Monday, October 29, 2012


working away in the sweat shop sewing room

trying to match imagery to words

and feeling like i'm back in high school
english lit to be precise

back then it was words to words - he writes this, means that....

but now that i like making things a little better than just writing about them,
 trying to interpret words with buttons, baubles and beads

 finally getting a chance to use some of the pretty things i have been squirreling away for many moons

and lamenting the lack of others
(yes, you can never have enough buttons!)

my inspiration for this came from an article in somerset's 
"handcrafted" volume 7, 2011

featuring a december advent calendar by dawn of the feathered nest

dawn's version is a 24 day advent but as i want to sell them i need them to be smaller 

 i chose the "twelve days of christmas" so now it's half the size with half the work but all the beauty
(sounds like a commercial?)

punching out my own tags, adding eyelets 'cause i love how they look
metal always makes things look interesting to me

 playing with words, yours and mine

so many good words, connotations of wonderful things
the challenge is trying to interpret them - some are very abstract to me and while i usually love a challenge, i just haven't the time right now

 the advent calendars i'm working on right now will be taking advantage of the obvious
with the hope that the obvious can still be beautiful

 when the dust settles i'll make one for myself and it will be a 24 day calendar of joy
 using more of your words, playing with them and their meanings

adding my own twist

for now, i'm having a wonderful time
a challenging, muddling, fiddly wonderful time

when i'm all done i'll show and tell!


Saturday, October 27, 2012

santas in the workshop

i really wanted to call this post 

"what do elmer fudd and john lennon have in common?"

some of the santas i have been making kind of look like one or the other
with a little albert einstein thrown in the mix
but the visuals for that are fading fast

(on another note, i wonder what those three might have to talk about, were they all thrown into one room... i'm digressing though...)

 i've been working on things for my upcoming annual sale

and at the top of the list was this santa decoration by "talented friends"

there are four santas hitched together but each one is finished a little differently

i'm making three of them: one in red, one in steely blue-grey and one in a kind of tweedy fabric
(still not sure which is my favourite, but then again, they aren't finished yet!)

the group above is in various states of completion
and since these photos have been taken i've added more hats and fur trim, twine and jingle bells

 not hair though as i ran out and there's none to be had in these here parts
so a big thank you to my dear s-i-l who saved the day and is sending me some more!

 the fellow above is the one who reminds me of john lennon

(and even a bit like that guy that played the rotten saxon king in the movie "king arthur" with clive owen... but i digress.... i can be excused though because i'm digressing about clive own...right laura??)

below is a detail shot of the fur around the feet
(i'll take some better shots tomorrow when the light is good)

when i loaded this picture on my laptop i realized the red santas were standing behind and you can just see them peeking in

i made them in all three colours for a purely selfish reason

i want one for myself and couldn't decide what colour 
so they're kind of an experiment.... a study in santa decorations
and i'll take everything i like from all three and put it together in one for me

theoretically i should end up with one i love

i need your help with another project i hope to start on tomorrow

i want to make a "12 days of christmas advent calendar"

and i was thinking that i would assign each day a word that has special meaning at christmas time
and that would give me a theme for whatever i make for the pocket

so far i've thought of

wonder (thanks again karen b. of todolwen!)
sparkle, shimmer or shine????

i'm not necessarily sold on all of these and would love to hear what you might add to this list....

also, thanks to all of you who wanted to join in on my Christmas book project

i'm happy to announce you're all in!

(i simply just couldn't leave anyone out - it would be like that awful playground stuff in a grown-up version)

(mary and kim, please email me so i can send you the info;
your profiles don't have email addresses attached)

i am so very excited about it and am looking forward to seeing all your wonderful cards - i think this will be one of the best projects i've ever embarked on!

thank you!


Friday, October 19, 2012

'ere's wot...

was watching a little of My Fair Lady on You Tube and lovin' that kind of talk

so i thought i would start this post with it
makes me 'appy, it does

this little star makes me 'appy too

 last year, when i made these for some of you - that made me 'appy too

and got me to thinking

i'd like to do something again

 something to do with books and binding

so 'ere it is...

i got a notion about making a christmas book
and thought i would call out to you
to send me a card, if you would be so kind

a christmas card
and then i could incorporate all i receive into signatures and make myself a christmas book

it would be stunning
and special

christmas cards from you to me, mixed up with all sorts of other papers and plasters and tissue collage

wouldn't i be a lucky duck?

and it could have knots and laces and button chains

and then it seemed selfish.... all that wonderfullness - and only for me?

so 'ere's wot....

i'm not sure how many books I could make before i go mental
but i'm betting it's more than you think

so i am wondering if there are some of you willing to send me 6 christmas cards
i could mix them up and put some in books for everyone

i won't get them done before christmas 'cause i've lots going on already
but january is free and clear and by march they would be in the mail
so you would have them well in time for next christmas

the cards can be handmade or storebought but keep in mind they have to go in a book so need to be "flat"

as i have no idea of what response this could get i'll just ask you to comment with a "yes" if you're interested

and in a week i'll see how many there are and figure it out from there
 maybe draw names or something, we'll see...

(the books will be small so don't fret over how many there might be - just please put your name in if you're interested - honest, i'm not crazy, and think how good i'll be at book-binding if i have lots to make!)

so there you 'ave it...

that's wot!


