Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Got all of yesterday's list done, but later in the evening received a phone call about a death in the family--my Aunt and godmother. She was the last of her generation, and quite elderly and frail. But a very sad day none the less.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Lists are done!

Funny thing. By the time I had listed all of the chores, and organized them into what would be done on what day, and am or pm, I realized that there just isn't that much to do. And maybe that's the joy of lists--they bring the whole thing into perspective. Anyway, yesterday I was to prepare a grocery list and shop, make mince tarts, and go to the library. By the time I finished shopping, I was exhausted, it was 2:00, and we hadn't had lunch yet. Didn't get around to the tarts.

I got my Christmas present to myself yesterday. I ordered three instructional video's from Quilting Arts. I managed to watch two of them last night, ( had to take a break to watch Celebrity Rehab, you know) One on Needle felting was fantastic and I sure plan to try out a few of the things recommended in there. The second one on Mixed Media techniques was a loser. Very disappointing. I sure can't recommend that one. I haven't had a chance to see the third one on fabric painting, but I hope it's better than the mixed media one.

While I was shopping I dropped into Dollarama to look at yarn. They have some very loosely spun acrylic yarns, that are very easy to unravel, fantastic colours, and perfect for needlefelting. I picked up five different ones, and plan to try them out asap. If I'm just experimenting and trying out techniques from my video, I don't want to waste the very beautiful silk/wool blend that I bought awhile back. Of course, now I have a problem with storage of yarns! My huge baskets are suddenly too small.

Monday, December 29, 2008

And now down to work.

The more I think about this family dinner on Thursday, the more I realize how unprepared I think we are. So, this morning over breakfast, I'm going to make lists. Talk about habits! When I feel overwhelmed, I make lists. LOL. I came to realize that it's possible that people will be sitting down stairs. We have a little sitting area there, and there are two very nice tables in the area where people could eat, if necessary. No big deal--right? But--that's where my studio is, and this means tidying the whole studio and putting sharp cutting tools away. OMG! There's almost a week's work in just that!

Along the same vein of thought, I'm re-thinking some of the "Call for Entry" that I've been looking at. One requires a formal entry by Jan 15th, and I still haven't figured out how to get my entry information and pictures onto a CD for mailing. I know this is going to become a problem any time I want to enter a show, and I'm going to have to find a workable solution, but the deadline of Jan 15 means finding that solution this week. A friend told me that If I have a re-writable CD, I just save to CD on my computer, but that doesn't make sense to me. While I have a CD drive, I thought I had to have a CD burner as well to actually put anything on the CD. I hate being so ignoraant about these things, but I know how much time, effort, and expense it would take to learn.

I'm almost finished dealing with the scraps I've been working with over the past two weeks, but I may have to put them aside while I clean up the studio. I'll try to get a picture of what I have so far, before I quit. I doubt there will be much sewing going on around here over the next few days, and I had set a deadline of Jan 1st to finish the scraps. After that I have a special project that is going to take all of my time--or it looks that way. I have to confess that I haven't made the lists for that yet.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Family and then a Studio Day

Friday, our DS and his children visited for a little while. He only had them for about 4 hours, and they had things to do. Both of them are on the verge becoming teenagers. I took a good look at the older boy and saw my father in his build, and even to a very small extent in some of his mannerisms--although I don't think they never met. I mentioned this to my son and he said that he had often thought that he saw a resemblence to a male cousin, who has been said to resemble his grandfather ( my father). It made me think about family traits. My father was very close to six feet and lanky. I have a sister who is taller and resembles my father in her gait and posture. The cousin I mentioned is the child of my other sister, so the build etc has shown up in that generation, and now I'm seeing it in my son's son, and my daughter's oldest child is also tall and lean. ( She's only four, but the pediatrician is predicting that she will likely be close to six feet, although both her parents are quite short.)

Later in the day, we ended up watching the two youngest grandchildren for awhile. I was playing dominoes in the kitchen with the older girl when my DH softly called me into the livingroom to look at the 13 month old girl. With her older sister out of the way, the little one had taken the opportunity to play with her sister's baby doll. She was cuddling it, rocking it, trying to feed it, and even trying to wrap it in a doll blanket. I never expected to see that type of play in a child so young. It was almost beautiful to watch. This carried on for between 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, the older girl is learning that games have rules--and she doesn't like it!!

