Tuesday, December 18, 2007

what the heck is it?

Thanks, Linda, for putting up the picture. This little hanging has been on my design wall for about 18 months. It was the original piece intended to be my Journal quilt for Houston 2007. The original grid was discharged, then stamped over with paint, and then stamped over again with more paint. Just didn't work. so it sat up onthe wall while I made a second gridded piece for the journal quilt. It didn't work either, but I turned it into a small hanging to display hand made beads( that's another story). The final journal quilt was a sunprinted dandelion with a Haiku on it. I saw a piture of it hanging in Houston, so I know it actually made it. Anyway, I was still bothered by what to do with this original grid. I found a batik that went well and added the curved pieces--but I still didn't know where to go from there. My friend Christine said "it needs circles". Suddenly I saw the whole design in my mind and had it finished within two days. It just took a small remark to send me off in another direction. so now my challenge is how to save another piece I hope to show. I can't put up a picture because that would make it ineligible for the show. I've become very disheartened with it and have tucked it away while I work on other things, hoping I can go back to it with fresh eyes. What I've been doing is making post cards. And here's a picture

Friday, December 14, 2007

Oh what a thrill

Since Pat doesn't come to her blog very often and has problems putting pictures up. Let's just say that she's probably as blogger challenged as I am with bindings LOL. I thought I'd put a couple of pictures up for her of one of her creations. I don't remember if this was a challenge quilt or what but whatever it is. I LIKE IT!

Today was our guild meeting at MPQ and Pat did show and tell and I couldn't resist taking these pictures.

Pat, hope you don't mind. If you do, please let me know and I'll take the pics down for you.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

what a shock!

I actually got into this blog! I can't tell you how many times I've tried but not been able to access this blog. Linda was good enought to post a picture of the last thing I made--my little tower. I'me very pleased with it and hope to make a couple more. I've been busythis fall geting ready for the pre-Christmas sales. I didn't do as well as ihad hoped, but I did okay. Now I can pay off the supplies I bought to make the stuff I tried to sell. I had thought I would have a break, but now find myself signed up for two more big sales in April. So it's right back to work. I'm also hoping to be able to make about 5 fibre collage hangings to enter into shows over the next few months. As long as I can get into this blog I'll keep you informaed about how I'm making out.

On a personal note, I've been busy the last couple of days with a new Grand child. Samantha Demi Helen Shipp was born Sunday morning. It has been a bit of a struggle for her, but all seems to be going well now. My DD is doing well, and big sister Jessica is quite excited but a little annoyed that the baby is always sleeping. We'llcontinue praying that all continues to go well.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

If at first you don't succeed, try try again

Since Pat is having trouble getting her photos on her blog, I thought I'd put this one up for her (hint hint). This is a picture of a tower that she made from our Ravenesque sewing day this past Thursday. The pattern is from the Quilting Arts magazine, the Gift edition. It's it just lovely?

See Pat? I put this picture up on the first try.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Try, try, again

Obviously, it didn't work. This is so frustrating! I'm trying to move into the 21st Century, but it seems that the century is fighting back. Well, DH wants his computer back so I'll have to try again later. I have spent 40 minutes trying to do this. I could be doing other things.

Trying again

I'm trying again to send pictures to this blog. Every time I try I get into all sorts of weird places, and only rarely actually manage to get a picture on here. When I do it disappears in a few days, along with the message. I suppose they are in blog archives. I'm going to try to make a label for this and see what happens. Maybe someday I'll figure all of this out. This picture is of a small piece I made to try out a process called "Poverty Piecing" where you seam up the smallest pieces of scrap fabric. I didn't go as small as some peo-le with this, and I think it's worked out okay. I also tried putting a facing on the piece instead of a binding. I think I need to work ont the technique a bit, but it looks promising.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

What do I want?

I've not been blogging because I think my blog is bo-o-oring, and because I'm betting not many people are reading it ( thinking of you Ada Betty--I know you read it). So how can I make it more interesting? I've been visiting other blogs, and I'm blown away with the pictures. I rarely take pictures and only when someone reminds me ( thank you Linda) that means that every time I want to post a picture I have to learn how to, all over again. (Mind you, maybe if I posted more often that wouldn't be a problem) But when I do post a picture, it slowly disappears as the blog entries scroll away. I guess I want a section where the pictures can stay forever. I like the way Roseanne has several different sections according to what her interests are. I don't have a lot of varied interests, though. I want a picture of me--guess that means taking one. I had my passport picture taken this morning--oh oh--noblog pictures of this face! I like Linda's little moving slide show of her quilts. Most of my quilts hve gone to other homes--no pictures there.
AAARGh! How can I make this more interesting?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Back to work

Now I really have to get my act together. All of the visiting family have gone home--the last one left this morning. I've made a list of all the commissions and commitments I have, and it looks like I'll be busy until Christmas--except they are all due within the next month! EEEk! I've got to get to work! Except I'ld much rather sit here or play internet poker. What's a girl to do?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Geckos and labyrinths

Finally, I'm back in the swim of things. I'm told that my torn retina is healing nicely, but that it could tear again. ( Oh swell!!). Anyway I had friends over to try out some "sun printing". We had a ball and everyone went home with several pieces to play with. I had wanted to do one with the outline of a gecko, and had cut several gecko's ( at least I thought they were geckos) from craft foam to use as a mask for the paint. They look okay but not quite right. So today I went to the library and found all sorts of pictures of geckos and hundreds of other lizards and reptiles. Boy, was I off base with that gecko's foot! The idea worked so well with the sunprinting that I want to make a much better planned one and work it into an embroidered picture. I also wanted to get the gecko's colour right. No problem there--any colour under the sun is okay!! I bought a book on making embroidered bags and purses on Saturday, and I have a hunch the gecko will appear on one of them soon.

