Friday, March 29, 2013

"A Walk in the Sunshine"

Having settled down to prepare my income tax papers (visualize boxes and plastic bags full of receipts etc) - and having just finished my small pieces for the sale table at our spring show - and in the midst of preparing for my second eye surgery -  I don't have a lot of time to create right now which means not a lot to write about.

Anyway, I received my Canadian Quilter magazine in the mail yesterday and remembered that I haven't posted a photo of my trend tex challenge piece that's gone off hopefully to the BC Quilt Show by way of Newfoundland ( a well travelled quilt) to be part of a silent auction.

Happiness is a Walk in the Sunshine

The theme is sunshine and vines and we had a kit of 5 fabrics which needed to appear on the front of the piece.   I also used 2 additional fabrics (for the sky and water).  I used a combination of hand and free motion machine stitching and hand and machine quilting on the piece with some sparkly paintstiks on the water.   The inspiration came from a photo of vines growing over an old fence beside a footpath along the Ottawa river.

These are the five fabrics we needed to use in the piece.   I had the hardest time with the middle one but discovered that the coloured bits were perfect for the darker leaves and some lovely little birds.   The lovely yellow fabric became the sun kissed leaves as well as the binding.  It was an interesting challenge and I do love challenges!
  This post is linked up to    Off the Wall Fridays
 Take a look to see what other art quilters are up to.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Still Playing with Ribbons and Threads

I decided to try some bookmarks using ribbon embroidery.  In my Stitch Tool book I found the lovely iris stitch then invented a few others of my own based loosely on stitches in the book (loosely because I'm still learning how:)  Nevertheless I like the results.  I need some small things to sell at our spring show in April.

Then it was back to miniatures.   I stitched a tulip garden on this one.  I had started a tulip field using french knots but it took so much ribbon that I was afraid I would run out so I put it aside till I can order more ribbon and made this one instead.

This is one of my first attempts matted and framed.  I like it!

And I ended up making a large bag to pack my Down the Garden Path piece for our spring show.   The bag is about 30" x 25" and is the largest thing I have ever sewn by machine.  I lined it with batting and fabric.

Then I played around with silk threads on leafy fabric - It was fun but  I think I like the ribbon ones better.

Here's the last ribbon embroidery piece I finished.  I have a couple more bookmarks in progress then it's on to something new (or maybe a ufo).

This lovely mourning dove posing so nicely on my feeder is one of a pair that spend a lot of time in my yard.

This post is linked to the Needle and Thread Network WIP Wednesdays.  To see more work by Canadian fibre artists just click on the red button on the sidebar at right..

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Making Progress with Ribbons and Bags

Just a quick post to show off my new packing materials and ribbon minis.    I quickly gave up on the bubble wrap, got out some fabric and batting and made these bags to pack my framed pieces for the spring show.   Ta da!  

 Next time I will add an inner layer of fabric so I don't have to worry about the batting shedding but they are designed to carry framed work and these pieces are all under glass so I wasn't being too fancy.  Put into a plastic bag first or wrapped in bubble wrap they will be fine.

Now I have one large framed piece to wrap.  I'm not sure I have fabric that's big enough so might have to piece it together.    The work is a little heavy and I'm not supposed to be hefting heavy objects yet so it will be a challenge.  I may have to resort to a duct tape and bubble wrap bag. 

In the evening I have been amusing myself with my new ribbons.   Here are two more little minis that I made - learning as I go.   I learned a new stitch for the petals.  You come up from the back, hold the ribbon down with your finger to keep it flat,  then pierce the ribbon as you go back through the fabric and you get a nice daisy petal with a little twist at the end.   I found it in Judith Baker Montano's Embroidery and Crazy Quilt Stitch Tool.  It's a variation of the Ribbon Stitch Pansy and Raised Ribbon Stitch.  Next I plan to try making tulips and I noticed an interesting iris stitch.   This is fun.

I apologize for the quality of the photo but you can get the idea.

We are still in the throes of winter and more snow expected this week so I had to rely on a potted plant to bring a little spring to my house.    Winter outside - spring inside.     At least there's more daylight now.

Company's coming and I still have some quilts to press and wrap to be delivered tomorrow.....

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Trying out my New Ribbon and Fields of Gold

 Look at these yummy silk ribbons I just received from Ribbonsmyth (thanks Ribbonsmyth and thanks to Monika at My Sweet Prairie for telling us about them).   They are lovely and light.  Some are variegated.   I just love the delicate colours!
Of course, I couldn't stop myself.  I had to experiment with them.  I have never embroidered with ribbon before and now I just want to make tiny flowers everywhere.   But I started with something simple.   Many years ago I remember seeing a photo of grass swirling up towards the sun.  The photo must have been up through the grasses.    So I came up with this little bit of embroidery using ribbon for the tops and embroidery threads for the rest.  It still needs finishing and pressing before I frame it.

