Tuesday, September 18, 2012

opening lines

i've been reading a lot lately
good books, very good books

the kind that grab you right from the very first words, not the kind that go in one eye and out the other

this book was my big summer read

lent to me by my brother who heads up a cancer research team in san francisco

what a book

 sure, it's opening isn't as likely to be recited as

"i had a farm in africa, at the foot of the ngong hills..."
" it is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife"
nor even
"christmas won't be christmas without any presents!"

but it is one of the best books i have ever read

taking you from the earliest records and treatments, to the latest drug therapies, all through the terrible history of this disease, reciting the darkest days and illuminating the brightest achievements

it's a testament to both the tenacity of the disease, and those who try to understand and treat it

i don't think i have ever been more humbled 

nor wished more to do something of use and value

in these days after bozzy's passing, life and living and death and dying have been a big part of my thoughts

more and more i'm thinking about my own story
and what i want it to be

in amongst all the "i wish i did"s and "i really should"s i know that at the end of the day,
the best story is the simplest one

"once upon a time, in the far north when the days were getting longer and the world began to wake up after it's long winter's sleep, a little girl was born

and she lived happily ever after."


Monday, September 17, 2012

and so it goes...

seems i can't quite escape thoughts of kitty cats these days

when i was cutting out the cat for this hallowe'en garland i almost cut the ears rounded and stumpy
but this is a black cat on an orange background, not an orange cat on a black one...
maybe a project for another day

this project has been in my head for a while now so it was time to get it out
"put to fabric" ... as it were

when i made the "fa la la" garland, i knew i wanted to do a hallowe'en one
and shopping in the garden centre last week gave me the perfect word


they had the cutest little wooden blocks with the letters for "spooky" on them
but i'm on budgetary restraints these days
saving for a trip
and so they stayed behind

at home, the graph paper and tracing paper came out
and the eraser (very big eraser!)
and a few hours later i had created my own spooky letters

and a bat

i braided some twine for the pennants (which you can't see, but it's stunning, i assure you... really, it is just stunning!) 

and then in between each i sewed on antique buttons

i don't often make things for me, but this is a keeper

and now that that idea is finally finished with i can catch a breath
.... but then i did find some really cool lace down at the fabric shop
and some pretty rhinestone trim
and another one with sequins and beads in a pretty taupe....
and so it goes...


Monday, September 10, 2012

jane becomes jillayne

i've been feeling at a bit of a loose end these days, easily distracted
so today i parked myself in my sewing room and decided to work on something that's been nagging at me for a while

in august of 1991 we found ourselves in bennington, vermont and one of the things we did while we were there was go to the museum
where i saw the jane a. stickle quilt
i was in the early days of my quilting journey and i was dumbfounded by her quilt

many years later i began to hear people talking about the "dear jane" quilt and eventually i realized they were talking about the quilt i had seen all those years ago
all i really remembered about it was that it was not a very big quilt but had about a million little pieces of fabric in it!

then i saw this book and the next thing i knew i was joining a group that were making their own versions of jane's quilt

but i must admit, i was struggling with the whole idea
firstly, because i'm so stinking busy and the last thing i need to do is start on something else
and secondly, because if i was truthful, i really didn't like the quilt all that much - too busy for my taste, with all those 4" blocks

 so i've been mulling it over and while i was doing that i found some beautiful, softly shaded, yarn-dyed fabrics that i fell in love with
and in no time i at all, i decided they would be the perfect fabrics for my own jane quilt

and in even less time i decided that i would use linen for the background fabric (which should be really interesting to work with!)
and that because of my love of needlework and samplers and such, i would incorporate period-appropriate needlework into my design
and finally,  i wouldn't make all the blocks, only the ones i really liked and i would change the layout to make it less busy and allow space for said needlework

and then i lost my way

 the linen i was able to get was too creamy for my yarn-dyed fabrics and then i remembered a tablerunner i had made for my mom out of some different old-looking fabrics
so i rooted around, found the left-overs and went off on a new colour scheme, finding all sorts of pretty fabrics that would work, some embroidery thread and was ready to begin

