Tuesday, April 15, 2014

the thing of it

the thing of it...

well, the thing of it is, i realized the other day i often show the start of things, or tell the start of the "story" but i think i rarely come back and show the end, or tell it even...

so this post will be a bit of a meander, mostly through my head and what's been going on in it of late

firstly, though, i finished my batik fabric ribbon-embroidery needle case

 the colours here are a tad too vivid - they're a little more subdued than this, but still vibrant - just not quite so - fluorescentish

i do like the blue trim i added - crocheted dmc #5 perle coton

the lining was just pinned to the inside when i took this picture - hence the "dimple" at the bottom right
i've since sewn the lining in place (although the felt is only pinned inside, but that's just so i can show it in stages at the class

it was wonderful working in bright colours for a change, and doing embroidery - i have a hankering for more so you may well see more of it in the days to come

 more lacy crochet too - not done with that either

other things i'm not done with...

i'm still going to gym/pool regularly - two months now and loving it, especially the swimming
i've only had to share the pool twice, and even then, only for about ten minutes each time - how amazingly wonderful that is to me... like my own private place
the windows are floor to ceiling and face the lake - i can see the hills all around 
and it's helping my knees as well

remember way back at the beginning of january when i mentioned i was reading the artist's way and writing each day?

i have only missed one day since january 1st

and this is also something i have come to love

every morning i sit down and write, thought-streaming, whatever comes to mind
mostly it's about creative plans for the day, the things i long to do, the things i should do, the things i need to quit putting off doing
i can't say enough about brilliant it is - it really does empty things out
sometimes it's personal stuff, but very rarely, and not by design - it seems that most of what i need to deal with and sort out is of a creative nature 

my brown calendar book with all the squares?
the ring bound one i thought was just to special to use but decided i would use it anyway, as a visual record of my creative activities for the week?
i've done fairly well with that - weeks when i have tried out interesting things, i have put a sample in there with an annotation
and planned creative things using the calendar section
nothing fancy, or in-depth, but it's a start

my little stitch-history book i made, where i am going to record my history of needle and thread?
i've slipped up there - as you know, the book is bound, but i haven't done much else with it lately - i have made a list of all the people that have influenced me over the decades, and in what ways, so now i can set to work on the samples

but it still all seems a mish-mash to me 

a little of this here and that there, so i am going to try something new - a little different

i recently discovered edith m. holden's "country diary of an edwardian lady" and was completely smitten with her wonderful record of a year in the countryside, complete with diary notes and her charming watercolour paintings

and then i read monica's post about the difference between a journal and a diary: diaries are for recording what you do and journals are for recording what you think

and that is precisely my problem - i've been trying to do both, and getting completely bogged down with books and notes and bits of paper, here and there and everywhere

i need to combine them - a record of what i am thinking, what i do, and how i did it 

and what i want to do next

samples and notes and diagrams and ideas, all wrapped up in one book
with daily entries
some will be small and others grand
but at least i will have one place to look to when i am wondering how i did something, or what my bright idea was - one place to work it out

the thing of it is... it's still april, and it's still "organize"...

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

round and round...

and round i go

fabric, to writing, to crochet, to sketching, to painting, to...
i get accused sometimes of losing focus, of getting distracted

i suppose it's true, in some ways, but it certainly is not my fault

if i wasn't meant to be distracted, there wouldn't have been so many wonderful things invented

nor so many still waiting to be

that's how i see it

here's my latest attraction-distraction

 a simple little table mat with some free form applique; all the shapes are being sewed in place using a simple running stitch, a scant 1/4" or so in from the edge

 once all the applique is finished it will get layered and quilted

after that, it goes in the washing machine and then all those lovely raw edges will fray

 and this will be a pretty little shabby chic table mat

 a very "pink" pretty little shabby chic floral table mat

 while i was working on this last night i was thinking about how much i liked some of the flowers and motifs on the fabric

how easy it would be sketch some of them, and then paint them, some could even be embroidered, and wouldn't they make adorable little coasters, or even gift tags - or perhaps birthday cards - or what it i made the squares smaller, with even tinier appliques - now those would be adorable cards...

 and round and round and round i went again

Friday, April 4, 2014


apparently "organize" was my word for april of 2012

yeah right
good luck 
{my husband has always had high hopes for this one!}

i try, really i do, but there is always so much more happening or wanting to happen that i just can't possibly keep up with it all

my feet hit the floor running just about every day

a good friend's daughter had a baby girl - a year ago yesterday...
first grand-child

i wanted to make something special and it wasn't until january of this year i was finally able to do it

i had in my mind an old-fashioned kind of toy, the kind a child might love to drag around, and perhaps even, not go to sleep without

i found a pattern for this adorable rabbit and a full wardrobe to accompany it here

made out of felt, complete with cute little boots and a flowery dress
i had such fun making those boots - i felt like a cobbler of old

the blouse, you can see below...
i still cannot believe i was able to sew that, me, who got 49/100 on her apron in school sewing class

