Wednesday, December 31, 2014

I have a colorful clothesline today but the reason is not so pretty.

Yesterday, I set a pot to boil --on high-- with water and dried prunes at 9 AM in the morning, left the house all day, picked up my husband at 4:30 and went for groceries. It stuck me in the baking aisle what I had done. I went hot allover and felt sick. We live only about 5 minutes from the store, so my husband ran home and found the stove-top and the wall searing hot and the pot completely charred. The smell was terrible. He put all the fans on and came back for me.
I was feeling pretty shaky at this point and he kindly pointed out that I should look at it as a lucky event. Can you believe that the  pot was on high all day and it didn't catch fire? We really were so very lucky. He said that the lid was sealed to the pot, maybe what saved it.
Today, we've been washing blankets and curtains. Tomorrow walls. Already, a contractor came to check it out. We may need an air cleaner which is expensive, rented by the day.
The air is bothering me some since I have asthma. I can't smell anything because I have no smell. Definitely a disability since I came in the front door at 4:00pm, dropped off some things and left without noticing a thing.

We're going to try cleaning and painting and go from there.

In the meantime I've a lovely gold finch pic to share.

Doing any artwork today was out of the question. Besides the time factor, I was  too shaky, so I resorted to a bit of cutting for some cushion covers I want to make for the living room. Coincidentally a good time  to replace the old ones!
The fabric is from the 10 inch square Fingerprint collection that I recently purchased from the UK.

Here's hoping that the New Year brings some good things for us and all of you my readers.

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Back to my studio

We left on Christmas Eve and visited 3 children in 3 cities, 2 provinces, spending 4 nights and 5 days away. It's the longest I've been away in a few years. I did very well. Since we stayed at a hotel for 3 of the 4 nights, I was able to do my yoga and have a swim each day. Christmas Day included a walk, yoga and a swim.

My brother made Christmas dinner for 3 siblings along with spouses and several nephews. He goes all out, starting the giblet gravy the day before and basting the turkey with the broth. Sausage stuffing. Seafood chowder with mussels in the shells. Mushroom stuffed escargot. Chocolate covered cheesecake made by my sister in law and pudding made by my brother's wife. It was a wonderful food delight and I even managed not to overeat!
The best part was the company, the talk and the reminiscing.

We got home last night and this morning I did some wash and cleaned house. The morning sunshine greeted me in the kitchen.

 I always take the time to get a few pics of the birds.
Newcomers this morning-- the common redpoles.

 After lunch, I headed to my studio. I always love the changing view.

I really missed being able to work on my latest fiber art piece while I was away. I wanted to start painting the background today--didn't get to that, but at least finished the layout of the rocky hillside.

I am so anxious to get the background painted and appliqued with the trees. I must be patient!

And, I must look after domestic things like bringing in the sheets and starting supper. My son's roasted vegetables while we were there inspired me to do some to-night. I'm going to add a large chicken breast.

 I've had my tea, now I must get the chores done.

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Rocks

My gifts are all mailed out, no need to bake as we are leaving, minimal decorating done. I love it! This is why I could go into my studio after lunch to work a little more on my rocky hillside. It does seem like it is taking me forever. I'm sure you'll all be totally bored in the end. At the same I was trying-- mostly unsuccessfully -- to trouble shoot some computer problems. I did at least get the upload for my camera working, but not the I Pod nor the I Pad. I was trying to sync some music. I gave up for now.

I know it looks like I haven't added much. I've been working on the foreground snow and rocks fusing and cutting.

It all looks pretty flat and boring right now; I'm only hoping it will improve with thread painting. I must be crazy! In the end it will not match rock for rock, as it is too confusing when the pieces are all so small.

And even worse, once I finish getting all these pieces cut and arranged, I still want to fuse on some of the dark shadows.

A few of my favorite Santas. From left to right, I made 3 (pottery), 4 (Painted canvas), 5 (driftwood), and 8 (stuffed painted canvas).

I will be away until sometime next week.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Another snow day

Schools are closed again today due to yet another storm. My husband was suppoesed to fly to Montreal for a Canadians game and the flight was cancelled. A few of the guys decided to make the 9 hour + drive but he opted not to. I'm glad he didn't go in such bad weather but I can't help feeling sorry for him. He was so excited.
 This morning, I wrapped my gifts for my Friday lunch friends. The watercolor will go to one of them. I squeezed the photo in as the afternoon was waning and the sky was darkening so it's a bit grey.

After I noticed that the goldfinches were looking for their seed, I ventured outside and cleared the front walk, some of the back deck and their feeders.