Then this morning I heard from a juried show I had entered. They want one of my pieces, not for the show, but for the catalogue cover and the show flyers. What a thrill!! There is even a chance that I could sell the original picture in a gift shop that will be associated with the show. So now, of course, I want to make hundreds of pictures to sell. What a laugh! I know what it costs to make them, not only in terms of paying for supplies and framing, but also in terms of the wear and tear on my hands. Maybe not such a good idea. So I've spent the rest of the day sitting and puttering and dreaming, and accomplished almost nothing. What a neat way to spend a day!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Sometimes life gives you lemons...

It's been awhile, but over the last week or so I've been to emergency four times, and had eye surgery twice. I even had a serious gall bladder attack, despite having had my gall bladder removed five years ago! Believe me, I've had better weeks. Using the computer is very difficult for me--I just can't see the darn thing! So this will be short. I have a big family reunion this weekend. It's out of town, and I'm not likely to get to a computer until at least next Wednesday or Thursday. My sale last weekend was poor, but there was sure a lot of interest in my sunprints, so I'm going to make a few more of those. In fact, I have a commission for one. Anyway, have a great long weekend, and I'll be back next week.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Progress report

My blue and silver piece is coming along just fine, thank you for asking. I'm progressing slowly, about 2 hours each evening. I have a big sale this weekend and may take it along to work on during slow times. I like to be busy at sales. It brings people to the booth, at least. I did another piece yesterday. This was a technique out of Stitches magazine involving silk paper and brown paper painted with planned colours (including metallics), and then fusible web, painted in an associated colour, attached to the brown paper. You pile up a layer of muslin, two layers of painted brown paper, your silk paper, and a design marked on tracing paper. Pin it all together and machine stitch along all of the lines of the design at least twice. Are you confused yet? Then parts of the design are cut away to reveal one of the layers of painted brown paper. Once you have cut away as much as you wish, the whole thing is pressed to fuse it all together,and then embellished with beads or whatever. I am very pleased with the result. Colour choice is essential for success, and since this is an area I've been struggling with, it's something I need to play with and get more comfortable with. I want to do more of these, and then maybe mount them for framing. I need to make more silk paper, but need to buy more silk roving for that. It may be awhile.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

I mentioned that I sewed for two hours last evening. I have taken an idea out of a magazine and wanted to try it out. I usually work my smaller pieces in layers. For this I started with a lovely piece of pale blue shantung satin, then a layer of silver mesh, and then a piece of silk paper out of which I had cut three holes to reveal the silver mesh underneath. Sounds lovely doesn't it? Not so! It was bland and ugly. I was disappointed. I've done it again. Let the ideas in my brain take over and not spent enough time on serious designing. No wonder I'm feeling like I can't produce anything. There are so many ideas in my head and I'm so anxious to get them into fibre that I rush ahead without really thinking it through.
So I decided to try to recover what I would have normally just, literally, thrown out. What to do? And how important is it to me to produce something that could be considered fine art? I decided that I will likely never show this to anyone. so I only have to please myself. I need to produce a piece that pleases me, for my own satisfaction, so that I can get my self confidence back. So this is only for me. Okay, I auditioned fibres and beads, and found objects. I went to the colour wheel to see what I could do to give the piece some life. Complement of shaded blue? Yellow ochre. Not in this lifetime!! So we ended up with lime green, Hunter green, turquoise and teal. I'm still within an analagous colour scheme, but, oh, does that teal make it sing!! I even took a page out of my friend Dianne's book and used some rat tail! Now I'm very busy couching fibre. the design is not great, but I'm happy with what I'm producing. It has been months since I've had this feeling of pleasure with my work. When it's finished, I may just reconsider showing it to you.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Muses and musings

