Thursday, October 30, 2008

Just a note to say that I'm okay. Friends have been calling with concern. I still have bruises in strange places, but I seem to be managing fine. Babysat my youngest grandchild yesterday. It was a treat to have her free to play and explore without her sister either fighting over toys or playing "mother" and not letting her explore as she wanted to. I worked on a post card yesterday. It called for couching so I framed up a piece of fabric and got out all of my metal thread embroidery stuff--three boxes worth. It's been awhile, but I managed to do up a small piece with couched Japanese gold. I used the old Elna machine to do the edge, and that machine doesn't like metal thread. Anyway, it got done. It doesn't look as spectacular as I thought it might. I did find out that I can still work the metal thread, even if my skills are a little rusty. Today we grocery shop, and then this evening I'm going out for coffee with my cousin Beryl. Usually we just see each other at family weddings and funerals. She is a geneologist, and always has questions about the family.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Things Happen in threes

or so I've been told. Well, yesterday, my sewing machine just stopped working. I have no idea what happened. I was working with mono-filament thread, and I'm worried that some of that broke off and got mixed up in the machine. I use mono-filament a lot. I had also been sewing steady for a number of hours. In any case, it goes to the shop today. While I'm hoping everything can be fixed, I'm sure it won't be cheap. My biggest worry is that they'll say it can't be fixed. It's five years old, and I'm not sure that they are meant to last much longer than that. Certainly I know that Singers used to have that sort of useful expectancy. I had actually looked at a new machine early this year. They are beautiful, but almost all of them are computerized--and computers and I don't get along. When I actually think about how many of the features I use on this one, I'm surprized at how simple my needs are. I need to be able to free motion quilt, and sew straight seam and zig-zag. The old Elna I have does many things beautifully, but I can't lower the feed dogs. Anyway, maybe I'm buying trouble. I'll take it in and see what they say, but I have to admit that I'm already thinking of how to carry on with life without it.

Life without it--hmmm. I have no tv guide (newspaper still on strike) so I'm not watching tv much these days. Last evening, I spent an hour reading an old National Geographic, (that I bought at Value Village), and watching a documentary on Lyndon B. Johnson. How exciting. Maybe it's just cabin fever, since I haven't been out of the house since Friday--when I had the car accident. My one thought was that maybe I can spend some time doing hand work. I haven't done a lot lately, and so many of my ideas require hand work that I should take another look at it. But--I hurt my wrist when I fell on Sunday. Someone is trying to tell me something, and I'm not sure what that message might be. Don't drive, don't sit and don't sew. Which leaves cycling and lately we've had winds with gusts of 40-60km/hr. Heaven forbid that I'm being pushed toward housework!!

Monday, October 27, 2008


I had a wee accident with a chair yesterday. I use a "steno" chair with arms at my sewing machine. It's an old chair that we bought at a garage sale many years ago. There is a wheeled base and then the actual seat sits on top of a plate that reclines back a bit. The seat is held to this plate with four screws. Well, I was sitting, and must have shifted my weight. The seat and base separated. The base shot off to one side and I ended up on the floor on my right side, still, sort of, sitting in the chair. I must have tried to grab the sewing machine because al of the stuff that rests on the top of the cabinet was all over the floor with me. When we had a chance to look at it, there were only two screws --not four---holding the base, and those screws were either crystalized or sheered right off. DH has replaced all of the screws and the chir seems to be working fine now. I, however, appear to have a few bruizes, aches and pains.

What was so upsetting about this was my reaction to it. I was quite "shattered". It was an emotional reaction far beyond what I should have felt over a fairly minor accident. I had to wonder if this was residue from my problem with the car on Friday. In any case, after the grandchildren left, I was absolutely exhausted and was in bed before 10:00, sleeping until 8:00 this morning--a very long night for me.

