Sunday, December 29, 2013

Happy New Year!

View from my front window!
Wishing you a Very Happy, Healthy and Productive New Year from snow covered Ottawa!  We have some serious snow here but we miraculously escaped the ice storm this time!   I know it has been a nightmare for some of you who are without power.    Let us hope that everyone has their power restored soon.

View from my back window

Last month our fibre arts group had an exhibition at the Stittsville library called "First Lines".   Here is a photo of my friend Connie holding her submission.  Can you guess which book it is from?

Has anyone read Andrew McCall Smith's series - The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency featuring Precious Ramotswe?   Precious runs a detective agency and describes herself as "traditionally built".    Here she is with her little van out in front of her agency.  Isn't it great?

Before the holidays, I had almost finished my latest hand stitched piece which is still unnamed - For some time (years!)  I immersed myself in Atlantic Canada.  Now I have quite a few prairie/field pieces under my belt - Prairie Sky,  Prairie Sky II, Prairie Dawn, Fields of Gold,  Prairie Grasses, A River Runs Through It etc. and I'm running out of names......This one is mostly hand stitched with lots of texture and, as usual, the satin sky is hand painted.  I still need to mount it onto a canvas.  I didn't really depict any particular season but was looking instead to represent the many colours of the prairie and its bounty.  However, whenever I look at it, Connie Kaldor's song "Spring on the Prairies" keeps running through my head.......

Monday, December 9, 2013

More Trees...

I have made some progress on my tree pieces.  I added leaves and tulle and machine stitched the tree trunk and the foliage. I solved my dilemma with the tulle (to tulle or not to tulle) by cutting away the tulle from everywhere except the tree because it was obscuring the hand stitching on the flowers.  I have layered it and will now attempt to hand quilt the areas around the tree.  I think I'll just finish it with a satin stitched edge.

When I looked at it through my camera lens I wasn't sure about those poppies.  the foliage may blend too much with the background.  I may add a few stronger highlights to the stems and leaves.  Or I may decide to just leave well enough alone.

close up of tree trunk

close up of poppies

I have also been stitching away at my other tree piece (right now I am calling it the "Are you Crazy!!!?? piece).   The same subject but this one is going to be completely embroidered on a lightly painted background.   It has been a lot of hand stitching!  I am integrating some of my new variegated threads from LES Designs and they look so nice!   Here is a little preview.....lots of stitching still to do on the background - lots of areas to fill in - but I am concentrating on the tree right now.   Hope my fingers hold up.  

I've been using mostly chain and straight stitches for the trunk, some fly stitches for the foliage in the background.   This one is my 'evening in front of the TV' piece. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

My New Threads!

I just love getting things in the mail especially when it's fibre-related.   Earlier this week I ordered some dyed threads from LES Designs.  Today they were in my mailbox complete with a colourfully decorated envelope.  Aren't they gorgeous!!  But don't take my word for it. You can see these lovely threads in a rainbow of colourways at Lorraine's Etsy shop   She also has a blog called  Creative Daily 

 I ordered a variety of twisted silk, perle cotton, and rayon threads, and a sampler pack, and Lorraine slipped in some extras.  I was looking for mostly earthy tones and greens.  The variegated colours are beautifully dyed and will be just the thing for my tree embroidery.  I can't keep my hands off them so I'm off to stitch.......

Cool Packaging!
See sampler at right
 Thanks Lorraine!!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Progress on Tree Project

I think this is going to be the one!!   The ash tree is made up of tiny pieces of fabric fused to a thin background.  I hand stitched some colourful poppies around the tree base.  Next I will add a few leaves (but not too many) under and over the trunk and the tree will be ready to applique on to the background.  I actually think it would be a great winter tree but I have already committed myself by adding the poppies (so maybe tree #4 - winter -  is coming up?).   I am leaning towards machine applique because I think it will blend with the trunk nicely.  I think I will hand quilt the areas around the tree.

