Sunday, February 24, 2013

silk and paper fusion

silk is such an amazingly beautiful thing

i still remember the first piece of silk I ever owned
palest pink silk dupionni
i still have fragments of that cloth and use it ever more sparingly as it dwindles away
over the years i have gathered a few others, never sure what i will do with them but always knowing they will be part of something magical
(magical to me anyway...)

in my alchemy course, with karen, we have learned how to combine silk fabric and paper to make something sublime

i chose a dark blue silk and hand made paper in a mottled blue and pink with marbling in black and gold

cotton, rayon and metallic threads

free motionembroidery

layering, stitching, tearing

this piece is in dire need of stretching and once i get that done i will go back and do more embellishing by hand

 i have no idea what yet but i am sure it will involve glittery threads

and perhaps some icy snowflakes or stars

this was so much fun to do
 i am already dreaming up other colour combinations, other practical uses

practical uses?
that almost seems like an oxymoron - art can be practical????

yes, yes, i think so.... i think this would be a fabulous technique to play with for my christmas books for the swap...

i can just see a starry night page, or an icy, snowy one
green with holly and the ivy
or deep red with poinsettias

 i would get to play with what i recently learned, exploring a new technique to my heart's content,
and all the while i will actually be working on something on my "to do" list

practical indeed!

and speaking of the christmas books,
below are cards sent by diane from diane hobbit

diane is a quilter and textile artist who lives in the uk 
diane inspires me with all she does, and her travels - i think she is the ultimate "busy woman"!

there's one more card she sent that i set aside for my book.... just not quite sure where that pile is at this exact moment - yeesh

so there you have it.... all the cards sent and swapped and now the rest is up to me

for the next few weeks i can be found in my sewing room, happily playing with silk and paper and thread...

Monday, February 18, 2013

making the numbers work....

back again with the rest of the cards for my book/card swap....

the next ones to show were made by freda from sew what's new blog

freda took part in a swap i did long ago and since then has been a big source of inspiration for me... her crazy-quilting is beyond compare, as well as just about everything she puts her hands to

her cards are the picture of elegance and timeless beauty!

next up are a selection of cards sent by mags from the french bear
some day her and i are going to meet up at "out of hand" in calgary and get into all sorts of trouble....

mags was the only one to send in recycled cards and i am so glad she did-
the idea for the christmas card books came to me when i couldn't bring myself to throw away cards i had received from friends 
i decided i would save enough to bind into a book.... i think this would be a fabulous way to preserve those memories and so mags' contribution is at the root of what this is all about

the little tree cards you see below are from wendy at the crafter's apprentice
 this gal will try just about anything creative and i have loved following her adventures and mis-adventures - she is a true enthusiast and a delight - and when i get to england in the fall, i'll be bringing her some fabric and a walking foot if she hasn't already got one - i do love aiding and abetting!

(when i first started following wendy she was aghast at how many works-in-progress i had; we had a good laugh not long ago about how many she has accumulated since then!)

wendy's cards are the brightest, sparkliest, most shimmery ever and just pure fun

the next ones to show are by karen at todolwen blog

karen put an unbelievable amount of time, effort and thought into her cards and they are the epitome of glittery, snowy magic

and there is a marvelous surprise inside of each!

karen also sent along some beautiful paper snowflake doilies that I will use to enhance some of the papers that will go into your books - stay tuned for sneak peeks....

 the next cards are made by susan from suztats blog

susan paints and tats and is also an amazing crazy quilter and she gave me my challenge for these books... her cards are cabinet style, rather than folded so i am thinking up ideas for how to bind them in - not a problem at all, but another way to add another dimension and interest to the binding process - i did do something similar when i made a book that incorporated plaster pages so this isn't new to me, but i want to try out some new techniques....

 these last cards are from shane at roses, lace and brocante blog

each of shane's cards features a different image, all delightful
bits of lace, a hit of colour here and there and you have something magical

simply charming

shane's cards really aren't the last... i realized as i loaded these i hadn't taken pictures of diane's from diane hobbit
 (i will only say i was hopelessly distracted when i was taking all the pictures but will get it together tomorrow in the daylight)

after all the picture taking i did the swapping of the cards and what fun that was - i wish you could have seen it.... here's how it went....

as each person's cards arrived they were assigned a number

on swap day all the cards were laid out, on top of the envelope they were sent in, in the order they were received

from each set i chose my card - some were addressed to me, making it easy to know which was mine... when there wasn't one specifically designated for me i had to choose
(not as easy or as fun as it might seem!)

for the number of cards a person sent for swapping, i put their # that many times in a hat
(marj's were the first received; five were for swapping so i wrote #1 on five slips of paper and put them into the hat... susan sent 4 for swapping so four #12s.... sherry sent 5 so five #3s.... and so on)

as marj was #1, the first slip out was for her... it was #11 so she got the first card off karen's pile

and so on.... if i drew a person's own number i set it to the side and drew again, if i drew a number for a card they already had, i set it aside and drew again, drawing until i came to one they didn't yet have and so on, around and around until the last card was assigned

yes i got mixed up

yes i called in the auditor general

yes i did a confirmation check when there were ten slips left and everything being drawn was "7" 
(seems i wrote the 7s twice!)

yes it took a while

and yes, it was most definitely fun!!


