Monday, September 1, 2014

Mug rugs from scraps

I've been unsettled today and of late. This year so far, and I've just realized we've passed 8 months of it, has been difficult. When I read of personal struggles on blogs it gives me insight into that person and it makes me feel a connection knowing that others struggle sometimes too. I don't want to be a complainer though. I started a new blog to write about my experiences with medical issues and to network and provide resources so I won't get into it in too much detail here.
I will briefly say that on top of Addison's and some accompanying illnesses, I have recently been diagnosed and am trying to deal with neuropathy. Then, in early summer my nagging hip and knee problems became crippling. I get around with a cane and some days not well. This in someone who loves the outdoors where I have walked and bicycled the trails often with camera in hand. I've had to retreat to my deck and my house putting true meaning into the name of my blog, Through My Window.
My art, my fiber art, and my needle arts have kept me busy, creative and occupied but when you're used to being on the move, it becomes at times frustrating. I do not have a fatal disease, so I am thankful. I try to find meaning in my days and still look for the tiny things that make me happy.
My small art studies over the summer have absorbed me at times. Other days like today, I'm a bit lost. I wanted to take out my kayak, but when I called down there it was a bit rough.
Finally, I settled for a bit in my sewing studio finishing up the quilting on a mug rug made from my scrap bin.

Recently, I started saving all the ends of bindings from my larger quilt projects. Some are quite sizeable. I found one that was amply long enough to bind the mug rug.
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I pulled out a few more scraps and put together a second one.
I found a piece of black binding but will have to add to it. There is still a bit of the same black left in my stash.

My son, his fiancé and his new pup were home for a night as well and they've just left after doing some visits.
I'm going outside for a bit to watch the birds, and the clouds drift by.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

My daughter's visit, an indoors day-- finishing the seahorse fiber art, a mug rug

Yesterday, my daughter and her boyfriend left after a couple of lovely days staying at my brother in law's cottage at the beach. My husband took a day off, one of the hottest this summer, and we enjoyed it too. My daughter's boyfriend brought his kite boarding equipment with him and we were treated to a demonstration. I've never seen anyone doing it here before, but there were 2 others out that day.
It was windy and really warm. It looked like such fun!

 I think they enjoyed their time-- a little break before it's back to work and university classes which start next week.

They left yesterday morning, but I didn't have much of a chance to be sad as it was my day to head to the local craft shop.
In the evening, it was cooler, and I took my bicycle along with my camera out for a spin on the trails. I've been frustrated since I haven't been able to walk the trails due to my hip pain.we find ways to compensate and adapt.
Nights are cooling, dusk is setting earlier, and look at those leaves! Fall is slowly encroaching.
There is always something fascinating to photograph.
Only a few blossoms clinging to the fire-weed. Most of them are done. When in full bloom, the fields are ablaze in a swath of pink. I love the spiky designs once the petals have fallen.

On my bike ride last week the fields were full of those delicate spikes, but by last night they had turned to fuzz.
I've just looked it up. The fluff is a type of down which bursts from the spike capsules and aids in seed dispersal.
One of summer's last blooms, I couldn't resist these delicate little white wood asters.
Do you love it when there has been a stretch of hot sunny weather beach weather, followed by a rainy day? That's just what we've gotten. My sewing studio window is open and I'm listening to the rain and the gusty wind waving the branches and leaves on  the backyard trees. It doesn't deter the goldfinches from chasing each other noisily in between eating from the finch feeder in front of my window where I sew.
Oh dear, I was waxing on about how lovely it was when I heard a noise and my power went off. It was only off for about a half hour and I was pleasantly surprised to find my post saved mid sentence.
This afternoon, I added the backing and binding to the Seahorse. I will need to photograph it again when the sun comes back out.
I've sold my mug rugs that were at the shop, so I pulled out my scrap bins and came up with this combination.
I left it ready to quilt in my next session in the studio. I found lots of interesting bits that would make great mug rugs. It's a great way to use up the extra printed bits (this one is a resist screen print) and pieced scraps from quilted projects.



Monday, August 25, 2014

Seasonal sketches

Summer has returned with sunny hot weather and I've not been into the sewing studio in a few days.
In my little snippets of time around my meal with my tea, I've done a couple of seasonal sketches.
The first one of some early hydrangea, I worked on over two days.

I was out in my kayak both Saturday and Sunday exploring the Beresford waterways that are rife with sea heather right now. This is apparently the main attraction for a rare butterfly called the Maritime Ringlet.