I was worried about my muse. I thought she had left and then come back. She is really here, and I have so many ideas, but now I'm having doubts again about my technical ability to carry them out. So I went to talk to friends, which lead me to think about why I would go to these particular friends for support. It is because these friends know how important my stitching is to me, and they can empathize with my worry and concern about not being able to stitch the way I want to--and used to be able to do. I stitched for two hours this evening,and now it's enough for today. I used to stitch for 12 to 16 hours a day, for several days in a row. I know I have to recognize what a blessing it is that I can stitch at all. Two of the ladies I spoke to really gave me pause for thought. One has sold her house and is moving away to be closer to her family. She's leaving behind the support system that she has developed over a life time. The other one has a job that keeps her moving around the country. She is now on holiday and drove for two or three days to spend time with her stitchery support system here. Our stitching/quilting friends are irreplaceable. No-one can understand the force that drives us to this sort of creativity, except another stitcher/quilter. So hug your stitching/quilting friends today. They can't be replaced.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Nope, no pictures yet. I'll try a little later. but I want to celebrate! I think my muse may be coming home to stay rather than just visiting every few weeks and then disappearing. I have several ideas to get down on paper, and even have picked fabrics and paints etc. for each of them. I actually went to visit the Sketch Club last night. Now I know that I'm not ready for that sort of exposure or critique. I need to pick some drawing skills so that I can get these ideas into my sketch book, but the work I did last night just proved to me how much I need to practise. So I'm going to try to draw a little bit every day. I just know that I can't plan my work and prepare my patterns without some sort of skill. I've actually bought a book and read some articles on how to set up a sketch book for fibre artists. It looks like fun.

Friday, July 13, 2007

What a horrible day! We gathered the family together and all went down to the lake last night (with a forecast of beautiful sunny weather for today), so we could work at putting a new roof on our building. It wasn't a good night, and most of the family got very little sleep. Then we all got up this morning to the sort of rain that you just know is going to stick around all day. By 10:00 a.m. half of us weren't speaking, so we packed up and came home. This could be laughed off, except for the $140.00 it cost us for gas to get all the supplies and the family down there! And nothing was accomplished!

I've managed to find more greeting card blanks, so will be spending time this weekend making up more greeting cards for the sale at the end of the month. I had been lead to believe that there were none available so I'm quite happy to have found these. I have no idea what will actually sell, but I'm betting that the greeting cards will be more popular than a lot of the other things I have. We'll have to see how things go. I'll post a picture when I get them done.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

This hasn't been a terribly good week, or month, for that matter. We had not one but two plumbing emergencies in June, then my toaster oven went, followed by my microwave. This week we went down to check on a small property we own. We wanted to check the small outbuilding where we sleep. Well, the vapour barrier over the ceiling insulation was absolutely full of the carcasses of dead beetles. I've never seen so many in one spot before. There were thousands. We also found that mice had got in over the winter and had pulled the stuffing out of our bed to use for nests. So DH carried all of the furniture out onto the grass and started to pull down the vapour barrier with the idea of getting rid of the insulation. Then he discovered that a small colony of bats had moved in over the winter. Well, we cleaned up as best we could, pulled all of the curtains down to bring home to wash, and were doing a final vacuum before moving the furniture back in, when I looked up and realized that there were holes in the roof. I could see daylight. We hadn't noticed until the insulation was taken out. So we're now looking at replacing the roof, the bed and all of the bedding. We also have to patch every small hole we can find anywhere to keep the bats and mice out. This is going to be very, very expensive. As well, since we can't afford to hire someone to do it, we will have to do all the work ourselves. We came home and were feeling very sorry for ourselves, when I noticed a puddle of water by the fridge. That's right, now we have to have the fridge repaired. It's only 18 months old and just off warrantee. What's more we are having a family reunion in early August, with part of the gathering going to be at the cottage--so we can't delay getting the work done. I guess this means we'll be serving our guests macaroni without the cheese. I feel so sorry for myself that I haven't set foot outside since we got home Thursday evening. I can only think of the old saying. "Take one day at a time",--- but I now know that sometimes the days gang up on you.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007


As promised, I've spent the last couple of days playing, and I've ended up making grocery bags. Yes, grocery bags! I needed a few more cotton bags and have found that the bags are the perfect place to try out all of the wonderful techniques I'm getting out of library books. It really doesn't matter if the design turns out, because-- who cares on a grocery bag? So far I've experimented with colouring a simple graphic design and then spritzing it with a little water to see which colours run and which don't and the effects you get from the blend of colours. I've learned not to use too much colour as you just end up with ugly blobs. Using rubber stamps is tricky. If the stamp doesn't take, the image disappears under another layer of colour wash. If you reinforce the image with india ink, the ink can run even if it's heat set ( that one was a surprise!) Next on the list is playing with pure colour washes to see how the blending effect emerges. Then I'll maybe add a couple of layers of black design. I'll let you know what happens.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

still looking...

for my muse. One of the books I got has some wonderful ideas for using paint on textiles. A lot of the ideas involve rubber stamps, but I have quite a few of my own stamps for this just might work. I've tidied up my studio, and then spent the afternoon putting together some greeting cards. It's mindless work and they seem to sell well. Next I'm thinking of digging out my file of "Fast Friday" Challenges. I've only done 2 out of the nine but maybe if I give some of the others a try, my "artist/child" may come out of hiding. I also spent a fair bit of time today sorting through some painting and dyeing that I did a couple fo years ago. I found some mono-prints and some shaving cream prints that I plan to experiment with. I don't think any of them is great art,but they are certainly good enough to fool around with. So I'm off on a journey of discovery, after having given myself permission to relax and enjoy the ride, without any worries about the final destination.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Got in again!

