Monday, August 31, 2015

Mushroom sketch and Fiber birch trees

 I started my day off right with a small colored pencil, Neocolor II crayon sketch while having my tea after breakfast.

 The mushrooms were picked up along the trail in the park last evening.
As I sketch, I'm sitting with ice and then a hot pack on my back..

After that, I went outside to put in a few more seeds for fall crops. I cleaned out the deck box and put in a fall lettuce mix. Then I put some spinach and radishes into my raised bed. Unbelievably, the mosquitoes were out!

It is still summer, I'm trying to hang onto it, (aren't we all?) but although I want to work on my beach themed piece, my head is into my beloved birches again.

Before doing any more crazy patch squares, I thought I'd move the piece along with  the ideas that are running through my head. As i move along with it pieces will come and go. This is just a design wall with my mix of ideas for now. I do believe if I continue with the busy crazy patches, that I will use the solid black narrow border.

 I'm thinking this time about adding a path leading into the grove, so I cut out a few pieces of fabric backed with fusible and tacked it up.Of course it will need lots of additional bits to give it depth and dimension. Do you get the idea?

Well, I've got to go change into my bike shorts.A friend is cycling this way shortly and I'll join her for my little 20 minute jaunt.

Happy Monday!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Birch trees again

    After lunch, I completed the zig zag edge around my tulip hanging following a tutorial on line that I remembered, stitching a narrow zigzag the first time round while loosely couching down a pearl cotton. Then, I did 3 more rounds, increasing the density and the width of the stitches each time.

 Finally, it's finished!

 It seems that I often walk into my studio intending to do one thing and ending up doing something else. After I finished up a few of my odds and ends for some pieces that need to be mailed, I was ready to get onto another project.

 Over the past week or so, I've been thinking about what I'd like to do next. A few ideas are circulating in the grey matter. My paints have been calling to me to do some fabric printing. Something 'beachy' maybe.

There didn't seem really to be time to get everything set up this afternoon, so I pulled out a scrap box containing birch tree forest colors and decided to put together a small crazy patch for one  idea. I've been considering as a border.  It's a fall project but if I opted for them for one of my shibori birch tree pieces, it could take a while to get enough done.

I'm also contemplating a plainer border.

I would do a branch with some thread painted leaves for either version. The pictures are really different sides of the same piece. The birch tree scene is not done yet. So, I'll work on the borders off and on in between other projects. I think I will need more crazy patch blocks before a decision can be made.

It seems I made a good decision not to get into the paints because a friend dropped by on her bicycle and I decided to join her. She came in to take a look and went right for the crazy patch side. One thing she noticed were the obvious verticals repeated in the border of the second version. The strip is actually a scrap from another piece. If I were to use, I could break it up with some diagonal branches.

I just made it back and brought in a line of clothes before the thunder storm hit.

My husband is off for the day golfing with his dad, so I get to eat what and when I want! I just ordered a take out seafood chowder from a nearby restaurant and made it back here before it really started to pour.

I'm wishing you a nice evening/morning depending on where you are. I'm heading out for my bowl of chowder and some quiet stitching time.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

a watercolor, muffins, resting

This morning, I lazed about a bit, enjoying a second cup of tea, doing a crossword and then a quick watercolor study of the cosmos from my garden.

 I decided to use more of the blueberries and make this recipe for Oatmeal Blueberry muffins. The only change I made was to use half whole wheat flour and to add sunflower seeds They are yummy. After sampling a couple, I wrap them individually and freeze them in bags for my husbands lunches. (And a few for me)

While I had my camera, out I thought I'd take a few pictures of my favorite spots in my home. I had a little chuckle at my own expense. A few times a year when I clean and give things away, I like to think that I'm a bit of a minimalist, lol. I'm a bit delusional. While I'm not a big collector, I certainly collect.

Nothing rare or pricey, kitschy things that catch my eye, natural bits from the world outside, and often art supplies.

I hang some of my artwork and I love lots of plants. Even in the bathroom.

This is at the end of my hallway at the entrance to my small sewing room/studio.

I really did make the tour all the while appreciating my favorite things.

Several years ago, my husband made these chimes for me from the copper pipes that he removed from the house. It has been re-strung a few times and we've had to replace the wind catcher at the bottom. We needed another new one when it happened that we found a piece of 1/4 inch thick molded plastic found floating on the water of the bay while kayaking.  My husband picked it up and we brought it home. It was then that he noticed the chime and asked me what I'd think of using it for the new wind catcher. Last night he cut a piece and attached it.
I love being able to re-purpose things!

This is a small framed mirror that I made from my collected seashells.

My artistic endeavors and my creative thoughts tend to be all over the place too! Last night, I finished this crocheted basket.. that caught my eye on Pinterest.