At the end of the day, we realized that they were all coming for dinner on Jan 1st, including my DS's girlfriend, and my husband's sister. We have very little food in the house and absolutely nowhere for anyone to sit. Should be an interesting day.

Saturday I spent in a friend's studio playing with polymer clay. She had hurt a hip and was barely able to get around, so it was a good day to sit to work. She showed me some awesome ideas and techniques. She had ordered some tools over the Internet, and we played with those. This is an amazing woman who is very skilled in fibre arts, but has recently become involved with a sculpture medium called Paverpol. She is producing and selling small sculptures, but is also combining her fibre work with the Paverpol and the polymer clay, with some very interesting results. She showed me a work in progress using all three of the techniques.

Today is our wedding anniversary--43 years. We plan to attend an Open House at my DH's sister's and then head out for supper.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Day is winding down. We've had our dinner, the little ones have opened gifts and had tantrums.. The littlest grand daughter had a great time chasing the cat and trying to put ribbon and bows on him. Dinner wasn't great. For over 10years we've had our dinner at a local restaurant. Ten years ago we got a traditional WASP type dinner. Turkey, ham, mince pies and sugar cookies, along with salad and veggies. A few years ago we started to get pyrogies and holubchi, along with the turkey ( no ham)and mass produced white cake. This year we had Fried Asian noodles and Italian sausage, the worst turkey I've ever eaten, and bread pudding. And the price had gone up by almost 20%. So DD and I talked about it and decided to try again for a home-made dinner-next year. Not a very satisfactory day.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Still plugging along

but the enthusiasm is dwindling. Yesterday I made the small (38" by 36")quilt I had planned, and then two small purses from the pattern in QA Magqzine, and 6 coffee cuffs. These purses are experimental ( I've never met a pattern I didn't want to change), but I'm finding that this pattern is really quite good. The changes I'm making are turning out to be not good. With these two I found that I didn't do enough quilting in the body of the purse. I'm judging the purses by asking myself if they are good enough to give to friends--so far I've got three that are worthy, out of the six that I've made. Thank Goodness I can use budget zippers with them, but I did find that I must use the correct size. There is no way I can cut down the zipper in this pattern, the way I do for so many others. (That way I can buy off-size zippers on sale and save a few cents.)

The coffee cuffs are fun. I take my quilted scraps and re-join them into sizes to suit the coffee cuffs. I do this by butting the edges together and sewing them together with a wide satin stitch. When I attach this to a stabilizer and backing, they are quite secure., but I've also made quilts with this method and found that it works well.

Before I started with the quilt, I shortened a pair of dress pants for my daughter. These were good slacks and I wanted a good appearance, so, for the first time, I used the blind hem process with my sewing machine. It took a few minutes more as I wanted it to be right, so did a little hand basteing. It looks good! I also had to fix the elastic on DGD's ballet slippers. I hope I did it right. They had been fixed before and the elastic was twisted. I straightened it, but then thought later that maybe it had been twisted on purpose to give a more secure direction of pull.

So yesterday was spent at the sewing machine. Today I face a pile of 3 1/2" squares and a pile of long strips 1 1/2" wide by anywhere from 10 to 15 inches. At this point, I really have no idea what to make. I'm actually thinking of using the squares to experiment with different ways of piecing. The strips will probably make up into the little purses that I've been selling for years. Although, it might be nice to have a beaded collage with more of a rustic appearance. I wonder if I could pull that off?

Monday, December 22, 2008

I realized yesterday that my Grandchildren have not been to visit since before I put up the Christmas tree December 3rd. They were ill, and it was so much easier to visit them than to drag them out in the very bitterly cold weather we've been having. They are still a little under the weather, but much better than a couple of weeks ago. It's hard on little ones to have to dress in so many layers and then be strapped into the car seats in order to go anywhere. And their Mom loves to shop. I would think that taking little ones in to the stores these days would be a trial.

