Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Words for Thought

I received a splendid gift from a kindred spirit this holiday season;
this beautiful crazy quilted needle book, and what a treasure it is 

beautifully monogrammed on the front with my initial; meticulous stitching with charming bits and pieces of old linens and lace

the back cover as lovely as the front

inside, pretty pink wool felt for the needles and a beautiful pin for decoration
 gorgeous!

I am going to enjoy using this every single day!
as we opened our gifts, sipping tea and exclaiming over every little thing, we got to chatting about my recent post on words for the New Year... trying to articulate what I am hoping to gain from my desire to focus on one word each month and really explore the layers of meaning to be found within it through art and writings

and she shared with me her word for the New Year, to be focused on for the entire twelve months, again through art and writing, but with a wonderful twist...

her word is "Gratitude" and each month she will place a different adjective with it, for example "Joyful Gratitude" and so on... I think it's brilliant...

I am so excited for the New Year!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Gifting


Last week I decided I needed a change - tired of fabric, tired of sewing...
a quilting overload in the past few months, and while I do love it, I need a break

we have a gift exchange at work and our gifts are always handmade and while we usually have a special evening in January when the dust has settled, this year the decision was made to have it in December

ouch!!

no time to do what I had in my mind since the summer so I went to Plan B

 Plan B started with a project in Christy's 12 Artsy Ornaments for Christmas but evolved a little, from using book paper to using fabric... and from something small to something much bigger

I was up to my elbows in paper, paint and glue making the backgrounds and then decided to cut green fabric into thin little strips, tie knots an inch apart and then cut them. The little knots of fabric with small tails at each end were glued to the tree shape I had glued onto my completed background - so cute!
Burlap for the trunk, some doodles etc. and they were done.


Into a box with a small bottle of beautiful sparkling white wine, some home-made cookies and rum sauce and they were ready for the party!

Not having had a haircut in five months, I was another story....

Friday, December 9, 2011

A Reckoning


I remember that line, or at least, that portion of a line, from Tombstone. The movie about Wyatt Earp starring Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer, Sam Elliott and Bill Paxton. 
Men in long black coats. 
big guns... 
but I digress...

A reckoning... a time to answer for what you've done and what you've not done...


remember last year when all over blog-land we were all choosing words?

words to inspire, to remind, words to live by?
I had one - Content


"Cheers" looks better to me now though....
  but thankfully most days were happy days

however content I've not been

i feel like i lost my way

forgot who i am


and last night I knew I had to figure it out


and in the quiet darkness between dusk and dawn an idea came, slowly at first, but as I thought about it and "knew" the rightness of it, it burst forth and unfurled like a flower of the desert after the one rainstorm of the year...


one word for one whole year is too limiting... I need action... snap, snap, snap
and so I will choose one word each month and then explore it in paint, and paper and fabric and words


really think on it
both what it does mean, and what it could mean
maybe even what it should mean....

words where the meaning seems clear,
but then we find a murky overlay


i love the idea of this - the concentration of it, and have been mulling over all sorts of possibilities

the words that are coming to mind are a little odd though, even for me

hush
haunted
bewitched
remember

but oh, the possibilities

Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Special Project

In recent years my son has taken up a new sport - Triathlon.
I remember the day he told me he had entered into the Salmon Arm "Beat the Train Triathlon"....

I looked up at him (waaayyy up), frowned and said,

"You can run?"

Well, apparently he can. And very well, might I add.
The long story short is that thanks to winning 1st place in his age group at the Alberta Provincials this past July, he has been invited to represent Canada at the World Triathlon Race in New Zealand in October 2012.
Wow! 
So proud, but now we have to get him there....


his sister, who has dreams of her own that involve cookies and a bakery, decided to make cookies for my Sale and donate the proceeds to getting him there....
and did she bake!

 36 dozen cookies, and may I say, the most beautifully packaged cookies ever!
 (no one could say enough about how fabulous they looked, until they got to taste them that is... buttery, deliciousness in every bite...)


and these chocolate-covered orange-flavoured pretzels were a huge hit

 with a ten pound bag of flour, a dozen pounds of butter and mountains of chocolate, nuts and cranberries, she raised over $300.00 toward his trip!

And me? Well, aren't I just the proudest MamaBear ever?
 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Helloooo?

It's been so long since I have posted I wonder...
Are you still there?

I'm still here...


"Balance" may have been a better word choice for me last January but when I think about it, I'm feelin' a little content right now anyhow.
Sale's over, room's almost clean and tidy, fabric pile is marginally lower.... and my pile of unfinished projects actually went down instead of up - a pretty good fiscal report I'd say


these are a few pics from the main event

I didn't design these guys but had more fun than you can imagine making them. I think I laughed out loud as each face was completed... so much character in their little faces...


lots of stockings- I used that stretchy gathered lace on the one below


the best suggestion for the cone hangers was wire but I didn't have time to go looking for some

woven ribbon seemed like a reasonable alternative and then I remembered a bracelet of my Grandmother's that I had taken apart

back-view
 it was made of ivory-like squares that are carved like a rose and they were linked together with elastic... I cut the elastic and used some of the squares to help attach the ribbons

We had far too much fun but oh, I'm glad it's over.

and now I have a lot of catching up to do with you

what's been keeping you up at night?



Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Jingle On


Seems "Jingle" might be a recurring theme for me for this holiday season...
I love the connotations of it; it just sounds happy and bright, and I am finding it creeping into my thoughts more and more.
And it's creeping into my designs too, at least, my design ideas - the brain is working far faster than the fingers these days!

 

This is the start of a cone  I am making that will eventually hold some greenery. The lace is from our trip to France, and in keeping with my new-found theme, I've added an old brass jingle bell to the tip. I just have to decide on what to use for a hanger.
The linen is a beautiful dove-grey, which matches the lace perfectly - oh how I wish I had bought more of that lace... it's the most beautiful taupey-grey (spell check is insisting that taupey isn't a word, and that grey is spelled wrong - spell check just can't  deal with creative people!)


The stocking above is made with a deeper taupe linen, accented with a torn ruffle and a silver button. 

I have several different stocking, in various sizes and stages of completion. I tried taking pictures of them today but the light was terrible and the angle was wrong - they looked completely out of proportion and sickly - delete, delete, delete.  I'm thinking I'm just going to have to give up and go outside to take them, and as there is snow that doesn't seem to want to melt, the pictures might even look festive.

It's two weeks now to my Sale and I am in high gear - late nights, and piles and heaps everywhere. Blurry eyes and sore fingers, fabric everywhere... I'm in heaven!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Printworks

Printworks.

What a great word, full of all sorts of connotations. For a word junkie like me, it simply spells heaven...
I finally got myself an ink-jet printer and have been playing around a bit with image transfers.



 The deer above and below is courtesy of The Graphics Fairy.
I love that it gives a sense of winter even though there is nothing wintry about it,


I paired it with a black and tan check fabric and added some fragments of antique lace - the bag is made of a linen/cotton blend. The black squares in the corners are actually brads and are way easier to add than buttons.

Continuing on with the "Printworks" theme, the above stocking features stamped fabric on the back


and a stamped word on the front. 
I have a full set of the alphabet in stamps - seemed like a good idea at the time, but lining up the letters is not as easy as I thought it would be! I think I stamped "joy" about 10 times before I finally figured it all out. By that time, I was getting pretty cranky and thinking I needed a new word.... but four letters would likely be even more challenging.... joy it was...


black ribbon and a little sparkly bling finish it off. 
I thought that the stamped script side would be the front but when I tried attaching the bow etc., I didn't like how it looked. So the backside became the front side....fluid designing I guess...

I read something the other day that seemed as though it was written just for me.

"As an artist, I am 'imagination led' rather than 'design led'. Invariably I make no formal plans identifying a finished piece; my work evolves rather than resolving to a plan."
-Jan Hall, Fibre Artist

I felt so much better about how I work after reading this. I have always thought true artists have a vision and work toward it, and that they always achieve that vision perfectly. That has not happened for me - at least not often, and consequently I have never thought of myself as an artist. I think now I might have some re-thinking to do...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

And No Drums Beat


Remembrance Day

A day originally created to remember the "War To End All Wars".
Seems we've had a few of those kind of wars.
History 12 spewed all sorts of and dates and names and numbers pertaining to offensives and battles and casualties. Numbers meant nothing really - when you live in a territory of less than 25,000 people how do you quantify 6,000,000 people? Or 20,000,000? Even the best imagination can't take you there.

But there we went in June of 2011. Some of you may remember this post I wrote of our visit to Omaha Beach...


 We went to many war cemeteries on our trip, but when we went to Omaha we were overwhelmed.

As we walked through the parking lot toward the Visitor Centre we passed a man and a woman who looked to be in their 60s - she was crying and he was trying to console her. Marc and I looked at each other and realized the images we had seen of Omaha on television over the years might just have been pretty accurate - a place for tears.

And it was.

I said it was the saddest place I had ever been and up until a few days later, that was the truth.
Then I went to a place sadder still.



This is a German cemetery, Neuville-St Vaast, near Arras, France.

This cemetery has more than 44,000 graves, four men per cross, their names etched on each side, back and front. The crosses are dark grey in colour, simple in design and the grass grows long and shaggy underfoot.

A stark contrast to the bright white of the crosses at Omaha, where the brilliant blue of the sea is a backdrop, and the whole of it is so meticulously maintained.


Neuville-St Vaast is a cemetery of World War 1, and is only tended by volunteers, of which there are not many.
It is truly a grave yard.