So, what was I sewing , at the time, you ask? Well, I've finally got to work with the sunprints I made with the leaves I brought back from BC. I'm taking each one and FMQ'g it to batting and backing. Then I plan to put them all together, like a jig saw puzzle, by butting them and sewing them flat with a wide satin stitch. I have a few done and have them mounted on the design wall. I looked at it and thought--"I've seen this sort of thing before". Darned if I know where or when but the concept has been done. Regardless I'm going to carry on. After all, I banged up my car going off to buy the thread. So I figure that the thread alone cost me over $700! (lol)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Still cold

I notice we're sleeping more too. Actually we've been having a lot of trouble sleeping lately. Over the past while we've been becoming more and more congested while we're trying to sleep. So I went out and bought some unscented hypo-allergenic laundry soap, and washed all of the bedding and most of our clothes. For the past two nights we've slept like babies. Maybe catching up from weeks of poor sleep. It was a lot fo work, and the soap isn't cheap, but I think I may be onto something. Any other time that I've found a laundry soap that worked for us, they stopped manufacturing it within a couple of months, but I noticed that Tide now has a hypo-allergenic soap. It isn't labelled as scent free, however, so I didn't buy it. somethign to keep in mind.

Got a couple of wallets almost finished yesterday, and then spent most of the evening workingonthe little Christmas stocking. It's long been my habit to do the machine work during the day and then the hand work in the evening while I watch tv. Without a tv guide--the newspaper is still on strike--I just don't watch tv. I've actually found CBC Radio 2, and listened for awhile yesterday. Some of it is okay, but later in the afternoon I just couldn't stand what was on and turned it off.

I have a lot of volunteer work to do today, and then the Grandchildren are coming over for supper, so I'm not sure what sewing I'll get done. Actually that's not true. My DD told me that she has some clothing that needs altering, and that she'll bring it whn they come for supper.

The tires are replaced--all four of them. They checked the wear on them and it looks like we might have had to replace them in a couple of months anyway. It cost over $700.00, so it looks like an austerity program around here for awhile. And then this morning I got a two page "wish list" for my grand daughters, with both birthdays and Christmas coming up.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I was right

That volunteer commitment did take most of the week. I've just now finished and sent it off for review. I did get out of the house for a bit yesteday, and managed to hit a curb with the car, ruining at least one tire and maybe two rims. So DH is off at the dealership getting everything fixed. So much for my Christmas fund! We are still trying to keep the house cooler than we did last year, but I noticed that DH had the heat turned up a couple of degrees yesterday. I think he got cold while riding his bicycle over to help me change the tire.

It's just been too cold and windy to sunprint outside, so I've been doing it in the basement, with good results. It makes me wonder if the trouble I had last year was because my paint was old and diluted. This time I put the fabric over a framed screen so that the air could get at it from two sides, instead of resting it on plastic. This may have allowed it to dry a little faster, and I'm convinced that drying time influences the quality of the print as well.

I'm going to try something new with the sunprints. If it works, I'll post a picture. but I also need to make sure I have enough stock for sales. So today I'm making wallets. I bought the fabric awhile back, and have been wanting to use it. It is so pretty!! But I have to keep reminding myself that the Christmas stocking I'm making for my DGD has a time limit on it too--and there is more to be done than I think. So off to the studio while DH is away. Actually when he's out, which isn't often, I usually sneak in and play a poker tournament, but too much to do today.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

In a Dither

I just can't sem to focus on any one thing, as far as my next project. I have some leaves that I brought back from BC, and an idea of how to use sunprints quite differently in a iece, but I think it's really too cold to try to work outside, although it's sunny out. The prints are always much nicer if they dry inthe sun as opposed to the basement under the full spectrum lights. I think the difference is in the drying time. I suppose I could paint in the basement and then just put them out to dry. A couple of the ideas that I have would be hand done pieces. The silk carrier rods I brought back could be worked into a hand embroidered piece very nicely, and I will. But I first have to finish the Christmas stocking for my DGD. I have come to realize that I have very few small matted sun prints and two sales fast approaching. I also made a volunteer commitment at the retreat that will take up most of my time this week. Maybe I need to paint fabric, put it out in the sun and then come in and work on my computer while it dries. My enemy will probably be the wind.

Our local newspaper is on strike. What a difference this makes to my morning routine! But I'm pleased to say that, with doing more reading, I'm having to branch out into a better class of literature. I've spent the last couple of days reading a collection of short stories written by Ruth Rendell. ( bought it for reading on the plane) Now there is a twisted mind! Not much inspiration for fibre work, but maybe a very dark piece with Ravens or vultures etc. Who knows.

