Thursday, 20 July 2017

Life gets in the way sometimes!

Still Kickin'!
Backlit Shastas and Hemerocallis in the front garden

I AM still alive, by the grace of God! I feel like I am constantly offering excuses for not posting more often and for that, I apologize. DH has had a MISERABLE winter which has left ME with all of the "heavy lifting". I've also been pretty busy getting used to being a bookkeeper, visitor, decision maker etc for Mum. Fortunately she is doing pretty well. I just have not had much time or energy for working on a quilt. I BELIEVE I begin to see at least the tunnel, if not the light at the end just yet. Thank heaven for my camera!!! It has been my creative salvation! I can but offer a few shots that I have taken fairly recently to show you that I DO still think creatively and DO intend to get back in the "saddle"!

We have JUST had a few days with DD and her beautiful family. Sent them home early last Monday AM :-(  As DH was still suffering rather badly, we didn't get far from home but our oldest Grandboy was fascinated with Granddad's clock collection and THIS was the highlight of his trip apparently!! I LOVE this pic- and the guys IN the pic!
Granddad and The Grandboys winding the Grandfather clock

The beach at Hutch's . Those rocks are an island now in pretty deep water but  a couple of years ago you could climb  on them on dry sand!

We went to the beach one day for Fish and Chips. The kiddos played in the water although the wee one was NOT amused by the coldness of L Ontario! A couple of years ago, the rocks you see forming a little "island" out in the water were on dry land!! That is how high the L Ontario water is this year! Quite alarming. I understand that Toronto Is is closed to all but actual residents because of the flooding!

I am having a wonderful time documenting the flowers in our garden this year! We have not ventured far from home so a LOT of my photos are from the garden.
Hemerocallis Chicago Atlas at the end of its day

Hydrangea Merritt's Supreme in the prime of its blooming

Centre of a very red little poppy- potential quilt???

A VERY red poppy!

I bought an iPhone- 6S and am LOVING the camera on it! It is pretty cool and I HAVE taken quite a few pics on my walks. I've been walking a LOT. One of us has to be in shape so we can function as normally as possible!!! I'll have to find a couple of shots from the phone! It is an impressive little tool! The beach pics are from the phone.
Peony Sarah Bernhardt on the phone

A HUGE nameless hosta leaf on the phone. check out the pollen on the surface!

I have been zentangling but am still NOT very happy with my right hand although I DID manage to get some relatively decent tangles.

A part of a finished tangle with a coloured "jewel" ( a turquoise) done in Prismacolor pencil crayon

I am ALMOST finished the quilting on Bug Lunch but need to shoot some pics for you. I have to left hand panel to finish- the BIG detail one. I am looking forward to doing that- big job but I shall revel in the many colours and patterns I can use to do it!! Stay tuned.

In closing, just a few more random shots from the garden! ENJOY! I hope you are all well and happy and enjoying Summer 2017??
A Rex Begonia called Escargot! I LOVE these leaves!!!

The Smoke Bush seems FINALLY to be old enough to smoke! We've never had so much bloom!!
and one final potential future quilt....

God bless and happy creating!

Friday, 7 April 2017

Trauma and quilting

It has been a VERY tough few weeks in our family. Our darling Mum, 97 on the 12 April, finally got a placement on a Long Term Care Home. She is really NOT amused but she's strong, stoical and sensible enough to understand the necessity for the move. It is a lovely place and she has a bright room with her bed beside the window onto the patio. Mum LOVES a "sunshine day" so she has a front row seat now. Sadly, she no sooner got ensconced than Norwalk Virus attacked so things are pretty tense. Mum seemed to be getting the bug but, thank God, now seems to be beating it! Anyway, in light of all of this, I have NOT worked on Bug Lunch for quite a while.
This is pretty much the whole piece. You can see which panel is done- as of an hour ago!!!

I am VERY pleased to announce that I have now finished quilting one of the four main panels and am fairly pleased. I know now some things I would do differently another time but there will not BE another time with this one. So here are a few detail shots for the nice "Detail People" who kindly follow my ramblings.

I'll start on the panel to the right of this one next and then finally, do the far right, far left and the little background triangle at the bottom left. It is fun to be quilting again but I am VERY rusty! This piece may not see the light of day!! We'll see.

My garden begins to call to me too. Our weather has picked up a bit recently. Snowdrops, crocus and Reticulata iris are all done . Daffs are following right on with a few hyacinths. I have LOTS of helleborus in full bloom. I need to remove  the old , dead leaves so we can see the flowers!
Crocus Tommasinianus- all done now but soo pretty and delicate

Helleborus Orientalis- tasty to some bug apparently

Iris Reticulata- also finished for this year

I hope YOU are all well and enjoying the onset of spring. I am starting to . I have to get a routine going- working, gardening and , of course, visiting Mum! God bless one and all. Take care!

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Pieced and ready to layer.

