Monday, December 31, 2012


2012 is drawing to it's close...

each year it's these quiet days between christmas and new year's that are my favourite

thinking back, looking ahead

i've found myself to be even more reflective this year and often catch myself in daydreams
the other day i stood at the window watching the snow falling off the trees for more than half hour
thoughts drifting like the snow as it fell
a little here, more there, until the branches were laid bare
and the tree stood straighter
 the lacy beauty of the branches silhouetted against the lightness of the sky
i want to be like the tree...

i've been thinking a lot about my monthly words of 2012, and what a wonderful exercise in thought that was... what i strove for, what i was feeling

i want something different for this year though

 this year is for my creative self
a year for me and what i want to do

last year i tried to do that, signing up for some fabulous online courses, none of which i have yet to finish - obligations always got in the way

so i've taken a bit of a ruthless stand, and stepped back from the things that got in my way

i'm going to channel my inner grade 4 self
and make a timetable
not a daily one but monthly

 january is for clearing the decks
finishing up gifts and special orders
tidying, organizing, purging

 february is for all things paper

march will be all about painting and collage

getting messy 

 april will be all about embroidery...

well, truthfully, embroidery never really leaves the picture as a needle seems to find a way into my hand just about every single day!

 may will focus on quilting

and that's as far as i've thought

i love the idea of a monthly focus on a technique - it's almost like a license to play

over the next few weeks i'll come up with a more definite plan - terms of reference with specific goals
kind of like a checklist
i've found i quite liked making lists....

things to make, things to learn, experiences to enjoy
a whole year ahead

i hope you can look ahead to the new year with same kind of joy and anticipation,
and that it will be a year of great discoveries and happiness for us all!


Monday, December 24, 2012


 sing is my word for december

i chose it very early in the month, and while there were certainly times i questioned the appropriateness of it, i am convinced now it is the perfect word for me, right now

there will always be reasons not to sing
... i suppose that's why sad songs were invented

yet some of the saddest songs are the most beautiful

i realized this was my word when i heard a song at work one day...
"you're so vain" came on the radio
it was 1:10 on the clock and i was instantly in the high school cafeteria
it was lunchtime on a friday and we were wondering where the party was that night

i had to shake my head to make the memory go away, it was that vivid

and then i started thinking about the power of music

how a song can instantly transport you, reflect your mood, sometimes even change it

"my song" has always been "i am a rock" by simon & garfunkle
if i could sing at all i would belt that baby out for all the world to hear... some days....

other days it's "here comes the sun" by the beatles

polar opposites

this may seem like an odd topic for a Christmas eve post

but music is a big factor at this time year
while we celebrate
while we worship
while we remember
while we grieve
while we share

it shapes us, lifts us and comforts us
and some of the greatest music ever was written in honour of christmas

and so to me it's the perfect word

and according to our son who is now 25
"darcy the dragon" still has to be the first song christmas morning!

i wish all of you faithful, supportive and wonderfully kind blogging friends a wonderful christmas filled with what matters most

Sunday, December 23, 2012

tis the season

the season of lists is upon us

naughty and nice, groceries, cards, presents, to dos...

i've never been much of one for lists but decided a year or so ago they might just, perhaps, under certain circumstances, on occasion

be a good thing

a few years back i even made a special "book" for them
(which i've yet to use!)

i found pretty notepads at an after-christmas clearance
made a matching cover

and then used contact cement to stick the notepad down
when the paper is gone you can pull off the remaining cardboard, rub away the residue of the cement and stick down another notepad

 the first page, still intact
my "listing" is almost always done in my head
excepting for groceries

 later today i think i'll foray into the world of list-making

some ideas for the new year ahead

like this book, it's still a clean slate, waiting,
something to look forward to....