The plumbing work at the lake isn't finished. The fellow had a death in the family. But he is supposed to be working on it this week, and then we are going down on Thursday to check it out and pay him. Yesterday, we also heard of a death in our family. A remote relative, a grand-nephew by marriage, whom I've only met half a dozen times, over the past twenty years. A young man with two teenage daughters. It made me look around at family, especially DH's family, and I realized that we are quickly becoming a family of women. I'm not sure if that has any deep meaning, but I think it may be a reflection of society. Certainly I've read of whole levels of society where single women with families are the norm. I'm not sure where that thought is going.

Anyway, time to get moving. DH was up late again last night , on the computer, so he is still sleeping. It's always a challenge to see how much I can get done without waking him.

Monday, October 20, 2008

And home again!

very late last night! I had a marvelous time, but have no pictures. This group has run into some copyright problems recently, and no-one was taking any pictures. We stayed at a very (ver-r-r-y) nice c0nference centre that has a nation wide reputation for its gourmet food--and is it ever well-earned! Our meeting room was on the top floor with a tremendous view of the Channel Islands. I had no idea that Saltspring Island was so very close to Sidney.

I bought silk!! I saw a wonderful art show with out of this world prices--and quite a few of the pieces were sold! There was a very good representation of fibre work in the show, which was nice to see. Well, we had unbelievable show'n'tell. When I tried to pick one or two pieces to take, I realized how little I've actually done this year, so I decided to be up front with them and tell them that I had spent all of my time making product to sell so that I could afford to go to the conference. They were interested and several more people came out of the closet--so to speak--and admitted to making things purely for sale. One lady is a well respected artist, who does a lot of commission work. But she turned out to be making sunprints very much like mine, matting them, and selling them through the Alberta Crafts Council. She uses some simple embroidery rather than beads, for her embellishment. I was impressed with her hand work and she was impressed with my beading. (lol)

I got home late yesterday, slept late today and then went shopping for food. So now DH is having a nap and I'm preparing supper. Is there something wrong with this picture?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Off I go!

To my retreat. I got my boarding pass off the Internet this afternoon, and everything looks good for tomorrow. I'm not sure how I'll get my boarding pass in Sydney, as I won't have access to the Internet. So I'll be out of touch for a few days. I get back very late on Sunday evening. everything is packed. I hope I've packed the right clothes, as I'm not sure what the weather will be like, and one afternoon we are going to a community arts festival. It doesn't matter. I fully intend to have fun.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Great results!

from the discharging of the quilted fabric. I used both hand and machine quilting so that I could compare the results. I'm very pleased with the effect in the first picture, where I've done the close together geometric lines. The other two pictures were so fuzzy when I actually got them on the screen that I just deleted them. A similar effect but with different types of quilting. I really want to do more of this, but at the same time, I want it to be my work and not just a knock off of the stuff in the book. I sure wish I could take better pictures!!
Today I'm off to see the fibre art at the CMU Gallery. The reviews have been excellent, and since I know all three of the artists, it wil be more personal. Then home to do laundry and pack for my trip on Thursday. I have a meeting here tomorrow afternoon, so would be more comfortable if the laundry was done today.

Monday, October 13, 2008

New direction

I spent sometime yesterday reading "The Painted Quilt" by Laura and Linda Kemshell. Many wonderful quilts and many wonderful ideas. This was a borrowed book, and my friend Linda, will be ordering a couple for us later in the month. I was looking to see if anything caught me eye for something to try first. I was intrigued with the idea of altering the surface of a quilt after the quilting is actually done. I spent part of yesterday watching another friend play with discharge paste, so that's in my mind. So, I think I want to try doing some machine quilting and then discharging the colour after the quilting is finished. The other thing that was brought home to me, in the book, was the idea of discharging dark colours other than black. In particular they mentioned dark grey. Since I have at least 1 1/2m of dark grey/black fabric from when I did the gradation dyeing, I'm thinking of using that. I know that Procion dyes were used for the original colour there. I also have at least two big pieces of charcoal grey commercial fabric that I can discharge and compare to the hand-dyed pieces. I'll limit myself to making samples,at first, and keep a record of what happens. This will take awhile, but it's not as though I have anything else to do over the winter.

However, this week is my trip to BC for the FAN retreat. I'm very much looking forward to that. While I'm away, DH will be down at the lake fixing the plumbing--hopefully before freeze up.