My one decision is whether to add tulle over the whole thing.   The tulle softens it a bit, pulls it all together, and gives the trunk a sheen but the hand stitching on the flowers is not as prominent and using a variety of threads on the trunk may be sufficient.

Without tulle

With tulle (it's harder to get a good photo with the tulle)
I need to look at it for a day or two.   This is quite a small piece (7 x 10") so each bit of fabric is quite tiny.   Please note the beautiful background fabric.  It is one of Elaine Quehl's hand dyes.  They beautify any piece!

I am still hand stitching version #1 but it's too soon to show....

I was able to add my mini Etsy link to my sidebar.  It was easy to do or maybe my tech skills are improving?   My son is always teasing me about my early reaction to computers and the way I have moved into the tech age since then.

This post is linked to the Needle and Thread Network WIP Wednesdays

Sunday, December 1, 2013

New Etsy Shop and I Can't Believe It's December!

Already December and I haven't blogged for ages.  My big news is that I finally opened my ETSY shop -  JuanitaSauveFibreArt on Etsy     I created the shop last month but didn't have time to add items.   For the last week I have been experiencing some nasty nosebleeds (an old issue) and was forced to stay quiet for a week.  Rather than waste my time altogether I prepared my policies,  took some photos, and added items to my shop.  I was pleased to see that there have been some views already.  It's a little scary but I'm sure I'll get the hang of it.  Now I just have to figure out how to add the etsy logo to my blog.

I had a successful show in mid November and was pleased that I sold a good variety of items.   My mini landscape/postcards sold well as did my funky fabric beaded necklaces (I'll post some photos soon) and bookmarks.  I sold some framed pieces and journals and lots of cards.  Here is a photo of my booth.   I had great booth neighbours and I also got to see some old friends and customers with  lots of lovely feedback.

The show is held in the beautiful Glebe Community Centre in Ottawa.  I wish I had taken some photos of the inside of the building.

This little piece was one of my favourites.  I called it 'simplicity' and it sold the first night of the show.  It is tiny - maybe 3.5 x 3.5 -matted and framed in a larger square frame.  I think that sometimes I make my work too complicated and one of my goals is to keep it simple in some of my pieces - know when to stop!

Before the show I spent one morning dyeing more silk ribbon with my dye kit from  Ribbonsmyth .  I was happy with the results and used them for ribbon embroidered bookmarks and a couple of ribbon embroidered framed pieces.

drying in my basement

It is so much fun adding drops of dye and creating all sorts of colours of ribbon.  So many of the results are serendipidous.   My favourite was a lovely periwinkle blue.

My present theme is 'trees'.   Inspired by my first 'sacred tree' which has just returned from an exhibition at the Stittsville library, I started piecing a tree together on a lightweight background (which I have since cut away around the tree).

tree in progress

I plan to applique it to a stitched background so I started one, then a second, then a third background.....why so many?   Because each one took an unexpected turn and I am still trying for a certain effect.  I think the latest will work if I 'keep it simple!'       The tree was too powerful for the first background I stitched.  In the second instance, the background was too distracting.   So now I think a hand dyed background and a few flowers in the foreground will be enough.  The others are morphing into different pieces and were not wasted.  More on this one as I progress.
This post is linked up to Off the Wall Fridays     Take a look at some great fibre art!


Monday, November 4, 2013

Preparation for Glebe Craft and Artisan Fair

I am happy to say that my hands are functional again after some physio, acupuncture, ultrasound and exercise (not to mention warm/cold/warm water baths.   Still some twinges of pain and stiffness so I am being very careful not to overdo the hand stitching but I was able to complete several ribbon embroidered bookmarks and other pieces last week. 

Mini framed embroidery

Floral Bouquet

 ribbon embroidered bookmarks

close up

close up

I also framed some of my 4 x 6 landscapes, this one in a double frame.  Most of my embroideries are framed without glass but with this machine stitched one I left the glass on.  But it is set back in a double mat so the texture still shows through.  Of course, the customer can choose to have the glass removed.

