Thursday, January 31, 2013

every once in a while...

every so often i get a good idea

and once in a blue moon i get a great one
 (at least i think it's great...)

 do you have trouble keeping track of all those wonderful spare buttons, snaps, and bits of thread that come with so many of our clothes these days?

i always threw them in one corner of my jewellery box until it was full to overflowing and then i'd try to figure which ones i still needed and put the rest in my button box - it was NOT my favourite thing to do

and then there were the special washing instructions - yeesh
in the event of uncertainty, hand wash, hang to dry wins the day, but i have ruined a thing or two doing that when it shouldn't be done...

one day i was sauntering around the stationery store and found some lovely, colourful envelopes with string closures

i wanted them, but couldn't decide what i'd do with them.... as i stood there petting them, it came to me...

a "laundry book"

neatly bound with lovely little envelopes, just the right size to hold those pesky labels, buttons and threads

on the back side of each envelope is a paper to write the appropriate garment description on
{in pencil of course!}

i've had a hankering to resurrect my etsy shop and was thinking of things to make for it

and when i found these charming fabrics the other day i decided they might be just the perfect thing to make a laundry book or two, or three with... 

they would be just the thing to get me warmed up for all the christmas books i'm about to make

if you're in the card/book swap, there is only one more set to arrive

and in the meanwhile, i'm knee deep in laundry!

(the grand re-opening will hopefully be in about two weeks time +/-)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

a collision...

i just realized that you might be thinking of a collision of the car accident variety....

not to worry - all is safe and sound

i meant i had a collision in my head

i have a split personality when it comes to art, as do i think we all

the technician and the "arteest"

the arteest is the dreamer, the one who loves all the colours, all the stitches and runs around saying over and over again "it will be fabulous.... fabulous, dahling...."

the technician gets to figure out how to make it happen

the artist in me has been having all the fun lately, with this "frost queen" project of mine
sketching and beading and painting
cutting out pictures from magazines
scissors and paste...

this past weekend we scooted over to calgary for a quick visit with our children
and all through the mountains i felt like i had stepped into the frost queen's world

frosty, icy; blue, white and brown

snow sparkling like diamonds in the sun

trees frozen in winter's wonder

and a forest of branches, every line and limb clearly visible against the faintest blue of the sky

i was completely inspired as the miles and my brain ticked away

some things we were past before i could line up the camera
the frozen waterfalls
the creek winding back into the forest

but the images are burned into my brain

today began with every intention of letting the "arteest" continue playing in the design ledger...

but the technician stamped her foot and had a hissy fit

stitching and sketching,  doodling and painting were all very well and good, and certainly a lot of fun;
a great way to explore an idea and see where it takes you...

but i have put the cart before the horse in this class and i already know where i'm going
and before i go much farther with what i can do when i get there, i had best figure out how i am going to get there in the first place!

so the technician won the day

above is a rough sketch, but with changes already needed

what i do like is the stream, leading back to a frozen waterfall
which i think would be very cool if the icicles resembled some kind of gothic or romanesque type of architecture that could pass as her palace

i love the idea of the trees arching overhead

 i think that would have more impact if i switch her and the tree around, putting her next to the water with the trees arching above (note the arrow above her head)

although i like the idea of a lamp post, this one is just roughed in - i'll have to invent something more elaborate as i have time

and i am thinking of a cluster of starry-snowflakes in the upper left corner, balancing off with the water in the lower right

 it was always my plan this would be crazy-quilted and hang in my living room when completed

so the next step was to measure the quilt hanging there now so i would know how big this needs to be

and, it's going to be much bigger than i expected!
 i'll need to re-think how i will put this baby together...

the technician was bouncing around with glee

fabrics for the snowy forest floor
as i have limited fabric choices, and this quilt will be much bigger than i thought, it was time to get serious with the colour palette and the fabrics

so much of what i was planning to use is quite small, which resulted in some major editing and refining

fabrics for the stream
  organizing them by placement: stream, sky, ground

 the water will be icy, snowy and mostly frozen

above are the fabrics for the sky - i think it should be dark, so the frosty tree branches will stand out

with the basic palette chosen and appropriate fabrics selected we're back to making decisions about constructing the foundation

i definitely want the abstract, fractured style of crazy quilting, but this is a large scene with distinct elements and it won't be easy...

the technician is in her element and the arteest is in the corner!

Friday, January 18, 2013

making a beginning...

 the other day at work i happened to look out the window and saw this...

 beautiful pinky-blue evening sky with the tree in black.... every branch adding to the lacey effect

it was like the frost queen's forest, coming to life

this is the beginnings of my first page in my design ledger

it all started with my post card from paris

and i'm adding sketching and thread and paint

trying to figure out her world

and bring it to life

getting ideas...


it's such an interesting process and i am loving every minute of it

my usual method when designing is to start cutting and sewing right away
stitch and rip
try an idea and it works, or if it doesn't, rip it out and try again

this is kind of a new concept for me, thinking and planning and experimenting on paper
and i believe when all is said and done and she's hanging on the wall, i will be so glad of this treasure, this book

my design ledger...

