Saturday, May 30, 2015

it feels like...

it kind of feels like summer vacation...

yesterday i did my last demo at the shop, a week ago, my last class for many months to come

all the "work" stitching is done - yay!
and so in a way, it felt like yesterday was the last day of school, while today felt like the first day of holidays

 today we did something fun - marc is a train guy and so we drove over to revelstoke and wandered around the railway museum there, soaking in the history

a stop at craigellachie on the way home
{home of the "last spike"}
the smell of creosote and sappy green leaves took me back about fifty years or so... i was wearing pink pedal pushers, a pink floral pop-top and trying to jump from tie to tie... we were on a picnic near an abandoned rail line... summer-smells never really leave you, do they?

summer is sketching, painting outside, the smell of fresh--cut green grass

summer is blue, blue sky and the sound of people talking - over fences, passing on the road-way, muffled through open windows

summer this year is hummingbirds-
without josie on bird patrol, our yard has exploded with feathered friends; hummingbirds, most of all

with all of that in mind, my last demo project was inspired by a piece of fabric from the moda line
 "a field guide"


the soft colours of this line, combined with the interesting "sketchy" bits on the main print were immediate favourites

simple nine patches with 2 1/2", 2". and 1 1/2" squares respectively

three layers. pieced cotton, flannel and lightweight muslin, hand quilted in a grid pattern, through all the layers




 it's a peek into the designer's sketchbook

"watercolour paintings"


"machine-sketching"


 the pattern i chose was a stacked pin cushion; three pieced and quilted squares of varying sizes, all stacked up

simple, yet lovely
and oh, so sturdy


but when all was done it seemed as though something was missing - it was a little bit plain

one of the squares on the feature print sported a little brown rabbit... which sparked an idea...


it didn't take very long to fashion a delightful little bunny, complete with a pom-pom tail {cut from a bit of vintage french trim!}

 little felt ears


he's perched on top, poised to jump... into a field of summertime dreams


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

psssst...

hey, remember me????

the best laid plans of mice and bloggers oft go awry...

the hot weather descended on us here in the shuswap with a vengeance, yards literally exploding with green

i love this time of year, when everything is so lovely and lush... before it all becomes crisp and brown in august's heat... though we're already being threatened with a long, hot, tinder dry summer 

i''m hoping that heat will translate into a wonderful and yummy vegetable garden - this year i am having my very first, legitimate, proper, raised beds kind of garden - over the moon excited about it!

The frames are stained, built and in situ, with rock supporting them at the sloped end

the sod has been cut out, by hand, and removed and the tilling has begun

tomorrow i need to line the inside of the side boards with plastic and then the mixing of dirt begins - i am hopeful i may be planting as early as thursday afternoon

i have such plans, and if the truth be known, high hopes
but really, just being able to mess about in the dirt is enough

and speaking of dirt - i spent a long time today cleaning it off my hands, out from the nails, because i need to get busy with a special project...

about 24 years ago or so i made a bunny pillow for our daughter

the design and pattern were found in a "cross-stitch and country crafts" magazine, with the pillow front done in cross-stitch and then fabric borders and a ruffle finishing it off...


 it's actually back at my house for repairs - i didn't know enough then to make it in a manner that would allow the pillow cover to be washed {tough lesson, well learned!}

so, it's been taken apart and needs a re-do

in the meanwhile, dd has a friend who just had a baby girl of her own, and so a new bunny pillow is in the works


 using laura's as inspiration, i'm going to applique this new one
{we do want it done in this century, after all}

the parents love the victorian design style, so the linen floral is my inspiration - and will likely be a border

the adorable light print with the random dot is the background of the centre front
{i do love random dots, and nice ones like this are so hard to find - i snap them up whenever i come across one}

the pink will be the bunny herself, the blue stripe, the inside ears, and a gold-beige will be the paw circles


isn't that dot just fabulous???

minty green, varying shades of pink and brown, spotty dots abound - it couldn't be more perfect
 

 i'm going to do a blanket stitch with embroidery floss around the appliques


and when i'm done i really do need to re-make the original

the girl has already been waiting patiently a year or... three


 i am amazed by how pristine the original stitchery is, after 25+ years - it's as pretty and clean and bright as the day i finished it - no yellowing, nor fading

and every bit as cute to me still... this "redux" is going to be kind of fun...