I won't get back to my sewing now for a few days as my daughter and her boyfriend are on their way for a visit at the cottage until Wednesday.
My husband is taking tomorrow off and it looks like the weather will be good.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Wildflowers and sketching

Before lunch, I went for a little bike ride along some trails near our house. The tansy and the pearly everlasting are slowly turning brown and I wanted to gather one more bunch before their season passes.
It's something I do every year recently. My bouquets and their sketches are becoming visual recordings of the ebb and flow of seasonal flora and fauna. My backyard and the nearby trails have become my observatory, full of color, texture, and sounds, providing me with endless fascination and sometimes simple wonder in the moment. Bringing a little bit of it inside makes me happy when I glance at it in passing or view it up close while eating.

After lunch, I intended to head to the sewing studio to get back to the free motion quilting on an unfinished table runner.
I made a cup of tea and since it is a bit of an overcast day and not too hot on the deck, I headed there to sit and drink my tea.
I'm easily distracted by colourful things.

I ended up pulling out my sketchbook, pen and paints to do a sort of gestural study of my table arrangement. I wanted it to be loose and quick with splashes of color but it still took me an hour.
Maybe another day, I could start with the brush, laying in large strokes of color, adding the pen later.

Now, it's almost time for a quick little snack and I'm supposed to be taking it easy so I can go to the golf course to hit a few balls with my husband tonight.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Seahorse quilting and embellishing, mandala continues

Since the seahorse piece is not very large, it didn't take me too long to finish up the wavy quilting lines and add a few fiber embellishments.
I'm still planning to add a few final hand touches in the foreground--perhaps some embroidered shells and some beads.
I've got this absolutely wonderful book by Judith baker Montano called Free-Form Embroidery transforming traditional stitches into fiber art.
Her seascapes and landscapes are so textured and luscious, that you could enjoy it just for the beautiful photos. There are lots of how to's and simple stitches to get you inspired.
In between, I've been adding a few more rows to my mandala. They really are addictive. I see more in the future. They're so colorful but I could also imagine some done in monochromatic shades of blue for example.
I'm linking to The Needle and Thread Network.


Monday, August 18, 2014

Crocheted mandala continues, machine quilting, choosing embellishments

I love this kind of day. It is breezy and cool enough to have pulled open the windows and my summer sheers are gently blowing. The sheets are on the line even though there has been the odd shower. There is birdsong accompanying the tinkle of my various garden chimes.
I organized the almost finished deck.

I took a walk about my gardens, clipping and dead heading a few things. I picked 3 pieces-- a hosta leaf, a fern, and a small hydrangea for my antique blue bottle. (Thanks Karine!)

Each time I take a little break, I've added a few more rows to the star mandala. It's going to make a very cheerful table center.

My sewing studio is pleasant too. I sew facing the window where I feel the breeze, hear and watch the birds and look at my garden.

I've almost finished the free motion quilting on the seahorse piece and I've been having fun trying out some fibre embellishments.

I'm planning to finish up the machine work so I can take it with me to the shop where I'll work on a bit of hand embellishment.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

My son's visit, starting a crocheted star mandala, a bike ride

Well, my eldest son and his wife have been for a visit and gone yesterday. They stayed at my brother in laws cottage for a couple of nights, and despite rather dreary weather we had lots of fun. This week with the full moon the surf has been up on the Baie de Chaleur, such as it is here. Being on a bay, we do not get big surf like the Atlantic Ocean coast where my son lives and surfs in southern Nova Scotia. but they were big enough for lots of excitement with the kayaks.
The hardest part was getting out and then the rush was turning and surfing in to shore.
Even I had to try it once. I was out for about 10 minutes and it was enough to strain my shoulder. It was so exhilarating though. I can't do much right now with my arthritis problems, so it's nice to have a little fun.
Shortly after this I caught a wave in and then got dumped. Lots of fun! Bear in mind it was a grey, cool-ish day and we were the only ones in the water. You gotta play when you can!
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Today, my husband went to the golf course and I went to the market and then on to my mother in laws at the beach. We sat busy with our needlework and lunch in  the sun room facing the water--there were large rolling waves coming in from further out -and the sound was lovely.
I've been inspired by the latest blog craze of colorful crocheted mandalas. Using some cotton yarns from my stash, I started this star mandala.
I kind of wanted to come home to my sewing studio, but I knew I needed to get out for a bit of exercise in case we get the thunder showers predicted for later. The sun is shining for now.  I loaded up my camera and went for a little bike ride around the neighborhood. I cannot walk right now due to hip pain,but I can bicycle in an easy gear on the flat. On the bright side, I notice a lot more things when I'm not out for speed.
I found these berries along a little pathway between streets. I like the star burst formation.

I love the way these red ones droop down.
and the pretty shades of oranges before they ripen.

One industrious landlord of a very ordinary and slightly tatty apartment building has made the front space into a lovely garden.
He added some sculptures and some art prints to the facade.

There will be time to get back to the sewing room. One must seize the moment.