Sunday, April 27, 2014

a good dream?

at a loose end these past few days, in my sewing room

you know, when you wander in and your eyes alight on several things as you gaze around, yet nothing calls out to you...

so i did the responsible, disciplined thing and kept on with this little piece

i tried the white bullion knots, you can see them below...

not so sure about them so i alternated yellow and white in another area - much better
much, much better
and so the white came out 

as i worked away on this my thoughts turned to the one and only other time i worked on a stamped embroidery...

it was a dresser scarf with a basket of flowers at each end, complete with a twirling ribbon, the whole thing edged with scratchy yellow lace

it came in this

my seventh birthday present from my beloved grandmother

in addition to the dresser scarf, there was also a metal embroidery hoop, embroidery threads, scissors and needles

i laboured over it for several years
i remember taking it out every so often, smoothing it's rumpled wrinkles and embroidering a little more

as i was wondering what ever happened to it, a memory began to form, of labouring over it with a sense of urgency, wanting to get it finished 
i have a vague recollection of wanting to give it to my grandmother as a gift
for her birthday, or for christmas, i'm not sure which
i remember being tired of it, wanting it to be finished, one end done and now the other
i remember feeling a satisfaction at the end

i just can't quite remember what happened next...
did i wrap it up and send it off?

or was it only a good dream that i had?

it's one of those memories that refuses to solidify, but regardless of whether or not that's how it ended, i became attached to this little scrap of cloth and thread and so i decided to keep it, as a reminder...

leaving this only partially finished just in case memory is not serving me correctly, i tacked it in my little book and wrote the story of how my sewing box and first embroidery piece came to be

i even left it slightly rumpled

 as i flipped the pages, looking for the right spot for it, i cam across this page - about my first quilt and realized that i hadn't yet written the story of it

this isn't the original, but represents it in shape and colour, the thread wrapped piece to the left is reminiscent of the striped fabric i had used

i have a feeling i am going to really come to love this book, for all the memories it holds dear

next will be beading with jessie...

in the meanwhile, it's all about taupe

i'm embarking on a colour study in subtlety...

surprise, surprise, surprise

Thursday, April 24, 2014

daffy down dilly

rummaging for something to work on this morning whilst i had a few extra minutes, i came upon my snippety bit daffodil embroidery transfer piece from a few posts ago

gathering together the fabrics and thread, i spied my new art journal book propped against a table leg

bought a few weeks back, today seemed like a good day to begin

this book will sit open on my worktable all the time
and a smaller version will travel with me on holidays, the pages removed and placed in the main one upon returning home

ideas, it seems, are not bound by geography, and come to me all along the way...

below is a badly focused view of the latest flower

the pieces are tiny, and they dance and jump and twirl about as i try to sew them down

i filled in this second flower, working from top to bottom, as with the first

they're like "floral scales"

this was exactly as far as i got before i began to wonder how the snippets would look in larger pieces, how one might define petals more

 so, i did what i intended to do all along

i set my embroidery to the side and began cutting larger snippety-bits, and played

 a little bit of double-sided tape and they were stuck down in no time, notes added

now i won't forget...

 pondering how to approach the largest flower, i knew i didn't want to use snippets - i was thinking i would like it to be more open, with just a suggestion of colour, keeping the transfer lines visible

referencing back to the source

 i've laid in a few, and added stems

tonight i'll add white bullion knots to the rope, keeping them within the white space
allowing the transfer lines to show yet again

thinking about the flower centre...

i'm thinking this might be a narcissus?

not much on which flower is which... but i was wishing these were daffodils

all afternoon "daffy down dilly" has been running through my noggin

 and of course, one of my favourites by wm. wordsworth,

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

the thing of it

the thing of it...

well, the thing of it is, i realized the other day i often show the start of things, or tell the start of the "story" but i think i rarely come back and show the end, or tell it even...

so this post will be a bit of a meander, mostly through my head and what's been going on in it of late

firstly, though, i finished my batik fabric ribbon-embroidery needle case

 the colours here are a tad too vivid - they're a little more subdued than this, but still vibrant - just not quite so - fluorescentish

i do like the blue trim i added - crocheted dmc #5 perle coton

the lining was just pinned to the inside when i took this picture - hence the "dimple" at the bottom right
i've since sewn the lining in place (although the felt is only pinned inside, but that's just so i can show it in stages at the class

it was wonderful working in bright colours for a change, and doing embroidery - i have a hankering for more so you may well see more of it in the days to come

 more lacy crochet too - not done with that either

other things i'm not done with...

i'm still going to gym/pool regularly - two months now and loving it, especially the swimming
i've only had to share the pool twice, and even then, only for about ten minutes each time - how amazingly wonderful that is to me... like my own private place
the windows are floor to ceiling and face the lake - i can see the hills all around 
and it's helping my knees as well

remember way back at the beginning of january when i mentioned i was reading the artist's way and writing each day?

