Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Reason for my fatigue

A couple of years ago i started another blog in hopes of chronicaling my journey in health.  I haven't written anything there for ages. Life is busy as a senior, especially one who pursues art, who tries to make exercise and diet a priority and one who has become a new grandparent! So little time. I've been reading a blog this morning written by a cancer fighter who just passed away--someone I knew in my youth and haven't seen other than in pictures thanks to facebook since then. It is funny, poignant and sad all at once. This and the flooding in Houston right now really make one think about how we spend our time. I had some semi important errands to do this morning, but thought about what i really wanted to do. It eill wait until tomorrow.  I felt like being domestic-- processing a few of my garden tomatoes for the freezer. Then, I simmered my bag of saved veggie ends from the freezer to make a broth which I used in a Thai carrot lentil soup that I've been craving.
I didn't even need supper for tonight as I'm going to an end of summer knitters group barbecue and corn boil.  My husband can have some and I'll get to it tomorrow. And, there'll be some for the freezer. Satisfying.
  The past weekend we made a quick trip to Moncton for the first car check up. My daughter surprised us by coming over from Charlottetown for the day. We were invited for an early barbecue supper at my brother in laws. Ollie is on the move now, crawling, and quickly.
  I've mentioned a bit lately about my dusatisfaction and restlessness in my art this summer. I feel the need for change; as a result I've been experimenting. My head is full of ideas but my body has been too fatigued to do what i want. Yesterday, i found out that my iron is very low again. Also, i have mild sleep apnea. We'll address the iron first and I'll try the C Pap machine for a month once my iron levels are up. I've been mulling over doing a fiber art piece depicting the waterfall where i swam this summer. Finally, yesterday, I got started.
I've got the pattern drawn and base fabric cut and think I know how I'll start. Some of the process will be similar to how I've done my birch forests and rocks, but I'm going to try out some new things here with the water.
Usually, i spend as much time thinking about how I'll do it as i spend in the actual process. I'm excited to finally get going. Still, I'll have to go with the flow and pace my progress for now. It is good just to be working and to experience that lost in time effect as I pick fabrics and cut the first pieces.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Idling away the day, sketching

I see my lifeline as a circle or spiral that is ever expanding and ever reshrinking. There are days and occasionally weeks when my energy seems to grow and times like now when i seem to be withering under a foggy fatigue--all things that happen when one is dealing with  a variety of autoimmune conditions its resulting effects.  Acceptance along with a bit of stubborness and fight are helpful. We have been so busy lately that finally this week, I decided a slow down was needed. I called in a cleaning lady yesterday, I'm fixing simple meals and leftovers and I'm keeping my days easy. After a small errand today (picking up perle cottons to match my latest fiber work), i lolled over lunch and afterwards tea. I ventured outside to water a few plants and clip a few spent flowers. I've noticed that I'm attracted to dried shriveled flowers and wildflowers as well as seed heads.  I took the tansy collected last  week and added some pearly everlasting.
The drying Queen Anne's lace I added to a jar containing poppy, columbine, and balloon flower seed heads. These are beautidful to me. Even though they signify  an impending end to summer they also give me a feeling of hope, thinking about the potential in all those tiny seeds contained within. It is funny that I'm out collecting these on one of our hottest days, but nature will be what it is. Preparation for the next life is underway.
I brought them inside and sat down to sketch a few. 
There wasn't time for sewing-- I'm going to throw a few veggies onto a pizza crust for supper--partway through my sketching I noticed an empty feeling and had to grab a snack to keep those sugars normal.
How is your summer going? Are you doing some things that feed your soul and aid your body?  

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.