 At least the nuthatch could still get at the suet.

The view from my studio window is quite stunning. It continues to snow even as I write this.

I spent over an hour working on the rocks, still lots to go. I cut away some of the fabric behind them to see what the outlines would look like. This will be laid atop another grey background with snow and shrubbery added and behind that the trees and eventually the sky. What you see in the background right now is the photocopy enlargement.

There is still lots of work to do on the snow and some rocks in the foreground. I couldn't resist cutting the snow shape and auditioning it in place.

Bear in mind that it won't start to look realistic until I can get the whole thing together and start stitching on it. This could well be the most time intensive piece I've done yet.

Well, I've got to stop and get to dinner. I'm making a vegetable biryani.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Arranging the rocks

It's a grey day here, neither cold nor warm, just damp. I hung out a line of bedding and light clothing as the weather forecast was for some sun which has yet to appear. It is soon time to bring them in. Oh well, they'll still smell fresh.

I baked this morning, some pumpkin chocolate chip squares. I used fresh pumpkin. I figure just about anything is good if it has chocolate in it. I think that's about it for my Christmas cooking.
My days are pleasantly full, but not manic. My family gifts are mailed, the rest done. I'm finishing up the last of these booties.

I've decided to start  being mindful of what I'm eating and I've been recording everything I eat in the APP, My Fitness Pal. On the weekend I picked up a new little blender for smoothies and I've started having a green smoothie for breakfast. It's all good with my doctor. I'm still having a very small healthy snack mid morning and after checking my blood sugars, all was good.

I'm continuing to walk, do yoga, swim, and workout on the Bowflex. I know it's sort of a crazy time to start  but this is my Christmas present to myself this year.

Since I've no company coming and we're going away, I've little decorating to do. Some of my small collection of antique ornaments makes me happy dangling from ribbons in my kitchen window.

I like to put a few of my favorite snowmen around as they can stay out for a while.

I've been picking away at appliqueing the rock formations on my Tetagouche Hill piece. I cut out a piece of rocky fabric because I think it makes a nice background. Most of it will be covered or cut away in the end. Overlaid on top is the pattern traced onto a plastic sleeve. I clipped it to the paper and the fabric.

Using tweezers and the pattern as a guide, I'm carefully applying the rocks from back to front.
It's a bit tedious but totally absorbing. I'm into it right now. Lots of work left though. It's a nice little puzzle to walk into the studio and pick up when there's time.

At lunch time today, in the space of a few minutes, I had 3 visitors to the suet. The hairy woodpecker, a bluejay, and a nuthatch.
It is time now to go make a light snack and have a cup of tea before I start dinner.

I'm linking to the Needle and Thread Network.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Fiber art--the rocks

This morning after the big storm yesterday, all the birds flocked  to the feeders. I didn't catch the chickadees who flit about so quickly, but I watched the nuthatch on the suet and the flock of goldfinch on the feeder and in the apple tree. It is all endlessly fascinating to me, akin, I think, to being mesmerized by fish in an aquarium.

The nuthatch


I went out this morning to shovel a bit more off the front step and walkway. Even though it had turned to rain, there was still lots of snow. I had to rest afterwords.

After my lunch, I stayed at the table and put most of the finishing touches on the small watercolor I'm doing as a gift. It makes me a bit stressed as I don't do them usually outside my sketchbook. I'm very critical of all the little details. Even looking at it now, I think I need to touch up the color in the water.

I want to take it tomorrow to have a mat cut for it.

I thought that I might paint a couple of sky fabrics today; however, I didn't have the energy, so I went into  my studio, where I cut out a few more rocks and a fabric that I may use as the background under the rocks. Most of the fqbric will be covered or cut as I add more pieces, iron them down, and cut around the shapes at the top.

I wanted to use a dark fabric so that I won't have to cover every little space. It will all be integrated with thread painting later, or that is the plan.

I'm saving all the tiny fused scraps to add later if need be.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Puzzling together some rocks

A large snowstorm has caused many cancellations here today. I would normally be out for most of the day, but I'm never against some found studio time. I did a few chores this morning and I made a batch of granola.
After lunch, I headed into my studio. This is the view through my window.


If you look carefully through the grey haze, you'll see the bluejay that made a few attempts to land on the snow covered suet before he managed it.

I've been thinking about how I want to approach my next fiber art piece. It's a little different for me in that it has some rather intricate rock pieces in the foreground that need to be cut and fit together. I've started there because it will take me a while to get the pieces all drawn and fit together and I haven't got the background done yet.
I started by drawing a master pattern on white paper and numbering the rocks. Then I traced them onto the paper side of freezer paper.

