Monday, March 24, 2014

goodness, gracious, me...

goodness, gracious me indeed

where do the days go?

busy with this, that and the next thing... the days slide by, turning into night and around and around we go... the merry-go-round of life

i've struggled a bit lately, with things creative... kind of lost my mojo a while back

i felt adrift on a sea of fabric and thread, wanting to make something, feeling that urge to take up a needle, but no idea grabbed hold - no inspiration, nothing

the other day i was asked if i would teach a class or two on the spring schedule down at our local quilt shop
and as i have a huge hankering to go back to jolly olde england sooner rather than later, i said yes
{the right motivation can move mountains it seems!}

many people have been asking about silk ribbon embroidery but the ribbon is not that easy to find, and then of course, there are all the various widths in addition to all the various colours - where does a shop begin??

as i stood at my worktable the other day pondering the whole thing i wondered if it would be possible to do silk ribbon embroidery with something other than silk ribbon

something like cotton fabric...

i found a light pink, cut a narrow strip and started playing about
above is a scattering of stitches, just  sampling different needle types in different sizes along with different widths of ribbon

it became apparent rather quickly it would fray fast, but with short lengths, might work

tapping my fingers to the beat of my thoughts, i thought of my knotted projects of a year or so ago
thin strips of batik fabrics tied in many, many knots and then cut apart, the knots being glued on my sale invitations for last year... batiks are painted and dyed, which gives them a sturdiness other quilting cottons just don't have... 

i found an ultra pale pink batik to replace the light pink cotton and tried some stitches overtop a fragment of lace, hoping to create a pretty flower of sorts...

 it needs embroidery thread added for detail, but the look was just too sweet for what i wanted

this was more up my alley...

bright, bold colour

i cut a couple of different widths of strips, found a loose-weave cloth and basted out my design

 laying in the bare necessity of stem and leaf outlines 
{after all, the stems grow first, before the flower blooms}

and then began the first round of petals

 round and round i went, laying in more and more fabric petals, followed by embroidery thread petal stitches, followed by french knots for the flower centre

 dare i say it worked????

i am thrilled... thrilled, over the top delighted

the subtle colour variations of the batik fabric create a flower like nobody's business and have given this the "punch" i was hoping for

two more flowers to go, and then i'll attend to the leaves and vines and such

i think my mojo might be back...

Friday, March 14, 2014

feeling sketchy...

funny where a day can take you...

i was feeling at a loose end again today, wanting to do something but not really knowing what...

rifling through my fabric cupboard this morning, i found myself drawn to this piece of fabric

 "mill book series", it's a line of reproduction fabrics
i love it's sketchy, wildflower feel... lately i discovered edith holden and have found myself drawn to all things botanical...

 today i dabbled in this and that, flitting like a bee in high summer, from one flowering plant to the next...

this is an embroidery transfer, ironed on to a linen napkin fragment

rather than fill in the open spaces with embroidery, which is the usual manner of working with these, i chose instead to tack tiny little snips of fabric in place using ultra-fine thread and a size 12 quilting needle 
even then, many snippets were just too small and frayed apart as i slid the needle through

i persevered though and managed to add the bud before my patience gave out!
{let me just say, good tweezers are an essential tool for this technique!}

 debating how much of the design i want to fill in, and whether or not embroidery thread should be used to add detail to the fabric filling... i'm thinking yes, but only delicately

such a soft effect...

 setting that aside, i turned to an online art class from last summer/fall and viewed some of the videos i hadn't yet had a chance to see

junelle jacobsen from "yes and amen" is amazing and i love her art

i'm also learning to love sketching...

practicing lettering today

 last summer i managed to sit outside for two hours and sketch a small corner of my herb garden, showing the driftwood fence i made several years back

rosemary, sage and marjoram
 in sister's, oregon last year i sketched the little scene below

in marc's sister and husband's back yard - i loved the old stump and log, with the potted peonies, waiting for planting

 below is some kind of random flower - i think a carnation perhaps
{must remember to make notes!}

 and today, some hanging herbs

this year i hope to dry even more than other years, sewing up little muslin bags for gifting them, hopefully with a little water-colour tag of sketches by yours truly

 planting, drying, sketching, sewing, painting, all done by me

 i'll like that

Sunday, March 9, 2014


funny how a word can keep popping into your mind at the oddest times

funny peculiar, not funny ha-ha - i suppose i should have said "odd" ... odd how we use words - odd as in curious, not weird... where was i going with this...?

