Thursday, June 2, 2011

Once Upon A Time

Test test test and something to look at

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Friday, April 30, 2010

So what exactly HAS she been doing?

An old old follower (in time not age) of this blog sent me that rather blunt question last night. Uhm... I'm supposed to account for my time? Well dang, someone forgot to tell me. No, I have no excuses other then real life pulling me hither and yon and focusing my attention on other things (and I'm ADD dammit, I get distracted!). Anyways, here's what I did manage to accomplish this year.. sort of. It's a slow work in progress (very very very very very slow) of an encrusted piece of hand embroidery (well and beading, felting, quilting, couching, applique, etc.. )  I //think// it's going to be the centre piece of a quilt... I //think//. It hasn't told me yet! And yes, it's a little red.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

So Studly!

I forgot about this....oh well, better late then never.

Get this, Jane B., lives in Wisconsin and is the daughter of Mrs. H who lives in Kansas. Mrs. H. is friends with Mrs. C. Jane B. was visiting her mother over Christmas when Mrs. C. came along for a short visit. Jane B. showed her some of the quilting blogs she reads and mine was one of them (thank you by the way). Mrs. C. apparently believed her friend Mrs. 'I have no earthly idea' used to belong to an email list that my mother belonged to about 10 years ago (this I CAN believe - my Mother is BIG into email). My mother used to forward letters that I wrote to her when I first came north to the email list which I guess were then forwarded to Mrs. C. by Mrs. 'I have no earthly idea'. Are you with me so far? Need a break? I'll pass out cookies after the quiz. Mrs. C. believes this to be so because she swears she recognizes my writing style (I'm debating whether that is a good thing or not... ) although my profile name is the same too. She has asked Jane B. to ask me whether this is so and if it is so would I be so kind as to forward her or post one of those letters..... because she enjoyed them so much. Sigh, okay, here it is. (ooops, err.. wait... for those few northern readers, this is from my FIRST year north. I was naive, stoopid, a little ...oh never mind, just do me a favour and skip this post! Mrs. C. You owe me! I am so embarrassed!).

Honestly, I never thought I'd get to be the ripe old age of ::cough nevermind cough:: and find myself a stud magnet! Yes, yes, that's what I said and that's what I am. I have become the object of lust for all of the local studs. I am the attention of their lewd and lascivious affection - completely and utterly. It is all rather unsettling and if I'm honest - just a little bit thrilling!
I cannot walk the simple distance of 10 feet down the hallway from my office to the boardroom
without being overwhelmed in all directions and descended upon by dozens and dozens of studs. Yes, yes, the north is filled with them! I never really imagined that what they said about the north was true! Studs everywhere! Wheee!
They are positively depraved in their singleminded crusade to poke and prod parts of my anatomy that I'd prefer be left unpoked and unprodded - thank you very much! They haven't quite got to the point of sweeping me off my feet -but I'm a quiver in anticipation at every turn.

Pity about them being so small.

Pity about them being a little round and metallic.

Utterly tragic about their being attached to the walls and such.

Oh and did I mention their affection is electric and bright blue? I didn't? Oops!

I have become of late - the victim of unprovocated attacks by static electricity! Kilowatts of the stuff! Truly, I hate this time of year. Walk two feet and - Phzzzzzt! Another - Fzaaaat! It is -32 and 2 feet of snow lays across the lawn; and there is not so much as one drop of moisture in one molecule of air - anywhere. It wouldn't be too bad, if I could atleast gain some curly hair.

For some unknown reasons - I am the conduit where all static gathers - the repository of all that stud magnetism. I suppose it explains why I've never been able to wear a watch? But, as the years pass, it gets more and more ridiculous. My otherwise friendly-in-your-face-fuzz-ball of a cat has been hiding out under the bed for three weeks now. No amount of coaxing is going to entice her out from under there. I think she's been adopted by rogue dustbunnies. In the
wee hours of the night I hear an odd sizzling - followed by a pathetic hiss and a soft mewl.

One time - only one time - (I swear) I accidentally turned on the light while she was curled up next to me.... and I am now bereft of her company until late spring. Honestly, you'd think I'd docked her tail with a butter knife?

Even my friends have decided that if I am to be permitted to grace any sort of affection whatsoever on them - I have to be standing in the bathtub with at least 6 inches of water creeping up my around my calves.