{it became a personal rule not to make things that have to "fit", but i made an exception in this case - doll's clothes are just plain fun!}

 i even knitted a dress
the woollen dress goes over top of the cotton one, kind of like a pinafore

 lengthening the provided fabric dress pattern made a perfect nightgown, and with a little fiddling about, i was also able to muster a matching nightcap

 two pairs of pants and a cape complete the ensemble

{shortening the pants pattern, and using white broderie anglaise fabric, i made the cutest bloomers, shown in the very first photograph}

 to finish the whole thing off, i also included a sweet little pillow and a sleeping bag, which i forgot to photograph but was made out of peter rabbit fabric

the entire rabbit is sewn by hand, all the seams and joining etc.
i was surprised at how quickly it went, and how the fine felted wool makes for a nice sturdy toy

so the baby got her birthing gift a couple of months before her first birthday and now i am behind again... i don't mind so much as alicia, the designer of this cute rabbit and clothes, has been working on a whole menagerie and the patterns will be out by the end of may... a fox, a mouse, a kitten and a doe, complete with new clothes for all

perhaps, if i have enough felt, and push everything else aside, i can make a whole menagerie of critters and clothes and then i'll be ready any birth-days and birthdays that come my way....
that might not be terribly prudent though, but then again,  prudent was february's word...

Monday, March 24, 2014

goodness, gracious, me...

goodness, gracious me indeed

where do the days go?

busy with this, that and the next thing... the days slide by, turning into night and around and around we go... the merry-go-round of life

i've struggled a bit lately, with things creative... kind of lost my mojo a while back

i felt adrift on a sea of fabric and thread, wanting to make something, feeling that urge to take up a needle, but no idea grabbed hold - no inspiration, nothing

the other day i was asked if i would teach a class or two on the spring schedule down at our local quilt shop
and as i have a huge hankering to go back to jolly olde england sooner rather than later, i said yes
{the right motivation can move mountains it seems!}

many people have been asking about silk ribbon embroidery but the ribbon is not that easy to find, and then of course, there are all the various widths in addition to all the various colours - where does a shop begin??

as i stood at my worktable the other day pondering the whole thing i wondered if it would be possible to do silk ribbon embroidery with something other than silk ribbon

something like cotton fabric...

i found a light pink, cut a narrow strip and started playing about
above is a scattering of stitches, just  sampling different needle types in different sizes along with different widths of ribbon

it became apparent rather quickly it would fray fast, but with short lengths, might work

tapping my fingers to the beat of my thoughts, i thought of my knotted projects of a year or so ago
thin strips of batik fabrics tied in many, many knots and then cut apart, the knots being glued on my sale invitations for last year... batiks are painted and dyed, which gives them a sturdiness other quilting cottons just don't have... 

i found an ultra pale pink batik to replace the light pink cotton and tried some stitches overtop a fragment of lace, hoping to create a pretty flower of sorts...

 it needs embroidery thread added for detail, but the look was just too sweet for what i wanted

this was more up my alley...

bright, bold colour

i cut a couple of different widths of strips, found a loose-weave cloth and basted out my design

 laying in the bare necessity of stem and leaf outlines 
{after all, the stems grow first, before the flower blooms}

and then began the first round of petals

 round and round i went, laying in more and more fabric petals, followed by embroidery thread petal stitches, followed by french knots for the flower centre

 dare i say it worked????

i am thrilled... thrilled, over the top delighted

the subtle colour variations of the batik fabric create a flower like nobody's business and have given this the "punch" i was hoping for

two more flowers to go, and then i'll attend to the leaves and vines and such

i think my mojo might be back...