 oh yes, savouring savour

i did cut up my petal paper 

i savoured it's wholeness for a week and then i did it

this is my heart-word square for march 
{for my twelve-months-of-good-words-that-remind-me-life-is-grand wall-hanging based on words re-visited from 2012}

kinda wish i'd cut it up sooner, but i was a little afraid of ruining it

i thought it would be a good thing but some of you scared me a bit... the paper was rather pretty in it's wholeness but sometimes things can be appreciated better if they are presented in a smaller way - it  can sharpen your focus...

anyway, i cut it, blanket-stitched it down and added a few french knots and feather stitch for good measure

the twirly, swirly bit in the centre  caught my eye 

 i had it in my mind to backstitch along the lines, like a connect-the-dots kind of thing but i was afraid of messing it up because now it's something and i'm always afraid of ruining things that are things

so i tried it out on the leftovers...

you can see it on the right below

it's much easier to mess with things that aren't really anything, only themselves

now i've got this far with it, i find this heart square is a big thing to me now...

"savour" was a special word for me back in 2012 - i remember it oh so well

march was when i found out my lump wasn't cancer

i did savour that news for a very long time - still do, but in a different way
the feeling of urgent relief has mellowed into enduring gratefulness

but i did kind of have a plan, just in case... my good friend and i decided a very long time ago we should have each other's back's, when the time comes

she wants her funeral service to be a celebration of life and then happy hour

i want an acknowledgement of a life and then brunch

martinis vs mini-quiche

{she would never let me make mini-quiche for my sale - too much work, she decreed, so i put them on the when-i'm-gone-reception-menu instead!}

she doesn't want her husband to buy a fancy coffin so i'm to ensure it's plywood, good one side

i want to be cremated and flung off a mountain in the yukon

with great luck and some taking care of myself this is all many years in the future
after all, there's still the music to sort out...

Monday, March 3, 2014

wondering why...

yesterday, i made a beginning

pretty petal and fern paper
lace, linen, silk

exactly as i pictured it in my mind, perhaps even a little better
but i think it would have been hard to go wrong with that paper as a base

 today i'll cut it up and take it further

i have a few ideas of what i want to do

 as i look at it, considering where to begin, i find myself wondering about it, about why i had wanted to make it so badly

to me, it's beyond pretty

delicate, frothy, romantic - reminds me of wedding invitations and valentine's

so not me

i like plaids and stripes and wrought iron and stone and driftwood 

stormy skies and rainy days

 so often though, i find much of what i make is light, lacy and delicate - i do adore pretty lace, but i could never live with it

 this morning as i was writing, i wondered why it is i am drawn to making things like this

and i wondered if it's because they bring light into the darkness of my mind...

not that i have a "dark" mind in the usual sense...

rather, i prefer dark things with an edgy feel

so how can i be drawn to something, create with something that really isn't me, and make something i wouldn't dream of keeping because i know from experience that if i did, it would languish in a closet for ever... i would own it, but i wouldn't cherish it

 some days, more than others, that really puzzles me

Saturday, March 1, 2014


savour is my word for march
i remember feeling it was a brilliant word back in 2012, on the first word-go-round

and so it is again

i'm already savouring ss4, karen's latest class

she's playing with paper, embroidery transfer paper to be precise

i haven't any, so i'm playing with paper of the handmade variety

i have no idea where the paper i made many years ago has gotten to but i found a yellow piece i have treasured for almost as long

using her techniques, shared with us, i am combining it with linen, lace and silk, into strips

tiny pieces, the smallest fragments

 a small strip of the embroidered silk i found in london

the green is also paper, and exceptionally delicate, with little sparkles of gold

 i have enough paper to make the three groups i've shown here; two are sewn together now, ready for embellishing
once they have all been mucked with to my heart's content i will join them all together and back the long strip with silk

i'm making this to learn the technique, rather than coming at it from a burning desire to create this particular piece... it wasn't "in me, waiting to come out" like most art usually is

but then yesterday we went to opus art shoppe in kelowna

oh my heavenly stars

i was indeed in heaven

big, cluttered, high shelves, stock upon stock, paint, glue, ink, sketchbooks, charcoal - on and on it went

 and far in the back i spied the cupboards with the wide, shallow drawers

i know exactly what those drawers mean


i do love handmade botanical paper

adore it really, over-the-moon 

i was only going to get one sheet - it's not cheap and i had no plan for it

but there was no way, no how, i was leaving that store without it

 and then, a funny thing happened on the way to the till...

i got me an idea... and then another, and another

all the way home i just sat, enjoying the scenery, letting the ideas come, letting them percolate

today i cleaned up a few things that have been kicking around, taking up space
savouring the anticipation of tomorrow

tomorrow, i have a big date with my worktable...