I took a good look att he pile of dark coloured scraps I have to deal with and decided that I may have enough to make a small quilt that I could donate to our guild's ABC quilt donation project. I haven't given them anything since the summer, so it's past time.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Here are all of the things I made out of the light coloured scraps from my "Sticks and Stones" quilt. There are four coffee cuffs, two very small change purses, and one larger purse, (from the pattern in QA Magazine). I forgot to include the slouch bag, but there was a picture of that earlier. And I've finally finished the hand beading on the collage, that is now mounted ready for packaging for a future sale. There is a close-up below, but it's not a great picture,

I'm particularly pleased with the collage. I found a matt that fits and matches very well, and then found thread to match the matt, that I used to free motion the flower cetres. The beads are some that I've been saving for awhile, waiting for that special project. I think they work very well here. I'm sorry it's such a poor picture, but you have to realize that there's a dummy operating the camera.
Well, in response to popular demand, I've added a picture of the quilt top I've been talking about the last few days. The pattern is called "Sticks and Stones" and it is one of those patterns they sell as being "Fat Quarter Friendly". It is made of 8" squares and each square has 29 separate pieces. As you can se there is much less light coloured fabric than dark, and this is the same with the scraps. I've got a lot more dark than light. I've just about finished the light scraps. Everything is put together, but I have to add beads etc to the matted collage. Looking at it, and then at the other collages I have, it's very obvious that I am just doing the same design over and over again, but in different colour-ways. I really have to think about this. The advice I was given was to find something that would sell, and then make lots. I think I've found that in the sun prints. The collages were things that I hoped would sell, because they gave me more pleasure to make. Given the economy, I think I need to go for "tried and true".
Reading back on my posts, I see a real search for a sense of direction--some sort of focus. If I go further back into my days of Morning Pages, I find the same thing. Nothing has changed in my life over the last 3-4 years. How very sad!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Here is a picture of the scraps I had left after finishing my quilt. As you can see, most of them are dark fabrics. When I took the picture, I had already made one small purse, from a pattern in the most recent Quilting Arts Magazine, out of the light coloured scraps. You can see it in the upper left corner of the pile. Since then I have finished the slouch bag, ( see previous post), two small purses of the style I've been selling for years, and a quilted embellished hanging, all from the light coloured scraps. I have a few brown scraps left from the slouch bag, that have been addded to the pile. I still haven't decided whether the hanging will end up as a hanging, or if I'll cut it down into a matted collage and a couple of coffee cuffs. I have a couple of sales scheduled for the next 8 months, and would prefer to produce stuff that I might be able to sell, and I have enough hangings for 20 sales.
These scrap challenges are a great creative spur to me. I guess I don't feel that I'm wasteing supplies, but rather that I'm making something out of nothing. The other way of looking at it is that it's "busy work", and I can use it to avoid "real" creativity. So I have to search my soul, as to the "why". ( As you can see, I'm still navel gazing instead of doing real work) I've decided that I don't really care. I'm playing, and having fun, and that's why I was a wage slave for forty years.

The slouch bag is finished. The technical skills fell apart late in the process, and I didn't fight it. Then I wondered why not? I think I didn't care because it just wasn't my colour. I had used a dark brown for the body of the purse, and brown just isn't my thing. So now I have a nice bag, quite presentable, but not likely one I'll, personally, ever use. Because of the technical flaws, I don't think I could ever sell it either. Since this is my own pattern, and one I've had in mind for awhile, I priced it out in terms of selling a similar one, should I be able to conquer the technical flaws. If I pay myself minimum wage, I would want to be offering it for between $80.00 and $90.00. Ho Ho H0!! Not in Manitoba!
A more realistic price for around here would be $45.00 to $60.oo, and it would have to be to the right person at the right time. Not likely! So I don't think I will start producing them. Still it was a good exercise and got one nagging job off my mind. If the economy every brightens, I'll have the pattern ready to go.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Played with scraps. I found I was going back to my "tried and true" projects, little purses etc. This lead to a lot of navel gazing. I came to realize that I really prefer to stay in my own comfort zone. This means that I'll never gain any ground as an artist unless I face the demons that keep me from trying anything new. This is quite an epiphany for me. While my technical skills are excellent, my creative skills need work. And I'm basically a very lazy person. So I decided to make the slouch bag that I've had at the back of my mind for a couple of years. What has held me back, you ask. I'm too lazy to make my own pattern and have been searching everywhere for a commercial one! Legally I can't sell anything Imake with a commercial pattern--so what the He--? So I knuckled down, and tried to design one. Even while working on it, I kept trying to avoid the task. Finally I got the pattern drafted and started working on the flap, where I was planning to add a decorative panel ( which was the basic idea behind a slouch bag in the first place). That's as far as I got yesterday. My flap is made ( too well as it turns out--it's a little stiff) Maybe today I'll work on the rest of the bag, but I still haven't settled in my mind, how I'm going to work out the strap. But the fridge needs cleaning, and I have some typing to do--and procrastination continues.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Yes, that's how I spent most of yesterday. However, the traditional Quilt is put together. I'll get it quilted sometime in the next couple of months. So today I can play with my scraps. I'm not sure what will happen but I have an idea for a large purse/tote bag in my brain. If it works out, I may make two or three to offer for sale over the next few months. I played with numbers yesterday. I very much want to go to a retreat in just outside Edmonton next fall, and our arrangement is that I find the money somewhere other than in our household budget. I've managed to do this through sales etc, but I'm concerned about making much at these sales this year, given the economic climate. Last year I usually made just over expenses, so it was touch'n'go to find the money for my trip to BC. So starting now, anything I make with my work is going to get put away. I've been quite casual about this in the past, so this will be difficult for me. I got a small ( read "small")cheque from Wilno this week, and made my first deposit into the special "Travel" account.

