Tuesday, September 23, 2014

a beautiful life

a brave little fighter who fought the good fight...

over and over and over again

she stole our hearts twelve years ago - the only little girl cat we've ever had
a tiny little green-eyed feline with dainty white feet

we all tried so hard, marc, doug, claire,  the vet... this time, the third time, was not the charm


more than any other cat we've had, josie knew how to sleep the best



feet straight out in front


a princess at rest




we miss you girly-girl

 thank you to everyone for your suggestions, well wishes and wonderful thoughts... they were all so very much appreciated...

Monday, September 15, 2014

if two wrongs don't...

well, if two wrongs don't make a right how do you feel about three?

i feel pretty good about it myself - it worked quite well the other day as a matter of fact...

i had a hankering to make a snippet cloth snowman christmas card
winter's coming and all that

and as snippet cloth is so artistically unusual i wanted an interesting background for the snowman to sit upon

i thought about hand embroidering a tree but it seemed like it would be too cute somehow...

so i decided to try machine embroidering one

i have no idea how to do machine embroidery

and even though i have no idea i thought i would just give it a go - you know, thread up the machine, cut a piece of fabric and sew

ha!

first effort - thread too light, background too dark, fabric badly puckered


second effort - change the orientation

why i thought that would help i have no idea

it didn't


i sewed over the lines more times but it didn't really make the trees stand out - just made the fabric pucker more


and the scale is wrong - the snowman is so big!


from any angle, too big

i knew then what would the perfect background fabric would be - icy blueish grey, fossil fern pattern... scraps left over from many years ago


still wrong, perhaps even more so
 

 wrong, wrong, wrong

then a thought crossed my mind - a hoop perhaps?

good gracious - i knew that, of course, you can't do this kind of thing without a hoop but somehow or other i thought it would be ok

a big piece of the original fabric, a large hoop, darker thread and bingo!


much better

the only thing i will differently next time is to use a permanent marker to trace the tree
i did this in a wash away pen and the slight puckering happened after the washing - permanent marker, no water


and the scale doesn't seem so bad now


from every angle


a single embroidered snowflake, hanging on a high branch


arms raised in a proclamation of joy 


the wonder of a winter night's sky


i don't mind when things go wrong - i don't see it as a failure, just that i haven't got it right - yet

i know if i keep trying i will sooner or later

how does that go???

"i haven't failed, i've just found a thousand ways that won't work"

i am glad, however, that this was solved a tad sooner!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

sunshine...


as i was sitting in my sewing room the other morning, doing my daily writing, the room brightened considerably in the most incredible way... slowly and steadily, over the space of about fifteen seconds, the level of lightness increased in such a manner that i stopped writing and looked around

it was the most amazing thing...

as i glanced around, i noticed the sunlight highlighting certain things and casting shadows on others


the shadow of the curtains, sunlight sparkling off jars filled with buttons, beads and baubles


 my linen rabbit from many years ago; i never did get around to "finishing" him and now i've decided to leave him just as he is


magnetic snowflakes sparkling like jewels


adding the softest sheen to the lid of a very old preserving jar
 


highlighting this delightful pin keep by lori ann corelis


late summer early morning sunshine - the best kind

sunshine through freshly opened leaves, the strong scent of green, their shadows dappling lightly on the wooden sidewalk outside our front yard - i was three and playing with my dolls sam, fred, george and charles, hidden among the low branches
{all my dolls had boy's names, even though they were girl dolls - my dad thought it would be a funny thing and so convinced me to name them all that way... i remember as i grew older that it seemed curious to me, but their names were their names and sam, fred, george and charles they were}

i remember sunshine on my shoulders as i played in the water at marsh lake when i was a few years older, humming "sunshine on the water makes me smile" over and over

as a teenager it was nazareth's "sunshine, every single day helps to light my way"

and then dr. hooks' beautiful, haunting "i can't touch the sun"

several years ago my daughter made a cd for me with all my favourite sun songs on it - i don't remember the order of them but i do believe the first one was "walking on sunshine" by katrina and the waves


my most favourite one of all though is by the beatles, and it's what i was humming the other morning as my room filled slowly and steadily with such glowing light...

"here comes the sun"
 
so beautifully fitting

 which sun song suits you best?



Wednesday, September 3, 2014

thump...

here i am landing in blogland with a big thump after several weeks' absence...

the image below is pretty accurate 

it's mayhem, alright

not really controlled either... barely managed, mostly endured

the summer of easy relaxed days was not to be, but it was a good summer nonetheless


gallivanting around bc, alberta and the western states
visitors coming and going
canning and preserving
a quilt shop closing and another opening
work, work and more work

these past few weeks i've also been struggling to get my class samples made
i think i'm half-way through, and the first one done is my hand-made book
"a compendium of spells, potions and lotions"

the book-binding part is done - i have the spells and receipts to do next
know any good ones????

charms and beads and special buttons decorate the spine


the man in the moon is a charm from a pair of banana bob earrings from a decade or two ago


the stray cat strut below is from a funky bracelet that belonged to my grand-mother
i have enough cats to share one with each person taking the class

 the black net adds a little elegance i think...
 

hallowe'en fabric for the cover, deep purple ribbon for the tie


most of the papers are black, orange, purple, brown...


 with the odd spooky one thrown in here and there


i loved making this book and will love filling it even better

"eye of newt" and all that


a local outdoor theatre poster from last year makes for a fun fold-out page too!


teaching classes pushes me in ways i can hardly begin to describe - asking myself all the time, "what can i do to make this piece more interesting?"