Sunday, February 17, 2013

card book swap hop

couldn't resist that blog title, even if it doesn't make a whole lot of sense...

but i'm finally ready to start posting about the christmas card book swap i am doing with some of my blogging friends

and as i am adding links for those participants that have blogs of their own, i hope you'll hop on over to visit them too

today i am showing the cards i received from the first seven participants and tomorrow's post will feature the last seven, all in the order they were received....

this first lot is from my good friend marj

she is a wonderful friend and champion of mine, a heart of gold and a true inspiration
she hasn't a blog but is a regular reader and commenter here, and her insights are always most welcome

 the beautiful and elegant cards with the lacey doves are from sherry at creatology

i had the privilege of meeting sherry and her charming husband mr.c this past summer, complete with a tour of sherry's studio
she says she hasn't found her true artistic passion... i am pretty sure it's somewhere in the making of beauty and elegance in everything she does....

the cards above are the most adorable, cheery, full of christmas imagery cards that hearken back to the christmases of my childhood and were sent by deb of mosaic magpie blog

when i first posted about this card/book swap deb's response was "whatever you're up to, i'm in"

music to my ears and i have an idea if we lived closer, we'd be up to and in to a whole lot of trouble....
(when we go on our "one lap of the usa tour" deb is one blogger i'll definitely be looking up - i have an idea we are more than kindred spirits...

these adorable cards were handcrafted by stacie at squirrelly duck

stacie found me long ago - she is a painter, beader, photographer and thinker extraordinaire who quietly comes - someone i would definitely like to know better

 the cards above are from lynn... lynn also doesn't have a blog of her own, but she leaves me some of the most beautiful and heartfelt comments i have ever received on this blog and when she said she was in on this swap i was so delighted

each of lynn's cards has a different image, and the ones with the young girl's are simply delightful!

these cards were crafted by mary
mary also doesn't have a blog but often visits and also leaves beautiful inspiring comments here for me - her cards are a charming reminder of years gone by, each featuring a different image

the cards above were sent by tanya at bead and needle
my photograph does not do them justice - they are so cute and cheery and full of life and colour, just like tanya

i have an idea tanya would be a barrel of fun to meet up with and someday i hope to get the chance

so there you have the first seven, and i can assure the next lot are equally as stunning - stay tuned tomorrow for part two....

i did the swap of the cards today, and that was quite a procedure i can tell you!
 i won't be showing who got who's, you'll have to wait for your book for that, but i will make sure to include the info when i send your books to you
and now i'm gathering together all manner of papers and bits and pieces and am all ready to get busy making wonderful little christmas books - too much fun!

Friday, February 8, 2013

ode to the needle


the japanese tradition of honouring broken needles
all over japan, and indeed the whole world, many women will gather together their broken needles and lay them to rest in a simple ceremony
some at shrines or buddhist temples, some in backyards, parks, forests

we find our shrines where we need to, i think

i haven't yet decided where i will place mine...

below is a needle case i designed to teach at the needle arts guild in whitehorse many years ago

silk threads on linen in counted thread embroidery

it's my "fancy-dress" needle case
 inside is wool felt to keep the needles sharp

and on the back is a charming poem i found in an old needlework book
(the author was not credited)
those four lines have become my mantra over the years....
below is the very first sewing case i made

it was on the cover of a needlework magazine down at our local bookstore and i was instantly drawn to it - that was the first needlework magazine i ever bought!
i spent a lot of time trying to find the linen
and even longer making it

 i use this every single day when i am at home but it doesn't travel with me as i am so terrified of losing it

i made it in 1989
and thank goodness i did find that linen or it would have been long worn out by now!

i loved it so much i designed my own version for my class project when i took my teaching course through The Embroiderer's Guild of America

i loved counted thread embroidery

and hearts were very popular in cross-stitch back then
this one is worked on cotton fabric with flower thread and so it goes in my travel case as it wouldn't get much wear and tear
i just noticed the thread fluff in the photo but don't have time to re-take it!

i found a different version of the poem that was featured in the first case

and below is a beautiful case made for me by a lady i work with
she knows how much i love crazy-quilting

beautifully stitched with a special place for many needles

and plenty of space to store the bent and broken ones!

i have always said that whenever i pick up my needle
the world seems to float away
and i am lost in the rhythm of the stitch
 the glint of needle

i do love this little poem
and recite it often in my head
and the other one that comes to mind?

"i pray that risen from the dead
i may in glory stand
a halo perhaps upon my head
but a needle in my hand"

 susan from "plays with needles" blog is hosting a link up event so please head over there to check out all the different blog posts about the ever wonderful, ever giving needle!