The essence du static makes computing a little tenuous at best as well.
The IT guys at work have banned me from the lab. The last straw came this morning when they decided - en masse - that I wasn't allowed to sit at the computer until I'd removed my socks! I am now labelled a mouse killer! Hellooo! -32 people!


I have not disappeared off the face of the earth.. well perhaps I have. Still doing fabric art, just lost in other projects.

Going to do this though! So many ideas running through my head on possibilities!

Making Paper Fabric... or Fabric Paper?
(a bunch of raw links to explore)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Playing with rainbows

Long weekend of mucking about with dyes and fabrics. Our guild did an inhouse workshop where we played with fabric and colour. It is part of a project where we are creating an installation piece for the hospital as well as putting on a show in February. We have to use the work we dyed this weekend, so there was a lot of playing and learning (and swearing and angsting over results). Started off hand dyeing - which I enjoyed, but made a mess at it. My second attempt was much better then my first. Here's everything rinsed and ironed (the photo is rather dark, sorry). Since this is my first effort, I'm fairly pleased with the result. We worked mostly with beer cups and baggies.
Yellows were my downfall. Mostly because when I did my final rinsing in the washing machine, they all bled out. I'd read in advance that this has been known to happen, but took the risk anyways.
The fabric below was from my first batch - which had some really wild mottles. I wanted mottles, just not that er... psychadelic? The second batch turn out better. I loosened up the fabric so that the dye could penetrate better. Those who worked with Fat Eighth did better at that. Honestly, a Fat Quarter is a lot of fabric to shove into a beer cup!
Can't claim the following ones - they were done by one of the other participants. She went rather wild with twitsting and turning the fabric before placing it in the beer cups. Not sure they are going to be all that colourfast though - she took some risky shortcuts.
We also played with Shiva Paintsticks, did some batiking, painted with the dyes. We were going to do some sun printing, except that 'no sun', instead a wonderful heavy snowfall mixed with slushy rain. I think sun printing is off the agenda until next spring :) Some people also worked on blocks for block printing. I've done both Shiva and block printing a fair amount, so concentrated on dyeing. The overall theme of the weekend was reminding people to put their gloves and masks back on! My hands are just shot! (and somewhat tinged blue!).
Below are our Guild President's Fat Eighths

Since this was a week of experimenting, we all did some extras. I dyed some crochet cotton, embroidery floss and silk ribbon and we all did some cotton thread. I really don't think the cotton thread is going to work all that well. Not sure if the dye will penetrate the fibres? It looks nice though.
Finally we dabbled with natural dyes. The results are much paler. Will post photos of those once I do a final rinse and iron.
More later.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Excuses Excuses Excuses

Hello and I'm welcoming myself back from the dead!
While my creative endeavours didn't exactly peter out the last six months, they did take a backseat for a while to other pursuits. I'm not back with a vengeance, but I have been puttering about some in the textile arena. I did participate in the festival this year - put five things in and sold three. My old lady fire pieces were the ones that sold. I knew they would because the festival is a cultural arts festival and those pieces were very 'northern'. My other pieces were the experiment with Shiva paintsticks and a landscape thread paintings, and they are now hanging in our entrance way.

I've another idea for a drum dancing piece, but it involves some sketching and planning.

I don't know why, but I've been thinking about Dad lately. It's been almost a year since he died. Maybe part of that sluggishness is strill grieving? Don't know. I did find a photo of him on the web - here he is toasting the Columbia River

Upcoming pursuits involve a two day dying workshop which should be fun and I've been playing with rust dying as well. The embellisher has been put through its paces and I will post photos of the work I've done soon. I've also been doing a lot of felt prep - so I expect one of these weekends will be spent soaping wool up. I'm trying to felt thinner pieces since the embellisher HATES thick pieces of felt and I've broken countless needles (and they are expensive.)

Okay enough for breaking the ice again, back to work.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Musical moments and creativity

Warning! Awooga! Awooga! Heavily Heavily YouTube embedded. But I linked as much as I could to make it easier for those with slower connections.

This has been making the blog rounds since the Academy Awards. So I dug up a YouTube link. It is good.

