Saturday, November 30, 2013

puttering away...

slowly but surely i am making some progress...

cutting up the fabric i made for book pages and cards

it's so much more fun to make unique things with well, unique things 

the starry fabric is getting cut up ruthlessly

no time for sentimentality, just snip, snip, snip

and little stars are appearing everywhere...

the card below is finished as well, stitched and stuck

little snippets of lace and silk, with tiny stitches... star stitches

a christmas card that can just as easily be framed and enjoyed year-round

below is a page from one of the star books

they're a new book-binding technique for me and I am liking it very much

little art star books

i'm adding only a few details, leaving lots of room for the recipient to add their own

i could spend hours and hours making these pages... but time's a'wasting and monday night is coming fast

tomorrow i'll be back to show you the books themselves...

and one last spectacle of stars

then it's elves!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

seeing stars...

lately i've been seeing stars...

i'm in the midst of two star books, which i will hopefully be able to show you tomorrow or saturday

one starry wallhanging

and a starry card

so today, to help me along on my celestial journey... i made this...

fabric stars suspended in a sea of froth

i suppose it's kind of like the milky way... in a way

it started like this

and ended like this!

 mostly blue stars, one white one

and some just stitched, over and over and over again

 i am so thrilled with how it turned out

it's even prettier in person

and now I am busily cutting it up, stitching them to paper and to cloth, adding embroidery and leaving them plain

 the sky's the limit when it comes to ideas for what to do with this magical one-of-a-kind cloth

the part i like the best?

 when i look at something like this, that has come from the work of my own two hands, i think how lucky i am that i got to make it

i made this

it sends shivers up my spine

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

it's only words...

words are on my mind these days

words and letters...

book-binding, calligraphy, monograms - they are all calling to me


there isn't time at the moment for all three so i am contenting myself with a little calligraphy in my embroidery...

the top left corner of this piece has been a mystery since i laid the first pieces of lace

which is pretty much why it's still a big, yawning expanse of white... what to do, what to do, echoing through my mind like a mantra

stars abound on this piece so it made sense to me to put it in blue and white...

the sketch above is the start - what i think i'll do.... embroidery for the thin lines, appliqued fabric for the thick parts

and then more embroidery in the background - that's the part i'm not sure of, which is why i haven't  attempted to sketch anything more than the basics

in my usual fashion, i'll do what i'm sure of first and hope for divine inspiration for the rest

that's how it usually work for me - i begin, and then the ideas start to flow

and this white space will be empty no more

in the meanwhile, i'm satisfying my monogram obsession by looking at this pretty...

a monogrammed napkin, given to me by my friend Vi

 every now and again she spoils me with a beautiful tidbit

this is the finest yet - what a beautiful treat it is!

and when the sale is over i'm going to dig out an empty sketchbook and play the days away...

Saturday, November 16, 2013

walk this way...

i'm sure that's just what these little critters would be saying...

as they teeter along holding on to their wreaths
it's kind of hard to get a good grip with a flippery-type of wing you know

the pattern is from the cheswick company and was quick and easy - the hat being the fiddliest part, the feet being the most fun

i deviated from the instructions for the hat and feet, choosing to make the  former from fabric rather than paper, and making the feet with black fabric and glue instead of painting white muslin and felt

they all stand upright rather well but do look as if they are off kilter and ready to tumble - i kind of think that's half their charm

the pattern names him barnaby but the one below will be oliver

doesn't he look like he's asking for more?

i'm not sure i want to part with them, they have such personality

it's funny when you make them

each step, each addition changes them and as you go, you see their character develop

making just the right nose, getting their eyes going in just the right direction, all determine just how expressive they can be

way more fun than landing in a barrel of pickled herring!

