Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The day after retreat and a couple more quilts

I didn't even get to take it easy this morning as I had be out for an early doctor's appointment. That accomplished, I then had to see the ophthalmologist in the afternoon. They took me right away but I was there for over two hours by the time it was all done. I had to get the drops in the eyes and yes it was a tear in the vitreous lining as I had guessed.
Not serious at this point but there is some danger of a retinal tear so I have to be rechecked next week. It is quite annoying as I've got a bunch of new specks and threads for floaters as well as flashes of light in the corner of my eye. This too shall pass. (I hope).
I've a few more pictures from retreat. This square in a square quilt in Countdown to Christmas was done by a first time quilter. She had her sister as a teacher and did a wonderful job.

I just love this chickadee wall hanging! My friend, Anne, made it. She had the top done and spent the first afternoon free motion quilting it. I think she did a wonderful job. I hope you can see some of the stitching.

Christmas was definitely a theme this time. Did get a couple more pics. Since they are gifts, I won't add them here.
Besides the postage stamp blocks, I did some blocks for an exchange and then did a bit of free form playing with fabric just for fun.

It's only about 10 by 10 inches. I worked out some of my ideas about how to do it though. I may do more, or I may simply border it and use it for a small project.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Home from retreat

I just got home from camp. I've been soaking and going through email.
And I've just been reading about a tear in the vitreous lining tear of the eye which seems to have happened this afternoon. I have to wait until morning, but since it has happened before in the other eye, I know I have to get it checked. Darn.

This was my corner of the camp. My little Jenome is on the right. We didn't need the wood stove, thank goodness. It would have been too warm for me!

This was my view out the windows. We've seen moose before but it's hunting season right now so none this time. Perhaps they're hiding.
We had rainy weather although unlike the areas that really got hit with Sandy, it wasn't too bad. We are lucky! I'm thinking of all those who are suffering.

This pretty quilt which is a 'Schnibbles' was finished up by Wendy. Her favorite is a red and white quilt. Apparently she has more than sixty reds in her collection.

I did several of my postage stamp blocks which are set into stars. I did more of the 6 by 6 blocks too. Its not the best picture as we were just packing up and I was a bit shaky with fatigue.
The fabric that I needed for my batik quilt, of course arrived in today's mail and was waiting for me when I got home.
As usual, we had a wonderful two days of quilting, eating and of good times. It passed too quickly, but were already planning our Christmas get together?
I will save a few more photos for my next post.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Cutting fabric, packing for retreat

I've spent part of my weekend cutting fabric and getting ready for a biannual quilting retreat that I'm going to for tomorrow and Tuesday. Just one night! You'd think it'd be simple; you should see what I've had to pack! I bring my own bed, a twin air mattress with bedding, so I've got a little extra.
I'm not bringing the quilt I'm working on for my brother since the fabric I was hoping for didn't arrive in time. So instead, among a few small projects, I'm going to work on adding more blocks to the postage stamp quilt. The little squares of fabric in the small plastic container in the top of the photo are 1 1/2 inches. That's the box I'll be taking.
The rest of the squares are assorted sizes that I cut from scraps as I go along.
I won't be here on my blog for a few days.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Hand embroidery

I've finished most of the machine work on the birch trees and I've started doing the hand embellishing.

Two new books arrived this week. One I haven't looked at yet so I'll save posting about it. I'm really excited about Free Form Embroidery by Judith Baker Montano.
Her work is stunning to look at but there is also a great compendium of stitches with suggested uses. The stitches are also shown and labeled in examples of her work. This is what makes it different from other reference books. The textures and colours are so wonderful I want to examine them with a magnifying glass! It's such a great reference and very inspirational at the same time.
So now I'm inspired to sit and do hand work.

One reason why I don't get projects done quickly is that I usually spend my morning doing things around the house. This morning, I made bread. It's baking in the oven right now.
As soon as it's done, I'm going to grab the camera to take along on my walk. That'll take an hour since I stop so often for photos. I just can't stay in on such a beautiful day!
I'll come home, make tea, and sit with my needlework.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Still resting

I'm still taking things slowly after my retreat weekend. I did some wash and made apple crisp besides getting out for a walk. I was also late getting up after having a pounding high blood pressure headache in the night. I've had none since I started taking the medication morning and night. I got up for an ice pack which helps and took my morning dose a little early. Then I fell back to sleep.

I added a little more stitching to the birches-- a bit of a maple tree across the front. I will be adding more layers to the branches as well as to the leaves, but I stopped because I wasn't quite happy with the shape of the sapling. I'll play with it more tomorrow.
I'm linking to the Needle and Thread Network today.