i have only missed one day since january 1st

and this is also something i have come to love

every morning i sit down and write, thought-streaming, whatever comes to mind
mostly it's about creative plans for the day, the things i long to do, the things i should do, the things i need to quit putting off doing
i can't say enough about brilliant it is - it really does empty things out
sometimes it's personal stuff, but very rarely, and not by design - it seems that most of what i need to deal with and sort out is of a creative nature 

my brown calendar book with all the squares?
the ring bound one i thought was just to special to use but decided i would use it anyway, as a visual record of my creative activities for the week?
i've done fairly well with that - weeks when i have tried out interesting things, i have put a sample in there with an annotation
and planned creative things using the calendar section
nothing fancy, or in-depth, but it's a start

my little stitch-history book i made, where i am going to record my history of needle and thread?
i've slipped up there - as you know, the book is bound, but i haven't done much else with it lately - i have made a list of all the people that have influenced me over the decades, and in what ways, so now i can set to work on the samples

but it still all seems a mish-mash to me 

a little of this here and that there, so i am going to try something new - a little different

i recently discovered edith m. holden's "country diary of an edwardian lady" and was completely smitten with her wonderful record of a year in the countryside, complete with diary notes and her charming watercolour paintings

and then i read monica's post about the difference between a journal and a diary: diaries are for recording what you do and journals are for recording what you think

and that is precisely my problem - i've been trying to do both, and getting completely bogged down with books and notes and bits of paper, here and there and everywhere

i need to combine them - a record of what i am thinking, what i do, and how i did it 

and what i want to do next

samples and notes and diagrams and ideas, all wrapped up in one book
with daily entries
some will be small and others grand
but at least i will have one place to look to when i am wondering how i did something, or what my bright idea was - one place to work it out

the thing of it is... it's still april, and it's still "organize"...

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

round and round...

and round i go

fabric, to writing, to crochet, to sketching, to painting, to...
i get accused sometimes of losing focus, of getting distracted

i suppose it's true, in some ways, but it certainly is not my fault

if i wasn't meant to be distracted, there wouldn't have been so many wonderful things invented

nor so many still waiting to be

that's how i see it

here's my latest attraction-distraction

 a simple little table mat with some free form applique; all the shapes are being sewed in place using a simple running stitch, a scant 1/4" or so in from the edge

 once all the applique is finished it will get layered and quilted

after that, it goes in the washing machine and then all those lovely raw edges will fray

 and this will be a pretty little shabby chic table mat

 a very "pink" pretty little shabby chic floral table mat

 while i was working on this last night i was thinking about how much i liked some of the flowers and motifs on the fabric

how easy it would be sketch some of them, and then paint them, some could even be embroidered, and wouldn't they make adorable little coasters, or even gift tags - or perhaps birthday cards - or what it i made the squares smaller, with even tinier appliques - now those would be adorable cards...

 and round and round and round i went again

Friday, April 4, 2014


apparently "organize" was my word for april of 2012

yeah right
good luck 
{my husband has always had high hopes for this one!}

i try, really i do, but there is always so much more happening or wanting to happen that i just can't possibly keep up with it all

my feet hit the floor running just about every day

a good friend's daughter had a baby girl - a year ago yesterday...
first grand-child

i wanted to make something special and it wasn't until january of this year i was finally able to do it

i had in my mind an old-fashioned kind of toy, the kind a child might love to drag around, and perhaps even, not go to sleep without

i found a pattern for this adorable rabbit and a full wardrobe to accompany it here

made out of felt, complete with cute little boots and a flowery dress
i had such fun making those boots - i felt like a cobbler of old

the blouse, you can see below...
i still cannot believe i was able to sew that, me, who got 49/100 on her apron in school sewing class

{it became a personal rule not to make things that have to "fit", but i made an exception in this case - doll's clothes are just plain fun!}

 i even knitted a dress
the woollen dress goes over top of the cotton one, kind of like a pinafore

 lengthening the provided fabric dress pattern made a perfect nightgown, and with a little fiddling about, i was also able to muster a matching nightcap

 two pairs of pants and a cape complete the ensemble

{shortening the pants pattern, and using white broderie anglaise fabric, i made the cutest bloomers, shown in the very first photograph}

 to finish the whole thing off, i also included a sweet little pillow and a sleeping bag, which i forgot to photograph but was made out of peter rabbit fabric

the entire rabbit is sewn by hand, all the seams and joining etc.
i was surprised at how quickly it went, and how the fine felted wool makes for a nice sturdy toy

so the baby got her birthing gift a couple of months before her first birthday and now i am behind again... i don't mind so much as alicia, the designer of this cute rabbit and clothes, has been working on a whole menagerie and the patterns will be out by the end of may... a fox, a mouse, a kitten and a doe, complete with new clothes for all

perhaps, if i have enough felt, and push everything else aside, i can make a whole menagerie of critters and clothes and then i'll be ready any birth-days and birthdays that come my way....
that might not be terribly prudent though, but then again,  prudent was february's word...