I've had two "Call For Entry" notices arrive in the past few days. I wasn't going to worry about this sort of thing, but these more or less fell into my lap, and I just happen to have pieces that would be suitable for them. So I think I'm going to go for it.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I thought that it had been quite awhile since I wrote anything, but I see it really hasn't. I'm still plugging along working on my quilt from the kit. The pattern is called "Sticks and Stones", if anyone is interested. I bought the kit during a shop hop to Langdon North Dakota about 2 1/2 years back. It was quite a bargain. $50.00 for 40 fat quarters, the pattern and fabric for binding. Once I started, I realized that the kit was for a class they had had, and the finished result was lap quilt size. I added enough to make a good size single bed quilt. Now, once this is finished I'll have big bag of scraps to play with. That'll be my Christmas present to myself.

Monday, December 15, 2008

busy day

I actually cleaned a cupboard in the kitchen. Discovered a casserole dish that I thought was only a serving dish is actually safe for the dishwasher and microwave, so should be good for the oven. I was going to get rid of it, but it's a good size for two, so now I'll try to use it. Then I wrapped all of the presents. Four of them are quite large, and we'd bought special paper for them. So I had to sort out all of the wrapping paper we've accumulated over the years. I actually found some stuff I can use in my collages. At noon DH headed out to see if he could find pumpernickel bread for DD. He did, and after a heated discussion with a lady who also wanted to buy the bread, ended up with two loaves. He seems to get into these discussions every time he goes shopping on his own. Funny about that. The DD asked if we would be willing to drive out to the country to look after the little ones while she and SIL went to a Christmas party. So we spent the rest of the day doing that. Glad I wasn't planning to do any sewing. We got home just before 10:00,went to bed and slept almost round the clock. Children are hard work.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Well, maybe not...

Tried to work on the quilt again, but my hands have decided that they need a break. Yesterday evening they wouldn't even let me do cross stitch. They've never been that bad before. It all started when I tried to make cookies. I only have an old, decrepit power mixer. The house is cold and the margarine wouldn't soften enough that the mixer could deal with it, so I had to mix the whole thing by hand--and I mean by hand, --couldn't even use a wooden spoon with it. As soon as it started to hurt, I got DH to help out. Then, the quilt I'm trying to make requires a lot of "squaring up", using a roatary cutter, which again, is hard on hands and wrists.

So no sewing for awhile. To me, this means going quietly crazy. Or it means looking around and noticing how much I've neglected the housework. And acknowledging that scrubbing is just as hard on my wrists as using the rotary cutter. So then I can go crazy with inactivity and worry about all the work that isn't getting done. OMG--I could use a drink and it's only 8:30 in the morning.

So I'm not sure what the day holds. I'll probably put the quilt away for yet another year, and wrap presents. If I get desperate enough I could work on the borders of the quilt--they don't need squaring up. I DO know that I won't be going outside--it's just too darn cold!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Worked a little more yesterday on my quilt. It's just a simple utility-type quilt, but it was all cut out and half put together and sitting on my shelf for the past two years. DH had his usual comments. " What the H--- are you going to do with that?" " response- " I'm going to finish it" question-"Why?" I think he's just afraid that I'm going to want to spend money to have it quilted. He's right, but it won't have to be done tomorrow. Had a Guild meeting last night. We have a new executive this year, and the energy is palpable. The room just buzzes. I was in charge of selling a major workshop. This is where we bring in a teacher from out of the area ( This one is from Windsor ON) There wasn't time to give the Guild members any warning, but we still managed to sell 12 seats out of 20 in one class, although only 3 out of 20 in the other. There will be another chance at our January meeting, and I know there are a couple who are interested, but not in a position to sign up right now. Now I want to get something about it on the web site. I'll have to work onthat this weekend.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Happy Dance