I have been working very, very hard lately and recently I've had three major projects go wrong. I have to wonder if the stress of trying to do too much, and to meet deadlines, is interfering with my creativity. Technically, things are going well, it's more in the design and creative area where I'm having problems. I recently found a list of 20 creative exercises that are supposed to help a textile/fibre artist learn and grow, but half of them don't make any sense to me. I honestly don't know what the words mean. So, I'm going to give myself a holiday and not attempt anything serious for the next few days. I actually spent the morning making jam! Now I'm thinking of going to the library and finding some simple books on design and creativity, in hopes that they might clarify the list of exercises, but they are going to have to be fun. No serious work for me.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

And here is the close-up. I love doing these, and I've been converting my friends to, at least, try the technique. We are finding out that the process works under full-spectrum lighting and that you don't necessarily need the sun to produce a good print. Somehow, I feel that the process of painting, printing and then sitting and watching the sun do it's thing, adds to the whole-ness of the experience. I don't know if it would be the same emotional experience doing it any other way.

This is a second finished sunprint hanging. I've been told that orange will not sell, but I love this piece as the images are so very crisp, and clear. There is no beading in this piece--the colours are so strong that I didn't feel it needed it. This one may not go into the sale.

Boy, I sure don't take very good pictures! This is a close-up that may show you how I've added beads to the sunprint.

Well, I'm not sure what I've done here! the image is sideways and I'm going to have to figure out how to rotate it. This is one of my finished sunprint hangings. My favourrite.

Hot D--n!

Wow! I got in again--can this be the start of a trend? Maybe I need to get a whole bunch of pictures of my sun prints to post before Google kicks me out again.


I actually managed to get into my blog. I don't know what Google has been doing to me lately, but this is the first time I've been able to get in in almost a month! I have to tell you that Tree of Peace is safely home! I was worried, but it arrived a few days after my last post. Since then I have been working my little fingers to the bone on Sunprints! What fun! I use Seta-Color paint and leaves out of my garden. I've tried it in several different colour combinations and have made so many that I've just about run out of paint! I'm making them up into small quilted hangings and a few smaller ones are matted ready for framing. I plan to offer them for sale in Pinawa in late July. I also plan to make a few applique landscapes and have those framed ready for sale as well. I have greeting cards with applique landscapes, and they look really good, so I'm hoping that the slightly larger matted ones do well. I'm making them in common sizes so that frames will be readily available. Some are 8" by 10, and others 11" by 14". I've invested a lot in this sale--if I don't do well, I know what the family will be getting for Christmas! Wish me luck!

Once I have enough stock for the sale I have to get busy and get ready for my new Grandbaby, who will be here in November. I made quite a few things for my DD's first child and I don't want to have any less for the second one. The family has an antique swinging cradle that we completely refurbished when little Jessica came, but I don't think we want to do that again. We had a terrible fight with the upholsterer who made the little mattress. That little mattress will have to do for at least this generation!

Enough for now. I'll try again tomorrow and see if I can get in again.

Friday, June 1, 2007

This will give a better view of the "mountains", and the gold mesh arches. The bad part of this is that the picture has not yet arrived back from Newfoundland, even though it was mailed over a week ago. I'm getting a little concerned, but was very glad to find these pictures in my camera. Since I wasn't actually the one who mailed it, I don't even have a trace number or an insurance receipt. I'll keep hoping, but I've heard bad stories about art work being stolen while in transit.
Here is a close-up of the tree itself, where you can see how the colours of the silk were used to give contour to the tree shape. I put my source of light up and to the left for shading.

Here is a picture of my piece titled "Tree of Peace". I named it after many people told me that they had a sense of peace after looking at it. I entered it in the Winnipeg Embroiderers' Guild Members Show in February 2008, where it won the Eleanor Thomas Award for members choice-- Best of Show. I was then encouraged to send it off the the Embroiderers' Association of Canada Annual Members Show in St. John's Newfoundland in May of 2008. I was very pleased when it was awarded second place in the Leonida Leatherdale Award for Members Choice Best of Show. It is on silk, and I first put down a piece of hand made silk paper, which I had cut into four pieces. I'm told that this gives an appearance of mountains. Then I put down three arches of gold mesh and couched Japanese Gold around the edges of them. The tree itself, is done with chain stitch and outline stitch using five different skeins of overdyed silk thread to provide the contours. I'm always surprised at what you can do with simple stitches.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Golden Sacrifice close up

Here is a close up of the head of my fish. You can see the details, and might even notice that I did some painting inhis mouth and along the contours of his spine. Some of my friends think this is a girl fish, but I've thought of him as a boy fish right from the first work I did on him.
His eyes are made of hand appliqued, stuffed kid leather, such as you might find in ecclesiastical gold work. I had a tiny piece and it was just perfect for "fishy". I tried a lot of other ways of doing his eyes, including getting some fish eyes from a taxidermist, but nothing else worked.

Golden Sacrifice

This is a picture of the quiltlet I made for the Quilting Arts Calendar contest, 2008. I painted the background, then FMQ'd before adding the fish. He is made from hand appliqued gold lame. I did a bit of soft sculpture in his body, before hand embroidering the details. The scales are made of sequin waste, and his gill cover is painted Tyvek. The fins are organza that has been machine emboidered, painted with Lumiere metalic paint, and then had the edges burned with an electric needle. The weeds are machine appliqued, and the beads are bone beads that I bought in Cuba.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Thank you Linda!

