Thursday, September 18, 2014

Canvas bookmarks

After packing away all my retreat projects, reorganizing and setting up my machine again, I felt like doing something creative.
I pulled out my painted canvas and fussy cut a couple of bookmarks. I'm free motion stitching each one and it's a bit labor intensive.

When I finish the stitching, I'll add a fabric backing and zig zag the edges. A little fussy, but gift worthy.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Portage Lake

My friend and I just returned from our annual retreat at the Portage Lake camps. It is such a beautiful spot about an hour from town. No electricity (generator), no phones, no TV, no radio. Just us the view, and our sewing.
Ours was the second cabin from the left.

Most people go up to fish and hunt according to the season. Blueberry season is just finishing and they were plentiful this year.

We'd like to bring our life jackets and gear next year too. We can fish and sew!
It would give us a little break from the tricky projects like these bags.

We made them the first day and I confess they were exasperating. We decided to move onto something simpler the next day. I pieced more blocks for the baby quilt I'm making.

I sat outside the first night on the swing with my tea. The freshly baked cookie was delivered to our door by the caretaker who made them. Isn't that sweet?

Apparently there is a path that leads all the way around the lake, but one would need an orange vest and perhaps some male company. Lots of moose around. I ventured partway in for some photos. I love tree stumps.

One could not tire of this view from the window or the deck. The trees and water changed color every few minutes and the leaves were actually turning more red and golden from one day to the next.

These little sojourns that I make into nature sustain me throughout the year.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Packing for retreat, a bike ride

I packed up my sewing machine and a few projects today for a two day quilting retreat I'm going on tomorrow with my son's future mother in law. It's about a two hour drive into the mostly uninhabited (save for camps and a park) center of the province where we stay in one of a handful of cabins on a lake. No radio, no TV, no Internet or even a phone.
Tonight, I went for a little bike ride across the nearest and flattest part of the trail. It was chilly enough to give me earaches!

Even the bees were tucked in for the night.
A lot of wildflowers are drying and going to seed. The mountain ash berries are bright red and in some spots the leaves have started to turn golden.

Some of the leaves have started to turn, the maple being one of the earliest.

I do so enjoy fall and all the changes it brings. I'm sad to say goodbye to swimming in the ocean, but the changing environment manages to catch my attention.
Yesterday, I cleared out some of my garden and put up my fall wreath.

These pictures were all taken with my I Pad because I was too tired to upload camera photos to my computer. They're not bad.
I hope you've all had a great weekend. I'll be back later this week.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Swinging on the deck, my mandala

I got home this afternoon just in time for tea and a little crochet time on my deck. I'll s swing and relax until hubby calls for his drive.

I've got 2 rows left.

I've been out most of the day, but before leaving this morning, I did a sketch of the waning cone flowers.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Strippy curves

I have made some progress on my beach themed curvy strip piece. I know it looks like I'm adding a strip a day. In about an hour and a half this afternoon, this is my progress, about 2 1/2" worth. My ruler gives you the idea of the size.
Do you see the dark brown sliver on the upper left side? That was where I started today. I'm excited to have moved into the greens which represent sea grasses.
The dark green at the top is not sewn on yet. I always like to pick out my next piece before I stop.

I have learned a few things:
!. It is faster and easier to sew the strips on without pinning.
2. Using a fat 1/8" seam makes it easier.
3. Using my favourite beaded stiletto to guide the fabric makes the edges easier to match.
4. Since I'm sewing some strips that are very narrow, it would be better to iron away form the seams. I am sewing strips from forefront to background and pressing down. Next time, I would start with the background to avoid catching the seams in the really narrow pieces.