I've started a bit of knitting for Christmas gifts. This scarf is an easy drop stitch pattern found here.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Sorting, sewing, sketching

As I lay abed slowly gaining consciousness this morning, I decided that even though I needed to do a bit of housework and unpack a few things, that I would relax too today.
And that is exactly how my day has gone.
I unpacked and put away a few more things from retreat. I've laid this baby quilt out that I finished quilting and binding. It just needs to be hand stitched down.

I added these two postage stamp blocks to my small collection. I like to do one or two here and there; eventually they will make a quilt.

I tacked these blocks up on my design wall to have a quick look. I spent some time cutting fabric at retreat and sewed a few blocks to see how it will go. This quilt is for my brother and his wife. The colors are chosen to match their bedroom. I notice that the photo is slightly blurred. I'll do a better one as the blocks multiply.

I've been thinking about this piece all weekend and I gave myself a bit of time before going for a walk to free motion stitch some background foliage, more layers to come.

My walk on the trail was soothing. The chickadees came to my hand for their seeds and ad I walked, I noticed all sorts of details that I'd not seen before.

My husband will soon be home for supper, a lentil and Swiss chard soup that is simmering on the stove.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Home again

I tried so hard at retreat to relax and slow time down, but it's over all too quickly anyway. I had a very relaxing time; I was under no pressure to finish anything. Even the meals worked out. I took a vegetarian entree and ate whatever vegetables went with the meals. The ladies were great and even made me a vegetable soup for lunch one day.

This pretty star was made with Countdown to Christmas by my friend Sue. She also surprised me with a belated birthday gift that really awed me! I had cut a charm pack from my stash as part of a Christmas exchange last year which Sue won in the Chinese gift thing that we did. Then she used them in this Schnibbles pattern of the month and decided to give it to me.

It is currently residing on the back of my sofa.

This fall wall hanging was made by a true beginner, my son's girlfriends mom. We sat next to each other and I helped her a bit but isn't it something for the first time?

I missed getting a photo of this when Gisele had the blocks on the wall, so I got her to hold up what she had put together. I love the colors! I'm sorry I didn't make a note of the pattern.
I didn't do any work on my art pieces but rather used the time to do some cutting and piecing as well as finishing up the quilting and the binding on a a baby quilt. I'll have pictures next time.

Saturday, October 20, 2012


Here I am at retreat and writing a bit on my blog. I'm taking a little break from cutting and sewing to rest my back.

We have all manner of quilters and projects. Notice the piece on the wall? Isn't that neat? I'm kind of interested in it. You need a special wedge ruler and the book of projects.

And of course I love color so this one appeals to me.

Scrappy is another favorite of mine.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Zig zagging along

I put in another hour or so on the shaded side of the trees this afternoon. This morning I did my lap swim.

I still have more white to do but I really wanted to try some black stitching to see how it would work. I'm feeling like I could've used a darker grey; however, I have nothing in between the grey I used for the shadows and the black.
Of course there's no shop in town to purchase it either.
What do you think of the black?
I will be adding some leaves as well. That should help.
Tomorrow, I will need to start packing for my guild retreat which starts Friday afternoon and goes until Sunday afternoon. I'm taking a baby quilt to finish quilting and binding, a batik quilt that I'm starting and the birch trees. Then there's all the paraphernalia like cutting boards, rulers, an iron and even my computer chair! It's important to be comfortable for all that stitching!
I will have some pictures next week.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The zig zagging continues

By the end of this piece, I'm sure you'll have gotten tired of seeing the zig zag on birch trees!
I couldn't get out for a walk for the last couple of days due to the rain, so today I attempted to follow my Zumba DVD. I do a rather poor imitation but I worked up a sweat anyway.

Will you believe me if I tell you I spent over an hour at the machine stitching more trees? Honest, I did!

When I ran out of white bobbin thread, I decided to put in some grey thread for the shading on the right side of the tree just to see how it would look. You can see the two on the left that I started.
Once I've done all the trees, I have to add a darker grey here and there for the darker areas you see on birch trees.
Only then will I be ready for the leaves. Sigh. Maybe I should have stuck with an easier version.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Some birches

Well, I gathered up my courage and cut the piece from yesterday in half vertically. Each piece will measure about 7 by 9 inches.
Before taking the rotary cutter to it though, I added a few more birches and their branches.
I think I might do the birches using two different techniques. I want to also try to thread paint some golden ferns in the forefront. For this I'm consulting one of my new books.
Machine Embroidered Flowers, Woodlands and Landscapes

I've just gotten started on the birch trees. I don't plan to stitch any of the background details.
Doing the trees with the zig zag is new to me, so I'm really not sure how it will end. But I always have the second one!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Finally some creative time

We had a nice leisurely Sunday breakfast this morning and then I proceeded to my painting table.
Do you remember this from last week? I wasn't sure about it, but added a couple more layers and I think I like it.

