Sunday, July 20, 2014

stretched...


stretch(ing, ed, es)
any one of the above could be my theme for this month

i started a piece of white lace, paper and cloth
stitching the layers, creating openings


i did as much of the machine work as i could with my smallest hoop but had to finish by simply stretching it taut with my hands as the fabric was just too small


 love how it turned out, so different in colour from the first effort, yet the same technique for both


 once all the stitching was done i damp-stretched it

such a difference it makes - the most amazing transformation


from unruly, rumpled cloth to something so pristine it takes my breath away


i'm hoping tonight to sit down and begin the hand embroidery on this piece

but i'm stretched a little thin, what with my long to do list...
if not tonight, then tomorrow


 i stretched the green one from my previous post as well
and promptly noticed how one opening reminds me somewhat of a heart
pretty...


 this week the tart cherries ripened and thursday i got out the ladder and started picking
it wasn't long before i had picked all the ripe cherries from the lower branches and began to set my sights on the higher up ones
beautiful, bright red, perfectly smooth and tantalizingly out of reach, no matter how far i stretched
tapping my fingers on the ladder, i pondered what to do
the extension ladder was out front in the trailer, but it's cumbersome and not easy to manage on my own

i reached up and grabbed the end of a branch; pulling it down toward me allowed me to reach a few of the cherries - close, but not quite...

so i got out the pruning shears and decided to kill two birds with one stone


i cut off a few branches and carried them down to the grass, laying them carefully under the tree

i would sit on a bench, in the sun, with the branch on my lap and pick cherries 'til the cows come home

 the mr. came outside and saw what i was up to

"it's much easier this way" i said

easy pickin's and the tree gets pruned at the same time
methinks i should be an efficiency expert...

nodding in agreement, he got out the saw and the next thing i knew half the tree was on the grass beside me!


i've picked and sorted my way through endless pails and pans of cherries and in the end, i've pitted and packed away upwards of 125 cups of cherries
the freezer is full

my fingers are red with cherry juice
{i pit them by hand so i can certify them worm-free!}


 beautiful, plump, organic cherries
i think there's going to be a great deal of jam and pie in my future...


Sunday, July 13, 2014

paper, lace, cloth and stitch...


that's what i've been creating with today

in that half-hour between afternoon chores and time to start dinner

i made my choices of paper, lace and cloth quickly - thread took only slightly longer

this is the second technique i've learned in the class of a similar name
{you can read all about it here}


 i didn't have a lot of choice in papers - but i found a scrap of a mossy green one that i've always liked
paired it with a piece of green-gold lace and a small bit of gold silk with pink embroidered flowers and green leaves


 exposing, defining, leaving some ares plain and adding texture to the rest


raw edges, rough with thread, fragments


 the piece i made is roughly 10" x 5" and i have plans for it already, and it isn't even finished yet

i'm hoping it can be worked into my tree quilt i'm designing in alchemy


the one with the non-traditional piecing, like you see above and below


inspired by the bird on a branch


the colours work well - seem i'm still drawn to the same old colour palette, but that's ok - gives me more to work with when it comes time to make the final choices

and as always with me, it's a combination of paper, lace, cloth and stitch...

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

creating the day away...

some would call it working in a series...

for me, it's just being single-minded
nothing else can get in

right now it's hexagons
blue ones


this was the first effort at a "sky" block for my latest project
the hexagon suits my idea of a sky shape so i basted this block of various blues

using pre-cut paper shapes as a guide to cut roughly cut the fabric pieces using only scissors

i thought about cutting up some of my snippet cloth for a hexagon


 but i couldn't quite bring myself to do it, not yet

so i did the next best thing...


i sewed snippets to my hexagons!


and i love them... absolutely love them


i think i could be addicted to making them

i'm going to add some hand embroidery to these


and some other interesting techniques for adding texture to paper


figuring out ways to layer them


they're like building blocks...

pretty building blocks for playing with, and creating the day away



Wednesday, July 2, 2014

seriously...


quite the post title - "seriously"

summers are supposed to be light-hearted, fun, easy breezy

from light summer reading to simple summer meals, the catch words are always reminiscent of porch swings and lemonade and bare feet on green grass

for me, they're also all about summer school...


 this summer is no exception... i always end up having to work a few extra shifts at both jobs so i console myself with taking a class or two


sketchbookery started on the 1st, lace begins on the 7th

and so yesterday i painted


i painted watercolour mixing charts


and discovered that payne's grey is the absolute best colour ever invented

ever


 i fiddled about endlessly trying to leave a little white spot in each colour sample


i lost track of what colour should come next and missed one or two here and there - oh well, no matter really - easy, breezy after all


i saw for myself the difference between "artist quality" and  "works okay"


i played with blotting


 i made pastel paint chip cards and experimented even more with blotting


"when you look at this, tell me the first word you think of"...