Friday, May 8, 2015

tried and true

here i am, as i thought i might be

sometimes i have a hankering to write a blog post but i feel like i have nothing interesting to show, nor even to write about

other times it feels like i could write a new post every. single. day. if i only had the time

lately it's been a bit of both

something happened this week though, that made me exceptionally happy and i thought i might share it with you...

you know how it is, when you feel like you've had an epiphany, a revelation, or the planets have truly aligned and delivered something wonderful, you just want to share it???

for my 50th birthday, four years back, marc bought me a brand new sewing machine - complete with all the bells and whistles, it did just about every thing but make dinner

all the space needed to quilt a king-sized quilt, five lights for excellent viewing, favourite stitch memory and hundreds of pre-programmed fancy stitches - a real boon for my aging eyes

i'd been schlepping along with my plain jane bernina for well over two decades and whilst i loved it, there were things i wanted to do that it just couldn't



regardless of it's limitations, i loved it dearly, and could not bring myself to part with it so i stored it in a spare room closet, bringing it out for the odd bit of sewing now and then

i enjoyed the new machine for the next two years, but discovered it too had it's very own set of limitations
ones i found very hard to accept, so in the end i traded up for the latest and greatest incarnation 

it was better - most definitely better, but even so, there was something lacking

namely, a clunky design that doesn't afford a good sight line at the needle, making machine quilting awkward at best

and a size that takes up a huge amount of space




 not deal breakers by any stretch, but having had a machine where sight lines are superb, and the basics are accomplished with amazing perfection, i just couldn't get attached

and you know i love my hand-work best...


i've been dithering over this for the past four months and this week i finally made up my mind to sort it all out

so on Tuesday morning i set up the bernina and did a little bit of machine quilting

and a little on the latest and greatest

and i made my choice

a phone call and an evening to ponder and the next day it was out with the new and back with the old

i've spent the past two days re-organizing my sewing room - loving the new-found table space

i've set the bernina up on the little table where i usually do computer work and writing and moved those activities to the larger table that was usually reserved for the sewing machine

you see, much as i love my bernina, i've discovered over the past four years that i really do love hand sewing

more than love it really - it's what i do, who i am - i'd rather make it by hand, or not at all

and it was all beautifully reinforced for me the morning before the deed was done when our janome educator came to town

i took part in her hands on demonstration, illustrating just what an $8000 sewing machine can do for you

we appliqued a flower, uploaded the same design to the computer embroidery machine which then created an outline for me so i would know exactly where to place a piece of fabric in order to create a second flower, which it stitched beautifully, programmed in a phrase of my choice, using the cursor to place the words exactly where i wanted them, and them selected a pre-programmed alphabet font

easy-peasy, lickety-split

i sat back with my feet up and watched the machine do it's thing

very relaxing

when all was said and done, i took it to show a co-worker

"look what the machine i sat in front of did" i said

and i knew then that new machine had to go

and so it did

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

petal power

april flew and we're already a week in to may - is this how the summer will be?

work is commencing this week with my brand new vegetable garden - major under-taking but i'm excited... and a little nervous
my mom and step-father live nearby and they're experts so thankfully i have a great resource close to hand!

whilst waiting on that i commenced this latest page, developed from drawings shown in previous posts

remember this idea/design stemmed from a sketch of a piece of jewelry in a liberty of london book?

well, i'm moving it along....


 changing the number of petals, adding spiky bits with circles

they remind of pearl stick-pins

i was working out border designs using pen and stitch, thinking one might be suitable as an accent detail on said page


 of the two options above, neither was quite right

fingers tapping, humming and hawing - finally decided to sleep on it and i'm so glad i did

in the morning as i looked at it i thought why not have the smyrna cross in pen and do a french knot in the centre - it would be like a lustrous pearl with rays coming from it

i also decided there was too much empty space in the centre area so an a "quick" fold took care of that

would you believe i worked the whole thing out on scrap paper so i would know exactly where the folds needed to be and which way they needed to be folded - i swear i'm dyslexic - if i'd been left to my usual devices this piece would look like origami, i can assure you


a cut-out painted petal with a decorative brad adds something amazing to the lower corner 


the ties... well the ties were meant to be long, to let one open the fold, to see what lays beneath, but as the paper is watercolour, and the fold extremely narrow, the fold wouldn't stay flat

in the end i had to tape it closed with double-sided tape so i tied knots and cut the ties short


i love it - really, really love it


it turned out far better than i hoped - better than i thought i was capable of!



 firmly attached to my ledger, that's two pages done - the next one is the colour study

i hope to make progress with that tomorrow

i hope to make progress with a lot of things - emails, reading your blogs, checking out what you're up to

i have three days off and list upon list - many things to tell you about so i'll be back on friday
nothing major, nor earth-shattering, just newsy bits of this and that...