Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Gift of a Quilt

quilter's often gift quilts to family and friends, 

usually to mark some occasion or another

but sometimes the quilt gives the maker a gift...


a few weeks ago I finally had an extra day off so I did what most of us do on days like that ... 
errands and appointments

mine was a doctor's appointment with a planned stop after at a local fabric shop to pick up some upholstery fabric

a day that started as a normal day and mid-way through, took a sharp right turn when my doctor found a lump during my routine exam

 and so began a whirlwind of appointments for mammograms and ultrasounds in a distant city

of course, none could be right away so there would be time to think
time to wonder and time to worry

I'm not one to borrow trouble and so I tried very hard to only think good thoughts...
 because most lumps are harmless cysts - 

except I know that isn't always how the story goes,
and I know that some of you didn't get the "sigh of relief" results that make you realize you have been holding your breath for two weeks...

and I hoped for that story so much I could barely think about it

and thankfully that is what I got...
after a very thorough going over, I was told I had four harmless cysts

so lucky, and so very grateful!

these quilt blocks my story is intertwined with are part of a Christmas wallhanging I am working on

after the doctor's appointment was over, that first day, I stopped for the fabric anyway - it was the last day of the sale and because the chair I am recovering belongs to someone else, I had to get it...

all the while reeling inside...

while standing at the checkout, I saw this quilt pattern and picked it up to look closer
I remember quite clearly thinking it would stupid to buy it - not only do I have 97 unfinished projects waiting at home, but also a great stack of books, patterns and fabrics waiting for their day in the sun...

the last thing I should be thinking about now is buying more, especially when I might...

I bought the pattern, picked out the fabrics that afternoon, and began

every night I worked on it - it was something new, and I wasn't getting all silly about having to finish things, I was doing what I always do, stitching and thinking,
"should I sell it in this year's sale, or keep it for myself?" 
"it's so much work and will be too big for the sale - maybe I should make runners out the present blocks and a wall-hanging out of the rest?"

the kind of questions that run through my head with everything I make

this quilt gave me the gift of feeling normal when my world seemed upside down
it helped me focus on good thoughts and not dwell on bad ones
it gave me something to focus on when my mind threatened to wander

and with each of the twelve present blocks I thought of all the great gifts of life

Sunday, February 19, 2012


I don't usually name my creations but if I were to name this one it would be "Frothy"

that's all I can think of when I look at this little book, from the torn paper pages to the rough-edge plaster pages

 from the knotted heart to the lace edging,
it's pure froth

this book is the culmination of the many courses I've taken, both book-binding and otherwise....
from Carolle who taught the very proper way of doing most everything that had anything to do with making fine books


to Stephanie who taught plaster pages and button strings

to Carole who had us painting watercolour paper and tearing it (no scissors allowed!)

to MaryAnn who showed me that there is no need to make the signature papers the same size
and who introduced the idea of combining all types of papers

and countless others who inspired me through their art that had nothing to do with books

the beautiful heart-shaped bead in the centre spine was the indirect result of my jewelery class with Carolyn

the fabric knot idea came to me during one of Christy's classes when I saw her crumpling book paper

and next will be all the painting, writing and drawing on  the inside....


I have learned so much from all the courses I have taken over the years and the most amazing thing about them is how they have inspired me in ways other than the subject at hand

how cool is that!?!

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Valentine For You

Valentine's day was always one of my favourites

 from cinnamon heart candies that always came in the little red heart-shaped plastic container, to the paper valenitines you punched out of an activity book (remember making the envelopes?)

heart shaped cookies, and heart shaped cakes

heart shaped ornaments and sachets
pretty in pale colours with a little stitching

a grown-up valentine

a special heart for all you lovers of anything and everything French

the pattern I used calls them pincushions...
I made them smaller, and I think they are the perfect size to fill with lavender and tuck in a drawer

or add a loop and hang on a tree
or a drawer knob

the beauty of the pattern is that you start with a square of fabric 
and at the end, you have two hearts

maybe one for you and one for a friend?

I kept it simple - all light fabrics and threads; cream and ivory coupled with icy palest blue
(i never seem to tire of this combination!)

a little woven ribbon bow and two heart charms

these are addictive little creations
if you would like to try your hand you can find the pattern here

I made mine smaller - I think I started with an 8" square, and did crazy quilting, but any technique would be wonderful...and instead of sewing ties I just used ribbon

and a Happy Valentine's day wish for all of you...

"My love for you is immortal
as the rocks upon the hill
And though the winds may blow
My love is steadfast still."

I wrote that when I was 13, probably having read far too much English Literature centered around struggling love in stormy mansions... I never added to it although at one time I thought it could perhaps be an epic love poem and my life's masterwork
(don't you just love the grand illusions and ideas of youth?!)

the older I get the more I like it just as it is... the stormy part is there, as is the concept of endurance
and the ideal that true love can go on forever

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Oh, Not Again!

I love trying new techniques... it's that old curiosity thing again...

and I love it even more when I after trying something new, I realize that although it's cool to know how to do it, I don't really want it for a hobby... soap and paper making were like that, as was basket weaving and needle felting... 

not the case with my latest endeavour

a week or so ago I took a beginner course on making jewelery
and since then I have been in hot pursuit of beads, baubles and trinkets and anything that says "bling"

so much fun

 now my work table looks like this

and I am trying to figure out storage for all this "stuff"

 working with wire like this was not part of the course but I wanted to fiddle with it 

 I do love stacking up beads and caps and such on head pins and eye pins

and playing with different combinations

the whole thing seemed completely peculiar to me at first as I really wear very little jewelery... I love it, but every time I put it on I think I look ridiculous... 
like I've been mucking about in my mother's jewelry box again

and then I realized beads and baubles on wires and things could decorate lots of things besides myself

this looks kind of goofy in the picture but in real life it looks quite pretty... strange how the camera does that...

anyhow, it seems I have a new hobby,
and I'm looking at beads and baubles everywhere, and books and magazines...

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Going's On

going's on...

that was always a favourite expression of my Grandmother's and it stuck with me...whenever I have lots of things happening in my sewing room it comes to mind

and there is lots going on these days - at least, there are lots of things started!

remember a few posts back - the evolution of an idea?

you were all so intrigued so I thought I should show you where I'm at now....

the inspiration fabric made me think of writing, which made me think of writing letters, which made me think of how I didn't write as many as I would have liked, which made me think of how I sent some postcards from France when we were there (but they don't really count as a letter), which made me think of the postcard graphic from the Graphics Fairy

which made me think of a set of stamps I bought from Etsy a long time ago that had a Paris postmark stamp and a cancelled one

which made me think of making postcards from Paris,  which made me want to send some (but as I won't be back there for a long time, it makes that idea a wee bit difficult)

which made me think I could make some anyway, but what to do with them?,

which made me think wouldn't they be a fun invitation for my sale this year?

a postcard collage with images of Paris, painted and stamped to look old and shabby, with a heart made of little knots of fabric

 I still need to put the eyelet in the corner so I can string through a ribbon ... and then figure out what I will write on the back, but that will be a whole 'nother thought process!

thanks to everyone who commented for the fabric giveaway...

the winner is commenter #3

send me your address Suzy and I will mail it off to you!

and speaking of mail - I have three Wishing Stars left to finish and then I will be sending them out to all of you who gave me a word last year. 
I'll be emailing you in the next few days to get your address info.

your words were all beautiful and stitching them gave me time to think about each one and what it means to me - I'd say it's a fair exchange.

and speaking of words, I have finally chosen my word for February... there couldn't be a word in the whole of the English language more appropriate for me right now than

stay tuned