Yesterday, I had hoped to update my section on the website. We spent quite a bit of time working on it, but when I checked later last evening, it seems that we forgot to hit the "save changes" button. So I guess I'll be spending some time today re-writing that to send off to the webmaster.

Grandbabies are coming for supper. We have everything planned, and are very much looking forward to it. They just have so very much energy, and we're both exhausted by the time they leave.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The little quilted piece is finished, but needs to be trimmed and bound. Some really weird trees--guess I need to work on trees. It's not great art, and is a little too traditional for me, but I sure learned a lot making it--which was the goal. I know others have tried to make fog/mist by using organza overlays etc, and I'm not sure that the needle felted roving is much of an improvement. Now I'm having an argument with myself about what sort of sleeve to put on it. Do I just put a little sleeve for a piece of doweling, or do I get all arrogant and put on a show sleeve? It really is a piece of junk, IMHO, but lately others have thought my work was better than I gave it credit for. I had orignally planned to take it tothe FAN retreat, but those ladies can be too honest. I think I'm answering my question--I don't really think it's worthy of exhibition-- no matter how much I want to build a body of work of show quality.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Again, a dull, dreary day. I've been re-thinking my little piece and plan to add another feature that, I hope, will bring it to life. However, the end result will be very traditional. Funny how I revert to traditional when I really need to develop a design that works. What I plan is developed from a class I took at Quilt Canada in Ottawa a couple of years ago. It was a terrible class, and I was quite critical of the teacher in my evaluation, but when I was looking for a feature, this one little thing out of the class came to mind. So, my "Trees in the Mist" will now form the background of a pumpkin patch. It means working in layers, but rather than layers from lowest level to highest level, I'll have to work in layers from left to right. I hope to get most of it done today, as I just don't want to think of going outside.

We went shopping yesterday for food for Monday. We had a big turkey last weekend when the whole family was here, so this time we chose a very nice eye of round roast. I'm going to roast some veggies as well as potatoes, and with pumpkin pie, we'll have a feast. I love roast veggies such as turnip and beets, and I think DD does as well, although DH hates veggies in any way, shape or form.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

thoroughly miserable,

depressing weather-chilly and wet. I started on a small quilted project today with the idea of trying to incorporate my needle felter for some small part of it. I took the time to draft out a pattern and now have about 20% of the top and quilting done. Darn if I didn't screw up the quilted part, not the needle felting! I figured it might have been an example of poor judgement as I've been fighting a cold all day--at least that's what I thought. But I spent the evening watching tv and sewing binding on some pieces that I finished awhile ago, and now my head seems clear. I have to wonder if I was so stuffed up because I was working with wool roving, and I've always known I had a slight allergy to wool. However, I had thought it was a contact allergy, not respiratory. Go figure! Anyway, I'm pleased with the technique I'm using with the little hanging, even if my fabric choices aren't the best. So now it's off to bed and try to do a bit more tomorrow.

thoroughly miserable,

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Ravenesque meeting went well. It was a real pleasure to have my friends over. Quite different from hosting a meeting at the house. DH was in our home office on the computer for the evening, while the ladies and I were directly below in my studio. He said that at times the giggles were quite loud, and he could hear us having fun. They got to try my needle felting machine, and I think at least one of them may be looking at buying one. So far, I've just been playing with it, but now I have to start trying to figure out how I'm going to use it in my work. For many years I've had an image in my mind of a row of trees in the fog and mist. I've even taken pictures of just such a scene. This time of year I used to pass a section of highway on my way to work, at just the right time of morning--about dawn--to see the mist and trees. I could also use some of my gradation dyed grey fabric, as at that time of day, there is very little colour.

Not today, however. I have a meeting at the house tonight. It is all a plan, you see, to only have to clean the house once, by piggy backing the meetings on top of one another. I have another one next week, and should be able to get away with just surface cleaning. Darn! I hate house work! DH baked some very nice fruit bread for me to serve. Now I just have to find those bargain paper napkins that I bought on sale and tucked away for just such an occasion!

The other thing I need to do this week is get out to see a fibre art show at a high-end local gallery. I know all three of the artists involved, and the reviews of the show have been excellent. My friend, Shirley, and I have been planning to go, we just haven't been able to set a time. So I may not be able to blog eveyday for the next little while.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Where to next..

