one!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Playing with paint, my Gelli and deli paper

There is some good that comes from being cocooned in the house while a storm swirls about outside.
This morning once I cleared up a few bits of house chores, I decided it might be a good time to try some Gelli printing onto deli paper. It was my first time and since I'm always one to jump right in, I did learn a few things for next time.
* I need to clear a bigger space because once you start rolling on the paint and printing, you lose control! Thankfully, I at least laid out a large sheet where I could throw down the pages as I finished.

* I need more rollers and sponge brushes so I don't have to keep stopping to wash them.

* I could use more stencils for interest and variation. That means more doodling and a session cutting some stencils.
The one above would make a good background for some journaling.
I thought at first that a lot of the prints were flops and that I have a lot to learn, which I do, but then I realized that each print is just another starting point.
So things like the bare spots where there wasn't enough paint, or where it had started to dry before I got it printed don't matter. In fact, as in the next one, it adds interest and provides a jumping off point for another piece of art.

I could barely make myself stop for lunch. At the table where I ate, I used matte medium to glue one print into my sketchbook.
When it was dry, I added some stamps and line work with a pen.
It's no great work of art but it is a really fun process which may provide lots of fodder for my fiber art.

I finally had to clean up some of my mess and get some things ready for supper. There'll be more deli paper printing in my future for sure!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Another storm day

It's as if a giant stood over us today, letting loose a huge bag of snow and blowing it around. Schools are canceled again and I'm stuck home. I didn't drive my husband to work, so I missed my swim for the first time in ages. I'm glad I don't have to try to get back out to pick him up in this though!

The curtains you can vaguely see (I've gotten very lazy about using my good camera instead of the I Pad.) in the above photo were once in another room and I got it into my mind this morning to hang them in the dining area. Of course it involved more than simply washing and ironing. They were a few inches too short. I actually found a similar linen in my stash and added a piece to the bottom.
After lunch, I got to the fun stuff. The piece that I showed yesterday, started out a couple of years ago in a gelatin mono printing session. I used my own masques, stencils and stamps. Today, I decided it needed more!
I got out my sticky backed foam and cut some flowers which I then adhered to the back of two other stamps I've made that are mounted on plexiglass.
To the left is a practice print on white cotton.

Next, I stamped using Setacolor opaque fabric paint onto my art quilt. I was so anxious to stitch it that I ironed it and got started.

My printing methods were different than hers, but I was inspired today by this post by the very exuberant and creative Leslie MacNeil.
I'm thinking of adding some lace and perhaps a fabric bit as she did. I may even add a written inspiration word to it. I think I've used a bit of her style and done my own thing with it.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Two art quilts

Oh what a beautiful day it is here today! It is breezy with temps above freezing; I even hung some clothes out. That is a sure sign that spring is coming, except they're forecasting another snow storm for tomorrow.
We're getting out while we can. I've got supper all made and when my husband comes home, we're going snow shoeing before the sun sets. I love that about this time of year.

I put this little piece shown above together today. The colour is a little more intense than it seems in the photo. Now it is ready for a bit of thread painting and then the sandwiching and quilting. That's the fun part and it will really give it some life! At least that's the plan.
After lunch, I made the binding and sewed it on the little art quilt that I did last week. It's not hand stitched to the back yet. This one is one of my favourites!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Making a foam stamp

On Mondays and Tuesdays I typically don't have a car, so I get to stay home and be all domestic. I get a small bit of housework out of the way and then I can get creative.
This morning I drew some of my dried seed heads onto a piece of craft foam lightly with a ball point pen and then heavily enough to incise. One must remember that it will print in reverse.

I rolled on some water based screen printing ink and tested it on a piece of paper.

It worked pretty well. I'll touch up a few spots and then there is some printing I want to try using my Gelli plate and fabric. I read about it here.
After lunch, I finished putting together this little pouch. This time all went well as I followed an excellent tutorial. It's a little smaller than the directions called for because I used one of my prints. It measures about 7 inches across the top - just perfect for a little treasure.

Sunday, February 17, 2013


It's really been a great day to stay in and get some sewing done. I've had a pair of curtains sitting in a box for a couple of years just waiting to be altered. I had purchased 3 panels and split one in half to make them a little wider. This weekend I decided to get them done. The roman blinds had been there for many years and were shot.

They're nothing fancy but it feels good to have them done.
I sat down a while ago with a hot chocolate and took up my I Pad and stylus. I'm practising and sketching up ideas for a foam stamp that I want to make depicting some of the dried flora that I've been finding on my walks.

I'm working on ways to steady my hand without resting it on the screen as you would when drawing in a sketchbook. It makes marks since its a touch screen. Tricky.

My daughter who lives in Korea spent her weekend in Tokyo. I sure wish I could visit some of the places she has!

The detail is a little hazy because it would have been taken with a cell phone. I love what I can see of the tea pot though.
The wind has picked up and I can hear it howling. We've already gotten lots of snow but there promises to be more by morning. At least I don't have to go anywhere. My husband will have to be out early with the snow blower though.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Hand work

Around noon today I had my first Skype interview for a potential job done from home that i could do from home. I was so on anxious this morning (my age showing) that I couldn't settle in at my sewing machine, so I made a 12 grain bread and then spinach, lentil soup for supper.

I wasn't sure how it would turn out after I discovered that I only had a dribble of regular yeast and had to substitute pizza dough yeast. It worked out fine though. It looks good and tastes delicious! Of course I had to sample the heel with some molasses.
After lunch, I finished up the little bit of machine quilting on the allium piece and then I sat down to do some hand stitching.