The photo I worked from is on the left, the untrimmed piece in the middle and my freezer paper cartoons on the right.
It has been a rocky few weeks here recently. I have had a LOT of extra responsibility with my Mum  so work on this little quilt has been sporadic at best. However... I have FINISHED the piecing!!! Yay!  I have cleared the BIG mess away and now have to make small messes ;-) That's VERY easy for me to do!!

It is brutally cold here right now and no snow to cushion the blow. I feel very very sorry for the poor little snowdrops. They are all in bloom and every morning when I check them, the little blooms are lying right down, heads on the frozen earth! Nature's protections are amazing. Just the simple act of removing a lot of the water from the stem when it is really cold protects the little cells from bursting in the low temperatures. Once the sun warms them up , they stand up tall again. Maybe when the sun warms ME up again, I'll perk up!!

Today, once the daily "chores" are done, I have to layer this little quilt and get it ready for the sewing machine! I have not used my machine for so long that I will be pretty rusty so I'll make up a "junk sandwich" and play quilts on that to loosen me up. BTW! That silly hand is doing well but still stiff and swell-y . IT does alright at Zentangles though. I use those as an exercise to regain control and just for hand exercise. I highly recommend it! VERY Zen and very good training for precision.

So , here is the process for those of you who like the process! The piece IS complete to all intents and purposes. I MAY add bits as I go along but here it is - done- ish! Here are some of the many many little layers that make up this quilt top.
Look at the little topographic piles of fabric! Wish me luck pinning and quilting this! I do NOT deserve sympathy.
Now I trim most of the really extraneous junk...

And begin the layering process. Step one iron the backing fabric, cut it to size and tape it down - wrong side up!-VERY snugly!
Backing , upside down, taped tightly.

Then measure cut and press the batting. Place it carefully on top of the backing.
Batting laid over the taped backing

And then, add the quilt top and square it up in preparation for pinning the layers.
The quilt top placed squarely on top of backing and batting

The pinning begins in the centre and works out to the edges. This was a BEASTLY job because of the thickness of so many little layers but I DID get it fastened together.
You can see the little PILES of fabric I am pinning through and, eventually QUILTING through! Thumpity thump thump!

Then the pins have to be closed- OUCH!! My fingers are sore tonight despite the assistance of my Kwik Klip.
The pins are all in - now to close them

Now that the pins are all in and closed up, I'll hang the piece for a while to be sure no pins need moving.
All done and I treated myself to a nice hot cuppa, and a sit down with the heating pad at my back (DH likes the house cold like a meat locker!!! Summer AND winter!)
It looks pretty smooth but I will not start quilting till I am sure. This has been a long ordeal! I find myself working painfully slowly. Drives me NUTS!! Maybe it is time to cease and desist and take up some other form of madness??? On that cheery note, I am off to start today's Zentangle! Tirra!!

PS, on a silly note- this piece is tentatively called "Bug Lunch" because that is what it was . Fresh Peony Leaf Salad for some chewing beasty or another!

And now, since it IS Wednesday and since I actually HAVE a post written I will send this to the

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Moving along- but EVER so slowly!!!

Progress IS being made! I can only work for a brief time  because this silly old hand still tires easily. I AM getting there though. I have gotten all of the basic background done. There will be LOTS of tweaking , touch ups and refining to do but I'm getting there. I am REALLY not used to working so slowly. It SHOULD be teaching me patience- but, 't'ain't! So I do lots of "tangling" to get myself headed in a positive direction and unwound!!!
This is the basic, all cotton - now for the FUNNN!

Looking at the basic layers, I decided to try some tulle layers on the first two panels- far left and the one next to it. There is a lot of subtlety on those two parts and I want some softer colour changes ( why don't I just PAINT the darned thing?? ) I am a stubborn old thing and want it in fabric, not paint!! That's why!

So , now I have the basic softening started. I have experimented with the tulle. The freezer paper does not really adhere to the nylon tulle but the Misty Fuse does really well. I may not do the freezer paper next time . It seems to leave some waxy residue where it does manage to stick. Soo-- Lots of pins from here on in. Also, I experimented with sticking the tulle onto the cotton and then fusing more cotton bits on top of the tulle! NO PROBLEM at all, if that bon mot helps anyone out there.

The first of the tulle layers. May or may not do more- except in little places. Stay tuned!

The green bits are background there you could see through the Peony leaf. I hope you can see the beginnings of the more subtle colour changes here?

I am actually getting down to some smaller patches and I should make up a bunch of bug holes. It will look totally different with the bug holes in place.

And, to finish off today,  couple of Zentangles! I have started trying to add "gemstones" to a few of them.The one with the blue stones was "Explored" today, for the Flickrites among you. They are REALLY fun to do- VERY addictive, very relaxing, very ZEN!!

BTW, this looks a bit grainy here where I used coloured pencil but NOW, I have availed myself of a blending pencil and the difference it startling! If you use pencil crayon and have never tried a blender, try it! You'll LIKE it!

