Monday, July 29, 2013

how do you dine...

 in the summertime?

it's hot here, in salmon arm, b.c.

day after day, hot and sunny - lovely weather really but oh so hot in the kitchen...

tonight we feasted on fresh corn, potatoes, asparagus and yellow beans

that's it, that's all

and it was oh so good

fresh raspberries for dessert

it was the kind of meal we used to have when visiting marc's family in ontario in august

those hot, sultry ontario days... dinner was simple, corn and fresh homemade bread

sometimes granny's potato salad - sometimes not

often just the corn and the bread

when i was a child visiting my own grandparents in prince george, summer dinners were swiss chard, new potatoes and barbecued pork-chops, my grandmother and i picking the swiss chard just around 5:00 p.m.

with stewed raspberries and vanilla ice cream for after

always, always... always, and i thought, forever

last week i picked my own raspberries

for the very first time

and played with photographing them

fiddling with a piece of white poster-board, trying to get the right look

i swear i could have painted them faster

i love the irregularity of summer meals, the freedom

 the ease and simpleness of it

letting one thing shine...

what's your favourite?

Sunday, July 28, 2013

a few steps this way, a turn...

a change...

art imitates life

you think you need to go one way and then you realize you either don't, can't or shouldn't
so you try another 
and another

that's what happened with the square below

wanting texture without colour but unable to decide exactly how to go about it
so i did a little of the same thing a lot

art imitating life again

this piece is still a struggle for me - it has no direction, no focus, it just is

but i am past worrying about it - everyday i pick up my needle and stitch whatever strikes me first

another flower appeared, even bigger than the last, and now i like it the best

i have a hankering to make a really big one, but then i think it will make me want to remove the really small ones

which i can do

if i want - i can, but i like them and i really don't want to remove them... they just might not be the right thing though, right here, right now

 that's one of the beauties of hand embroidery - it's very easy to undo something

a snip and a pull and it's all gone away...

and speaking of going away - these books will be heading out soon

i finally finished all the christmas card books i have been making for blogging friends who decided to take part in my card-book swap

 this is just five of the fourteen i have made

 it would have been fun to stack them all together into one big pile but i would never have figured out which was whose afterwards...

 so i took five, made written and mental notes

and then stacked them up and took some pictures

fun to make them, though a definite challenge to keep it all straight 

stacks and piles of papers and fabrics and cards and buttons

i just made sure i always kept all the parts on the corresponding envelope, laid out all around the room

now i think i shall miss the envelopes as much as the books - they were like a lifeline, keeping me organized, bringing order to chaos

funny what we can get attached to huh?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

controlled chaos

sometimes things take me a long time to sort out

other times it's bing, bang, boom
(just like the song)

take for instance, this blog post title

"controlled chaos"

as i was signing in i was wondering what i would call this one... what would be relevant for the thoughts tumbling in my head that i want to put to paper (as it were)

and as i was moving the picture you see first from where it loaded farther down, i was thinking "control c" is the copy command

and "controlled chaos" jumped in and pushed that thought out

and just like that, a post title was born

these scraps of fabric are their own brand of controlled chaos

they're the irregular strips i got from trying to get the fabrics i wanted to use for my woven base on the straight of grain

i was going to throw them away but i liked the way they curled around, and the frayed raw edges - so i saved them and now i am using them to make flowers

 the littlest one above was made using only the loose threads - i twisted them together and coiled them around and around, tacking them down as i went with matching sewing thread

the middle-sized one was made by twisting the strips of fabric and then coiling and tacking them

the largest of all was done by smooshing the strips together, kind of pushing it back and forth and tacking down until a roundish shape emerged

i like the big one best but i have another idea for an even bigger one to try later tonight

 the picture above shows simple straight stitching across the top edge, and vertical straight stitches evenly spaced along the edge where the lace and linen join - more to come in this area

i just don't know what yet

it hasn't come to me and i know from past experience i can't force an idea

so far so good though, and it feels good to be doing someting

a while back, I was thinking about lists and how i apparently have a lot to learn about how to use them so the items listed actually get done

lists and plans

i have been thinking about that a lot lately - in fact i bought my very first e-book

the title had me at "manage your day-to-day"
but the rest of it was pretty good too..."build your routine, find your focus"

i am enjoying it very much, so many good ideas

but before i sat down willy-nilly and made a list of what i want to do, and when i want to do it,

 i decided to go through my days consciously thinking about what i wanted to do at an particular moment, and whether or not this was actually the best time for me to be doing it

in other words, when i stumble downstairs in the morning to check my email and read the news, is that really the best time for me to be doing that, or would my early morning be better spent doing something else?

this calender you see pictured here was purchased more than a year ago

it's like a calendar sketch book - very cool

so cool in fact, i was afraid to use it as i wasn't sure how to make the best, most inspired use of it

 what i really like about it (besides it being brown) is that it's a calendar that has one week on each page

 with an extra box below each day

at least that's how i see it

and it's my intention to plan my artistic endeavours for each day in those extra boxes

 i have tried so many different ways of organizing my time and art, but nothing works, or at least, nothing works in general terms all of the time

if i say "i'm going to sketch and paint every thursday", what happens when i suddenly find myself working, or wanting to go somewhere? 