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

playing with paint and paper

as well as glue and thread and cheesecloth!

i had a little time this afternoon so i puttered away at my embroiderer's ledger

i have one thing left to finish for week one and then i'm ready for week two
(the group is on week four - just so you know!)


i did skip ahead though and played with the tissue collage, and last weekend i fiddled with it some more

my inspiration image has a fine grid for the background - like a loosely woven cloth
 and i wondered what happen if i sandwiched cheesecloth between the layers of tissue

magic happened, that's what

above you see the back view, which is one solid piece of tissue

below you see the front, where the tissue has been collaged in pieces

 nubby, rough texture!

the left side is cut with deckle-edged scissors and the right is as it was formed during the collage process

and below is a piece with random free-motion stitching that forms a trellis shape
perfect for something with a rose motif

 love this!

 i stitched along one edge over and over and over to "perforate" it and then tore along it - the cheesecloth made it a little tough and some trimming of thread was needed but it worked just fine

 above is the front and below is the back

for this one i stitched trailing vines with little rosebuds here and there

i think i like the back side best as it is slightly raised and makes it even more textural

 and then it was onto paint and paper
which i do not like as well, mostly because i am not good at painting

once i get going i like it fine, and practice makes a world of difference but it's still a challenge for me

so i used a little of my calligraphy strokes for some this and think i might be on to something with that

 raggedy rosebuds with a pink petal which actually looks like a pink blob but is meant to resemble a rose petal
(have you ever noticed how they are like funny hearts?)
i was trying to capture the raggedness of the rosebuds on the inspiration piece but mine look rather a mess
lost in translation....

playing with the scrolling designs and fiddling with the heart again
this time i drew one side, from centre around and down
flipped the page around and did the same stroke again, slightly offsetting it

not sure about that either but it may have merit

 random ideas on the page

 the design has several of these three leaf clusters

 i enjoyed shading it with the paint and will go back in with thread and more detail

 above is a sketch of the "cheeseclothy" background 

and more leaves, more swirls

the image i selected wasn't a particularly great one to have chosen
shapes and design in it are subtle rather than obvious and i have to look at it very analytically 

but then i remembered something an embroidery teacher of mine told me once

"it's when you're really struggling, when you're having to think very hard, and it's getting completely frustrating, that's when you learn the most..."

i think of those words every time i want to throw in the towel on something and then i'm ready to keep on

but i still really wish i hadn't painted this rosebud so close to that pink blob-petal!


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Finishing Up

too funny - the post title is "finishing up" and the first picture is of something not completed...

that's me, a contradiction in terms


this is the beginning of my first block of the "jane becomes jillayne" quilt
the colour here is awful - in real life it's a beautiful greyed plum...pretty, pretty, pretty...

although there are those who will think "bleah"

but i laugh in the face of all you pretty-lovers -  it's my quilt and greyed it will be!


 what's finished is the binder
a little bit of patchwork, a little bit of lace and a little bit of embroidery
a little bit of all my favourite things
(this post could also have been called "little bitty" but Alan Jackson beat me to it!)

i faux-stitched the edge of the spine cover... in book binding the front and back covers are applied separately and the spine cover is added last - it's what "glues" it all together... so i fused interfacing to the wrong side and then blanket stitched along the edges and then glued (yes glued!) it on 

 i added pockets to the inside front and back covers to hold rulers etc.
simple, simple - folded in half, pinked the edges and sewed it on - when I get ambitious enough i'll blanket stitch the top edge to add durability

 lace hides the crummy job i did of cutting and gluing in the front inside cover pieces... 

"measure four times, cut/glue once'

 should be my mantra but it seems it's
"fly by the seat of your pants and hope for the best"!

i wonder if i'll ever learn?

and on the topic of wonder...

these past weeks i have been wondering when i could safely quit wearing waterproof mascara... and i am happy to say yesterday was the day!

i am so appreciative of all of your kind and thoughtful comments on my bozzy posts 
 they have comforted and enlightened me 

 the best path through grief is the one that is wide enough for your friends to accompany you from time to time along the way

thank you!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


surprising what one little word can do
when you put it in your head and try to focus on it

even though i have been sick with a terrible cold, i have had a pretty wonder-full week

thanksgiving with the kids
made my first vegan thanksgiving dinner, complete with pumpkin pie and whip cream
(both kids are vegan now so we honoured their choice with a dinner we could all share and enjoy)

did the 10k at the kelowna marathon
(walk, not run!)

and had some time to play with my embroiderer's ledger

i'm hopelessly behind but am so loving this course

we just did tissue collage with embroidery and i can tell you this alone is worth the whole course fee

my new favourite technique!

this has had some free motion stitching done to it and is now awaiting the hand embroidery
(the design of which i am still pondering)

 because my inspiration paper has tiny rosebuds on it i am going to incorporate hearts into the mix

and i love these scrolling designs

 loops and swirls and lots of places to add hand stitching

these will get cut/torn apart eventually and attached to my ledger

 below you can see my first page...
inspiration paper
colour matching with paint
colour matching with coloured pencils
colour matching with thread

 next i will do more painting and then play with stitch ideas, first on paper and then on cloth

 i love the "woven" background texture and the delicate foliage, both of which i hope to interpret in hand embroidery

i've already done some with the machine...
 and i need to minimize the effect of the holes in the leaves, created where ever i had to backtrack

not a big deal but bothersome enough i want to try to do something about them

 i love these little three petaled designs

 trying out a "border-design"

this "fragment" is ready for embellishment - loving the organic shape of it

i'm already thinking of playing with this technique for my october "wonder"  heart,
and the colours will come from this rock

when we buried bozzy, all the rocks in the soil we dug were smooth round whitish grey ones - piles of them, but as i was scooping out the last bit i noticed a dark lump that was completely different than all the others

i brushed off the dirt and was surprised to find this - ragged, irregular, a golden colour with shots of rust and a bit of black
when i washed it off i was surprised to see how sparkly it was - the prettiest rock i've ever seen
....and so odd compared to all the others
it seemed fitting, seemed like him
so i kept it and now it sits on my work table

inspiring me in all sorts of wondrous ways