 As far as we could see, the grey crosses marched across the landscape, seemingly unending, in all directions. 
We didn't arrive there purposefully; we came upon it by happenstance and once realizing what it was, we stopped.
We were the only people there and judging by appearances, it was not a place often visited.
Some would say it fitting, given they were the aggressors, and ultimately, the defeated. 
I saw it differently.
When I was young I was full of righteous thoughts about wars; winners, and losers, about people thinking for themselves, and what it means to blindly follow ideals and beliefs without question.

The older me wonders about a world that existed before my time. When WW1 happened, WW2 hadn't yet. Duh.
But what I mean is, it's easy for us to look back, with all of history's experience, to say this was right, or that was wrong. It must have been a different thing to live it, without foreshadow's knowledge. 

I can't imagine what it would be like to send a child to war. 
Or a husband, or father, or wife or mother. I can't imagine what it would be like if they didn't come home, if their resting place was half a world away.
This post isn't about whether or not a war should have been fought, but rather, what it means when a country sends it's people to fight.
As a nation, and as people, we decide what we believe in, what we stand for, what we fight for and what we would die for. And that is true for all nations, and all people the world over. And we can decide that better for ourselves now, than any of our predecessors could - they were often bound up by duty and honour...

What I am struggling with is that the men that lie in this cemetery fought on behalf of their country, rightly, or wrongly, doing their duty as good citizens did.

And no drums beat for them.
And the flowers are all gone.

Friday, November 4, 2011

I'm Amazed By You


Busy days.

Haven't you all heard that before, especially at this time of year? Seems everywhere you look, it's a common refrain; we're all busy, busy, busy with holiday creativity...

Many weeks ago I did a post about something or other and happened to mention darning eggs and the fact that I had been on the look out for one for years.

Over the next few weeks, two beautiful specimens landed in my Inbox, real mail that is.


the first was from Diane, of Diane Knott's Musings,


Diane also tucked in some wonderful photo transfers, along with a beautiful art card of her own work - can't wait to play with these!

 

and then a treasure box from Deb of Mosaic Magpie, with the little beauty above and all the fun below


more ephemera than I've ever seen in my life!


all packed up in a little box that exudes creativity

Deb said in her email, "No need for thanks, we share out of love."

 So true, and yet so not true.

My face to face friends and I share with each other all the time. We talk and laugh and share, tangibles and intangibles, all the while in the comfort of knowing who we are with; an honesty that comes with face to face conversations and the nuances of body language. We know implicitly that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and we like nothing better to aid and abet a kindred spirit.

Why then, does it seem that the same should not necessarily true with our online friends?
Is it because we have heard so many stories of awful deceptions?

It seems it should be harder to forge those same bonds with people we haven't met face to face, that connections made on line shouldn't be as deep and trusting. Logic would have us believe we can't know the truth of someone if we haven't seen them.
Logic?

I have been accused of being logical my whole life, by teachers, supervisors, friends, and relatives and I can tell you logic has nothing at all to do with blogging.  In blogging, logic takes a back seat to trust, and I am so grateful to know there is way more trust in me than anything else.

I am constantly amazed by all of the people I have met through blogging. You show yourselves, you share yourselves and you enrich my life with what you share, what you say and who you are.
You have opened my eyes to new pathways and brought things to my life that have helped me to figure who I really am.

And Deb is right, you do it for love.

But thanks are most definitely necessary.

Thank you to everyone!

And on another note, I am still having issues with commenting on certain blogs. If you have formatted your blog so comments come up in a separate dialogue box, it's all good. If you have it set so the comment box is embedded in the post itself, I can't comment no matter what I try, and believe me, I have tried it all! Blogger is saying the same thing - pop up comment boxes are fine, but the others are problematic. I try to email my comments but that isn't always easy, and somehow when the relevant post isn't right there,  it seems kind of weird. Don't know why, but it's weird anyway.

So if you're a new Follower, I am popping by, and loving what you do but can't always tell you!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

"Can We Talk?"

It seems everywhere, quilts are talking. 
Words are being incorporated either in the fabric designs, or in the quilt pattern itself: words of family, words of joy, French words, baby talk, and on and on it goes....

I was thinking it would be fun to come up with my own wordy quilt, and I tried to think of a word I would like to immortalize in fabric.... "Family", "Love", "Simplicity", "Joy"...all great words that I have seen on quilts lately but not for me. Well, not that I don't "get" them, they just weren't me.
But I think this one is...

 
This will be a fun little wall-hanging for the holidays - plain and simple.
And to satisfy everyone's taste, I'm making another version in bright and cheery red, green, blue and gold Christmas fabrics


this brown/taupe version says "me" better


and yes, the fabric in the "e" is upside down.... whoopsidoodle!
Whimsicals has a book out called "If Quilts Could Talk" and some of the letters above came from Teri's designs but not all ('cause Jingle's my word).  To fill in the gaps, I turned once again to my dear daughter, who although she believes she isn't crafty, can do lettering like nobody's business.

I'll do a nice dark brown blanket stitch around the letters and then figure out something interesting for the border.


I can just hear those bells a-ring-jing-jingling now...