I began thinking about music. I haven't been sewing much since I've got the - ICK flu - and have been curled up in bed with the iPod (I love my iPod!). Music is as much apart of my creative process as drawing, sewing, and painting are. Not making it, I leave that to the other talented members of my family, but listening to it. If given an ultimatum to pick between sight and hearing, I'd be truly hard pressed, because one is as important as the other to me. I can't imagine a world where I couldn't see and create in a visual language and I can't imagine a world where I wouldn't be able to hear music. I believe in something rather airy fairy called a lyric thread (dumb name, but...); that there are pieces of music where you can find a thread within and follow it. It will lead you to creativity, peace, enlightenment, healing - anything. I think it is different for every person. What works for me may not work for you.

Here is some of the music that releases my creative spirit. All the links lead to free or legal stuff (well insofar as YouTube is legal :)) And many of the sites play samples and ::cough:: download the mp3 into your internet cache... what you do with it is entirely up to you though! I have mundane, weird and ecclectic musical tastes - I can be listening to POP and then just as easily switch over to gregorian chant. I've only listed the the pieces that are time honoured for me - those that I can listen to over and over and over again without getting sick and tired of them (and I have..listened.. often for years, some going on decades!). Go explore and if you have any suggestions of something you'd think I might like - leave a comment!
  • First off, I'm a soundtrack junkie - serious Hollywood stuff. It's an addiction that I'm admiting to publicly for the first time. I love Ennio Morricone (Mission), Harry Gregson-William (Kingdom of Heaven, Narnia), Klaus Badelt (Pirates - the original), Jean-Yves Thibaudet (Pride & Prejudice), Howard Shore (Lord of the Rings), Zbigniew Preisner (Secret Garden).

  • Everything by Loreena Mckennitt . A debut video on YouTube can be found here.

  • Eclipse by Adi Sappir from a few years back but available free at

  • 25 Years by Blackmore's Night also downloadable at

  • Hothouse Flowers website. No music - but YUM for Liam's O'Maonlai voice which makes me cry - everytime. I first heard him on the Rankin Family's Grey Dusk of Eve. Portobello Road is the song that causes the sniffles! Not on their site, but they have others.

  • Angelicus by Delerium featuring Isabel Baryakdarian. Download on their site apparently. But you can also listen on Facebook.

  • 10,000 Miles by Mark Isham from Fly Away Home (it's really really hard to find!)

  • Walking in the Air by Aled Jones - seriously an oldie, but lovely.

  • Sacred Treasures (especially the Russian Choral) I, II, III, IV, V, VI - Downloadable mp3s to get you addicted as well.

  • Soundtrack to Water by A.R. Rahman - Piya Ho - I love this movie but I love the song more.

  • Anything and everything choral by Gabriel Faure

  • Alegria by Cirque du Soleil

Scandalize My Name by Jessye Norman and Kathleen Battle

  • I've Got the whole world in my hands by Jessye Norman and Kathleen Battle - (the whole CD of Spirituals in Concert is GRAND!)
  • A Christmas Celebration by Kathleen Battle (I wish she didn't have such a b*tch reputation - because her voice is a gift from God, and it's hard to listen to her knowing the rotten things she's done)
  • Shall we Dance sountrack by Gabriel Yared et al. I dance to it in my head!
  • Mostly everything old by George Winston for when I'm stressed
  • James Taylor - River is linked here . The man has more websites then you can shake a stick at here and here too.
  • Allison Crowe (tons of free mp3s!) and Sarah McLachlan both do River well too, and I like their music as well.
  • Indigo Girls - I'm transported back to my mid-20's, bumming through Europe!

Mercedes Sosa - Gracias a la Vida

She is utterly marvelous! I will forever kick myself for not shelling out the plane ticket money to go and see her in concert when I had the chance.

  • Mon Amour is the song Mercedes Sosa adored and sung with Nilda Fernandez in Argentina. The choreography is performed by Julio Bocca.

Other sites with tons of links and free downloads are:

Native Village - Music and Dance Library - The more I live north, the more I'm drawn to traditional music.
Not sure if this will work - but it's a video of Mathew Nuqingaq at the Great Northern Arts Festival last summer. Another voice that makes me cry....
Gregorian Chant on the Net
Classic Cat - Free classical music on the web
More gregorian chant
Early Music - Jon Sayles (100's of hours of listening and mp3s)
Hear the choirs sing - Free and clips of 100s of choirs
Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music aka The Vatican

And now you have an inkling of why I happen to have 37 days worth of music on my iPod (and that doesn't include podcasts)! Enjoy!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Cheerful incompetence!