This afternoon, as I stretched out with an ice pack on my hip, I've been looking at my photos,  thinking about a new piece of fiber art and how I might approach it it. I'd like to do something beach or water themed and use some mono printing methods.
Even my mind is busy when I can't be. I got the call yesterday for the much awaited cortisone shot done by the radiologist at the hospital for this afternoon at 1pm. It was a different doctor this time and besides that each time it can be different. He did use some freezing,but when he put in the catheter with the dye to see the placement it wasn't exactly right so he had to adjust it. There was a bit more pain than last time and I was glad to have my husband to drive me home. After ice and Tylenol I'm feeling less pain. Still taking it a bit easy though. It could be painful for a few days. I'm hoping for improvement in mobility after that.

I'm glad that I have my supper all done too, so I can relax now with my thoughts and my tea.

I'm linking to The Needle and Thread Network.

Monday, August 24, 2015

the shore, the garden, fabric

Yesterday, was a golf day off for hubby and we decided to take a short drive down the coast to the Stonehaven wharf. It is in the opposite direction of the in laws place at the beach and we hadn't been there in years. I like to get around with my camera, taking pictures that i store for future inspiration. My husband joked that he was 'driving Miss Daisy'. 
The terrain there is completely different than the more beach-y areas that stretch before and after it.

We don't see the fishing boats in the Bathurst basin as it is too shallow. Fun to read the names.

Afterwards, we went to the in laws place in Beresford to visit and take out the kayaks. There are lots of shore birds around right now as fall approaches. I cant believe I managed to catch this one in flight.

And this one with a fish.

The heron however, kept moving away from me.

This morning, after my tea and breakfast and getting clothes on the line, I made a couple of jars of  old fashioned blueberry jam using no pectin and less sugar. This recipe has maple syrup in it. I made 1/2 a recipe.

Wild Blueberry Jam

I'm planning to do a tomato and sausage stuffed zucchini for supper.

The garden is looking a bit wild with the nasturtiums winding their way around the cosmos and the herbs by the back door.

The sunflowers are just blooming and I really like them against the fence.

The scarlet runner beans are taking over the deck.

Late summer colors run from deep purples, pinks, oranges and gold.  I can't resist picking some of the wild tansy that  grows along the roads. It will dry out and hold it's color for months.

I can't possibly sketch or use all this inspiration in my work but I do try to enjoy all the sensual nourishment at least.

Now, I must go and get started on that zucchini

I'd love to hear how your enjoying your summer (or winter).

Saturday, August 22, 2015

home again, domestic creativity, sewing again

I have been away to Prince Edward Island to the family cottage to spend time with family and visit the opening of the SAQA Atlantic Region fiber art show Structures at the Guild Gallery in Charlottetown.

I'm not fond of my picture - I never am--but here I am with my piece. Can you see how red I was from the heat? We were in the midst of a heat wave.

 The weather was spectacular! It was almost too warm even at the beach. I hated to leave this view after I'd had all the sun and salt water I could handle for the day.

My daughter spent the two nights at the cottage with me; it was a much needed break for her and some nice bonding time for the two of us. We sunned, we swam, we walked a bit and when we'd had enough we visited our favorite pottery shop to pick up a few small pieces. This will be my new go to mug. My old one has developed a hairline crack. I collect the little bowls to use for individual dips and small snacks.

 On my last day, I went into Charlottetown for the show and to stay with my brother for the night. It also gave me time to visit my mom and take her out to my sister's cafe for lunch. She has recently been diagnosed with pre Alzheimers, so time is precious. You can see the valances that I made for the cafe, The Thoughtful Squash..

Everything on the menu is made from scratch. Mom and I each had an egg and lobster salad on ciabatta and we shared a piece of rhubarb/apple crumb top pie.

Just around the corner from the Thoughtful Squash is an art gallery called The Red House Art Gallery. Both mom and I purchased watercolor paintings. Everything was at a very reduced price in the small shed. I bought one that said 'island' and mom bought a sweet one with two dachshunds standing together and looking back at the artist. I  think she will enjoy their  mischievous look. She always had a dog until her senior years in an apartment.

It seems impossible that I've been and returned already. Sometimes it feels as though I'm aboard a spinning wheel that goes faster as I age and as determined as I am to slow down and enjoy life. I do enjoy it, but there is so much I want to do!

Since I've been home, I've been trying to catch up on the house and the garden. There were beans, rhubarb and zucchini to pick.This morning ,I grated a small bit of my huge zucchini to make muffins.

I'll be looking for more ways to use them up. And, to add to that, I got an email from a friend who picks wild blueberries and I just got back from picking up a large bag. from her.

They are well cleaned though, so what we don't use immediately for breakfasts ,can go into the freezer.

I've continued to work at my little sketches at meal or tea times.

Yesterday, hubby sent me an email from his work with a picture of this bug, asking if I'd like him to bring it home. So thoughtful! Some wives get flowers; I get bugs. Much appreciated though. Better than store bought flowers.
Last night, I picked up the twig which was laying in he middle of the paved path in the park where I walk.It was inviting itself home to my table where it has joined shells, seaweed, and the bug.

I've had time today to work at a zigzag border for the tulip piece that I've had on the go for a while. It's not something I tried before but I think it suits this piece. I've a few more rounds to go before it is finished. I'm showing just a bit even though you've seen it before because I'm sending it off to a quilt show.