Friday, March 14, 2014

feeling sketchy...

funny where a day can take you...

i was feeling at a loose end again today, wanting to do something but not really knowing what...

rifling through my fabric cupboard this morning, i found myself drawn to this piece of fabric

 "mill book series", it's a line of reproduction fabrics
i love it's sketchy, wildflower feel... lately i discovered edith holden and have found myself drawn to all things botanical...

 today i dabbled in this and that, flitting like a bee in high summer, from one flowering plant to the next...

this is an embroidery transfer, ironed on to a linen napkin fragment

rather than fill in the open spaces with embroidery, which is the usual manner of working with these, i chose instead to tack tiny little snips of fabric in place using ultra-fine thread and a size 12 quilting needle 
even then, many snippets were just too small and frayed apart as i slid the needle through

i persevered though and managed to add the bud before my patience gave out!
{let me just say, good tweezers are an essential tool for this technique!}

 debating how much of the design i want to fill in, and whether or not embroidery thread should be used to add detail to the fabric filling... i'm thinking yes, but only delicately

such a soft effect...

 setting that aside, i turned to an online art class from last summer/fall and viewed some of the videos i hadn't yet had a chance to see

junelle jacobsen from "yes and amen" is amazing and i love her art

i'm also learning to love sketching...

practicing lettering today

 last summer i managed to sit outside for two hours and sketch a small corner of my herb garden, showing the driftwood fence i made several years back

rosemary, sage and marjoram
 in sister's, oregon last year i sketched the little scene below

in marc's sister and husband's back yard - i loved the old stump and log, with the potted peonies, waiting for planting

 below is some kind of random flower - i think a carnation perhaps
{must remember to make notes!}

 and today, some hanging herbs

this year i hope to dry even more than other years, sewing up little muslin bags for gifting them, hopefully with a little water-colour tag of sketches by yours truly

 planting, drying, sketching, sewing, painting, all done by me

 i'll like that

Sunday, March 9, 2014


funny how a word can keep popping into your mind at the oddest times

funny peculiar, not funny ha-ha - i suppose i should have said "odd" ... odd how we use words - odd as in curious, not weird... where was i going with this...?

 oh yes, savouring savour

i did cut up my petal paper 

i savoured it's wholeness for a week and then i did it

this is my heart-word square for march 
{for my twelve-months-of-good-words-that-remind-me-life-is-grand wall-hanging based on words re-visited from 2012}

kinda wish i'd cut it up sooner, but i was a little afraid of ruining it

i thought it would be a good thing but some of you scared me a bit... the paper was rather pretty in it's wholeness but sometimes things can be appreciated better if they are presented in a smaller way - it  can sharpen your focus...

anyway, i cut it, blanket-stitched it down and added a few french knots and feather stitch for good measure

the twirly, swirly bit in the centre  caught my eye 

 i had it in my mind to backstitch along the lines, like a connect-the-dots kind of thing but i was afraid of messing it up because now it's something and i'm always afraid of ruining things that are things

so i tried it out on the leftovers...

you can see it on the right below

it's much easier to mess with things that aren't really anything, only themselves

now i've got this far with it, i find this heart square is a big thing to me now...

"savour" was a special word for me back in 2012 - i remember it oh so well

march was when i found out my lump wasn't cancer

i did savour that news for a very long time - still do, but in a different way
the feeling of urgent relief has mellowed into enduring gratefulness

but i did kind of have a plan, just in case... my good friend and i decided a very long time ago we should have each other's back's, when the time comes

she wants her funeral service to be a celebration of life and then happy hour

i want an acknowledgement of a life and then brunch

martinis vs mini-quiche

{she would never let me make mini-quiche for my sale - too much work, she decreed, so i put them on the when-i'm-gone-reception-menu instead!}

she doesn't want her husband to buy a fancy coffin so i'm to ensure it's plywood, good one side

i want to be cremated and flung off a mountain in the yukon

with great luck and some taking care of myself this is all many years in the future
after all, there's still the music to sort out...

Monday, March 3, 2014

wondering why...

yesterday, i made a beginning

pretty petal and fern paper
lace, linen, silk

exactly as i pictured it in my mind, perhaps even a little better
but i think it would have been hard to go wrong with that paper as a base

 today i'll cut it up and take it further

i have a few ideas of what i want to do

 as i look at it, considering where to begin, i find myself wondering about it, about why i had wanted to make it so badly

to me, it's beyond pretty

delicate, frothy, romantic - reminds me of wedding invitations and valentine's

so not me

i like plaids and stripes and wrought iron and stone and driftwood 

stormy skies and rainy days

 so often though, i find much of what i make is light, lacy and delicate - i do adore pretty lace, but i could never live with it

 this morning as i was writing, i wondered why it is i am drawn to making things like this

and i wondered if it's because they bring light into the darkness of my mind...

not that i have a "dark" mind in the usual sense...

rather, i prefer dark things with an edgy feel

so how can i be drawn to something, create with something that really isn't me, and make something i wouldn't dream of keeping because i know from experience that if i did, it would languish in a closet for ever... i would own it, but i wouldn't cherish it

 some days, more than others, that really puzzles me