I also completed another notebook cover and have 3 more in progress.

Small Notebook Cover

Last week was my birthday so I treated myself to roses.  Aren't they gorgeous!!
Now back to work!

This post is connected to off the wall friday where you can see what other fibre artists are doing this week.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Another Journal Cover/New Exhibitions Fall 2013

 **Please check my Exhibitions page for two new shows in November 2013.

Here is my painted, stamped and machine stitched piece transformed into a journal cover.   I am starting to get the knack of the contruction of these covers thanks to lots of good instructions on the internet.

I have finished a couple more machine stitched mini landscapes and was able to hand stitch a few ribbon embroidered bookmarks.  They just need to have backings added then zigzagged around the edges.  I am glad to be doing a little hand stitching again but I am taking it really easy.   I find the ribbon embroidery is harder on the fingers especially when using 4mm ribbon rather than the thinner 2mm.

Some of the mini landscapes will be mounted on matboard and framed, a couple will be framed in a double frame, and the rest will probably end up as postcards.   I still have a few sitting by my machine ready to stitch.  The more linear ones are simply straight stitch and zigzag with variations on the size of the stitches.  The more hilly or bushy ones have some free motion stitching on them.
Small Landscapes

I want to mention our guest at last night's Out of the Box meeting.  Her name is Judi Miller and she does wonderful detailed free motion work starting with her own photos Judi Miller Textile Artist
Take a look.  Her work is meticulous.

Here's something to put a smile on your face.... My leaf filled birdbath didn't deter this fellow.  First he drank, then he dove right in.  I took these through my kitchen window.  Most of the photos were just a blur of action but here are a few clearer shots.
I think I need a bath

It's a little chilly

Time for face washing

Ahh.   That feels better
This post is linked to the Needle and Thread Network's WIP Wednesdays
Take a look at some great Canadian Fibre Artists.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Fibre Art for the Library, Starting New Projects and Finishing Others

Prairie Dawn

In my last blog entry I talked about entering "My Sacred Tree" in a show at our local library in Stittsville, Ontario.  I had to abandon my hand stitched prairie piece for now so here is my second attempt, all machine stitched because I still can't do any hand sewing.  My hand was improving then the pain started in the other hand and my physiotherapist thinks the culprit is arthritis not a tendon injury so she gave me instructions and exercises which seem to be helping.

So at least I have been able to start machine stitching again.  I painted the satin sky, did some free motion on the fields, then painted the edges of a stretched canvas to match and mounted it on the canvas (still needs to be glued down).

Painted Edges

I love the premise of this show.   We took the first line of a book as inspiration.   This piece was inspired by W.O. Mitchell's 'Who Has Seen the Wind'.    The line reads as follows.

"Here was the least common denominator of nature, the skeleton requirement simply, of land and sky - Saskatchewan prairie" (Who Has Seen the Wind by W.O Mitchell, 1947, McClelland and Stewart, page 3).

I have also finished off my black and white hand embroidered piece by adding some subtle watercolour effects to it and framing it in a float frame.

Safe Harbour

Inspired by a photo taken in Prince Edward Island several years ago.

My latest project is completing some journal covers for a show in November.   I had ideas for the creative part  but really no idea of how to make a journal cover.    So I tried several techniques which did not work or only worked marginally.   Then I went online and looked at several tutorials then started again.   I completed three journals so far and working on more.  Here are a couple of them.

This next one, still to be assembled, started out by painting fabric, stamping with homemade stamps, then free motion stitching the leaves.  I've got to say that I think my machine skills are improving since I am unable to do any hand stitching.  I needed to have a reason to keep at it I guess.  The plan is for this to be a journal cover but it looks interesting as is.

Free Motion Embroidery

On Thanksgiving Monday, after a big turkey dinner the day before, I went for a walk with two friends to Mud Lake, a lovely spot along the Ottawa River.   We spied these Wood Ducks.   The female was aggressively grooming the male.   We wondered what he was carrying around in his feathers.