Mailman just came, and brought me a letter telling me that I have been selected as a teacher for the Embroiderers' Association of Canada Seminar 2010 in Regina. I have been anxiously waiting to hear about this, probably one of the reasons I have been procrastinating so much over the last little while. Now I will have a focus for my work for the next few months, as I will have to prepare a set of new class samples, and other display samples by the end of March this year. Better get busy!

Followed by a rough day

Little one and Mom got home yesterday morning. then the whole family slept. DD was sounding much better when I spoke to her later in the day. She was surprized that the little one was sleeping most of the time too, but she is ill and on meds--so who knows. DD had a laugh at thehospital when they brought breakfast for the little one: a huge ( read humungous) bowl of Cheerios, coffee or tea--DD wasn't sure which, milk, and four slices of toast. They couldn't provide food for mom, who hadn't beeen admitted, but they could sure make sure the little one was well fed.

We had some errands to run yesterday, some printing I needed for a meeting tonight, a visit to the bank, and a few groceries. Picking up groceries out of the cart to put them through the cashier, I lifted something the wrong way. I felt it in my right wrist immediately. So I spent the rest of the day with the wrist in one of my Velcro splints. Thank Goodness I kept them. I still use them once in awhile, over night, when I've had a rough day. But what a nuisence! They sure interfere with function. I know! I know! That's what they're supposed to do. It seems a little better this morning, but I'll have to be careful for a few more days. And wouldn't you know that the work I'm doing in the studio takes a lot of rotary cutting.

I decided to tackle a pile of UFO's that have been hanging around. It's just "donkey" work, and DH keeps asking what I'm going to do with them, but I believe that I'll have a better chance of finding a use for them if they're finished than if they are in pieces in a plastic bag. Some of them may end up in the local Guild's UFO auction next month--who knows!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

rough night!

Our littlest DGD was not well yesterday. DD called us about 7:00pm, to ask for help. Talking to her I found out that she had been up since 3:00am, had spent the day at work, and was only now getting home with the two children, and no-one had eaten since noon. The little one was having trouble breathing, and DD wanted to take her into emergency. But as she spoke, I realized that she was really "frazzeled", and not really thinking clearly. She wanted us to drive out to the country to stay with the older child, so that she could then turn around and drive in to the city to an emergency dept. Thankfully my SIL arrived home, bundled them all into the car and took them to a local hospital, just a short drive away. ( Ste. Anne-for those who know the area) The doctor wanted to keep the little one under observation for awhile after giving her some medication, so SIL and the older child went home, leaving DD at the hospital. We were on alert to drive out to stay with the older child, should SIL have to go to pick up mother and child later. We got a call at about 3:00am that the little one was being admitted for the night, and Mom would stay with her. My DD had been up for 24 hours at this point, and I was glad she was going to be able to get some sleep. It appears that the little one has some sort of viral infection similar to croup, that was causing a sore and swollen throat, but her lungs were fine ( no asthma--a fear we've had). We've had no word this morning, which I hope means that things are okay for now.

I remember those days. Young Mom with a demanding job, and no option to stay at home. Constant stress, lengthy days of nothing but crisis after crisis, and constant guilt and fear about not being a "good Mom". Add to that no time or energy for the less important things in life, such as house cleaning, and the added stress of believing you are being judged for everything you do.

So now about studio time. I seem to be having a bit of an artistic block--probably because I seem to be fighting a cold. Lying awake last night I remembered advice I had once given another artist about how to deal with this. Get into the studio and do something--doesn't matter what. Working with fabric and colour etc will bring back the "muse" if she's in there. So I don't think I'm going to worry, I'll just go and make pretty things and not worry if they aren't "great art"