I think I've added enough but to be sure I'll let it rest on my design wall for a while.
In the mean time I've also decided to re-work some past pieces inspired by my recent purchase of the book Free Form Embroidery by Judith Baker Montano.
I've actually snipped out some of what I had done, and I'm still planning to take out the embroidery you see around the shells so I can build more layers there. It really doesn't bother me to take it out because I'm so inspired about the potential for more texture and depth.

I've started adding more fibres on the bottom left. There is painted cheesecloth and painted gathered lace.
I had a little session with my lace scraps and paint the other day. I also took some discharge paste to a piece of velvet. You can see an underwater plant life that I made on the bottom right in the next photo.

I will still add some pearlescent paint and beads to it and then start building the sea weeds behind and around it. I'm kind of excited about this!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A quick watercolor

I've had my swim at the spa and I'm having my lunch just now before I go to tutor.
Do you find it funny what comes into your mind first thing when you wake up? I knew I wouldn't have time to sew today. My energy is low too as I slept rather badly.
I've been collecting twigs and seed pods when I'm out on the trails, and I thought of those this morning.
I did a quick watercolour at my morning tea.

I want to have a record of them as I'd like to do a fiber piece using the images sometime. I'd like to paint the background fabric and thread paint the assorted dried flora. Something to think about.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Back to my purple onion

Even though it was lightly snowing, my husband got out on his flight around 5:30 this morning to Labrador City. We've gotten about 4-6 " of fluffy snow which I easily ploughed off the driveway with the wide shovel, thank goodness!
The rest of the day I've been totally absorbed in the piece I began last week, randomly piecing the borders from bits out of my scrap bin. I know the larger flower is from the onion family, but I'm too cozily ensconced under the afghan on the sofa to go look it up.

I was having such fun that I did all of the black outlining and then started the quilting around it. Originally, I had intended to add some color to the white; however, I decided to wait and see and I'm glad I did because I think I like it as is.

The quilting is quite dense; I was just in that mood.

I even got half of the borders quilted. I plan to add a bit of hand stitching near the bottom to add some texture.

I cut up some pieces from another print to add a couple of motifs in the border.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Last night at retreat

Tonight will be the final of three nights at my guild retreat. I've sewn up a storm, laughed and talked lots, and eaten far too much!
I just put a second border on the quilt for my brother and I'm so happy! It may be finished. I just want to lay it out on my queen bed at home to see how I like the size.

So, I've cleaned up my table for another project tomorrow morning and I just came up to my room for a shower.
This is one corner of our large sewing room. What a buzzing place it is! Most can only be dragged away when the meals are announced! I confess to being among the younger ones, but I have to go to my room and rest each afternoon. Some stay up until the wee hours and they're the first ones back in the morning. Not so for me. We all move at our own pace and we definitely all have fun.

We're all cozy in here while its storming outside. My husband will have time to clear the snow tomorrow before he comes for me mid afternoon.

Friday, February 8, 2013


I've been here now about a day and a half and I surprised myself by getting all the blocks done for my brother's quilt. Tonight, I will start putting it together.

It's all batiks and once together will have a couple of borders added.
What my friend who is sewing next to me found funny is that she did a small quilt with batiks in some similar colors. We had no idea beforehand. It looked like we shopped together but she got hers out west and most of mine were ordered on line.

I really love a scrappy quilt and this one from a pattern that's been around a while is one of my favourites.this one is being made by another friend. It's fun to see several familiar half square triangles. I donated them to her after finishing one of my quilts a few years ago. I'm actually stretched out on it right now.

The one above is my bed. We're staying in what used to be a nun's residence so it's space but perfect for a quilt retreat.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Inspiration hits

I was supposed to be packing up my machine this morning when inspiration hit. I'd been cutting and cleaning fabrics to take to retreat Thursday morning when I found a couple Gelli prints that got me thinking.
Instead of packing my fabrics and my machine, I started pulling out fabrics to match it, thinking I might take it along as a small project.
But then I couldn't stop! I sewed on the 1 inch black and white border and started piecing fabrics from my scrap bin.

At lunch time I stopped and packed it all up. It will give me a little diversion at retreat in the middle of all that piecing on the larger quilts.
Once I have the small art piece together, I will add a tiny bit of color to the white areas and then it will be ready to sandwich and free motion stitch. I plan to outline the flowers in black thread which I think will look good with the narrow black border.
I quite like the colors in this piece.
I'm linking to the Needle and Thread Network.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Hand work

I've decided to do no more machine sewing right now since I'm preparing for retreat on Thursday. I'm going to be out on Wednesday, so I'll be spending the next couple of days, cutting fabric, packing, making squares and snacks and making lists so I hopefully won't forget anything.
So in the next few days, I'll be concentrating on hand work instead when I take a break.
This is a pair of socks that I'm knitting. I don't have a pattern to refer to. It was verbally passed on to me. Using sock yarn and your favourite sock pattern (you need a multiple of 4), you do 2 rows of stocking knit and 2 rows of knit 2, purl 2. You wouldn't think it would make such a nice texture.

At the same time, I'm finishing up another infinity scarf to go as a sample to our local knitting shop, The Spinning Wheel. It can be done in an evening, two for me because I alternate with my knitting as my arthritic fingers and wrist get sore when crocheting.

Finally, I'm re visiting some of my past work after being inspired by a book I ordered, Free Form Embroidery by Judith Baker Montano. She has so many rich, textured layers in her work, that I've decided to try out some different stitches while adding to my previously finished pieces. This postcard sized.