Now that I've settled on Value Study as my series, I have to figure out what's next. I took another look at the gradation dyeing that I did in August, and think something fairly simple to start with would be best--gradation of simple squares maybe. I want to be able to work the monthly Fast Friday challenges into the series, so really can't progress too quickly.

We had the family over for dinner yesterday. My DS and BIL were in town, as he is having heart surgery today, so they came to visit and both of my children were here as well. (My DS called a couple of minutes ago, to say that so far, things are going well.) In an interesting reversal of roles, my DD cleaned up the whole kitchen after supper while I visited with the others. Never thought I'd see the day!! My DS has applied for another job, after 16 years in the same place. He's quite excited about this and quite optimistic about his chances. I hope it works well for him, because he really needs a change.

My Ravenesque friends are coming tonight. I hope they want to see me but I have a hunch they just want to try out my needle felting machine (LOL). So I'm trying to clean up enough that every one can find a chair. Used some bleach to clean the laundry tub that I use when I'm dyeing. I got a whiff of it and immediately realized that I should have been wearing my respirator. So this is just a quick break until the air clears.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Value Study #25-close up

Here you can see the beading, with the yellow-green beads that turn this into a triad colour scheme. So now you can all see how I spent my day.

Value Study #25

Here is the piece I did for the Fast Friday Challenge group for September 2008. The challenge was to work in a series this year with each of the monthly challenges, and this month the details were to work in a complimentary colour scheme and to introduce an obvious vertical, horizontal of diagonal line. I did two gelatine prints, one after the other on the same painted slab of gelatine. That way I got one print that was much paler than the other. I then cut them, pieced them, quilted them, embellished them, and beaded them. I was very proud of getting the fabric I painted for the binding so very close in colour to the piece itself. Since the paints were mixed, rather than pure, this was a challenge in it self. The true challenge came when someone reminded me that blue-violet and red-orange aren't compliments. I said several bad words, thought about it over night, and then instead of the blue and red beads I had chosen, replaced most of them with yellow-green beads to make the whole thing into a colour triad. I took the time to finish it properly with a false back ( to cover the beading thread), and a proper hand-sewn binding.

A quiet day

today, at least that's what I have planned. Next week will be hell on wheels and then the following week I go away to the retreat I've been waiting a year for. This is the one that I've been saving for, and going to all those sales to raise money for. I have a meeting here on Tuesday and then another one on the 15th. I used to have meetings here at least once a month and got used to using those meetings as an excuse to give the house a good cleaning. That routine has slipped a bit and now I'm looking a the house needing a really good cleaning. I haven't done much more than surface cleaning over the summer. So I planned to give myself this weekend to play in the studio and then start on Monday morning with all of the scrubbing and dusting. Whoops! It seems we are having a big family dinner here on Sunday.

Still I think that today will be a putt-ery day. The dye I mixed for use on Wednesday will have to be used today or thrown out. So I'll try a bit of that. Then I really want to finish my entry for the Fast Friday Challenge, which was due by noon today ( Not going to happen) I'm in the process of beading it so just have to add a binding to finish. I painted the binding yesterday, and have it ready to go on. I'm still working on my DGD's Christmas stocking, but have a little more time for that. I need to take something for Show'n'Tell at the retreat next week, and will have to give that some thought. My first instinct is to say that I have nothing. So--find something for supper and then reteat into the studio. It looks like a really beautiful fall day out there. I wonder which of my chores could be done outside?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

I seem to have been running for the past few days. Maybe eventually I'll catch up with myself. Today a friend is supposed to be coming for a studio day. I haven't heard from her in quite awhile, so am prepared for her to not show up. I'll be very disappointed. We had planned to do some gelatine printing and I've made up two trays of gelatine--without spilling it all over the fridge, like last time. I'm also wanting to try some low water immersion dyeing. I've committed myself to teaching it to embroiderers' in January, so figure I better find out what it's all about. In order to do all this we had to completely re-arrange the basement and roll up the rug. We've put down a big piece of canvas on the floor and set up a portable table. My only concern is that the rolled rug is in the laundry room and that's where I usually mix my dyes, as one of my sources of water is there, as well as a working surface. So whatever happens, I'm going to give myself the pleasure of a day in the studio. It looks beautiful outside so I may even get that sunprint done in black that I've been wanting to try.