i sat outside, at the patio table, under the green umbrella and i painted

enjoying the flow of colour, the swish of the water, twirling the paintbrush and experimenting my way through many sheets of watercolour paper

my husband came along to see what i was up to... cool... did i have a spare piece of paper?

in less than five minutes flat he sketched the sketch you see below

and painted it

using a permanent marker as his sketching tool... not a single line erased


i sat and watched him... amazed at how it took shape - so quick, so... right
out of his head... the mind's eye
jealous, yes
in awe - more so

this drawing, sketching and painting that intrigues me so - he just sat and did it, just like that - in the blink of an eye... easy, peasy

he smiled and went back to watering something or other in the garden

ten minutes later he came back and asked if i had any more paper...

this one took four minutes, start to finish


 it's amazing to me how someone can do this

how can you draw something like this with no reference in front of you?

i suppose it's some kind of innate knowing, but when you don't have it, it's almost impossible to comprehend


he smiled a half a smile and said, "well, i can't draw a horse"
 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

what's your sign?


home again, wondering where to start...

planting, watering, weeding

dusting, vacuuming,tidying

stitching, quilting, knitting

the list is lengthy, but the days are long too, for now

i was on an errand a few days before we left, passing a favourite shop window, when a hanging sign caught my eye

i've long been a lover of words and quotes and signs, but a reluctant purchaser

there is such a commitment when it's in print

this one, though... this one was a little harder to ignore









"believe in the wonders of tomorrow"

some of my favourite words in this one, not least of all, "tomorrow"

not so much because i am good at procrastinating
{i am, but that's seriously beside the point!}

rather, it's because "tomorrow" in itself is a promise; a promise there's more to come

hopefully it's more good stuff, but then again,  there can be a comfort in that it can also mean the end of the bad

 and of course,  the wonders of tomorrow could also be all the things i want to get done, wondering how on earth i am going to fit them all in!

anyway, i bought it, i love it and now i have to figure out where i'm going to hang it

i saw another sign in sisters whilst we were on holiday

done in the same style, three separate signs strung together with chain... the colours were in that beautiful soft palette of grey, beige and white that i love so much

"happily ever after"

i would have bought it except i already had this one

 such a common little phrase
but with such momentous meaning

now i'm seeing signs everywhere and it made me wonder..

what's your sign????

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

a girl's gotta do...


on vacation in oregon visiting family

as usual i was busy as could be before we left so i wasn't able to pack a project or two to work on... I thought it would be alright with nothing to work on - a bit of a break...

wrong!

wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong

my fingers started twitching on the second day and by the fifth, i was in dire straits, the desire to make something, overwhelming

so I wandered around the local quilt and knit shop here in sisters and happened upon a pattern for a knitted hot water bottle cover



the cold nights here remind of winter evenings at home, and how much improved they are when snuggled up with a toasty hot water bottle - usually mine is wrapped with an old towel so this seemed like the perfect project - quick, simple, and ever so practical

my son and I used to have a tug of war over the hot water bottle with him usually getting the first shift as he went to bed earlier - i'm thinking perhaps these might make lovely christmas gifts - easy enough and fun, what with all the wonderful yarns available...

in the meanwhile, my fingers have settled, with the rhythm of the needles clicking, the soft feel of the yarn as it slides through my fingers, and the wonderful satisfaction that comes from creating something... a girl's just gotta do what she's gotta do!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

blue on blue


where did may go?

i feel as though i blinked and i missed it
and now it's june...

i just got up to go and look at my monthly word list, to see what word belongs to june

"simple"

it fits, still

i'm seeing a pattern with these words, they fit the rhythm of my year, and as each one comes along i gain a greater understanding of why i chose it the first time 'round

june is when it begins to feel like the year is getting away from me, the days and weeks rolling along, gathering steam - lazy days of summer, my big toe!

simple in june reminds me to slow it down a little, not make the plans too grand, keep it simple, let it happen...

simple is my guiding thought for my latest project as well


 i am in love with this way of piecing and see much, much more of it in my future

cutting with scissors, no rulers allowed

edges overlapping, tiny stitches to hold it all in place whilst i think of what comes next


turning my thoughts to how this will be laid out

the tree trunk will be the left border of  the quilt, the branches will form the sashing

 the blocks will be traditional block patterns, but distorted, so as to fit within the branch sashing

from the ground, to the grasses and the shrubs to the sky


the other day i made some snippet fabric

a technique i learned in one of karen's classes
{just knowing how to make this would have been enough}


next step is to add some hand embroidery and then cut it up to use as fabric in my block piecing
mixing it in with traditional quilting cottons as well as batik fabrics


thinking about sky and clouds

and blue


blue on blue with a chance of lace

i like that weather report!