a record of a journey through a beautiful world of snow and ice

Thursday, January 17, 2013

seeing red

i've been seeing and playing with red these past few days...
in late november i ordered a hand-made angel from dorthe of den lille lade blog for a christmas gift to my sister-in-law, and when the parcel arrived, these adorable little dolls were wrapped us a gift for me!

they are little danish nisse dolls and folklore has it they live in the attics and lofts and are very mischievous and disruptive....unless you ply them with rice pudding!
(rice pudding is my favourite dessert and you can bet that next christmas i will be placing a bowl of it out for these adorable little creatures!)

the detail dorthe puts into her creations is amazing and these characters are no exception, from their hats right down to their real wooden shoes

thank you so very much dorthe - i simply love them

the beautiful red and grey of the nisse dolls has inspired me to get busy and make this little table top quilt....

the fabric line is "rouenneries" by kaari meng of french general fame
and was a favourite of mine the day it hit the floor

i love the softness of the palette and the combination of the red, pink, grey, beige and cream is pretty and different

 the elegant tracery of the flowers and vines...

i could use it all year round as the fabrics aren't christmassy in way, but i think it would make a lovely and different christmas table centre

i think i'm getting addicted to making little quilts - i have one more just awaiting borders and then another that's cut but not sewn
once all three are pieced i'll quilt them all at once 
 seems i can't quite break out of my assembly line assembling technique just yet!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

are you allowed?

an age-old question we usually stop asking as soon as we're grown up

i said i wasn't going to choose a "word" for this year, but right now, this minute, this word chose me

i'm allowed...

fresh starts, making changes, not trying to change who you are, but rather, allowing yourself to be who you want to be...
there is a difference you know

are you allowed too?

i can't tell you how much i am enjoying my little allowances

making space for me

and in that purging i found much inspiration for my latest creation

"the frost queen"

i wasn't going to take "alchemy", karen ruane's latest e-course
even though she's a fabulous teacher, inspirer, motivator, and i confess, i love the sound of her voice and vocabulary
(i'm hearing words i only ever read in storybooks by english authors!)

but when i found my notes on ideas for a piece called "the frost queen", which have been lying in wait for more than six months, i decided this was the perfect time for this class

today i started gathering up all the things i could think of that made me think of this idea

over the next weeks, all these pictures will get stuck down in my ledger, and i will be working my way through design ideas using fabric, paint, sketches and stitch

i'll be thinking of what a "frost queen" would wear

what she would "paint" her world with

how all that glitters in a frosty forest is definitely not gold

the patterns frost leaves on glass and water

the hard glitter of icy icicles

the magic she creates when her wand touches branches and leaves

how she enhances delicate webs

white trees silhouetted against a dark sky

shimmery glimmers

blue and brown and white and silver
pearly, iridescent, shimmer

dark shadows to enhance the light

and ice crystals everywhere

i see her standing in the forest, queen of the winter world, beautiful in her icy coldness, generous in the sharing of her gift

she sparkles and shines and brings beauty to cold days

 i have no idea how this design will unfold... i don't want to make too many decisions too quickly... not without exploring and seeing where she leads me

i do know it will have crazy quilting - at least, for her dress...i think....

Monday, January 7, 2013

on being resolute...

true to my word i've been tidying and purging
i haven't made it in to all the corners, closets or cupboards but i have attacked a few
one of which was my works-in-progress bin

my nemesis

i really do finish lots of things... i just have this one teeny tiny little problem... 

i LOVE starting things!


case in point - above is the beginnings of my third section for the embroider, embellish, create workshop wrapping cloth

i can't resist working on it even though i already have two other sections in progress

 below is the first one i started...
 i chain stitched the heart in one empty space and did the patchwork hexagons in the other 

love, love, love

 more lazy daisy flowers and french knots in the open section next to the heart

it's nowhere near finished yet but i need to set it aside and think about what's next - i like how it's looking so far and don't want to wreck it!

when i cut out the pieces for the hexagons i added a little bit of embroidery here and there before basting it to the paper shapes
after it was appliqued down i added the french knots along the edges

it's like a little wreath...

 when i work on this i am so enthralled with the process

hate to put it down, itch to get back at it

i want everything i do to make me feel that way

 today i was working on an unfinished quilted wallhanging, still in the piecing stage but then this afternoon i finished that part and was ready to get at the applique

72 flower petals


and i realized i didn't like it at all
didn't really like the pattern, completely disliked the fabric
can't even remember why i felt so compelled to make it in the first place...

now it seemed like such a huge waste of time, a waste of spirit, when there are so many other things to be creating

wonderful, inspiring things
finger-itching-twitching things

i left the patchwork on the floor and kept coming in and looking at it
it never did get pretty
or interesting
so i pitched it

i pitched it because i knew i would never finish it... whatever spoke to me that made me want to start it had firmly shut up 

and i realized then and there that i had made a resolution for this year all

i want to seriously think about each project i begin so that i can bring the same commitment and excitement to the finishing of it as i do to the starting
i want to have only what i need for the work i want to do
i want to experience a lightness of space in my studio, with room to breathe

i want to be rid of what i want to be rid of
and finally,

i want to support other artists instead of feeling like i need to make it all myself!