Wood Ducks
And the weather was fabulous!
 This post is linked up to  WIP Wednesdays     Take a look at what other Canadian fibre artists are up to this week.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Sacred Tree

This post is linked to Needle and Thread Network WIP Wednesdays  Take a look at what Canadian Fibre Artists are doing this week.  I'm also linking  up with Off the Wall Fridays.  More great fibre art!

The Sacred Tree

 I managed to mount my tree piece onto a black canvas that I purchased.  I think that this will be my contribution to the 'Out of the Box' Stittsville library fibre art exhibition for the month of November.  It is based on the book "The Sacred Tree".    I have another possibility - a piece I have been working on with prairie grasses and big sky (Who Has Seen the Wind) - but I wanted to do more hand stitching and I am still nursing my injured hand (more physio - sigh!).  Yesterday they told me that it will take a long time to heal and my other hand is starting to hurt too, from overuse I guess.  So I need to exercise my hands but hand sewing is out of the question for now.  I'm trying to stay positive (ie when life hands you lemons, make lemonade, right?) here's what I am doing.

One thing I learned to do when I was a child and there were no left handed scissors, was to cut with my right hand.   So I was able to use my painted satin skies to make some 4 x 6 mini landscapes/postcards.   They are fused down and ready to machine stitch.   Placement was tricky because my finger splint kept knocking pieces every which way (but my nurse practitioner told me yesterday to throw away the splint anyway). 

I'm also taking photos of the wonderful fall colours outside my door.    Last month I decided to trim my maple instead of cutting it down.   Today it rewarded me by producing the most gorgeous red leaves ever.   Some years they are mostly yellow but not this year.....

And my newly cabled ash tree is brilliantly yellow out in my back yard....I do love autumn!

Tomorrow Junk that Funk is coming to take away a load of things from my basement as well as a removing a sofa from my fabric/computer room so that I can finally have a room dedicated to sewing.  I am excited!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Painting Skies and Cape Breton Flora

Since I still can't hand stitch although my finger is improving, I decided to paint some skies so I can work on more machine stitched mini/postcard pieces.

  I'll cut each square horizontally for 2 skies
The middle sunset one is my most favourite.   I used setasilk colours on three of them, tsukeniko inks on another three, and another three were done with derwent inktense blocks.  Unfortunately I was not very scientific and I can't remember which were which.  The inks gave the strongest colours so I think the orange sunset and stormy sky piece was done with them.  I believe the palest three were the setasilk colours.   And the remainder were inktense.   I got the results I wanted from each more or less.  They are painted on satin and were difficult to photograph - If I used a flash it bounced off the satin.  These photos don't show some of the subtle effects of the colours mixing together.  I tried a bit of editing to capture the true colours.

This one is not quite so bright.  I want to use it in a mainly green landscape.

I used a flash with this one

I like the effects in this one.  I can see rainbows.

Think stormy skies

One of my favourites

this one looks a little 'dirty' in the photo

I can't wait to use them in mini landscapes.   I started three last night before painting these skies.   I'll machine stitch them soon.

I have been so busy this week I hardly had time to look at my Cape Breton photos so I relaxed for a bit this morning and took a look.   Here are some photos of flora along the trail.  If you look closely you might see a bit of fauna as well.

On last night's news they showed a fellow who found a very large mushroom - Here's what  I saw on Red Island Trail - at first I thought it was a wasp nest or a buoy hanging in a tree but I think it is a giant fungus.  I couldn't get close enough to examine it but it stuck out from the tree and appeared to have a large stem attaching it to the tree.  

I feel another mushroom quilt in the making

So many varieties

This beauty looked like a large scallop shell

Mmmm...more stitchery
This grouse was 3 feet away from us but she didn't think we could see her.   Eventually she flew up almost taking out a hiker.  The resulting photo was just a blur of bird and human.

The trees at Fishing Cove were laden with cones
 This post is linked up to Off the Wall Friday    Take a look at what other bloggers are up to this week.