Now, I'll hit publish and head to the kitchen to put some mackerel into foil for the barbecue.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Lazy days, sketching, birches

There is something to be said for August evenings when it is not so hot after supper and very pleasant to while away the time on the deck. Our deck faces south so often July days are too hot. This past week, I moved my nest outside to the swing.

I pass the time doing relaxing things like sketching.

It's also a great place for sewing in all those ends on the afghans I've been doing over the summer.

I must admit that I often stretch out and get lulled into a snooze, or a quiet reverie at least, by the gentle rocking of the swing. It's good to just 'be' --something I really need to work at.

I do sometimes sit with the  camera in order to catch the hummingbirds but even that I try to limit, simply enjoying watching them flit around and chase each other.

This one is pretty mangy looking. I haven't researched it yet, but I'm speculating that perhaps its a juvenile male.

Today, is a humid, wet day, a perfect day to have a friend over for a little sewing help. Anne, is one of the quilters who took my birch tree workshop in the spring. She wanted a little help to finish it up. Having the 2 machines now in my studio is so nice.
While she worked, I put together the flying geese that are the star points in the center of the swoon block.

There are 4 more flying geese at the outside center that  I'm working on next which is why those spots are blank. I also got 4 half square triangles done for the star corners.

Herre is Anne's piece. We quickly laid it out. It does need trimming and a pressing. We added the brush and leaves at the bottom using bits and pieces of fabric and wool, overlaid with netting and  free motions stitched over top. As well, I showed her how to add a few branches with the reddish leaves again free motion stitched.

She plans to do a few hand stitched leaves to finish it off. I think it's pretty wonderful!

I'm linking to The Needle and Thread Network.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

A quiet Saturday

Went off to the small Beresford market with hubby this morning on our way to his parents. With my prolific garden, I didn't need anything but I did buy a bottle of Elderberry wine to try. I've heard it's good.

This afternoon, I went for a 20 minute walk with my cane around the park. Not so easy. I stretched a bit and then worked on putting together the last curtain panel for my sister's Cafe. This is the fabric.

My husband is off on an errand so I've put together a simple supper of nachos with a few pickled string beans on the side for myself.

These are the Vietnamese style pickled beans that I've written about. I don't like many pickles but these are light tasting, having only a simple brine of rice vinegar with a dash of salt, herbs, and maple syrup poured over top. The purple beans will turn green by the next day and the liquid takes on a pretty pink glow.

Besides the curtains, I've been working on cutting and laying out the pieces for another swoon block. A close relative may need a quilt. I think I could get a twin size out of 6 of these 24 inch blocks. This is number two. Sorry about the fuzzy I Pad pic. No time or energy for the camera today. The right side only shows my fabric choices. Now to finish cutting and sewing. I am a slow piecer at the best of times; with osteoporosis, I move at a crawl!

I hope your weekend is going well. I'd love to hear what you've been up to.



Thursday, August 6, 2015

Lazing about

My husband has been on his vacation these past two weeks--that along with the weather, and the garden have kept me from much work in my studio. We've been going to the beach on hot afternoons,  kayaking and swimming. Here and there, I've squeezed in a bit of sketching--once while out in my kayak and a few times with my tea after a meal.

I went out on a windy afternoon and attempted a quick sketch while sitting lodged by the wind and tide against a tiny island in the lagoon. The kayak was rocking and the salt spray was sprinkling my face and my sketchbook. I  had to finsih this one at home.

Every trip to the beach brings a few more odd pieces to my table where I can choose a subject for a sketch along with my tea.

Can you see that tiny black spot on the sea shell? It is a small moth that lay stretched and dried on the sand. Husband groaned when I reached for it as he knew it would end up in front of him at the breakfast table. Perhaps it will be inspiration for a piece of stitching. I have signed up for a workshop at the Fiber Art festival in Amherst, NS this fall, called insects and winged things, perfect for me!

He complained but I knew he'd accept it as part of my odd collection destined for sketching. I am lucky.

These are the lazy days of summer--coasting along in our kayaks with the tide while watching for the birds and wildlife. There is currently a bald eagle reining over the lagoon.

Later, at home, we sit rocking gently on our back deck eating barbecued burgers and listening to the birdsong and watching the antics of all the baby birds around the yard.

This is a female hummingbird --one of a set of siblings that chase each other through the branches of the apple tree and the honeysuckle hedge. They do not like the other one to get to the feeder at our window, often squawking in their high pitched way, chasing the other away.
Often, I stretch out on the swing with the camera or my knitting.

It is gradually being surrounded and intertwined with the lush summer growth.
The scarlet runner beans seem to grow inches daily, trailing over the top of the deck and winding themselves around a chime.

I have scads of beans that I've been picking form my raised bed which I must use soon.

Do you blame me,  for not getting much fiber art done? We have to soak up the wonders of our short summer season here in northern New Brunswick. It will be cooling soon enough.

I'm linking to the Needle and Thread Network..