Warning: Ton of photos in this entry!

So I haven't had much to blog about lately - well, that's not quite true except that other schtuff has occupied much of my sewing time and blogging time and so I haven't had the inclination is probably more of an accurate statement (albeit a grammatical nightmare!).

Last weekend I did sew though. I am sew not a quilter! I took a paper piecing course (can we say ICK!) and have decided that those lovely productive women who create heriloom treats and other eye candy out of cotton have nothing to worry about in the way of ME! No way No how Not even close! Look close below and you'll see a few glaring boo boos that no quilter in their right mind would allow to remain unpicked. The instructor even offerred to unpick them for me herself... I just couldn't be bothered. I am so not a paper piecer. This took a day and a half! I am sew not a quilter! The last photo is what it might look like IF I ever sew it together. At the moment I'm kinda leaning towards random applique and then draw squiggly lines all over it.

The second project was Ricky Tim's convergence quilt (these were true 1/4 inch seams quilters - Ricky had to be found someplace!). I've decided that I hate the fabric - but I'll do something with it eventually - embellish the heck out of it I think. I like the idea behind it. The demo quilt was very cool - all pebbles and seashell themes. The book also is great and has some truly lovely pieces in it. However, I'm going to have to take baby steps towards curves. Did I mention I am sew not a quilter? The instructors' also did a mini trunk show of their own and various stuff they have created through their guild - Did I mention I am sew not a quilter? Lovely stuff, truly. Hey, did I mention that I am sew not a quilter?

I've been trying to finish off pieces rather than start anything new (and I will sew contradict myself later in this post) - which given my lack of inclination (or ability) to sew lately is proving problematic. One of my lil ole Inuvialuit ladies is nearly done - I just need to bind it (my inclination is to use bought binding - they type you buy at EvilMart - Hey, did I mention I am sew not a quilter?) I've re-secured the stitching down on the second lil ole one as well. No photos yet.

We had a fundraiser at work which resulted in a ton of rose petals. We have now boiled the lot of them to within an inch of their lives in the thin hope of making rose petal beads. The bright pink pot below is at the early stages (about 3 hours in). Lovely colour no? Our test beads stayed quite rosey in colour too - but are definately grainy in consistency. I have to say, when they say it takes three days of simmering to get the consistency of clay - well IT TAKES THREE DAYS OF SIMMERING TO GET THE CONSISTENCY OF CLAY!!!! Later beads are nearly black! Progressively displayed in the photos below; from flower (well lots more). Mulched in the blender to pot and simmered (never boil). Three days later for clay and then finally beads (sorry for the blurr). These probably need another day of drying before they are really hard. Lots of work and gives a whole new meaning to praying the rosary!

Oh, and finally, some scribbles on fabric with Shiva. Not sure if this will work or not... but the smell of the paintsticks is way nicer then the smell of the rose petals!

More at a later date..... Have a great week everyone!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Just freeze!

A little YouTube to watch while I do chores and stuff.. I love the idea behind this, that so many people collaborated together... The group is called ImprovEverywhere. Click the video to take you to YouTube to see others... I recommend the synchronized swimming, Best Buy and No Pants! More information can be found here.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Taking it back!

Sometimes ideas were not meant to be nurtured to their fruition. Sometimes ideas are half-baked. Sometimes you just have to embrace the "What the heck was I thinking?" Sometimes you need to go into the back garden, quietly dig a hole and bury the evidence. This evening was just such a sometimes.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Take It Further Challenge

In keeping with the theme of strips of fabrics, tucks and pleats and using up waste fabric (old curtains)... I've finally started something for Sharon B's Take It Further Challenge:(The blue's are not so blue, and neither are the greens - it works with the colour scheme - sort of). Now to cut and slash it. This is all seriously experimental, but trying to keep with the theme of taking it further then I'm naturally inclined to.... fasten your seatbelts and hold your breath!

Sewing sideways!