"what detail can i add that might inspire someone to sign up? to say to themselves "i have to make this!?!"

and then of course, the desire to put your best face forward, do your best work, think of what else could be done with this technique, and wrap it all up in a fun-filled experience that would make them want to come back

it can be exhausting, but it's ever so exhilarating at the same time

all of this would be more than enough to keep a body and a mind busy to the nth degree

but life has a cruel way of coming back to haunt one from time to time

in this year of re-visiting words, about mid-august i was wondering about september's word and how that might possibly play out... two years ago the word i chose for september was "sorrow"

that was the month we lost bozzy, our dear little cat

and with cruel irony, it appears miss josie is herself failing on us now

she is terribly ill, frail, and in need of great looking after
tiny little cat who seems to be slipping away from us a little more each day

she sleeps a lot, so we all pile on the bed and hang out together, watching movies, reading books - she seems to take comfort from having someone close by

 happy-sad

so if you know of a spell or a potion or an incantation or two that might put a spring in her step or a smile on my face tell me true and i'll write it in my wee book

and i'll be trying to wend my way through all this to see what y'all have been up to - i miss you!!

Friday, August 15, 2014

more or less...

i've been thinking about more and less a lot lately

and how they relate to "you can't have it all"

this year, in my year of taking better care of myself, i'm thinking a lot about what i want more of, what i want less of, and what i'm willing to do or give up so i can do or have what i want most

are you confused yet????

i want to travel more... which costs money so i'm working more

which means i have less time for sewing, gardening and blogging - i eke out what i can, when i can... some days it doesn't feel like nearly enough, but one of the rewards for doing more and doing less, was a fun weekend in vancouver, visiting a childhood friend...


we walked to her community garden plot and while she watered, i wandered...

charming structures in several plots, giant dahlias, taller than me, and a fig tree, complete with ripe figs - we ate them standing in the midst of the communal herb garden


 saturday started out with a trip to gala fabrics and meinhardt foods on granville st
treasures found...

 the rest of the day and evening were spent on granville island, soaking in the energetic artistic vibe i love so much

we gathered our picnic from the food aisles, eating outside on the benches, watching the boats in false creek


wandering the seawall, pausing on yet more benches in front of the granville island hotel

 when i'm an eccentric old lady i'm moving into the granville island hotel and never leaving
{if i ever win the lottery, i'm moving in sooner!}


 the building below is my favourite in all of the city
there's a starkness to it that, in certain lights, is almost forbidding...


peeking through spaces 


another community garden... i found scented sweet peas...
one of my very favourites from early childhood
 

more city skyline...
 


and in the heart of it, a hint of what it used to be...
cool and dark - calm... lush
it is a rain forest after all
 

in the heat of the day it felt wonderful to step into this earthy green space, this shaded grove
an oasis from the heat and from the noise of the city


i found lovely fabrics - silk, hemp - which is very like linen, a wonderful striped fabric, buttons, beads, silk threads, beautiful ethereal papers... treasures for creative moments, a renewal of artistic joy, pure, unadulterated fun

 in october i'm going back, to see this and this
the maiwa textile symposium will be in full swing and my friend and i love our art... there will also be a trip to the museum, shopping for art supplies, creating at her dining room table, eating, drinking talking, lapping up all the city has to offer - drawing on the sheer energy of it

i'm quietly learning the lessons of more for less and less is more

more or less...

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

the tale of a pin-tuck schmuk


ever since i was very young i have been drawn to fabric with texture
it started with smocking and ruffles and gathers 
tucks and pleats

loved it all...

a few months back i bought a pin-tucking foot for my sewing machine and last night i finally tried it out

fail!

i kept getting two perfectly parallel sets of running stitches - pretty enough, but not quite what i had in mind


i finally resorted to google and within minutes the culprit was discovered - tension

i hadn't adjusted my tension, and it needs to be super tight

trying again, i got a slightly better result but not quite the beautiful raised rows i was hoping for


all is never lost with these kind of things though - just see how lovely and almost "puffy" it is from the back?

i'll definitely be doing some hand-stitching on this


 to tell you the truth, i don't mind the front so much either


but i was determined to get a better result so off to the quilt shop i went

and after a consultation with a friend and co-worker, came out with a handy-dandy little gadget for adding cording

first i tried perle #5 - lovely raised pin-tuck!


almost a little too raised though
{you can call me goldilocks...}

 the next one was tried with perle #8 and it was just right

  laying strips of lace on top of the fabric and pin-tucking over top added yet another lovely layer of texture

that is a technique i plan to experiment with a whole lot more


 i absolutely love these last two surfaces i've created, and am thinking about where i go with them next


really, even the crummy version looks pretty here... imagine what it would be like with hand embroidery? 
it would be like the ugly ducking, becoming a swan...


 who knew surface embroidery and fairy tales had anything in common?