Monday, March 20, 2017

Not a Selfie

The kids frequently make snide remarks about people who take pictures of themselves in bathroom mirrors. My take away from this is that a person can use a mirror to take a picture of themselves. My sister made me a lovely hat using a double strand of Koigu sock yarn. It is a beautiful shade of gold and the pattern is a honey comb. It is all meant to celebrate the bees in the back yard. I love it, it is just the right weight for cool weather and it comes down the back of my neck. It doesn't slip up past my ears. It is a grand hat. So, I tried to take a selfie of it to share with her. This is what ensued.


I don't think the video works, but it was lousey and only two seconds long. I didn't mean to take a video, it was part of the mystery of how to take a selfie.









Steve took the last two. They are not selfies, they demonstrate a small village helping the village fool.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Seeds and beads

Every year I battle the dream. The dream of having a vegetable garden versus the knowledge that our backyard is about the worst place for veggies there is. Deep north shade, shallow acidic soil, and a gardener with a wandering attention span if things go wrong. Every year they do. But I love the idea of a lush productive garden. Brain storm....


seeds for flowers. I can grow a number of annuals in the small pockets of sun and have hopes for a couple of veg that like cool situations. I watch a gardening blog (The hort channel tv) and laugh at how scruffy the garden, green house and shed are. Even the blogger, Sean, is pretty scruffy. But I get a kick out of it. This mess, my new 'greenhouse' is very tidy compared to Sean.


This spot is at the bottom of our basement steps where we have stored my computer and writing desk station, our son's computer station, worms, pantry items, a working loom, empty jars and jam and now...seed trays. I've seeded allysum, lobelia, red leaf lettuce, japanese turnips, nasturtiums, basil and parsley. I have 6 more seed packets to seed up, but have to figure out where the trays will go so that the cat doesn't eat all the new shoots. I set up my small device (how do people keep track of which computer device is which) and watched Sean do his March Allotment tour while I puttered. It was great fun.


I have used beads in my latest stitching sample. Not seed beads, although that would have been serendipitous.


The white woven bit is a small bridge shape.


Other samples include cheesecloth bobbles and layered applique circles.


When I finished fooling around with dirt and seeds, I used the sewing machine to make this free motion scrap. I appliqued tiny scraps onto the surface, going over it with the machine stitching. Then I went back over it all with a dark pink and made spots. Mending patches and adding button hole stitch is keeping me occupied as I think about what to say on an application for an adventure. Secret.

Monday, March 6, 2017

The sun shine-eth

I am lounging on the couch, the cat is squished between the back of the couch and the window. I can see her ears going back and forth as she improves the grooming of her shoulder, yet again. I can't believe how lovely it is right now. Outside, the temperature is around minus 13. I headed out for groceries before going to the gym and was caught in a wind tunnel by the lights. Holy smokes!


This pattern has kept me busy the past few weeks. Sew House Seven presents The Toaster Sweater.


I used a gold crepe for this version. I halved the height of the collar and added two inches to the length. And as usual, had to mess around with the length of the sleeves. Does anyone really have arms as long as pattern makers seem to think they are? I took off at least 6 inches of length.


Crepe fabric allows for the topstitching to show up as a nice detail, unlike most knits. I find topstitching on knits goes wonky and the fabric pulls.


I used the same pattern for this top. I loved the fabric on the bolt, but am not sure now. It's a little spotty. I've lengthened the torso area even more and made a light adjustment at the collar for a flatter fit. Still, it was super easy.


The same pattern envelope has this (below) version as well. I made it in a beautiful white interlock for Phoebe.while I was visiting in Ottawa. I forgot to take a picture.


Man, I take terrible pictures these days. This is my version of looking relaxed. Didn't work. Anyways, this top is even easier. There are three pattern pieces (front, back and sleeve). The collar is self facing, It is basically one big seam.


I love the neckline on this one. I have seen versions of this that are longer and worn with a belt. My belt days are long over, but I could see it on someone with a waist.

That little sewing binge is over. Back to studio work and some writing of poems.

Monday, February 27, 2017

A little book

I was in Ottawa last week visiting my daughter and I met my sister there as well. We had a great time together, but of course, none of us remembered to take photos.


Once home, I realized I could take some pictures of my purchases. This is a large print wool knit with just enough fabric to make a gathered straight skirt for next winter.

I love this other wool knit. I have enough for a long sleeved t-shirt or tunic. Hopefully, it will be cover as far down as my bottom, for a tunic look.

Then, I started a little book for my sister. It is a combination of collage and pages with stitching. What follows are images from the eight pages and inside covers.

These are slightly pointless booklets. The pages are fine for writing on, but I have trouble writing on a pages that has decorations on it. I'm not sure if my sister has the same inhibitions.

This is the second page with an insert of music paper with lace and some stitched torn paper glued behind. In the upper image, I thought the music paper looked too bland.

Page two with a glued collage of fussy cut cherry blossoms and daffodil overtop an upside down cloth house.

Between page two and three is an inserted calendar page with stuff glued on. I was never convinced by this page, it just doesn't click. But it has a hidden edge a few folds over that I love.

The stitched edge is the hidden side of the calendar page while the grassy bit is the continuation of the rooster page. I've added grass style stitches and a button to the flower's centre.

The third page. Collage with three circles of seed stitch and french knots.

Closer view. The grass area had a rooster image that I used elsewhere. I used some cross-stitch pattern paper behind it and added an eye and coloured in the beak.
The centre fold. The three dots are the back of the seed stitches and french knots on the rooster page. The Japanese paper in the centre fold is where the stitching is to hold the pages together and where the pages join the cover. Thin grey/green DMC cord has been used for the binding stitches.