I've managed to get into my blog again after too long a time! My friend Linda helped me, yet again, after I'd given up and thought I would never blog again! In the past few weeks I've attempted to sign in and been denied, but have sometimes been able to get in after trying again a few hours later. Let's hope this time it works for good.

Over the past few weeks I've been trying to get ready for two important shows. Now I've been asked to teach a class and have to have my samples ready by mid-June, so that's yet another looming deadline. Work has not been going well, and I've been doubting I would ever be ready for any of them. Well, yesterday I sat down and got a big piece of the work done for the first show. I still have a long way to go, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and that keeps me going. I can't tell you what a relief it is to actually believe that I might make it and have something ready!

Once I get these deadlines behind me, I have so many other ideas in my head! I have been taking watercolour painting classes and what to make a three-dimensional object that incorporates both fibre work and watercolour painting. I have the whole project more or less sorted out in my head, and I'm dying to get working on it. But the deadlines come first. (This really makes me think about entering shows and sales. But I have to sell stuff so I can buy more fabric. What a conundrum!)

Monday, May 7, 2007

Spinning yourself into the ground

Have you ever been that busy? I sometimes don't know my right hand from my left, these days. I want to do it all!! I want to work on all the projects in my brain, but the projects I worked on yesterday aren't finished. Now I have show deadlines and no hope of ever making them. And I still haven't found time to re-learn how to use my camera or to post pictures on the blog! This weekend I took a course on perspective in landscapes for quilters. No new information on perspectives ( How often can you hear the "same old, same old"?) This teacher didn't even think we were capable of learning two point perspective, let alone the difference in perspective indoors and out. The question is always " did I learn even one thing in this course? And if I did then the course was worthwhile. I have always found this a good way to look at courses. They also provide dedicated time to work on something. Time away from phones etc. with nothing else calling on your time. Sometimes they are worth their weight in gold just for that reason. Well I learned how to mount small quilted pictures within a mat. I actually think that I might make up several of these and take them to the next sale I have to go to. I wonder if they might sell? Tonight I get to chill out with friends who like playing with fibres as much as I do. What more can I ask?

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Haiku's and Internet poker

It is getting more and more difficult to get my DH away from the computer, since he discovered internet poker. I have a bunch of stuff I need to do and this morning is the first time I've been able to sit down and actually do anything. I have to confess that I enjoy a game now and then, but not for hours at a time! Yesterday I went to a guild meeting and there were vendors there. I found the neatest little book. It is "Poetry and Patchwork" by Gyleen X. Fitzgerald and James W. Pryde, Jr. Each page pairs a picture of a quilt and a Haiku. I bought it for my friend, Dianne, who promptly loaned it back to me so that I could read it. She often writes Haiku's and actually incorporates them into her quilts! Maybe I'll even get inspired! Dianne and I met with a lady yesterday who wanted some of our stuff to put in her shop on consignment. Both of us feel that we would rather make the stuff than spend time trying to sell it. But at the same time, we have to find venues that support the type of work we do and the prices we feel are appropriate. Dianne took a booth at a high profile show a couple of weeks ago and it turned out to be most inappropriate in terms of price range. Her stuff is quite unique and really does belong in an art show, where the price range is within line with her prices. My stuff rarely sells anywhere, no matter what price I charge--so maybe I should just be happy with making the stuff and entering shows.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Still at it!

It seems like just yesterday that I last wrote here, but I see it's been a week. A busy week. I've had meetings every night, and this afternoon I had my third drawing class. I feel that I need to develop skill in drawing if I'm going to be designing my own patterns and preparing hand outs for classes. This class has four weeks of drawing and then four weeks of watercolour instruction. Today we worked with charcoal--and I hope I never have to use it again. I didn't like the way the pictures looked when we were finished, and I hated the mess it made not only of my hands, but of my clothes as well. I'm really looking forward to the watercolour classes. I'm hoping that they will help me develop an eye for transparancies that I can use with fabric and other fibres. I've always loved the look of transparancies in quilted things and would love to be able to make them myself.

My boxes are coming along quite nicely. I've been making stumpwork leaves for one box. These are worked with densly stitched overdyed silk thread--a single thread at a time. I've chosen a colour that is reminiscent of maple leaves in fall- oranges and deep pinks and dark greens-- and plan to call the box, "Maple Leaf Box". It will be made of a very deep red Dupioni silk. The other box will be embroidered and based on a warm, dark brown Dupioni silk. I'll be using several different threads for that one, but I've painted lace motifs to applique under the embroidery. It should be quite nice.

Tonight I have a satellite group meeting. This is a small group of other fibre people who get together once a month to encourage each other and to share skills. This group is primarily quilters. Last evening I went to a similar group of stitchers, and I also belong to a group of embellishers. They sure keep me busy, but I don't think I could be nearly as productive without their encouragement and support.