It is a fun, absorbing and messy process.
This is about as messy as I get. I'll clean after each session. I know I need to let go a bit!
I'm happy with the piece so far, but my vision is limited. I must finish the strips and then see where it takes me.
I'm pretty relaxed today though, as hubby has gone off on another golf tournament. Supper will be left overs; no need to cook. Don't you love that?
I've been enjoying the birds around my yard and my deck although I think the hummingbirds have gone. The sweet little chickadees are my favorite! They have taken a liking to bathing in my deck top fountain.
I guess waterfalls don't scare them.
The bowls are just the right size.
Their own little water-park.To be a little birdie for a few blissful moments.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Mustard pickles, hydrangeas, strip piecing

The title of my post sounds a little strange. For those who follow the produce and flora of the season, it probably makes perfect sense.
After a chopping session last night in order for the cucumbers, celery, cauliflower and onions to soak in a brine while I slept, this morning, I got my bottles ready and cooked up a batch of my mother's mustard pickle recipe.
Thanks to my mother in law, Joyce for her help!
I've been waiting for a sunny day when I had time to pick some hydrangea to dry and today was the day.
For now they're on my deck because I spied a few ants which I'm hoping will vacate.
I dry a bunch in a vase every year to enjoy throughout the fall until December. I like to tuck them throughout the branches of my tabletop Christmas tree. It fills in empty spaces and adds such soft snowy prettiness. After that I dispose of them and wait until next September to pick some more.
Then, I had just a sliver of time to spend in my sewing studio, adding a few more curved strips to my beach themed piece.
The top piece is as yet uncut and un-sewn while I think about what I'll add next.I do way more thinking and piddling about than actually sewing! As I mentioned in my last post, this is something a bit different for me. I have an idea where I want to go: I'm feeling my way there. Whether I get there or not, the journey is fun.
I'm connecting to The Needle and Thread Network.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Beachy strip pieced curves

Today went a little differently than I'd planned. Monday is usually my day to get a bit of house cleaning done so I can forget about it for the week.  For the last while I've been having trouble with my eyes-- burning, stinging, tearing and blurriness. It increased over the weekend until last night when nothing relieved them and I could barely keep them open. It meant I needed to get up early (6:30) to drive my husband to work and then go to the clinic. I was afraid I might have pink eye and was relieved to find out it was an inflammation that required an ointment. Now, I remember having this before.
With my running around done by lunch time, it gave me at least a bit of time in the studio this afternoon. I had already decided after my last curved strip piecing session that I wanted to redo it to make the strips narrower. In my next session, I'll lay in a ruler or pencil so you can get the idea of size. In places, some of the strips narrow to less than 1/4".

One hint when trying to sew narrow strips is to iron away from where your adding the strips, preventing  the seams from getting caught up in the new seam.
If you look in my tabs at the top of my blog there is a tutorial there on how to cut pieces for curved seams.
also, I am inspired by this book, Journey to Inspired Art Quilting by Jean Wells.
Here is a closer detail:
 The bottom strip is wider than it will be finished, as I will trim it. I'm happier now and that's what it's all about isn't it?
I mentioned being out kayaking on Friday evening past and again yesterday. We went out Friday night near sunset in the lagoon near the Beresford Beach.
Awe inspiring moments like this instil a sense of peace and wonder and stay with me in ensuing times, giving me lovely memories to think about all through winter and when I need calm.
On Sunday we traveled about 45 minutes up to the Nepisiquit River, a truly awe inspiring place.
How could one not slow one's breath and relax in such a place?
We stopped for a bit to sun on the rocks, have a swim and a snack before heading back.

Over eons, the river has wound its way, carving out quite a ravine. There are some little waterfalls that you can hear before you spy them.
Heading back, the wind had calmed
and we had the current flowing with us.
After spending the summer unable to walk or bike on my beloved trails, this was pure freedom for me.

 We made it back around 6:30. While loading up the kayaks, there was a quick sun shower followed by a beautiful double rainbow.
These are but a few of the things we are blessed with in this part of the world. I so enjoy reading about the outdoor adventures of bloggers around the world and thought some might enjoy this glimpse into our world.