Page 5. A simpler page. The left side is the continuation of the Rooster page. The right hand side of page 5 are two strips of seed stitch, french knots and the grassy stitch.
The music page insert appears again with some free motion embroidered lace, embellished with a variety of stitches in white DMC coton a broder. The back of page 5 can be seen on the far left.

Detail of above

Page 6. I left this plain. There is a small cut out on the bottom right edge that gives a glimpse through to the back cover.

The inside back cover. I've used two calendar pages for the covers. They are stiff and should protect the pages if the booklet goes into a busy purse or bag. If I had planned this better, I would have placed the brown japanese paper in a different location. Then the little cut out from Page 6 would have been in a different location and when the page is turned, as it is in this image, there would have been an option to place something to look through from this side. As it is, it poorly placed for that to happen. Next time.
And the end.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Blizzard day one

Today the city of Halifax is shut down. The buses did not start this morning, the management did not want to strand people at work or elsewhere.





I haven't heard a snowplow go by for hours. I heard an ambulance in the distance a few moments ago. It must have been quite a challenge to get to the emergency and to get back to the hospital.



Steve is pushing out the front door. So much snow is coming down and wind is blowing it about that we have about two feet of snow blocking the front door and more blocking the back door. We've decided to try and keep the area where the door swings open cleared of snow. I suspect that will have to happen several times before this is over. Last year, when this happened, Steve had to tunnel out of our basement door, which opens inwards. We filled up the laundry tubs and several tote boxes with snow as he dug a tunnel.


The house is chilly, we have the thermostat turned down a bit so that the furnace doesn't have to struggle to keep up. Why? Because there is no way the oil truck can get a line to our oil tank until we clear a path. The path is about 40 feet away from the sidewalk and three feet deep in snow. It will take me a couple hours to clear that out, so I don't want to run out of oil.

I thought maybe I was exaggerating, but Steve just heaved himself back in and says the driveway, where a boat is stored, has drifted up to 8 feet high. The boat is mostly covered. OK, it might take me two days to get to the oil tank.

I have a few pictures of some Geli Plate Printing I did last week and that's all.






I have been sewing clothes and reading books. I volunteer at a homeless shelter and find it has tired me out a bit last week. I did a shift last night from 7:30 to 11:30 pm, we fed over 40 people, supplied at least 12 with food to tie them over because they can't get to the shelter with the buses not running. Those folks have someplace to crash for a couple of nights. Those who didn't have spent today in the church basement, drinking coffee, watching old videos and hopefully, staying warm. I'm glad I don't have to go tonight, the walking is killer. I'm glad I have a warm place to write this. Hope you are safe and warm wherever you are.

Monday, February 6, 2017

A Paper Day

Along with stitching on textiles, I also fool around with stitching on paper.


I bought some black drawing paper to see how it would respond to holes and gluing. In this sample, I set the sewing machine up for Free Motion Embroidery. Using an unthreaded needle that was dull and not suitable for textiles and the feed dogs lowered, I moved the paper around. I didn't use a hoop. This is a nice difference that tissue paper. Tissue paper, or other light paper really needs a tight hoop to get it to move freely under the needle. This stiffer paper needed me to hold on to the edges only. I did not have a picture drawn on the back to follow. I only knew I wanted circles in one section and loose lines across the page.


This little composition is on mat board. I've used the inside of a torn envelop, some japanese paper with a floral motif, some torn magazine pages, a bottle cap liner, and some water colour paper for the bird.

I used a glue stick to get things to stick. I am beginning to suspect that there is either a big difference in different manufacturers of glue sticks or the quality of the glue has plummeted. Several small paper pieces are losing their stick. I am going to switch to using a brush and the old fashioned white glue.


For the bird, I used scraps of water colour paper that had things on it that I didn't love. Cut up into smaller bits, it became a good resource. I've needle pricked the bottle cap liner and added some gold french knots.


Along the narrow edge of the envelope, I have crossed stitched with the same thread as in the circle motif.



For a completely different project, I experimented with making a slit in a thick paper and slipping a prarie point through the slit, then securing it on the opposite side with a running stitch or french knots. The leafy triangle is fabric, the stripes is Japanese paper. I'll have a few more paper pieces over time, but now, the kettle boileth.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Two by Each continues

Here is what I am not doing!


Are they mad? There were 6 or more people on the next beach surfing. We didn't get out of the car except to take the photo. I'm tell you, doing this kind of thing would certainly keep your mind off US news.


It was freezing rain and sleet. Steve and I had rented a car-share for a Sunday afternoon drive. We had hoped for some sun or at least, no rain. We headed to Lawrencetown beach, where the beaches are very walkable even in winter. Brrrrr.


Back at home, I curled on my chair and watched several episodes of Gardeners World 2015 while stitching.

After finishing the cross stitching, I looked around for my blunt nosed tweezers to take out the cross stitch grid (stiff stuff that allows you to do a cross stitch on cloth that is too fine to count the threads on) but couldn't find them in the usual spots. I had cleared out the medicine cupboard the day before and thought maybe the tweezers had ended up in the first aid kit. While standing in front of the cupboard, Steve leaned out from the bathroom. He was doing very messy things with the U bend in the bathroom sink.There was gook everywhere. He hands me my tweezers and says, "You better steralise these before you use them again." Ick.


  • Each strip has the first 10 inches or so embroidered for the first pass. As I move further down the strips, other ideas will come and I might want to repeat something at the beginning. I like to leave a few spots open in case I get a brilliant idea later on. In case I want to add beads or buttons, I also like to leave these off till the very last minute. They get in way of a good tension on the embroidery hoop. Then I'll get irritated, cut them off and then lose them. Bitter experience, you might say.


I like having bits that can lift up, with other bits underneath.


Despite using the grid for cross stitch, it wandered away from the edge.  I will look on that as an opportunity for some French knots eventually.


The hoop calleth.