I cut each rock from the freezer paper and ironed it onto the right side of my fabric which has fusible ironed to the back. I've laid a few pieces out to see how they'll fit but I won't take the paper off with the numbers until I'm ready to iron it all together.

I'm not completely sure how I will do the background  yet, but I have a couple of ideas which both involve some paint. I will be home again tomorrow and I may just get some time to paint some fabric.
 I think this project is going to keep me busy for a while.

Monday, December 8, 2014

A good day

OK, so I feel better; thumb still hurts but the doctor thinks it's a hematoma and it could take a couple weeks to absorb. I am more susceptible to bruises and broken blood vessels due to my cortisone regimen albeit small.
It just needs time.
I've got my mini tree up and done some decorating, now I can realx a bit.

I bought battery operated LED ribbon lights, perfect for something small. Whatever time you switch them on, they will come on every day at the same time and stay on for 6 hours. they blinked off just as I was heading to bed last night.

This morning, I took my knitting and after my downtown errands, I sat in our small local book store, The Book Gallery, and had tea and a sandwich while sitting in a sunny window.

When I got home, the deep cold temperatures had risen some and with no wind, it was perfect for a walk. I am so thankful to be able to walk again!

Now I'm sitting with my afternoon snack and chai tea here at my computer in my sewing room..

I love the view of my garden and the fact that the room faces south so it is always bright and often sunny.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Forgive me if I whine a little here. I may have mentioned a swollen, red, possibly infected thumb that I got antibiotics for last Wednesday. Well, after no improvement by yesterday morning the telecare nurse advised me to visit emergency. I went at 8:00 am and was the 3rd person there so it only took me a couple of hours at least. The doctor lanced it and drained it (sorry for those of you are squeamish) although it was only blood.

It is pretty sore but at least it's on my left hand. Because of my Addition's disease I was advised to increase my cortisone and at least I felt better after that.
So that is my way of reasoning as to why I seem to be getting little done. I have a Christmas present that I'm knitting that is on hold; however, I am able to do a little knitting on fine needles for socks.

Oh, and I did put up my mini Christmas tree and decorated most of it. With no family coming this year and the possibility of us traveling, it is just what I wanted. Do you think the Buddha is Happy there? I plan to add some of my snowmen to join him. The ribbon has little battery powered LED lights running through it that come on and shut off automatically.

I can still watch my birdy friends and take pictures!

If I take Tylenol, I can manage some baking. This morning, as I often do, I made banana oat bran walnut muffins and then mixed up a turkey loaf for supper.

I never use a recipe, throwing in whatever is in my cupboard or fridge at the time.

While all this is going on, meanwhile, I've got images of my next project floating around in my head. This is one possible inspiration.
I'm thinking about my background fabric and how I might approach the trees and rocks.
Hope you're having a lovely weekend with a bit of relaxation and maybe some creative time.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Sunrise at the office

I'm usually pretty grumpy in the mornings when I have to get up early and go into the cold to drive hubby to work. The thermometer was reading -18C but when this view caught my eye, I had to capture it with my cell phone.

Although the color was beautiful, it was the pattern that the tree made against the sky that really got me. The shrivelled crab apples were like polka dots against the pale sky.

This one I will store for future reference. Lovely lines for thread painting.


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Decorating with naturals

It's been a cold (about -5C) blustery day here, sometimes sunny, sometimes snowy and I decided that I had to do my bed linens and hang them out. I've just been out and brought them in, only slightly damp.They will be lovely and fresh to-night.
My friend Sue dropped me off a box of selvedges from her collection, and I allowed myself a little play time adding a few more strips.
I'm going to redo the last strip at the top. If you decide to try this, I recommend checking for straightness as you go along because the selvedge edges are a bit ruffly and it can start to go a bit wonky. Also, iron regularly.
The only thing I didn't follow according to the tutorial I read was that I did not cut all my strips to the same width. I like it with some variations.

I've been doing a little outdoor decorating for the season; nothing inside yet. My children won't be home this year. We may go visit our daughter for a couple nights so I don't need to do much.

I made two swags for each corner of my deck from assorted branches--cedar, pine, fir, dogwood, and wild roses --gathered on a couple of my outings. My thumb is still red, swollen and sore, these have been on my list for a while and I managed.

This one has a sting of tiny white solar powered lights. I can see it from my kitchen window and I can see the second one form the dining area.
My plan is to dig out some of my pine cones and add them with peanut butter and bird seed.

I think my regular visitors will like that. The female hairy woodpecker was back at lunch time. They do love the suet.