As it is Wednesday today and, as this IS, DEFINITELY a W.I.P.... I will send this off to the There is always something exciting going on over there. Have a look. Post some of YOUR work!

Monday, 6 February 2017

A slight diversion!!

Needing a little break from a LOT of cutting, I turned to my beloved ( and very useful) Zentangles! I am finding that as I strengthen my hand, I am losing some fine control so I am going to lay off the rubber ball squeezing for a bit and see what happens.
I like the openness of these two and the "jewels" came out not badly

The second picture I did was in a different sketchbook with coarser, toothier paper so the "gem" looks kinda "woolly"!!!I REALLY need a blending pencil if I want to get the right look. See what the weather is tomorrow. Sounds pretty bad but if it is OK....
REALLY like this but the rough paper gave me woolly "gems" :-(

I also spent a LOT of time shooting photos of CHEESE for Macro Mondays!!! The prompt for this week was "Say Cheese" but we could not use people- just cheese! Here are a couple of examples. It was a fun week.
Holey Emmentaler , Batman!

Parmesan curls

Jalapeño cheese twist with sesame seeds

Tomorrow, I'll post the progress on the Peony leaf Macro. It is coming along - slowly. There is a lot of detail in that piece and I DO want it all in there. I want a crunchy, gnarly look to it when it is done. Lotsa texture!  Anyway, tomorrow is another day. Enjoy your evening and , maybe see you tomorrow!

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Moving along slowly

Had therapy again this AM. I am doing well and working on breaking down the scar tissue as well as strengthening the hand- and , of course, keeping the tendons working smoothly without locking! So far, so good! Yay! Sarah!! I am not going back now for two weeks! This is soo great compared to the first round!

Anyway, SLOW progress IS being made on the Peony Macro. I am working on the silk overlays with varying rates of success. I have done a LOT of scissor cutting today so am taking the rest of the day off. Here it is so far. Not sure about the red overlay- the big one! I'll have to have a good stare at it and decide if I like it.

Still so much background work to do before I settle down to working on the bug holes. I'll try to repost the original picture to see and to show you how it is progressing.The big white splodges are HOLES and there WILL be colour behind them eventually. The white is just the "Southern Belle" base I am working on. It gets totally covered up in the end.
I must recheck the original photo as the hard line near the bottom of the red bugs me and I ALMOST feel the colour is too intense. More of the background colour on there will change the look a lot so I shall be patient ( it says here in the Book!) Time is a wonderful thing. It clears the mind. Mine REALLY requires clearing !!

See! I still think the colour is too intense and that lower edge of the red is too harsh. Stay tuned! All is NOT lost. I am nothing if not persistent!

OK, 'nuff for today. Hope everyone has had a good, productive and creative day. Cheerio for now!

Afterthought: I removed that deep red, hard edged piece late last night! New day today. Fingers recovered. Determination "screwed to the sticking point"- and today, I'll redo that bit! Stay "tooned"!!!

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Two days running?? Almost!

Well, the "bug" has well and truly bitten me! I am chugging right along with this little Peony Leaf piece and , so far, so good!

I forgot to post some of the fabrics I auditioned and chose to use...

I am working on trying to keep the golden yellow of the leaf with an overlay in spots of a translucent rose, pink, and/or violet. So far, pretty pleased with this. I used bits of hand dyed pure silk organza (and chiffon still to be used) fused in place with Misty Fuse. The Misty Fuse is magic- very adhesive but also quite transparent so, in this case, my golden leaf shows through! Yay, Misty Fuse!!

The deeper purply brown here is not transparent. It is a cotton hand dye. It will get some heavy stitching of veins eventually! I think the next place to go is to the left hand panel to do the broad sweeping colours and then, back to the bug holes! All in good time! I'll have the "big picture" and then I can go for the remaining nitty gritty details! This is going to be FUNNN to stitch!

Am I having fun yet?? You betcha! Sadly, I have a headache today so may not push too much harder for the moment. Don't like headaches!!!

We awoke to a glorious sunrise today, not spectacular but soo pretty! I HAD to shoot a couple of pictures.

Not a spectacular photo but it DID catch the glow of the SUNSHINE :-D for the first time in ages. Sorry it's crooked! I was hurrying before the light changed.

The orange stripe is the sun on the Niagara Escarpment running just north of our back garden. In summertime, as many of you already know, we don't see the Escarpment from the back windows as the trees in the foreground act like a green screen! What you see here is about thirty feet below the upper part of our back garden.
It has been a good day and continues to be , despite a sore head! That will pass. I hope you are ALL well and happy, busily engaged in creative undertakings. Enjoy!! Groundhog Day tomorrow- also Imbolc ( for the Celts among us) and St Brigid's Day for the Irish among us! Happy Groundhog day. Hope we get our wish! ( Secretly, I am pretty ready for SPRING, despite the lack of decent winter so far!)