Thursday, December 20, 2012


back with my wrapping cloth

i played with the waste canvas....
i've never really liked using it but i love the look of cross-stitch on a non- evenweave cloth


a slight bit of colour, my favourite, grey-blue
very pale, just enough to show

and pretty stars

i finished the french knots in the scallops of the vintage eyelet and love how they look
the cloth looks almost the same as before the knots are added, only different

so far, so good

so much more to do

 the piece above is a section from a cloth featuring a drawn thread hem

i stitched large "x"s, alternating
with french knots in between

i did the "x"s in one row only and liked it so much i added them to the other side
then i didn't like it so much so i added the french knots
it's better now but still not great

and i need to add more of the lazy daisy flowers - one looks kind of odd, all by it's lonesome

i'm glad i decided to go with a christmas theme for this
it will be something i'll keep for myself
and it will be a great joy to bring it out every december

begun in one snowy, cold december and quite likely finished in the next one

not surprising at all

and maybe not a bad thing - it's the kind of project that just can't be rushed...

Monday, December 17, 2012

winter love

where to begin...

a wise teacher told me once when faced with a blank page
just write

once you begin, the words will flow, and after that thoughts will coalesce and the story will emerge

 but first you have to clear away the clutter

it's taken some time but the clearing is well under way 

i worked on the embroider, embellish, create class for a short time last night and it felt so good to take up needle and thread with no other purpose than to add to something that was already beautiful

the soothing rhythm of the stitch, the glint of steel of the needle, the soft sheen of the thread

all combine to soothe a heavy heart

tiny little stars 

i had long ago decided my wrapping cloth would be "themed" to christmas
(sorry karen, i didn't have the heart to tell you!)

and now i think i will stitch twenty little stars on it
one for each of them
and surely there must be an angel

and trees and snowflakes
children love snowflakes

when i was a child my favourite christmas show was "the littlest angel"

they stopped showing it because it was "too sad"

i thought it was beautiful
achingly beautiful

do any of you know it? did you love it too?

somehow or other i will stitch every bit of love and beauty and joy and hope i can think of in this cloth

i will remember what it was like to believe in the wonder of winter, of christmas, of love

Saturday, December 8, 2012

and here we are....

just a few images - as usual, by the time i was able to take a breath and snap a few photos, it was dark as could be

and i completely forgot about the quilting!
but there were pretty things strewn all around the house

 and cute things...

 and elegant things....

 and lazy things!

the mice looked so adorable perched in the big tree that i think they will be the first thing i make for myself 

 each little heart and star were adorned with fragments of vintage lace, leftover from other projects from other days
plus a little vintage button, all the way from france

i'm still addicted to making them and have red, green and a rich dark brown felt stashed away for making more
 far too much fun and a great success it was
and my mind is already thinking of next year.... the wheels are turning and plans are being made

the manager has requested a notebook, in which to document some things
apparently there was far too much discussion arguing about prices

we were surprisingly in agreement on all the names for things but i seriously think it's because i was so distracted with the making of all the mini-quiches

which are far too much work when you're on a deadline

yes missy, you were right and i was wrong, and it's here for all to see!

i'm a tired but happy girl
i'd even whistle a happy tune if i could
last night after massive tidying in my sewing room i looked over my list of 118 unfinished projects 
(yes, 118 - some large and some small, all un-done)

and i just couldn't decide where to begin

so i did the only thing a girl can do at a time like that

i started a crocheted scarf!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

on my work table...

thought it might be fun to show you what i'm working on as i go over the next two days...
this little guy and his brothers are the next to get crossed off my list

Friday, November 30, 2012

going dark and other such things

this post will likely be as scattered as i feel right now - the sale is less than a week away and i think i might just have to break down and make a list or two...
which would make the manager quite delighted as she is all about lists
degree of importance

you name it, she lists it
(i did put her at the top of mr. claus' lists... you guess which one...)

she's a gemini and list are part of her life

i, however, choose to be the "arteest"
(which means " i make it up as i go...")