After some self-assessment of the work I've been doing lately - I've come to realize that I'm okay with mucking around with thread and paint, but the quilting part is decidedly lacking. While I might hold out about not being able to sew a quarter inch seam to save my life; I really should get better at it. So, thought I'd better work on it a bit this weekend. Basically three colours - that I've stripped and sewn back together, cut again and appliqued. Nothing exacting and nothing fancy; progress below:
No not even strips. Wasn't wild about the yellow at first.
Wonderundered and free form cuts into buds and flowers.
Okay, so now I'll go muck about with thread... and maybe some paint...sticks.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Other things that happen in the wee hours of the morning.....

I started the Sumptuous Surfaces course - devouring all 32 pages of the first lesson! I've been wanting to do some handstitching for awhile - and after said devouring - I have to wait until next week because I am tasked with coming up with a design first! Pout!

Since I'm all about instant gratification, I pulled out some crazy squares I had been playing with awhile back and attacked! I'm incorporating some moosehide scrap as embellishment and stitching on that. Even with a leather needle, pulling embroidery thread through hide is tough - especially if you're doing brazillian stitching! Wouldn't it be nice if they came up with a way..... and then ..Eureka!... I remembered! In Birmingham I had bought a fancy little gadget that sits on your thumb and allows you to grasp and pull needles through wads of fabric. I had promptly forgotten about it until last night. Much rummaging through the stash later.... I think its original intention is for hand quilters. It works wonderfully on moosehide and even more wonderfully with frostbitten fingers (shovelled the driveway)!

I was so impressed that I went wading through the rubbish bin to find the package so that I could share the name and manufacturer information. Are you ready for it? The wonderproduct of my day is called ...... a Needlepuller! Snort!

The packaging sucks though! It doesn't tell you anywhere who makes it or where you can get another one. On the plus side, I now know the name for needepuller in three other languages: Tireur d'aiguille and Naaldtrekker and Nadelzieher. One I can identify as French. No clue about the others though. And that is about as helpful as I can be!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Pathos and Morbid skipped down the lane hand in hand.....

We received one of those phone calls that you dread in the wee hours last night (well, not quite so wee except insofar as I was dead fast asleep). Between those moments of "sort of stunned 'and what do I do now?'" which progress quickly to "Self pity 'Hello, Universe, I don't think I can handle anymore stress in my life. Helloooo, are you listening?" we suddenly realized that there are not too many of those calls left to receive (What? the title of the entry didn't warn you that this post might be a downer? Tough it up!).

In general, I have the affliction of being a deep panic person when I hear the phone ring in the middle of the night - you'd think I'd be cured by now because we always get phone calls in the middle of the night. Usually late in the week from some drunk who is pretty darn sure Angela or Larry is hiding somewhere in the house despite my best efforts to convince them otherwise. "Would you like to come over and check under the bed? Because, really, the dustbunnies are always kidnapping things! So you just never know? They could be among the stray socks, empty Hall's wrappers and Quilting Arts Magazines." I am a worrier by nature - phone calls never bode well.

Anyways... despite being up most of the night doing phone calls and the like (being both the recipient of and bearer of) I was wide awake and living dangerously in the land of nearly creative but not quite so this morning. So I sewed. Dangerous! But it was either that or I could go enter a death date in my geneaology program (Hey! I can so wallow in it if I want too! It's my blog!). I am sending and waiting for faxes and telephone calls because apparently I am the only one with the authority to send Granny into the flames and I'm 3000 km away (Yes, I handle stress by being morbidly and sarcastically funny - leastwise in my own mind - apologies if you're offended!).

So this piece called out to be worked on: probably because it's of someone's grandmother. Not my grandmother! but someone's. Not all relationships fit into nice neat boxes of famial bonds and happy warm fuzzies. I loved my grandmother, but she was a fairly unhappy woman who spent a large part of her life living with regret and resenting those that were happy or were trying to be. If anything, her life reaffirms my desire to be happy, to take joy where I can, to love and value my family and friends and to live as far outside the box as I can wiggle. Most important, to desperately try not to get bogged down with regret! So, thusly said sage sayings, here is where we got back to in the wee hours of lack of sleep.... Woo, we are digressing....

I'm whizzing along - the sewing machine is humming. Everything checked out before I began, and after I and my sewing machine had one of those 'Oh poor baby - why didn't you tell me you weren't feeling well?' moments.

Some of it is salvagable - generally because it is all on the ruff - I'm not too too worried as it adds texture. It does mean that I'm going to have to do alot more embroidery to tack those suckers down. But not I think now!

P.S. Be at peace granny! Give my love to grumpa.