no sketching or painting for a week then?

it's not like i'm inflexible, but if i'm going to make a plan, i'd kind of like to make one i can actually stick to

 and although it might be obvious to everyone else, it never was to me...

 my plan needs to be flexible with me

so now i'm making a list of what i want to do each week, what i want to block off specific amounts of time for, and then i'll sit down with my splendid-old-new-brown-double-decker-days-of-the-week calendar and map it out

i'm thinking my lists need a plan, and from the plans i can make the lists

and maybe the chaos of my days will finally have a little structure and order to them...

for whatever reason, that somehow seems to have become important to me now

Sunday, July 21, 2013

quilts first....

art second...

that was the feeling of the quilt show in sisters

i'm not saying quilts aren't art, nor am i saying that the quilts displayed weren't stunning, nor creative, nor innovative

i'm just saying that thinking about quilts as art wasn't as important as quilts just being quilts

 it's kind of fitting; they started that way, after all

warmth, weight, comfort, coziness



(i love, love, love making up my own words!)

 and as we wandered around looking at them, in all their differences and all their the samenesses

i could sense the wheels were turning

brother and sister, looking at quilts...

it was only natural their thoughts would turn to their mother's quilts

 iva made quilts for each of them, and also for each of her grandchildren

beautiful simple quilts, made with remnants and scraps - the good bits of old clothes and curtains

quilts with memories, made from love

 fabrics from play-clothes

and precious bits bought on purpose...

strawberry shortcake for a little girl's quilt - the only little girl...

and one with little shoes for a boy

and one of flannel just given back to a child (my nephew) in preparation for his child-to-come

quilts live on

if they're loved well enough

 we walked, we looked, we talked and we pondered

and we wondered... next year, we should put in some of her quilts -  

iva, granny


she taught me how to make templates, how to hand-piece and how to hand quilt

i remember it still, at the dining room table, talking about it and drafting the pattern templates from a popsicle box 
(i still have those pieces, even after all these years)

and in the six weeks of her visit i made a doll quilt for my daughter - hand pieced and hand quilted

with horrid, ugly white bias binding which looked awful

but she told me it wouldn't matter, i could make my own next time, in whatever colour i wanted - for now it just mattered that i learn how to put it on, while she was there

 and she was right, of course

now i can take all the time in the world to search out just the right fabric for just right binding

then, it was a matter of learning what i could while she was able to teach me

and she taught me well i think - to this day i do love quilting more than anything else

 and next year, maybe

we'll walk these streets in search of her quilts, hanging here, in the greatest outdoor quilt show on earth

where quilts are quilts

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

sisters' quilt show - a lesson in colour - part one

hot, sunny, and a gentle breeze

the town of sisters, oregon, the outdoor setting for a wonderful display of quilts... 

a quintessential american town

1300 plus quilts, clothes-pinned to rope, strung through cuphooks, under the eaves

a brilliantly easy and casual way to display them

beautiful, colourful quilts

 thousands of people traipsing about the place, meandering back and forth across the main street and down the side streets, drawn by the flashes of bright colour that glowed against the weathered wood of the town

the quilts were hung early saturday morning for the one day only event

they were grouped by style, or by colour, with obvious thought to how they would be perceived collectively as well as individually

a true visual feast

quilts of every style and colour
and of every size

 the first quilts i came upon were of an ethnic slant - colourful and busy

 the vibrancy of the quilt with the two ladies really caught my eye

turquoise, pink, yellow and black are a fabulous colour combination, especially with a shot of a peach

i really loved this quilt!

 quilts were everywhere...

there were several of these free-standing frames in an open space between buildings

yes indeed, quilts really were everywhere!

 hung in clusters or hung alone, each one seemed to me that it was exactly where it should be

 the breeze blowing back corners every so often, adding to the charm of the outdoor display

 one of my favourite views - small ones hanging from the upper railing, larger ones below

as i was admiring the quilt below i realized i had bought the pattern and templates years ago!

the red wall of this building positively gleamed and the two quilts hung there were breathtaking on it - the one on the left was another of my favourites

brilliant pops of red and yellow calmed it down, adding unity, without reducing or inhibiting it's vibrancy in any way
it was truly gorgeous

 we wandered around until we just couldn't take in anymore

it was exciting, entrancing and oh, so inspiring

and as we wandered those streets, enjoying the show, we remarked over and over again about the deep, rich vibrancy of many of the quilts 
the saturation of colour in some of them was almost overwhelming

but as i took off my sunglasses to get a better look at one of them, the colours faded somewhat, settling back to a saturation that while closer to normal, appeared far less exciting than it had with my sun glasses on

i stood there for a minute, putting them on, and pulling them off... up, down, looking around - seeing if wearing them or not wearing them mattered when looking at other quilts nearby

the result was always the same - the quilts looked better to me with my sunglasses on...

 i laughed to myself, thinking of that old admonishment about looking at the world through rose-coloured glasses - might just not be such a good idea all of the time

i'm thinking that maybe the next time i'm choosing fabrics for a quilt, i'll be reaching for my sunglasses first!