Sunday, July 21, 2013

Embroidery - The Bog - Cape Breton Island

Bonsai in the Bog

A few years ago I took a photo of a bonsai-like tree in the middle of a bog in Cape Breton Island.  Last year, I noticed that small tree had all but disappeared - maybe due to dry weather or munched on by moose who regularly frequent the bog.   I decided I needed to record its passing with a piece of embroidery.  I had planned for it to be only bog - no sky - but in the end decided to add a little sliver of blue as a contrast (I know, I didn't follow the 'thirds' rule).

It is only 4" x 6" but took many hours of hand stitching to complete.   Then I added a thin batting with extra behind the tree.  I added backing fabric and stitched around the tree shape and in between some of the foliage of the tree to give a 3D effect.  I added a mat and will frame it.  Below is the original photo inspiration.

Bog photo

In spite of the intense heat and humidity of the past two weeks (I don't have AC) I managed a little machine work in the early mornings.   I am stitching another swamp with strips of fabric but this one will have waterlilies in it.   Here is the background all stitched up.  Now to add some hand cut foliage and small waterlilies and lily pads.  I like it to look abstract with just a bit of reality thrown in.   I used straight and zigzag stitching for most of it but did add some adjusted honeycomb stitches (elongated to look like lily pads) here and there.  When I am finished I will post the photo inspiration as well.  You'll be able to see why I used the strip method for the scene. 

I'll be adding a touch of reality with foliage, water lilies and lily pads

The combination of sun and rain is really helping my somewhat neglected garden.  Here are a couple of brilliant day lilies that bloomed last week.

I spent the week seeking refuge in air conditioned surroundings.  I hit the library, the shops, the pubs and ended the week with a coffee shop, art store and fabric paint demo at Wabi Sabi by a member of my Out of the Box group.   The paints are Stewart Gill and they keep a soft hand so you can easily hand stitch through them.  Needless to say, I purchased a varied selection of paints and will be experimenting with them in the weeks to come.

Finally today we have very cool temperatures and I love it!!!

I'm linking this post to  Needle and Thread Network WIP Wednesdays to celebrate their 100th post!!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Bookmarks, Dyeing Ribbons, Birds in the Bushes, Finishing my first Hooked Rug etc

First a little update on my last post -Prairie Sky II. I couldn`t say before but this piece was purchased by my friend Jody`s partner as an anniversary gift.  The best part is that Jody, a Saskatchewan girl, former co-worker, and my choir director, wrote a song called √Ćnfinite Blue`  which was the motivation behind my two (so far) prairie pieces.   Her song, in turn, was inspired by a poem written by her mom.  Happy to say that she was thrilled with the piece and with the thoughtfulness of her partner.   Oh, I love secrets!

On  Friday I brought some new bookmarks out to The Pickle Dish in Carleton Place - a fabric shop and more.   Jan really liked the new fabric ribbon embroidered ones and took them all to sell in her shop.



Soooo,  yesterday I got out my little ribbon dyeing kit that I purchased from Ribbonsmyth and dyed some ribbons.  This little kit contained 4 basic colours - a red, green, blue and yellow - and I was able to mix them to create some really nice colours.  It came with lots of instructions, recipes, and pipettes.    It was so easy to do - just a plastic container in the microwave for 1-3 minutes and voila!!   I dried them in minutes under the lilac tree, ironed them and soon had a little bag of lovely silk ribbon.

I`m not sure if I can re-create these colours but next time I will make note of the number of drops of each colour I used - maybe even make a sample card - but for now I was just playing!!   I put a piece in water afterwards as instructed and it didn`t seem to colour the water so I`m pretty sure they are colour fast.   Can`t wait to try out more - and maybe order more colours:)  I do believe I read somewhere to dry them inside so the colours are not faded by the sun but mine were out for only a few minutes in the shade and dried nicely.

The last two weeks was also a time for getting things done.  I finished my first little hooked rug this week - hooked in the last few yarns, folded back the raw edges and sewed a one inch binding on the back to secure it.  It was waiting to be finished off for awhile but in the last two weeks  I have tackled some major unfinished business - cleaning my office, buying a car, booking some work on my eaves, so why not tackle some UFOs.

And now for something completely different.  This year my serviceberry bush had copious amounts of berries.   I had to do some research to find out just what this bush was because the birds and squirrels gobbled the berries like there was no year I plan to get in on the act too.
This young blue jay actually sidled up to the chipmunk and was begging to be fed

But it was too busy filling its face with juicy berries
Eventually mom or dad appeared and role modelled for the youngsters how to pick their own berries

The squirrels ate them by the handfuls

sometimes hanging upside down - don't try this at home

Cardinals and robins were able to eat them on the fly but they were too fast for me to snap a picture
I'm linking up with  the Needle and Thread Network WIP Wednesdays.     See what other Canadian fibre artists are doing this week.