Thursday, November 7, 2013


this will be the last post about my trip... the recap if you will

i need to focus forward for a while - the sale is in less than a month and I am waaaaaay behind
{the once-a-year sale of my creations thatI have at my house for my good friends}

and if i am being truthful, thinking about england and scotland so much makes me sad

i miss it...

i didn't think i'd like london so much - but i loved it

the beauty

the pride watching this kid race his heart out in the shadow of amazing grandeur

sitting in westminster abbey, listening to an organ recital, marveling at a stained glass window honouring canada's lord strathcona, and then realizing that when he was doing his thing, my family had not yet emigrated, they still lived in england and in scotland

and that was when i first felt like a child adopted by canada that had just met her birth-parent

finding the places that inspired those who inspire me

wandering about a place where people have wandered for millenia

facing that same wuthering wind that moved three sisters to write stories that charmed the world

stood at the side of the tay river in perth, scotland, with the man who comes from canada's perth that has it's very own tay river, and thought about how homesick those early canadians must have been

climbing above my level of comfort to pay tribute to a man who only wanted freedom

marveling at a how green-brown the creeks are, and why "burn" is such an appropriate name

going home again, for my family...
the ones that came before

wondering why we do the things we do

seeing for myself places that have inspired and become symbols of greater things

and oddly enough, wonderfing how it is, that in every b & b throughout england and scotland, in every hotel, from london through the midlands to inverness, out to kyle, in cormwall and in kent

wherever we went

i was plagued by this

the tiniest garbage can, in every bathroom

the pedal was so small, it barely fit my big toe

they held next to nothing

they were always stuck in the most awkward to get at place that required contortionist movements, never mind the issue of trying to step on the teeny tiny pedal with one toe and enough force to open the darn thing

margaret in inverness somehow mustered up a dainty pink version but that didn't make up for the sadly-lacking-in-design problem 

after a while it became almost an obsession - it was the first thing i looked for when we checked in to a new place

i put a tube of toothpaste on top so you could get an idea of scale
{note - this is a small tube!}

how lucky i am to have had a five week holiday and this be the only drawback... how exceptionally lucky

the last day, we left stow on the 6:30 bus to moreton, to catch the 7:10 to london
the fog so thick you could hardly see across the street

it was still dark when we caught the train and as we sped along, the sky began to lighten, to turn the most unbelievable shade of wine,,, deep crimson - i have never seen the like of it

deep purply-red, with the stark black of the trees, a perfect silhouette

by the time it lightened to a grey-mauve, the fog and rain rolled in, and the scenery faded again

it was if the country was drawing back from me

from paddington to heathrow on the express, the buildings were a misty blur, indistinct still, nothing to see, and then as we came out of the elevator, to go into the terminal, i saw this

it was a good good-bye

Sunday, November 3, 2013

the things you notice...

the thing about traveling is the things you see

things you don't see in your own backyard
things that open your mind to new ideas, to new ways of thinking
the same old, same old, usual way of things goes out the proverbial window and you find yourself stopping in wonderment sometimes

yes, wonderment

wonderment is when you see something that makes you, well, wonder

i wonder about doorways...


the one above at st. edward's church in stow-on-the-wold made me wonder
when those two trees were planted, did anyone know how what a magical scene they were creating?

as i stood there, i waited, wishing for the door to slowly start moving, opening, to let me in

this is a door that inspired tolkein...
yes, he was there, and yes, it did influence him

this little doorway into the tree was stumbled upon whilst on our moor-walk in haworth

{yes, stumbled - I darn near fell off the path into the brambles as I tried to situate myself for the best possible angle}
there's a story in this little tree - i just haven't quite thought it all out yet

an ancient archway in carlisle
the most peaceful churchyard ever - if i lived in that part of yorkshire i would park myself on a bench there for at least one afternoon every week

the door at one of the passageways, leading from the churchyard into the city of carlisle

 a row of little doors in stirling, along the road to the castle

i'm not that tall but I would have had to duck to save my scalp on these doorways

 an original door to the city of york, the same hinges holding it in place as the day it was first hung

love the small door-within-a-door on the left - to see who was calling after the gates were shut...

salisbury cathedral's grand entrance

the door to the oldest inn in england

high in the swiss alps, on my very first trip to europe, i fell in love with the doors after seeing this in the forest
someone had taken a number of old doors and windows and by carefully placing them with existing trees, created the most amazing little tree houses
they were enchanting

and finally, this little doorway, found on isola bella on lake maggiore, switzerland

shorter than me, it was the first european door i ever photographed
i have hoped since then it will not be the last...
i suppose it's the nature of a curious individual, to wonder what's on the other side

or rather, do you think it's the nature of a door to provoke it?