  I also used some in an underwater piece I am working on - just for fun!

I finally finished and framed my hand stitched experiment with "underpainting" with fabric.   Starting with yellow orange background I stitched and stitched and stitched grasses over it with a river running through.  I call it Fields of Gold.   I am not quite satisfied with the way it looks.  I think I need to stitch through to the back in places (I think they call it quilting:) because it tends to balloon out at the bottom around the lupins and where I added extra batting to give it more depth.  But it sure filled a lot of evenings.

Fields of Gold

My eyes still get tired easily so I am trying to refrain from long periods of stitching.  I don't feel like I have accomplished much this winter.   And still have second eye to go.   Come May I hope I'll have two good eyes and lots of inspiration.

My large floral piece is still waiting by the machine for another try.   I think I'll focus on that one and my underwater rocks but I need a lot of confidence to tackle 'The Machine'.  I'd like to see the floral completed though.   Besides there will be lots of opportunity to add small embroidered flowers between the larger ones.

 I did machine stitch a carrying bag for one of my pieces - with bubble wrap and fabric (very roughly done) and was proud of myself nevertheless.  A member of my fibre arts group gave us a variation of this type of  bag for wrapping work to take to shows but I don't think I followed her instructions very closely...... Why is the bubble wrap on the outside?   Because I wanted the seam on the inside and was not able to sew through the wrap without fabric on top of it.   Next time I'll fold the fabric over the sides of the wrap so the bubble wrap is wrapped (no pun intended) before stitching.   Then I can put the wrap inside where it won't get ripped as easily.   Do you like the zebra duck tape used to hold the tie downs?

 So I don't get discouraged I plan to keep hand stitching some small embroidered florals as well.   I visualize tiny embroidered pieces with larger mat and frame around them.   I'm getting tired of using the ready made sizes of mats and frames available when the piece calls for a different size but custom framing is so expensive.    May try out a local framer I heard about recently.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Fibre Fling 2 - Out of the Box Fibre Artists

Out of the Box fibre artists are having our second annual Fibre Fling Show and Sale in April.  If you are in the Ottawa area and enjoy fibre art please come to the show.   Further details are posted on my Exhibition Page.  

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Surprises and Things

A few days ago I had catarract surgery on my left eye.    So what can I do besides putting drops in my eyes (3 kinds, 2 to 4 times a day) and being bored because my eyes get tired so quickly?   Not a heck of a lot!

Because I am an artist and I hate wearing reading glasses I decided to have my eyes adjusted for closer up and wear glasses for far.  I also decided to have my astigmatism corrected.  Then my first surgery was moved up by 2 weeks leaving 6 weeks between the two surgeries.    So here I am with a much improved left eye seeing pretty well close up and the other eye still seeing through a progressive lens (I have removed my left lens).  It's left me temporarily feeling a bit woozy and with changed depth perception when walking.    I hate the thought of waiting 6 weeks for my second eye so I am on a cancellation list hoping my surgery will be moved up.  I know that lots of people choose  monovision (one eye adjusted for close, another for far) and their brain can adapt so I hope my brain will kick in soon and start to interpret the difference.  I can still see ok for distance and hope I will be able to drive once I see my eye doctor on Tuesday.  

The trouble is that there are so many choices in catarract surgery that it makes your head spin.  I was happy with progressive lenses before so I am fine with having to wear corrective lenses if it will bring me back to the way it was - just no reading glasses please!   We have come such a long way from when people became blind or had to wear thick glasses for life.   And I remind myself that, in some parts of the world, people still go blind from catarracts.  So I guess I need to stop complaining, be patient, and be thankful.

A Postcard from Monika at My Sweet Prairie
I did have a lovely surprise when I returned home the day of my surgery.   A few weeks ago, Monika Kinner-Whalen at   My Sweet Prairie asked people to guess which books she had just purchased.  I came close and she sent me a lovely prize - a fabric postcard and a calendar.   Her photo of teepees in winter was chosen for the December issue of this calendar - a beautiful surreal scene.   Thank you Monika!!  It really cheered me up - even though I couldn't really see it clearly till the next day:)

Monika's Calendar Photo

It was nice of mother nature to provide two days of snow last week for my entertainment so, equipped with sunglasses, I spent some time watching the storm and taking a few photos.

View in front of my house

Drifts from my front window

A strange glow in the evening sky

Birds beware!

I loved the way the snow coated each branch


This fellow showed up today after the storm - we do have more snow in the forecast but none so far.

After the Storm