except i just couldn't get excited about it, and so it all sat

yesterday i thought i would get a binder organized for the project - i wanted to cut the book apart and put it in a binder so i could easily trace and make the templates i would need (yep, i'm hand-piecing it)

the only binder i could find was hideously ugly so i decided i would recover it but when i took the plastic cover off, it all fell apart

so now i am covering it as if i was making a book from scratch
i'm using a lovely worn piece of hemp fabric and decided to pull out the yarn-dyed fabrics and use them to embellish the cover

and then i was happy
and i realized the only reason i deviated from my original plan for the quilt was because of the linen I chose for the background fabric

 into my suitcase of beautiful old linens i went,  and decided there were some that would work just fine for the background fabric,
and go perfectly with the yarn-dyes

in just a few minutes more i found a whole range of fabrics that would work for the blocks

and swapped out the embroidery thread for new colours in silk, linen and cotton threads

i probably won't use them all, but the colours will inspire me and i like having lots of choice!

soft colours and brighter ones
much, much better

and so with that all sorted out, back to the cover i went....

 simple french knots around the hexagons add even more texture

 and pretty lazy-daisies

this binder i am making will hold all the book pages plus i'll make pockets on the inside covers to hold the rulers

and just so i don't lose my way again i will spend the rest of this week working on some design pages with needlework notes and fabric swatches, sketches and ideas as they come to me

 i already know the name of my quilt - it's also the post title

"jane becomes jillayne"

i want this quilt of mine to be a reflection of both jane that first drafted all these little blocks and carefully stitched them all together,
and me, with my style and my interests

her block designs, with the needlework and sampler stitches that were my first love

 it's also a fitting name because
my name was made up from jill and jayne

 at least, that's the plan today

stay tuned....


Thursday, September 6, 2012

sleep baby, sleep

thank you so much, all of you, for your good wishes and kind comments for bozzy

he's off now, on a new adventure, lighting campfires in the sky

boswell b. jones
september 1, 1996 -  september 6, 2012

(we rescued him from a shelter so we named him for the street he was found on - boswell crescent, whitehorse, yukon. 
the b. jones is because all my pets when i was a child had multiple names and this is my version of a john doe)

also known as:
bozzy boo
ralph the talking cat
b-swizzle the nizzle fo shizzle

 we loved him well

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

scattered thoughts from a cluttered mind

today, that could read
"cluttered thoughts from a scattered mind" just as easily

there are probably ten posts rattling around my head today, hence the above
i need to get some of it out

i finished the garland i showed a while back but will have to show it to you in sections...
my photography skills being what they are


this was fun to do and didn't take long


raw edge, straight stitch applique
with raw edge ruffles sewn on top
pretty bead bangles at each point

and bows in between to pretty it up
watch for some shabby, lacey versions, whimsical ones and perhaps even a hallowe'en one in the weeks ahead
quick and easy to make, the sky's the limit for ideas

the rest of what i have been pondering this past week has to do with this little guy
bozzy is sick
and he won't get better

and i am heart-broken

he has more character is his little body than all of the pets i have ever had
the day we found out just how sick he really is there was only one thing to do
he loves his fires and as there was a campfire ban, we lit it one inside
glad it wasn't a blistering hot day,  but we would have lit it anyway

 a triple decker fire
he loves his pillows; sometimes he sits on them...

and sometimes he sits under them

they have been invaluable for moving him around and giving him comfy places to view his dominion

"complete and absolute ownership" is the dictionary definition of dominion which
 suits him to a tee - nobody owns their corner like bozzy the great protector
guardian against big black dogs
fearful of nothing
the bravest little soul

i've been thinking a lot about life and love and sorrow and dying these days

and i believe the only thing that comes close to the human capacity for love is the human capacity for tears

and that love and sorrow and love again are the true circle of life

emotions are not to be run from but to be acknowledged, felt, lived 
and while we don't always need to be comforted for what we feel
we do need to be allowed to feel it

and so my word for september is "sorrow"

inspirational words don't always have to be evocative of what we should aspire to
sometimes they need to be about what we live through
"... who has lived the most is not the one with the most years but the one with the richest experiences."
- jacques-yves cousteau