The branches that you can see here and there were done with a primitive homemade stamp that I made a while ago made by squeezing white glue onto a piece of corrugated cardboard.
I may add one more bit of trees. I'm contemplating cutting it into 2or 3 vermicelli sections.

I only used the branches in the area where you can see the brown paint.

Next I needed to get some leaves done. Last week, I cut up several colours into bits with the curved rotary cutter and stored them in baggies.
The snippets are sandwiched between two layers of Cling Wrap plus and ready to free motion stitch.

They need to be ironed between sheets of newspaper to get rid of the plastic. Then I'll cut them up into bunches of leaves.
I still have to do the other colours.

My garden needed some cleaning and I needed some fresh air this afternoon. These nasturtiums were the very last flowers that were still alive. They were protected by some other plants which I cleaned out, so I thought I might as well bring them in.
We had some fresh from the garden carrots with our supper.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Market day

I made a quick trip to the market this morning where I picked up my favourite veggie spring rolls, kimbap, which is the Korean name for sushi, spinach bread and some wild cranberries, picked by a friend of mine. Thanks, Tess!

I made these muffins right after lunch. As is usual for me, I made a few changes. I always add less sugar and today I added whole wheat flour, oat bran and flax meal.
They are delicious! Ive just eaten my way through what you see on the plate.
I'm going to get ready for a walk.
By the way, I just added my latest cushion (cover only) to my Etsy shop found on the sidebar.
I wrote about it in this post.

In case you're interested, here is the recipe with my noted changes.

Now, I'm going to change and get out for my walk even though its pretty chilly!

Friday, October 12, 2012


Although cold today (we had snow overnight), the sun was breaking through the clouds by the time I got home after lunch. I had the urge to do some sewing but the outdoors was calling me.
So I donned some warm clothes and went for a walk in the woods. The trail was golden, strewn with fallen leaves. I picked up the helicopters from under a maple tree on my way back.

I get such a feeling of peace and tranquility when I'm in the woods. I feel so much better. Then I get creative.
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Shibori piece

I seem to be spinning my wheels a lot but not getting a lot done. Yesterday, I did my swim in the morning, lunch, and a couple of errands. Today, I had another couple of stops to make on the way to the dentist for my cleaning and check up.

I just finished putting a binding together to go with the Victoria quilt, so that feels good.

This is the piece I painted and then added the shibori in the grey/brown colour. I'm not happy with it, partly because of the bunching and slipping I was getting with the nylon twine.
I can't paint anymore fabric either because I've run out of a key colour of the paint and need to order it. Don't you love it when you keep hitting road blocks?
I may play with it anyway as a practice piece to try out some of my ideas.
The next couple of weeks may not be the most artistically productive for me. I'm going to be getting ready for a guild retreat next weekend. There's a certain amount of organizing, cutting and packing that goes on beforehand. I'm taking traditional quilting with me as I find it hard to take all the required art supplies. It is a quilt retreat after all.
I may take one small sandwiched art piece to play a bit on if I get bored with the other stuff.
I can't believe it's Thursday already!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Victoria's quilt

While lying in bed night before last, I was thinking about the conversation at UFO day about the need for quilts for cancer patients. Have you ever heard of Victoria's quilts? If you know someone who has cancer, you can call and request a quilt for them. It is lap sized with a flannel back and comes with a carrying bag so the person can take it when they get treatments.
Well, here in NB they've run out.
I thought of a quilt that I had done last year which was all sandwiched, basted and ready for quilting. The only thing is it wasn't quite the right size.

It just needed 10 inches in length. I took it apart and added an upper and lower border this morning. Someone else has offered to quilt it, I just have to make the binding to go with it.
This is the link for Victoria's Quilts.

If you Google it you will find the one for the USA. I have personally requested quilts and know how worthwhile it is. They are greatly appreciated and loved.

Monday, October 8, 2012

a quiet holiday Monday

It's just my husband and I this weekend. We joined some family at the cottage for a potluck dinner last night. This morning we got up at our own time and decided to do a few household chores rather than go to the golf course. Even though it had stopped raining, everything was still wet.
I've been puttering around in the sewing room and studio this afternoon. The first thing I did was to wrap my painted fabric onto a tin can to paint.
 I mixed up a color of fabric paint and applied it with a sponge brush. Below you can see where I've started to unwrap it. I did take a picture of the piece completely unwrapped but the color didn't come out true. I want to re-wrap it anyway so I can get to a couple of unpainted areas. On any other pieces I did using this shibori technique, I used white cotton string. Since I couldn't find it, I resorted to a nylon string.which I wouldn't recommend. It slips too much.
I'm not really happy with the color of the 'trees' either. I may have to paint another piece and get out to buy the right string. It really is about the process isn't it? I will show it once it's painted and pressed though.