below you'll see what i made up for the mice

for mr. and mrs. claus to be precise
seemed appropriate

so after much fiddling with the computer and paint, this is what i parked them on

probably spent far too much time on it but i like the detail it adds without being in your face

the poem is there (in part)
and they're strategically placed so you can read the most relevant parts

so much time though...
from their clothes to the hands and feet, the candy cane, glasses and hair
and furry trim

which is a story in itself - painted mohair with bits of sparkly white fibres snipped and glued on, all distressed with a fork... 
overkill maybe, but i got the look i wanted but couldn't just go out and buy

i love things where all you get are snatches of the story,
you're not given it all - have to fill in a little for yourself

and i so love the twiggy hands and feet - love!
 then this came in the mail...
and i've been tempted to lose my focus

when this sale is behind me, and the joyous festive season is over,
the decorations packed up, and memories folded away

i will be playing with this little bundle that arrived yesterday

book board

yes, it's here - all the bookboard and the beginnings of some special papers for the christmas books i'll be making

a while back i posted about my idea for a christmas card book and asked who might be interested

the list below is all those who expressed interest
i sent out emails a while back to every one except mary and kim b 
(you haven't got an email address attached to your profile so couldn't send it, but you're in if you still want to be...)
i hated the idea of leaving anyone out so decided we were all in 

here we all are:

kim b
mary walden

mary and kim - hope you are still wanting in - please email me with your email so i can send you the card sizes and my address

i can't tell you how excited i am about this project

you only have to send five cards for the group and one for me
and if you have changed your mind i understand - just let me know that you won't be sending any so i am not waiting for them

and in january, i''ll still be humming a christmas tune
whilst i think of you and how special you and this project are to me

making something that lasts

and now, in the words of jack bauer from "24"

i'm going "dark" for a week...
i likely won't get around to your blogs until next weekend, or answer emails
(which i'm slow at at the best of times!)
but i'll be thinking about you and looking forward to seeing what all of you are up to when i'm finally not up to anything at all!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

for karen....

lately my posts have been about christmassy things
not because i'm some sort of weirdo christmas fanatic

just that's what i've been working on for my sale so have not  had much of anything else to share

not a bad thing, but it gets a little tiresome, especially as we can get bombarded with it by retailers as early as mid-october

a few weeks ago i begged to be let in late to karen ruane's latest e-course

i was perfectly happy to sidle in through the back door and quietly take my seat - observing and studying to catch up with the class, getting ready to begin

 karen's "style" of work "contemporary embroidery" doesn't say the half what she does with needle and thread

we're taking old linens and lace, mixing them with new, embellishing with stitches of old, and adding new twists, all the while learning the best of the best of the disciplines of good needlework

my kind of wonderful
and then i hit my first snag...

i've not had great luck finding many vintage laces - I have a few that are working well, and was gifted with a pile of old linens which yielded several good pieces I could work with

so i sorted and washed and sorted again

 and commenced with the ironing
i love ironing
i adore it actually
it's like i'm communing with the cloth
(when i was a child my mom's friends would bring their ironing when they came for coffee and i would do it for them - yes, i'm weird - oh well...)

anyhow, the snag hit when i came upon the lovely napkin below
as i was ironing it (i iron, i don't press) i noticed how truly beautiful it was
the lace was handmade, and attached all by hand
hundreds of tiny stitches

the effort it would have taken to make this...

and while i can usually be pretty ruthless with most textiles,
knowing they can be re-invented into something new and beautiful, if someone has the vision and is willing to take the plunge, 
and that the flip side is they will languish in a drawer, in the dark, never being used, never seen, saved for "good"

 i just couldn't cut it up

so i set it aside and continued working my way through the pile...
and came upon seven more

a set of eight
too beautiful for words
and while even just one would take what i'm doing from good to stunning, i still can't cut into them

some day perhaps, but not this day

especially as i have no clue what i'm doing, and in possession of enough odd bits to manage just fine

 i've been cutting and pinning and basting away

 folding, re-pinning, and basting again

linen and cotton and silk
with a little lace

 and while karen works her perfection mostly in white
many of my linens are a creamy taupe

so i'm using muted shades of blue, grey and taupe

with a smidgen of white to spark things up

 working on an edging of french knots
first in one colour, now inlaying with a blended needle, two strands of one colour, the third is something else

tying the colours together softly, looking aged already

i'm stealing time here and there
minutes not hours
and counting down until two weeks from now when i can play with this all day

 now that i have finally made a start i'm off to the flickr group
to see what everyone else in the class is doing
i wouldn't look until i basted my first two sections as i didn't want to be influenced by what the other's were doing - i didn't want to wish i had what they have, to do what they're doing or follow someone else's path

but now - i'm ready to be inspired!

you should come to....