I guess that's what all of my efforts are about, sharing ideas and support with groups of like-minded people.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

It Worked!!

After several months of pain and frustration, I think I've worked out a method of constructing a fabric box, that has minimal impact on my poor, arthritic hand and wrists. This is very important to me, as I have been making boxes for years, derive great pleasure from it, and was so very sad at not being able to sew them together. I have taken box making from an excellent teacher, and read many books about many different methods. So my method is an amalgam of all of my reading and experience over almost 40 years. I am now going to set this up as a class, including hand outs, and will post pictures as I get them. The next step is to make a box using a different pattern to the one I've experimented on. I need to prove the method works! I have actually been asked to teach box making, and had deferred answering until I was sure that I could handle the physical work. Now that I know I can do it, I can accept the offer( the shopowner knows what I've been doing), and get to work. I'm very, very excited. I also have plans to enter a box made with this method into a fine art competition. That will be an interesting experiment!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

what next?

The past few months have been very busy for me, and now I have no urgent pending shows or sales, and I don't know what to do with myself!! There are shows coming up, and, of course, I have nothing ready to show, so maybe the problem is getting my a** in gear and get down to business. But it's spring, (I think, at least the calendar says it's spring, --I'm still wearing a parka) and I want to walk in the flowers, and smell the fresh air. (Maybe next month.) The down side of spring is spring cleaning, and as I look around there sure is that to be done. There is nothing like sunshine coming in through a window to show the dust that has accumulated over the past few months. My biggest job will be taking down all of the Venetian blinds and washing them. It's a "once a year" task and one I dread. The new rugs are now about 16 months old and may be due for a cleaning. We've noticed the area rug in the basement is looking a little shabby. So many things to keep me from my needle work! Or maybe the house work is just an excuse not to get down to business with my needle work. I'll let you know which one comes out on top.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Busy, busy

Time sure passes quickly, and I can't even say I'm having fun. We had a family funeral Tuesday and another death on Thursday, so things have been a little hectic, but I was able to relax with friends today. Three of us made it out to Steinbach for a day of sewing and gossip. The things we found out about each other!! And we discovered some "feel good" machines that gave everyone who tried them a good "shake down". Other than that, we were making wallets. The wallets turned out to be more difficult than we had anticipated, but we had so many laughs along the way that it really didn't matter. We discovered head cheese--obviously an acquired taste, and we discovered pecan tarts--and easily acquired taste. What else do quilters do when they get together? They gossip and eat. But I think I was very tired after a hectic week and by the time I got home, I was absolutely exhausted. Thank goodness my DH cooked supper for me or we might have had to get by with tea and toast. We heard from Roseanne, who made it out to Dauphin for the week end in a car that is almost as old as she is and needed help just to get started. We were worried about her and glad to get a phone call that she had actually arrived. I'm having trouble finding time on the computer to post on the blog as my DH has discovered on-line poker. Our son set him up Monday around noon and he's been playing ever since with short breaks for sleeping and the bathroom. While I'm glad to see him find something that he enjoys, a bit more moderation might be in order. Now he wants it back, so good bye for tonight.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

It's Over

and we didn't do as well as I had hoped, in terms of sales. Which made me spend a few minutes thinking about why I go to sales, and what makes sales a success. My two table mates were quite happy with the sales--and we all made just about the same amount. We had fun1 We chatted and teased each other and "dissed" the people walking by. There were two weddings in the same facility while the sale was on. We saw a bride wearing a very nice white dress with a V-neck. The tattoo on her chest fit quite nicely into the V shape. The tattoos on her legs barely showed above the tops of her white satin combat boots. The Best man/ Usher in that party had a white ribbon in his dreadlocks-which went down to his knees. In the other party the bride was wearing a white blouse and slacks--even her underwear was white ( We could see it through her slacks). At first we weren't sure that this bride was a "she", but we went and looked again and we're pretty sure that she was. And the procession into the wedding area walked right through the middle of our sale tables. So between talking up potential buyers and waching stange weddings we had a busy day. We all felt that the networking we were able to do, and the socialization we experienced made it a good day. I've unpacked and put all of my stock away. I didn't have to go through the inventory, as the few pieces that were sold were pretty obvious. But two people approached us and indicated an interest in having our work on consignment in their shops--so maybe it was a day well-spent after all.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Calm before the storm

Tomorrow is the big sale. Today I feel like I'm just putting in time, waiting to hit the road, set up the booth, and start taking in money (hohoho). I have so much time and effort invested in this sale, that I'll just about die if nothing sells. These waiting times are when you start doubting yourself. You become convinced that what you make is crap and that you will be laughed out of the building for trying to sell it. When I was writing up my inventory, I realized that I really don't have much to sell, but if you add up the dollar value, it's significant. I have to see if I can make arrangements to take credit cards, as my previous arrangement fell through. I think I know someone who will put them through for me. What a joke--as if anyone will buy so much of my stuff that I'll be asked to take a credit card. I would be much better off making sure that I can make change for a dollar! Actually, I figure it's a success if I just make enough to go out for supper after the sale! I went to the gallery where some of my stuff has been on display, and brought home the larger pieces that I want to put out tomorrow. I don't expect them to sell but they are very eye catching, and just may bring in customers. We'll let you know how it goes.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Linda Says....