Since I wanted to feel like I finished something, I put the cushion together. I didn't have the right size cushion for the inside which is why it is looking a little deflated. It's a good example of how truly disorganized I am sometimes. I didn't even measure it and make it for a standard cushion. Now I must measure and if I can't get a preformed cushion, I'll make one. OK, so it's not quite finished. I sure like the colors though!

Saturday, October 6, 2012


It's just a quick post to announce the winners of my birthday/anniversary giveaway.
The winner of the magazine subscription for A Needle Pulling Thread is Wanda at

And the winner of my little fabric postcard is Donna C.


One of these days I will need to figure out how to use a random number generator. I assure you it was fair though. I cut all the bits the same and had my husband do the choosing.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Giveaway draw tomorrow

It's a been a while since I used the Setacolour transparent paints and I'd quite forgotten how much they fade as they dry. Here is my piece from yesterday.

Since it 's much too pale for what I had in mind, I went at it with the paints again. It has to be darker than the desired result.

The one above is still wet.

And here is the same piece all dry. I think I can work with it.
I had also forgotten how nice the transparent paints feel on the cotton. I may be thinking up more projects.

I've been working on getting a screen made by Margaret Aplin. My samples from the other day seemed to have too much black, so this afternoon, I got caught up in doing more.
The one above was my favourite in the bunch. You will be amazed at what Margaret can do with it using Photoshop.
So, no sewing. All this leads to another fabric piece though. They are always multi layered both in ideas and techniques.

Don't forget to comment on this post from Oct 3rd if you haven't already to be eligible for the draw.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

painting on fabric and machine quilting

I need to finish up a couple of pieces I've been working, on but yesterday while I was doing laps at the pool, I had this idea floating around in my head. that I just had to try  this afternoon before I could sit down to sew.
I've still got more shibori painted trees in my mind. This time I wondered about painting a background first instead of using a commercial print like I used in the birches piece. I'm showing you this as I work through it and have no idea if it will work or not! It's an experiment.
I used Setacolor transparent paints, spritzed the white Kona cotton and applied them in a watered down solution that I mixed on a recycled Styrofoam meat tray.  Using a soft watercolor brush I loosely dabbled it on. Here is what it looks like wet:
I left it to dry and moved on to the sewing machine where I finished the bit of free motion quilting on the grey and mauve piece. I've decided to make it into a pillow with a linen backing.
Here is a bit of detail of the quilting on the back. Not perfect but it'll be OK. Who'll be examining it it when they're sitting against it, eh? Well maybe a quilter.
I hope you're having a creative Thursday!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A Special Giveaway

It is beautiful, sunny and warm out. Boy do I feel better today! I think yesterday was too much for me when I was still catching up after the weekend. Last night, I had a good sleep and this morning, I went to the spa to do my laps. I was alone in the pool with the sun streaming through the wall of windows while I swam. In the sauna I stretched out and concentrated on my breathing. By the time I was done, I felt relaxed and replenished.
All during my laps I thought about the painting I wanted to do this afternoon. I was intrigued by Margaret Applin's post and little tutorial using India ink and black acrylic paint.Making a Thermofax screen

On the first attempts I didn't quite get the concept of watering down the India ink to produce a grey which could then be worked over top of with the black acrylic. I loved the concept and the shapes I was getting and by the third attempt I did get some grey.
My watercolour paper was quite large too, varying, but about 16 by 20.

This one was too black but I was having fun!

When leaving the pool this morning, I found these weeds on the edge of the parking lot. I loved the shape of the leaves and the wispy lines of the dried flower heads.
This one is my favorite!

And now for the giveaway!!! I've been blogging for 3 years. The exact date was sometime in August but I decided to celebrate the blog anniversary along with my birthday which is on Saturday.
I am giving away prizes!!! The first is the fabric postcard you can see above.
The second prize was very graciously provided by the magazine A Needle Pulling Thread. It is a wonderful Canadian needle arts magazine. They have offered me a full year's subscription for a lucky commenter.

A Needle Pulling Thread

I'm not sure how clear my picture above of the fall issue will be, but you can go check out the link.

So, all you have to do is leave me a comment and you'll be entered to win one of the two items. I will make the draw on my birthday, Saturday, Oct. 6th at 8:00 DST.