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Last week a friend had told me that she had a pot of indigo dye, and if I wanted to use it to call her. So yesterday I did. Just in time, as it turned out, as she was ready to throw it out. She invited me over right away. It was a little surreal. She had this big, black pot simmering on the stove, but at one point her son also had a big pot simmering on the stove as he and a friend were making beer. Since the indigo requires lye, I sure hope no-one got the pots confused. So I cooked two pieces of fabric and a hank of cotton yarn ( DMC Floche, if anyone wants to know.) After taking them out of the pot, and exposing them to air, they slowly appeared to darken, but not as much as the yarn she had done awhile back. Once I got them home, I hung them in the laundry room so tht they would be well exposed ot air and oxygenation. By the time they were dry, the colour is really quilte pale, so I have to assume that the dye bath was pretty well depleted. I think my best bet is to overdye them in some way, although I seem to remember reading in her instructions that there is some reason that indigo shouldn't be overdyed.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Yesterday we went out to finish the last little bit of our shopping. It was so-o-o good just to get out of the house. I actually got into a mall!! I so very much miss the people and activity, even if I don't mix with them or talk to anyone. It wasn't until I was out there that I realized how very much I need it for my own soul. It came home to me when I was walking down the mall and realized how happy I felt for the first time in weeks, and again when I wanted to stop for coffee and DH didn't. He was quite willing to take me through the drive-through, but he didn't want anything. I was devastated. I really wanted to go into that coffee shop and sit down, and be part of the milieu. This is giving me a hint of why I've felt so "down" the past couple of weeks, when we haven't been out. I don't know how I'm going to deal with it in future, but, obviously, I have to find ways of getting out and about, even if DH is quite happy sitting at home.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Well, I promised you a picture of the piece that I was working on last week. The one I planned to finish as a gallery wrap. I just doesn't work. I have no idea what title to give it. The base fabric is 100% cotton in a yellow ochre. First I added the gold areas by padding the shapes with felt and then hand appliqueing a gold fabric on top. Then I needle felted various yarns and then added olive green silk roving on top of the felted yarns. I auditioned quite a variety of beads bfore deciding to go with dark brown wooden bead, some with stripes of lighter coloured wood as well. I'm really thinking that this needs to be professionally framed and I'll keep it pinned to the design wall for awhile to see if I can find the money. Not easy to do this time of year.

Here is a close-up of the needlefelted and beaded piece that I had planned to finish by using a gallery wrap around a frame. Suggestions for a name would be welcome.

Here is Mother Earth-In the Beginning. You'll notice that I changed it from a horizontal presentation to vertical. It just works so much better that way. I've finished it as a show piece, by putting on a show sleeve. There is a show in the spring that I hope to get it into. The show theme is based, somewhat, on the elements. Interesting that when I view it on here, I start to see abstract female figures in the swirls of disharged fabric. I guess that goes along with the title.

Here is a close-up of Mother Earth-In the Beginning. You can actually see the parallel quilting lines in the black. All of the black areas of the quilt are quilted this way. The gold areas are free motion quilted along the lines of value change.

Afternoon outing

I'm not sure what to say. It was a pleasant afternoon stitching at MAWA. I sat at a table with the only other woman in the room who was anywhere near my age, but we talked with the younger women around us. I belong to many volunteer organizations, and this is the only one with any percentage of young people. They are friendly and energetic, but I wonder what role I would be cast in, if I were to become more active. Would I be seen as a mentoring elder, or as the crazy aunt, who must be humored? I will put future sessions in my calendar, but I don't think they'll be a priority.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Fabric Shopping

I did get to the fabric store to buy zippers on sale, and discovered that thread was on sale too! But--I had spent all of my money on blue yarn last week! Oh darn! I got six spools of thread and six zippers. I very much want to try the little purse pattern in the most recent Quilting Arts magazine, and that takes the same length zipper as I use in my little purses, so now I can play with both patterns. But--I found a bolt of Heirloom Quilting cotton--great for dyeing--on sale for 60% off. Now in my richer days,I would have bought the whole bolt, but I controlled myself and only bought 5 metres. So now I have lots to keep me busy for the rest of the month, because I sure can't afford to leave the house! I still plan to go the the Stitch'n'Bitch session at MAWA later today. DH is out shovelling snow so we can get the car out. It is the coldest day we've had yet -22C with windchill at -32c. I had to promise to make him a cooked breakfast, but it sounds like a good deal for me.

We're finding it difficult to keep the house cooler this winter--63F. Gradually we've been adding a degree when it gets uncomfortable and are now up to 66F. I'm reading on the internet about people in the USA who are trying to live with their houses at 55F. Last evening, when we were both just sitting, I broke down and put it up to 69F, after I had showered and washed my hair. I don't know how long we can keep this up, and when I read my Hydro bill, it's the electricity that's costing the big bucks. Still a bit of a stretch every month.