that I'm supp0sed to write in here more frequently. I wish my life was interesting enough that I had something to say. I have been very, very busy getting ready to teach a one day course on Journal Quilts. I really sweat bullets over this, and was super prepared. The class went really well and I am so glad that I put the time into getting ready for the course. I now have to get ready for a big sale on Friday and Saturday of this week. I have several new items and am anxious to know if they will sell. I've been giving a lot of thought lately to why I do these things to myself. The conclusion is that I have the dream of a fibre art business, but haven't bothered to put the effort into making that dream a reality. So now I've spent some time organizing "to do" lists to get me on track of making this a real thing, instead of just a dream. Today was spent finishing up those piddly little jobs that seem to pile up. I had to make a costume piece for a fellow just starting out to become a "quick change Artist". It had to be sewn by hand, but really didn't take all that long once I got started. The biggest problem was figuring out how to tie a Windsor knot, but my DH helped and the job got done. Then I had to finish altering an outfit to wear to the sale on Friday, and then I finished the last postcards I'm committed to making for Internet swaps. Now I've finished all of those small jobs and my way is clear to get started on becoming a "great artist"--BUT--I don't know where to start!! Darn it! With no little jobs that just have to get done, I have no excuses to procrastinate with! I might actually have to work! But not today as I have a supper meeting for a volunteer job I do. Whew! I can start to be a "great artist" tomorrow.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Here's the back view. You can see a lot more of the gold work and red jasper beads here.

This is the picture of my box "Copper Autumn". It has just come back from a show in Oakville Ontario and will be in a show at the Fleet Gallery here in Winnipeg for the next two weeks. Now that I see it here, I think I want to add one of the back of the box where most of the gold work is.

Been awhile

I've been having trouble getting in to publish new posts, but it seems to be working well today. I've been very busy in the studio. I have a demonstration class on March 17. I have to repeat the demo 6 times so have been getting 6 separate sets of supplies ready. Then I teach an all day class on Journal quilts on March 24th. This one has taken a lot of preparation, and I'm not done yet. I've got all my hand outs ready and that was a major step. Yesterday I got my box "Copper Autumn" back from the show in Oakville, and had to rush it right over to a show that is being mounted here today. Then I have a big sale on March 30-31. So I'm stitching as much as I can to get ready for that. Since I can't do any hand stitching for awhile, everything has to be by machine. This can be frustrating. I have a class on March 19 which will be entirely hand stitching, so I really want to save my hands for that. This will be one time when I will take drugs if I have to in order to keep going during class. I don't like to do that as I feel that pain is Nature's way of telling you that you are doing something you shouldn't be. I'm going to see if I can post a picture of Copper Autumn. I wasn't allowed to publish anything prior to the show in Oakville, but it shoud be okay now.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

I'm excited

My hand function is very unreliable. Too much hand work, and I have to take a few days or weeks off to let the pain recede. I resent the down time. I want to sew! Now I've been asked to teach a workshop on a box I made, entirely by hand, just over a year ago. This would mean making one or two more examples, just to use for teaching. I protect my hands and will only use them to produce things that are meant for a show or are to be judged. I thought about it a lot and came to realize that the class is about the technique. If I can demonstrate the technique in class, and most of the students will be familiar with the stitches involved, then that's all I really need to do. But if I could figure out some way of producing the samples mostly by machine, I could save my hands and still be able to accept the job of teaching the class. And I have! Whoopee! I am so pleased with this. I've been working on it all morning, and just have a little finishing to take care of. Maybe i'll have a picture by the weekend.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Eh, Gad!

What a lovely picture. My friend Linda has helped me post a picture of my most recent journal quilt. This was made in response to a challenge within my small support group--Ravenesque. We were to use the copper decorative cord, use the colours lime green and hot pink, and include some machine work. I had seen some writing done in a thread painting way and had wanted to try it, so made the green ribbons. I found that the technique worked quite well, and I think it's something I'll use again. I've made other journal quilts that I'm happier with, but this one filled the bill for the challenge. However, Linda, you put it in upside down. I was thinking a bit of a hot air balloon when I made it, but Roseanne thought it looked better as a dress. I guess Linda agreed with her.
In my spare moments I've been finishing things. I finally finished the top of a quilt that I've been working on for 11 years. It is a Piecemakers pattern with a lot of applique. I'll never do applique again because of problems with my hands and wrists, so this is a bittersweet moment for me. However, I've found someone to hand quilt it for me, so it'll get the finishing that it deserves. When it's done I'll be sure to get Linda to help me post a picture of it--right side up.

My Journal Quilt

Thursday, March 1, 2007


After all of my moaning, and the little pity party I threw myself in my last post, today someone today told me that my work goes beyond technical skill and evokes an emotional response in the viewer. This person felt that this response moves my work into the realm of Art. WOW! I feel really good about this, as this person is someone whose opinion I value and trust. Made my day. So how did I spend my day--making the quick and easy, low priced items for the sales coming up. These items sell well, and really are the "bread and butter" stuff that I need to keep going financially. With this stuff to back me up and fill up the table, I don't have to worry about making sure that I have enough "arty" items. I can now concentrate on making a few really good pieces, that I can price realistically. I feel I can carry on.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Introspection-heavy thoughts

On a Yahoo group list there has been discussion lately about what each of us has accomplished during our lives, and in following The Artists' Way, I've been thinking about why I do what I do. What will happen to my art when I'm gone? Will it all end up at the thrift store? People talk about finding inspiration in emotions and events in their lives, but I find inspiration in colour. So am I less of an artist? Maybe this makes me someone who is just showing off technical skill, rather than demonstrating a deep artistic nature. What if no-one liked my art, I was never juried into shows, and I never won awards? Would my continuing creativity be unjustified and should I take up gardening? I have been wrestling with this concept for about three months now. I've decided that I must create. It is a deep-seated instinctual drive, and I should seek validation only within my own feelings. If validation comes from elsewhere, I must just accept it and keep going. So I am going to create, and my life goal is to use up my entire stash before I die. I better get started.

Monday, February 26, 2007

I need a break

I've done nothing creative for the last two days. If I don't get my act together I sure won't be ready for my sale at the end of March! Yesterday I ws really feeling awful so spent the day very quietly. I played on the computer and read. Today was pension day and we went shopping. I don't think I've ever spent so much on food so quickly before--and there's only two of us. So now we will eat very well for the month of March, but I don't think we'll be going anywhere or doing anything. Too bad, because it's my grandson's birthday in March, and I know he'll be expecting a gift. I asked his father what to get him, as I've become very predictable in giving him little robots to build. At Christmas I gave him a book as well--big mistake. Ten year olds do not want books from Grandma.

I guess I have been a little creative. I'm very busy planning ( usually at 3:00am) a box I want to make. I've planned it in my brain at least three different ways but I'm never satisfied, so never actually start making it. Now I've come up with yet another approach it. Keeps my brain active, and we all know that if you don't use it you loose it. and that goes for brains too--unless it's too late and it's lost and I never noticed. Now I'm babbling. See you tomorrow.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

One down, two to go

Very busy day today. Not only did we have a guild meeting with an active UFO auction, but I taught a class in what I refer to as "Trapped Flowers". I fretted over the class and thought I was all ready, but part way through discovered I had forgotten to put a piece into the kits. They had been given an extra piece of something else, so I guess everything evened out. The class went well, everyone seemed happy, and the results were great. I was so tired when I got home that I slept for 2 hours, before supper. My dear husband cooked for me--what a treat! But now that the tension is off, my cold is back full force and I feel like c--p. In any case, now that the class is over, I can post pictures--once I get them taken that is!

Now I have two classes to teach next month. One is just a demonstration class but the other is on Journal quilts and I'm putting a lot into preparing for that. I'm getting very excited about it and hope it goes well. Liz H is helping out, and she is doing some really neat things with journal quilts. I still need to take more pictures to use as inspiration, and they will have to be developed, which will cost a bit. I took a list of class objectives to the meeting today to help people understand what we will be doing.

With feeling so rough, I haven't done any stitching today. I finished the embroidery for a box top yesterday, but I was feeling rough then, too, and I'm not sure my judgement was as good as it could be. I think the best bet might be to make three box tops and then use the two that look the best. If all three look good, I can always buy a third box. I had some post cards at the class today and was asked if I plan to bring them to sell at the quilt show boutique next April. I said I would but I really hope they are sold long before then! Building up my stock is really my priority job right now, but I'd rather be quilting! I sure wish I knew what might sell.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

glad to be back

Thank you Linda! I missed the blog and the stupid thing just wounldn't let me in. I had to scare it with the big guns! That is --Linda! Now it's behaving fairly well, although the first time I tried it told me that my cookies were disabled--whatever that means!? Linda wants me to put up pictures, but the only pictures I've been taking lately have been of snow drifts. I'm trying to get enough pictures of the "wave " effect on snow to use the designs as inspiration for free motion quilting. This year there just aren't that many snow drifts. I think it's been so windy that the snow just blows away--at least what can be seen from highways and roads. I've also been taking pictures of naked trees. Those that know me, know that I have a thing for naked trees and take lots of pictures. I'm getting pretty good at free motion threadpainting of these trees too.

Another reason that I don't have a lot of pictues is the time it takes me to complete a piece. Most of my work involves hand stitching, and this takes time. One piece I'm working on now will take about 4000 beads--all sewn down by hand. I don't think I'm going to finish that one in a hurry!

I have also been reading The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. Wow! Any of you who have been struggling with your creative side--in any field-- should take a look at this. I can't believe how much it's changing my life, and I'm just on chapter 3!

So, I'll try to take some pictures and try ot get them on the blog. I have some instructions, but they were for the old blog and I'll h\just have to see if they work.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Hello Again

After a hiatus, I'm finally back. I can't get in to my old blog (not that it was that old to begin with as I was just getting started), so my friend Linda created this new account for me. This way if I forget my password or how to get in, hopefully Linda will be able to access the account from her place.