Friday, December 5, 2008

donkey work

Spent yesterday just puttering around the studio. Did a lot of clean-up, and then did the basic construction for a bunch of small purses. These are the ideal thing to take with me to do hand work at meetings etc. Tomorrow I plan to go to a Stitch'n'Bitch session at MAWA. This is the first one, and I have no idea what to expect. But I want to have quite a few of these purses ready for the sales next spring and summer. They sell really well, although not a great profit margin. I used to make them out of left overs, but they're so popular, that now I have to actually cut into good fabric. It's the same with my "coffee cuffs". The "coffee cuffs" use quite a bit of thread. Now, I have lots of thread, and some of it is quite old ( wooden spools anyone?), but thread will deteriorate over time, so some of this needs to be used. It's a P--s Off because I've been warned that thread will be going up in price in the new year, and I notice that no-one is having sales on thread anymore. But--there is a sale on zippers today and tomorrow, and I need a variety of colours, so I plan to stop in and see if I can get some pastel ones.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

City Across the River-Nightfall.

Here is the small landscape I finished yesterday. It is about 11 1/2' by 11 1/2" . I was surprized at how much the base fabric pulled in with the needle felting process. I started with fabric 13 1/2" square. I felted in yarns over the entire surface and then added free motion embroidery for the city itself. This was done for the Fast Friday Internet challenge, and was supposed to be either a very close or very far view with demonstrated use of value. When I sat down to plan this, I checked out my three ( count'em, three!) large baskets of fancy yarns, that I use for embellishment, and discoverd that I had no blues. So, of course, I had to go out an buy blue yarn Now I have lots of blue yarn, but I'm much poorer. (lol) It had been suggested that I check out a shop called Wolseley Wardrobe for yarn. It turned out to be a scond hand clothing store, but with a small section in the back of the most interesting imported yarns. Some that I used was made in China, and another skein made in Turkey. I had originally planned to bind the edges of the piece, but when I got to that step, it resisted. So they are simply sewn , and left raw. The other needle felted piece I'm doing is not quite finished yet. I had planned to attach it to an open wooden square ( called a frame in embroidery jargon, but not a real picture frame as is generally known). It is attached using what is called a "gallery wrap". But when I tried it, it wasn't right. The piece calls for professional framing, and I just can't afford that right now. I'll post a picture when I finish the stitching.

Monday, December 1, 2008

New Work

Got to spend time in the studio yesterday. I'm working on a piece that uses my needle felter. I've hand-appliqued some gold "lumps". I used the technique that I learned in studying goldwork embroidery, where I padded the shapes with felt and then stitched the final fabric over the padded areas. In goldwork the final layer is often kid leather, but I used a man-made fibre. It is gold and, because it's been folded up in a bin for years, appears somewhat 'distressed". Then I needle felted some fancy yarns in a top to bottom pattern working around the "lumps". None of the yarns I had originally wanted to use were"right", and I ended up with some light green ones. On top of that I needlefelted some olive green silk rovings. Then I scattered the beads I had planned for "Mother Earth--In the Beginning", but half of them were wrong. So I've ended up with only dark brown, patterned beads for the top. I'll try to get them sewn on today. Now I have to think of a project for the beads that have been rejected yet again. My group, Ravenesque, will be here tonight, although a couple of the members can't make it. So I will be able to spend the evening sitting with friends in the studio, and hand-stitching beads.

Spoke with my DD last night about Christmas Day. I think she agrees that, after our dinner, which is usually at a local restaurant, we will go back to her house so the children can open their gifts from DH and I. She agrees that this will be much easier on the children than hauling them over to our house for gifts, and then dragging them back home. My DS will have his children for only a few hours later Christmas day, and prefers to have a quiet celebration with them at home.

So, very little in the way of active Christmas celebrations at our house. Regardless, I plan to have a tree. DH helped me get out the Christmas dishes yesterday, and my DGD noticed them right away, which made the whole thing worthwhile. Besides, how can we have Christmas without DH and I having our annual "discussion" about where the tree will go. I want to put it in front of the livingroom window, where I placed a table I bought with just that in mind, but DH refuses to move his Christmas Cactus, which is in full bloom. The "discussion" is just for show. Having the tree beside the kitchen door is much more convenient, especially for plugging in the lights, and it can still be seen from the street.